In May of 2016, OSHA announced a new rule hoping to gain valuable data regarding workplace incidents would go into effect starting August 10, 2016. After the announcement, several construction industry groups spoke out about their apprehensions of the new rule and the effective date has recently been pushed back to November 1, 2016. The new rule will not only help OSHA gain data into workplace injuries, but it will also require construction companies to make their injury records public, much like restaurant health records are made public. Personal health data will still be kept private, but the injury numbers will be counted against employers. OSHA also requires employers to allow workers to report injury without fear of retaliation under the new rule.
OSHA released an official news release delaying the implementation date of the new rule within several days of the Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) announcement that the group has filed suit against OSHA. According to ABC, the injury rule would limit drug and alcohol testing after accidents occur. “…It’s inconceivable to those of us who study how to improve safety performance that OSHA would want to limit drug and alcohol testing as part of the investigation after an accident or near-miss incident. Root cause analysis is key to developing procedures that prevent future incidents, so we need to know whether drugs or alcohol were a factor, said Greg Sizemore, ABC Vice President of Health and Safety, Environment, and Workforce Development, in the news release.
The final rule, which you can read here, addresses OSHA’s stance on drug testing starting on page 194. While OSHA does state that they believe a blanket drug testing policy will limit proper reporting, it does not ban drug tests from taking place. They do, however, want to limit drug tests from taking place in situations that could not have been caused by drug or alcohol use, such as a bee sting, as they state. They believe this limitation will reduce an employer’s ability to retaliate against an employee through the threat of drug testing. They do also state that if drug testing is required by state or federal law, such as in cases involving worker’s compensation, then the employer can and should require testing, as that would not be considered retaliatory.
OSHA’s delay does not seem as though it will make the new rule disappear, however, as the OSHA news release stated that the delay was allowed in order to “conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers.”
What’s your take on the new rule and the delay? Tell us in the comments!
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.
Though the venues of the Rio Olympics may look great on camera, the behind the scenes issues that occurred left Olympic officials stunned. It seemed that Rio was behind schedule from the start, which may have fueled some of the job site conditions that resulted in 11 construction workers’ deaths over the course of the project. Even back in 2014, John D. Coates, the Vice President of the Olympic Committee told reporters that Brazil was not ready for the Olympics “in many, many ways” and also called their preparation worse than Athens, Greece in 2004. Brazil was also the host of the 2014 World Cup and 8 construction workers were killed on the job, including 2 that were killed by a collapsed crane at San Paulo Stadium. Zero deaths were reported during the building process for the 2012 London Olympics.
OK look, there are certainly a lot of pressures to get buildings completed on time, but I’d never thought I’d hear of construction workers being GIVEN crystal meth in order to finish a building on time. But, that’s what multiple sources are telling Radio Free Asia (RFA) is happening right now in North Korea. According to RFA, the project managers working on a “showcase” construction project in Pyongyang, which includes many different buildings, are under extreme pressures to finish on time.