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Texas Reports Delta Variant is Hammering Construction—Again

Despite the rapidly growing population, the pandemic-driven boom in residential housing sales and the high demand for builders with large backlogs, construction in the Lone Star State looks dismal.

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Suicide Plagues Construction Industry

Construction workers commit suicide at three times the national average. Within the construction industry, already the most dangerous profession, more workers die from suicide than job injuries and accidents. Construction has the second-highest suicide rate of any sector in the United States.

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San Francisco’s Millennium Tower Halts Construction as it Begins Sinking Again

The controversial 58-story Millennium Tower in San Francisco, CA, continues to sink. As of February 2020, the tower had sunk 17 inches since it first opened in 2009. Recent readings show that, despite construction efforts to reinforce the building, it has descended another inch.

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ABC: OSHA Requirements Are Minimum Standards, Not Highball

According to the most recent data from OSHA, construction continues its poor streak as the most dangerous industry in the United States, accounting for one in five workplace deaths. The top ten causes of workplace deaths contain three that are specific to construction: Ladders (#6), Scaffolding (#3), and Fall Protection (#1). Fatalities from construction falls have been in the number one place on the list for nine straight years. Additionally, construction fatalities increased by six percent in the last year.

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Colorado Contractor Sentenced to Prison For Workplace Death of Employee

Colorado courts sentenced Bryan Johnson, a contractor from Avon, CO, to 10 months in prison. He faced manslaughter and negligent homicide charges after a workplace accident left a man dead in 2018. Johnson didn’t go to trial; he pled guilty to two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of 3rd-degree assault causing injury.

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New York City Shuts Down 300 Jobsites Over Safety Violations

After the death of seven construction workers so far this year in New York City, including three in May, the city’s Department of Buildings plans to crack down on safety violations.

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Report: Construction Errors Led to Mexico City Metro Collapse That Killed 26

A preliminary report issued by the Norwegian company DNV and other international experts—prepared at the request of the Mexican government—found that at least six construction violations led to the collapse of the metro train last month that killed 26.

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Western Heat Wave Especially Hard on Construction and Farm Workers

A blistering heatwave torments the western United States. The heat significantly affects people who work outside, such as construction and farm laborers. In the past week, authorities have put advisories in place for an area containing more than 50-million residents.

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New Artificial Intelligence App Preventing Earthquake-Related Deaths

As the founders of Build Change claim, it’s not the earthquake that kills people; it’s the collapse of poorly built structures. With the release of their new Intelligence Supervision Assistant for Construction app, they hope to save lives with open-source artificial intelligence.

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Emerging Trends in NYC Construction Safety Discussed at Panel

Earlier this month, New York City construction industry professionals debated the future of safety on the job site at the Commercial Observer’s third annual Construction Safety Forum. They reviewed what happened during coronavirus and what is expected to happen now.

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Controversial New Legislation Seeks to Protect From Wildfires

Californians face the increasing severity of wildfires at the beginning of fire season. The Los Angeles City Council seeks to slow fires with a new proposal: City Building Code Fire District 1 Expansion. This initiative expands fire safety measures in dangerous neighborhoods, such as Silver Lake and Pacific Palisades. The proposal severely limits the use of wood framing in large buildings (over 150,000 square feet).

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Self-Driving Car Can’t Handle Road Construction, Halts Traffic

Amid the rise of autonomous vehicles, some wonder how these cars will react to unexpected events. A flurry of discussion ensued last year when one company prioritized the safety of their autonomous vehicles over that of pedestrians. A new video escalated tension; a car from the Waymo autonomous taxi service in Chandler, Arizona, experienced trouble handling interaction with road construction.

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Work Zone Fatalities Reach 15-Year High

According to new data released from the Federal Highway Association (FHWA), in 2019 (the year with the most recently compiled data), 842 fatalities occurred in work-zone crashes, compared to 757 in 2018, representing an 11.2% increase; this means the highest number of deaths in work zones since 2004.

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Construction Materials Shortage Getting So Drastic It’s Leading to Theft

Nobody in the construction industry sees the material shortage as new news; lumber has climbed more than 300% since March of 2020. According to a survey from the Associated Building Contractors, lack of materials competes for top concern among contractors, alongside the labor shortage.

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Improving Urban Design to Promote Public Health

While many solutions to the pandemic appear easy—washing hands, wearing masks, and social distancing—much in urban design and architecture complicates strict guidelines adherence. How do you stay six feet apart if a sidewalk or a corridor is only four feet wide? What about pressing the button to cross the street or ride the elevator while trying to avoid high-touch areas?

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New NYC Marijuana Law Causing New Construction Rules Woes

On March 31, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that makes recreational marijuana legal in New York. Anyone over the age of 21 can possess up to 3 ounces of the drug. As far as construction crews, a simple solution seems obvious: make a rule that no one may work while impaired. But the problem's complexity requires a more involved solution.

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COVID Money and Insights Coming to New School Construction

Two bills, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act in March and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act in December, set aside $190.5 billion to help schools. This money could represent significant changes in the architecture of future schools.

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Engineering Firm Takes Hard Line on Safety

Facing a new project in 2019, Keith Switzer of INTEC Group, found himself in a meeting about safety on a new four-story housing project, and he decided he was going to take this seriously. It began by making a list. The meeting turned into a brainstorming session where, as he puts it, they said “if you did this differently, this would be a safer way of doing XYZ.”

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New York Creates More Complete Registry of On-the-Job Construction Deaths

New York lawmakers hope to reduce on-the-job construction industry injuries and deaths with a new bill. The New York State senate signed Bill S1302 into law on February 16th; this bill expands on a registry of information related to construction incidents that result in fatal injuries. The bill's language qualifies workers in the following groups: “direct employees, contracted employees, subcontracted employees, independent contractors, temporary or contingency workers, apprentices, interns, volunteers.” It also expands the term “contractor” to include direct employers, contractors, and subcontractors.

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Level 10 Construction Hits Historic Safety Milestone

On February 12, exactly one year after the California-based company, Level 10 Construction, announced it had reached 6 million man-hours worked without a lost-time incident, they announced the next milestone: 7-million hours and seven straight years without a lost-time incident.

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Opioid Crisis Hits Hard on American Construction Workers

According to a new report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “Opioids have commonly been prescribed to construction workers to treat pain caused by these occupational injuries. Workers in the industry also have higher rates of opioid overdose death compared with other groups.”

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Construction Industry Has Highest Rate of COVID-19 Cases

A new study published in MedRXiv reports that construction workers have the highest COVID-19 cases of nearly any industry, including healthcare workers, first responders, food service, correctional personnel, elderly care workers, and grocery store workers.

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Construction Workers Hit Hard by Coronavirus

According to a new study from the University of Texas (UT), construction workers are far more likely to be hospitalized for coronavirus than workers in other segments.

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Deafness and Other Disabilities Shaping Our Architecture

Jeffrey Mansfield, a design director who was born Deaf, is keenly aware of how some architecture serves to set the disabled free and some stifles and traps them. Influencing work at the MASS Design Group put him on course to enter a multi-year course of research exploring how deafness has shaped space (or been shaped by it). For his work, he was recently awarded the Disability Futures Fellowship from the Ford Foundation.

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New OSHA Guidelines Require Work-Related COVID-19 Reporting

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has clarified a rule that instructs on reporting infection and deaths from diseases caught on the job site. Under 29 CFR 1904.39(b)(6), employers are required to report in-patient hospitalizations if the hospitalization "occurs within twenty-four hours of the work-related incident." For cases of COVID-19, the term "incident" means exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace.

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Tragic Accident in Houston Stairwell Collapse, Texas Construction Deaths Continue to Rise

After a major accident happened on Monday, October 5th, in which approximately 13 or 14 floors of stairs collapsed down a stairwell and killed three workers and injured one other, rescue crews could remove the bodies on Wednesday.

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New Software Monitors Construction Sites for Wildfires

In a year that has been fraught with wildfires burning across the west, consuming hundreds of thousands of acres, a new app is being piloted in Arizona to locate the source of fires by mapping hundreds of construction sites.

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Three Reasons for the Most Common Construction Mistakes

A study from McKinsey reported that a large majority of projects miss their deadlines by 40% or more, which causes all sorts of headaches—most of them financial. Some of the most common reasons for construction mistakes are:

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Major Construction Accident Highlights High Crane-Related Fatalities in Texas

On September 16th, two cranes at an Austin, TX, construction site collided. In the accident, 16 workers were injured and taken to local hospitals. None of the injuries are considered critical, but experts say that the incident highlights a significant lapse of workplace safety awareness.

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800 Sick with Covid at Nation’s Only Nuclear Construction Site

Nuclear power plants are few and far between these days as environmental groups have called into question the impact of the nuclear waste disposal, but the only active nuclear construction site in the United States is under investigation for a different kind of sickness: a rapid Covid outbreak.

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Shooting at Construction Site Highlights Dangers Faced by Workers

A shooting at a Culver City, California, construction site this week shows how dangerous an already dangerous profession can be. Construction, which hosts a number of the most dangerous jobs in the workforce, including carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, and more, has always been a risky business. The general laborer is the 17th most dangerous job in America, while roofers are at #4, heavy machine operators are at #8, and steelworkers at #9. (The most dangerous jobs remain in the logging industry.)

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Unexploded WW2 Ordnance Found by Construction Crew in DC

Construction workers got more than they bargained for this week while doing routine construction work on a park in Washington DC—they discovered an undetonated World War 2 era bomb.

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Construction Workers Prone to Risky Behaviors, Study Says

We talk all the time about dangers on the jobsite—and there are many—but a new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests that it may be during the off-the-clock time that construction workers are at more serious risk of injury or illness. And the behaviors don’t just apply to workers, but to construction management as well.

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Troopers Saving Lives by Dressing as Construction Workers

Construction workers in road construction are among the highest rated for danger or death, so one state is sending police undercover to try to save lives—by dressing as construction workers.

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New York City Shuts Down 41 Construction Areas for COVID-19

New York City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) has begun enforcing new stricter safety guidelines related to the novel coronavirus, and in the first five days they issued 88 citations and 41 stop work orders.

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3 Architecture Firms Proposing New COVID Testing Units

Despite all the re-openings of the economy and the lifted restrictions, COVID is still with us, and testing continues to speed up, not slow down. But testing is in so much demand, especially in hard hit states like Arizona and Texas, where lines for drive-thru testing can be hours long, that many are looking for alternative testing sites.

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Deaths, Injuries This Week Remind of Construction Dangers

It has been a deadly week around the United States in the construction industry, with several deaths, injuries and near-misses. It is a reminder to the construction world of the dangers that face workers every day as they go on the job site.

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New York Opens Many Construction Jobs Again Post-COVID

In the first step of reopening the construction in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on June 5th that he would allow 32,000 construction sites to reopen.

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Architecture for Emergencies: Is Pre-Fab Better, or On-Site?

While damage control and preparation is becoming an increasingly important factor in planning our cities, certain extraordinary circumstances are something we can’t plan for but which require quick architectural responses that offer aid to those affected—and often the difference is life and death.

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UK Report Says that Construction Workers at Among Most at Risk for Virus

Low-skilled construction workers in the U.K., urged back to work by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have one of the highest rates of death from the virus.

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Thermal Cameras Monitor Workers’ Health on a Job Site

The IT Network and security company Brash Concepts has begun adding thermal cameras to jobsites in New York City. The cameras measure the body temperature of workers to identify who may be running a fever (an early warning sign of COVID-19).

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Wearable Technology to Help With COVID-19

Businesses all over the globe are facing the ever-increasing challenge of keeping their employees safe and complying with safety guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19. While many businesses have adopted work-from-home procedures and others have furloughed their employees or shut down completely, essential businesses, including construction, are still operational and finding it more critical than ever to manage the situation. And, as the country at large looks to reopen and get workers back to work, organizations will need solutions in place that can help them operate in the "next normal."

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8 Ways COVID-19 is Changing the Jobsite

The construction magazine Construction Dive took an in-depth look at what is coming down the pipeline for jobsites in a post-coronavirus world. It listed eight things that it said will changing in coming months and years—some of which will be temporary but some of which will be permanent.

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Using Architecture to Fight a Pandemic

In 2006, in Tugela Ferry, South Africa, an extremely virulent, drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis raged through a hospital—and the building was partially to blame. The hospital was not designed for infection control. The transmission of the disease was through particles suspended in the air, inhaled by patients in a poorly ventilated building with overcrowded waiting areas.

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Software Companies are Finding Tech Solutions for Social Distancing

While construction continues in many states, social distancing is remaining a rule on worksites, and it often makes things difficult for workers to move around the building—and especially difficult for site managers to patrol them and make sure they’re following the rules. And not following the rules could, in many areas, land them heavy fines.

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Construction Is Continuing as an Essential Service—But Not Everyone Agrees

With a third of the United States on lockdown, including the three largest cities (New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago), something is continuing unabated—construction. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom labeled construction as an “essential service” alongside things like healthcare and food service. And while some construction projects are easily labeled as essential—things like road repair, and maintenance of water and transit infrastructure, it may be hard to understand what is so essential about the construction of housing or commercial projects.

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Italian Architecture Firm Designs ICU That Can Fit in a Shipping Crate

Italy has been the country hit the hardest by the coronavirus, seeing an almost 9% death rate (more than 8,000 deaths as of March 27th), and the country is struggling to handle the massive need for hospital space. That’s why the architecture firm Carlo Ratti Associati designed an intensive care unit that can be easily packaged and sent to areas in need.

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How COVID-19 Will Change Architecture

It’s hard not to pay attention to the environment around you during this massive health crisis, whether you’re weathering out the storm at work or working from home (or, worse, laid off). Many people are using their quarantined time to disinfect, clean, and organize, and it has caused many people to reevaluate the spaces they live in and the spaces they hope to return to soon, including public spaces such as hospitals, airports, gyms, offices, and hotels.

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Emergency Construction of Temporary Field Hospital Underway in Washington

Construction on a temporary field hospital started on Wednesday on a Shoreline soccer field near Seattle, Washington. As of March 19th, Washington had over 1300 cases of the virus, one of the hardest-hit states in the country.

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Construction Companies Doing Their Part to Help Hospital Workers

All across the nation there has been a dramatic shortage in several essential items, but one in particular is protective masks. While hospitals have masks in storage for their needs, the coronavirus pandemic has all but depleted their stores of the precious safety equipment—and they haven’t been helped by the members of the panicked public who bought through Amazon, and other online retailers’, stocks in a matter of hours. This has left emergency workers scrambling to find masks, with some nurses and doctors resorting to using bandannas and strips of cloth.

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5 Ways the Coronavirus Will Affect Construction

Steve Lesser, the chair of Becker’s Construction law practice, says the key words right now are “Wait and see.”

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Coronavirus Didn’t Slow Down ConExpo, Largest Construction Convention in North America

Last week ConExpo went ahead as planned in Las Vegas, bringing in 130,000 attendees to the once-every-three-years event. The expo takes up 2.7 million square feet of space and is truly staggering in its scope. Taking place on March 10, before most travel bans and mass closures were instituted, the expo move forward on schedule.

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Coronavirus is Hampering Construction Efforts in United States

Even though there have been very few cases of the coronavirus confirmed in the United States, it has already impacted the construction industry in several places and may spread to more.

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Up-And-Coming Jobsite Danger: Personal Cellphones

Even as smartphones are breaking open the world of construction with new apps and technologies that are radically changing the face of the industry, there is a problem that is plaguing job sites and doesn’t seem to have any sign of stopping soon: the presence of mobile phones.

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New Self-Driving Construction Trucks Aim to Save Lives

Construction zones on roadways have always been dangerous, and many strategies have been tried to deal with them, including increasing fines for speeding in those areas, increasing patrols by law enforcement, and giving construction workers the power to tag and report reckless drivers.

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OSHA’s Most Expensive Fines of Q4 2019

While OSHA raised their fines a bit, there were no surprises in the areas where they did: fall and excavation hazards led the list of penalties. Falls are part of the so-called “Fatal Four”, along with struck-by injuries, caught in/between, and electrocution. But it was falls and excavation where the fines seemed to rack up in the fourth quarter.

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$54 Billion Wearable Tech Industry Offers Immense Opportunity for Construction Industry

Expected to reach $54 billion by 2023, the wearable tech market offers to transform the construction industry through the ability to improve safety and efficiency.

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Drone on the Jobsite

Drones fulfill many roles in the construction sphere, everything from giving a basic overhead view of the jobsite to maintaining track of materials, machinery and people. Contractors use them from everything from comparing as-planned construction projects to as-built projects, as well as optimizing the grade of the terrain and recording images and videos. Their usefulness can be increased with thermal cameras, mapping tools, and GPS units.

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Construction Industry Teeming with Opioid Abuse

A new study from New York University shows that construction workers are more likely to overdose on opioids than people in any other profession. Much of this has to do with the risk of injury on the jobsite, as well as long working hours where workers may feel the need to take ‘just one more pill’ to get through the day.

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Wearable Tech is Going Nowhere But Up

Wearable tech has been part of construction jobsites over the last few years, but analysts predict you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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Salt Lake City Construction Company Models Suicide Prevention Ideals

RK Construction, a 55-year-old construction company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, has become a model of what it means to confront mental health problems head on, according to a recent report on NPR.

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Surprise Inspector Visits Hand Out 11,000 Citations

New York City, which is a hotbed of construction, has a startling problem with worksite safety, and it’s only growing. In 2015, there were 472 construction-related injuries, but that number has jumped a staggering 61% to 761 last year. And the city is cracking down.

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Exoskeletons: Not Just For Aliens Anymore

Everyone remembers Ellen Ripley donning the yellow construction exoskeleton and battling the mother alien, but did you know that construction exoskeletons are in use today?

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Top Ten Construction-Related Podcasts

While we try to keep you informed on construction news, there’s so much that we at PowerTools can’t cover. Here is a list of ten great construction-related podcasts that can help you keep abreast of everything newsworthy in the industry.

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Saving Lives and Money with Risktech

Construction suffers $11 billion in losses every year in damage due to fire, water, theft and—worst of all—worker deaths. Despite construction only accounting for 7% of the work force, 21% of workplace deaths occur at construction sites.

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Grassi and Co.’s 2019 Construction Industry Survey Results

To take the pulse of the construction industry, Grassi and Co. hired an independent survey group to take a three-month survey of the industry in New York, and the results are in.

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Construction Workers are Dying in the Heat

Construction is booming, and companies are trying to pack as much work into the summer months as possible, but a very real danger lurks out under the sun. According to a new study, construction workers sweltering in the heat are dying at an alarming—and increasing—rate.

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New Law Allows Construction Workers to Flag Traffic Violators

A new law in the state of Minnesota allows construction workers to flag traffic violators who are driving unsafely in construction zones.

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Construction Worker Saves Children From Fire

At a burning apartment complex in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a father had to lean out a window and drop his 2-month-old baby into the arms of a rescuing construction worker. The father was trapped on the second floor. Seconds later, the worker caught and saved a toddler as well.

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Canadian Construction Workers Took a Moment of Silence for Safety

Last week, after a particularly bad year for workplace accidents, 4000 construction workers took a break from their jobs to take a moment to reflect on safety. More than 50 companies and organizations joined in the second annual Construction Safety Stand-Down, a program hosted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association

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Construction Industry Attempting to Combat Suicide Risk

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data showing that, between 2012 and 2017, the construction and extraction industries have the highest suicide rates of any industry tracked, growing at a rate of 43.6 (per 100,000) in 2012 to 53.2 in 2017. This problem is not just centered in the USA, but is recognized globally.

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Employee Spotlight: Sidney Coleman - Customer Service Specialist

Introducing Sidney Coleman, one of hh2 Cloud Services’ customer service specialists! Sidney is a part of the customer support team and has been at hh2 since April of 2018. Current customers may have had the opportunity...

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Case Study: NEI General Contracting Improves Quality and Consistency of Payroll with hh2 Cloud Services

NEI General Contracting (NEIGC) was founded in 1998 in the United States and celebrated its 20-year anniversary in October of 2018. The company had a target revenue of $205 million as of 2017...

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2018 Year in Review at hh2

2018 brought big changes across the globe, and it was no different here at hh2 Cloud Services. This year was filled with conferences, new product releases and feature updates across multiple platforms and solutions...

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The Telegraph: Eight Failures at Grenfell Tower Inferno

Much has been written in the last two days about the fire at the London tragedy at Grenfell Tower, but The Telegraph, a British paper, has put together a scathing article outlining eight failures that led to such a...

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UK Cladding Problem Widespread; U.S. Mostly Safe

Fallout from the Grenfell Tower, which killed 80 due in large part to the cladding, a form of exterior siding. The cladding allowed for a flammable, chimney-like structure that spread a fire at a catastrophic rate...

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Fire Which Killed At Least 17 Blamed on Cladding

At least 17 people died, and at least 78 more were injured in London’s Grenfell Tower fire yesterday. And while many things affected the growth of the fire—a spark from a cigarette on an eighth-floor balcony, a gas...

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Construction Leading the Way in Mental Health Care

When thinking of health protections in the construction industry, it may surprise many to learn that the industry is helping to lead the charge in mental health awareness and care. Safety concerns are not just...

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Dangers When Working from Heights

My first day in the construction industry, back in 2003, a contractor, who was working on the roof of our warehouse, fell through a gap and died. He was not wearing a harness, despite it being required by both law and...

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