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.
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.
Last July, a 13 story building in Miami Beach that undergoing a demolition suddenly fell, amid odd circumstances, and flying debris fatally injured one of the contractor’s project managers. Now, the family of the man killed is filing lawsuits against all parties involved with the demolition, calling it “illegal” and “reckless.”
Construction is hard work and those working hard for your company should be paid in full and on-time for all hours worked. Cash flow can certainly complicate things for contractors, as pay draws can be delayed for various reasons, but cheating workers out of money is not only unscrupulous, but is gaining attention from government agencies.
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.
Be careful - owners and contractors are now being held criminally liable for their carelessness and disregard of safety protocols.
Last November, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced felonious assault charges against a contractor’s superintendent and a manufacturer’s branch manager after two men suffered horrific injuries on a New York jobsite. Last week, OSHA formally announced citations against the St. Louis, Missouri based contractor.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr strikes again on his hard stance against corruption and safety negligence in the construction industry. A Few weeks ago, he announced assault charges against a superintendent and a manager after 2 construction workers were seriously injured on a jobsite. In 2016, he successfully convicted a construction foreman of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment after a laborer was killed in a trench collapse that he was overseeing. Just last week, Vance announced charges against formers Turner Construction and Bloomberg LP executives in a $15M bid-rigging and commercial bribery conspiracy.
In September of 2017, OSHA’s new standard on exposure to respirable crystalline silica went into effect in the construction industry. The rule lowered the allowable exposure to the harmful substance to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, a measurement that we’re all familiar with [/sarcasm]. After a full year of enforcement, OSHA is considering making a change to the rule.