An Ontario Court of Appeals earlier this month more than tripled the criminal negligence fine against Toronto-based contractor Metron Construction in connection with the falling deaths of four employees on Christmas Eve 2009.The court raised the fine from $200,000 to $750,000 (Canadian), resulting in the largest such fine imposed for criminal negligence on a Canadian corporation.“It is a recent development that there would be court acceptance of penalties that may bankrupt companies,” says Jeremy Warning, a partner in the Toronto office of Montreal-based Heenan Blaikie LLP, a law firm. “It represents a touchstone case…and the penalty imposed by the Court
Photo by AP/Wideworld Protestors dropped coffins outside the Texas state capitol this summer to remember construction workers killed on the job. Lapses in jobsite safety, low pay, "wage-stiffing" and employer-employee language barriers are spurring the creation and expansion of worker centers—non-profit organizations that serve as advocates for immigrant, minority, non-union and other construction workers.Backed by foundations and other sources, worker centers have been scoring successes in providing Latino, African-American and other workers occupational safety training and information about their rights in an increasing number of U.S. metropolitan areas. The centers also are pressing local governments, developers and owners, such as
Photo by Tony Bodway, Silica/Milling Machine Partnership NIOSH-industry-labor partnership has been testing anti-silica-dust options, such as this water sprayer system, on milling equipment. Related Links: Links to OSHA fact sheets on proposal: overview, construction provisions, FAQs, etc. Text of proposed OSHA silica rule After more than a decade of study and review, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed a much tighter limit on how much airborne silica dust workers can be exposed to, a move that agency officials say will prevent hundreds of deaths and illnesses among construction workers each year.The long-awaited proposal, which OSHA released on Aug.
Courtesy SMBB Michael "Mikey" Simermeyer, 30, died when a crane boom fell on him at New York City's No. 7 line subway extension project last year. Related Links: Latest New York City Crane Fatality Puts Two Public Agencies at Odds Crane in Latest Deadly NYC Accident Had Passed Inspection "The crane was speaking, but nobody was listening."This is how David Kwass, an attorney who filed a wrongful-death lawsuit for the family of deceased construction worker Michael "Mikey" Simermeyer, describes the events leading up to a fatal crane accident in April 2012 at an extension of Manhattan's No. 7 subway line."If
Related Links: Bureau of Labor Statistics report on 2012 fatal occupational injuries (preliminary figures) Link to download NIOSH ladder-safety mobile app Construction workplace fatalities rose 5% in 2012, the first annual increase in six years, and the industry’s fatality rate also increased, reports the Labor Dept.'s Bureau of Labor Statistics.According to the latest BLS annual report on fatal occupational injuries, released on Aug. 22, there were 775 workplace deaths in the private construction industry last year, compared with 738 in 2011.The 2012 figures are preliminary; BLS will release updated, final data in April.The industry’s 2012 fatality rate also went up,
Photo courtesy of David Seibold Injury to onlooker may trigger new efforts to discourage live viewing at demo site. Related Links: A History of Explosive Demolition Man's Leg Amputated After Plant Implosion I n 1997, a 13-year-old girl and her family stopped to watch an explosive demolition of an abandoned hospital in Australia. She was killed by flying debris. "Almost overnight, implosions worldwide ceased being actively promoted as spectator events," wrote Brent L. Blanchard, operations manager for consultant Protec Documentation Services, Rancocas Woods, N.J., in his history of the demolition technique.Now there is a sad new chapter. California officials are
Related Links: Assuring You Have Skin In The Game An Effective Safety Plan Failure to report workplace injuries is a persistent safety problem in the construction trades. In an ironic twist, new research sponsored by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) suggests that one of the reasons construction workers don't report their injuries is fear of losing incentives provided in safety programs that reward workers for limiting lost work time.The study analyzed responses from 135 plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters about their own unreported injuries. Of the respondents, 27% admitted that they did not report work injuries at some
Image Courtesy of CII New hazard-recognition tools incorporate this visual memory aid, which associates various dangers with particular energy sources. Related Links: Buildings Specialists Grappling With Rebuilding In A Post-Sandy World Call For A Resiliency Czar Construction Industry Institute At the Construction Industry Institute's conference in Orlando, Fla., from July 29 to Aug. 1, researchers studying workers' inability to recognize jobsite hazards unveiled findings that showed formal methods of better defining and communicating dangers can greatly improve what the group calls a "foundational skill.""Hazard recognition is a core competency upon which all other safety processes are built," states the group's
Related Links: Full Research Report CBQ Infographic: Practices Found Most Effective to Increasing Productivity Safety-Incentive Programs Questioned Behavior-Based Safety Programs Can Keep Ambulances Away Safety management practices are of particular importance to today's construction industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that construction worker fatalities declined 23% from 2008 to 2011, representing 235 fewer fatalities. However, with McGraw Hill Construction Dodge construction starts showing a 21% decrease during this same time, it's unclear whether the industry is making true strides toward improved safety.The good news is that the industry is reporting significant benefits resulting from safety management programs. Research
Bigge Crane & Rigging Co. and a company engineer, Claus Frederiksen, are the targets of a lawsuit, filed by both Entergy Arkansas and Entergy Operations, that claims the heavy-lift contracting giant failed to perform a load test prior to a fatal crane collapse at the two-unit Arkansas Nuclear One station on March 31.The lawsuit, filed on July 12 in Pope County Circuit Court, accuses Bigge, one of the largest in its sector in the U.S., of "gross negligence."Through a spokesman, Bigge declined to comment.Entergy Arkansas and Entergy Operations—owner and operator, respectively, of the Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO) station—demand a jury
COVID-19 prevented this year’s group of national Top 20 Under 40 winners from meeting in person to share ideas for tackling key construction challenges, but the virtual voices of these visionaries came through loud and clear.