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.
Almost two years after they announced the release of their Bluetooth Battery that allowed owners to remotely monitor battery life and even disable the battery if it’s stolen, DeWalt is set to release a massive upgrade to their connected tool platform.
Construction sites can often be some pretty spooky places, especially when unexpected items and creatures, like human remains, are found on the property. They can also be the site of some heavy superstition, like at several projects in Iceland that were believed to be delayed by hidden elves. But, according to one contractor, there’s something especially spooky about the childhood home of serial killer Ted Bundy.
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.
Feeling the pressure of 9 straight quarters with a decline in total revenue, Caterpillar has acquired the equipment sharing startup, Yard Club, to get help dig themselves out of the dirt. Their most recent quarter was the company’s first positive revenue quarter since November of 2012.
Last year, Tesla announced a new disruptive product to the market in the form of solar roof shingles. Unlike traditional solar roof panels, these shingles mimic the look of traditional terra cotta, clay, and slate tiles, creating a more aesthetically pleasing look. This week, the company began taking pre-orders for the roof shingles and also released a cost calculator.
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.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is constantly researching ways to improve construction process and materials, like this material 10 times the strength of steel, or this solar cell that’s lighter than a soap bubble, or this “reversible concrete.” This time the Institute is showing off its autonomous robot that can spit out building structures on site within hours.