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.
The Santa Barbara County Fire Department reported via a Facebook post that one of the men was transported to the hospital with minor injuries and the second was treated and released on scene. Both men were pulled out of the rubble by co-workers in the area.
It’s not known what caused the collapse, but vertical rebar is not visible in the picture below.
It’s interesting to note that the scaffold seems to be on the opposite side of the wall where the blocks fell. Assuming that the men who were trapped were not on the scaffold, they would have been inside what should have been the limited access zone, where no employees should be permitted. Once masonry walls reach 8 feet tall, which they do not appear to be in the picture, the walls should be braced to prevent overturn and collapse.
County inspectors and California OSHA have been notified of the accident and the cause of the collapse is under investigation.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of 3 different drills manufactured by Black & Decker due to safety concerns.
Just over a year ago, in September of 2017, Hurricane Irma blew through Miami, Florida, bringing extremely high speed wind with it. The wind caused 3 cranes to collapse in southern Florida, 2 in downtown Miami and 1 more in Ft. Lauderdale. Interesting video of the dismantling of one of the failed cranes was shared on Youtube.
In September of 2017, OSHA’s new standard on exposure to respirable crystalline silica went into effect in the construction industry. The rule lowered the allowable exposure to the harmful substance to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, a measurement that we’re all familiar with [/sarcasm]. After a full year of enforcement, OSHA is considering making a change to the rule.
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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.