According to the US Department of Labor (US DOL), the construction industry has the highest rate of current drug users (15.6%) as compared to any other industry in the United States. As the city of New York grapples with trying to reduce their alarming rate of injuries and fatalities on construction sites, the New York chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has proposed that lawmakers add mandatory drug and alcohol testing for construction workers to the law books, according to the New York Daily News.
It should come as no surprise that ABC would be against drug and alcohol use on job sites, as the organization is a founding member of the Construction Coalition for a Drug-and Alcohol- Free Workplace (CCDAFW). In a letter to Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and chair of the buildings committee, Jumaane Williams, ABC New York President Brian Sampson wrote, “The reality is that drugs and alcohol are likely among the leading causes of injury to construction workers. It would be strange to pass worksite safety legislation while ignoring such a major negative factor in the industry.”
ABC NY, an advocate group for merit shop contractors, is battling against primarily union groups on this and several other issues. Gary LaBarbera, president of the NYC Building and Construction Trades Council sees the drug testing proposal as a way to punish the workers, telling the NY Daily News that, “This letter is nothing more than a diversionary attempt by irresponsible developers and nonunion contractors to scapegoat workers, shift the blame to victims, and cover up for their own poor safety record which puts profits over worker safety.”
Unfriendly words have also been exchanged through the media about the union’s recent push to require new workers to first pass apprenticeship and training programs, before they could work on buildings over 9 stories tall. A scathing NY Post article called that proposal a “phony push for construction site safety” and ABC NY was happy to post that article on their blog.
While both sides are actively working to increase construction site safety, a clearly noble cause, it seems as though the battle between union and non-union is getting in the way. As construction workers are dying on the job site, now is probably a good time to quit playing politics and start working together for a common good.
Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean and landed in South Florida a little over a week ago, sadly killing at least 50 people in Florida and causing plenty of property damage. High winds that accompanied the storm also caused the collapse of 3 construction cranes – two in Miami and one more in Fort Lauderdale. The crane in Fort Lauderdale was recently dismantled and the action was caught on video.
Video feeds on a construction site are not only great for timelapse videos, they can potentially help stop intruders who enter your site.
As if the high winds and heavy rains weren’t enough of a safety hazard for the people of Florida, citizens who are staying in the area also need to be concerned about the dozens of tower cranes that are still erected throughout downtown.
In June, we shared that OSHA was planning to extend the deadline for crane operator certification requirements until November 10, 2018. Last week, on August 30, OSHA made that official and issues a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) has formally been around since 1982, when the first site was approved for the program. In short, the VPP is a partnership between OSHA, Management of the Employer, and laborers, with the intent of making jobsites safer for everyone involved. Employers seeking to participate in the VPP must first apply to the program and then undergo a “rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals” in order to be accepted.
Two construction workers in Santa Barbara, California, both in their 20’s, were injured during the installation of a CMU retaining wall when it partially collapsed on Monday.
Falls from height is one of the leading causes of death among construction workers and ladders are a major contributor to that number. According to the CDC, falls from ladders caused 64 fatalities and 11,500 injuries in the construction industry alone in 2011. There are many things ladder users can do to make their work safer, like setting it at proper angles on level ground, checking for damage, and maintaining 3 points of contact, among others. One technology company is trying to take some of the thinking out of ladder set up.
Tool box safety talks are super important, but sometimes they can be pretty dry. In order to keep people engaged and committed to jobsite safety, sometimes you have to mix it up a little bit. A construction company in New Zealand has an aspiring rapper on their team and they decided to enlist his help for a safety talk and it’s pretty entertaining. This company isn’t the first company to use rap music to send a message, as Caterpillar also released a rap about their bulldozers.
Communication is key to a safe and productive construction environment. One of the biggest challenges of effective communication on job sites is the complexity and size of the project, which inhibits being able to contact the correct people in a timely manner. Tracking devices have been a hot button issue in construction news for the last few years. Some examples include RFID tag sensors in hard hats, such as the one being used on certain job sites in Washington DC and time sheet applications, which allow employers to track their employee’s locations using the GPS on their phone’s or tablets.
Construction crews in Parma, Idaho were busy working onmulti-story onion shed, when the under construction structure collapsed, sending some that were on the roof down with it. 14 crew members were either on the structure or around it at the time of collapse, but 6 of them were transported to the hospital. First responders on the scene explained that it was lucky that only 6 were injured.