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.
In October, an 18-story under construction Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana suddenly collapsed, killing 3 of the construction workers on site. A few days later, two unstable tower cranes were imploded for safety reasons. Next, the city plans to have what’s left of the building completely demolished, although there are still 2 of the 3 bodies of victims inside.
In March of 2018, an under construction pedestrian bridge on Florida International University’s (FIU) campus collapsed onto an open street below, killing 6 and injuring several others. Roughly 19 months after the tragedy occurred, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released their final findings.
In August, OSHA released an RFI regarding possible revisions to the construction silica dust standard looking to get feedback from the industry. The deadline for submittal was a little over a week ago, but one construction industry group filled us in on the comments they have submitted.
You and your company may be fearful of an unexpected OSHA inspection, but it’s important to know the procedures just in case one happens. The US Department of Labor has recently released a video of the general steps of an OSHA investigation.
In April, a tower crane being dismantled suddenly collapsed onto an open street in Seattle, Washington killing 2 workers and 2 civilians. Recent violations issued by the state of Washington have confirmed theories that prematurely removed pins were to blame for the incident.
On October 12, tragedy struck at a construction site in New Orleans, when an 18-story under-construction hotel partially collapsed, killing 3. Due to the unstable tower cranes on site, crews have yet to be able to recover 2 of the bodies inside the building.
Many construction companies require their employees to get either an OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 safety certification, but there are a few different ways to take the courses. Throughout my career, I’ve had safety training in a few different capacity: in-person classroom as part of my construction management degree curriculum, a work organized 10-hour course, and, most recently, an OSHA 30 online course.
Tragedy struck in New Orleans over the weekend when an under construction 18-story hotel suddenly collapsed, killing at least 2 with 1 still missing and injuring up to 30 others.
In a recent press release, OSHA announced that it has implemented a new OSHA Weighting System (OWS) for their 2020 fiscal year. The change will better help OSHA allocate their resources where needed.
Hard hats are staples of the construction jobsite and required by OSHA wherever there is possible danger of head injury from falling objects, impact, or electrical shock (OSHA 29 CFR 1926.100). A common trend that has continued for years is the preference of many hard hat wearers to “reverse” the helmet’s configuration and face the brim to the back. But, is that allowed by OSHA?