Additional federal infrastructure investment is critical for safe drinking water

by Sara Schwartz When news of the Flint, Mich., water crisis made headlines, nearly 21 million people across the country relied on water systems that violated health standards. Low-income communities, minority populations and rural towns disproportionately deal with barriers to safe water. (See related story from Pittsburgh, Penn., below.) Drinking water challenges are complex: failing infrastructure, polluted water sources and low-capacity utility management are all part of the issue. Declining investment in water infrastructure throughout the last several decades hasRead More

Road construction

Mobile technology aims for safer highway work zones

More than half (54 percent) of highway contractors reported that motor vehicles had crashed into their construction zones during the past year, according to the results of a highway work zone study conducted in 2018 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). In response, association officials have launched a new mobile advertising campaign that urges drivers who pass through work zones to slow down and be alert. Forty eight percent of contractors who reported crashes on jobsites said driversRead More

Worker in PPE cutting steel beam

Creating a safety culture:
Focus on more than just recording zero incidents

by Bob Fitzgerald, Sr. Risk Control Consultant at Willis Towers Watson Great news! Your project achieved a safety milestone with zero OSHA-recordable injuries. Mission accomplished, right? Not entirely. Most safety practitioners insist that there is always room for improvement with safety practices and procedures. While the OSHA Recordable Incidence Rate (RIR) is a common and important metric for many organizations, some industry groups rank this indicator too high. Avoiding OSHA-recordable injuries is always a good thing, but claiming victory basedRead More

Rattlesnake in grass

Poisonous Snakes: How to avoid them and what to do if they bite

After a Texas man’s recent post of a video showing a den of rattlesnakes under his shed, we knew it was time to pull out one of our articles from 1969. This information is still helpful today. FROM OUR ARCHIVES: [dropcap]U[/dropcap]sually rattlesnake bites are a rare occurrence but there is no point in putting out a welcome sign. Seldom, if ever, are such bites fatal to healthy adults if the victim refuses to panic. For those who do not know snakes: assume thatRead More

Highway into city

Goal: No fatalities
Research suggests traffic-planning approaches would save lives

[dropcap]R[/dropcap]esearch from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Bank concludes that if all countries adopted a Safe System or Vision Zero approach to safety and traffic infrastructure, nearly a million lives could be saved around the world each year. WRI analyzed data from 53 countries and found that using Safe System tactics achieved both the lowest rates of traffic deaths and the largest reduction in fatalities in a 20-year period. The report, “Safe and Sustainable: A Vision andRead More

Hand drill cutting concrete

New OSHA silica dust exposure limits

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule regarding respirable crystalline silica dust in the construction industry requires covered employers to comply with stricter exposure limits and take steps to protect workers. OSHA reduced the exposure for construction activities to 20 percent of the previous permissible limit (from 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 50) averaged throughout an eight-hour shift. The previous standard had been in place since 1971. These new regulations for the construction industry wentRead More

SAFETY STUDY: Time of day, size of firm play role in construction fatalities

[dropcap]U[/dropcap]nderstanding why, when and how construction fatalities occur and helping construction firms implement the most effective safety measures in response are vital to reducing work-related accidents and deaths. To that end, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) conducted a study, Preventing Fatalities in the Construction Industry, during a three-year period in association with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech University. Researchers studied every construction fatality during that time span. Best time for safety talks? The study dispels the beliefRead More

construction worker looking off in the distance

SAFETY ECONOMICS 101: Creating a safety culture

(Part three of three) In the first segment of this blog, we highlighted some of the issues that companies encounter when implementing a proactive safety program. Part two focused on ideas to strengthen your safety program and encourage employees to take part in the process.  This final segment addresses the importance of creating a safety culture within your organization. Involving all employees in the pursuit of safe practices and holding regular training sessions are part of a comprehensive mind-set thatRead More

Construction worker on scaffolding

SAFETY ECONOMICS 101: Safety is a team effort

(Part two of three) [dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the first segment of this blog series, we highlighted some of the issues that companies encounter when implementing a proactive safety program. Part two focuses on ideas to strengthen your safety program and involve employees in the process. Getting started preparing a written safety plan is not difficult. If you don’t have one, you need one immediately. If you do have a program and aren’t using it, pull it out and go through it carefully.Read More

SAFETY ECONOMICS 101: Proactive safety approach boosts productivity and provides a competitive edge

(This blog post is a series. Part one of three) [dropcap]T[/dropcap]hrough the years, safety has become one of the most important aspects of the construction industry, if not the most important. Legislation protecting workers from harm is extensive, as lawmakers require businesses to put worker safety ahead of profitability. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your business will lose money by implementing sound practices. As you know, OSHA requires companies to have a safety program that outlines good practices and policiesRead More