CPWR: Construction industry accounts for about half of job-related electrical deaths

Original article published by Safety+Health

Photo: The Center for Construction Research and Training

Silver Spring, MD — Roughly half of the fatal workplace injuries related to electricity exposure in a recent 10-year period occurred in construction, according to a new report from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

Using 2011-2020 data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, researchers identified 1,501 fatal occupational electrical injuries in all industries. Of those, 49.1% involved construction workers. Additionally, 24.4% of nonfatal electrical injuries occurred in construction. CPWR says the industry employs 7% of the U.S. workforce.

Overall, fatal injuries were more often a result of direct exposure (58.8%) than indirect (38.9%). Direct exposure is associated with contacting a live wire, while indirect exposure may include operating a crane that touches a power line.

The researchers also analyzed OSHA enforcement data. Among their findings:

  • In 2020, establishments with fewer than 10 employees accounted for 71.5% of OSHA citations for violations of federal electrical standards, while comprising 81.4% of establishments overall.
  • By North American Industry Classification System code, 70.5% of citations for electrical standards involved specialty trade contractors; the NAICS code for construction of buildings (26.1%) and heavy and civil engineering construction (3.4%) followed. Specialty trade contractors accounted for 71.1% of fatal electrical injuries.
  • OSHA citations for violations of federal electrical standards decreased 73.5% from 2011 to 2021. Electrical standard citations comprised 2.7% of citations in construction in 2021 – down from 6.5% in 2011.

The report was published in the November issue of CPWR’s Data Bulletin.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Steer clear of injury when using skid-steer loaders

Original article published by Safety + Health

Skid-steer loaders, often used on construction sites for excavating and other tasks, have features that expose workers to many injury risks, including caught-between incidents and rollovers. Although these machines are equipped with protective systems such as seat belts and rollover protection, injuries continue to occur.

Help keep workers safe with these tips from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health:

  • Stay seated when operating the loader controls.
  • Wear the seat belt.
  • Keep your hands, arms, legs and head inside the operator’s compartment while operating the loader.
  • Load, unload and turn on level ground, when possible.
  • Travel and turn with the bucket in the lowest position possible.
  • Don’t exceed the manufacturer’s recommended load capacity.
  • Operate on stable surfaces only.
  • Travel straight up or down slopes with the heavy end of the machine pointed uphill.
  • Always look in the direction the loader is traveling.
  • Keep other workers away from the loader’s work area.
  • Don’t modify or bypass safety devices.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Construction industry survey finds lack of training on preventing struck-bys

Original article published by Safety + Health

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Source: CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

Silver Spring, MD — Nearly 4 out of 5 construction employers, supervisors and workers say their organization needs training on identifying and preventing struck-by hazards, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

Researchers surveyed 208 individuals, 88% of whom have more than 10 years of experience in the construction industry. Most respondents – 77.9% and 72.7%, respectively – believe their organization needs to institute training to identify and prevent struck-by hazards, as well as conduct job hazard analyses before work or new tasks begin.

Further, the results show that the leading causes of struck-by injuries are working around heavy equipment or vehicles (35.6%) and falling or flying objects from work performed at height (29.8%). The employers identified three primary barriers to engaging in practices to prevent struck-by injuries: lack of understanding or information to address hazards (26.9%), scheduling pressure (25.5%), and lack of training in hazard identification and prevention (23.1%).

“Developing a training program for those involved in the planning process, which covers struck-by hazard identification, how to conduct job hazard analyses and best practices for prevention, would address the biggest barriers and support more effective planning and decision-making,” CPWR says.

Still, “filling knowledge and training gaps does not guarantee that companies and their employees will engage in safe practices,” CPWR cautions. The organization says the results show that employees with stop-work authority often enforce safe practices, and suggests “further exploration of stop-work authority’s use in the construction industry and how it could be used to reduce struck-by incidents may be warranted.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

US Department of Labor, industry leaders, stakeholders call on employers, workers to combat surge in construction worker suicides

First published by OSHA

Safety stand-downs planned for Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 5-9

WASHINGTON – Construction workers often face some of their industry’s most serious dangers – such as falls from elevation, being struck or crushed by equipment or other objects, and electrocution – but recent studies suggest another occupational concern is lurking silently at U.S. worksites: worker suicides.

Box with text that reads 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
The 988 Suicide &; Crisis Lifeline is a direct connection – available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to a national network of more than 200 local crisis centers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the suicide rate for men in construction and extraction was five times greater than the rate of all other work-related fatalities in the industry in 2018, and these workers are four times more likely to end their own lives than people in the general population.

To assist workers in an industry with one of the nation’s highest occupational suicide rates, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has joined a task force of construction industry partners, unions and educators to raise awareness of the work stresses seen as the causes of depression and the thoughts and acts of suicide among construction workers. In addition to alerting other stakeholders, the task force encourages industry employers to share and discuss available resources with their workers.

Coinciding with Construction Suicide Prevention Week, the task force is calling on construction industry employers, trade groups and other stakeholders to join OSHA’s Suicide Prevention Safety Stand-Down, Sept. 5-9, 2022. This week-long event seeks to raise awareness of unique mental health challenges construction workers face by asking employers to pause work for a moment to share information and resources and urge employees to seek help if needed.

“Construction workers cope with unique causes of stress, such as uncertain seasonal work; remote work and job travel that keeps workers away from home and support systems; long, hard days and completion schedules; and the job-related risks of serious injuries,” explained Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Left unchecked, these stressors can affect mental health severely and lead to anxiety, depression, substance abuse and – in some cases – suicide.”

The coronavirus outbreak and pandemic only worsened the problem, researchers found. In August 2020, the CDC reported a considerable one-year increase in symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder in a survey of the U.S. population.

Moved by their concern for a growing problem, a group of industry volunteers joined in 2020 to launch the first Suicide Prevention Week for construction workers. In 2021, more than 68,000 workers in 43 states registered to participate in Construction Suicide Prevention Week, managed by a task force comprised of OSHA, Associated General Contractors, The Builders Association, leading construction companies and labor unions.

“Suicide can be prevented with professional help and assistance,” Parker added. “OSHA encourages employers, industry associations, labor organizations and workers to use all available resources to understand the problem and the warning signs of depression before tragedy strikes.”

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a federally funded project designed to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention for U.S. residents. Supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the  988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the 998 lifeline is a national network of more than 200 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices.

Review these OSHA mental health and crisis resources.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Suicide Prevention Month: ‘Employers can play an important role’

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — September is Suicide Prevention Month, and OSHA is urging employers to actively promote available resources to all workers.

The month includes National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 4-10) and Construction Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 5-9).

Suicide is a leading cause of death among working-age adults in the United States, OSHA says. Additionally, 2 out of 5 U.S. adults have a mental health issue or substance use disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Work-related stress can have an impact on mental health and, without proper support, could lead to substance abuse and even suicide,” OSHA says. “Workers in the construction industry are generally at a higher risk for suicide due to work-related stress factors including seasonal/temporary employment, demanding work schedules and serious injuries, which are sometimes treated with opioids. Not addressing the underlying stressors or injuries can exacerbate mental health symptoms and may increase the risk of substance abuse or even suicide.

“By demonstrating their commitment to a safe and healthy workplace, employers can play an important role in reducing stigma and promoting mental health. In return, they may experience benefits such as improved workplace safety, higher morale, increased productivity, reduced turnover and decreased operating costs.”

The agency’s Preventing Suicides webpage has resources on developing mental health and safety programs, so workers can get the help they need. Among the goals of these programs:

  • Strive to create a workplace environment that fosters open communication and a sense of belonging.
  • Implement a workplace safety and health program that proactively identifies and addresses hazards that could lead to injuries or illnesses.
  • Provide resources and programs that promote employee health and well-being, as well as support work-life balance.
  • Inform employees of resources and treatment services available for mental health and substance use disorders through employee assistance or health insurance programs, or in the community.
  • Provide accommodations and return-to-work assistance for employees seeking treatment or who are in recovery.

 

The webpage also has links to 60-second public service announcements in English and Spanish, posters, and links to additional resources.

“When you work closely with someone, you may sense when something is wrong,” OSHA says. “If you are concerned about a co-worker, talk with them privately and listen without judgment. Encourage them to get help. If someone is in crisis, stay with them and get help. If you believe a co-worker is at immediate risk of suicide, stay with them until you can get further help. Contact emergency services or call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Where to Place Fire Extinguishers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

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Photo: Jennifer Yario

Are your workplace fire extinguishers in the right place? According to the National Fire Protection Association, employers need to consider two key factors: accessibility and visibility.
Accessible: “Extinguishers should be placed where they are readily accessible in the event of a fire, which typically includes normal paths of travel.”
Visible: “If visual obstructions cannot be avoided, then arrows, lights or signs are needed to help indicate where a fire extinguisher is located.”

Then, depending on the weight of your extinguisher, NFPA has more placement guidelines.

If your extinguisher weighs more than 40 pounds:

  • The top of the extinguisher can’t be more than 3.5 feet from the ground.
  • The bottom of the extinguisher must be at least 4 inches off the ground.

If it weighs less than 40 pounds:

  • The top of the extinguisher can’t be more than 5 feet from the ground.
  • The bottom of extinguisher must be at least 4 inches off the ground.

In both cases, NPFA notes, “this includes extinguishers in cabinets, but it does not include wheeled extinguishers.”


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

New poster: OSHA requirements for mechanical service and construction work on low-slope roofs

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo: Mechanical Contractors Association of America

Rockville, MD — OSHA requirements for mechanical service and mechanical construction on low-slope roofs – and the differences between them – are the topic of a new poster from the Mechanical Contractors Association of America.

Mechanical service is covered under OSHA’s general industry standards (1910), while mechanical construction is covered under the agency’s construction standards (1926).

According to MCAA, OSHA’s position on mechanical service is that the work “does not meet the definition of ‘temporary and infrequent’ if the job task takes longer than it would to install or set up fall protection, and the task is performed more than once a month, once a year or when needed.”

On the poster, MCA says it’s “working to establish a reasonable interpretation of the standard.”

For mechanical construction, workers must use fall prevention systems or fall protection when working 6 feet or more above a lower level. No safe distance exists for a worker to perform tasks without fall protection on a low-slope roof in this situation. (One exception involving a 15-foot or longer warning line is detailed in the poster.)

MCAA represents around 2,600 companies involved in heating, ventilating and air conditioning; refrigeration; plumbing; piping; and mechanical service.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

OSHA proposes $1.3M in penalties for metro-area roofing contractor after second employee suffers fatal fall in 3 years

First published by OSHA

Serial violator ALJ Home Improvement Inc. cited repeatedly for fall-related violations

TARRYTOWN, NY – A Nanuet roofing and siding contractor with a significant history of safety violations and penalties now faces an additional $1,343,363 in penalties after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated another fatal fall by a company employee, the second in three years.

OSHA opened an inspection of ALJ Home Improvement Inc. on Feb. 8, 2022, when a worker fell from the roof of a three-story residential construction project in Spring Valley. In February 2019, another company employee died in a fall at a Kiamesha Lake work site.

The agency determined that ALJ failed to provide fall protection training or ensure effective fall protection safeguards were used. They also failed to provide eye protection for employees using pneumatic nail guns, exposing them to the risk of serious eye injuries.

The employer’s knowledge of fall and eye protection requirements, and its deliberate and recurring violations of these standards, led OSHA to issue egregious citations for each instance an employee at the Spring Valley site was exposed to the hazards. In total, ALJ Home Improvement was cited for nine willful and three serious violations.

View the citations.

Since 2019, OSHA has inspected ALJ Home Improvement six times, issuing 21 violations and levying $299,425 in fines. Its infractions include multiple willful fall protection and eye protection violations, cited most recently in November 2021.

“ALJ Home Improvement continues to ignore the law and callously exposes its employees to falls from elevation, the construction industry’s deadliest hazard,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson in New York. “Their repeated willful violations are evidence of an indefensible and inexcusable pattern of disregard for the safety of their employees. OSHA will continue to take strong enforcement actions against such employers.”

ALJ Home Improvement Inc., a roofing and siding contractor working throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 351 of the 1,008 construction workers who died on the job in 2020 were victims of falls from elevations. Fall-related injuries and fatalities can be prevented through knowledge and training.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

OSHA extends comment period on proposal to amend rules on workplace lead exposure

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

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Washington — In response to multiple stakeholder requests, OSHA has extended until Oct. 28 the comment period on a proposed rule that would revise the agency’s standards on occupational exposure to lead in general industry and construction.

According to a notice published in the Aug. 18 Federal Register, the extension provides stakeholders additional time to collect information and data necessary to submit responses and comments. The initial deadline was Aug. 29.

OSHA, in the June 28 Federal Register, published an advance notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking seeking input on blood lead levels for medical removal and return to work, as well as:

  • Medical surveillance provisions, including triggers and frequency of blood lead monitoring
  • Permissible exposure limits
  • Ancillary provisions for personal protective equipment, housekeeping, hygiene and training

The agency’s blood lead level for medical removal is 60 micrograms per deciliter or more for general industry and 50 micrograms per deciliter or more in construction. The return-to-work BLL is less than 40 micrograms per deciliter.

OSHA adopted its standards on lead exposure for general industry and construction in 1978 and 1992, respectively. Since then, studies by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, among other organizations, have indicated that adverse effects can occur at lower BLLs.

“For example, BLLs as low as 5 μg/dL have been associated with impaired kidney and reproductive function, high blood pressure, and cognitive effects attributed to prenatal exposure,” the ANPRM stated. “Poorer performance on neurocognitive and neuropsychologic assessments were observed in adults with BLLs as low as 5-19 μg/dL compared with adults with BLLs below 5 μg/dL.”


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

What causes falls in construction? CPWR survey digs in

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

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Photo: CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

Silver Spring, MD — Lack of pre-work planning is a key underlying cause of falls in the construction industry, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

CPWR distributed the survey from February to May 2021 and received 495 responses from people who had been involved in, witnessed or investigated a fall incident.

More than a quarter (26.9%) of the incidents reportedly were fatal and 58.9% required immediate medical care.

The respondents most commonly identified insufficient or ineffective pre-work planning as the primary cause for the falls (27.4%). Notably, the odds of using fall protection were 71% lower for workers whose employer or competent person didn’t complete a pre-work task plan.

Other key findings:

  • 48.8% of the respondents said no fall protection was being used at the time of the incident.
  • Workers who believed fall protection was required by their employer were eight times more likely to use it than those who thought it was optional.
  • Individuals who worked for a subcontractor at the time of the fall incident were 2.7 times more likely to die from the fall compared with those who worked for a general contractor.

“Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, and they are preventable,” CPWR says. “This study provides actionable findings about leading root causes of falls and identifies opportunities for future research to better understand this urgent occupational safety issue and effectively address it.”


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.