Falls from height are the leading cause of fatalities on construction sites by a long shot, as the account for around 40% of deaths. Fall protection training in the classroom can often fall short, because hearing words and learning definitions about fall prevention may not have the same effect as seeing and interacting with fall prevention techniques.
The American Society of Safety Professionals has recently developed an app that uses virtual reality to give construction workers a more interactive experience when learning fall safety. The app, called ASSP VR Fall Protection Experience, follows the ANSI/ASSP Z359 Fall Protection and Fall Restraint standards.
Once inside the virtual fall protection experience, users will navigate a two-story roof and will be asked to identify common fall hazards, such as skylights, anchorage strength, and fall clearance. The entire program only lasts around 3 to 5 minutes.
I really like the idea of virtual reality when it comes to jobsite safety, because it allows companies to quickly and easily put workers in real-life situations that they need to be ready for, without putting them in danger. Being forced to react to situations is a much better learning tool than taking a written test.
There is a bit of a catch with ASSP’s new virtual reality app, though. For only being a 3 to 5 minute experience, the program will cost $500 and will only allow access to the company for 30 days. The companies will also need to own an Oculus Rift VR headset.
It’s a pretty steep price, but could be worth it in the long run if it can help save a life. Below is a video of how the program works:
Multi-employer worksites are extremely common in the construction industry, but they can still make work extremely complicated. One of those complications results when a subcontractor receives a governmental violation, such as an OSHA violation. As a controlling employer on the site, can a general contractor be held responsible for safety hazards of a subcontractor? One court says yes.
After an abundance of delays on rule that would require crane operators to be formally qualified to operate, OSHA finally landed on an effective date of February 7, 2019. After receiving feedback from industry partners, OSHA has decided to delay enforcement for 60 days for contractors who make a “good faith effort” to comply.
As has been expected for a few months now, OSHA has officially removed the requirement for large companies with 250 or more employees to submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301. The administration cited privacy concerns as the reason for the change.
Be careful - owners and contractors are now being held criminally liable for their carelessness and disregard of safety protocols.
Since the 2016 Federal budget was passed, OSHA has increased their maximum citation penalty amount to adjust for inflation on a yearly basis. The 2019 increase has recently been announced.
Last November, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced felonious assault charges against a contractor’s superintendent and a manufacturer’s branch manager after two men suffered horrific injuries on a New York jobsite. Last week, OSHA formally announced citations against the St. Louis, Missouri based contractor.
After an uptick in construction industry fatalities in 2016, a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that both the amount of construction worker deaths and the rate of fatality dropped in 2017.
At the National Safety Council Congress & Expo on October 23, 2018, OSHA’s deputy director of Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, announced their 10 most frequesntly cited safety violations for their fiscal year 2018.
On March 15, 2018, 6 people were killed and 8 others were injured when an under construction pedestrian bridge collapsed in Florida. Several months later, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released their preliminary report while conducting an official investigation. The NTSB later issued an “Investigative Update” to their preliminary report in August. In Mid-November, the NTSB released a 2nd investigative update, narrowing their root cause theories.