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.
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.
Snow causes all kinds of travel nightmares and not just on the roads. Snow and ice can cause major airline delays and flight cancellations. Because of these issues (and the large amounts of money to be gained by solving them) several different groups of researchers have been hard at work figuring out ways to reduce and remove snow and ice from pavement without the need for chemicals and snow plows. The first technology to get a full scale test slab installed at an American airport, however, came from Iowa State University professor Halil Ceylan.
Prior to January 20th, 2017, it was almost a daily occurrence for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a press release about a large fine they have recently levied against businesses. Since January 20th, news coming directly from OSHA has been extremely sparse. There were some updates, like the delay of their new silica dust exposure rule and information about their “Safe and Sound Campaign,” but nothing about recent fines and citations.
Originally set to be enforced on June 23, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration new rule regarding silica dust exposure limits has been delayed an additional 90 days, to September 23, 2017. Many construction industry groups were upset by the new rule, as they deemed it “technologically and economically infeasible, but also unnecessary.”
The traditional hard hat is suitable for protection from falling objects, but what if you’re the falling object? Unless you get extremely lucky, that hard hat is probably falling off your head the moment you get horizontal. That’s the same conclusion UK contractor A-one+ reached when they decided to go a different route with respect to head safety, Construction Enquirer reports.
Scissor lifts are on most typical construction job sites and they’re an often overlooked hazard. Too often, liberties are taken with the lifts that create unsafe conditions, which can cause injuries and deaths. OSHA recently released the results of their investigation of 10 fatalities and 20 injuries involving scissor lifts and released their findings in what the organization refers to as a “Hazard Alert.”
If you’re into heights, then China may be the place you need to be. The country recently unveiled the world’s highest and longest glass bridge and, as scary as many tourists may find that, it was way more dangerous while it was under construction. New footage of another construction site in the Laowang Monutains is giving that bridge a run for it’s money.
Since Construction Junkie was conceived in 2015, we’ve seen a lot of construction equipment flip for some really stupid reasons. Like this crane, this other crane, and this third crane dropping a bulldozer. Those are just some of the ones caught on video and they should be enough to convince you not to go out of your way to do dangerous things with a crane.
A portion of the Skagit River Bridge, located in Mount Vernon, Washington catastrophically collapsed into the water below after a semi hauling an oversized load clipped a cross beam in 2013. Luckily and amazingly, no one was killed by the incident, but 3 people were taken to the hospital for minor injuries as several cars fell into the river. It took over 3 years to determine a cause and the report states that there were several causes. First, below is security camera footage of the collapse, uploaded to Youtube by newschannel500, in which you can see just how quickly the collapse happened.