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.
The Ministry of Labor and Employment recently released an audit of the job site conditions throughout the Olympics projects and infractions totaled in the thousands. In the inspections by the Ministry that took place from the beginning of construction in January of 2013 to July of 2016, about 1,675 infractions were found, according to Think Progress. Among the infractions were 630 counts of informally hired employees with no official record, lack of safety equipment, and many situations involving overworked employees. Many reported that not only were they not given the required 11 hours off between work shifts, but some were working 23 hour shifts or up to 25 straight days without paid time off. As many in the construction industry know, fatigue is a leading cause of construction injuries and fatalities. Work was stopped on job sites around 38 times due to infractions.
According to Globo.com, 3 workers were killed building the Metro Line 4, 2 were killed surrounding the Olympic park, and 1 worker was killed at each of the following locations: Museum of Tomorrow, High of Joah, Transolimpica, New Subida de Serra, superhighway, and the Museum of Image and Sound. Causes of deaths included being crushed by a truck, being whipped by a compressive air hose, a death by burial, and several deaths by electrical shock.
It’s a sobering reminder that being unprepared for a large construction projects can have devastating results. Proper planning, preparation, and work force must be in place to conduct a safe and productive job site. Hopefully, the Olympic committee recognizes the immense responsibility of properly vetting countries’ preparedness before awarding them the next Olympic site. One job site death is one too many.
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.