Saturday, November 19, 2016

Why not? Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica ..OSHA (Updated 11/20/16)

In 2011 I began to consider my personal health and safety - My Lungs! After all I was wearing, steel toe boots, gloves, safety glasses, ear protection. Why was I not thinking about my lungs? How often do we injure our lungs? Never typically! 

I began my quest with First Defense nose filters. Then moved on to two other styles over the years. Now I wear an GVS Elipse SPR457 Respirator (APR) $25.00 

While I believe in CHOICE. We are adults which can decide what level we would like to protect ourselves or others. I do believe as employers we have a RIGHT to take steps to protect our employees. Like they say - Lead By Example. Make a smart choice before it's to late. Silica Dust is a Silent Killer. 


OSHA's Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica ......

Rule requires engineering controls to keep workers from breathing silica dust

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America's workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The rule is comprised of two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime.
OSHA estimates that the rule will save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year, once its effects are fully realized. The Final Rule is projected to provide net benefits of about $7.7 billion, annually.
About 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in their workplaces, including 2 million construction workers who drill, cut, crush, or grind silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone, and 300,000 workers in general industry operations such as brick manufacturing, foundries, and hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Responsible employers have been protecting workers from harmful exposure to respirable crystalline silica for years, using widely-available equipment that controls dust with water or a vacuum system.

Key Provisions

  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
  • Requires employers to: use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure to the PEL; provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan, offer medical exams to highly exposed workers, and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.
  • Provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health.
  • Provides flexibility to help employers — especially small businesses — protect workers from silica exposure.

Compliance Schedule

Both standards contained in the final rule take effect on June 23, 2016., after which industries have one to five years to comply with most requirements, based on the following schedule:
Construction - June 23, 2017, one year after the effective date.
General Industry and Maritime - June 23, 2018, two years after the effective date.
Hydraulic Fracturing - June 23, 2018, two years after the effective date for all provisions except Engineering Controls, which have a compliance date of June 23, 2021.

Other Great links:

• FIRST DEFENSE nose filters Rockin Walls Blog - First Defense - They work very well with filtering, they don't stick for a full day and at lunch they kind make it hard to swallow. Read more on the blog. Just think of these like sticking a band-aid on your nose. They filter very well. $9.98 set of 7 and up.

• NOSE-MASK-PIT-STOPPER, not the sexiest name. I ordered up the 14 pack. Clearly the most comfortable out of all of them. But only a 1 or 2 time use. Don't put them in your pocket. Can be purchased on Ebay/Amazon $21.99 (14 pack)

• BREATH-EZY I've been using these the MOST  over the last 2 years. They can be used more then a one time which helps save on the wallet. They take some time to get used to at first. When its cold out they sometimes will just fall out of your nose. Very easy to use and simple to store . Actually when I first bought these I ordered them up direct from Australia (quick shipping worldwide). Model # "Personal Nasal Filters" with doubly activated carbon / cellulose filters. Well worth it!! I love them. They look presentable since you don't really see them in your nose. If you decide to purchase these be sure to get the 3 size kit first to see what size you really are. 
$5.95 - 46.95

Image result for 3M™ Versaflo™ Heavy Industry PAPR Kit
TR-300-HIK - 3M Image

For those who are working with around dust all day this is most likely a wise choice. Yes you might be saying that's one heck of an investment. In this day in age you can't put a price tag on health and safety.  3M™ Versaflo™ TR-300-HIK 
Power Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) -  is one of a few on the market of PAPR. I believe when you really think about it. WHO hasn't heard of 3M™?! So why not invest in a system which hands down is the best on the market with over all easy to operate, purchase parts, accessories and know it's backed by a leader in PPE Personal Protective Equipment. 

Hey don't worry there will not be a test on these abbreviations PAPR, PPE, PEL, OSHA, APR.....

As many of you know wearing a respirator to work has a full check list. Lets list a few: breathing hard to work the mask, safety glasses fogging up, putting everything on over respirator straps, safety glasses, ear buds for tunes (only to be used on residential jobs - not in compliance with OSHA) - or ear protection, Hat / Hard Hat. I don't know about you but I'm exhausted already by this list. BUT WAIT Theres more - hope you don't need to get a drink or talk to your client! Granted you still have to go through a few steps with a PAPR but everything is built in. Plus you can easily flip the lid if you need to speak or drink fluids. 

There are several PAPR kits offered by 3M™ - 3M™ Versaflo™ Heavy Industry PAPR Kit TR-300-HIK $1300 makes the most sense to me. Because it comes with the hard hat best suited for day to day masonry / hardscape industry. The battery life 10-12 hours.

3M Image

TR-300-LIK 3M Versaflo Light Industry PAPR Kit,  with Integrated Earmuffs $1300

TR-600-HIK 3M Versaflo Heavy Industry PAPR Kit, $2000

3M also offers some great back end video's to show you everything you need to know about your PAPR. I also found this YouTube helpful in seeing just how the unit worked.

On last thing is the use of HEPA dust collector systems. The Dewalt DWV012 10 gallon ($500.00) I (1/2018 Update- I now own one of these and love it!) or 8 gallon seem to be a great system. While I'm sure one can consider buying an expensive system well over $1000 for collecting dust.  There are some simple solutions such as purchasing a HEPA filter for your shop vac $25 & up. Yes hands down I really like how the Dewalt is set up with the cord outlet to run a tool, the long hose for ease of reach, and the hose connection system to lock into many Dewalt tools or the added step down connector included. Helping attach to your desired tool.

Of course the hi-end shop vac companies frown on this tactic. I believe one more added step can't hurt if your running a grinder or cut off saw to protect your client or the neighborhood. We all know how much stone dust a Cut-Off- Saw generates. Plus you can find all kinds of dust collectors adaptors for the tool your using.  To direct the dust into the collector system. Just one more way to be smart when working.
POWERTEC Big Gulp Dust Hood $19 Home Depot

Many thanks to:

My wife Teresa Perrera who kept telling me I was snoring ( I never snore) after a long day of walling with no protection. (I could tell just how much dust I took in because I could hardly get my nose clear and had a difficult time breathing) She told me I needed to consider better protection then just the nose filters. 

Kim Coggin Certified DSWA Waller from PA for bring to light the added risks associated to our trade when shaping stones, moving stones, working around stones. Yes anything to do with stone.  

Now with the use of respirator I can get a great night of sleep more comfortable. Think about that! 

Now go put your mask on!!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Not All Things Stone - Demo Day!

I had the great opportunity to take a break from walling to do some Demo Work! The client had purchased a home 20 some years ago which came with this concrete pad designed for a garage. Of course no garage was ever built so the concrete pillars just became an on going obstacle in and around the space. Limited the best use of the area. 

I started out with the Jack Hammer hitting the wall in the back round all the way around the bottom.. My hope was the wall would just break at the bottom. With a bit of time and a 8 pound sledged it finally fellow over. After realizing no rebar was in the walls. It was time to try my trusted feather and wedge trick.  I started out with my tracing chisel all the way around. Along with the jack hammer chisel hitting the wall where I wanted it to break on back side.  Less wear and tear on the body. Less gas used by the generator for this methane. I drilled several holes every 5 inches using the 3 L x 5/8th W feather - wedge set from Trow & Holden (drill bit) and gave it a few hits with great success. It took less time and energy to use a traditional stone method then it did to use a large jack hammer to do the job of demo work. After all who doesn't love to play with a hammer drill and feather/wedges?!! Once a stone mason always a stone mason. 

Related Blogs/Video:
How To - Wedge and Feathers Voodoo Magic
Video: How To - Wedge and Feathers / Shims - PA Blue Stone Slabs Into Step
Tool - Drill, Wedge & Shims

Next after having a great success with the removal of the corner. The client mentioned how beautiful the corner looked when I had it turned over. He mentioned it would look great in the yard. So with a few PVC pipes we worked as a team and rolled this monster down the hill. Now the concrete corner has a new life being repurposed as yard art. One more great trick of a stone mason. Rollers! You don't need expensive equipment to do simple tasks. One less thing to demolish and truthfully it looks great in its new home! 

Related Blogs:
Tool - BIG Stone Rollers
Tool - Small Stone Rollers
How To - Set Large Steps /Cap Stones W/Magic Wedges

Now thats just ART - look at those sexy drill marks. 

Then it as back to breaking down the large slab. I started with the jack hammer again. With now success within the first 10 mins. I felt it was time to go back to the try and true method of feather and wedging one more time. I needed to make this into sizes I could carry off.  So I started out with jack hammering lines as if I was using my tracer chisel down the stone. Then just spaced out the feather and wedges close to the out side and even distance on the inside. No real method of measurement. I just wanted to see if I was going to have the same success as the corner. 

With a nice clean break I knew I could move on and now demo the full slab using this method. 

The best part of using this technique was it made less mess which meant less work on clean up. Limiting my need to pick up lots of small pieces of concrete blocks. Now I only had a 5 plus those the jack hammer did break off. 

You can see it the photos just how clean this method worked. I had brought with me my cut off saw along with every other possible tool to do this job. When it was all said in done I only needed: 

1- Hammer Drill (SDS PLUS Harbor Freight $80.00)
1-  5/8th Drill bit
1- Set Feather & Wedges 3 x 5/8th
1- Tracer chisel / Or SDS PLUS hammer drill chisel
1- 2 pound hammer
1- Electricity (Home or / small Honda 2000watt generator)

Clean up
1- 5 gallon contractor bucket
1- Dust pan
1- Boom and or Leaf blower

Fuel - 2% mix & Gas

The client remarked how the space had totally changed and he wished he would have had me over 20 years ago to do this job. Now he will be able to have his fire wood dumped right on the concrete pad without having to hand move all the wood from the grass to the pad. Plus it just opens up the space for so many other opportunities. Some times the simplest things can be done to transform out door area. Just open you mind to all the opportunities to create. 

While I don't do much demo work. As a stone mason I'm able to use many of the same principles and methods I use day to day in my stone work to apply them to other services. Being able to see an area change as this one makes me feel alive when I see happiness in the clients I serve. Thank you - Mark J. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

11/2016 Gettysburg Battlefield National Park NEW Freestanding Wall

11/2016 Gettysburg Battlefield
 National Park, Instructor/ Dry Stone Project Coordinator for HPTC - National Park Service. Design and Build Sample wall for approval for wall project. Start of project first 75ft wall only. Lead training and build for start of initial project. 3 weeks on site.  

11/2016 Gettysburg Battlefield National Park, Cheekend section by Mark Jurus

11/2016 Gettysburg Battlefield National Park, Coursed walls section by Mark Jurus

9/2016 Gettysburg Battlefield National Park - Sample wall with PA Fieldstone for HPTC Project Fall 2016 (1 day build) CLICK TO SEE BLOG

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Oct 2016 Rock Creek National Park Washington DC Heritage Day @ Pierce Mills

My first mini wall workshop / demonstration held at Rock Creek National Park Washington DC heritage day @ Pierce Mills. Last weekend. Lots of fun the normal wall didn't get much attention.
Let me tell you the morning kids clearly had cereal with sugar. I think they are too young to drink red bull.
It rained in the middle of the day and that didn't stop these up and coming wallers. Lots of fun hope I get asked to come back next year.
Just look at those smiles on my last team of the day.

Quick reminder the last workshop for this season will be held OCT 29-30 Still Time to Sign Up. 

HPTC Historical Preservation Training Center NPS was next to me demonstrating hewing logs. Hard to get the same head turning as they got swinging a big ax. Dry laid stone just doesn't have the same thrill factor as this Craft for sure...very cool to watch.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Stone Trust "Only" Indoor Training Center VT USA

Brian Post Excitative Director ( shows what can be found inside the barn on the Scott Farm located in Dummerston Vermont. Brain also goes over the what is expected when your planning to take a test for your DSWA (Dry Stone Walling Associations UK) level 1 or 2.

For years I've trained and tested @ The Stone Trust. The Scott Farm is such a beautiful place to be. Easy lodging on site or down in town. May 2016 I was asked to come and teach with many other incredible DSWA examiners / instructors. I such a good time. What I really love the most about the team of certified DSWA members/instructors/examiners is the TRUE desire to share the craft. Teach, train and test - a life skill which others cold consider a direct threat to there own trade. Not with these certified wallers men and women -  sharing there passion which we have all learned to someone else. This can be best put was a trades family. A wiliness to share the love for what we do day to day. To often I witness personally in the trades the ignorance to keep everything to one self. A fear generated because you could take business away from someone else. I was taught early on that there is plenty of pie for everyone. Those who don't want to share are the ones who miss out in life. To bad for them!

I'll post some photos in the coming month of the May 2016 events.While I was up there I asked Brian (Professional DSWA Certified Waller/Instructor/ VT Certified Landscape Architect) if he would be ok being filmed. He had said they've wanted to film something but just didn't got around to it. While I have no plans to trade my trade for a new career in film. I do love the opportunities others have given so I may share with the world professionals in the trade of dry laid stone construction. Thank you all!!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

2016 Fall Dry Laid Stone Workshops Dates


Yes it's that time of year to think about FALL DRY STONE WORKSHOPS @ Rockin Walls Training Center. Ok if you're still at the beach or on vacation this might be the best time to think cooler temps relaxing with the stone under shady trees.  Be one with mother nature and learn the craft of dry laid stone.

I'm always thinking of NEW MIXES of First Ever workshops to be taught in the USA. I believe in offering interested wallers workshops which fit their desired needs for their personal projects. The 2 day workshop line up will have dates coming shortly for end of September and October 2016.

2 Day - October 29-30
• Day 1: Fundamentals: Building Wall Frames, Intro "Try before you buy" -  Tools, Build Foundation.
• Day 2: Short Dry Laid Stone Freestanding Wall with formal Flat Caps - PA Blue Stone
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
4 - openings remaining

WOMEN'S WORKSHOP by Kim Coggin assisted by Mark Jurus as needed.


 If you would like to be the first to hear about current workshops please sign up for Rockin Walls Exclusive walling workshop E-Newsletter
Send me an email to 

Friday, August 12, 2016

HPTC Project 2016 @ Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site

Understanding Proper Dry Laid Stone Techniques - Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site PA - HPTC

Rebuild of east headrace sections 3' +/- H dry laid stone retaining wall most likely built in 1771 to supply the water to the water wheel to run the furnace. The wall was then rebuilt in 1939 by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and then again in 1984 NPS Williamsport Preservation Training Center of Williamsport, MD. Documentation of the project can be found in the park’s central file H3015, and in the archives
accessioned as HOFU- 936. Black- and- white photographs documenting the deteriorated condition of the wall in 1983, and its reconstruction in 1984.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in southeastern Berks County, near Elverson, Pennsylvania, is an example of an American 19th century rural "iron plantation"....Wikipedia

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Historic Preservation Training Center HPTC - Trade Rodeo - National Park Service / June 2016

- Key Points of Repointing

I had a great time at the Historic Preservation Training Center HPTC. Which hosted there first ever Trade Rodeo for the National Park Service NPS this month. HPTC could best described as the Navy Seals of the NPS. When a repair, updates, replacements, new items needs to be created the HPTC comes to the rescue. Armed with many craftsman and women along with architects... the list just keeps going. I'm so honored that the HPTC is located in Frederick Maryland which is only 1 hour away. Right in my backyard. The Dry Stone Conservancy DSC had worked hand in had the NPS in the past with a great deal of training and repairs of Dry Laid Stone Constructions all over the USA. I'm looking forward to future projects within the surrounding states both new builds along with repairs of old structures. 

The Rodeo was a 2 day event which covered many basics as seen below in a few of the photos. The topics covered:

- Get the Lead Out
- Log Hewing: Carving a Timber the Pioneer Way
- What's Mud Got To Do With It: Adobe
- The Nitty Gritty of Mortar Analysis
- Getting Keen on Sharpening (wood tools)
- Documenting Historic Structures
- Roof Installation: Keeping Your Structure Dry
- Getting To Know Terrazzo
- Something Old, Something New, Something Dutchmanned, Something Glued
- Key Points of Repointing
- Stay in Your Lane
- Look - Don't Touch: Blood-borne and Airborne Pathogens

I was invited  to the rodeo since I will be working along side HPTC staff at the Hopewell Furnace State Park in PA July 2016.  With the initiative to train youth in the trades to help bring awarness to the endless need for services of historic landmarks all over the USA. We will be working on repairing sections of wall with removal of mortar and fixing failed dry laid stone retaining wall sections. As a Certified Dry Stone Instructor with the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain DSWA UK. I'm honored to be the lead instructor. 

I had an amazing time meeting the talented team of tradesman/women at HPTC. I'm look forward to a life long relationship.  Now I have my government Dun and Bradstreet number this will allow me to bid on Government contracts and work with the NPS directly if chosen. How cool is that? Helping to preserve history while teaching others what you love?!

Life is amazon, how our paths are chosen when we choose to follow them. 

- Key Points of Repointing

- Something Old, Something New, Something Dutchmanned, Something Glued

- Getting To Know Terrazzo

- Getting To Know Terrazzo
- Getting To Know Terrazzo
- Getting To Know Terrazzo

- Getting To Know Terrazzo

Now what is really cool in this photos is the red vacuum looking machine in the back round. What you might not notice but the demonstrator is using a grinding wheel with no dust mask. Because he is hooked up to the Pullmer Ermator S26 HEPA Dust Extractor. If you don't know OSHA has come out with a new list of requirements to protect workers from Air Born Silica. This device has adaptors to fit to any of your tools as you cut, grid.... just about anything that generates dust. Extremely cool. Pricy if your a one man show - but what is your life worth? Safety first!!!

- Getting To Know Terrazzo

- What's Mud Got To Do With It: Adobe

Water test of Clay to sand ratio in jar which if you really look or click on this photo you will see this is a 50/50 ratio. This is a test which was do in order to know if anything needed to be added to help produce the Adobe blocks. 

- Log Hewing: Carving a Timber the Pioneer Way

- Wood working shop

- Getting Keen on Sharpening (wood tools)

The Mission of the HPTC: The Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) is dedicated to the safe preservation and maintenance of national parks or partner facilities by demonstrating outstanding leadership, delivering quality preservation services, and developing educational courses that fulfill the competency requirements of Service employees in the career fields of Historic Preservation Skills, Risk Management, Maintenance, and Planning, Design, and Construction.