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Articles Tagged with construction accident

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Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industryThe Fourth National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction kicked off Yesterday and will take place everyday this week in New York and all over the country. Employers in the construction industry are invited by OSHA, NIOSH and NORA to take a break and conduct a discussion or a workshop on fall prevention with their workers.

52 workers fatally fell on the job in New York during the recent construction boom. (see previous blog). Fall are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. They account for 37% of all deaths on construction sites. More than half of these fatal falls occurred in small companies that have 10 employees or less. Construction workers aged 45 to 54 years old are the most at risk of dying in a fall.

Last year in the US, 350 hard hats suffered a fatal fall. 1 out of 3 fefalling from ladders preventionll from 15 feet or less and 1 out of 4 fell from a ladder.  Construction workers may have a false sense of security when using a ladder because it is “not that high” but if they are not using them safely they can get killed. Falls from ladders can be prevented by following safe work practices described below.

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Since 2011, 52 construction workers fell to their death in New York City. In its recently published First Quarter Report, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is highlighting how the surge in work permits over the last few years is correlated to the high number of fatal falls especially in Manhattan.

Fatal falls in NYC and residential permits issued over the last 6 years
New York City is not the only location affected by a rise in fall fatalities. All over the U.S. as the economy picked up, more construction workers lost their lives on the job. According to recent statistics, 985 construction workers died in 2015. Among them 367 fell to their death.

Ahead of  the 4th Annual National Stand-Down to prevent falls in the construction industry, the CPWR decided to focus its 2017 first quarter report solely on fatal and non fatal falls in the construction industry. The report illustrates how economic ups and downs since the beginning of 2000 affected employment in the construction industry.  It points out the higher volatility in employment for Hispanic workers As of last year Hispanic workers were representing 30% of the construction workers population while in 2003 when the economy was slower they were representing 2.1%. The number of fatalities in construction sites is also highly correlated to the pace of the economy with the number of fall fatalities usually rising faster during an economic recovery. Again Hispanic workers are the most at risk of dying in a fall on a construction site.

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Radio-AntennasConstruction workers exposed to radio-frequency (RF) radiation may suffer personal injury such as blindness and sterility. Construction workers who are wearing pacemakers and other medical devices should also be aware that electromagnetic signals could cause their devices to malfunction. Additionally  recent research has found it possible that such radiation may also be carcinogenic to humans. The long term effects of exposures to radio-frequency radiation is still being studied.  Roofers or construction workers who are performing tasks on sides of buildings or near news gathering trucks are the most at risk of exposure to hazardous level of RF radiation.

In recent years the proliferation of cellular antennas and other devices transmitting electromagnetic signals has lead to health concerns about the danger of potentially harmful exposure to radio frequency signals. In 2014, the National Roofing Contractors Association in association with the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers  worked with the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) to reduce the illnesses and injuries in the roofing industry. They created together the Roofing r2p Partnership. This new partnership soon raised concern about the emerging hazard caused by the proliferation of RF antennas and the potential risks faced by construction workers in the roofing industry. As a result, a program was developed by the Roofing r2p Partnership* and the multi-trade labor-management RF Radiation Work Group* to raise awareness about the potential risks of RF radiation.

You can learn more about the new Radio-frequency (RF) Radiation Awareness Program for the Construction Industry in a free webinar that will be hosted by the CPWR on Tuesday April 25th at 2;00 pm ET. During this 45 minutes webinar participants will learn more about the hazard of RF radiation exposure and how workers can be trained to prevent such exposures using the newly developed Radio-frequency (RF) Radiation Awareness Program for the Construction Industry. Click here to register for this webinar. 

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Falls_Are_Leading_Cause_of_Death_Map_InfographicEvery year more than 200 construction workers die and around 10,000 are seriously injured after falling on the job in the US. Falls are the number one cause of death in construction accidents. Most of them are preventable. Planning ahead, using proper equipment and being trained for the job are key to prevent falls from scaffolds, roofs or ladders.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Construction Sector Council are joining forces to organize the fourth National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.

This awareness campaign will take place all over the Country from May 8th to May 12th. Construction companies as well as contractors and their employees are invited to halt regular activities and organize a workshop to develop awareness on safety measures to prevent falls on construction sites. 

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OSHA logoWorkers especially construction workers may have a higher risk of getting injured on the job if the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) decides to definitely stop releasing enforcement news.  According to a recent article in Fair Warning, OSHA hasn’t published any enforcement press releases since Inauguration Day.

Because OSHA doesn’t have enough inspectors to cover all US workplaces, news releases related to penalties and enforcement of workplace safety are a powerful tool to prevent employers from committing safety violations. Usually the agency releases between 30 and 50 of  these type of announcements every month.  It has been a month and half since Trump was installed as the American President and not one single enforcement news has been released by OSHA. The same happened to the Wage and Hour division of the Labor Department which was previously releasing news on back wages paid to employees. Fair Warning contacted both OSHA and “Wage and Hour” to ask them about this six weeks period of silence but none of them replied.  Despite news releases being halted officials at the Labor Department have confirmed that OSHA inspections are still going on. An explanation for this silence may be the still ongoing and longer than usual transition at the Top of  the Labor Department. However looking at the past, never has such an interruption of news releases occurred during a change of presidency at the White House.

The policy of the Trump administration to fail to release enforcement news regarding unsafe work conditions is clear evidence that the Trump administration is not following through on campaign promises to protect the average middle class worker. Additional efforts to scale back or to delay workplace regulations are under way.  For example two days ago,  the Labor Department just proposed to delay a regulation aimed at protecting construction workers from beryllium, a toxic metal. Things are only going to get worse as evidenced by the proposed cuts for the EPA.

 

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CPWR logoFalls are the number one cause of death among construction workers. Most of them are preventable. Every year, The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are joining forces to launch a national construction fall prevention campaign. They are now getting ready for the 2017 Safety Stand-Down. If you want  to learn more about this campaign and hear about the results of the previous fall prevention campaigns you are welcome to join a free webinar. During this webinar, leaders from the CPWR, NIOSH and OSHA will review the past campaigns and present their plans for 2017. The webinar will be held Wednesday March 1st at 2:00 pm. If you would like to register please click here.

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Near Missed event visualized with BMI20% of  the workers who die at work are construction workers but they represent only 4% of the employed workforce in the US. Hard hats are among the workers that have the most risk of being injured or even dying on the job. Sadly, most of these accidents are preventable.

As technology develops, the construction industry has been relying more and more on Building Information Modeling (BIM) to develop its projects. BIM is used throughout the life cycle of a construction project to digitally monitor the design, the plan and the construction itself. BIM can also be used for safety management.

A recent short study published by the Center For Construction Research and Training shows how “near miss accidents” can be visualized in Building Information Modeling.  The authors of the study are Dr Eric Marks and Xu Chen from the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama.  Dr Eric Marks recently hosted a free 30 min CPWR Webinar on this subject. The webinar can be seen here.

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Construction worker helpin another one to set up safety harness

Picture source: Wikipedia. Photos taken on residential construction sites which use fall arrest systems

Construction workers have a higher risk of accidents than many other workers in other industries. According to the most recent census of fatal occupational injuries, 611 workers died in construction accidents in the US in 2014. It is the highest number of construction worker deaths since 2009.

Most studies about construction workers safety present the management perspective. In a recently published study, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) focuses on workers perception.

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As the construction industry is booming again, immigrant construction workers are facing increased risks of exploitation. In a recent article in the Globe, Beth Healy and Megane Woolhouse investigate the practices of greedy contractors looking for cheap labor.

Immigrants sometimes very young are being hired illegally by contractors. They are paid cash below the minimum wage. They have no insurance. If they are injured on the job, they are often pressured not to report their injury.  15 year old Luis Mayancela fell two stories from a roof. He broke his leg. His contractor didn’t even called an ambulance. A co-worker drove him to the Emergency Room. After the accident, his boss denied all responsibility.

Because they are illegal, injured construction workers often fear retaliation and are pressured not to report their injuries. In their investigation, Healy and Woolhouse denounce industry practices that routinely exploit immigrant workers. Because many of them do not speak English well and are unfamiliar with their rights they often don’t even have a written agreement with their employers.

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construction sitePromoting safety culture not only reduces the risk of accidents at construction sites but also impacts other business aspects such as productivity and competitiveness. Large construction firms understand this concept and apply it in their day to day business while small construction firms are still lagging behind.

A recent survey by the Center for Construction Research and Training looks at the difference in safety culture and safety management between small and large companies.

Small firms with 1 to 9 employees represent a little more than 10% of the construction firms. Those with over 500 employees represent approximately 20% of them. Construction firms with 10 to 49 employees represent the biggest part, around 30% of construction firms.  Small firms usually work on low-rise commercial and residential projects while larger ones work on high rise and industrial projects.