It has not been a good few months to use portable toilets on a construction job site. In September, a 28 year old man was run over by a dump truck while using a portable toilet on his job site in Louisiana. A couple months later, another accident involving a portable toilet has happened.
Just last month, another serious injury occurred in North Carolina, when a steel beam fell 5 stories on top of a 38 year old man also using a portable toilet on ground level, according to reports from WRAL. The accident happened around 3:30pm on November 9th at a site which will be the future home of 1.3 million square feet of parking, retail, office, and residential space.
According to police on that day, the man, who worked for the plumbing subcontractor, was transported to a local hospital after sustaining “critical injuries.” The initial report stated that the beam “fell off a building.”
The North Carolina Department of Labor was on site shortly the incident to perform their investigation. There has not been an update on the injured worker’s condition yet.
Below is a picture of the damaged portable toilet:
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Last week, we shared some newly updated Trenching and Excavation safety information from OSHA, which was part of their priority goals for 2018. Those updates included a public service announcement and updated online resources. The administration has just announced the update of their National Emphasis Program (NEP) on trenching and excavation safety, which features a period of education and prevention outreach.
Earlier this year, it was announced that reducing injuries and deaths caused by trenching and excavation collapses would be a priority goal for OSHA in 2018. The administration planned to achieve this through increased inspection rates, public service announcements (PSA), updating online resources, and creating a better public-private partnership. Recently, OSHA made good on their promise to issue PSAs and update their online resources.
In a time where many industry groups are strongly fighting against new regulations of any kind, more than 130 organizations have co-signed a petition for OSHA to establish a national standard for heat protection across many industries.
As other organizations, like the NTSB, are busy analyzing the root cause of the pedestrian bridge collapse that killed 6 people and injured 8 others in Florida in March, OSHA has finished their investigation and issued safety violations to 5 different contractors.
OSHA had to fight hard to finally get its relatively new crystalline silica dust exposure regulations passed, and, once it did, the agency wasted no time enforcing the law. In the regulations first 6 months, OSHA issued 116 violations, but the highest penalty at that point was $9,239. More recently, the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Compliance Division (VOSH) has possibly issued a record citation to a highway contractor, a whopping $304,130 penalty.
Falls from height are the leading cause of fatalities on construction sites by a long shot, as the account for around 40% of deaths. Fall protection training in the classroom can often fall short, because hearing words and learning definitions about fall prevention may not have the same effect as seeing and interacting with fall prevention techniques.
On Monday morning, a 13 story building in Miami Beach that was being prepped for demolition suddenly collapsed, injuring one Project Manager that was struck by debris.