Road construction work is dangerous. It changes driving patterns, which is especially hazardous if drivers are impaired or distracted. There have been several teams of researchers and manufacturers that are attempting to make road construction safer for contractors, like this autonomous TMA truck from Royal Truck & Equipment and this smart safety vest designed by engineers at Virginia Tech, which gives workers a few seconds of warning is an object is approaching too quickly.
Pueblo, Colorado is testing out a new technology that could also make drivers’ and workers’ lives safer, while also making things easier. Steel construction barriers are making waves in Pueblo, according to local news channel KOAA, as they have demonstrated to be a safer alternative to concrete barriers, currently seen throughout the United States. When a vehicle strikes concrete, the car and the concrete are both destroyed, sending metal and concrete through the air and a wrecked car bouncing on the road asking for other cars to hit it. With these steel barriers, cars will bounce off of the barriers with little damage to the vehicle or the barrier, as you can see in the video below.
KOAA interviewed John Volk with Dynamic Deflections, a distributor of steel barriers in Colorado. Volk said that not only will the steel barriers cause less damage, they are also much easier to ship and are easier to install. One truckload of steel barriers, he says, is equal to the amount of concrete barriers that would require six truckloads. Concrete barriers are also extremely cumbersome to move, requiring the use of heavy construction machinery. The steel barriers are equipped with wheels, which can be ratcheted down and easily moved by only one person.
The major drawback to the steel construction barriers is cost, which is estimated at around 4 times the cost of concrete. Volk believes that federal regulations will soon change to require steel barriers, but there’s currently no timeline for when or if that will happen.
Take a look at the video below, by HighwayCareInt, which shows a comparison between the BarrierGuard 800 steel barrier and a traditional concrete barrier:
In 2018, OSHA announced that reducing trenching an excavation hazards on construction sites would be their priority goal. Since that time, the agency has releases a variety of different materials to help build outreach to contractors across the country, including updating their National Emphasis Program (NEP) on trench safety. On a recent newsletter, OSHA highlighted a video about soil classification in trenches and excavations, meant as an introduction to those who want to know more about the process.
Traditional safety training for construction workers includes OSHA 10-hour or 30-hour courses, toolbox talks, and safety inspections. Those training techniques are all important and necessary, but construction workers are an extremely hands-on group of individuals and putting them in real life situations can be much more beneficial to them instead of classroom training.
Ladders are one of the most widely used and necessary pieces of equipment on a construction jobsite. They’re also one of the most misused and abused pieces of equipment on a jobsite. In addition to being one of the most frequently cited OSHA violations each year, it also accounts for too many of the industry’s yearly fatalities and countless injuries.
Falls continue to be the number one leading cause of death on construction sites across the country, accounting for around 40% each year. Even if you can convince your construction crew to wear personal fall arrest systems each time they’re required, proper training is required to select the correct type of fall protection and the anchor points, as well as performing proper inspections of the equipment. An app called Harness Hero is trying to help solve the latter problem.
Even though OSHA recently eliminated the need for employers to electronically submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301, citing privacy concerns, companies are still responsible for submitting OSHA Form 300A – and the deadline is fast approaching.
Multi-employer worksites are extremely common in the construction industry, but they can still make work extremely complicated. One of those complications results when a subcontractor receives a governmental violation, such as an OSHA violation. As a controlling employer on the site, can a general contractor be held responsible for safety hazards of a subcontractor? One court says yes.
After an abundance of delays on rule that would require crane operators to be formally qualified to operate, OSHA finally landed on an effective date of February 7, 2019. After receiving feedback from industry partners, OSHA has decided to delay enforcement for 60 days for contractors who make a “good faith effort” to comply.
As has been expected for a few months now, OSHA has officially removed the requirement for large companies with 250 or more employees to submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301. The administration cited privacy concerns as the reason for the change.
Be careful - owners and contractors are now being held criminally liable for their carelessness and disregard of safety protocols.