A recent report by Construction Dive unpacks the biggest fines issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration during the first quarter of 2022. The contractors who received these fines include DME Construction Associates, Boss Construction, Lanigan Construction, and Groundworks Colorado. Continue reading
A new ten-year study by Selective Insurance, “Workplace Injury Trends,” reveals recent declines in the average “hire to injury lag,” or the amount of time between an employee’s hiring and their reporting of a workplace-related injury. The study found that “employees are reporting a workplace-related injury 18% earlier in their tenure compared to 10 years prior,” with workers, on average, filing Workers Comp claims roughly 5.2 years into their tenure at a company in 2021. Ten years earlier in 2011, the study found, that average was 6.4 years. Continue reading
“Construction is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States,” begins a new report by The Center for Construction Research and Training. Titled “Fatal and Nonfatal Injuries in the Construction Industry,” the report offers “updated information” on those injuries, based on data gathered from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and employer logs obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. (These latter logs specifically pertain to “private, wage-and-salary construction workers.”) The report notes, crucially, that this latter survey “has been found to underreport nonfatal injuries,” and that it has been specifically found to underreport “nonfatal injuries among Hispanic construction workers.” 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 recent survey Manhattan Community Board 4 revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the sidewalks in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea neighborhoods, according to a recent report by StreetsBlog. The Community Board surveyed a total of 960 responds, 10% listed as having disabilities, and received 4,909 comments. The average age of the respondents was 52 years old, and 80% of respondents lived in zip codes associated with Community Board 4.
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
A new study published online in JAMA Network Open finds that construction workers may be at high risk of Covid-19 infection. Conducted by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the Santa Fe Institute, the study asked whether construction work is associated with increased community transmission of Covid-19 as well as disproportionate fatalities in US construction workers. It examined hospitalization data in central Texas, finding that “construction workers had a nearly 5-fold increased risk of hospitalization in central Texas compared with other occupational categories.” Its authors conclude that this does not mean construction work must be halted, but that workplaces should take seriously the necessary safety measures and paid sick leave policies to protect vulnerable essential workers.
As the study notes in its introduction, early in the pandemic policymakers across the US differed in their views on the essentiality of construction work: “Boston, New York, and San Francisco severely restricted allowable projects. Other cities and states deemed commercial and home construction essential. Most of the nation’s 7.3 million construction workers remained employed throughout April and May of 2020, representing 4.5% of the labor workforce, ranging from 1.8% in the District of Columbia to 10.5% in Wyoming.” The authors note that because construction workers operate in close physical proximity to each other, construction sites have a higher than average risk of Covid-19 transmission. And because “Latinx populations are overly represented among construction and essential industries,” they have higher rates of exposure too, which are “compounded by prevalent high-risk comorbidities and lack of access to health care.” According to the authors, the combination of these risks is probably partly responsible for the higher rates of COVID-19 infection and fatality in Latinx communities.
How can construction sites maximize safety during the Covid-19 pandemic? A new column in the Philadelphia Business Journal offers lessons and best-practices from Philadelphia-area job ites.
According to the column, that city’s chapter of the General Building Contractors Association started putting together safety protocols early in the pandemic, and took input from other industry stakeholders like the Building Trades Safety Committee, Med-Tex Services, and the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters. The coalition met via weekly digital conferences to identify key safety issues and how to deal with them. Said one member of the group, “In a matter of weeks, the group put together a program that every building trades member and contractor in the region, or anywhere in the country, could use.”