Contact with overhead power lines is a major hazard when working on most construction sites and especially when working from elevated platforms or with heavy machinery.
Between 2008 and 2010, 119 fatalities in the construction industry were caused by contact with overhead powerlines, averaging to about 40 per year, according to The Center for Construction Research and Training. It was also the cause of over half of all fatalities caused by electrocution for non-electricians.
When working from ladders, scaffolds, lifts, or in cranes and other heavy equipment, a minimum of 10 foot clearance should be kept from a high voltage power line providing 300 volts to 50kV. For any voltages over 50kV, 10 feet plus 0.4 inches for each additional kV should be the minimal distance to the line.
A video was recently shared on Facebook by Glen Cook showing the huge amount of power that an arcing powerline can create, backed by huge balls of fire which nearly swallow an entire tree. This could be a great example to show to your teams at your next toolbox talk.
Last Thursday, every construction professional’s worst nightmare happened. Lives were lost, both construction workers and civilians, by way of the catastrophic collapse of FIU’s under construction pedestrian bridge. We shared what we knew as of late Thursday night, but since this is not only a tragedy directly related to construction, but also a huge learning opportunity for the entire industry, I wanted to make sure we continued to follow and update on the story as it develops.
Terrible tragedy struck Florida International University’s (FIU) campus yesterday when a newly installed pedestrian bridge collapsed onto the road below, killing at least 4 and severely injuring many more.
It’s pretty amazing the work that can get done when a lot of resources and money are thrown at one project. Past examples of this include a gigantic sinkhole that was repaired in Japan in just under a week, the complete emergency rebuild of Atlanta’s I-85 overpass that was completed a month ahead of schedule, and this video of 116 excavators working side by side to demolish a 1,640 foot long overpass overnight.
When anyone sees a hard hat, they typically immediate associate it with construction. It’s the ultimate symbol of safety on the job site. We all know we should wear them, but it’s easy to get annoyed with the minor inconvenience that they cause and forget about the extreme consequences that could result if a falling object catches us when we aren’t wearing one.
Cameras are EVERYWHERE these days. They’re on sites documenting the full construction process of your project, they’re on projects taking 360 degree progress footage, and most importantly, they’re in your pocket on your smartphone. Having a camera in your pocket at all times can be a good or bad thing, especially for employers, because not only can it make lives much easier for communication and documentation purposes, but it also gives people the chance to show the world when things go absolutely terribly.
With cranes being on many construction sites, it’s easy for workers to get complacent. Hundreds or thousands of construction materials can be lifted by cranes throughout the project, but all it takes is one time for a disaster to occur.
On Sunday, demolition contractors tried to bring down the upper portion of the Pontiac Silverdome, former home to the Detroit Lions, but several of the explosives didn’t ignite and the structure was still upright after the smoke cleared. After videos of the failed demolition were posted online, the internet had a field day.
Construction timelapse videos make extremely complicated and long projects look much easier to build than they actually are. The recently opened Louvre in Abu Dhabi took 8 years to complete, but you can watch the full process in only 3 minutes.