The article below was written by Miami Construction Lawyer Alex Barthet and appeared first on TheLienZone under the title "Falling Objects in Construction." It was re-posted with permission. For more information about Alex and his firm, please visit www.TheLienZone.com andwww.Barthet.com.
Remember that day in school when the lesson was about the acceleration of free falling objects. The science teacher asked an interesting question. If you dropped a feather and a hammer out the window at the same time, which would hit the ground first? According to Galileo, all things should fall at the same rate, regardless of their weight, right? That’s a valid theory and it was actually illustrated at the end of the Apollo 15 moon walk. In 1971 astronaut, David Scott, performed the experiment and had both items land simultaneously.
Of course, that was on the moon. Here on earth, where we have a distinct atmosphere, things are a bit different. Objects fall slower or faster depending on the amount of air resistance and drag they meet on the way down.
Not too long ago, many of us were surprised that a drywall delivery man could in fact be killed after being hit by a small tape measure. But that tape measure had fallen 50 stories.
Falling objects remain a big problem and significant safety concern on all construction sites. There were over 70 fatalities resulting from falling items in 2014. From small tools, nuts and bolts, hard hats, pieces of pipe, lumber, concrete bits, bricks, debris, even cell phones – all continue to fall from hi-rise job sites and many are causing extensive injuries and property damage.
Height, weight, shape – all matter in determining the extent of damage caused by a falling object. And it shouldn’t be assumed that only the area directly below the falling object is at risk. Items do not always fall in a straight line and often ricochet, hitting someone or something not even at the work site.
Contractors clearly need to consider a number of prevention guidelines related to dropped objects:
- Educate: Reduce the risk by requiring all workers to become familiar with job site safety rules.
- Secure: Keep all loose items tethered on aerial jobsites, and have all workers pay special attention to safe storage and careful transport.
- Safeguard: Install toe boards, guardrails and safety nets on project floors, as well as canopies below.
A safe job site has to be priority one for all involved in construction, and falling object protection has to be part of each contractor’s safety manual.
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.