Protecting workers in fissured workplaces – where there is increasingly the possibility that more than one employer is benefiting from their work – has been a major focus for the Wage and Hour Division in recent years.
Eight people have died in construction-related accidents in 2015 thus far, according to the city’s Buildings Department, as many as in all of 2014; the year before, three died. Not since 2008, during the height of the last building boom, has the number of construction accidents been so high, when a rash of episodes, including two falling cranes, claimed 19 lives, according to an article in The New York Times.
One of the most thought-stirring sessions at this year’s American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo (AIHce) held this week in Salt Lake City is a discussion featuring OSHA boss Dr. David Michaels and Department of Labor Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division Dr. David Weil. They are talking about Dr. Weil’s 2014 book, “The Fissured Workplace: Why work became so bad for so many and what can be done to improve it,” published by the Harvard Press, in the context of workplace safety and health outcomes.
A number of companies have made significant improvements to their safety cultures. Their progress is so dramatic, they often come to the realization that it is highly probable that their next fatality will come from a contractor they hire. To safety leaders, this is not an acceptable risk.
OSHA has cited Watco Mechanical Services, Jordan General Contractors Inc. and JP Electric after a combustible dust flash fire claimed the lives of two workers at a Hockley, Texas work site. Proposed penalties for the three companies total $119,840.
Dozens of labor, faith and community leaders and members gathered on the steps of New York City hall to announce the creation of Back Home, “Back to Work,” a new project to get Hurricane Sandy-affected residents back into their homes by providing safe, fast and effective mold assessment and remediation, according to a press statement issued by the coalition.
The Massachusetts FACE Project—in conjunction with the national Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction, and with input from local industry and labor safety experts, contractors, and researchers—has updated and published a series of four residential construction fall prevention brochures for contractors.
Contractors who do work for the federal government will be under increased scrutiny – and whistleblower protection – thanks to a set of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3254) recently approved by the Senate.
One construction worker a day dies on a worksite from a fall. One a day. That’s what the national data consistently tells us, since one-third of all deaths on construction sites are from falls. Every year more than 10,000 construction workers in the private construction industry experience serious, even life-changing, injuries from a fall.