Every year, an average of 35 construction workers are killed by trench collapses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With proper shoring, benching, or sloping, each of these deaths is easily preventable. Generally, any trench that exceeds 5 feet in height needs to be properly protected, as the weight of soil can reach up to 3,000 pounds per cubic yard. Through mid-November 2016, the amount of trench deaths in the United States is double that of 2015's total and more than 2015 and 2014 combined. For more on OSHA's trench safety guidelines, click here.
So when a trench collapse does end up killing a worker, those at fault should be held responsible. The New York County District Attorney’s office wholeheartedly agrees with that, as they recently convicted the foreman of an excavation company for the death of another worker. According to the press release, Wilmer Cueva, the foreman of Sky Materials, an excavation subcontractor, was convicted of Criminally Negligent Homicide and Reckless Endangerment. His sentencing is expected to take place on December 15, 2016.
On the day of the trench collapse, an on-site inspector alerted Cueva that the trench, was at the time was 7 feet deep, was unprotected. Almost an hour later, the trench had reached 13 feet in depth, and, despite the inspectors request to have the worker’s removed from the trench, Cueva refused and the work continued. An hour and 15 minutes later, the trench collapsed, crushing and killing a 22-year-old-worker.
“When construction supervisors take shortcuts, they take chances with their workers’ lives,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. “As proven at trial, Wilmer Cueva ignored repeated warnings about the treacherous state of the excavations he was directing — resulting in the preventable and foreseeable death of Carlos Moncayo, a 22-year-old worker. Today’s verdict again places companies and managers on notice: those who knowingly permit unsafe construction practices will face criminal charges if a worker is injured or dies as a result. I thank the jury for its careful deliberation, and our partners at the Department of Investigation, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and NYPD for their invaluable assistance with the investigation.”
Harco Construction, the General Contractor on the site was also convicted of Manslaughter in the Second Degree, as well as Criminally Negligent Homicide and Reckless Endangerment in June of this year. They were sentenced in July to pay for worker-safety public service announcements, according to DNAinfo. The maximum sentencing the company could receive was a $35,000 fine or pay for the PSAs, but not both.
Contact with overhead power lines is a major hazard when working on most construction sites and especially when working from elevated platforms or with heavy machinery.
Back in September, OSHA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would extend the deadline for crane operator certification requirements. Although OSHA 1926.1427 has required crane operators to receive certain certifications to be able to operate the machines since 2010, actual enforcement of that rule has been delayed several times.
There is an opportunity to revolutionize the way we protect construction workers from fall hazards while dramatically reducing waste and inefficiency in the construction industry. The Hilmerson Safety Rail System™ was designed and engineered with feedback from industry experts with one goal in mind: Reinvent the guardrail to eliminate inefficiencies, cut costs, send zero waste to landfills, and improve workplace safety.
In most aspects of construction, communication and training is absolutely key to running a successful project and business. That is especially true when it comes to safety on the job site. One of the most popular ways of communicating safety hazards to the field staff is through tool box talks.
As annoying as it may be to deal with sometimes, there is a good reason why trucks carrying oversized loads have spotters and flaggers. We’ve seen the worst of what can happen when the spotter fails to alert truck drivers in time, like the one that caused a 2013 Washington State bridge collapse, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Just one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a new law requiring at least 40 hours of safety training for all 185,000 of the city’s construction workers, a partial roof collapse at a Brooklyn construction site left 6 workers injured, 2 of them serious.
Concrete is an extremely strong building material, but has a notoriously weak tensile strength. In order to resist tension, bending, and shear forces, steel rebar or other reinforcement materials are added either prior to the placement or into the mix. Even with reinforcement, concrete is still extremely rigid and prone to cracking. In the event of a major earthquake, the uneven and horizontal forces can cause structures to crack and, in the worst case, cause failure.
Construction Safety is talked about constantly. There are many construction companies that take it very seriously. There are also many that don’t. All will say it’s their top priority.
So what can a city do that’s facing regular worker deaths and increases in workplace injuries? New York City has decided to require extensive safety training for all of the 185,000 construction workers in the city.
According to the Workzonesafety.com, nearly half (46%) of all work zone-associated worker fatalities from 2003-2010 were caused by being struck by a vehicle. Surprisingly, only around 2% of those workers were killed by a drunk driver. From 2003 to 2015 (the last year this data was updated), a total of 1324 work zone fatalities have been recorded, which averages to about 102 per year.
Residents living near a Jersey City, New Jersey construction site were frightened as they watched “explosions” of smoke coming out of holes in the ground.