Forklifts and the Hazards of Loading and Unloading

On almost every substantial construction project, forklifts are used to move materials and these workhorses require careful safety precautions – The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in the United States, nearly 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 are seriously injured in forklift-related incidents each year. Loading and unloading materials is of particular concern ... [Continue Reading]

Who’s in Charge? OSHA’s Requirements for the Competent Person

When an OSHA inspector visits a site, one of his first questions is, “Who’s in charge?” Inspectors may or may not use the term “competent person,” but the term competent person is used in many OSHA standards and documents. As we reported early last year, usually this person is the supervisor or superintendent, but it also might be the foreman or another employee. It is ... [Continue Reading]

The Latest: OSHA’s Top 10 Violations for 2015

The largest gathering of safety professionals met recently at the National Safety Council’s Congress and Expo, and the take-aways underscored the importance pursuing excellence in construction safety. Of particular note is the most recent data on OHSA’s Top 10 violations for 2015. Fall protection leads the list, as it does every year, but there are important safety hazards ... [Continue Reading]

Self-Retracting Lifelines, Laynards and Fall Protection

Self-retracting lifelines for fall protection have come a long way in terms of becoming more efficient and light-weight—but the basic principles of testing and maintenance for these important tools remain the cornerstone for fall protection. As OSHA apply says, “Of uppermost importance is the reduction in strength caused by certain tie-offs (such as using knots, tying around ... [Continue Reading]

Nail Gun Safety: Best Practices for Accident Prevention

Nail guns, a common staple in most commercial construction jobs, are both a boon to productivity and a common safety hazard. As OHSA reports, nail gun injuries are too common. Injuries resulting from use of nail guns hospitalize more construction workers than any other tool-related injury. One study found that 2 out of 5 carpenter apprentices experienced a nail gun injury ... [Continue Reading]

Recordkeeping: A Necessary Task

For all commercial construction projects, keeping up with safety recordkeeping is a necessary administrative task. A solid recordkeeping process can make the difference when accidents happen. As we reported earlier this year, OSHA has specific guidelines to maintain this process. OSHA’s definition of work-related injuries are those in which an event or exposure in the work ... [Continue Reading]

New Whistleblower Complaints Policies

  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued policies and procedures* for applying a new process for resolving whistleblower disputes. The new process is an early resolution process that is to be used as part of a regional Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program. The ADR program offers whistleblower parties the opportunity to negotiate a ... [Continue Reading]

The Specifics of Scaffolding Safety Measures

OSHA estimates 2.3 million construction workers, or 65 percent of the construction industry, frequently work on scaffolds. The importance of safety measures specifically for scaffolding are clear, “Protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths every year, at a savings for American employers of $90 million in workdays not ... [Continue Reading]

Underground Utilities: The Hidden Dangers

Examples of construction accidents involving underground utility pipelines are unfortunately not difficult to find. In one such incident, a cable company struck a high-pressure, plastic gas service pipeline, resulting in a natural gas leak. Approximately 40 minutes later, while utility workers and emergency response personnel were assessing the situation, an explosion occurred ... [Continue Reading]

Safety Audits Make the Difference

On some level, construction safety audits are about common sense, however the consequences of poor safety management can not only be expensive, but life-threatening. As Jay Stephan, a safety manager for Diversified Safety Services, aptly said, “Unfortunately, the most frequent of violations occur when workers are not using fall protection at heights.” A typical safety audit ... [Continue Reading]