As we’re all aware, construction is a dangerous occupation, but just like any business decision, it’s hard to figure out how to solve the problem without having data for back up. OSHA has just released a final rule for employers in high risk industries, including construction, which requires companies to make injury data available to not only OSHA, but the general public.
Effective August 10, 2016, construction companies with more than 20 employees will have to electronically submit injury and illness information to OSHA. Companies with 20-249 employees will only have to submit that information on OSHA form 300A, but companies with more than 249 employees will have to submit that information on forms 300, 300A, and 301. Companies are already required to collect this injury and illness data each year, but until this new rule goes into effect, the data was rarely made available to OSHA or the general public.
OSHA hopes that the final rule is a step in the right direction to “nudge” employers to take a more active approach to preventing injuries on the job site. Just as customers and employees are able to find out health department scores for restaurants, prospective construction workers and clients in the bidding process will now be able to evaluate a particular company’s accident history. All this data hinges on accurate and timely reporting by the construction companies themselves, however, so it will be interesting to see how well the administration will oversee the rule. In their news release, OSHA made clear that it is an employee right to be able to report injury and illness to OSHA without fear of retaliation. Companies will also be required to have a “reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries that does not discourage employees from reporting.”
In the same news release Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels explained, “Our new reporting requirements will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer.”
There’s no question that big data has led many to be able to focus efforts and solve the biggest problems in many industries, but with a reliance on self-reported data, there has to be a fear that unreported injuries may see a large increase, especially with the “public shaming” aspect now involved.
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.
Portable toilets are the setting for many pranks around a construction site, but I never thought there could be something worse than just getting stuck in one. Turns out I was extremely wrong, because a worker in New Orleans was run over by a dump truck while using the port-a-john.
At last week’s National Safety Council Congress & Expo, OSHA’s deputy director of Directorare of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, announced their 10 most frequesntly cited safety violations for their fiscal year 2017, reports the National Safety Council.
As we saw after the Lake Oroville Dam in California collapsed earlier this year, dam failures can have sudden and devastating effects. Recent footage showing raging muddy waters swallowing a construction site in a matter of seconds has been shared after river dam in Thatom, Loas failed.
On Saturday, September 23, OSHA’s much talked about and controversial new Silica Dust Exposure Limit regulations went into effect. Late last week, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of OSHA, Thomas Galassi, released a memorandum that issues a 30 day “grace period” for compliance.
[guest post] Working in construction certainly has its upsides - you get in a great workout, you learn valuable skills, and you develop incredible camaraderie on the jobsite. However, it also is one of the most dangerous jobs you can have.
Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean and landed in South Florida a little over a week ago, sadly killing at least 50 people in Florida and causing plenty of property damage. High winds that accompanied the storm also caused the collapse of 3 construction cranes – two in Miami and one more in Fort Lauderdale. The crane in Fort Lauderdale was recently dismantled and the action was caught on video.