OSHA requires fire extinguisher on all construction sites. One 2A fire extinguisher for every 3,000 square feet and a 10B within 50 feet of fuel storage. Additionally, a 2A is required next to stair cases on multi-level projects. On large jobs, it is easy to see how this can become a major expense.
One of the major issues on any construction site for the project manager is how to pay for all of these fire extinguishers. Many PMs look at buying the fire extinguishers that will be turned over to the owner at the end of the project, which are almost always ABC fire extinguishers. The only problem with this is that, during the course of construction, the majority of these fire extinguishers will be damaged, discharged (usually just for fun), painted by the workers just for the heck of it, or stolen from the job site. So, if you go this route, you are looking at purchasing more fire extinguishers than you need and also replacing a good amount of the extinguishers due to damage and vandalism. The ones that you can salvage to turn over to the owner will all need to be recharged and inspected.
What seems like a good money saving idea up front can turn into a major expense.
There is, however, a different solution to this problem. OSHA only requires a type A extinguisher on the jobsite. There is a product called a Stored Pressure Water Fire Extinguishers, which meet OSHA 2A requirements, and can be recharged and re-pressurized on the job site without the additional cost of having them serviced by a third party. These Fire Extinguishers can be purchased for around $100 (like this one here), versus what is typically found on the job site, the ABC 10lb which goes for anywhere between $60 - $120. That cost is before you include all of the hidden cost to recharge and re-certify the chemical fire extinguishers. To recharge a stored pressure water fire extinguisher,on the other hand, is very simple. You add regular water from a hose and then pressurize using an air compressor, both of which are on every construction site anyways.
On top of the maintenance benefits, these extinguishers can continue to be used on all of your future projects. So this type of fire extinguisher is a great one time expense. They also deter vandalism because they are less exciting to discharge, and because it is just plain water so the clean up is non existent.
If this is still too expensive for your job site, then you could always use the other option OSHA has available, which is to cut the top off of a 55 gallon drum fill it with water and have two fire pails. However, this might be a bit of a pain to have every 3,000 square feet.
Mistakes during demolitions happen. Sometimes contractors knock down the wrong buildings, other times the explosives used don’t knock the building over, and other demolitions are carried out with a complete lack of regard for human life. As fun as they are to perform and watch, they’re inherently dangerous and there should be a plan in place in case things go wrong.
Cranes collapse for a variety of different reasons. Some are overloaded, some catch on fire, and others succumb to high wind loads. Regardless of the reason, a falling crane can cause tons of damage and have the potential to kill on-site workers and pedestrians walking near the job site.
A recent crawler crane collapse in Northern Italy could have been much worse as the crane, carrying a large section of viaduct, crashed to the ground.
On January 1, 2017, OSHA officially put into effect a revision to workplace injury and illness reporting that requires certain employers to submit recorded information of these instances electronically. Companies were to submit all of this information from the previous year (2016) by July 1, 2017, but now that due date is in jeopardy.
According to the US Department of Labor (US DOL), the construction industry has the highest rate of current drug users (15.6%) as compared to any other industry in the United States. As the city of New York grapples with trying to reduce their alarming rate of injuries and fatalities on construction sites, the New York chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has proposed that lawmakers add mandatory drug and alcohol testing for construction workers to the law books, according to the New York Daily News.
I’m a firm believer that before robots start taking over construction jobs, we’ll first be working with robotics to make workers more efficient and our job sites more functional. Instead of using 3D printing robots to build an entire project, why not use them first to create intricate details and bring character back to buildings? Instead of pushing human labor out of the way, why not use robotics to enhance the abilities of our workers, to improve their health and productivity? With rise in development commercial exoskeletons, workers will soon be able to harness additional strength by just slipping on a suit.
The worst day on the job is when someone on site gets injured. The 2nd through 500th worst days are the legal battle that follows many of those injuries. Nobody expects accidents to happen, but it’s best to be adequately prepared if one does. That not only includes knowing how to react to injuries with a safety plan, but also making sure your company’s documentation is in order in case lawsuits start flying.
There’s no doubt that construction workers love a good prank and some of them get pretty creative. Our favorites in the past have included the seismic test prank, the fake bear on site prank, and the “staple in the finger” prank. Obviously, as far as messing around on the job site goes, the least dangerous as the prank is, the better.
Tracking employees instantaneously is a dream scenario for employers. It gives them tons of data to analyze to determine where money can be saved and where resources can be placed to be most efficient. The struggle is convincing the employees that tracking their every move is not going to get them in trouble or fired. There’s a balance in there somewhere and that’s the challenge facing both employers and tech companies right now.
Two of the most critical concepts of construction safety are the ability to see what you’re doing and to also be seen by others around you. Construction workers rely heavily on their employer providing lighting systems when working in low light conditions, but those systems are not always adequate.
Construction industry groups are applauding President Donald Trump’s decision to sign a measure that eliminates a rule that would allow OSHA to issue citations for recordkeeping violations up to 5 years old. The previous statute of limitations was 6 months.