Saudi Arabia’s latest hajj disaster raises serious safety questions

Monday, October 5th, 2015

The biggest annual gathering of Muslims from around the world, the hajj, is also one of the biggest and most unique logistical problem in the world. Since the Arab-Israeli war and the rise of oil prices in 1973, the number of pilgrims to Mecca has risen significantly from around 58,000 in 1920 to 1.7 million by 2012. The number peaked at 3.1 million in 2013, when country quotas were re-introduced. It was estimated that 2 million people took part in the annual pilgrimage this year, where a disastrous stampede resulted in the deaths of 717 pilgrims. This was following an earlier incident involving the collapse of a crane in Mecca causing the deaths of more than a hundred people. These latest horrific disasters in Saudi Arabia has raised familiar yet troubling and grim questions about the organization, safety precautions and levels of competence in the Kingdom. Some experts are saying the huge number of pilgrims are not the ones to be blamed for the accidents. Rather, the state should take the blame for poor planning and incompetence on their part. The ongoing construction boom in the city, poor communication, and inadequate emergency planning are said to have contributed to the tragedy. Read the full article here

Unions keep construction workers safer, study shows

Friday, September 18th, 2015

In a rigorous analysis of more than 40,000 construction firms across Ontario (which is the first of its kind in Canada), Workplace Safety and Insurance Board claims data showed that firms that are unionized reported 23% fewer injuries that required time off compared to their non-unionized counterparts. They were also found to be 17% less likely to experience muscle, tendon, and nerve injuries that affect mobility; and 30% less likely to suffer critical/life-threatening injuries. The new province-wide study examined injury claims between 2006 and 2012 for construction firms that employed more than 1.5 million full-time Ontario workers. It was led by Dr. Ben Amick of Toronto-based think tank the Institute for Work and Health, and funded by the Ontario Construction Secretariat which represents 25 building trade unions in the industrial, commercial, and institutional sector and their contractors. Sean Strickland, the head of the Ontario Construction Secretariat, believes that the results show the benefits from the $40 million the union invests every year in robust apprenticeships and skills training programs, and the 95 training centres which it operates in conjunction with contractors across the province.

Click here for more information about the findings of the study…

Driverless Crash Trucks Aim to Improve Safety in Work Zones

Friday, September 18th, 2015

Crash trucks with truck-mounted attenuators have been attributed with saving lives but the workers who drive them are invariably placed in grave danger and just “literally waiting to be struck” said Robert Roy, president of Royal Truck & Equipment Inc. in Coopersburg. In line with this, Royal, the nation’s largest manufacturer of truck-mounted attenuators, is partnering to make driverless crash trucks with Micro Systems Inc. of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, which supplies unmanned vehicles to the military and developed the technology. Royal demonstrated its new driverless crash trucks in a bid to reduce risk on driver’s lives in such dangerous situations, and to save on labor costs. By the end of the year, two of the autonomous vehicles will make their debut at highway construction sites in Florida under a state Department of Transportation demonstration program. Royal said the terms of the agreement with Florida’s transportation department are still being negotiated.

Read more about these trucks here…

Smart Vest Could Protect Workers From Road Construction Hazards

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Construction sites in general are very dangerous places to work at, but this is even more true for roadside construction sites because you have the added danger of oncoming vehicular traffic that increases the risks exponentially. In 2013 alone, 579 fatalities in highway work-zone related incidents were recorded by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. The InZoneAlert vest that Virginia Tech researchers are creating seeks to minimize, if not altogether eliminate, these fatalities by warning both the worker and the motorist in a matter of seconds if a collision is about to occur. The latest in “smart” clothing technology (wearable items with woven-in electronic components that can provide data such as a person’s movements) makes this life-saving technology possible using short-range communication sensors and connected vehicle technology that allows cars to “talk” to one another, to roadside infrastructure, and to personal electronics such as mobile phones. The vest will be tested in real-world demonstrations involving highway-speed traffic at the Virginia Smart Road in Blacksburg. For more information on the Smart Vest technology, click on this link…

Infographic: 7 Steps of Workplace Emergency Planning

Friday, September 11th, 2015

For National Preparedness Month this September, ensure your workers and facility’s safety in the event of unexpected events (like natural disasters) by following this guide from the Disaster Planning and Response Resource Center for the 7 essential steps to developing a comprehensive workplace emergency plan. These include considering possible hazards, planning for both evacuation or shelter-in-place scenarios, communicating with emergency responders, planning for getting the business back up and running, safe cleanup and recovery and of course training and practice. Check out this link and the infographic below for more details…

7 Steps of Workplace Emergency Planning

7 Steps of Workplace Emergency Planning by

Ten heavy equipment safety tips

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Thousands of heavy equipment-related incidents happen every year around the world. These can result to property damage, injuries and in worst case scenarios, death. Most equipment used in construction, farming, forestry, mining and other industries are big and powerful machines that are inherently dangerous and therefore command the utmost respect and care in properly handling them to avoid mishaps. Even if most of people are aware of the hazards, incidents can still happen to anyone whether they are seasoned operators or newly-trained ones. Due to this fact, some general safety rules should be diligently followed to help you with your everyday work. This includes proper training with qualified and experienced individuals on the use of the equipment, communication between those using the equipment and those working around it, making sure that all equipment are well-maintained and everyone onsite is wearing standard safety gear, and practicing common sense in avoiding potentially dangerous situations. Click here to read the full list of heavy equipment tips…

How to Sharpen Lineman’s Pliers

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Lineman’s pliers are built to last and do not wear out easily unless they are being used on a regular basis to cut through steel bolts or other cables. Investing a good amount of money for well-made industrial tools for work will help you save effort and money because their durability ensures you don’t need to replace them anytime soon and that they can be sharpened when necessary.
If you do notice however that your lineman’s pliers are having trouble cutting through cables, you can make use of some simple guidelines to get them back in top shape. The first thing to remember is to use a vice grip with your pliers to avoid metal splinters and to keep the pliers in the open position for easy access to the wire-cutting blades. Also, carefully choose your sharpening tool since there are few ways to sharpen your plier sets starting from the simplest solutions like using an emery board, a file tool, or a knife sharpener. For more information on how to sharpen your lineman’s pliers, click here


Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Electricity is one powerful force and safety hazard that should never be taken lightly under any circumstance because any contact with the human body can cause long-lasting damages or even fatal effects.
Since the number of electrical appliances and equipment abound in construction work sites and even throughout our homes or public spaces, it is very important to understand and implement the principles of safe operation of electrical devices and to make sure that everyone at home or in the workplace is fully aware of this. Electrical works should be treated or dealt with the utmost care and respect they deserve so everyone can be safe from harm. It is also advisable to follow best practices like staying away from exposed wires and leaving any electrical repairs to professionals who are well-trained and equipped to handle the situation. Being vigilant in exercising precautionary measures at all times is the key to ensuring the safety of lives and property. Read the full list of safety tips here

Construction Work Accidents- Where Do the Risks Lie?

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Every year in the UK, the HSE releases detailed statistics on the number of injuries and accidents that have been reported and how they have been caused. Key figures from 2012/2013 reveal that the number of accidents and injuries within the construction industry have continued to fall. Fatal accidents totaled 39 that year compared to an average of 53 over the previous five years, major injuries are more common with 1913 being reported to employers while the average number of reported cases over the previous five years was 2815, and 3133 cases of seven-day injuries were reported that year compared to an average of 5986 from the past five years. The decline is thanks to more stringent health and safety precautions being taken by employers to comply with the law. However, the construction industry still holds the highest percentage (26%) of all fatal injuries across all sectors included; which shows that there is still a fair amount of work to be done to further reduce the number of fatal accidents and bring this percentage down. To read the full article, click here…

Warning: Chinese steel imports could be safety threat

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

UK Steel and the British Association of Reinforcement and steel unions are expressing their growing concern with use of imported Chinese steel in construction in the UK for several reasons. Not only are the cheap imports being named as the cause for 720 job cuts in Tata’s steel works factory in South Yorkshire, it’s inadequate strength and quality is now being identified as a threat to construction safety. When additives (like boron) are included in the manufacture of Chinese steel, the manufacturer’s get a tax rebate since it will be classed as an alloy, but it also affects the material’s strength and makes it more likely to crack if the wrong welding technique is applied. Current regulations do not require steelmakers to specify the amount of boron added in their rebar (reinforced bar), which is mainly used to help fortify concrete. This means companies may not be aware that they are using weaker material and putting the safety of their structure and their personnel at risk. Construction firms are now being urged to only purchase steel whose provenance can be traced under the Charter for Sustainable British Steel campaign to ensure quality and construction safety standards are safeguarded. Click here to read the full article…