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3M and Home Safety Council team up

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Saint Paul, Minn.-based 3M has teamed up with the Home Safety Council to help build awareness amongst DIYers of the importance of using safety equipment when doing home projects.

The two were in downtown New York City last week to talk about their partnership, share some of their research and introduce the newest line of 3M safety products called 3M Tekk Protection.

Reacting to a tough economic environment, more and more people are choosing to work on their home repair and home improvement projects themselves, according to Meredith Appy, president of the Home Safety Council based in Washington, D.C.

“Our goal is not to discourage that, but rather to help them understand what might be putting them at risk while doing these projects, what solutions are available to them and help motivate them to make smarter choices so they can come back and do it for themselves another day,” she said.

“We know that 3M is very sincere in helping us get our message of safety out the door,” she said.

Appy said that according to their research 20% of DIYers have been injured doing home projects, and of those only 50% reported they would use safety equipment in the future. She noted that while the professional and industrial sectors have rules and laws dictating and enforcing the use of safety equipment on the job, DIYers represent a trickier demographic.

“In the sanctity of our homes, there isn’t going to be the safety police coming in and saying you must do this,” she said. Instead, she said they must rely on other methods to get weekend warriors to work safe.

“Education and engineering, that’s what 3M and the Home Safety Council are bringing together,” she said. “Our goal is that there are going to be more people who choose to do DIY projects, they’re going to be better informed about it, better tooled up to do it, and as a result they’re going to be much safer.”

3M has the world’s leading business in professional and industrial safety equipment and has recently expanded that through the acquisition of Aero Technologies, a manufacturer of hearing, head and eye protection. The company brought the two brands together under new brand 3M Tekk Protection, which launched this month.

On top of the company’s expanded line of N95 respiratory masks and reflective clothing, the company is putting a lot of emphasis on hearing protection for the DIY market.

According to Chris Armitage, safety and electrical business unit manager of 3M Construction and Home Improvement Markets Division, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that workers use hearing protection on a job site that reaches or exceeds 85 decibels.

“To give you an example, if you’re mowing your lawn at home, that’s roughly 85 to 90 decibels,” he said.

The company is featuring a full line of hearing protection products, from basic foam earplugs to noise reducing earmuffs. The company also has a set of earmuffs with a built-in AM/FM radio, which can even be plugged into an MP3 player.

“It’s all about reducing the decibels, reducing the amount of sound that gets into your ear,” he said.

Another area the company is focusing on is eye protection, something most DIYers associate with large clear plastic goggles.

“To encourage DIYers and contractors to use eyewear, we’ve added a lot of style and fashion to the eye protection line,” Armitage said.

The new line of eye protection products looks more like designer sunglasses than safety glasses, but are still capable of stopping a steel ball bearing traveling at more than 100 mph from penetrating the lens.

And while 3M is now targeting the DIY market, that doesn’t mean the quality of the products has been compromised, according to Armitage.

“All of the products that we sell through the home centers and hardware chains are of the same quality and pass and exceed the same standards as the industrial products,” he said.

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Slowdown predicted by cement industry economist

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The latest economic forecast from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) indicates no growth in cement consumption for the rest of 2010, followed by a small increase next year.

The Skokie, Ill., trade association said that the “economic momentum that was gathering steam early in the year has dissipated to a large extent,” resulting in a predicted 0.3% rise in cement consumption in 2010. Next year the consumption of cement should grow by 1.4%, the organization said, with a 4% increase expected in 2012. A period of sustained growth is forecasted for 2013 and beyond.

“Unfortunately, future gains in construction activity are dictated by labor conditions today,” said Edward Sullivan, PCA’s chief economist. “Slow job growth leads to slower home purchases and start activity. It undermines the speed at which state deficits can heal impacting public construction, and implies low occupancy rates for the non-residential market.”

While small percentage gains could characterize each of these segments during the next two years, substantive cement consumption volume gains are unlikely to materialize until 2013, the PCA said. This implies a phase of cement consumption reflecting only modest growth for the near term.

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Blagojevich witness arrested for shoplifting

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Awitness in the trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested for shoplifting at a Home Depot store, according to articles in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rajinder Bedi, 58, was allegedly seen by employees at the North Lincoln Home Depot store in Chicago concealing items valued at $166. Given the total value of the merchandise, Bedi may be charged with felony retail theft, which has a $150 threshold.

Bedi, who once held the position of managing director of the state’s Office of Trade and Investment in Blagojevich’s administration, testified under immunity in July about the ex-governor’s alleged efforts to sell President Obama’s former Senate seat.

Prosecutors said Bedi met with Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and a major Jackson fundraiser, Raghuveer Nayak, at a Chicago restaurant. At the meeting, Nayak promised to raise $1 million for Blagojevich if he appointed Jackson to the Senate seat, prosecutors said.

Blagojevich was convicted of lying to the FBI last summer, but the jury deadlocked on other counts. His retrial is scheduled to start next year.

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