A devastating 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Taiwan on Saturday, February 6, killing a total of 116 and injuring many others. All but two of the deaths were caused by a collapse of the 17 story tall Weiguan Junlong (Golden Dragon) tower, the only high rise building to collapse in the city.
As crews have searched the area and initial investigations into the collapse have begun, they have discovered empty tin cans inside structural concrete beams. As crazy as that may sound, the reason those cans were there in the first place might be even crazier. A structural engineer told CNA, a Taiwan news channel, that, prior to 1999, use of cooking oil cans in concrete beams was actually not even illegal and were used to make the beams look bigger without adding much weight, for aesthetic reasons. Cooking oil cans. You read that right. The Golden Dragon tower was built in 1983, so the presence of the cans isn’t technically supposed to be a problem. Rebar was also found bent to 90 degrees, instead of 135 degrees, which increases the risk of the rebar loosening in the event of an earthquake.
However, on Wednesday, February 10, Taiwanese authorities did arrest the developer and two executives of the company that originally built the tower, even though the companies that built the structure are no longer in business. According to CNN, the three people arrested will face charges of professional negligence resulting in death.
The video below, by TomoNews US, gives a pretty good rundown of the factors that caused the collapse.
At the National Safety Council Congress & Expo on September 10, 2019, OSHA’s deputy director of Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, announced their preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety violations for their fiscal year 2019.
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After causing devastation in the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian worked its way up the U.S. East Coast last week and eventually made its way up to Nova Scotia, Canada as a Category 2 storm. The storm left more than 369,000 without power in the Canadian Region, according to CBC, but also caused a tower crane to buckle and collapse in the city of Halifax.
A 2018 trench collapse in Colorado lead to the death of a construction worker named Rosario “Chayo” Martinez-Lopez. Now, his employer faces manslaughter charges for his death.
Drones have been heavily used by the construction industry in recent years for anything from progress photos, to employee tracking, or calculating the volume of on-site stockpiles. Now, a report from EHS Today says that OSHA plans to employ more drones to conduct site inspections of employer facilities.
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Almost 18 months ago, an under construction pedestrian bridge on Florida International University’s (FIU) campus collapsed, killing 6 people and injuring another 8. While many investigations have closed, including OSHA’s scathing report, families of victims and survivors have been awaiting the results of civil lawsuits filed against the companies in charge of the projects.
The spring of 2019 saw 3 trench collapse deaths in a span of 10 days. One at a home construction site in Colorado, another during a culvert install in Marysville, Ohio, and a third at a residential site in Sugarcreek Township, Ohio. The latter has recently received a hefty fine and penalty from OSHA.
Personal fall protection devices are extremely important to saving lives and preventing injuries due to falls on a jobsite. Half the battle is getting your team to wear harnesses, but when they do, you need to trust that the devices will work when they’re needed. 3M has recently issued an immediate stop use and product recall on two of their fall protection products.