Stories related to construction industry safety ranged this year from hazard-specific (spray foam insulation, concrete drilling) to regulations (silica, crane operator certification) to developments that affect construction safety in a more general way, like the workforce shortage or the legalization of marijuana in many states. Here’s a look back at 2018 articles:

OSHA issues final rule on crane operator cert. requirements

November 8, 2018

OSHA yesterday published a final rule that clarifies certification requirements for crane operators, and maintains the employer’s duty to ensure that crane operators can safely operate the equipment. The agency says the regulation will maintain safety and health protections for workers while reducing compliance burdens.

Green building practices have an unhealthy side for construction workers

Spray foam and protective clothing: What works

October 24, 2018

Green construction, or building energy-efficient and sustainable structures, is in high demand. The push for more green buildings has led to construction workers using energy-efficient materials, like spray polyurethane foam insulation (spray foam). This material forms a continuous barrier on walls and corners, preventing moisture from getting inside of structures through cracks and seams.

Hearing loss, hand vibration, silica dust

Reducing the hazards of concrete drilling

October 22, 2018

Drilling into concrete can be dusty, loud, and physically exhausting. It also can expose workers to silica dust from sand and rock, which can damage the lungs if inhaled. Drilling also exposes workers to hand vibration and noise at levels well above recommended limits. Now, two NIOSH-funded studies through CPWR–The Center for Construction Research and Training and the University of California at Berkeley have identified ways to reduce these hazards.

How construction supervisors can improve their safety leadership skills

October 19, 2018

Annually, thousands of construction supervisors take the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 30-hour outreach-training program to learn how to identify and control occupational hazards. However, until recently it did not include content on leadership.

Increase in trenching deaths spurs (delayed) action by OSHA

October 4, 2018

A Sauganash, Ill. city water department worker dies after an underground trench collapses around him during a routine project. A man dies after he was trapped in dirt up to his waist while working at a home construction site in Washington State. A Smithton, Pa. teenager dies when the walls of a 10-foot-deep trench collapse on him as he helps install a septic system.

Construction safety threatened by workforce shortages

Contractors identify strong safety programs as means to address skilled labor scarcity and substance abuse

September 10, 2018

A shortage of skilled workers is the number one factor affecting jobsite safety, according to a report by the Q3 2018 USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (Index). The report revealed a widespread concern among commercial construction businesses about anticipated labor shortages over the next three years, with 88 percent of contractors expecting to feel at least a moderate impact from the workforce shortages in the next three years.

Clearing the smoke: Workplace safety issues clouded by medical marijuana

Phillip B. Russell

August 12, 2018

Before we try to clear the smoke on the issue of medical marijuana, we should first put the subject in its proper context. Regardless of the strength of the arguments in favor of or against medical marijuana usage, its use in the workplace is primarily a safety issue.

Info that can make operating heavy equipment safer

March 29, 2018

Safely operating large, potentially dangerous construction and agricultural equipment can be challenging. Information that enhances training and usage can help reduce the risks of working with such equipment. One source of information about equipment safety is the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), which has resources available to both its 900+ members and to the general public.

The silica rule: What you need to know about OSHA’s standard

Mark H. Stromme

March 1, 2018

Exposure to respirable crystalline silica is nothing new for employees on construction sites. However, this exposure can cause serious health issues. In response to these concerns, OSHA issued a new rule on exposure to silica in construction.

This type of injury disproportionately fatal to construction workers

February 8, 2018

Caught-in or between injuries killed more construction workers than those in any other industry between 2011 and 2015, according to a new CPWR Quarterly Data Report from the Center for Construction Research & Training. The injury category includes workers killed when trenches, walls, equipment, or materials collapse, as well as people pinched/compressed between objects and equipment or caught in moving machinery.