Construction Accident Risk Management


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Construction Accidents – Managing the Risks
The construction industry has had a disproportionately high rate of accidents for its size. According to Department of Labor (DOL) 2006 statistics, construction accounted for 7% of the U.S. workforce, but claimed 21% of all occupational fatalities and 10% of all disabling occupational injuries.

NIOSH, the National Institute for Safety and Health released statistics showing that one of every five workplace fatalities in the U.S. is a construction worker. Since construction workers handle dangerous equipment and situations on a daily basis, these accident statistics may not come as a surprise.

In 2006, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation received reports on 10,055 construction-related injuries. Despite extensive federal and state regulations designed to maintain safe worksites, 21 construction workers suffered fatal injuries in 2006 in Pennsylvania, an increase from 14 fatalities of the previous year.

This presentation will review root causes of construction accidents, OSHA’s role of “the work place safety gatekeeper” and the various duties of care for contractors and sub contractors. Identification of hazard factors affecting managing safety in assembly, erection, excavation and demolition operations in order to analyze their effect to the risk of accident occurrence.
Additionally the design professional’s opportunity and obligation to design for safety will be reviewed.

This presentation will demonstrate by review of case histories how risks can be managed and if not what liabilities can be incurred.

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Construction Accident Risk Management

  1. 1. Construction Accidents Managing Risks Johann F. Szautner, P.E., P.L.S. Cowan Associates, Inc.
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Construction accounted for 7% of US workforce, but claimed 21% of all occupational fatalities and 10% of all disabling occupational injuries (DOL 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Nearly 200,000 serious injuries and 1,200 deaths each year </li></ul><ul><li>Construction has the most fatalities of any industry sector. This dictates the need to understand the various construction trade activities and options to eliminate systemic accident risks </li></ul><ul><li>By analyzing actual accident events, root causes can be isolated and risk management efforts could be directed at these root causes and not at symptoms, leading to more effective accident risk management </li></ul>
  3. 3. Root Causes of Construction Accidents <ul><li>Inadequate construction planning </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of proper training </li></ul><ul><li>Deficient enforcement of training </li></ul><ul><li>Unsafe equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Unsafe methods or sequencing </li></ul><ul><li>Unsafe site conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Not using safety equipment that was provided </li></ul>
  4. 4. OSHA - The Safety Gatekeeper <ul><li>Congress passed the William-Steiger Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970, Title 29 USC 451. </li></ul><ul><li>Construction Safety & Health Regulations, </li></ul><ul><li>CFR Title 29, part 1926 applies to the construction site work activities and part 1910, </li></ul><ul><li>General industry Standard to actual facilities and their operations. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Duty to provide a Safe Work Place <ul><li>An accident-prevention program for each project is essential to attain an accident free jobsite. </li></ul><ul><li>Although most contractors have effective safety programs many sub contractors do not! </li></ul><ul><li>Often they do not require their employees to follow safety rules; </li></ul><ul><li>Do not provide personal protective equipment; </li></ul><ul><li>Permit the use of unsafe equipment. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Duty to implement an effective Safety & Health Plan <ul><li>Contractor’s program can only be successful if it fulfills these conditions: </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment by top management; </li></ul><ul><li>Established safety policy by top management; </li></ul><ul><li>Constantly seeks a safe & healthy environment; </li></ul><ul><li>Competent supervision; </li></ul><ul><li>Provides delegation of adequate authority; </li></ul><ul><li>Provides scheduled safety training & education; </li></ul><ul><li>Conducts accident prevention inspections; </li></ul><ul><li>Investigates accidents to find cause & not to assign blame; </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a measurement of the effectiveness of the accident prevention program; </li></ul><ul><li>Maintains documentation of all accidents; </li></ul>
  7. 7. Duty to provide a “Competent Person” <ul><li>OSHA established in 1989 the category of “Competent Person” and it’s definition in subpart P of 29 CFR 1926. </li></ul><ul><li>A Competent person is one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings, or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous to employees, and one who is authorized to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them. </li></ul><ul><li>This person must be an employee of the contractor and be trained in geotechnical engineering. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Duty to foster a Safety Culture <ul><li>Develop the knowledge base and skills for construction management and workers to recognize hazards and to uncover “ hidden hazards ”. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop the knowledge base and skills for architects and engineers to incorporate design features to eliminate or reduce the risk of an injury due to a hazard </li></ul>
  9. 9. Risk Management = Hazard Management <ul><li>Hazard is the potential to do harm or damage when combined with a trigger mechanism </li></ul><ul><li>Risk is the probability of a hazard-related incident occurring, measured by the severity of harm or damage </li></ul><ul><li>Risk Categorization is done with the help of professional expertise, cost-benefit analysis and consideration of public perception. We determine risks to be acceptable or unacceptable </li></ul>
  10. 10. Safety = A Myth? <ul><li>Safety is not absolute </li></ul><ul><li>Safety is the summation of acceptable risks, there is no absolute safety </li></ul>
  11. 11. Hazard Identification <ul><li>Mechanical Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Electrical Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Chemical Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Kinetic Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Potential Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Thermal Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Acoustic Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Radiant Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Hazards </li></ul><ul><li>Biological Hazards </li></ul>
  12. 12. Design for Safety = Employ Risk Hierarchy <ul><li>Identify Hazards </li></ul><ul><li>Assess Risks </li></ul><ul><li>Design Features to eliminate or reduce Risks </li></ul><ul><li>Consider Construction </li></ul><ul><li>Consider Operation & Maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Consider Decommissioning </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate the Risk </li></ul><ul><li>Provide Guarding </li></ul><ul><li>Provide Warning </li></ul><ul><li>Provide Training </li></ul><ul><li>Provide Personal Protective Equipment </li></ul>
  13. 13. Ability to manage Risk in Construction
  14. 14. Most frequently cited OSHA Violations <ul><li>Scaffolds & Aerial Lifts - L </li></ul><ul><li>Fall Protection-subpart - M </li></ul><ul><li>Cranes & Hoists - N </li></ul><ul><li>Excavations - P </li></ul><ul><li>Steel Erection - R </li></ul><ul><li>Ladders & Stairways - X </li></ul><ul><li>Masonry & Concrete Construction - Q </li></ul><ul><li>Demolition - T </li></ul>
  15. 15. Scaffolds and Arial Lifts Scaffold Capacity: 4 times the maximum intended load Hoist Capacity: 4 times the tipping moment from operating load
  16. 16. Fall Protection – same level
  17. 17. Falling from Elevation
  18. 18. Falling Objects
  19. 19. Cranes & Hoists <ul><li>Provide competent person, licensed or certified crane operator </li></ul><ul><li>Post load rating and operating speed </li></ul><ul><li>Perform inspection prior, during and after operations </li></ul>
  20. 20. Structure Excavation <ul><li>Employ competent person </li></ul><ul><li>Notify utilities </li></ul><ul><li>Guard and warn </li></ul><ul><li>Protect employees </li></ul><ul><li>Slope & Bench excavation </li></ul><ul><li>Shore or Shield excavation </li></ul>
  21. 21. Trench Excavation
  22. 22. Ladders <ul><li>Inspect ladder prior to use & check rating </li></ul><ul><li>Place ladder at a slope ration of 4:1 </li></ul><ul><li>Secure Base & Top </li></ul><ul><li>Stand on rung and hold on to rung in front </li></ul><ul><li>Do not climb on top three rungs </li></ul><ul><li>Restrict side movement to keep belt buckle within rails </li></ul>
  23. 23. Stairways <ul><li>Provide adequate landings </li></ul><ul><li>Provide consistent step dimensions </li></ul><ul><li>Provide slip resistant surface </li></ul><ul><li>Provide railings </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid visual camouflage </li></ul><ul><li>Provide adequate lighting </li></ul>
  24. 24. Masonry & Concrete Construction
  25. 25. Demolition
  26. 26. Premises & Public Right 0f Way Liability Exposure <ul><li>Premises Liability exposure towards invitees, while contractor is in control of the property. Same as the possessor of land. </li></ul><ul><li>As a condition of approval for construction in a public right-of-way, the governmental agency in control of the public right of way, typically codifies that construction shall not interfere or conflict with the public use and/or purpose of the right-of-way. This mandate is typically enforced in a permitting process in which the contractor is required to hold the governmental entity harmless and provide adequate insurance for any potential liability arising out of the construction activities. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Liability Exposure
  28. 28. Darwinian Award Candidates
  29. 29. Analyze Cause & Effect = Root Cause
  30. 30. Risk Management is a Team Concept <ul><li>For Constructors </li></ul><ul><li>Identify Root Cause of Construction Accident </li></ul><ul><li>Implement Accident Prevention Training </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Worker Attitude </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Management Procedures </li></ul><ul><li>For Designers </li></ul><ul><li>Design for Construction Safety Expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Design for future Maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Design for operational Perspective & Changes </li></ul><ul><li>Design for Decommissioning </li></ul>= TEAM +