What are the Drawbacks of Paper Mulch?

30

Oct
2013
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Paper mulch, made from recycled newspapers and other paper products, is becoming an increasingly popular hydroseeding medium due it is not the right answer for every landscape construction project.

Drawbacks of Using Paper Mulch

Although paper mulch (also known as cellulose mulch) is more affordable then wood mulch as hydroseeding medium, it does have its share of drawbacks. Below are just a few things to consider before opting for paper:

    • Biodegradable – The good news is that paper mulch is biodegradable, but that is also the bad news. Paper mulch disintegrates much faster in the often-harsh New England weather than other mediums, including the traditional wood-fiber mulch.
    • Unreliable for Erosion Control. Also due to its biodegradability, paper mulch is generally held to be less effective at erosion control than other types of mulch. In many cases, mulch is needed for stabilization and protecting surfaces and a medium that can easily wash away and will not be effective for very long.
    • Few nutrients \’96 As it is made from repeatedly processed and recycled materials, paper mulch has little to no nutrients.  If you are using mulch to enrich seed beds you may want to consider pine or wood-fiber mulch instead.
    • Less attractive. Paper mulch is not the right product for showy seed beds. Unlike pine bark or other wood fiber mulch, due to many of its qualities, paper mulch can often appear soggy or patchy.

Alternatives to Paper Mulch

In most cases, Wood Fiber Mulch is frequently a more high-quality and effective medium than Paper Mulch. Unlike Paper Mulch, Wood-Fiber mulch does not disintegrate. When applied through hydroseeding, the wood fibers intertwine creating a three-dimensional layer on the treated soil. This makes it a far superior choice for winter protection, moisture control, and stabilization amongst many other things.

Furthermore, in areas where the general public may view the treated land, Wood Fiber Mulch is considered a far more attractive as well as far more nutrient rich.

Key Takeaway

Due to its affordability and easy application, Paper Mulch can be a good weapon to have in your arsenal, but for long-term solutions and erosion control, you will want to think twice about choosing it as your medium.  All Seasons Landscaping is a strong advocate of wood-fiber mulch as a superior medium for a variety of landscape construction project.

With nearly 40 years of experience, All Seasons Landscaping has all of the skills and knowledge to solve your hydroseeding, erosion control, and landscape construction needs overall. Follow the button below to talk to us about your project.

Why is Slope Stabilization in Connecticut So Important?

04

Oct
2013
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One of the by-products of large landscape construction projects is the mountains of displaced soil such projects generate. As slopes can be graded and leveled off, the harsh New England rains and occasional tropical storms, hurricanes, or other natural disasters, can make it necessary to stabilize the soil so that they don’t become a hazard.waterbury-slope-stabilization-2

Why Slope Stabilization is Important 

The State of Connecticut and other New England states set strict standards on slope erosion control and how slopes on landscape construction sites should be handled. Left destabilized, slopes can send landslides of dirt and debris onto the roads or property below them. There can also be danger, as they shift, such slopes can affect the integrity of the foundations of structure above the slope. This can especially concerning during the Fall and Winter months as heavy rains and snow become an issue. 

Preventing Soil Erosion

There are many ways to prevent soil erosion on slopes disturbed by construction, natural disasters, or extensive earth work projects.

4 Ways to Prevent Soil Erosion

1. Hydroseeding – One of the most effective and cost-efficient methods of achieving slope stabilization is by hydroseeding. Grass or native wildflower seeds blown onto slopes set down roots quickly and help encourage soil stabilization. Hydroseeding helps these seeds to germinate more quickly and holds the soil better than dry seeding.

2. Shrubs and Perennials – The North Central Conservation District recommends adding native shrubs and perennial plants as anchors for grass seeds. These plants have deeper roots and can add to the slope’s stability.

3. Hay Mulch – Adding hay mulch, such as hay or straw can help the soil stay in place to provide a temporary slope protection.  It can also be beneficial to install a temporary seeding for example a perennial rye seed mixture to help with the erosion.  The benefit of using natural mulch is that it decomposes and doesn’t have to be removed at a later date.

4. Landscaping Blankets \’96 Erosion control blankets or matting can be very effective at controlling erosion. Made from biodegradable material, erosion control blankets are rolled out over the slope and anchored using staples. They protect the seeds until the root system has had a chance to develop.

Key Takeaways

Soil stabilization isn’t an impossible or budget-breaking task. With modern advances like hydroseeding your site can be compliant and without shut down.

With nearly 40 years of experience, All Seasons Landscaping has all of the skills and knowledge to solve your erosion control and slope stabilization needs in a bind.  Follow the button below to talk to us about your project.

The Connecticut Construction Industry is Heating Up!

27

Jun
2013
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With this week marking the first heat wave of 2013, it’s very important to make sure your workers are aware of the potential dangers of heat stress and take the necessary precautions to stay safe. Working in high temperatures and humidity, direct sun exposure, and no breeze or air circulation, especially when doing heavy physical labor as that required in the landscape and construction industries, can greatly put workers at risk of heat related illnesses.  Dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are the three progressive conditions of heat stress. If left untreated, the advancement from dehydration to heat stroke can take as little as 20 minutes, or hours, depending on the individual.

Dehydration

Dehydration is the least serious heat-related illness but can quickly progress into more serious conditions. The symptoms of dehydration include thirst, decreased perspiration, headache, cool & clammy feeling, headache, poor appetite, and dark colored urine.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when there is an excessive loss of water and salt due to excessive sweating. It is associated with headaches, dizziness, feeling lightheaded or fainting, nausea and vomiting, weakness, irritability, confusion, thirst, heavy sweating, fast and shallow breathing, and body temperatures over 100.4\’b0 F.   If a worker is showing signs of heat exhaustion, they should be removed from the work site and brought to a cool, shaded or air conditioned area. Encourage them to drink liquids and remove any unnecessary clothing. Try to cool the worker with cold compresses and water to their head, face, and neck. The worker should be brought to a clinic or emergency room for medical evaluation, but if the symptoms worsen, call 911 immediately.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat related illness and may result in death or permanent disability if not treated immediately. This occurs when the body’s temperature regulating system fails and the body can no longer sweat and cool itself. This causes body temperatures to rise rapidly above 104F within 10-15 minutes. The signs of heat stroke are dry, hot skin, no sweating, confusion, hallucinations, chills, loss of vision or consciousness, slurred speech, and seizures or convulsions.  If you suspect a co-worker is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 immediately and notify their supervisor. Bring them to a cool, shaded or air-conditioned location and try to cool them by showering them with water until emergency responders arrive.

Steps Employer’s Should Take to Prevent Heat-Related Illness

Although there are no specific laws and regulations related to heat stress, it is stated in the OSHA General Duty Clause that employers are required to provide \’93employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.\’94 To make sure all your workers stay safe on these hot summer days, follow these important guidelines:

    • Establish a heat stress training program to educate your employees about the hazards of heat stress, responsibility for taking measures to prevent  heat stress, the dangers of drugs and alcohol in hot work environments, how to recognize signs and symptoms on yourself and your co-workers, first aid procedures, and the use of Personal Protective Equipment during hot conditions.
    • Schedule work, especially labor intensive tasks, for the cooler parts of the day
    • Acclimatize your workers to longer periods of work in the heat, especially for new employees that are not used to working outside in such extreme elements.
    • Reduce the physical demands of workers such as excessive lifting or digging with heavy objects. Provide additional machinery or assign extra crews to the job.
    • Provide cold water or liquids to workers
    • Remind workers to drink small amounts of water before they become thirsty to maintain hydrated
    • Schedule frequent rest periods with water in shaded locations, or in an air-conditioned building.
    • Workers required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), particularly semi-permeable or impermeable clothing (Tyvek or Rubber), should be closely monitored when the outside temperature exceeds 70\’b0F and when performing labor intensive tasks.
    • Don\’92t send home or leave unattended a worker with symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, this should not be done unless a physician approves the worker is ok.

Steps Employees Should take to Avoid Heat Stress

    • Drink plenty of water plenty of water frequently, roughly one cup every 15 minutes to never become thirsty.
    • Avoid beverages containing caffeine and sugar, and alcoholic beverages
    • Eat salty snacks to replenish sodium in your body
    • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing such as cotton which is very breathable
    • Gradually build up to heavy work, and schedule heavy work in the morning or evening when its coolest
    • Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity in a shaded, cooler area if possible
    • Recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stress in yourself and coworkers. If you suspect a co-worker is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 911 and notify your supervisor immediately.
    • Be aware that certain medical conditions and medications make people more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, poor physical shape, and anti-inflammatory medications put people at a higher risk.
    • Be aware that PPE may increase the risk of heat stress

This week let\’92s all take measures to keep ourselves and our employees safe on the job in this extreme heat.

For more information on the risks of heat stress, please visit the following links:

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/

http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/heat_stress.pdf

http://www.cpwr.com/hazpdfs/hazheat.pdf

https://www.landcarenetwork.org/riskmgmt/ssense/May09.pdf

Is your job site in compliance with OEP regulations?

18

Jun
2013
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Every state and municipal project must have an erosion and sedimentation control plan designed in accordance with the 2002-CT Guidelines for Soil Erosion \’96 Sediment Control.  This plan must be put into effect before work can begin on the project. This plan will detail the responsibilities of the general contractor in order to stay in compliance with the Office of Environmental Planning (OEP).

The state engineers and inspectors will be responsible for ensuring the general contractor stays in compliance with Section 1.10 Environmental Compliance of the standard specifications for roads, bridges, and incidental construction form 816.  If the contractor falls out of compliance the state inspector will notify the contractor in writing that compliance is not being met.  Once the contractor is notified of non-compliance they must immediately remedy the situation.  For example if the silt fence has failed, the contractor must reinstall and ensure the soil erosion measure is correctly in place.

In the project erosion and sedimentation control plan there will be a detailed outline of the maximum area that can have exposed soil on the project site at any given time.  Once the exposed soil meets or exceeds this quantity the contractor must take action to prevent soil erosion.  There are many methods that can be used to meet compliance.  Temporary seeding, temporary slope, and turf establishment are all available options and can provide soil protection.

Temporary Seeding

Temporary seeding is a great solution when an exposed area needs to be stabilized but will be re-worked in a short time period.  This is also a good option when out of season and the conditions are not ideal for permanent seed growth, or it does not make sense to have long term stabilization method in place.  Temporary seeding can be an inexpensive option to provide large areas of coverage utilizing hydro-seed.

Temporary Slope Protection

Temporary slope protection is a good option for areas that will be exposed for long periods of time. Under temporary slope protection there are several options that can provide effective control. Hay mulching with tackifier can provide a good protection. Hay can be installed by mechanical methods and then held down by an approved tackifier product.  There are also new products such as Flex-terra, or bonded fiber matrix that can provide equal or better erosion control protection at a reduced cost in comparison to Hay mulching.  These products can offer benefits as Flex-terra can be applied quickly by hydro-seed methods and is able to be applied even in the rain when the situation arises.   A contractor can provide Flexterra coverage to many acres within a couple of hours compared to days of hay mulching.

Turf Establishment

Turf Establishment Item #950005 is a permanent solution when areas have been prepared by the general contractor to final grade. If areas are completed and no longer going to be worked on, this would be the ideal time to apply turf establishment for a permanent seed growth per specifications.

Contact All Seasons Landscaping

In order to determine the best products and applications that fit your job sites need contact us so we can discuss your needs and how All Seasons Landscaping can meet them.  We understand that loss time due to compliance can be costly.  All Seasons Landscaping has been providing solutions and understands the compliance rules and regulations set forth by state agencies. Please visit our website here or call us at (860) 953-5271 to learn more about our services.

Connecticut in the LEED for ’93Green’ Development

13

Jun
2013
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The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating systems to rank projects and buildings based on their energy efficiency. LEED rating systems are grouped based on the specific project or building type. The LEED rating groups are New Construction & Major Renovations, Existing Building Operations and Maintenance, Commercial Interiors, Core and Shell Development, Retail, Schools, Homes, Neighborhood Development, and Healthcare.

LEED Certification Requirements

Each project is required to satisfy prerequisites and earn points in the main credit categories of:

    • \Sustainable Sites- practices that minimize the impact on ecosystems and water resources
    • \Water Efficiency- practices that promote the smart use of water indoors and outdoors, and reduce the potable water consumption
    • \Energy and Atmosphere- innovative practices that promote better building energy use
    • \Materials and Resources- use of sustainable building materials and reducing waste
    • \Indoor Environmental Quality- practices that promote better indoor air quality and access to daylight and views

There are additional LEED credit categories for the Neighborhood Development and Home Groups. Bonus credit categories are available in all groups for Innovation in Design or Innovation in Operations, which recognizes sustainable building and design expertise not covered in the other five categories, and Regional Priority, which recognizes regional environmental priorities for specific geographic areas.

USGBC Scoring System

Projects must be submitted for review to the USGBC, and after the review is complete, the project will be receive a formal recognition. Depending on the number of points earned, the project will be LEED Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.

    • \Certified: 40-49 Points Earned
    • \Silver: 50-59 Points Earned
    • \Gold: 60-79 Points Earned
    • \Platinum: 80+ Points Earned

With the implementation of PA-07-242, the State of Connecticut amended the Building Code to require \’93(1) Buildings costing $5 million or more built after January 1, 2009, and (2) renovations costing $2 million or more starting January 1, 2010 to meet the LEED silver standard or its equivalent.\’94 The LEED requirements under PA 07-242 also extend to include \’93(1)Renovations to state facilities approved and funded on or after January 1, 2008, (2) new school construction projects authorized by the legislature on or after January 1, 2009 that cost $5 million or more, and (3) school renovation projects authorized by the legislature on or after January 1, 2009 costing at least $2 million.\’94 (Connecticut General Assembly). These state facilities are also mandated to improve their energy efficiency by 20%.

Contractors with LEED Certified Project Experience

PA 07-242 has caused a substantial increase in Sustainable Construction, with more and more projects having to conform to LEED Certification Requirements. All Seasons Landscaping has the knowledge and expertise in sustainable site development and has been contracted to work on several different LEED certified projects. If you have any questions on your next \’93Green\’94 project, please visit our website or give us a call!


Links for Additional Information on LEED Certification:

    • United States Green Building Council- www.usgbc.org/
    • Connecticut Green Building Council- www.ctgbc.org
    • Connecticut General Assembly- www.cga.ct.gov/2008/rpt/2008-R-0162.htm

How does your landscape construction subcontractor ‘measure up’?

05

Jun
2013
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What does ‘Measuring Up’ mean to All Seasons Landscaping as a company? To me personally it means taking our company to the next level in terms of what we do, how we do it, and how we present it. We have been fortunate enough to have continually grown our company and survived the numerous down economies’ we have incurred over the last 35 plus years. In doing so, we have evolved to a reputable Landscape Construction Company that is currently involved with many of the most respected general contractors in the Northeast. We have developed our systems and found our place in our industry. Our goal now is to improve on the systems and practices we have in place and bring them to ‘The Next Step’ So, how do we do this? Our goal is to implement the changes (in the same manner) as we actually process our work on a daily basis.

The Bid

    • For us ‘The Next Step’ on bidding is to improve our communication with those we present our bids to. We will more specifically outline our scope of work as well as point out any inconsistencies or discrepancies in the specifications. Whenever possible, we will do this in advance of the bid date. If there are potential pitfalls for the General Contractor we will point them out as we interpret them. We will build a balanced bid and price it to complete the work as intended’ We will present our proposal in a format the will be convenient for the general contractor to integrate with their bid.
    • The General Contractor has the responsibility to ascertain all of the subcontractors bid the work completely and as it was intended to be performed. As tempting as it may be to carry an incomplete ‘low bid’, it eventually will wreak havoc. Some General Contractors feel that when it comes to fruition, \’93that it will be the subcontractors\’92 problem, but it most definitely will become theirs as well.

The Work

    • \\’93The Next Step\’94 on completing our work is to improve our systems. This starts by implementing more advance communication and planning procedures. This involves the General Contractors, The Engineers or Owner Representatives, and all parties involved. We will review the process prior to actually working to ascertain all parties are on the same page. We will coordinate schedules and time frames to a best fit scenario. We will educate all of those involved as to what is required to make our work proceed as seamlessly as possible in a manner that works with all other trade schedules to the extent that it practically can. We will continue to update our equipment and further educate our workforce. We will continue to endeavor to build the highest quality product we can provide.

Administrative

    • \Timely submittal of all paperwork is crucial to a smooth running project. Material submittals should be correctly assembled and submitted well in advance of the anticipated use date. Certified payrolls are to be submitted on an approved form and on a weekly basis. Requisition dates should be established and all requisitions should be in the acceptable format and submitted in a timely fashion. At All Seasons Landscaping Inc we know the value of organized and timely project accounting and we utilize \’93Foundation Construction Software\’94 which is considered among the top software programs in the industry.

Working with All Seasons Landscaping

If you are interested in learning more about All Seasons we encourage you to visit our website www.aslct.com. If you would like to submit a project please click the image below.

Types of Green Roofs: Intensive vs. Extensive

16

May
2013
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Already a popular trend in Europe, vegetated green roofs are becoming increasingly popular throughout the United States. They are being installed on office buildings, skyscrapers, large manufacturing plants, and even residential homes in cities and towns across the country. Green roofs are most common in dense, urban settings where there is not much room for vegetation to grow at ground level. There are two different types of green roof systems: extensive and intensive.

Extensive Green Roof Systems

Extensive systems are simpler and lighter weight than intensive systems. These systems range in thickness from 2-6\’94, and weigh approximately 15-30lbs per sq ft. Due to their light weight and low profile, they require less structural support and can be used on roofs with a slope of 30\’b0 and higher. They generally consist of tough, hardy succulent plants that are tolerant of the extreme heat, wind exposure, and temperature fluctuations on roof tops. Sedums are most commonly used in extensive systems because they are low maintenance and drought resistant, meaning they require minimal nutrients and irrigation. They are shallow, rooting self-generating plants which spread rapidly to quickly create a dense, vegetative cover with minimal soil. Typically extensive systems are grown in modular trays that make installation fast and simple.

Although these simple systems are a cost-effective, low maintenance alternative roof, there are some disadvantages when compared to intensive roofs. There are much less design capabilities available for extensive green roofs as there are a limited variety of plants, such as alpines, succulents, herbs, and some grasses, that are suitable for use in these modular trays. These systems also generally do not permit rooftop access and recreation.

Intensive Green Roof Systems

Intensive systems are high profile, rooftop gardens and parks. They range in thickness from 6-15\’94+, and weigh approximately 50lbs+ per square foot. These intensive systems are most applicable on flat, level roofs which are structurally engineered to hold their tremendous weight. A limitless variety of plants, including large trees, shrubs, and perennials can be incorporated into the rooftop planting design. This style is more permissible for human access and recreation, and therefore includes walkways, terraces, and other structural features to make it an enticing public space to spend time. However this style of planting will most likely require irrigation and maintenance as opposed to the extensive systems which are minimal care. As these rooftop gardens are much more elaborate, they also tend to be more expensive to install in comparison to the extensive system.

There are many challenges when planting green roofs as these projects require a lot of coordination and planning to ensure that everyone stays safe and installations run smoothly. All of the equipment and material necessary to complete the job must be approved to meet weight restrictions on the roof top. Logistics also play a large role as cranes for lifting equipment and materials along with scheduling with other contractors.

Green Roof Contractors

All Seasons Landscaping has the experience coordinating with crane operators and roofing contractors, finding the right, lightweight equipment to do the job, and thoroughly planning and scheduling all aspects of green roof installations.  If you have any questions bidding your next green roof project, please contact All Seasons Landscaping Contractors.

Review of Conwed Wood Fiber 1000 (Conwed Hydro Mulch 1000)

30

Apr
2013
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Soil erosion projects are completed on all different size slopes. Steeper slopes require products that will create a stronger bond. Conwed Fibers\’92 wood products are ideal for critical sites with up to 2:1 slopes. According to the Conwed Fibers\’92 website ‘Contractors report that our Thermally Refined fiber, processed in a pressurized vessel, delivers up to 30% more yield than competitive products, which means more money in their pockets. ‘

 

How Conwed Wood Fiber Works

Conwed Wood Fiber contains 100% of the highest quality wood fiber. The thermally refined wood fibers delivers up to 50% more water-holding capacity than atmoshpherically refined wood mulches. It is capable of rapidly absorbing water forming a slurry that ensures evenly distributed strands of grass.  This product meets or exceeds all requirements for wood fiber mulch.

 

Benefits of Conwed Wood Fiber 1000

Conwed Wood Fiber utilizes heat and pressure that breaks wood down into more fibrous material with greater surface area that results in better yield and coverage.  The solution creates an interlocking matrix for better erosion control protection and allows for improved oxygen transfer. This method creates an ideal environment for faster germination.

 

Learn more

If you have a soil erosion project that needs to be completed Contact All Seasons Landscaping to learn more about our services and how we can quickly and efficiently complete your job for you.

Landscape Construction Highway Safety

22

Apr
2013
Posted By : asl 0 Comment
Categories :Uncategorized

In the late 1990\’92s I was working along with my crew planting large pine trees on an off ramp from the Route 20 Bradley connecter in Windsor Ct.  We were working 50-75 feet off the road in a relatively large area. Our plan was to plant the right side of the ramp first and when completed to switch over and plant the area on the left side of the ramp. By lunch we had the right side planting completed and just before we took our lunch break we re-mobilized all of our equipment over to the left side so after lunch we could get a good start on that side.

We sat on our trailer as we ate lunch and we were admiring the great job we did in the a.m. on the other side of the ramp.  While we were looking a lone car veered off the ramp and while traveling at approximately 50 mph proceeded to drive right through and over several of the pine trees that our crews, just hours earlier, were working on. The driver apparently was distracted and then lost control. Had it occurred even 1 hour earlier I can\’92t imagine the potentially horrifying ending. Needless to say, from that day forward  I have looked at highway safety with a considerable amount more of attention.

We have been performing highway plantings for countless years now and our crews have seen firsthand almost every imaginable form of careless driving, distracted drivers, inexplicable single car accidents and downright stupidity. What we get from this is that you can never be too cautious when working alongside or in the proximity of highways or for that matter any street work.

Highway Safety Precautions

Our crews are instructed to be constantly vigilant of their surroundings. Trucks are to slow down at very long distance ahead of where they plan on actually stopping. Whenever possible, we strategically place the trucks and trailers between the path of traffic and where our workers are located to serve as a makeshift barrier in the event of a runaway vehicle. Crews are instructed to work as far away from the road as possible. Drivers are without exception instructed to exit vehicles using the door farthest away from traffic. Yes, this does mean that frequently the driver must crawl over the seat to exit out the passenger door but if it saves one life, it\’92s worth the effort.

Traffic patterns should be placed as far in advance of the work areas as is reasonably possible and you can never layout too many cones or signs. All workers wear highly reflective vests. Loading or unloading is always done on the side of the vehicle farthest from traffic and crews are instructed to pay special attention that materials or equipment never extend past the vehicle into the path of traffic. Our drivers know to be patient when entering the highway and will always wait for ample space before entering the highway.  Whenever possible we will perform lane or shoulder closings. Maintenance and protection of traffic is always a number one priority.

Key Takeaways

    • Companies should place workers safety as an absolute top priority
    • Any contractor who works in the proximity of highways or roads is working in one of the most dangerous occupations
    • Workers need to be constantly vigilant and safety minded
    • All available safety tools and practices should continuously be implemented
    • Supervisors need to constantly reaffirm these practices