The New York City Council has passed legislation that would “overhaul” construction safety in the city, according to a press release by the legislative body. The bill, Int 2276-2021, requires construction sites to assign a “designated full-time construction superintendent who would be responsible for safety and code compliance, along with overall management of the construction project.” This role would complement existing safety personnel like site safety coordinators and site safety managers. Continue reading
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will develop “a federal standard” to prevent health issues stemming from extreme heat on construction sites, according to a report by Construction Dive. In a press release, the agency announced it would initiate a rulemaking process that will include a comment period from various stakeholders as it works to establish new standards. Continue reading
A New York City Department of Buildings safety sweep this month resulted in 3,600 violations and 1,499 stop work orders issued to construction contractors. According to a report by Construction Dive, the sweeps were launched because of a spate of construction site fatalities in the city, with seven workers dying in the first five months of 2021—two from falls, as the report notes. Continue reading
The New York City Department of Buildings recently released its Construction Safety Report for 2019-2020. The document notes that although construction incidents that involved injuries and fatalities decreased by 24% in 2019—”the first drop in nearly a decade”—there were nonetheless twelve deaths in construction-related incidents that year. “Even one death caused by unsafe work practices on a construction site is unacceptable,” the report states, “and the Department is committed to further driving down this number.” The Department carefully reviews every construction-related incident in New York City in order to hold responsible parties accountable and prevent future fatalities and injuries. Below are brief descriptions of the 12 tragic incidents in 2019, as described by the Department of Buildings.
New York City building inspectors are implementing “zero-tolerance sweeps” in the city’s job sites, according to a recent report by Construction Dive. The sweeps are in response to “three worker deaths in recent weeks, two of which were the result of falls,” according to the report, and have resulted in 322 sites shut down due to hazardous conditions. Continue reading
A new analysis by Construction Dive details research showing “that construction workers had the highest positivity rates for asymptomatic cases of any occupation, including healthcare staff, first responders, correctional personnel, elderly care workers, grocery store workers and food service employees.”
The research was completed by Curative, a “testing firm”, in Los Angeles from August to October, according to the report, and consisted of giving people who tested positive for Covid-19 a questionnaire that inquired about their profession. It ultimately showed that construction workers “had a positivity rate of 5.7% for individuals who were asymptomatic, and 10.1% for those with symptoms, according to the study.” Continue reading
The labor union AFL-CIO recently released its 29th annual “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” report. Among other things, the study examines state and national trends in workplace deaths, injuries, and illnesses; safety inspections; penalties and other sanctions issued against workplaces under the Occupational Health and Safety Act; and staffing issues. It also includes information about the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on workplaces. Continue reading
As the article notes, a potpourri of academic research, public health data, and media reports indicate that the industry has not fared so well. There have been concerning outbreaks across the country, with construction workplaces having the third highest number of outbreaks in Washington and Michigan, and the second highest number of clusters in Nashville, Tennessee. Meanwhile academic research indicates that Texas construction workers are five times likelier to be hospitalized as a result of Covid-19 than workers in other sectors, and a CDC study found that construction sites had the second highest number of cases in Utah.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released a list of its most common Covid-19 citations in construction and other industries, in order “to help employers understand which OSHA standards have been cited most frequently during COVID-19 related inspections.” The document was based on data OSHA maintains regarding its citations and inspections, which it states it initiated after complaints, referrals, or fatalities in various industries, including: “hospitals and healthcare, nursing homes and long term care settings, and meat/poultry processing facilities.”
According to OSHA’s data, the most common citations dealt with respiratory protection. Workplaces were cited for failing to provide a medical evaluation before a worker used or was fit-tested for a respirator; omitting information in workers’ medical evaluations; failing to perform appropriate fit tests; failing to ensure fit tests whenever a different respirator face piece was use; and failing to administer a fit test using a standard protocol.
Last week Construction Dive, a publication focused on the construction industry, rounded up a number of construction sites across the country that have experienced Covid-19 outbreaks since the pandemic began. As Construction Dive notes, there is no national body tracking outbreaks by industry, but local news sources have kept an eye on their communities, including construction workplaces.
In April, according to Construction Dive, there were at least two Covid-19 clusters centered in a construction site at Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. The clusters affected seven workers, and the construction site “was shut down for disinfecting after each outbreak.” Continue reading