The construction industry has never been one to freely share information without charging a fee. That’s changed slightly recently, with some major players willing to provide useful tools and information to help us become better. For instance, we recently shared that Procore has released hundreds of free continuing education courses on their education platform. Another useful site we’ve found recently has shared dozens of toolbox talks to help your team on the jobsite learn about safety.
Toolbox Talks are an extremely important part of running an effective safety program. Many large companies have the resources to put together their own safety program and run formal toolbox talks on a daily or weekly basis, but there are many contactors that could use some help building their safety program.
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) currently has 55 free Toolbox Talks available for download in both English and Spanish. CPWR states that they have worked together with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to include case studies, discussion questions, and site-specific actions.
The talks aren’t meant to take longer than 15 minutes and each one focuses on a specific tool, piece of equipment, or task. Among those available on CPWR’s website are aerial lifts, confined spaces, extension cord safety, extension ladders, and many others.
Link to CPWR’s Toolbox Talks: https://www.cpwr.com/publications/toolbox-talks
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.
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.