First announced in January 2017, OSHA’s new beryllium exposure limit for construction workers was originally supposed to be in full effect on March 12, 2018. The administration just announced last Friday that the new enforcement date for the rule will be May 11, 2018.
Previously, OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1926.1124 stated that the 8-hour permissible exposure limit (PEL) to Beryllium was 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter, but the new rule lowers the PEL to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter. The new rule also established a short term exposure limit (STEL) of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter over a 15 minute period.
OSHA estimates that around 11,500 construction workers are exposed to beryllium on jobsites throughout the country, mostly through coal slag, which is commonly used in abrasive sandblasting. Like other respirable particulates found in construction, beryllium has been linked to a lung disease, specifically chronic beryllium disease. The disease kills around 100 people each year.
General Industry and Shipyard Industry are also being affected by the final rule. Until OSHA begins enforcing the rule on May 11, the group states that “in the interim, if an employer fails to meet the new PEL or STEL, OSHA will inform the employer of the exposure levels and offer assistance to assure understanding and compliance.”
The lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedure has been one of the critical elements of electrical safety training on construction sites for a decade. Generally, it’s pretty simple: if you need to work on an energized circuit or piece of equipment, shut down the breaker, put a lock on it so no one can turn it back on, and place a tag on it with your information. OSHA is considering updating the standard now and is currently requesting information from interested parties.
As the United States just recently suffered another tragic and deadly construction incident involving civilians after a crane collapsed in Seattle over the weekend, we’re reminded that the bridge collapse on FIU’s campus in Miami in early 2018 still has many unanswered questions.
For the past 3 years, Seattle, Washington has had the most construction cranes out of any United States city. But, as we know, from various videos and news stories, a crane collapse can have absolutely devastating consequences. On Saturday, a crane collapsed in downtown Seattle onto an open road below, killing two construction workers, 2 pedestrians, and injuring several others in the process.
All trench collapse deaths are preventable. As soon as everyone on a job site starts believing that we might actually make some progress. In just the past 10 days, there have been 4 trench collapse deaths across 3 separate incidents, further highlighting how far we still need to go.
Falls on the jobsite is the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in construction. Keeping up with housekeeping on your site is a great way to reduce risks of falls, but other protections, like rebar caps should be installed when rebar is exposed. A young construction worker recently found out the hard way what happens when rebar is left exposed.
On April 3, a congressional appropriations hearing was held to discuss the U.S. Department of Labor’s Federal funding for fiscal year 2020. During the hearing, the secretary of Labor, R. Alexander Acosta, told the committee how OSHA plans to spend their budget and how the agency fared in the previous year.
Safety training in the construction industry is necessary to build worker awareness – not to mention that it’s legally required – but it can be extremely time consuming and expensive to have completed. There are many companies out there looking to make money off of keeping workers safe, which is why it’s great when a company offers training free of charge, like Procore’s Safety Qualified program.
Cranes collapsing on-site are serious business, especially since many of them resulted in the loss of life. A recent crane collapse on a construction site in Alpharetta, GA was caught on camera after it caught fire, but luckily no one was injured.