Sunday, July 27, 2008

Trench Deaths Investigations

What takes OSHA so long to investigate a simple Donkey Way death of 3 then 1 workers in Trench Cave-ins?

The article below from Notes that OSHA representatives say that it will take six months to completely investigate two deadly trench cave-ins in Hattiesburg and in Lamar County, MS.

I wrote an article back when the three workers were killed noting that there was not adequate shoring to prevent these cave-ins to protect the workers. This particular incident happened in March of this year.

I can see no reason for OSHA to take 6 months to see that a trench was not properly shored or sloped to prevent cave-ins to protect the workers in the trench. Simple math.... No shoring....No work...Do work....Fatalities in the trench....MAJOR fines....Put company out of business if necessary.

This could have been done with collection of fines within two weeks including all the Government paperwork!

Another thing noted in this article is the fact that one of the contractors has been fined a total of $479,628 from 1999 to 2005. Why is this company still in business. OSHA's probe should be into why these incidents take so long to make it through their paper trails while these construction companies are still in business while exposing more workers to their Donkey Way of doing business.

OSHA probes continue in fatal cave-ins

Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said investigations of two separate cave-ins in March that led to the deaths of four workers are continuing.

Both cave-ins require up to six months to investigate, OSHA officials said.

"It's moved along, but it is incomplete at this time," said Clyde Payne, Mississippi OSHA director, referring to a March 21 trench collapse that killed three American Air Specialists employees.

Payne declined to provide further details.

Leonardo Navarro Diaz, 30, of Sumrall; Brandon Edward Rathbone, 19, of Hattiesburg; and Wayne Dale Kelly, 55, of Columbia; were connecting a sewer line at 223 J.M. Tatum Industrial Drive when a trench collapsed, burying them under eight feet of clay and wet dirt.

The agency is also looking into a second fatal accident involving Hattiesburg-based L&A Contracting Co.

L&A worker Tim Bright, 38, of Petal died March 22 of injuries he suffered in a March 13 ditch collapse at Lois Lane in Lamar County.

Bright and several construction workers had been working in a ditch, building a form to pour concrete on Lois Lane off Sandy Run Road when a ditch wall collapsed on him.

Payne said the investigation is not complete and would take no longer than six months to investigate.

According to OSHA records, the two companies have been fined in the past.

L&A Contracting had a total of 18 violations and was fined $245,828 from 1999 to 2005, according to OSHA records. The company was fined $233,800 for 12 safety violations in 1999.

Meanwhile, OSHA penalized American Air Specialists of Mississippi Inc. in 2003 for using hazardous materials - "boxes and barrels" - that could have caused a construction fall, according to an OSHA inspection document. It was classified as a serious violation. The company paid a $300 penalty. The incident occurred at the same work site where the three workers died.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Deadly Crane Incidents

Cranes Fall, Tip, Break; When Will It End?

Oklahoma, Houston, New York, Miami, Dallas, Illinois, Las Vegas, South Dakota and many more. Reports come across my email every day telling of Construction workers' deaths due to some sort of Crane Incident. All of these so called "Accidents" are not accidents at all, they're uncalled for Incidents and catastrophes that could have been avoided with the use of some simple Horse Sense.

Was the tower crane inspected correctly to assure that all bracing was in place and adequate? Were correct procedures followed while raising a tower crane was being elevated? Was the rotation platform in good condition? Was the ground firm in the crane's set up location adequate to support the outriggers or crane's tracks? Was the crane thoroughly inspected each day, month or year prior to each use? Was the operator adequately trained in the inspection and safe operation of that particular type crane? Were the frictions on that type crane inspected to assure that they would carry the maximum rated load? Were the pendant lines on the lattice boom crane failure tested occasionally? When will Federal OSHA finally produce crane safety standards in a timely manor, or will they take some more years to do this and continue to use 37-year-old standards?

The lack of any or all the question's answers can cause immediate fatalities and property damage by failing to use Horse Sense in the Daily Operation of construction cranes whether they be Tower Cranes, Truck Cranes, Crawler Cranes, Truck Mounted Cranes or Rough Terrain Cranes. Failure to require TRAINED, CERTIFIED and SENSIBLE Crane Operators, Crane Inspectors, Rigging Persons and contractors and owners to use Horse Sense in the operation and inspection of the cranes on their job sites will continue to have the continuous articles written about fatalities caused by crane failures.

Too many construction companies place the relatively few dollars ahead of sacrificing living human beings to be maimed and killed is the total Donkey Way of approaching the problems. The few dollars saved in Donkey maintenance and inspection of cranes is by far less than the loss of lives, damage to property and the cost of their insurance coverage.

Come on folks, let's get the cobwebs out and start crane operator training, inspection, certification, and Horse Sense use of these cranes.

Remember: The Crane Operator has the responsibility to pull or not pull the levers if he/she is not sure of the weight of the load they are lifting as it relates to the lift capacity and stabilization of the crane.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Clean Work Sites Prevent Fall Injuries

The article below from makes Horse Sense to a safer worksite simply by keeping each construction worksite clean and clear of obstruction. I have seen that most worksites that I've been on the Construction Companies go the Donkey Route and simply DO NOT maintain a safe, clutter free site.

If Construction Companies would follow the recommendations of this article by the article, many fall injuries would not occur. Yes, fall protection can and is the cause of many fall incidents.

Construction safety - How to prevent construction falls

July 23, 2008 - 12:14 AM

Alright, it's obvious: construction accidents occur...often. Workers scaling the sides of buildings, hopping about on scaffolding and working in close quarters with heavy machinery are bound to sustain an injury, one way or another. Workers hanging from flimsy or loosely-fitted harnesses are bound to fall. In fact, such falls are the leading cause of death for construction workers. And each year the number of falls that occur at construction work sites increases. But why? And how can such falls be prevented?

In order to lessen such statistics, the Spanish-Language network Telemundo utilized an approach common to many popular sitcoms it's incorporated the issue into the story line of one of its hit television series, Pecados Ajenos. The incorporation was not only an attempt to raise awareness of this safety issue, but also to disseminate relevant information and statistics to the two million Spanish-speaking construction workers who work in the United States (as well as to their friends and family) and to communicate the fact that such falls can be prevented.

So how, exactly, can such falls be prevented? Most obviously, each and every work site should be equipped with adequate fall safety materials (i.e. harnesses, cables, safety nets, and the other materials discussed in previous posts). However, these materials alone are not enough. Simply having the materials isn't going to save a life; they must be hooked up and utilized in the proper manner.

The foreman should be responsible for teaching his employees and crew members exactly how to use such materials; he should act in a way that sets an example for the rest of the crew. By acting in a professional, precautionary manner, he'll set the safety bar high for other workers (pun intended). Seeing the head hauncho implement safety measures and act with caution and care will prompt other workers to follow suite.

Foreman and other leaders can also guide construction workers with 'toolbox talks'. These conversational programs are intended to increase awareness of fall-related issues and to increase awareness of everyday safety planning.

In addition, the worksite should be organized. Ladders, power tools, and other pieces of equipment should be placed in one area and moved only when they need to be used. Placing these objects in a designated spot ensures that workers won't trip or fall over them simply because they weren't aware that they were even there. Also, keeping ladders in one spot ensures that they are moved only when necessary.

Speaking of organized, there should be no tools or other objects scattered about on scaffolding; if it is necessary to hold objects, they should be placed either on the side or the far back of the planks so they're not sitting in the workers' way.

And finally, workers should never goof around or play jokes at the work site. We're not fun-haters here, and we definitely believe in striking a balance between work and play. But come on - is your coworker plunging thirty feet to the ground really worth the laugh you're going to have when he steps on a rubber chicken? We didn't think so...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Two Interesting Crane Articles

Warning! This is quite a long post, but worthwhile.

The two articles below make complete horse sense regarding Crane Safety on construction sites all over the country.

I am in complete agreement that the Old School, Seat of the Pants crane operators have mostly gone by the wayside. Most of the newer cranes today have sophisticated operation systems that require specialty training and healthy, alert operators. I think that Certification and Licensing of Crane Operators, trained on the particular type crane that they are to operate. I also agree that Federal OSHA should require this in ALL states.

Locals mull crane safety

Alayna Wilken - The Daily Iowan

Issue date: 7/22/08 Section: Metro
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Construction accidents in Texas and New York this year grabbed headlines after several people were killed when cranes used in major projects collapsed. In light of such disasters, the question arises whether crane drivers should be certified - a requirement not mandated in Iowa, nor in 34 other states around the country.

Four workers recently died in Houston when a 30-story-tall mobile crane collapsed at an oil refinery.

In March, a crane collapse in New York City killed seven people.

In Adair, Iowa, a crane accident on May 20 also caused a fatality. The crane operator was killed when the crane tipped over while working on an Interstate-80 bridge.

"[Occupation Safety and Health Administration] standards do not require certification," said Mary Bryant, an administrator for Iowa Occupational Safety and Health.

The state Legislature is the only Iowa governmental body that can mandate operating certification.

A June report released by the Center for Construction Research and Training in Silver Spring, Md., compiled data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It found that from 1992-2006, 323 construction workers were killed in 307 crane incidents. Of those 307, 216 of them involved mobile or truck cranes.

Based on those results, the center recommended eight guidelines to be followed in order to avoid injuries and fatalities. It proposed that a national certification program should be implemented to license both crane operators and inspectors.

At one UI construction project, safety issues remain in the foreground: A crane can be seen at the building site of the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.

Stephen Buckman, a UI Facilities Management senior architect, said it is the contractor's responsibility to follow building requirements on the construction site. As owners of the building, the university requires the contractor to abide by building regulations.

"It's our responsibility to make sure the contractor follows general safety guidelines," Buckman said.

McComas-Lacina Construction, 1310 Highland Court, is the contractor constructing the new recreation building and is responsible for workers' safety.

"We feel crane operators should be certified," said Mike Hahn, the president of McComas-Lacina.

He also said all of his crane operators are trained, even if they are not certified.

The company's crane workers are sent to training schools. Hahn said that most Iowa companies that use cranes usually send operators to school for their own liability and peace of mind.

While he is in favor of a state law requiring crane operators to be certified, Hahn feels that a national law is needed in order to standardize all the states' rules.

"How this is going to happen is the big question," he said.

E-mail DI reporter Alayna Wilken at:

Cranes come under increasing scrutiny

Two deficiencies noted in San Diego equipment

July 22, 2008

LAURA EMBRY / Union-Tribune
Robert Jennings of the Tower Crane Task Force (left) and crane technician Matt Finnerty inspected a tower crane last week while Bobby Oulette of H.P. Forming International Inc. operated the crane and lifted thousands of pounds to test the jib.
Tower cranes loom large on San Diego's skyline, hoisting tens of thousands of pounds of material for building skyscrapers and delivering the loads to workers hundreds of feet above the street.

Across the country this year, cranes just like them have fallen and killed 11 people – more than the total for the past decade, crane experts and regulators said.

“If the equipment doesn't work or if people don't operate it right, something will happen and gravity will take over and that crane will come down,” said Brad Closson, president of Craft Forensic Services, a Bonita company that investigates crane accidents.

In San Diego County and California, tower cranes generally have good safety records. There have been no accidents involving the machines in the county for more than a decade, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration said.

However, critical safety measures have been breached, according to a review of Cal-OSHA inspection files. Two tower cranes in downtown San Diego have been cited with “deficiency notices” for major infractions in the past 1½ years, according to the files.

On one crane, sensors designed to stop the machine if it exceeds its lifting capacity were defective. On the other crane, a device that automatically stops the machine in case of an emergency was faulty.

Tower cranes have proliferated downtown and become as much a part of the urban landscape as the gleaming, high-rise condominium and office towers they help build.

Tower cranes

Tower crane collapses across the country have killed 11 people this year.

California has some of the strictest safety requirements in the nation for tower cranes.

Tower cranes generally have good safety records in San Diego County and statewide.

California law mandates that tower cranes be inspected three times before lifting a single load. Private engineers do the first inspection, which includes X-rays and ultrasound tests to detect flaws. A state-certified inspector performs the second review and the agency Cal-OSHA completes the third inspection before issuing an operating permit.

There are 20 tower cranes up throughout the city and 38 countywide, Cal-OSHA said. The giants, which weigh as much as 200 tons and reach heights of nearly 500 feet, are larger than the more commonly seen mobile cranes. On Friday, a mobile crane in Houston toppled and killed four people.

San Diego's most recent notable crane accident involved a mobile crane.

In 2003, the boom of a mobile crane snapped and pulled high-voltage power lines across the intersection of Interstates 5 and 805, closing the merger area for hours during a morning commute.

In March, a 7-ton section of a crane in Miami fell 30 stories. Two people were killed and five were injured.

Also in March, seven people died when a 200-foot crane fell and crushed a building in Manhattan. Two months later, the arm of another New York City crane fell and killed two people.

Tower cranes in California are facing extra scrutiny because of the recent collapses, said Mel Dunn, a Cal-OSHA compliance engineer and head of tower crane inspections for six counties in Southern California, including San Diego.

LAURA EMBRY / Union-Tribune
Tower cranes weigh as much as 200 tons and reach heights of nearly 500 feet. Three tower cranes punctuated the San Diego skyline this month and 20 of them are up throughout the city.
“When there's an accident, it's a wake-up call – let's look a little closer at these things,” Dunn said.

California has some of the nation's most stringent safety requirements for cranes.

The rules were put in place after a crane fell 16 stories in San Francisco's financial district in 1989. The disaster killed five people and prompted state officials to recognize that federal standards for crane safety were weak and outdated.

The resulting Tower Crane Task Force and tougher state regulations mandate comprehensive inspections at critical phases of a crane's use, require operators to be licensed and obligate crane managers to perform safety checks.

Tower cranes are supposed to be inspected three times before the first load is lifted. State-certified inspectors perform two and Cal-OSHA does the third.

“This ensures we have somebody looking at every step of the assembly process,” Dunn said.

Once the cranes are in operation, they must undergo inspections every six months. In between, crane operators are expected to conduct daily checks and more rigorous inspections for every 750 hours of operation.

Despite the safeguards, Cal-OSHA routinely discovers safety violations. “They should be identified and corrected before we get there,” Dunn said. “Our inspections should all note 'no deficiencies,' but that's not the way it is.”

Some deficiencies are so serious that Dunn directs the crane owners to make immediate repairs or face orders to shut down the machines.

That was the case Jan. 23 when Dunn identified an inoperable “dead man” safety control on an H.P. Forming International Inc. tower crane being used at the nine-story Breeza condominium project in Little Italy.

The safety control shuts down a crane in an emergency. It wasn't working on the day Dunn inspected the crane as part of his agency's permit renewal process.

Representatives for H.P. Forming were unavailable to comment on the deficiency that Dunn noted in his report. A spokesman for Intergulf Development Group, the company building the project, said safety flaws are corrected right away.

“When issues relating to safety on the job site come to our attention, they are addressed,” Intergulf spokesman Brian Buchanan said.

A few blocks away on April 4, 2007, Dunn found a faulty safety device for a tower crane being used at the 36-story Bayside at the Embarcadero condominium project. The hoist-limiting device is designed to automatically shut down the crane if it exceeds its lifting capacity.

Dunn directed New Way Structures Inc., the crane's owner, to repair the device within a week.

Caleb Grunseth, project manager for the company, said he doesn't know how long the device had failed. But he thought it couldn't have been out of order for too long because his crane operators regularly conduct inspections.

In fact, he said, it was his crew members that detected the defect on the day of the Cal-OSHA inspection and brought it to Dunn's attention. They made the repairs immediately, he said.

Cal-OSHA's safety and inspection requirements are demanding but important, said Scott Rhodes, tower crane superintendent for Brewer Crane and Rigging in Lakeside. The company rents and assembles tower cranes in Southern California, including three in operation in San Diego and six in Los Angeles.

Complying with safety requirements increase costs, but Rhodes said an accident would be far more costly in penalties for missed deadlines, increased insurance premiums and liability payments.

Tower cranes are built on location and are anchored in 25-foot-deep holes filled with concrete and reinforced with steel rebar.

Once a crane is up, Dunn or another Cal-OSHA inspector spend about six hours looking for loose bolts, cracked welds, rust and problems with fail-safe devices.

Dunn has been an inspector 15 years and is one of five Tower Crane Task Force supervisors who oversee a statewide staff of 15 inspectors. The team inspects about 200 tower cranes annually.

Rarely does Dunn find a crane without any defect. “There are always loose bolts, cracked welds or frayed cables,” he said.

He also has discovered safety systems that are disabled, sometimes crude breaches of a crane's sophisticated fail-safe system. Once, Dunn said, he found a dime wedged into the dead man control.

The switch must be engaged constantly, but the dime allowed the operator to bypass the system.

“We know the tricks and we look for them,” Dunn said.

The safety breaches usually don't result in cranes being shut down or formal citations being issued and fines imposed. When there's a shutdown, the whole construction job comes to a halt or slows significantly, costing the developer potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That's motivation enough for operators to make timely repairs, Dunn said.

Staff researcher Merrie Monteagudo contributed to this report.

David Hasemyer: (619) 542-4583;

LAURA EMBRY / Union-Tribune
Robert Jennings (left) and Matt Finnerty inspected a tower crane on West Ash Street last week.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More Info on Trench Safety

Another Timely Post from

The following article posted by continues to bring forth excellent commentary on Trench Safety.

It seems that lame excuses similar to my previous article on lame excuses for incidents that are fatal or near fatal to construction workers all over the country. I urge each person that reads this article to add extra emphasis on trench work on their work sites.

Trench Collapses are Feared Construction Site Accidents

July 15, 2008 - 12:45 PM
Tags: None

Trench collapses are perhaps some of the most common and feared injury causing hazards of construction work. While some people may believe that only deep trenches have the potential to cause severe injury, severe injury and death may occur in shallow trenches. In Phoenix, Arizona, a 42-year-old construction worker died in a trench collapse while working in a trench that was a mere 6 feet deep. In New York, a worker was killed when an 8 foot trench collapsed. Ultimately, it was found that the construction company had failed to provide protection on the sides of the excavation.

There are great risks with working in trenches. Among the hazards include a high risk of cave in accidents, falls, wall collapses, risks of oxygen depletion, toxic fumes, and water accumulation. Furthermore, a trench collapse does not have to be triggered by the work being done at the time of the collapse. Vibrations from nearby activity can cause the walls of the trench to shake loose. The amount of water in the soil and the consistency of the soil are important factors which contribute to the likelihood of a dangerous trench collapse. OSHA requires protection measures to be in place for workers in trenches. Trench wall protective systems or boxes protect workers while working in excavations or trenches. If these protective measures are not in place, there is an increased risk of side wall collapses or cave-ins. These collapses may cause the worker to be crushed, asphyxiated, suffocated, poisoned, or injured from falling debris.

These accidents are largely preventable. If you or a loved one is injured from a trench collapse, ask to see if these measures were followed. If not, the construction supervisors may be liable for the resulting injuries. First, read, understand, and apply all the applicable safety rules. A construction company failing to comply with these laws is a strong indicator of liability. Second, soil conditions should be evaluated and protective systems should be put in place. Retaining devices should be in place to prevent equipment from failing back into the excavation. It may also be helpful to have an individual trained in trench safety to inspect the site for any failures to comply with the regulations or to see whether any seemingly unnoticeable dangers are present. Furthermore, it is important to test for low oxygen, hazardous fumes, and toxic gases; especially when gasoline engine-driven equipment is running. With the applicable protective measures, the risks associated with working in trenches can be dramatically decreased. If the protective measures are not in place, serious injury or death of the trench worker and liability of the worksite supervisors may occur.

How's Your Attitude?

The following article by Associated Construction Publications is one of the best I've seen regarding excuses from workers and companies who experience Fatal results to workers. This article makes Total Horse Sense to help stop these useless incidents.

6 Fatal Phrases

An Unsafe Attitude Can Lead to Construction-Site Woes

Staff -- Rocky Mountain Construction, 7/14/2008

Self-improvement professionals — from weight-loss experts to exercise gurus to motivational speakers — will tell you that attitude is everything. To make any type of positive change in your life, the change must first begin in yourown mind.

Unfortunately, an unsafe attitude toward workplace practices can have just as much influence on a person's behavior as a positive attitude — except for the worse. A potentially dangerous disregard for safety could lead to a serious workplace accident, especially in the heavy-construction industry.

What follows are six phrases, each reflecting an unsafe attitude that could lead to jobsite accidents.

"Whenever you hear one of these phrases or something similar on the job, you should pay close attention to the situation at hand," said Benjamin Mangan, president and founder of MANCOMM and American Safety Training Inc. These two companies work together to develop and provide Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance products and safety training. "You may be able to stop an accident before it has happened."

"We don't have time."

Investing time in safety training ultimately saves far more time than it loses for companies. Work time is lost whenever an injury or illness occurs, and that employee's expertise is removed from the workplace. If an employee dies because of a workplace accident or illness, surely that is the most tragic loss of all. There's always time to train to work safely.

"I know a shortcut."

People sometimes take shortcuts on the job because they are banking on the fact that nothing bad will happen. But these shortcuts can lead to complex problems.

"Shortcuts can often lead to disaster," Mangan said. "For example, a worker may decide to use too short a ladder to reach the roof of a building because he doesn't want to find and transport a longer one. A ladder should extend three feet beyond the top of a building, so the worker can step off the ladder onto the roof. If the worker uses one that's too short and has to climb up onto the roof, he could experience a nasty fall. On the 2005 list of OSHA's 10 most commonly violated regulations, 'Ladders' was entry No. 10, so one's choice in ladders can be a crucial decision."

"I think this is the right way to do it..."

"In our safety training classes," Mangan said, "we encourage safety professionals from a wide variety of industries to look up regulations whenever they are in doubt about a safety matter. Guessing or believing hearsay is always unwise."

"Regulations don't change that often."

In truth, government regulations change on a fairly regular basis.

"Today's world is constantly changing, and each day brings new advances in technology. These changes are reflected in the regulations," Mangan explained.

Regulations should be considered as works constantly in progress, and it is up to employers to stay updated on the rules that affect their companies, he added.

"We'll fix it later."

No employee should be allowed to work with damaged equipment, whether it is a ladder, a forklift, or even a hammer. A broken part can fly off and injure someone — and in the case of a vehicle, the machine may malfunction or even tip over. Defective items need to be taken out of commission immediately.

"It's not in the budget."

Some people may think regular safety training is an expense that can be delayed or avoided altogether. But if an employee is injured or killed in an accident, the resulting medical expenses and possible OSHA fines would add up to an expense far greater than the cost of training. Safety instruction is always a worthwhile investment.

Ultimately, safety training leads to greater safety awareness and fewer work-related illnesses and accidents, which in turn means lower insurance costs and medical expenditures, as well as happier employees. Also, a decrease in accident-related downtime results in an increase in productivity.

"Some regulations may seem inconvenient or difficult to follow," Mangan said, "but many were created because at some point, a worker experienced an injury that could have been prevented. As a result, a solution to the problem was born. When you observe the regulations, you can avoid major problems and expenses and enjoy a safer workplace."

Story courtesy of MANCOMM and its partner company, American Safety Training Inc. For more, visit

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New York Folk Using Horse Sense

Group Initiating Tower Crane Safety

The story below by Crain's New York is quite interesting regarding a good, Horse Sense, plan to get up to date safety regulations for the area. This is especially timely since it will be 1 to 3 years before Federal OSHA can get approved Standards up to date. There has been no updates on Crane Standards since 1971.

Way to go New York!

Construction industry forms safety group

The New York City Construction Industry Safety Council will establish a tower crane maintenance database that contractors will be able to consult before renting equipment.

July 01. 2008 2:32PM Daniel Massey

Buck Ennis

In the wake of two deadly crane accidents since March, the city’s construction industry on Tuesday announced the formation of an independent organization to promote safety on work sites across the five boroughs.

The 17-member New York City Construction Industry Safety Council will be made up of the city’s largest contractors, the Building and Construction Trades Council of New York, the Real Estate Board of New York and many of the trade associations that represent the construction industry. The council will bring industry leaders together for the first time to share safety procedures and expertise.

"Development cannot take place at the expense of public safety, and it’s going to take the industry’s cooperation to make construction sites safer," acting building commissioner Robert Limandri said in a statement. "The formation of the NYC Construction Industry Safety Council is a step toward that end, and I look forward to real results that raise the safety standards on job sites.”

The new group will be funded by its members, who, so far, have raised $500,000 to get it off the ground.

“We recognize that construction safety isn’t just a story because there was an accident,” said Steven Spinola, president of REBNY. “This is a long-term commitment to safety.”

The creation of the council comes as the city’s Buildings Department is preparing to propose a new series of crane safety regulations that will focus on maintenance and repair records. The City Council is also considering comprehensive construction-safety legislation.

The safety council’s first task will be to establish a tower crane maintenance database that contractors will be able to consult before renting equipment.

“Many of you have heard of the Car Fax system where you can go online and find out the maintenance information on any used car you’re going to buy,” said Louis Coletti, president and chief executive of the Building Trades Employers’ Association. “The concept is the same: a crane system to be able to get up-to-date information on cranes as they are delivered from site to site.”

The group will also research safety practices being used across the country and around the world and urge governmental agencies to adopt safety standards that all contractors should follow. For the first time, the group will bring contractors together to share safety information with each other.

"It used to be that our safety plan is a proprietary plan, my competitors’ safety plans are proprietary plans,” said Daniel Tishman, president and CEO of Tishman Construction Corp. “We’re now prepared to share best practices with each other relative to safety. Safety plans should not be a marketing advantage.”

Monday, July 7, 2008

Scaffolding Standards Reviewed

Scaffolding Safety

The article below by spells out the 1910, General Industry Standards for Scaffolding. The 1926, Construction Standards for Scaffolding are in Subpart L, 1926.450 through 1926.454 and Appendix A through E.

Both standards are very similar, however either standard must be followed by the particular type work (General Industry or Construction) being performed on scaffolding. There are STRICT TRAINING requirements for Erectors and for PERSONS WORKING ON THE SCAFFOLDS. Competent Persons are required to be responsible for the erection, working from and disassembly of all scaffolding. has provide an excellent posting that makes total Horse Sense in the use of scaffolding in both General Industry and Construction Industry workplaces.

Construction Accidents - Scaffolding Safety Requirements

July 07, 2008 - 09:15 AM
Category: Workplace Injuries
Tags: construction, sites, accidents, scaffolding, osha, iosh
Posted by: Steve Lombardi

Two more workers have been injured on the construction site of the new K-8 school building under construction in Shenandoah. IOSH (Iowa's version of OSHA) and OSHA will investigate. Radio Iowa reports this is the second accident in which workers have been injured. In this most recent incident some scaffolding collapsed.

Whatever company is the general contractor needs to take charge and enforce safety rules for the protection of the workers. OSHA has specific rules to follow for scaffolding. Here are some general rules to follow when using scaffolding:

General Rules for scaffolding use:

- The wheels must be locked and rigid before climbing on the scaffolding.

- Persons using the scaffolding keep their center of gravity above the scaffolding.

- Scaffolding shall not be moved with someone on it.

- Scaffolding construction shall include all pins, braces and bolts.

- Planks and walk boards shall always be at least 36 inches below the top of the scaffolding.

- People shall not work below or in the fall-zone of the scaffolding.

- The “steps” on the side of the scaffolding shall be in a line.

OSHA has specific rules related to scaffolding use. For the lawyers here is are the relevant sections to review.


Scaffolds shall be furnished and erected in accordance with this standard for persons engaged in work that cannot be done safely from the ground or from solid construction, except that ladders used for such work shall conform to 1910.25 and 1910.26.


The footing or anchorage for scaffolds shall be sound, rigid, and capable of carrying the maximum intended load without settling or displacement. Unstable objects such as barrels, boxes, loose brick, or concrete blocks shall not be used to support scaffolds or planks.


Scaffolds and other devices mentioned or described in this section shall be maintained in safe condition. Scaffolds shall not be altered or moved horizontally while they are in use or occupied.


Any scaffold damaged or weakened from any cause shall be immediately repaired and shall not be used until repairs have been completed.


Scaffolds shall be provided with a screen between the toeboard and the guardrail, extending along the entire opening, consisting of No. 18 gauge U.S. Standard Wire one-half-inch mesh or the equivalent, where persons are required to work or pass under the scaffolds.


Tools, materials, and debris shall not be allowed to accumulate in quantities to cause a hazard.


Wire or fiber rope used for scaffold suspension shall be capable of supporting at least six times the intended load.


"Tubular welded frame scaffolds."


Metal tubular frame scaffolds, including accessories such as braces, brackets, trusses, screw legs, ladders, etc., shall be designed and proved to safely support four times the maximum intended load.


Spacing of panels or frames shall be consistent with the loads imposed.



Scaffolds shall be properly braced by cross bracing or diagonal braces, or both, for securing vertical members together laterally, and the cross braces shall be of such length as will automatically square and aline vertical members so that the erected scaffold is always plumb, square, and rigid. All brace connections shall be made secure.


Scaffold legs shall be set on adjustable bases or plain bases placed on mud sills or other foundations adequate to support the maximum intended load.


The frames shall be placed one on top of the other with coupling or stacking pins to provide proper vertical alinement of the legs.


Where uplift may occur, panels shall be locked together vertically by pins or other equivalent suitable means.


Guardrails not less than 2 x 4 inches or the equivalent and not less than 36 inches or more than 42 inches high, with a mid-rail, when required, of 1- x 4-inch lumber or equivalent, and toeboards, shall be installed at all open sides on all scaffolds more than 10 feet above the ground or floor. Toeboards shall be a minimum of 4 inches in height. Wire mesh shall be installed in accordance with paragraph (a)(17) of this section.


All tubular metal scaffolds shall be constructed and erected to support four times the maximum intended loads.



To prevent movement, the scaffold shall be secured to the building or structure at intervals not to exceed 30 feet horizontally and 26 feet vertically.


Maximum permissible spans of planking shall be in conformity with paragraph (a)(9) of this section.


Drawings and specifications for all frame scaffolds over 125 feet in height above the base plates shall be designed by a registered professional engineer and copies made available to the employer and for inspection purposes.


All tubular welded frame scaffolds shall be erected by competent and experienced personnel.


Frames and accessories for scaffolds shall be maintained in good repair and every defect, unsafe condition, or noncompliance with this section shall be immediately corrected before further use of the scaffold. Any broken, bent, excessively rusted, altered, or otherwise structurally damaged frames or accessories shall not be used.


Periodic inspections shall be made of all welded frames and accessories, and any maintenance, including painting, or minor corrections authorized by the manufacturer, shall be made before further use.

There are more specific rules but this will give you a place to start. These rules are what IOSH will be using to determine if a violation has occurred and if so how it can be corrected. The GC needs to be applying these same rules.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Iowa is Getting Tough on Construction Zone Speeders

The article below by Allissa Hopkins at KTIV Channel in Sioux City shows the concern of Iowa's Government in clamping down on speed through construction zones on their highways. They are to be commended for addressing this situation. However, in fairness, not only to the work zone workers and the drivers traveling through these areas, one item of Horse Sense that is not addressed in many states is the fact that long after all work has been completed, or all except a very short areas where work is being done, This gives confused drivers irritation traveling long several miles in completed areas. Perhaps a bigger Horse Sense adjustment should change the length of the work zone to the one or two short areas where work is being completed. I have seen it very frequently that all work has been done and the signs would remain up for months. Let's get this Donkey off the roads.

Allissa Hopkins
Fines Higher For Speeding In IA Construction Zones

Posted: July 2, 2008 06:57 PM CDT

It used to be that if you got caught speeding in a construction zones, fines were doubled. As of July 1st, that has all changed in Iowa.

And now, you can end up paying a lot more for a lead-foot in those construction areas.

It's summer and you know what that means, construction, and lots of it!

However now, new legislation has been past to improve the safety in these work zones.

"What we have seen in the past, or seen in the recent past, is an increase in the accidents that occur in work zones, and of those accidents... the majority of the injured parties are not the workers, but it's the motorists," said Dakin Schultz, Iowa Department of Transportation.

However, some of those accidents have ended in death.

"We have about an average of 5 fatals a year, "stated Schultz.

Now, if you're caught speeding through those work zones you are going to have big consequences.

"One hundred and fifty dollars for anything up to 10mph. Three hundred dollars for 11 to 20mph over, posted speed, and five hundred dollars for speeds from 20 to 25," mentioned Schultz.

Those going 25mph over in construction zones, they will pay up to thousand dollars.

Making these changes in Iowa law, Dakin says, is beneficial to all on the road.

"Trying to improve the safety of the workers in construction zones as well as the motorists that travel through the construction zone "stated Schultz.

Other violations, besides speeding, will continue to be fined double in construction zones.

The Iowa DOT has made new signs will be replacing the old signs that said, "Fines Double in Construction Zones, Road Workers Give 'Em A Brake".

There will be about 243 signs installed, 84 on interstates and 159 on primary, two-lane highways.