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.
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.
Last year, a devastating crane collapse killed more than 100 people and injured more than 200 others in Mecca, located in Saudi Arabia. Reports indicated that, at the time of the collapse, the boom was erected approximately 620 feet (190m).
There’s a small, but growing, fear in the construction industry that robots will soon make construction jobs obsolete, but, in all reality, the next logical step is for technology and robotics to first enhance the jobs of human construction workers. There is a lot of money being poured into the industry every day, looking for the next big piece of technology to take over jobsites by storm. A few recent examples are a bionic suit aimed at construction workers and an augmented reality smart hard hat. The next idea may make scaling walls at construction sites extremely easy.
One thing almost everyone agrees on: America’s infrastructure needs fixing.
Another thing most people agree on: No one enjoys the traffic congestion that results from bridge, road, and utility construction work.
As the construction labor shortage rages on throughout the industry, there have been concerns of how overworked employees or undertrained staff may affect job site safety. Although there’s no definitive proof that this problem is causing an increase in construction deaths and injuries, recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows trends pointing in the wrong direction.
Trenches are a construction jobsite hazard that happen on nearly every construction site involving dirt work, but, all too often their dangers are underestimated. In fact, trench related deaths in 2016 have more than doubled as compared to 2015. There’s no excuse for allowing a trench related death to happen, but it’s rare that job site supervision suffers criminal charges after one occurs. After the death of a 22 year old New York construction worker, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office took a hard stance against those responsible and announced formally sentenced the on-site foreman last week.
A large focus of the construction industry, especially in recent years, is jobsite safety. Many large companies have significant resources set aside specifically for safety, but, unfortunately, that may be impossible for many small and medium sized construction companies to handle. As of the first quarter of 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there are over 768,000 construction companies currently operating in the private industry and over 6.7 million construction workers between them. That’s a lot of companies and workers to keep safe throughout the year.