Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Hospitalizes 12 Construction Workers in Maryland


A dozen construction workers in Odenton, Maryland were transported to local hospitals on Tuesday, July 17 after apparent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, according to local fire officials.

Crews began working on a federal credit union building around 5am Tuesday morning and between 8am and 9am, several workers began feeling sick, prompting a call to 911.  According to CBS Baltimore, propane powered saws were being used indoors that morning and is the likely cause of the incident.

When firefighters arrived, they measured carbon monoxide levels of up to 850 parts per million (ppm) inside the credit union. According to the CSPC, ppm amounts as low as 70 can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and nausea. At sustained levels of 150 to 200 ppm, more severe symptoms like disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.

3 of the victims were treated for serious symptoms and the other 9 were treated for possibly serious symptoms. Fire officials stayed on the site after the workers were transported to ventilate the building and bring the inside air down to safe levels.

As a reminder, CO is a colorless and odorless gas that is otherwise undetectable until symptoms appear. Even small propane powered tools have the ability to quickly fill an indoor space with CO. The CDC has a few recommendations to reduce the hazards of carbon monoxide on the jobsite, including not allowing gas powered equipment to be used indoors unless the engines can be located outside and away from air intakes and educating employees to recognize the common signs of CO overexposure. Electric powered or compressed air equipment should be used indoors, when possible. If it is impossible to avoid using gas powered equipment, employees can be outfitted with personal CO monitors to alert them if unsafe levels have been reached.

 Full story: 12 Hospitalized After Carbon Monoxide Poisoning At Credit Union | CBS Baltimore

How and Why Sydney, Australia’s Next Tallest Building is Using the Top Down Construction Method

One of the best parts (for me, anyway) of large developments that cost hundreds of millions of dollars being built is being able to learn about different construction methods that can reduce costs or deliver the project sooner than traditional methods.  The Crown Sydney, a future 890 foot tall tower in Australia, is using a method called “top down construction” to shorten their project schedule and avoid additional hazards on the $740 million project.

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The Top States to Work in Construction: #35 Mississippi

If not for having the lowest cost of living in the country, according to the MERIC data, MIssissippi would be in contention for the lowest ranking on our list.  However, having a 14.5% lower than the national average boosted the state up 15 spots to #35 after adjustment. 

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[VIDEO] Unfinished Bridge in Columbia Demolished after Partial Collapse Killed 10

In January of 2018, ten construction workers were killed and another eight were injured when a bridge spanning the Chirajara canyon in Columbia partially collapsed.  That collapse has since been blamed on a poor design, reports have stated. Last week, the remaining sections of the bridge were demolished in dramatic fashion.

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How Construction Workers Can Better Protect Themselves from Skin Cancer

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A large portion of construction work is completed outside, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers exposed to the sun for long periods of time.  Along with that sun exposure comes an increased risk of skin cancer, which is the most common type of cancer.

The deadliest form of skin cancer is melanoma and it is expected that 90,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease and 9,000 of those will be killed by the disease in 2018.  Not all of those cases will be from the construction industry, but it speaks to the real threat that skin cancer provides.

To help the construction industry reduce their risk of developing skin cancer, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has developed a document called Hazard Alert: Skin Cancer, which outlines how to protect your skin and how to detect early signs of the disease. You can find that document by clicking here, it’s a good hand out for your crew and a good topic for an upcoming toolbox talk.

Skin Cancer Detection

Like most cancers, early detection is the biggest key to recovery.  With skin cancers, the development of new moles is the most common warning sign that skin cancer is developing on your body.  CPWR states that you should look out for new or existing moles that:

  • Have an irregular border
  • Are not symmetrical or have color variation
  • Are bigger than a pencil eraser
  • Are itchy or painful

Another sign to look out for is if you have a bump, patch, or sore that bleeds, oozes, crusts, or doesn’t heal

How to Protect Your Skin

The first tip that the CPWR document is to wear sunscreen.  The avoidance of getting sunburned is a huge part of reducing skin cancer risk and an SPF of 30 or more can reduce your sunburn risk.

Protective clothing is another great way to avoid sunburns.  It may be counterintuitive for you to wear long sleeve shirts and pants in the summer, but they’re a very effective means of protecting the skin, because it doesn’t require you to re-apply sunscreen multiple times throughout the day. There are some good options for long sleeve shirts that wick away moisture, like Milwaukee’s Workskin shirts ($39.99 on Tool Barn). Be sure to cover your neck with a cloth flap attached to your hard hat, as well.

Staying in the shade is the 3rd effective means of avoiding sun exposure that CPWR notes.  Adjusting schedules to earlier in the day or overnight can keep workers cooler and out of the sun for longer.  When breaks are taken, find a shady spot or build a temporary shade structure.

In addition to skin cancer risks, there are plenty of other summer dangers on construction sites to be aware of, so make sure you and your crew is prepared to take on the heat.

Full story: Hazard Alert – Skin Cancer | CPWR

Allegedly Drunk Crane Operator Crashes into 4 Cars on New York Highway

A 47 year old crane operator is facing charges of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident after driving a truck mounted crane into several vehicles on the Long Island Expressway in New York.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Silica Dust Exposure, Answered

OSHA's new crystalline silica dust exposure regulations officially went into effect on September 23, 2017.  Over the past 10 months, there has been plenty of confusion about the lung disease causing material. In the first 6 months after the effective date, OSHA's inspectors yielded 116 violations across the country.

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The Top States to Work in Construction: #36 Vermont

Vermont is one of the few states in the Northeast that doesn't have a ridiculously high cost of living, according to MERIC, at only 2.9% higher than the national average.  That helped Vermont rank higher than many others in the Northeast in this list, but it's lower than average adjusted hourly rates for the construction industry still kept it on the bottom half of the list overall.

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[VIDEO] Watch the Tallest Building to Ever Be Demolished by Implosion

A couple weeks ago, we shared a list of the 100 tallest buildings to ever be demolished.  One of the most interesting things that I learned while researching for that article was that although Detroit’s Greater Department Hudson Store was not the tallest building on the list (it was #21), it was the tallest on the list to actually be imploded.

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New Green Building Construction Standard Set to Hit US Market in 2019

Since the dawn of green buildings, these projects have always been synonymous with LEED certification.  The process of obtaining that LEED certification has not always been an easy one for contractors; there is a ton of paperwork and documentation that needs to take place in order to prove all LEED credits have been rightfully earned.  A new construction standard, called BREEAM, is hoping to disrupt the United States’ green building certification world with its impending New Construction Standard Release in 2019.

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