Prior to January 20th, 2017, it was almost a daily occurrence for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a press release about a large fine they have recently levied against businesses. Since January 20th, news coming directly from OSHA has been extremely sparse. There were some updates, like the delay of their new silica dust exposure rule and information about their “Safe and Sound Campaign,” but nothing about recent fines and citations.
It’s not clear what stopped the organization from posting these types of “public shaming” posts, but some believe it’s connected to President Trump’s more pro-business approach. Whatever the reason may be, it appears to no longer be an issue, because OSHA has posted their first citation announcement in almost 3 months…and it’s a big one.
In October of 2016, two men were killed after a 12-foot-deep trench collapsed, which, in turn, broke a fire hydrant supply line, which then caused the trench to flood with water in seconds. After OSHA’s investigation, they are proposing $1,475,813 in fines against Atlantic Drain Service Co. Inc and cited the company for 18 willful, repeat, serious, and other-than-serious violations. During the investigation, OSHA determined that the company and the owner, who was overseeing the work that day, failed to:
- Install a support system to protect employees in an approximately 12-foot deep trench from a cave-in and prevent the adjacent fire hydrant from collapsing.
- Remove employees from the hazardous conditions in the trench.
- Train the workers in how to identify and address hazards associated with trenching and excavation work.
- Provide a ladder at all times so employees could exit the trench.
- Support structures next to the trench that posed overhead hazards.
- Provide employees with hardhats and eye protection.
The full list of citations can be viewed on OSHA’s website by clicking here. OSHA stated that this same company was also cited for similar hazards in 2007 and 2012.
Trench collapses are easily avoidable by taking appropriate precautions before allowing employees to enter the hole. Sadly, trench related deaths more than doubled in 2016 vs. 2015, but we certainly hope that trend is bucked in 2017. The government is also becoming less tolerant of jobsite deaths involving trenches, as both a site foreman and the general contractor of a different trench collapse in New York were charged with criminally negligent homicide last year.
For more information about trench safety, you can read OSHA’s standards here.
Every now and then a new product comes along and you ask yourself, “why didn’t I think of that?!” The OVAL Fire Extinguisher is just that product. Architecture and interior design have been moving towards cleaner lines in their spaces. Foregone are the days of bulky protruding water fountains (bubblers for my northern friends) and fire extinguisher cabinets. Interior designers are looking for cleaner and sleeker interior spaces but the 10lb fire extinguishers and cabinets have not changed for quite some time. OVAL is about to change all that.
On Tuesday, June 20, OSHA is set to propose a delay on new requirements for cranes and derricks in the construction industry at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH).
Trenches are dangerous, but many companies and workers continue to deny it. Or their actions make it seem like they do, at least. There’s never an excuse to let someone into a hole if it hasn’t been properly sloped, benched, or shored. Nevertheless, dozens of construction workers are killed and injured by trench collapses every year.
A nearby office worker caught video of a dramatic demolition that showed the remains of an 11 story building collapse on top of the excavator performing the demolition.
Beards are a rite of passage for many men across the world. For some, it’s a symbol of their manliness, for others, it’s rooted in religious beliefs. One contractor in the UK, however, is concerned with the safety risk the facial hair causes.
Strange things are found on job sites across the globe all the time. We’ve shared plenty of stories in the past about the odd things construction workers have discovered, like human remains, 200,000 year old mammoth bones, ancient roman treasure, and more. When contractors dig in the dirt, there’s always a chance of uncovering history. Sometimes, though, the things found can be extremely dangerous.
While placing concrete on the second floor of a future seven-story mixed use building in Oakland, California, the concrete forms suddenly gave way, sending around 20 workers 10 to 15 feet below with the wet concrete. News reports explain the job site went into a panic, understandably so, and co-workers rushed to the scene to help.
Mistakes during demolitions happen. Sometimes contractors knock down the wrong buildings, other times the explosives used don’t knock the building over, and other demolitions are carried out with a complete lack of regard for human life. As fun as they are to perform and watch, they’re inherently dangerous and there should be a plan in place in case things go wrong.
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.