Fatigue and the construction site do not mix, but unfortunately it happens more than we’d all like. Construction work long and odd hours, with many jobs beginning extremely early in the morning or late at night. Fatigue not only reduces productivity, but it’s a major safety concern, especially with regards to operating heavy machinery. According to the National Sleep Foundation (sounds like a fantastic place to work, I bet they have an amazing worktime nap schedule), yearly estimates for fatigue caused auto accidents average around 100,000, resulting in approximately 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
To help reduce the risk of fatigue related incidents in the construction industry, Caterpillar has designed a safety system that monitors the facial movements of heavy equipment operators and will alert them if the system determines they are drowsy or distracted.
“Customers have talked to us for many years about what they called ‘unexplained incidents,’ where they try to understand where the safety risks were coming from or what were the root causing of several of these accidents on job sites,” said Dave Edwards, of Caterpillar Safety Services, “they got a hunch that it might have something to do with the operator's ability to drive a machine 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.”
A smart camera mounted in the dashboard of Caterpillar vehicles can watch the facial behaviors and determine if their eyes are open or not. While the system will try to wake the operator up before an accident occurs by using alarms, the program will also alert a safety operator from Caterpillar and they can review video from the smart camera to determine what happened. CAT says this operator is provided to help react to situations much faster, because workers on the job site are typically very busy.
All trench collapse deaths are preventable. As soon as everyone on a job site starts believing that we might actually make some progress. In just the past 10 days, there have been 4 trench collapse deaths across 3 separate incidents, further highlighting how far we still need to go.
Falls on the jobsite is the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in construction. Keeping up with housekeeping on your site is a great way to reduce risks of falls, but other protections, like rebar caps should be installed when rebar is exposed. A young construction worker recently found out the hard way what happens when rebar is left exposed.
On April 3, a congressional appropriations hearing was held to discuss the U.S. Department of Labor’s Federal funding for fiscal year 2020. During the hearing, the secretary of Labor, R. Alexander Acosta, told the committee how OSHA plans to spend their budget and how the agency fared in the previous year.
Safety training in the construction industry is necessary to build worker awareness – not to mention that it’s legally required – but it can be extremely time consuming and expensive to have completed. There are many companies out there looking to make money off of keeping workers safe, which is why it’s great when a company offers training free of charge, like Procore’s Safety Qualified program.
Cranes collapsing on-site are serious business, especially since many of them resulted in the loss of life. A recent crane collapse on a construction site in Alpharetta, GA was caught on camera after it caught fire, but luckily no one was injured.
There are a lot of different specialty construction contracting sectors within the industry and cruise ships are definitely one of them. There are plenty of unique challenges when dealing with a moving ship versus a static building. A recent accident highlighted the challenges when a crane collapsed on a cruise ship under renovations, injuring 8 people.
The vast majority of safety related “conversations” that I’ve overheard, or have been a part of, in my career has been mostly a supervisor telling a worker to “knock it off” or something to that effect. The typical reaction from the worker is to stop doing the unsafe behavior, wait a few minutes when the supervisor has left the area, and then go right back to the way they were doing it originally.
It seems weird to be talking about new step ladder designs. Other than moving from wood to aluminum to fiberglass, the form and function of a stepladder hasn’t really ever changed. One of the biggest opportunities has always been the gap between how step ladders were designed to be used as opposed to how people actually use them. 3 major manufacturers now have a solution to at least some of those problems.
In 2018, OSHA announced that reducing trenching an excavation hazards on construction sites would be their priority goal. Since that time, the agency has releases a variety of different materials to help build outreach to contractors across the country, including updating their National Emphasis Program (NEP) on trench safety. On a recent newsletter, OSHA highlighted a video about soil classification in trenches and excavations, meant as an introduction to those who want to know more about the process.
Traditional safety training for construction workers includes OSHA 10-hour or 30-hour courses, toolbox talks, and safety inspections. Those training techniques are all important and necessary, but construction workers are an extremely hands-on group of individuals and putting them in real life situations can be much more beneficial to them instead of classroom training.