Welcome to Osh.netGateway for Safety & Health Information Resources
Sign up for your online newsletter
Powered by WorkCare
About UsLink DirectoryArticlesResource CenterBulletin Board
Home
Safety
Industrial Hygiene
Emergency Management
Enviromental Management
Occupational Health
Legal
Industry
Government Agencies and Regulations
Internet EHS Sites
Professional Development
Safety Humor Site
Drug And Alcohol Testing
HIPAA
 
 

Aurora OSHA Construction News



December 11, 1998 Vol. 2, Issue 3

  • A shingler fell 25 feet from a roof in August in Northern Cook Country. He suffered broken bones in the upper body. No slide guards or fall arrest was used on the 5/12 pitch roof.

  • A 180 foot long masonry wall collapsed in October in Frankfort. The 24 foot high wall was not braced or supported. No one was injured.

  • Our office did comparison sampling of noise levels inside and outside of an abrasive blasting hood. The inside level was 103.7 dbA and the outside level was 113.1 dbA for the seven hour audio dosimeter sample. While not a scientific study, besides face protection it gives another reason to wear blast hoods.

  • OSHA recently received a favorable decision on a contested scaffold case (OSHRC Docket 98-0295). West Winds Construction of Naperville was found in violation of both sections of the scaffold standard requiring guardrails and full planking on access decks. The original penalty of $2500 was affirmed.

  • In November, a Rockford demolition worker took an unplanned ride on an air duct through a sheet metal wall. He was on top of the duct cutting it out when it broke loose. He received a dislocated shoulder. No engineering survey for evaluation of the duct's structural support was conducted prior to torch cutting the support bolts.

  • In November, a DeKalb scaffold erector fell underneath the cross-bracing during bumping up of the planks to the next level. No mid-rail was provided. He fell between the wall and the scaffold and suffered broken vertebrae in the neck and back.

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their 1997 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in August. On the job fatalities was 6,218 in 1997, about the same as last year. "The construction industry reported the largest number of fatal work injuries and accounted for half the worker fatalities from falls." Construction employees account for 6% of the total workforce, but 18% of all the occupational deaths.

  • OSHA won an important case involving OSHA inspection policy. The case was Secretary vs. Cleveland Construction (OSHRC Docket 97-1356). Although its project superintendent was onsite, Cleveland Construction's policy was to ask OSHA to wait at least two hours until its corporate safety director arrived. The corporate safety director was over 200 miles away and would not have arrived until work stopped for the day. OSHA considered this a denial of entry and obtained a search warrant. Administrative Law Judge Simko found that OSHA's refusal to delay its inspection was not unreasonable. The ALJ also found no evidence of vindictive prosecution.

  • In August, we had an Aurora ironworker refuse to wear fall arrest when decking right in front of OSHA. The foreman was also exposed to fall hazards and took corrective action for himself, but not the employee. The company was cited for the foreman's exposure and failure to enforce their own safety rules. Refusing to wear appropriate safety condition is not an acceptable defense for the lack of enforcement.

  • Chicago North is investigating an August electrocution with a Telsa lift. The 110 volt pendant control shorted out and the internal grounding conductor was broken.

  • In August, a trench cave-in occurred in McCook. It was 13 ½ feet deep and approximately 8 feet wide at the top. The foreman was trapped up to his waist and had to be rescued by the McCook Fire Department.

  • In August a Chicago laborer walked under a roofing tear off chute, and falling debris broke his neck.

  • In July, a Chicago mason contractor hit a power line when erecting a Morgen scaffold. Part of the power line was covered with an insulated sleeve by the utility company, but the rough terrain lift moving the tower section hit an unprotected section. The tower melted at the section contacted by the line.

  • In October, a Chicago laborer was able to grab part of a section of scaffolding and break his fall as he was falling six stories. A falling stone during demolition apparently knocked him off the scaffold.

  • In August, two Chicago workers died when their swing stage scaffold collapsed sending them falling 30 feet. The parapet failed and they were not wearing the required body harness for fall arrest.

  • Former OSHA compliance officer Bill Russ died of a heart attack in September. Bill had worked in the Chicago North Office in the early 1990's.

  • OSHA recently won a court case involving trenching issues against Rausch Construction of Chicago (OSHRC Docket No. 97-1604). The trench was measured by OSHA to be 6.5 feet deep with vertical walls. The company said it was only 5 feet deep. Both sides agreed that it was Type C soil. Under oath, the superintendent eventually conceded that the trench walls were above employees heads. Judge Sommer affirmed the original $3000 penalty assessed in the case.

  • In September, a crawler crane was moving a pile driving rig at an Addison job site. The boom of the crawler crane flipped backwards killing the employee behind the crane. The company was cited for not having a level surface when transporting a suspended load.

  • Our office was involved in a fall protection issue involving grouting with the Precast Concrete Institute (PCI) and a large Chicago general contractor. During the grouting process, a pre-cast company needs to follow the appendix in the fall protection standard. This requires grouters to have controlled access to the deck, safety monitor, specialized training, and a written fall protection plan.

  • In August, a worker slipped in a sewage lift station in Hanover Park. He fell 20 feet and was trapped in a 30 inch diameter vertical sewer shaft. Firefighters with special rescue training retrieved the worker in 90 minutes.

Masons are typically exposed to respirable silica between 10 to 25 times the permissible exposure limit when tuckpointing (power grinding) mortar joints. Here are two questions and answers on respirator use in this situation:

Q. I have an employee is exposed to 15 times the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for a silica. Can we use a half mask respirator to protect this employee?

A. No. A half mask respirator is acceptable for up to 10 times the PEL. A more protective respirator is necessary during the period you are working on reducing the dust exposure level.

Q. Since we can't use a half mask respirator for the tuckpointer exposed to 15 times the PEL, a full face respirator will be used. Is qualitative fit testing acceptable for this full face respirator use?

A. No. Qualitative fit testing has not been verified for the higher fit factor of the full face respirator. Quantitative fit testing of full face respirators is required when they are worn in atmospheres above 10 times the PEL.

For additional information on fit testing, see the OSHA respirator directive or the Small Entity Compliance Guide. There is a table showing which fit tests are appropriate. Both of these can be accessed at www.osha.gov.

If you would like to receive this newsletter via E-mail, contact charlie.shields@aurora.osha.gov. Due to the costs, this cannot be mailed to individual companies.

Comments on the newsletter should addressed to John Newquist, OSHA 344 Smoke Tree, North Aurora, IL 60542 or call (630) 896-8700.
  
Most Frequently Cited Construction Standards

Aurora Area Office - 10/1/97 - 9/30/98
 
Rank
 
Standard
 
Description

1

1926.20(b)(1)

Deficient accident prevention program

2

1926.451(g)(1)

No fall protection on scaffolds

3

1926.501(b)(1)

No fall protection above 6 feet

4

1926.21(b)(2)

Deficient safety training

5

1926.501(b)(10)

No fall protection on low-sloped roofs

6

1926.701(b)

Unguarded rebar

7

5(a)(1)

General duty clause

8

1926.451(c)(2)

No base plates/mud sills on scaffolds

9

1926.706(b)

Inadequate wall bracing

10

1926.1053(b)(1)

Ladders not extended 3 feet above landing

Comments about the most frequently cited.

  • Accident prevention program - We are inspecting a host of new companies in business that do not even have a safety program. Many repeat offenders do not incorporate their past citations in their written safety program.

  • Scaffold fall protection - Most of these have been plastering contractors on small commercial jobs. The typical scaffold is welded frame 2-3 sections high with no guardrails.

  • 6 foot fall protection - This has been cited for many 3 story commercial jobs. Lack of guardrails at a window area is most common problem noted. Most of these existed for several days and resulted in the construction manager receiving a citation under our multi-employer policy.

  • Safety training - With the tight construction labor market, many employers have hired people and put them to work right away. They did not provide any initial safety training or orientation.

  • Low-sloped roofs fall protection - The lack of the warning flags on a large hot tar roof is what initiates the inspection and results in the citation. Most of these are drive-by inspections (note: drive-by means the site inspection was initiated because OSHA observed the hazard while driving by).

  • Unguarded reinforcing bar - Commonly cited in large commercial jobs of a single story in height. The concrete contractor creates the hazard and lets it exist for days. This often results in multi-employer citation for the construction manager.

  • General duty clause - Lack of fall arrest in a self-propelled extensible boom aerial lift was the most cited item. These are found by driving by an unprotected worker on a public highway.

  • Base plates/mud sills - Cited for frame scaffolds 2-3 sections high. Trades being cited the most are plasterers and bricklayers. Usually scrap lumber was used instead of base plates.

  • Masonry wall bracing - Usually these are green masonry walls of 20 feet height with no bracing at all. We have cited several companies for a single diagonal brace with no vertical support or horizontal stiffners. Note that Michigan OSHA guidelines for masonry wall bracing were used successfully in November's 50-60 mile per winds in the Aurora-DeKalb area.

  • Ladders - Cited for access to roofs on residential and commercial jobs. Usually, ladders are about 1 foot above the landings.

 



Most Penalized Construction Standards

Aurora Area Office - 10/1/97 - 9/30/98
  
Rank
 
Standard
 
Penalty
 
Description

1

1926.706(b)

$ 6,598

Inadequate wall bracing

2

1926.405(a)(2)(ii)(B)

$ 3,300

Temporary wiring deficiencies

3

1926.652(a)(1)

$ 3,295

Unsafe trench

4

1926.451(e)(1)

$ 3,167

No ladder access on scaffolds

5

1926.1051(a)

$ 3,150

No stairway/ladder access at 19" elevation

6

1926.501(b)(11)

$ 2,750

No fall protection on steep roofs

7

1926.501(b)(10

$ 2,745

No fall protection on low-slope roofs

8

1926.501(b)(1)

$ 2,624

No fall protection above 6 feet

9

1926.501(b)(3)

$ 2,300

No fall protection above 6 feet in hoist areas

10

1926.405(b)(2)

$ 2,167

No covers/canopies on electrical boxes

Minimum of three citations were issued. Penalties reflect size, good faith and history discounts.

Comments about the most penalized:

  • Masonry wall bracing - 1998 leads with most workers killed in a single masonry wall collapse. It happened in Michigan in August. Four workers were killed. The investigation is ongoing. In our office repeated violators account for the high penalty.

  • Temporary wiring - This is cited for temporary electrical exposed to physical damage. The electrical contractors being inspected run open conductors on the floor instead of in conduit or safe wiring methods.

  • Unsafe trench - One of our inspectors found one contractor in a trench with 14 foot high vertical walls. The inspector was able to convince the owner to remove the employees before continuing further. They abated by using trench boxes and sloping to abate the condition.

  • Scaffold access - Commonly cited for climbing the 6 ½ foot high walk-through welded frame scaffolds. Ladders are used for abatement of this condition.

  • Ladder access - Flat roofers have allowed their employees to climbed parapet walls over 30 inches to gain access to the exterior side.

  • Steep roofs - These have been shinglers on two story houses without any fall or slide protection. Most are small companies with no safety program or OSHA history.

  • Low-slope roofs - See most cited.

  • 6 foot fall protection - See most cited.

  • Hoist area fall protection - Cited for the flat roofing contractors the most. The use of warning lines is not acceptable for the hoist/disposal areas. Guardrails are required.

  • Electrical box covers - These are cited to the electrical contractor for not covering panel boxes on commercial sites. Live bus bars are often exposed.



 
Most Frequently Cited Construction Standards

Nationwide - 10/1/97 - 9/30/98
 
Rank
 
Standard
 
Description

1

1926.501(b)(1)

No fall protection above 6 feet

2

1926.100(a)

No hard hats

3

1926.451(g)(1)

No fall protection on scaffolds

4

1926.652(a)(1)

Unsafe trench

5

1926.451(e)(1)

No ladder access on scaffolds

6

1926.503(a)(1)

Deficient fall protection training program

7

1926.21(b)(2)

Deficient safety training

8

1926.451(b)(1)

Scaffolds not fully planked

9

1926.1053(b)(1)

Ladders not extended 3 feet above landing

10

1926.501(b)(10)

No fall protection on low-slope roofs

Companies in Illinois with the most In Compliance (IC) Inspections by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) for federal FY-98 (10/01/97 to 9/30/98)

General Contractors/Construction Managers # of IC Inspections

Pepper Construction 9

Walsh Construction 7

Osman Construction 5

Paul H. Schwendener 3

Heavy Construction Companies # of IC Inspections

Alpha Construction 2

Glenbrook Excavating 2

P & G Construction 2

Specialty Subcontractors # of IC Inspections

Area Erectors 4

Fabcon 2

Gibson Electric 2

Holian Asbestos 2

Mastership Construction 2

Maxcor 2

10 Lessons in Fire Safety

Fires occur on construction sites due to a host of reasons. With the weather getting colder, it is a good time to re-evaluate your company's fire safety program. 1926.24 requires that "the employer shall be responsible for the development and maintenance of an effective fire protection and prevention program at the jobsite throughout all phases of construction, repair, alteration, or demolition work."

  • On October 28, a worker removing paint with a heat gun ignited the underboards of the surface being stripped. The structure was the 150 year old Barrington United Methodist Church. Loss is over four million dollars.

  • In September, a construction worker attempted to check the amount of paint (a class 1B flammable) remaining in a 55 gallon drum by using a cigarette lighter to illuminate the inside of the drum. The paint caught fire and the worker was hospitalized with burns on his chest.

  • In March, a worker was attempting to weld a ladder on a steel tank mounted on a vehicle. The tank contained a flammable liquid. The vapors in the tank ignited and the worker and business owner were killed in the ensuing explosion and fire.

  • Last November, a North Carolina bulldozer operator was burned in a flash fire when his hydraulic hose ruptured., spraying pressured hydraulic oil onto hot engine parts. An ensuing flash fire erupted and engulfed the operator's cab area. The operator later died from the severity of the burns.

  • In October, a roofer looked in his asphalt kettle when a flash of fire came out and burned his face. He was not wearing any personal protective equipment.

  • In September, a floor sealer was applying lacquer finish to seal a hardwood floor. No ventilation was provided and the gas oven provided the ignition source to the flammable sealer. A flash fire resulted and the worker was severely burned and died a few days later.

  • In July, a roofer was severely burned when a co-worker introduced open flames to a flammable material that the victim was applying on the roof.

  • In June, two workers were coating a floor with flammable sealer. The refrigerator's compressor provided the ignition source. The employees' clothing caught on fire and they were hospitalized with second and third degree burns.

  • In February, a painter was using a gasoline powered pressure washer when it developed a air bubble in the fuel line. He took off the fuel line which sprayed gasoline onto the hot muffler of the machine. The gasoline ignited and he received burns to his arms and upper legs.

  • In July, a landscaping contractor was severely burned when refueling his gasoline powered riding lawnmower. The engine was already hot after mowing and ignited the gasoline. A passerby helped the burn victim put out the flames on his clothing.


 

HOME - ABOUT US - LINK DIRECTORY - ARTICLES - RESOURCE CENTER - BULLETIN BOARD

Original articles © WorkCare™; Orange, California.