The article below was written by Miami Construction Lawyer Alex Barthet and appeared first on TheLienZone. It was re-posted with permission. For more information about Alex and his firm, please visit www.TheLienZone.com and www.Barthet.com.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika a public health emergency – an extraordinary development as this was only the 4th time in WHO’s entire history that it issued such a declaration. Anticipated to exceed 4 million cases this year, the virus has spread rapidly, infecting people in more than 20 countries.
Zika, as we have all heard, is a mosquito borne virus which can make people ill but more critically may cause a birth defect resulting in serious developmental problems in newborns and possible temporary paralysis in adults. This is a small bug with a big bite. Therefore, both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have now issued guidelines related to the Zika virus.
With so many construction jobs involving outside work, it is important for contractors to initiate a number of actions to alert and protect their workers:
- Advise: Inform employees of the dangers they face and train them on how they might protect themselves.
- Protect: Encourage workers to wear appropriate clothing that covers their arms, legs and other exposed areas and provide insect repellents.
- Avoid: Get rid of all sources of standing water at the jobsite and reduce mosquito breeding areas.
While southern states are expected to be hardest hit by the Zika virus, contractors everywhere need to raise their level of concern and treat this as they do other serious workplace hazards. Over 800 people in the U.S. have already contracted the virus, and with summer already upon us, this number is only expected to rise.
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.
Video feeds on a construction site are not only great for timelapse videos, they can potentially help stop intruders who enter your site.
As if the high winds and heavy rains weren’t enough of a safety hazard for the people of Florida, citizens who are staying in the area also need to be concerned about the dozens of tower cranes that are still erected throughout downtown.
In June, we shared that OSHA was planning to extend the deadline for crane operator certification requirements until November 10, 2018. Last week, on August 30, OSHA made that official and issues a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) has formally been around since 1982, when the first site was approved for the program. In short, the VPP is a partnership between OSHA, Management of the Employer, and laborers, with the intent of making jobsites safer for everyone involved. Employers seeking to participate in the VPP must first apply to the program and then undergo a “rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals” in order to be accepted.
Two construction workers in Santa Barbara, California, both in their 20’s, were injured during the installation of a CMU retaining wall when it partially collapsed on Monday.
Falls from height is one of the leading causes of death among construction workers and ladders are a major contributor to that number. According to the CDC, falls from ladders caused 64 fatalities and 11,500 injuries in the construction industry alone in 2011. There are many things ladder users can do to make their work safer, like setting it at proper angles on level ground, checking for damage, and maintaining 3 points of contact, among others. One technology company is trying to take some of the thinking out of ladder set up.
Tool box safety talks are super important, but sometimes they can be pretty dry. In order to keep people engaged and committed to jobsite safety, sometimes you have to mix it up a little bit. A construction company in New Zealand has an aspiring rapper on their team and they decided to enlist his help for a safety talk and it’s pretty entertaining. This company isn’t the first company to use rap music to send a message, as Caterpillar also released a rap about their bulldozers.
Communication is key to a safe and productive construction environment. One of the biggest challenges of effective communication on job sites is the complexity and size of the project, which inhibits being able to contact the correct people in a timely manner. Tracking devices have been a hot button issue in construction news for the last few years. Some examples include RFID tag sensors in hard hats, such as the one being used on certain job sites in Washington DC and time sheet applications, which allow employers to track their employee’s locations using the GPS on their phone’s or tablets.
Construction crews in Parma, Idaho were busy working onmulti-story onion shed, when the under construction structure collapsed, sending some that were on the roof down with it. 14 crew members were either on the structure or around it at the time of collapse, but 6 of them were transported to the hospital. First responders on the scene explained that it was lucky that only 6 were injured.