On Tuesday, July 19th, a crane, with its boom extended 25 stories high, buckled and collapsed onto the active Tappan Zee Bridge in New York. Thankfully and amazingly, no one was killed and only a couple people sustained minor injuries, but traffic on the bridge was stopped for hours. All but one lane was re-opened on the bridge within 8 hours of the collapse. After the collapse, work began to try to determine the cause of the accident.
Three different investigations are currently underway, led by the New York State Police, the State Labor Department, and OSHA. The fallen crane’s black box has been recovered in hopes of revealing any information that could be useful, just like in airplanes. In cranes, the black box records valuable data, including weight distribution and boom angles. Interviews have also been conducted with the operator of the crane.
At the time of the collapse, the crane, a Manitowoc lattice-boom crawler crane (according to the New York Times), was positioned on top of the new and adjacent bridge under construction. Working in tandem with an operator of a remote-controlled vibrating hammer, the crane operator was tasked with driving steel piles, some as large as 300 feet long and 6 feet in diameter, into the Hudson River bed below, when something went wrong.
The New York Times spoke with Jeff J. Loughlin, a representative of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 137, and he remains confident that this collapsed was not caused due to operator error. Wind has also been ruled out as a cause, as it was very calm that day. Laughlin theorized that the collapse could have been caused by the pile finding a soft spot in the river bed, causing the hammer to drop rapidly. But, that’s only a theory, for now.
The most sobering thought of this accident was that the pile driving procedure was extremely routine at this point of the project. Around 1,000 piles have been driven into the river bed already, but this is the first time a crane has gone down. It’s a strong reminder that no matter how routine we think our work is, it’s still construction work and it’s still very dangerous.
Full story: Investigations Into Tappan Zee Crane Collapse Ask How a Routine Job Went Awry | New York Times
Caterpillar is not resting on what made it successful in the past anymore and probably for good reason. The equipment manufacturing giant recently bought Yard Club, a heavy construction equipment sharing company, looking to take advantage of the recently popularized sharing economy. Earlier this month, Caterpillar invested $2 million in Fastbrick Robotics, an Australian robotic technology company.
Just last November, a massive Five-Alarm fire rocked a multi-story residential building that was almost 80% complete at the time, completely destroying the project. This month, yet another multi-story residential tower that was almost complete caught fire, making it the 5th in 5 year to suffer the same fate. At least 3 of the previous 3 fires have been ruled as arson but, up to this point, no arrests for any of the previous arsons have been made.
In January of 2017, OSHA released a final rule which greatly reduced the allowable exposure to beryllium, a mineral that can cause deadly lung disease. While not as commonly encountered in the construction industry as other substances that cause terrible lung diseases, like crystalline silica and asbestos, beryllium is linked to a disease called chronic beryllium disease, which kills around 100 people each year. It’s commonly found in coal slag, which is used for sandblasting. According to the New York Times, OSHA estimates that 11,500 construction workers would be affected by OSHA’s reduced exposure limit.
Many contractors and repair technicians live out of their truck and Milwaukee Tool knows this. That’s why they’ve just released an M12 and M18 battery charger that plugs into the c12V DC outlet in your truck or van! As added security, the charger will automatically shut down if it senses that your vehicle’s battery is getting too low. Smart and ultra-convenient.
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In a year that OSHA can’t seem to enforce any new rules, it appears to have found a way to remove a rule from its books. As announced last week, OSHA has removed monorail hoists from Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction. Employers are still required to follow other OSHA regulations regarding the hoists, but this rule should help clear up some inconsistencies.
Since the beginning of the year, OSHA has had a pretty hard time enforcing any of its new rules due to delays. The silica dust exposure rule was delayed 90 to September 23, the crane certification rule is facing yet another possible delay, and now the electronic injury reporting rule is facing another delay.
Just before 11 am on Monday morning, 6/26, firefighters were called to an under-construction residential building in Queens, New York after concrete scaffolding and formwork collapsed during a pour.
Two construction workers in Sarasota, Florida were recently trapped 15 stories in the air after one of the lines on their suspended scaffolding snapped. One of the two men was able to be pulled to safety by some co-workers on site, but the second was stuck on the scaffold for an hour before the fire department could rescue him.
Fiskars was first founded as a Finnish Ironworks company in 1649, making it one of the oldest companies I have heard of that is still going strong. Recently – relatively speaking - in 1967, Fiskars made a name for themselves with their orange handled scissors. Noted for their build quality, sharpness, and durability, these scissors quickly became an industry standard and a leader in the category. Since then, Fiskars has expanded into other areas of the home and outdoors. You may also recognize the name Gerber, as this is one of the brands Fiskars sells under.
For over 60 years, nominal lumber dimensions have been used in lieu of actual dimensions for lumber. That fact hasn’t stopped 2 class action suits, one for Menards and one for Home Depot, from being filed by an Illinois law firm over the size discrepancy, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.