Project managers and supervisors are responsible for keeping their employees safe and the court system has recently shown that they take that responsibility very seriously. When supervisors act in a negligent manner and people get hurt or killed, they should be held liable.
In 2015, an owner of a construction company and a project manager were sentenced to 2 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after a 36 year old worker was killed by a trench collapse. Last year, a foreman was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment and was sentenced to 1-3 years in prison after another trench collapsed that killed a worker.
Just last week, an Encino, California man was sentenced to 6 months in county jail and 18-months of supervised release after an excavation collapse killed one of his employees, according to the Ventura County Star. The project manager, who was acting as an unlicensed contractor at the time, faced a prison term of up to 4 years. The man was officially charged with involuntary manslaughter and causing the death of an employee from violating a health or safety standard in July of this year.
The 48-year-old victim died from asphyxia by chest compression while working on a trench during a retaining wall installation. The actual incident happened on September 15, 2011.
Bottom line is: if you’re a supervisor, you should never allow your employees to work in an unsafe excavation and if you’re an employee, you should never think you’re safe in an excavation that is not sloped, shored, or benched. 2016 saw a sharp spike in the amount of trench collapse deaths, more than doubling that of 2015, so there’s still plenty that needs to be done . There are plenty of tools and resources available that explain how to dig a safe excavation, as well.
Full story: Encino man sentenced in death at construction site | Ventura County Star
For nearly 3 years, an update to the overtime pay rule was held up in court battles, but we may finally have a resolution. The update sought to increase the minimum salary threshold of workers that are exempt from being paid overtime pay for any overs worked over the traditional 40 hour work week.
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.