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.
Last fall, OSHA announced its intentions to explore updating the 2016 silica dust regulations that seemingly took the construction by storm. Their intent was to gain feedback on additional dust control methods that would be suitable for hazard control, as well as on additional tasks and equipment not currently covered by Table 1 in 29 CFR 1926.1153. Last week, they announced the next step they’re taking towards revisions.
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.
While placing concrete on the 7th floor of a new hotel in Houston, TX, 16 construction workers were suddenly sent falling to the 6th floor below, sending 9 of them to the hospital, according to local news reports.
A recent crane collapse in Dallas, TX, that left a woman, who was in her apartment, dead, several others injured, and hundreds displaced, has triggered a local news station to dig further into what the city and state are doing to protect from these accidents in the future.
Last year, over 130 organizations petitioned OSHA to issue a heat protection standard, citing needs for mandatory rest breaks, PPE, hydration, and monitoring. On July 10, 2019, Representative Judy Chu of California introduced H.R. 3668 to meet the organizations’ request.
Many areas throughout the country saw their hottest temperatures of the year over the weekend. In response to the forecasts, OSHA issued a reminder to employers about the dangers of heat illness.
Falls are, by far, the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, accounting for nearly 40% each year. That fact is the main reason why personal fall protection devices are so heavily stressed in the industry. But, even if your fall is arrested by a harness, you’re not out of the woods yet, as serious complications can happen while you’re being suspended in the air.
We all know – or, at least, should know – about construction’s Fatal Four Hazards: Falls, Struck-by, Caught-in or Between, and Electrical. Those hazards get most of the attention in most safety training courses in construction and rightfully so, they contribute to a large majority of all deaths on the jobsite. A recent study, however, highlights the need to take certain health hazards more seriously, due to their long term effects.