Construction industry groups are applauding President Donald Trump’s decision to sign a measure that eliminates a rule that would allow OSHA to issue citations for recordkeeping violations up to 5 years old. The previous statute of limitations was 6 months.
The “Volks Rule,” as it was known, took effect in January of this year, after President Obama passed the resolution in December. Both the House and the Senate voted to repeal the rule in March of this year, before Trump also signed the resolution in early April.
Contractors are still required by OSHA to keep injury and illness records for 5 years, based upon current OSHA standards that were not subject to repeal, however.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) issued press releases after the President’s decision to pass the resolution. Both organizations claimed that increasing the statute of limitations on recordkeeping violations would have created a burden of paperwork for contractors, while also failing to improve worker health and safety.
“ABC looks forward to continuing to work with OSHA to develop standards that include real-world input from contractors and accomplish the agency’s important goal of improving jobsite safety without unduly burdening job creators,” said ABC Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs Kristen Swearingen in a press release.
At the National Safety Council Congress & Expo on September 10, 2019, OSHA’s deputy director of Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, announced their preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety violations for their fiscal year 2019.
It’s no secret that the construction workforce is dominated by men, but women are slowly increasing their numbers in recent years as gender barriers continue to be knocked down. With construction jobs expected to continue to grow over the next few years, women will play a significant role in filling job openings.
Construction employers are legally responsible for following and enforcing safety regulations on their jobsites. If caught not abiding by these rules and failing to keep workers safe, an OSHA violation and fine can follow. Recently, however, several contractors are also facing criminal charges following employee deaths on their jobsites.
After causing devastation in the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian worked its way up the U.S. East Coast last week and eventually made its way up to Nova Scotia, Canada as a Category 2 storm. The storm left more than 369,000 without power in the Canadian Region, according to CBC, but also caused a tower crane to buckle and collapse in the city of Halifax.
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.
Almost 18 months ago, an under construction pedestrian bridge on Florida International University’s (FIU) campus collapsed, killing 6 people and injuring another 8. While many investigations have closed, including OSHA’s scathing report, families of victims and survivors have been awaiting the results of civil lawsuits filed against the companies in charge of the projects.
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.
Personal fall protection devices are extremely important to saving lives and preventing injuries due to falls on a jobsite. Half the battle is getting your team to wear harnesses, but when they do, you need to trust that the devices will work when they’re needed. 3M has recently issued an immediate stop use and product recall on two of their fall protection products.