As we’re all aware, construction is a dangerous occupation, but just like any business decision, it’s hard to figure out how to solve the problem without having data for back up. OSHA has just released a final rule for employers in high risk industries, including construction, which requires companies to make injury data available to not only OSHA, but the general public.
Effective August 10, 2016, construction companies with more than 20 employees will have to electronically submit injury and illness information to OSHA. Companies with 20-249 employees will only have to submit that information on OSHA form 300A, but companies with more than 249 employees will have to submit that information on forms 300, 300A, and 301. Companies are already required to collect this injury and illness data each year, but until this new rule goes into effect, the data was rarely made available to OSHA or the general public.
OSHA hopes that the final rule is a step in the right direction to “nudge” employers to take a more active approach to preventing injuries on the job site. Just as customers and employees are able to find out health department scores for restaurants, prospective construction workers and clients in the bidding process will now be able to evaluate a particular company’s accident history. All this data hinges on accurate and timely reporting by the construction companies themselves, however, so it will be interesting to see how well the administration will oversee the rule. In their news release, OSHA made clear that it is an employee right to be able to report injury and illness to OSHA without fear of retaliation. Companies will also be required to have a “reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries that does not discourage employees from reporting.”
In the same news release Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels explained, “Our new reporting requirements will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer.”
There’s no question that big data has led many to be able to focus efforts and solve the biggest problems in many industries, but with a reliance on self-reported data, there has to be a fear that unreported injuries may see a large increase, especially with the “public shaming” aspect now involved.
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.
Cranes are a staple of many construction sites throughout the world, but they’re susceptible to damage caused by sudden bursts of high wind. Winds were blamed for the collapse of the New York City crane collapse that killed one man and injured 3 others in 2016 and again for the devastating crane collapse in Mecca, which killed over 100.
Much like the stories above, a crane collapsed last week in Dubai, UAE, after sudden heavy winds burst through town.
Tragedy struck a Florida construction company last week after 3 construction workers passed away while working underground below a newly paved road. Another volunteer firefighter is in critical condition, and possibly in a coma according to WSVN Miami, after entering the manhole trying to save the victims.
No matter how fun demolitions and demolition videos might be, there’s an inherent danger to performing them that cannot be overlooked. Just last year, a different parking garage collapsed during a demolition in Houston, Texas, which landed on one of the excavators performing the work. Thankfully, no one was injured in that collapse, but it could have been much worse.
The following is a guest post written by David B. Lever.
When construction sites are safer, then productivity increases as well as profits. More construction safety means less time lost due to accidents, lower insurance premiums, and less money spent repairing damaged equipment.
Jobsite pressures, such as time crunches and monetary issues can quickly tempt otherwise good people into making some pretty poor decisions. There are also others who use their construction business as a front for other illegal activities. Many people were arrested for a variety of reasons in 2016 and the list below should serve as both a reminder and a warning for those considering making bad decisions.