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:
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.
Summer is officially upon us and beating the heat will keep you healthy and productive. There are many summer dangers on construction sites, but OSHA maintains that water, rest, and shade are the most important factors to avoiding heat illness. Here are a few products to help keep you and hydrated on your jobsites this summer.