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!
Mistakes during demolitions happen. Sometimes contractors knock down the wrong buildings, other times the explosives used don’t knock the building over, and other demolitions are carried out with a complete lack of regard for human life. As fun as they are to perform and watch, they’re inherently dangerous and there should be a plan in place in case things go wrong.
Cranes collapse for a variety of different reasons. Some are overloaded, some catch on fire, and others succumb to high wind loads. Regardless of the reason, a falling crane can cause tons of damage and have the potential to kill on-site workers and pedestrians walking near the job site.
A recent crawler crane collapse in Northern Italy could have been much worse as the crane, carrying a large section of viaduct, crashed to the ground.
On January 1, 2017, OSHA officially put into effect a revision to workplace injury and illness reporting that requires certain employers to submit recorded information of these instances electronically. Companies were to submit all of this information from the previous year (2016) by July 1, 2017, but now that due date is in jeopardy.
According to the US Department of Labor (US DOL), the construction industry has the highest rate of current drug users (15.6%) as compared to any other industry in the United States. As the city of New York grapples with trying to reduce their alarming rate of injuries and fatalities on construction sites, the New York chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has proposed that lawmakers add mandatory drug and alcohol testing for construction workers to the law books, according to the New York Daily News.
I’m a firm believer that before robots start taking over construction jobs, we’ll first be working with robotics to make workers more efficient and our job sites more functional. Instead of using 3D printing robots to build an entire project, why not use them first to create intricate details and bring character back to buildings? Instead of pushing human labor out of the way, why not use robotics to enhance the abilities of our workers, to improve their health and productivity? With rise in development commercial exoskeletons, workers will soon be able to harness additional strength by just slipping on a suit.
The worst day on the job is when someone on site gets injured. The 2nd through 500th worst days are the legal battle that follows many of those injuries. Nobody expects accidents to happen, but it’s best to be adequately prepared if one does. That not only includes knowing how to react to injuries with a safety plan, but also making sure your company’s documentation is in order in case lawsuits start flying.
There’s no doubt that construction workers love a good prank and some of them get pretty creative. Our favorites in the past have included the seismic test prank, the fake bear on site prank, and the “staple in the finger” prank. Obviously, as far as messing around on the job site goes, the least dangerous as the prank is, the better.
Tracking employees instantaneously is a dream scenario for employers. It gives them tons of data to analyze to determine where money can be saved and where resources can be placed to be most efficient. The struggle is convincing the employees that tracking their every move is not going to get them in trouble or fired. There’s a balance in there somewhere and that’s the challenge facing both employers and tech companies right now.
Two of the most critical concepts of construction safety are the ability to see what you’re doing and to also be seen by others around you. Construction workers rely heavily on their employer providing lighting systems when working in low light conditions, but those systems are not always adequate.
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.