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Working Near Downed or Damaged power lines

Assume all power lines are energized and stay clear of any downed or damaged power lines. Establish a safe distance from power lines and report any incidents to the responsible authority. Only properly-trained electrical utility workers can handle damaged power lines. Learn more at: Contact with Power Lines (OSHA Construction eTool) and Working Safely Around Downed Electrical Wires* (OSHA Fact Sheet).

RAI receives Contractor Safety Excellence Award

For the seventh year in a row, RAI becomes the recipient of the 2015 DuPont Contractor Safety Excellence Award, for outstanding safety, health and environmental performance.

“Well Done!! Congratulations to all employees for your continued focus. The numerous awards we have received is a distinction that sets us apart and accomplishes our goals for our client and ourselves.”
—Ray Angelini, Founder and President, Ray Angelini, Inc.

2015 DuPont Award

Preventing Slips on Snow and Ice

To prevent slips, trips, and falls, walking surfaces should be cleared of snow and ice, and deicer spread, as quickly as possible after a winter storm. In addition, the following precautions help reduce the likelihood of injuries:

Wear proper footwear when walking on snow or ice is unavoidable, because it is especially treacherous. A pair of insulated and water-resistant boots with good rubber treads is a must for walking during or after a winter storm. Keeping a pair of rubber over-shoes with good treads which fit over your street shoes is a good idea during the winter months.

Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction, when walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway.

Winter Driving—Stay Safe!

Although you cannot control roadway conditions, you can use safe driving behavior by ensuring that you: recognize the hazards of winter weather driving, (e.g., driving on snow/ice covered roads); are properly trained for driving in winter weather conditions; and are licensed (as applicable) for the vehicles you operate. For information about driving safely during winter, visit OSHA’s Safe Winter Driving page.

If you are an employer, be sure to set and enforce driver safety policies for your employees. Also, implement an effective maintenance program for all vehicles and mechanized equipment that your workers are required to operate. Learn more at: Motor Vehicle Safety (OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page).

Before hitting the road, it is a good idea to inspect the following systems on your vehicle(s) to determine proper operating conditions:

  • Brakes: Brakes should provide even and balanced braking. Also check that brake fluid is at the proper level.
  • Cooling System: Ensure a mixture of 50/50 antifreeze and water in the cooling system at the proper level.
  • Electrical System: Check the ignition system and make sure that the battery is fully charged and that the connections are clean. Check that the alternator belt is in good condition with proper tension.
  • Engine: Inspect all engine systems.
  • Exhaust System: Check exhaust for leaks and that all clamps and hangers are snug.
  • Tires: Check for proper tread depth and no signs of damage or uneven wear. Check for accurate tire inflation.
  • Oil: Check oil is at proper level.
  • Visibility Systems: Inspect all exterior lights, defrosters (windshield and rear window), and wipers. Install winter windshield wipers.

An emergency kit with the following items is recommended for any vehicle:

  • Cellphone or two-way radio
  • Windshield ice scraper
  • Snow brush
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Shovel
  • Tow chain
  • Traction aids (bag of sand or cat litter)
  • Emergency flares
  • Jumper cables
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Road maps
  • Blankets, change of clothes

Whether you are responsible for driving a company-owned vehicle or you drive your own vehicle, take these winter driving tips seriously to help keep yourself as well as others safe this season.

Space Heater Safety

Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. These fires result in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and millions of dollars in property damage.

Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly. Fire and electrical hazards can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, space heaters placed near combustibles, or space heaters that are improperly plugged in.

Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for keeping your home safe and warm when it’s cold outside:

  • Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
  • Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep, and don’t let pets or children play close to a space heater.
  • Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
  • Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
  • Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
  • Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
  • Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
Source:  Space Heater Safety

Parking Lot Safety

The holiday season brings joy…and safety challenges. Help to protect your loved ones by offering awareness. Whether they are shopping or traveling, the need to be aware in parking lots is critical. We are easily distracted and a reminder of parking lot safety tips can help prevent crime.

Tips to Keep You and Your Valuables Safe

Pedestrians can make themselves easy targets in parking lots. Usually, they don’t even realize it. The following tips can help make you safer in parking lots:

Walking in the Parking Lot

  • Stay alert and walk briskly with your head up and your shoulders back. Criminals look for easy marks, such as people who are slouched over, preoccupied or fumbling with packages.
  • Avoid texting or talking on the phone and walking so that you can see where you’re going and who is coming toward you.
  • Know your surroundings. Look around the parking lot and your vehicle for suspicious people. If you notice odd behavior, inform security or the police immediately.
  • Walk with others when possible.
  • Walk in a well-lit area.
  • Remove your headphones or earbuds while walking through a parking lot. Be aware of noises and movements.
  • Have your keys in your hand and ready to open your vehicle.

When You Get to Your Vehicle

  • Look into your vehicle’s windows and under the body before entering to ensure no one is waiting for you.
  • If someone approaches your vehicle, do not open your door or roll down your window.
  • When you get in your vehicle, lock the doors and start the engine immediately.

If There is Suspicious Activity in the Parking Lot

  • Retreat to a well-populated area and call the police or security.
  • Wait in a safe place until the police or security arrive to survey the area and let you know it is safe to go to your vehicle.
  • If you are nervous about walking to the parking lot alone, ask security to escort you.
  • If you notice someone in or around your vehicle, leave the area quickly and call the police or security. Describe as many details about the individual as you can to the authorities

Safety Tips for Your Thanksgiving

  • Never cut towards yourself. One slip of the knife can cause a horrific injury. While carving a turkey or cutting a pumpkin your free hand should be placed opposite the side that you are carving towards. Don’t place your hand underneath the blade to catch the slice of meat.
  • Keep your cutting area well-lit and dry. Good lighting will help prevent an accidental cut of the finger and making sure your cutting surface is dry will prevent ingredients from slipping while chopping.
  • Keep your knife handles dry. A wet handle can prove slippery and cause your hand to slip down onto the blade resulting in a nasty cut.
  • Keep all cutting utensils sharp. A sharp knife will never need to be forced to cut, chop, carve or slice. A knife too dull to cut properly is still sharp enough to cause an injury.
  • Use an electric knife to ease the carving of the turkey or ham.
  • Use kitchen shears to tackle the job of cutting bones and joints.
  • Leave meat and pumpkin carving to adults. Children have not yet developed the dexterity skills necessary to handle sharp utensils.
  • Lastly, should you cut your finger or your hand, bleeding from minor cuts will often stop on their own by applying direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.

Slow Down: Back to School Means Sharing the Road


Things get a little crazy on the roads during the school year: Buses are everywhere, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.

It’s never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present—especially before and after school.

If You’re Dropping Off

Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. The following apply to all school zones:

  • Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
  • Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school
  • Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians

According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:

  • Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic
  • In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas
  • Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
  • Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way

Sharing the Road with School Buses

If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

  • Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass
  • If you’re turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals
  • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods
  • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars
  • Check side mirrors before opening your door

By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones.

In-House Counsel Profile:
Ray Angelini Inc.’s James Merkins

 James J. Merkins, Jr., general counsel of Ray Angelini, Inc.

James J. Merkins, Jr., general counsel of Ray Angelini, Inc.


Ray Angelini Inc. (RAI) is a privately held electrical contracting company and solar energy provider based in Sewell, New Jersey. Its clients include data centers, hospitals and utility substations.

Among its projects, the company built and installed a solar- and wind-power system for the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. It provides LED lighting design and retrofits; wireless infrastructure services such as distributed antenna systems and cell tower construction and modifications; and power systems testing and commissioning.


General counsel James Merkins is the company’s sole attorney, although he presides over administrative staff, project coordinators and the human-resources department.

His work day breaks down into a mix of contract review and negotiation, management of outside counsel and overseeing the company’s insurance program. He is a member of the senior leadership team.

He estimates that he handles about 70 percent of the work in-house, farming out mostly litigation.


Merkins has engaged Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young (general corporate and succession planning) and Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman (construction litigation and employment law services.) When looking for outside counsel, Merkins seeks “excellent service at reasonable rates.” He’s also used alternative billing to set price caps on projects.


Merkins typically arrives at the office by 8 a.m. and does his best to return home by 7 p.m., sometimes with laptop in tow to finish emails or other projects. “Most of my time is spent on contracts and the contract-review process,” he said. “When I joined RAI, I instituted a formal contract review process to streamline activities for better speed, accuracy, and reduction of risk.”

He travels on business less than 10 percent of the time, usually involving dispute resolution, new business presentation or biannual meetings. He reports to founder and president Ray Angelini. He enjoys advising management and negotiating contracts. “I take an active role in all of the company’s litigation.”


Merkins wanted to be a lawyer since the fourth grade, when a teacher complimented him on his efforts to stay out of trouble. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University and earned his J.D. at Widener University School of Law in 2002. While in law school, Merkins interned at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and after graduation clerked for then Delaware Chief Justice Myron Steele.

He joined Blank Rome, practicing corporate and commercial law, and in 2008 moved to Bouchard Margules & Friedlander in Wilming­ton, Delaware. He joined RAI in 2010 as general counsel. “I had a lunch meeting with Ray Angelini, pitching him for litigation work,” Merkins said, “and it turned into a job offer.”


The Aston, Pennsylvania, native’s hobbies include jogging, Penn State football and time with the family. He and wife Suzy are parents to Annie (11) and Jimmy (10).


“Paterno Legacy: Enduring Lessons from the Life and Death of My Father,” by Jay Paterno. The last movie he caught was “Home.”

By Richard Acello, The National Law Journal. August 17, 2015


North American Clean Energy Magazine Featured Article: Solar Rooftop Installations Demand Safety

Solar power systems have experienced widespread popularity and growth in recent years. in 2010, less than 2,000 MW of solar power was installed, and in 2014 it was projected that over 7,000 MW would be installed. As solar becomes more affordable, more businesses are utilizing it as a way to “go green” and reduce electricity costs. However, installing a solar power system in a place of business may not be as easy as it seems. In fact, one aspect of installation – safety – is critical, not only to ensuring long-term output of the array, but also to keeping the building and workers out of harm’s way.

READ MORE! Click here to download the full article as printed in North American Clean Energy Magazine.

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