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.
Scissor lifts are on most typical construction job sites and they’re an often overlooked hazard. Too often, liberties are taken with the lifts that create unsafe conditions, which can cause injuries and deaths. OSHA recently released the results of their investigation of 10 fatalities and 20 injuries involving scissor lifts and released their findings in what the organization refers to as a “Hazard Alert.”
The concept of solar roadways has been in the news a lot recently. Using the millions of miles of roadways throughout the world to also create power seems like a no brainer, the asphalt and concrete we’re using now aren’t really accomplishing anything more than handling the traffic on the road. But, there’s also a very strong reason why those products are used: they’re strong, reliable, and relatively durable. Still, many researchers believe there is a lot of unharnessed potential for roads and the world now has a very strong test subject for the future of solar roadways in Tourouvre-au-Perche, France.
With Sears and Kmart stores slowly closing across the country, Sears Holdings had to sell off their longtime brand of tools, Craftsman to generate cash flow. The buyer turned out to be Stanley Black & Decker (SBD), who also runs DeWalt, Black + Decker, Porter Cable, Bostitch, and others. Late last week, their deal to purchase the tool icon was officially finalized.
In February, the House of Representatives voted 236-187 on a resolution to block the ‘blacklisting' rule, sending it to the Senate for a second vote. The act would have given the federal government the ability to disqualify contractors if they violated any of the 14 labor laws, which can be found here, over the past 3 years on any project totaling $500,000 or more
Try to imagine .0015 inches, it’s not easy to visualize. Now, rip one of the hairs off of your head and that’s about half of the .0015 inches, which is the allowable variance of a concrete floor that one contractor is working on right now.
In what has and will continue to be one of the more controversial construction projects in American history, the US/Mexico border wall appears to be moving forward and there are many construction firms across the country that are very interested in the $20 billion project.
OSHA inspectors and city building officials are usually the people that can make life pretty uncomfortable for construction companies, but it’s a whole different story when the FBI comes calling. A new stadium for the Double-A minor league baseball team, the Hartford Yard Goats, was supposed to open before the 2016 season, but delays and cost overruns have pushed that opening well into 2017. Now, the FBI is investigating, according to the Hartford Courant.
The phrase “America’s crumbling infrastructure” has been said over and over again the past few years. It’s why we’ve seen such a large uptick in bridge demolitions, a rise in innovative processes to reduce the time it takes to replace bridges, and the reason for President Trump’s emphasis on spending $1 trillion over the next 10 years to fix them.
As consistent and strong as wood, concrete, and steel have been for the past centuries, researchers and scientists are continually trying to improve them or create a better replacement product. Many have tried, but none have yet to succeed on a large scale. The latest scientific breakthrough takes a look at the geometry of a structure, rather than simply the material itself.
A portion of the Skagit River Bridge, located in Mount Vernon, Washington catastrophically collapsed into the water below after a semi hauling an oversized load clipped a cross beam in 2013. Luckily and amazingly, no one was killed by the incident, but 3 people were taken to the hospital for minor injuries as several cars fell into the river. It took over 3 years to determine a cause and the report states that there were several causes. First, below is security camera footage of the collapse, uploaded to Youtube by newschannel500, in which you can see just how quickly the collapse happened.