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.
In January of 2017, OSHA released a final rule which greatly reduced the allowable exposure to beryllium, a mineral that can cause deadly lung disease. While not as commonly encountered in the construction industry as other substances that cause terrible lung diseases, like crystalline silica and asbestos, beryllium is linked to a disease called chronic beryllium disease, which kills around 100 people each year. It’s commonly found in coal slag, which is used for sandblasting. According to the New York Times, OSHA estimates that 11,500 construction workers would be affected by OSHA’s reduced exposure limit.
As recently highlighted by several multi-story building fires, contractors should always be prepared in the event a fire starts on a job site. There have been dozens multi-story building fires in the past few years and many were started when the building was topped out. In most cases, the project was completely destroyed, leaving developers and owners to deal with years of delays from insurance claims. A massive five-alarm fire at an Oakland construction site is one of the more recent examples.
In a year that OSHA can’t seem to enforce any new rules, it appears to have found a way to remove a rule from its books. As announced last week, OSHA has removed monorail hoists from Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction. Employers are still required to follow other OSHA regulations regarding the hoists, but this rule should help clear up some inconsistencies.
For many construction superintendents and project managers across the world, tablets are becoming one of the most important tools on the job site. They’re great for looking at plans, taking pictures, making notes, and running your favorite construction apps. Carrying a tablet does take up at least one of your hands, however, so it can be a hindrance if you need to help a co-worker lift material or climb a ladder.
High demand battery packs have allowed many construction workers ditch the cords on jobsites throughout the country, by providing more power and longer runtime. As with any battery packs, it’s important to follow safety warnings, but with a higher capacity can sometimes mean greater consequences when those warnings are not followed.
Since the beginning of the year, OSHA has had a pretty hard time enforcing any of its new rules due to delays. The silica dust exposure rule was delayed 90 to September 23, the crane certification rule is facing yet another possible delay, and now the electronic injury reporting rule is facing another delay.
Just before 11 am on Monday morning, 6/26, firefighters were called to an under-construction residential building in Queens, New York after concrete scaffolding and formwork collapsed during a pour.
Two construction workers in Sarasota, Florida were recently trapped 15 stories in the air after one of the lines on their suspended scaffolding snapped. One of the two men was able to be pulled to safety by some co-workers on site, but the second was stuck on the scaffold for an hour before the fire department could rescue him.
According to OSHA, more than 40 percent of all heat-related worker deaths occur in the construction industry. Many more workers also become ill from extreme heat and humidity. With summer now in full effect, it’s time to re-evaluate your personal steps for keeping safe in the heat and how your company is going to help their employees stay safe.
Every now and then a new product comes along and you ask yourself, “why didn’t I think of that?!” The OVAL Fire Extinguisher is just that product. Architecture and interior design have been moving towards cleaner lines in their spaces. Foregone are the days of bulky protruding water fountains (bubblers for my northern friends) and fire extinguisher cabinets. Interior designers are looking for cleaner and sleeker interior spaces but the 10lb fire extinguishers and cabinets have not changed for quite some time. OVAL is about to change all that.