Cranes are not only an extremely useful piece of equipment, but they’re also extremely dangerous if something goes wrong. Each year, there are several crane collapses and other crane related accidents that claim lives. Having said that, the last thing contractors need is for adrenaline seekers to start climbing and playing around on their cranes. The problem is, it’s already happening.
Just last month, a couple took to Tianjin, China to climb the current world’s tallest crane at 2,000 feet in the air. They didn’t just climb up to the cab, either, they scaled the full length of the boom and stood hung out at the very top. Armed with GoPro cameras and a drone, they got some truly incredible footage, but the fact remains that it poses an interesting threat to construction sites.
This isn’t only happening in China, either, it’sa world wide epidemic. It has happened in Miami, FL, Southampton, England, and Dubai, among countless others. So, the question is, in the event of a thrill seeker entering your job and climbing your crane or building, what can contractors do to limit their liability?
According to the fine folks at The Barthet Firm, a construction law firm based in Miami, Florida, the first thing any contractor anywhere should be doing is to post legally compliant “No Trespassing” signs. In just about every US State and most foreign countries, it is illegal and a crime to trespass onto another’s property. And the way that law gets enforced is through the posting of No Trespassing signs in designated areas of the property. This is serious business; in fact, trespassing onto a construction site in most places is a felony.
But you can’t just nail up some signs and think you’re covered. The law generally states you have to provide adequate warning to anyone entering private property that the property is in fact restricted. You do so by clearly stating that the property is Posted. And to make that stick in court, your signs must be in the right place and have the right wording.
A 2018 trench collapse in Colorado lead to the death of a construction worker named Rosario “Chayo” Martinez-Lopez. Now, his employer faces manslaughter charges for his death.
Drones have been heavily used by the construction industry in recent years for anything from progress photos, to employee tracking, or calculating the volume of on-site stockpiles. Now, a report from EHS Today says that OSHA plans to employ more drones to conduct site inspections of employer facilities.
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.
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.
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.
In 2017, President Trump signed an executive order expanding the role of apprenticeships in America, in hopes that it would help build the workforce in many skilled trades. In late June, the US Department of Labor (DOL) announced yet another expansion, but this time it left out the construction industry.
I’ve been very fortunate over the course of my relatively short career in construction to spend time focusing on many different aspects of construction. I recently spent about two and a half years working in site development and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) compliance on a national scale and I wanted to share some of the insights that I gained from that experience.
Construction Junkie’s annual Best Construction Podcast Competition is underway for 2019 and the voting booth is officially open. As part of the contest this year, we will be highlighting one of the contest’s nominees each week. This week we highlight The Lien Zone Podcast (TLZ).
The lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedure has been one of the critical elements of electrical safety training on construction sites for a decade. Generally, it’s pretty simple: if you need to work on an energized circuit or piece of equipment, shut down the breaker, put a lock on it so no one can turn it back on, and place a tag on it with your information. OSHA is considering updating the standard now and is currently requesting information from interested parties.
As the United States just recently suffered another tragic and deadly construction incident involving civilians after a crane collapsed in Seattle over the weekend, we’re reminded that the bridge collapse on FIU’s campus in Miami in early 2018 still has many unanswered questions.