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.
Working in the construction industry, especially at construction sites, involves a high risk of injury. Some of the most common injuries that construction workers are exposed to may result from falls, falling objects, building collapses, and fires or explosions. Some injuries result in burns, amputation, lacerations, cuts, eye injuries, and broken bones among other things. Considering the high risk of injuries in this line of work, worrying about finances is the last thing you need if an injury occurs that could keep you away from work for a while. Salary loss and medical bills pile up very quickly during such times. Workers compensation is designed to address such eventualities. In the US, the program currently covers over 130 million people. The average wages paid to covered people are in excess of $ 6 Trillion per year.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created a lot of jobsite safety rules since its creation in 1971. Some of those rules have become outdated, due to a variety of reasons, or have caused unnecessary confusion for companies due to wording. Earlier this month, OSHA proposed 18 revisions to existing rules, with many affecting the construction industry.
There’s no doubt that drones are the hot technology item for the construction industry. They allow you inspect your overall site more quickly, take aerial photos for marketing and documentation, measure tonnage and volume of on-site stockpiles, and even monitor employee productivity. Now, one company has designed a drone that can safely inspect structures for damage and detect cracks as small as .0039 inches wide (.1mm), when fitted with an HD camera.
The number one goal on every construction site should be that all workers make it home safe at the end of the day. The sad reality is that hundreds of construction workers are killed on the job site every year. Last year, contractors were working on an indoor activity center for a high school in Argyle, Texas, when the 30 foot tall structure quickly collapsed, killing one man in the process.
2016 has been a big year for OSHA, as the organization has raised the cost of fines for safety violations for the first time since 1990. Made, effective in August, fines were raised 78%, making the cost of a serious violation $12,471. The construction industry is by far the most affected by OSHA regulations, as it accounted for 43.3% of all citations, 52.92% of all inspections, and 44.16% of all penalties assessed from October 2015 to September 2016. Of all specific types of contractors, roofing contractors account for the largest quantity of citations (6,924), following by framing contractors (3,810), and masonry contractors (2,501).
One thing’s for sure about Milwaukee Tool, they aren’t satisfied with putting the same tools out year after year. They’re constantly improving age old classics and leading in the innovation of new tool solutions. Their latest announcement is a variation on their extremely popular line of M18 tools.
The weight of dirt is serious business and the force it provides should not be underestimated. Depending on the moisture content, soil can weigh around 2,000 pounds per cubic yard. Many construction workers die each year from trench collapses due to improper shoring and benching techniques, but weight and force calculations are also extremely important in the design and construction of retaining walls.
We have a lot of safety rules in construction and it’s practically impossible to monitor your job site for compliance of every single rule. To complicate matters, many rules are based upon exposure limits, especially when airborne particles are involved. OSHA recently reduced the allowable exposure limit of silica dust, which is found in concrete, stone, and brick, before additional PPE or engineering controls are required. This rule change has caused a lot of grief among construction industry groups, who called the rule technologically infeasible, because what contractor is really set up to measure when 50 micrograms of silica dust per cubic meter of air is actually reached?
In March 2013, Flintlock Construction was building a hotel at a Manhattan construction site known as the 325 Project. OSHA inspectors visited the site and delivered three separate scaffolding violations that added up to a total of $249,920 in OSHA fines. Flintlock Construction immediately filed an appeal and that appeal was heard in July 2015.
There are some things in life that are promised… such as taxes, death, and buying something used that you will later wish you hadn’t. Whether it is a Craigslist flat screen TV or a used car, it is always smart to be slightly wary about used goods.
Hoisting equipment and construction are no different.