Sunday, December 20, 2009


Patient and Family Fall Prevention
by Providence Hospital - Mobile, AL

Recently, I spent several days in Providence Hospital. In the info package that is issued to all patients was a brochure titled "Patient and Family Fall Prevention."

After reading this publication I feel like this is an item that is appropriate for any hospital, anywhere for Patients, Staff Personnel and Family Members as it just makes Horse Sense.

Personnel at Providence Hospital has graciously agreed with me to post the information in this blog site as it is so applicable to so many people in so many different ways to prevent falls in hospitals.

Providence Hospital

Patient and Family Fall Protection

  • At Providence Hospital We are committed to Providing Education to Our Patients and Family Members to Ensure Safety for All. Thank you for choosing Providence Hospital.

The danger of falling is very real for hospitalized patients. There are several factors that increase this risk; *Current Illness * New and unfamiliar surroundings * Certain medications, such as sleeping aids, pain relievers, water pills, and laxatives * Previous fall history *Shortness of breath, stroke, muscle weakness, unsteady gait (walking), fever, urgent need to use the restroom * New confusion or disorientation from your current illness * Dementia, depression, or psychosis * Sensory impairments, such as numbness in feet; vision or hearing problems * Post treatment procedure/surgery *Medical devices in use.

*Staying with you if necessary *Informing the nurse of any changes they see in your behavior or thinking. *Informing the nurse if you have a history of falls. *Keeping the room free from clutter. *Leaving the bed in lowest position and notify the nurse upon leaving your room.

Tell your nurse if you feel you are at risk to fall due to: *Recent falls. *Periods of dizziness or blurred vision. * Weakness or loss of balance. *Require a walker, crutches, or cane when walking. *Have trouble feeling your feet on the ground. *You just "feel different."

Follow the following guidelines to help prevent falls:
*Refrain from walking without assistance when you must take equipment such as IV poles with you. *Follow the red, yellow, and green precaution signs (posted in your room). *Do not attempt to get up without the nurses assistance.

*Having a higher risk to fall may occur at different times throughout your hospital stay. Your nurse will be accessing your risk to fall each shift. *If a nurse determines that you are at risk to fall or if you or your family feel that you are at risk, we provide a special plan of care to address safety issues and reduce the danger of an accidental fall and injury.

The nurses and nursing assistants develop fall prevention practices based on your individual risk factors. Some of the most common fall prevention practices used at Providence Hospital include; *A fall logo may be placed on your door and on your medical chart to alert other health care workers of your risk to fall. Fall leaves are used in this logo. *A yellow armband may be used to ensure that other health care workers are aware of your risk to fall in case you leave your room. *We may ask you to wear our yellow non-skid slippers when you are out of the bed. *Hourly rounding may be done by staff. This means the staff will come to your room hourly to see if you need any help. If you are sleeping, the staff will be careful not to wake you. This frequent rounding allows us to help you meet your needs. *You will be instructed to use the call light for help getting into and out of your bed or chair to use the urinal or bedpan, walk to the bathroom, or retrieve something out of your reach. *A bed alarm may be used to alert the nurses that you need to get out of bed. *Signs will be used to inform you of how much assistance you need to get out of bed.

Fall Prevention Instructions For Our Patients
*Don't walk with equipment
*Call for nurse assistance when getting up from the bed, chair or bathroom.
*Follow precaution signs:
RED - Don't get up without assistance. YELLOW - Don't get up without a nurse or family member assisting you. GREEN - You may get up without assistance.

While our program is very beneficial in preventing falls, its success depends entirely upon staff, patients, and visitors participating completely in the program.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gas Line Explosion

High Fines For Explosion

The post below from The Houston Business Journal and shows that some Federal Agencies take incidents that cause fatalities and/or catastrophies are fined with enough impact to let huge corporations do what they wish with disregard to safety procedures spelled out by these Programs.

Most of my posts are referred to OSHA incidents, but other Agencies have rules and seem to be not ashamed to place heavy fines for such incidents.

In reference to OSHA, I have noted in past posts that I feel that their fines are inadequate to cover make a difference to Large Corporations that just pay a small fine and continue to operate unsafely.

It seems that The Department of Transportation has no qualms about issuing penalties that get the attention FINANCIALLY of these large corporations.

The fatality in this incident was only one person. However, this could have easily caused multiple fatalities and huge monetary costs. This person, apparently, had not been advised of the location of the pipe line and while grading for a right of way struck the existing line with his dozer.

El Paso Corp. hit with $2.3M safety penalty

Houston Business Journal

The U.S. Department of Transportation has levied what it calls a record penalty of $2.3 million against gas-pipeline company El Paso Corp. and its subsidiary, Colorado Interstate Gas Co., in connection with a fatal 2006 pipeline explosion in Wyoming.

The civil penalty, for alleged violations of federal pipeline safety regulations, is the largest DOT has ever levied against a pipeline company under its oversight, the agency said.

The penalty is in connection with an explosion in Laramie County, Wyo., in which the Rockies Express Pipeline, a gas pipeline owned by Wyoming Interstate Co. Ltd. and operated by Colorado Interstate Gas Co., both subsidiaries of Houston-based El Paso Corp. (NYSE: EP), was struck by a bulldozer, resulting in the release of natural gas, a subsequent explosion and fire, and the death of the bulldozer’s driver.

The operator was Bobby Ray Owens Jr., 52, of Louisiana, according to news reports. He worked for a construction company, not El Paso.

“At the time of the accident, the bulldozer operator was attempting to grade nearby land to build a right of way for the Rockies Express Pipeline,” DOT said in a statement.

DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which investigated the incident, “discovered the companies did not comply with federal regulations covering the locating and marking of buried pipeline facilities,” the agency said.

“Federal requirements are in place to provide protections for America’s most important assets, its citizens,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in the statement. “The department will hold pipeline operators accountable for the safety of those who live and work in the vicinity of their systems and negligence will not be tolerated.”

El Paso Corp. and Colorado Springs-based Colorado Interstate Gas also were ordered to take various actions “to ensure compliance with federal pipeline safety regulations.” They include revising corporate procedures for making construction records, maps, and operating history available to operating personnel, and having supervisors to conduct unannounced reviews of work performed by El Paso line locators to ensure applicable procedures are being followed.

In a statement to The Associated Press, an El Paso Corp. spokesman said that the company has improved its procedures, but he also said federal officials should have taken into account what he called errors by the construction company working at the site as well as the complexity of the situation.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

2009 Top Ten Violations

Top Ten Violations - 2009

The article below from Injury, National News Desk featuring Jane Akre lists the top ten Violations for 2009 to date.

See if you, your company or anyone to whom these violations apply are guilty, you should take immediate action to correct the causes of these basic items for Safe Work on your job sites.

Top 10 Safety Violations for 2009
Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 10:24 PM EST
Category: In The Workplace
Tags: OSHA, Safety Violations, Workplace Safety, Construction Safety, Falls


* InjuryBoard Workplace Injury Help Center
* NSC’s Safety+Health Magazine

IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons

The Top 10 workplace violations for 2009 has been released by the U.S. Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The number of top-10 violations have increased nearly 30 percent during the same period since 2008.

Workplace Violations:

10. Machine Guarding - 2,364 violations

Any machine part, function or process that has the ability to cause injury must be safeguarded.

9. Electrical - 2,556 violations

Working with electricity can be particularly dangerous. Engineers, electricians and others work directly with electricity (i.e. circuit assemblies). While others (i.e. sales people) indirectly work with it but may also be exposed to electrical hazards.

8. Powered Industrial Trucks - 2,993 violations

Thousands of injuries occur each year in the US workplace, related to powered industrial trucks or forklifts. Employees can suffer injury when lift trucks drive off loading docks, when they are struck by a lift truck or when they fall while on elevated pallets.

7. Ladders – 3,072 violations

Stairways and ladders are a major source of injuries and fatalities among construction workers.

6. Electrical (Wiring) – 3,079 violations

See electrical above.

5. Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) – 3,321 violations

“Lockout/Tagout” refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy. An estimated 3 million workers service equipment and face the risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented.

4. Respiratory Protection – 3,803 violations

Respirators protect workers from insufficient oxygen environments, harmful sprays, gases, vapors, smokes, dusts and fogs. These hazards can cause cancer and other diseases or death.

3. Hazard Communication - 6,378 violations

A written hazard communication program is an essential element for every company. Chemical importers and manufacturers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they import or produce, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their customers.

2. Fall Protection – 6,771 violations

The majority of falls are from ladders and roofs. Protection must be provided to workers at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime and six feet in construction.

1. Scaffolding – 9,093 violations

Scaffold accidents are most often attributed to the planking or support giving way, or from the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.

The findings were presented this week at the NCS’s Annual Congress & Expo. A final report will be published in the December issue of the NSC’s Safety+Health Magazine. #

Read more:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Confined Space Requirements

The article below shows the necessity of proper training of workers, particularly while working in confined spaces. There are several Safety Training Specialty facilities in the Mobile area that can perform on-site safety analysis, provide safety programs and training for the employees of companies such as the one in the article below.

I can see no excuse for incidents like the ones listed below.

From the Mobile Press-Register, by Connie Baggett, staff reporter, on Thursday, October 8, 2009


Brewton Railcar Repair is Cited

Brewton – A railcar repair company could face some $360,000 in fines after a federal probe into an April incident that left four workers injured, two of them seriously.

Frit Car Inc. spokeswoman Carla Carpenter said the company addressed many of the issues immediately after the accident, and all of the problems are under review.

Carpenter said the company’s employees are its “most valuable asset,” and improvements in safety are ongoing.

A news release from the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration released this week said Frit Car failed to adequately train workers regarding confined space procedures.

The investigation found Frit Car had no training for workers or rescuers on site, as is required.
Workers who can be exposed to potentially deadly gases in confined spaces, such as railcars, are protected by strict guidelines, according to OSHA rules.

Several serious infractions were cited, as well as numerous others, such as the lack of guardrails and adequate shower facilities as well as noise exposure, bad housekeeping and bad record keeping.

The investigation followed an incident April 3 in which two employees were overcome by potentially deadly fumes inside a railcar and had to be taken by helicopter to area hospitals.

Another employee was taken to a hospital by ambulance and a fourth went home to recover.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Farm Incidents Cause High Fatalities

Farm Accidents One of the Most
Dangerous Occupations

The article below from Indiana Prairie Farmer notes that Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations, especially in incidents caused by Tractor Overturns.

Overturns of farm equipment causes many fatalities, however about any type incident that can be thought possible and many thought to be impossible, or at least impractical, causes numerous serious and dismemberment injuries than any other known occupation.

Farms utilize family members in most farm related tasks, many of whom are family members that are not allowable in off the farm industries due to age.

I posted a couple of photos of actual Farm Equipment incidents that can only show a photo of what the result of an incident, but not show where any Horse Sense should have been used to prevent these incidents.

Tractor Overturns Still Lead Farm Fatality Causes
Fatalities higher again in 2008.
Tom Bechman
Published: Sep 24, 2009
The bad news from Bill field, Purdue University safety specialist, is that farm fatalities in Indiana crept back up again in '08, after bottoming at 8 fatalities in '06. It's the second straight year fatalities have been on the increase. Field released official numbers during a press conference at the Indiana Farm Bureau state headquarters in Indianapolis last week;

Last week marked the official observance of National Farm Safety Week. And the Indiana data shows, however, it's important to practice safety every day, not just during one week of the year.

National fatality statistics are based on estimates. Field says the numbers are a guess at best. The Indiana numbers, however, are firm. Field and his staff compile them based upon reports from clipping services and other information. They also cross-check them with information collected at the state level.

"The latest information at the national level says that fatalities in farming are 10 times more common than in industry as a whole," says Gail Deboy, also of Purdue. "For last year the national report listed agriculture as the number one most dangerous occupation in America, ahead of mining and construction."

The best news, perhaps, is that the 30-year trend is still toward far fewer farm fatalities than in the past, especially amongst children. "In 1977 a third of all deaths were children, many of them young children. Riding with dad on the tractor and becoming involved in some sort of accident was a major cause.

While there was no particular pattern to what caused an increase in fatalities last year, Field says tractor overturns remain the single most deadly action on the farm. About 25% of the deaths were due to overturns. Deboy says many times these were people riding older tractors that did not have Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) installed.

Combine extra riders on tractors with tractor overturns, other tractor-related deaths and entanglements, and it accounts for about 75% of last year's farm fatalities, Field says. Grain bin entrapments get a lot of publicity because they nearly always result in death, but the number of people who die in grain bins each year is still far fewer than the number who die in tractor or implement-related mishaps.

Tractor roadway crash fatalities are also included in the newly-released data, as long as a tractor or farm implement was involved, Field notes. There was a trend toward increasing numbers of farmers dieing in these types of accidents, but it didn't really show up last year, he notes.

Indiana Farm Bureau stepped to the plate and campaigned hard to raise awareness for farmers traveling on roadways with equipment, and also started campaigns to educate the public about the hazards of traveling rule roads. A video was produced with Purdue, that has been widely shown to all types of audiences.

Through August of this year, the unofficial farm fatality total is 10 in Indiana. Deboy hope that number stays lower than the '08 number, That means people must be very attentive during harvest, An unusually high number of fatalities occurred in the fall last year.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Get Away From Unloading/Loading

Stay Well Away From Truck

The article below from 6 points out some of the dangers that occur during loading and unloading, specifically tractor/trailer loads.

However, it holds true for drivers and any other persons in a Non-essential position to clear themselves away from loading and unloading situations whether it be on a construction job site or, in fact at any location.

Many is the time that I've seen drivers stand beside their rigs while their truck is being loaded by heavy equipment such as dirt/rock hauling operations. Several times I've had to seek medical attention to one of these persons. I've also seen drivers hop up on their rigs and loosen the binding chains without assuring that the loads are secured from falling on the person releasing the bindings. Trained professional riggers should be the ones to handle these operations. The driver can go back and stow their rigging and bindins after the load is removed.

Failure to adhere to this simple and safe practice procedure just plain DOES NOT adhere to Horse Sense methods of Safety.

Man Crushed In Construction Accident

A freak accident took the life of a truck driver. Livingston County officials say falling concrete killed a truck driver in Howell Township on East M-59 near Grand River. Construction of a concrete wall came to a crashing halt. That crash killed Richard Browand, a 61-year-old truck driver for Mack Transport. Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte calls it a tragic accident.

Bob Bezotte, Livingston County Sheriff: "He was in the wrong place at the wrong time when they were unloading the cement blocks. He was on the opposite side of the truck and when they took it off, the truck shifted."

A 3,500 pound slab of concrete fell off the truck and crushed him.

Bob Bezotte: "It crushed him in the chest area. He was alive at the scene, and then we got him to the hospital, the internal bleeding and the crush took his life."

Bezotte says construction accidents happen from time to time, but the saddest thing about this one is that it was avoidable.

Bob Bezotte: "When you're unloading a semi, ya know, people standing around a semi need to be back and the truck drivers and anyone else who's not involved with the unloading of the trucks."

It's advice that's too late for Browand. Bezotte says this accident should serve as a wakeup call for all construction workers to put safety first. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Million Dollar + Fines

Million Dollar Plus Fines by OSHA

The items below were emailed to me by a friend and fellow Safety Professional. It shows that OSHA CAN issue high enough fines to get some of the larger corporatons' attention.

Nutrition Products Co. Facing $1M Plus in OSHA Fines.

The fines came after the Wisconsin plant was inspected as a result of a complaint alleging numerous hazards. Among other violations, OSHA issued willful citations for failure to comply with confined space and lockout/tagout regulations.

Chem Company Cited Heavily for Exposing Employees to Poison.

The St. Louis–based company was inspected after OSHA learned that employees had been admitted to local hospitals after being contaminated with an unknown powder. Investigators determined that employees were exposed to paranitroaniline (PNA), a chemical that reduces the ability of the blood to transport oxygen. OSHA issued 21 willful citations, 20 of which were cited on a per-instance basis and assessed fines totaling $1.2 million.

Poultry Company Pleads Guilty in Employee Exposure Case.

Following the death of an employee at an Arkansas plant, the company was charged with criminal violations and ordered by a federal court to pay a $500,000 penalty.

Sugar Company Warned Long Before Accident Occurred.

The Georgia refinery was cited and fined following an accident associated with sugar dust that killed 14 people. OSHA assessed fines of $8.7 million, the third largest in OSHA history.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Prevention of Falls on Construction Sites

Much More Related to Falls

The article below, posted in the Daily Community News and Construction Record points out several results of Fall Protection on construction sites. However, there are several things that can be critical and probably are a major cause of injuries when workers seem to be PROBABLY a major cause of injuries.

The Number One item I'd like to point out is the PROPER TRAINING in the use of body harnesses. On most jobsites that I've been on, the contractor hands their workers working more than 6 feet above ground or floor levels "a harness" to use while working at those levels.

I have found that VERY FEW workers are trained in the ways to inspect all the components, how to assure that there ia a proper fit of the harness how to properly adjust the harness to fit that individual's body, what to do if the worker does fall, what is the site Rescue Plan if someone falls, how long the worker can remain hanging in a harness before passing out, and many more critical items that is a must know related to fall protection.

Folks, this is 'CRITICAL PERSONAL PROTECTION" that ALL workers using harnesses MUST be aware of and PROPERLY trained in their use and being recovered in case of an incident. This is just plain HORSE SENSE.

Accidents spur Pennsylvania fall safety push


Following four recent fatal construction fall accidents in a week in southwestern Pennsylvania, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has called on construction companies to ensure employees working above six feet have the proper equipment to protect themselves from falls on the job.

The first of the fatal falls happened on Friday, Aug. 15 and they ranged in heights from two to 13 storeys.

“Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry,” said Robert Szymanski, director of the Pittsburgh OSHA office, in a statement.

“These recent accidents are tragic reminders of the dangers posed to workers when adequate protection is not provided.”

There are a number of ways to protect workers from falls including guardrail systems, safety net systems and personal fall arrest systems, including properly anchored body harnesses and lanyards, as well as through the use of safe work practices and training. OSHA conducted almost 39,000 inspections and found nearly 88,000 violations of its standards and regulations in fiscal year 2008.

-DCN News Services

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fatal Falls

OSHA and Fall Protection

In the article below from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, by Kaitlynn Riely, regarding fall protection from falling off buildings and/or scaffolding, an Area Director for OSHA states that contractors should reassess their fall protection methods following four recent fatalities in southwestern Pennsylvania.

This article addresses the one relatively small area of this country compared to the Nationwide incidents that prove fatal to workers that are not properly equipped and properly trained in the safe, Horse Sense ways to use this type lifesaving equipment.

In many of these fatal incidents, it has been proved that contractors are not training their supervisors in the use of these preventive measures, therefore they are not passing down these measures to their workers that are put in to perilous situations.

I feel that there are five words that could be used to correct this: TRAINING, ATTITUDE, TRAINING, ATTITUDE AND TRAINING WITH ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENTS to the program.

Four deaths shed light on falling hazards

OSHA director says construction sites should reassess prevention measures
Thursday, August 20, 2009

Construction sites should reassess their fall prevention methods following the four recent fatalities resulting from people falling off buildings or scaffolding in southwestern Pennsylvania, a director for the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration said yesterday.

"One worker fall accident is unacceptable, but four falls within a few days' time is completely incomprehensible," said Robert Szymanski, the area director for OSHA's Pittsburgh office.

The most recent accident was Tuesday, when Roy Pfoertner, 53, of New Kensington, was working on the roof of the Pennsylvanian apartment building Downtown. He fell 13 stories to the sidewalk. He was part of a crew doing masonry work on the roof for the contractor, Mariani and Richards.

Three more construction-related deaths from falling have occurred within the past week. Carl Beck, 29, of Butler, fell 42 feet from a roof in North Strabane, Washington County, on Saturday morning. On Friday morning, Gary E. Dwire, 56, fell from a house in New Kensington, and Michael Grinder, 40, fell two stories at a site in Monessen.

Historically, fatalities in the workplace have been on the decline in recent years, and Mr. Szymanski said last week his office was projecting that they might achieve a single-digit record low for fatalities for the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. But the four fatalities since Friday bring the total to 11 workplace fatalities for this year.

In the construction industry nationally, falls account for nearly 50 percent of all fatalities, Mr. Szymanski said.

"If you eliminate fall hazards in construction, you would eliminate 50 percent of fatalities right off the bat," he said.

Of course, the goal is to have zero fatalities in the workplace every year, he said.

To achieve this goal, OSHA mandates safety requirements that protect against hazards like falling. Employers are required to protect their workers from falls when they are working six feet or higher above an adjacent surface by one of three methods -- a guardrail system, a personal fall arrest system like a body harness and line or a safety net.

There is an entire book of OSHA standards related to construction, but Mr. Szymanski emphasized these three methods of fall protection as imperative.

"I'm asking that employers take time to pause and assess their work sites immediately for appropriate fall protection systems," he said.

OSHA conducts regular inspections of workplaces to verify they are complying with the standards. The agency investigates all workplace deaths, and have started investigations for the four fatalities, including the one that occurred Tuesday.

If violations of OSHA standards are identified through the investigations, penalties may be assessed according to the circumstances, Mr. Szymanski said. These can include fines and recommendations to minimize risk.

Kaitlynn Riely can be reached at or 412-263-1478.
First published on August 20, 2009 at 12:31 am

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Too Many Scaffold Colapses

How Many More Deaths Due To
Improper Scaffolding????

The article below from the New York Times by Anahad O'Conner and Colin Moynihan relates to another Fatality to a worker on a stage scaffold. Proper Safety equipment either was not available or the workers on these scaffolds were not properly trained in Fall Protection when working from scaffolding.

In this case, the workers on the stage scaffold should have
been anchored so that if and when the stage fell, the workers would have been saved by Personal Protection Fall Equipment.

There is no excuse for situations like and the contractors should have to pay LARGE fines for the lack of proper safety equipment and safe use training for each jobsite or each time the scaffold is relocated.

The use of a Job Safety Analysis should have been completed and reviewed and signed off by the workers before any work was started. This applies to work EACH DAY or when the scaffolding is relocated.

Come on People. Lets wake up and quit killing workers working from scaffolding. Use some Horse Sense and quit doing it the Donkey Way and protect your employees.

Worker Falls Four Stories to His Death When a Scaffold Collapses in Brooklyn

Two workers left dangling when a scaffold gave way were pulled into a fourth-floor window by firefighters. The accident happened at the Ansonia on 12th Street in Park Slope.

Published: August 18, 2009

A 42-year-old construction worker at a luxury apartment building in Brooklyn plunged four stories to his death Tuesday evening when he stepped onto a scaffold that suddenly gave way, the authorities and witnesses said. Two co-workers tethered to harnesses were left dangling in the air, and were rescued by firefighters who arrived moments later as anxious neighbors witnessed the drama.

Skip to next paragraph

Henryk Siebor

“It was this terrible, ripping, tearing sound,” said Ilene Rosen, who was down the block when the scaffold gave way.

Ms. Rosen and other area residents said they looked up to see the two workers who had been on the scaffold now dangling in the air, and a fourth worker standing on a second scaffold.

“He’s dead, he’s dead,” one of the workers shouted of the man below.

The cause was being investigated, the authorities said, but it appeared that both mechanical failure and human error played some role in the collapse, which occurred about 5:30 p.m. at the Ansonia, a former clock factory that was converted to residential apartments over the years by various developers. The accident took place at one of the buildings, a six-story prewar at 438 12th Street in Park Slope.

Workers had been replacing bricks on the building’s facade for the past three months, and residents who saw them there on an almost daily basis said they virtually always appeared to be wearing safety harnesses. Investigators said Tuesday night that the worker who died — Henryk Siebor of 100 Diamond Street in Brooklyn — was wearing his harness at the time of the accident, but it may not have been secured, as required by state law.

Witnesses said that four men had been working throughout the day on two separate scaffolds placed side by side — two men to a scaffold — on the fifth floor of the building. They were nearing the end of the day’s work when the men on one scaffold told their superior, Mr. Siebor, on the adjacent scaffold that there was a problem with the way the rig was “tied off,” said Robert D. LiMandri, the commissioner of the Buildings Department.

“They were concerned,” he said. “They looked to their colleague who was senior on the job, and asked him to come over and investigate. He did that.”

But as Mr. Siebor stepped onto the scaffold, one of the lines holding it to the building gave way, sending the scaffold swinging against the building as he plunged to his death, landing on a first-floor terrace below.

Secured by their harnesses, the two men dangling in the air clung to the building for several minutes as firefighters from a department about a block away raced to the building.

When firefighters arrived, they smashed through a fourth-floor apartment door to reach the two men. A fire truck on the ground erected a ladder to help in the rescue, and the two men were pulled through a window. The fourth man, who was on the scaffold that remained intact, was helped off by other firefighters.

Donna Mitchell, who works in a building across the street, said she was outside when she heard a commotion and looked up.

“I saw fire trucks, and I see these two construction workers hanging on by the harness,” she said. “They still had their harness attached to them and they were hanging on.”

Ms. Mitchell said that to get to the men, firefighters smashed through a children’s safety guard and yelled for the men to reach for the window.

“The guys were close enough to the window, so they all reached out their hands,” she said. “It was like four firemen in the window, and one held him and the rest inside supported him and pulled him in.”

“It really looked scary,” she added.

Mr. Siebor came to New York four years ago from Rzeszow, a city of about 170,000 in southeastern Poland, and would regularly send money to his family back home, said a relative, who spoke Polish through a neighbor who interpreted. The relative, who would not give her name, said Mr. Siebor was married with three children: 20-year-old and 16-year-old daughters and a son, Robert, 16, who was visiting New York and apparently was at the Ansonia when his father died.

According to the Buildings Department’s online database, the Ansonia building received permits in March for masonry reconstruction and in April for the erection of a heavy-duty sidewalk shed. A spokeswoman from the Buildings Department said late Tuesday night that a stop-work order had been issued for the site, and that citations for violations were expected pending the outcome of the investigation.

There was no response to calls for comment made to the company responsible for the scaffold, Nova Restoration, which has offices in Brooklyn.

The Ansonia complex was once one of the largest clock factories in the world before it was converted to residential apartments, some selling for more than a million dollars.

Mr. LiMandri of the Buildings Department said that the agency would continue investigating why one of the lines that secured the scaffold gave way.

“We have two people who are lucky,” he said. “They are lucky to be alive.”

Reporting was contributed by Sewell Chan, Kareem Fahim, Christine Hauser, Jennifer 8. Lee and James Oberman.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Call Before Digging

I received the following as an email from a friend. It really makes you think before you undertake a job whether it be in an inner city or out in rural roads!


`You may or may not know about the law in the USA requiring you call for utility locating before you do any excavation. The pictures below are a result of a farmer using a post hole digger without calling for "locates," and he hit an underground, high-pressure cross-country gas pipe.

They never did find the guy……….took out 2 homes.

Hope it makes you think before you dig.....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Oregon's OSHA Has The Right Idea

Oregon's OSHA Looks at Bigger Fines

The article below from Daily Journal of Commerce by Justin Carinci, brings up two of my Pet Peeves regarding incentives toward constructions companies that are performing Unsafe Operations on their jobsites that cause fatalities and/or serious and willful safety violations.

These two items that I have touted are the ATTITUDE of, especially the larger, more affluent companies that they have so much money that they don't care to pay a "slap on the wrist" monetary fine to willful or fatal incidents on their jobsites. The other is the fact the these fines are not financially significient to "Get their Attention."

The company official in this article seems to have this "I'm a big boy and I have plenty of money to pay for incidents and continue to keep my bigger than thou and too rich for a little $65,000 fine to make me Safety Conscious on my jobsites." These are the ones that should have their willful and fatal fines multiplied by at least 10 times the $65,000. A few these should make significient Attitude Adjustments to these type companies.

I have corresponded with Mr. Wood of the Oregon OSHA in the past and am in full agreement with him that SOMETHING needs to be done about these type companies. I fully agree that the 2 or 3 small companies would be immediately put out of business for a fine of $65,000. However, does that tiny company get a free ride and stay in business if they have one fatal incident and kills 1/3 of their employees?

There are a large number of approaches to these delimas that a Oregon OSHA will have to delve into. I just want to encourage Mr. Wood and his group to continue to iron out some of these approaches and come up with solutions that can, not only make Oregon OSHA's jobsites a safer place to work.

OSHA eyes bigger fines for safety violations

POSTED: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 04:06 PM CDT
BY: Justin Carinci
Tags: ,
Dan Carter/DJC

Dan Carter/DJC

Oregon OSHA officials are considering raising the fines for serious workplace safety violations and making bigger employers pay more. In the construction industry, however, the largest general contractors say bigger fines won’t make them any safer.

The commitment to safety should come from the companies themselves, said Dan Kavanaugh, vice president and general manager with Turner Construction Co.

“From our philosophy, money is not the motivator,” he said “A fine doesn’t mean anything to us.”

Right now, Oregon OSHA calculates fines based on two factors: the probability that an accident will occur and the severity of that accident. The most severe accident – one that causes a death – carries a maximum fine of $5,000.

That isn’t much of a financial hit for huge companies, said Michael Wood, Oregon OSHA administrator. Wood has the authority, at his discretion, to add up to $2,000 to each penalty in egregious cases.

Wood said he’s considering issuing fines on a sliding scale, based on the company’s size, and setting the new cap at $7,000, the highest Oregon OSHA can go under state law. “It’s certainly one of the things we’re looking at,” he said.

Smaller companies now can get a break of up to 30 percent on fines, Wood said. But that’s a smaller break than other states offer, and the issue probably will come up when Oregon OSHA starts talking, later this month, about updating its rules.

Safety violations made news last week, when Oregon OSHA announced penalties totaling $90,000 stemming from a February accident in which a welder was killed in a Boardman potato processing plant owned by ConAgra Foods. ConAgra received 13 fines totaling $65,000; NW Metal Fabricators, the company performing the repairs at the plant, received five fines totaling $25,000.

Wood acknowledged that a $65,000 fine wouldn’t have a great effect on a giant company such as ConAgra, which had $12.7 billion in sales for the fiscal year that ended in May. But he said Oregon OSHA’s main role is to push employers to keep workplaces safe, not to penalize them.

“It isn’t about an appropriate punishment,” Wood said. “This is about being a motivation to the employers.
“What motivates Fred’s Roofing, (which) has two employees, is going to be different than what motivates ConAgra.”

That’s especially true in construction, a field that has grown safer and more professional thanks in part to high-profile efforts by the largest companies. These companies generally don’t flout safety laws, Kavanaugh said.

An “absolutely, unequivocally fundamental commitment” to creating the safest environment on job sites is what drives Turner, he said. Raising fines wouldn’t change that.

Higher fines could be big hits for small and mid-sized construction companies, but they wouldn’t affect the biggest players, said Dan Johnson, vice president of operations for Skanska USA.

“If they raised fines, would that become a motivation?” Johnson said. “I’m thinking ‘no.’ ”

Johnson has called for the entire industry to take a zero-tolerance approach to job-site accidents. Oregon OSHA shouldn’t need to get involved at all, he said.

“Our mission is never to be fined by OSHA,” Johnson said. “To receive an OSHA citation, that is a strike against everything we stand for in safety.”

Johnson said he sees more problems at companies much smaller than Skanska. “It’s the house builders, the small contractors – you can see from the street the goofy things they’re doing.”

For those contractors, a bigger fine might make a difference.

“At the lower level of construction, they’ll get (the job) done and try to survive,” Johnson said. “If being fined is their only motivation (to be safer), maybe that’s enough.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Attitude Adjustments Needed

Safe Work Attitude Adjustment Needed

In the article below from the Sun Journal apparently published on December 15, 2007, it reeks from one of the most frequent cause for Incidents that occur on construction sites all over the country: "Safe Work Attitude" concerning excuses for fatal and serious injuries to workers in the work site area.

This article blames who knows whom or what caused a nylon sling to snap without any notation as to the condition of this sling. Was any "red string" showing in the stitching
? Was the sling inspected for frayed ? Was only one sling adequate for the safe handling of the load to keep it stable during the lift?
Were the riggers trained in the proper use of rigging materials and equipment for this particular lift? Was there a Lift Supervisor overseeing the lift operation? Did anyone really care about this particular lift or was it just part of a daily, boring day on the job?

All the above questions contribute to the cited violations "Unsafe hoist operations and failure to safeguard the public during construction.

Also, at the time of this incident (not an accident), it seem as the city had about the same attitude towards safe work sites and the proper use of cranes and rigging as well as proper erection and use of scaffolding and "Struck By" indident where a worker was crushed by equipment.

Another item of what seems "Willful" to me is the lack of safeguards to prevent falling from open sided elevated floors.

"Material Failure" CAN be foreseen if there is a "Donkey" attitude as material failure CAN be detected if proper "Horse Sense" inspection of the rigging equipment and proper safe rigging of the load.

It doesn't seem to be such a "Paramount Importance" factor when these type incidents occur on a jobsite.

I don't know the status of this project at the current time, but hopefully adjustments were made in the attitude of Providing a Safe Place to Work by the company on this project.

Crane drops steel on architect near WTC

NEW YORK (AP) - A crane dropped seven tons of steel from a skyscraper onto a construction trailer Friday, seriously injuring an architect at the site just across from ground zero.

The builder of a new corporate headquarters for investment banking giant Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was cited for four violations, including unsafe hoist operations and failure to safeguard the public during construction, after the crane's nylon sling snapped and dropped its load of 25- to 30-foot-long pieces of galvanized steel.

The crane was lifting the metal studs, being used to support shaft walls at the skyscraper's core - to the 13th floor of the 30-story building before the accident, said Richard Kielar, spokesman for the tower's builder, Tishman Construction Corp.

The accident, which left architect Robert Wood hospitalized in stable condition, is one of a string of recent serious construction accidents in the city.

A window washer was killed and his brother critically injured when a scaffold plummeted more than 40 stories off a building a week ago. A worker was killed the same day in the Bronx after heavy equipment pinned him while he was digging a hole to lay connecting pipe to a city water main, officials said.

The city Buildings Department on Friday issued a stop-work order for the crane at the site and cited Tishman Construction Corp. and the contractor leasing the crane, DCM Erectors Inc., for unsafe hoisting operations.

Tishman - the builder of Goldman Sachs - was also issued violations for failing to safeguard the public, failing to provide toe boards that prevent construction workers from accidentally falling off and failing to maintain netting along the sides of the building.

The sling was carrying a 14,000-pound load and is designed to carry 19,000 pounds, the department said.

Kielar said in a statement that a "material failure that ... could not have been foreseen" may have caused the incident.

"Our safety record on this project, in general, is excellent by industry standards," he said. "The on-going safety of the community and of personnel on this site and on all Tishman sites is of paramount importance to us."

The $2 billion tower, just across the street from the signature Freedom Tower being built to replace the World Trade Center, was considered a crucial anchor to the redevelopment of downtown Manhattan after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

After agreeing to become the first major firm to relocate its world headquarters near the site, the bank changed its mind, saying it had security concerns about a tunnel that was to be built at ground zero which would face it.

In 2005, state and city officials agreed to pay Goldman Sachs $1.65 billion in tax-exempt Liberty Bonds and offered millions in other incentives for the firm's commitment to move downtown. Politicians later said they would never offer as lucrative a deal again for companies seeking to move downtown, but that the Goldman Sachs deal was warranted because the company inspired confidence in the area.

The planned 43-story tower is expected to house 9,000 of the company's employees when it opens in 2009.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Work Platform on a Skid Loader


The article below from O H & S (OSHA Healh and Safety) states that OSHA has cited the contractor is being fined $13,300 for the fatal fatality of one of their workers when he fell from a makeshift work platform mounted on a skid steer loader.

The key word here is SKID STEER


This type machine is to be used ONLY for loader type operations using a bucket, back hoe or other types of attachments that NO WORKER SHALL be on it except the machine's operator. The Operator must be anchored while in the seat by use of a seat belt and/or a rigid bar that prevents the engine to run if it is not connected properly.

All portable elevated work platforms must have controls that they may be operated in emergency operations from the platform. Also, the platform must be constructed with fall protection rails with provisions for the worker to anchor to.

Rules for Aerial Work Platforms DO apply to this type operation and is clearly spelled out in the OSHA 1926, Construction Manual. This operation is strictly a Donkey operation and makes no Horse Sense.

Is $13,300 sufficient for a WILLFUL, "get by as cheap as you can" short cut? I don't think so. It is almost a standard operation for OSHA to cut the already insufficient fines that will get the contractors' attention will be chopped down to an insignificant amount after an informal conference.

This fatality is totally uncalled for and the fines should be multiplied several times, not cut to a mere tap on the wrist conference.

Kansas Construction Firm Fined $13,300 Following Fatality

OSHA has cited Diamond Sawing and Coring LLC of Summerfield, Kan., for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.

OSHA cited the company following an investigation into a fatal accident in Lincoln, Neb., where a worker fell from an elevated platform that was affixed to a skid steer loader to the concrete below. OSHA inspectors found two alleged serious violations of the OSH Act.

"This accident was preventable. Employers cannot allow employees to be exposed to fall hazards," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that employers eliminate hazards and provide a safe work environment to prevent accidents from occurring."

The alleged serious violations stem from a lack of employee training and the employer altering equipment to accommodate personnel lifting without evaluating the equipment's ability to support the alteration. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard that an employer knew or should have known about.

The violations carry $13,300 in proposed penalties against the company. Diamond Sawing and Coring has 15 business days from receipt of these citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Omaha or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Will Fines Hold Up After Appeal?

Will Fines Hold Up After Appeal?

Here comes the Appeal!

Here is the notice that the sub-contractor plans to file an appeal fines to Georgia DOL I'm interested in this incident and if and when a result of the appeal is posted I will update this Blog Entry.

Friday, Jul. 31, 2009

Subcontractor will appeal fines from fatal Robins accident


ASM-Sanders Inc. notified the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration earlier this week that it will appeal the nearly $80,000 in fines levied by the Georgia Department of Labor in connection with a March 5 fatal accident at Robins Air Force Base. Jacky S. Brown, an ASM-Sanders subcontractor, died when a water pipe exploded while he was working on a construction project on the base.

The company was notified of OHSA’s decision July 16. It had 15 days to appeal the fines before the judgment became final.

Phone calls Thursday to ASM-Sanders regarding the accident were not returned.

The company is accused of allowing employees to work in a nearly six-foot deep trench without any reinforcement to keep the ditch from caving in, as well as three other minor safety violations. The citation that noted the lack of a ditch reinforcement was labeled a willful violation by OSHA and it alone carried a $63,000 fine.

The appeals process now goes to OHSA’s solicitor’s office, who will then file a formal complaint against the company. ASM-Sanders, if it follows form, will formally respond to the complaint. “Most of the time, the parties are trying to settle,” said G.T. Breezley, spokesman for the OHSA Atlanta-East Area office.

If no settlement is reached, the case will be adjudicated by the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

“About 95 percent of them are settled out of court,” Breezley said.

To contact military writer Thomas L. Day, call 744-4489.

Will Company Officials be penalized for Directives to Safety Inspector?

The article below from The Sun Times by Thomas L. Day indicates a closer to the proper fines for the violations than the usual rates that typically reduce fines after an Informal Appeal by a company guilty of violations related to trenching safety.

There is a worse violation that is noted in this article. That being the instructions of Company Management to the Safety Inspector to KEEP QUIET and/or FALSIFY SAFETY Reports. That is just plain Perjury on the Company's Management's instructions.

Not only are these Management personnel violating Federal Law, this type personnel are a major cause of Donkey and Management attitudes to try to "get around" OSHA regulations to save a penny at the fatal cost of their workers. This company should be prosecuted to the full extent of the Law. There is NO Horse Sense in this type management.

Robins contractor cited for safety violations; fined nearly $80,000


The U.S. Department of Labor cited ASM-Sanders Inc., an Alabama-based contractor that provides construction support for Robins Air Force Base, for worker safety violations after a March accident killed one worker. Jacky S. Brown died March 5 from a severe blow to the head after a chilled water pipe exploded.

According to the Department of Labor, Brown and his co-workers were testing a water pipe by filling it with compressed air, disregarding the manufacturer’s recommendation that the pipe instead be tested with liquids.

The company also was cited for employing workers in a 5-foot-6-inch trench without means of egression and without protection from a possible cave-in.

The latter was cited as a “willful violation” of employee safety and carried with it a $63,000 fine.

In total, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hit ASM-Sanders with four safety violations and nearly $80,000 in fines.

A spokeswoman from ASM-Sanders refused to comment on the citation.

The company may appeal the fines to OSHA within 15 business days, though the company is ordered to correct the violations by today.

After Brown’s death, a former ASM-Sanders safety inspector told OSHA that he was ordered by his superiors to falsify safety reports. “I was told to keep quiet and that was the way we would handle all accidents,” Mike Hill said in the letter dated May 5, 2009.

Hill claims he was fired the day he faxed his letter to OSHA.

The company also was cited for employing workers in a 5-foot-6-inch trench without means of egression and without protection from a possible cave-in.

The latter was cited as a “willful violation” of employee safety and carried with it a $63,000 fine.

In total, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hit ASM-Sanders with four safety violations and nearly $80,000 in fines.

A spokeswoman from ASM-Sanders refused to comment on the citation.

The company may appeal the fines to OSHA within 15 business days, though the company is ordered to correct the violations by today.

After Brown’s death, a former ASM-Sanders safety inspector told OSHA that he was ordered by his superiors to falsify safety reports. “I was told to keep quiet and that was the way we would handle all accidents,” Mike Hill said in the letter dated May 5, 2009.

Hill claims he was fired the day he faxed his letter to OSHA.