As the construction labor shortage rages on throughout the industry, there have been concerns of how overworked employees or undertrained staff may affect job site safety. Although there’s no definitive proof that this problem is causing an increase in construction deaths and injuries, recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows trends pointing in the wrong direction.
Year over year, fatal occupational injuries in 2015 rose by more than 4% in the construction industry versus 2014, according to the BLS. Fatalities increased to a total of 937, from 899 the previous year. Rates also climbed to 10.1 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, from 9.8. The 937 deaths were the highest for the construction industry since 2008, when there were 975 reported fatalities.
Across all industries, an annual total of 4,836 workplace deaths in 2015 was the highest since 2008. Transportation, such as roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles made up the largest portion of all fatalities, with 1,264, roughly 25% of all fatalities. This highlights the importance of not only keeping workers safe while driving for their job, but also keeping workers safe from other motorists. Slips, trips, and falls accounted for the second highest cause of death, totaling 800 in 2015.
The negative trend has certainly piqued the interest of several government entities, including OSHA. OSHA has not only increased their fines for the first time since 1990, they’ve introduced a new rule that would require companies to make their injury records public. OSHA also recently released data that showed construction trench related deaths have doubled in 2016, as compared to 2015, which is not a good sign for the BLS’ 2016 fatality report.
Last Thursday, every construction professional’s worst nightmare happened. Lives were lost, both construction workers and civilians, by way of the catastrophic collapse of FIU’s under construction pedestrian bridge. We shared what we knew as of late Thursday night, but since this is not only a tragedy directly related to construction, but also a huge learning opportunity for the entire industry, I wanted to make sure we continued to follow and update on the story as it develops.
Terrible tragedy struck Florida International University’s (FIU) campus yesterday when a newly installed pedestrian bridge collapsed onto the road below, killing at least 4 and severely injuring many more.
Trenches and excavations are dug on the majority of construction projects, mostly for foundations, utilities, among other purposes. When construction workers have to enter those trenches and excavations, there are a variety of hazards that exist, the biggest hazards being cave-ins. A cubic yard of soil can weigh over 2,000 pounds, nearly the weight of the average car, so without proper protections for that worker, he or she can be killed or severely injured.
First announced in January 2017, OSHA’s new beryllium exposure limit for construction workers was originally supposed to be in full effect on March 12, 2018. The administration just announced last Friday that the new enforcement date for the rule will be May 11, 2018.
The following is a guest post written by Laurence Banville, Esq.
Winter is here and with it comes dangerous situations that construction workers don’t have to worry about during warmer weather. Nearly everyone is aware that construction workers should dress warmly in order to prevent medical conditions like frostbite and hypothermia, but what are some of the frequently overlooked risks associated with winter weather?
When anyone sees a hard hat, they typically immediate associate it with construction. It’s the ultimate symbol of safety on the job site. We all know we should wear them, but it’s easy to get annoyed with the minor inconvenience that they cause and forget about the extreme consequences that could result if a falling object catches us when we aren’t wearing one.
OSHA gives employees many rights in the workplace and employers many responsibilities. One of those is the employee’s right to see the company’s OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Summary Log and the employer’s responsibility to post it.
When OSHA raised its citation penalty amounts for the first time since 1990 in 2016, it raised them 78% to catch up with inflation over that many years. It wasn’t just a one time increase, however, as the amended Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 no longer exempts OSHA from its requirements.
With cranes being on many construction sites, it’s easy for workers to get complacent. Hundreds or thousands of construction materials can be lifted by cranes throughout the project, but all it takes is one time for a disaster to occur.
Getting your communications right is critical on any construction site. For effective planning and coordination, for efficient management of different teams and for health and safety, having a reliable means of keeping everyone in touch at all times is essential.