Being inside a building during an earthquake is, at best, a little unsettling, but it’s extremely difficult to measure the movement of an entire building. Last year, researchers at MIT were able to use slow motion cameras to visualize how much a tower crane moved during normal conditions, which gave insight into the stress a crane undergoes. Measuring the effects of an earthquake is a little trickier, so the US Geological Survey (USGS) had to get a little creative to capture it.
USGS’ National Strong Motion Program is dedicated to recording the effects earthquakes have on our structures. They currently have sensors loaded in more than 660 ground sites and more than 180 buildings, bridges, dams, and other structural arrays. Most sites, for obvious reasons, are located in the Western US. Each building contains anywhere from 3 sensors (Desert Center, CA’s Hinds Pumping Plant) to 72 (Rincon Hill Tower in San Francisco and UCLA’s Factor Building in Los Angeles).
The Frontier Building is the subject of the video below. Built in 1982, the 219 feet (67m) tall building is the home to many State of Alaska offices in Anchorage. On January 24, 2016, the building was rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Thanks to the USGS’ 36 sensors located in and around the building, we are able to see exactly how a building sways, twists, and shakes during a catastrophic event like this. To help visualize the event, the motions have been magnified by 300x their actual movement, so it looks a little more dramatic than it actually was. This research does, however, give designers key insight to real world conditions which could prove or disprove their calculations.
Video below was uploaded to Youtube by USGS.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of 3 different drills manufactured by Black & Decker due to safety concerns.
Just over a year ago, in September of 2017, Hurricane Irma blew through Miami, Florida, bringing extremely high speed wind with it. The wind caused 3 cranes to collapse in southern Florida, 2 in downtown Miami and 1 more in Ft. Lauderdale. Interesting video of the dismantling of one of the failed cranes was shared on Youtube.
In September of 2017, OSHA’s new standard on exposure to respirable crystalline silica went into effect in the construction industry. The rule lowered the allowable exposure to the harmful substance to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, a measurement that we’re all familiar with [/sarcasm]. After a full year of enforcement, OSHA is considering making a change to the rule.
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Last week, we shared some newly updated Trenching and Excavation safety information from OSHA, which was part of their priority goals for 2018. Those updates included a public service announcement and updated online resources. The administration has just announced the update of their National Emphasis Program (NEP) on trenching and excavation safety, which features a period of education and prevention outreach.
Earlier this year, it was announced that reducing injuries and deaths caused by trenching and excavation collapses would be a priority goal for OSHA in 2018. The administration planned to achieve this through increased inspection rates, public service announcements (PSA), updating online resources, and creating a better public-private partnership. Recently, OSHA made good on their promise to issue PSAs and update their online resources.
In a time where many industry groups are strongly fighting against new regulations of any kind, more than 130 organizations have co-signed a petition for OSHA to establish a national standard for heat protection across many industries.
As other organizations, like the NTSB, are busy analyzing the root cause of the pedestrian bridge collapse that killed 6 people and injured 8 others in Florida in March, OSHA has finished their investigation and issued safety violations to 5 different contractors.