OSHA Re-Launches Campaign Against Fall Hazards in the Workplace
The Fall Prevention Campaign initially was started in 2012 by OSHA and NIOSH. The re-launch of the campaign on April 28, 2013 has more participants and more resources to help with this initiative to prevent construction deaths and injuries from falls. NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D., stated, “The residential construction industry holds an important role in the economic vitality of our nation and the health of this industry is tied to the health of its workers. The re-launch of this campaign demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that contractors and workers stay safe on the job by providing the knowledge and tools they need.”
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR),… Continue reading
CDC Releases Data Showing that Fatality Rates Higher for Offshore Workers
According to a newly released study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offshore oil and gas employees are seven times more likely to die on the job than the average U.S worker. The study covered the time period from 2003 to 2010. The rate of deaths among offshore workers was 27.1 per 100,000 workers, compared to the national average of 3.8 deaths per 100,000.
During the time period studied, there were 128 fatalities among offshore workers. Fifty-one percent of the fatalities were related to transportation, with the majority of those involving helicopter accidents. Poor weather and mechanical failure were the causes in most of the helicopter accidents.… Continue reading
During the summer months of June, July, and August, OSHA is expected to be inspecting residential construction sites throughout Texas primarily for compliance with the fall protection standards. OSHA has been conducting an emphasis program on fall protection as falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Texas is one of the states that has the highest incidence of these types of accidents.
When OSHA visits sites to inspect fall prevention compliance, they will be checking for compliance to all the federal standards. Now is the time to start preparing for the inspections. There are many resources available with information on fall prevention. The OSHA website contains a great deal of information as part of their campaign… Continue reading
In 2010, three young workers at the Haasbach LLC grain storage complex in Mount Carroll, Illinois were sent into a grain bin to “walk down” the corn. The practice is used to help clear clogged drains in grain bins by walking on and using shovels to loosen it. One of the workers was Wyatt Whitebread, only 14 years old, too young to legally work at the job. Wyatt had been at the job for 2 weeks. The other two workers were Will Piper, aged 20 who had been at the job 1 week and Alex Pacas, 19, who had started the job 2 days earlier.
After working for two hours in the bin, their supervisor, Matt Schaffner, without warning, opened… Continue reading
Shortage of Construction Workers Reported Despite Industry Sluggishness
Construction is still down 25 percent from its peak before the recession, and there is a 15.7 percent unemployment rate in the construction industry currently. Yet a survey by the National Association of Home Builders of its members found that there is a growing shortage of labor in certain professions within the industry since June 2012.
For instance, 24 percent of member firms reported a shortage of carpenters for rough work in June 2012. In the current survey, 38 percent of firms report a shortage in that category. In the June 2012 report 71 percent of firms reported no labor shortage. The current survey shows 57 percent of firms saying they… Continue reading
Following two investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Chicago and Pittsburgh, Norfolk Southern Railway Co. was found to have violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act for wrongfully firing three employees who reported workplace injuries. OSHA has ordered the company to pay $1.1 million in damages for the violations. In addition, the company has been ordered to expunge the disciplinary records of the three whistleblowers. The company is also ordered to post a notice regarding employees’ whistleblower protection rights under the FRSA and to train workers on these rights.
One of the employees whose termination OSHA investigated was a crane operator based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The employee reported… Continue reading
Texas Cities Lead the Way in National Construction Growth
According to a report released in January by the Associated General Contractors of America, two metro areas in Texas – Dallas and Houston – had the greatest growth in construction jobs in the nation during the month of December. Houston added the most new jobs with 17,600 new jobs which was a 10 percent increase over December 2011. The Dallas area was the second in the number of new construction jobs in the nation with 8,300 new jobs, which was an 8 percent increase for that area. For the entire state of Texas, construction jobs increased 6 percent with 35,600 new jobs added.
Out of 337 metropolitan areas nationwide, 139… Continue reading
On October 29, a crane 90 feet high above a construction site of what will be the tallest building in New York City when completed, broke from the strong winds of Hurricane Sandy. The crane dangled precariously, and with the high winds and the approaching storm there was no way to secure it. People were evacuated from nearby buildings as a precaution, in case the crane fell from the top of the building. Surrounding streets were closed, electricity turned off, and steam pipes that run under the streets turned off.
The seven block area around the building where Carnegie Hall is also located was evacuated to prevent any casualties in case the damaged crane fell during the storm. The… Continue reading
OSHA Designates October As Hearing Protection Month
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is highlighting the importance of hearing loss prevention during the month of October, which is designated as Protect Your Hearing Month. NIOSH has enlisted a training mannequin named Nick to aid in teaching young people and their families about preventing noise-induced hearing loss, and they even provide instructions for building your own training mannequin.
People are exposed to hazardous noise both in the workplace and in their private lives. Many occupations involve working in noisy environments, and 33% of all people who are exposed to hazardous noise at work will develop noise-related hearing loss as a result of this exposure. A… Continue reading
The Whistleblower Protection Program from OSHA
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has responsibility for enforcement of twenty-one whistleblower statutes which protect employees who report violations of various workplace safety, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws.
Any employee who has been retaliated against by their employer for any protected activity under the whistleblower statutes can file a compliant with OSHA. The law requires that complaints be filed within a certain number of days after the alleged retaliation. The amount of time allowed for filing complaints depends on which law covers a particular violation. Time allowances vary… Continue reading