Thursday, March 27, 2008

Two More Crane Failure Fatalities

During the past three days, there have been two more construction crane incidents that resulted in fatalities.

The first was a Tower Crane on a multi-story condo project in the Miami,FL area. According to news reports, while attempting to raise the tower to insert the tower section into the self-jacking tower, somehow, the new section dropped down and struck and killed one worker and injured several more.

The other was in Michigan where a crane fell, also killing at least one worker. I don't have details on this incident.

Whether having details on all these crane incidents or not, it is VERY evident that proper safety procedures have not been followed. Cranes have many, many fail safe safety procedures that, if followed, these incidents will not occur. This is just plain Horse Sense not being applied.

Of course, I suppose, there COULD be miniscule POSSIBILIIES that metal fatigue, or other far out chances that would cause a similar incident.

I urge all management, supervisors, and workers performing crane assembly, crane break-down work, rigging lifts, etc. to Use Horse Sense to follow all safety procedures to the letter.

I like to use the phrase, "Put Your Mind Into Gear, Before Putting Yourself Into Action!" So, Please, get it in gear!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hattiesburg Trench Collapse

OSHA Standard: 1926.652(a)(1)

The above noted OSHA Standard states that “Each employee in an excavation shall be protected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system …”

All too often we hear via media outlets, Newspapers, Radio and TV, that another person, or more than one person, has perished as the result of an excavation collapse. Failure to provide adequate protective systems for excavation work is the number one cause of OSHA citations in recent years.

There again is the fact that contractors are not taking the extra few cents to provide proper protection instead of the high dollar cost of worker fatalities in performing excavation work. Each contractor should have a Competent Person who is experienced in soil classification, ways to slope or step excavations over 4 feet in depth.

The workers in the Hattiesburg incident, according to media sources, were in an approximately 8 foot deep trench. Workers should be advised that they have the authority to refuse to enter an excavation unless the excavation is adequately prepared with adequate collapse protection.

I don’t know, off hand, what the ranking for excavation injuries and fatalities relates to overall types of work, but I know that it has to rate very highly.

Note the typical unsafe trenching protection in the photo below. The worker appears to be working in at least a 6 foot deep trench. Also, it appears the parts of the trench are at a depth lower than that. Another perilous thing is that the excavated materials are stacked more than two feet away from the top of the trench. It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to learn dangerous things about an excavation just by observing the area and Horse Sense review of the area, soils, etc.

This photo courtesy of OSHA Training data.

Think – Are the excavation sides secured from collapsing?

Think – Are stockpiles of excavated materials far enough from the sides?

Think – Is the soil in the excavation wet from ground or rain water?

Think – Is this job worth the loss of my life and my income for my family if I refuse to enter this excavation and get fired?

Think – The Horse Sense Way

New York Crane Incident

OSHA Standards 1926.550(c)(5) Hammerhead Tower Cranes & 1926.251(1)(5) and (6) Rigging Equipment for Material Handling

The recent crane incident in New York City has received quite a bit of Newspaper and Television media coverage, especially since there were several fatalities caused by that situation. The media coverage indicated two major POSSIBLE causes of this incident. Number 1 was that a falling beam severed one of the tower crane’s anchor points causing the crane to topple and collapse. Number 2 was that a City Inspector was fired because the crane had not been properly inspected prior to beginning work. Either could have been the contributing factor that caused such incident

The OSHA Standard under the Hammerhead tower cranes, paragraph 5 states that “All hammerhead tower cranes in use SHALL meet the applicable requirements for design, construction, INSPECTION, and operating as prescribed by the manufacturer,”

If this report was correct that the Inspector had failed to properly inspect the crane’s installation, this person could have possibly prevented the incident.

The OSHA Standard under Materials Handling, Storage, Use and Disposal states that “(1)Rigging equipment for material handling shall be inspected prior to use on each shift and as necessary during its use to ensure that it is safe…” (5) Scope. This section applies to slings used in conjunction with other material handling equipment for the movement of material by hoisting, in employments covered by this part… and (6) Inspections. Each day before being used, the sling and all fastenings and attachments shall be inspected for damage or defects by a competent person designated by the employer. Additional inspections shall be performed during sling use, where service conditions warrant. Damaged or defective slings shall be immediately removed from service.”

It is quite possible that there will be more evidence found upon closer inspection of the crane that other factors may be proved to be the cause of this incident. I hesitate to use the word “Accident” in a case like this as “very few accidents just happen,” as most all incidents are “Caused.”

What I am leading up to is the fact that, on each job site, and in making lifts with cranes and rigging, each item MUST be CONSTANTLY watched to assure that each element of the equipment used is executed in the safest way possible.

Think – Safe Way Think – Safe Equipment

Think the Horse Sense Way

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Horse Sense Safety

Eye and Face Protection

OSHA Standard 1926.102

Employees SHALL be provided with eye and face protection equipment when machines or operations present potential eye or face injury from physical, chemical or radiation agents. Protection equipment REQUIRED by this Part SHALL meet the requirements specified in ANSI, Z87.1.

Protection equipment SHALL be kept clean and in good repair. The use of this type equipment with structural or optical defects SHALL be PROHIBITED.

The above notes are excerpts of “Official” Requirements for protecting eyes and face from injuries or blindness. Though not the complete part of this standard, I wish to draw attention to the use of eye glasses and goggles in particular.

The Horse Sense way, falls right in line with the Standards in the safe performance of the workers’ duties and is completely opposite to the “Donkey” way. Some workers that I’ve seen will come on the job site with a pair of sunglasses off the drug store rack that look “COOL.” But they do not meet the ANSI Standards. These drugstore glasses do not protect the person’s eyes in the event of a foreign item flying into the glasses.

I’ve known of so many totally irrational statements made by workers that have received eye injuries that they “Thought” their glasses met required standards. Then, when checking reports of Safety Meetings, each one has signed off on a Safety Meeting Report that they have been instructed on the use and proper type of glasses to be worn on the site, then fail to use the correct type.

One of the most abused standards is the use of “Sunglasses” off the discount store or drugstore racks that do not have properly tinted lenses, and are eyeglass type, not goggle type glasses. Then, they start to do acetylene burning or welding operations. The eyeglass type do not protect the eyes or face from hot slag from flying behind the glasses into the workers eye or face. Also, these sunglasses do not have the proper fit, protection, durability, or the radiant energy protection required to meet the Standards.

Several times when holding safety meetings, I speak to the workers on the jobsite about the proper type glasses for different operations they are involved in. Then, I ask each person to close their eyes tightly and keep them closed until I told them to open them. Then I’d ask them several questions such as: What color shirt do I have on? What is the color or their jacket? What is the color of their spouses or children’s eyes? Of course, this will usually get them to thinking about the Horse Sense Way of protecting their eyes.

Think the Safe Way, protect eyes and face the Safe Way, use Horse Sense in performing your work safely.