April 20, 2015
In this issue:
Consider this scenario:
A boom lift runs over a can of spray adhesive at a busy construction site. At the same time, a worker is doing a welding task on an open floor directly above the boom lift. A welding spark falls to the ground and ignites the vapor from the spray adhesive.
It's an unlikely event, but it happened. Fortunately, there was a fire watchman on the site who was able to extinguish the fire and there were no injuries. What's the takeaway message? Debris and other waste material increase the risk of an accident. Reduce the risk by cleaning up and disposing of waste on a regular schedule.
In Oregon, construction-related falls accounted for 407 compensable construction-injury claims in 2013 (the last year complete data are available). More than half of those injuries (56 percent) resulted from falls from elevated surfaces. What are Oregon construction workers falling from? Any discussion about falls should focus on ladders, roofs, nonmoving vehicles and machinery, and scaffolds; they are the source for more than 80 percent of the injuries caused by falls from elevated surfaces.
Oregon OSHA's most frequently violated construction rule in 2014 was General fall protection (437-003-1501). Oregon OSHA issued 229 citations (189 serious and 40 repeat) for violations of the rule during that year. This year, General fall protection continues to top the list of most-violated construction rules.
Q: Does Oregon OSHA require multistoried buildings under construction to have a construction elevator for employees or building inspectors? We have a building under construction that is currently five stories and will be nine stories. There is no construction elevator in place so employees and inspectors must use stairs to access the floors; the permanent elevator is not operational at this point in the project.
Heads up contractors and anyone else who will be digging for construction work, landscaping, building a fence, putting up a mailbox, or even a "for sale" sign. April is National Safe Digging Month, which is a reminder that somewhere in the serene ground beneath your feet, there may be pipelines, wires, or cables sending fuel and data to hundreds – or thousands – of people.
Tuesday, April 28 is Workers Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in workplace accidents. Workers Memorial Day is also about recommitting to the goal of improving safety and health in every American workplace.
It's not too late to plan your company's Safety Break on Wednesday, May 13. Companies planning to participate will be entered to win one of three $100 pizza luncheons when they sign up online by Friday, May 8.
Also, in recognition of Safety Break, SafeBuild Alliance has joined with Oregon OSHA to present a free workshop on the causes of several fatal construction accidents that happened in the Portland area.
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Reprinting, excerpting, or plagiarizing any part of this publication is fine with us!
But remember: the information in this newsletter is intended to highlight safe work practices, but it does not replace Oregon OSHA workplace safety and health rules.
For information about Oregon OSHA services and answers to technical questions, call (503) 378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, (800) 922-2689.