Trench collapse deaths are easily preventable. I’ll say it again: trench collapse deaths are easily preventable. So if they’re preventable, how do they continue to happen every year? Ignorance to safety rules, lack of supervision, pressures of time and money, and sometimes, outright laziness are all factors in trench related deaths and injuries. I’ve been on too many jobsites in my relatively young construction career that have extremely poor procedures for working in trenches and I’ve gotten every excuse in the book. The vast majority don’t even understand the basic requirements. At 4 feet deep, you need to provide a means of egress, at 5 feet deep you need proper protective systems, and keep soil and other materials 2 feet away from the edge of the trench. Those are the basics, everyone should know them.
Despite every construction company’s claim that safety comes first, trench collapse deaths are still happening and, this year, they’re happening way more often. OSHA just released a graphic showing the amount of trench injuries and deaths in each of the past 5 years and 2016 has more deaths than 2014 and 2015 COMBINED (23 in 2016 vs 11 each in 2015 and 2014). Trench collapses happen fast and often have devastating results, as one cubic yard of soil can weigh up to 3,000 pounds.
"Trench deaths have more than doubled nationwide since last year - an alarming and unacceptable trend that must be halted," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in a press release. "There is no excuse. These fatalities are completely preventable by complying with OSHA standards that every construction contractor should know."
Everyone is responsible for adhering to trench safety standards, as well. Just this year, both a foreman and a general contractor were convicted of criminally negligent homicide after a laborer was killed by a trench collapse in New York. Besides being criminally convicted, companies can also face huge fines for negligence, like a recent $274,359 fine an Ohio company was just given after an employee was crushed to death by a trench collapse in June of 2016. According to OSHA, the company failed to provide trench cave-in protection, failed to protect workers form excavated material failing or rolling into a trench or failing from inside the trench walls, and failed to train workers in recognizing trench hazards.
If you’d like to read more about OSHA’s trenching safety standards, you can do so by clicking here.
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.
On Tuesday, June 20, OSHA is set to propose a delay on new requirements for cranes and derricks in the construction industry at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH).
Trenches are dangerous, but many companies and workers continue to deny it. Or their actions make it seem like they do, at least. There’s never an excuse to let someone into a hole if it hasn’t been properly sloped, benched, or shored. Nevertheless, dozens of construction workers are killed and injured by trench collapses every year.
A nearby office worker caught video of a dramatic demolition that showed the remains of an 11 story building collapse on top of the excavator performing the demolition.
Beards are a rite of passage for many men across the world. For some, it’s a symbol of their manliness, for others, it’s rooted in religious beliefs. One contractor in the UK, however, is concerned with the safety risk the facial hair causes.
Strange things are found on job sites across the globe all the time. We’ve shared plenty of stories in the past about the odd things construction workers have discovered, like human remains, 200,000 year old mammoth bones, ancient roman treasure, and more. When contractors dig in the dirt, there’s always a chance of uncovering history. Sometimes, though, the things found can be extremely dangerous.
While placing concrete on the second floor of a future seven-story mixed use building in Oakland, California, the concrete forms suddenly gave way, sending around 20 workers 10 to 15 feet below with the wet concrete. News reports explain the job site went into a panic, understandably so, and co-workers rushed to the scene to help.
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.