Serious violations, women in construction, and the OSHA budget

Safety at the Frontline on Spotify
Apple Podcast

What’s going on in EHS this week? Find out with Safety at the Frontline!

Tune in on Mondays to get the latest safety news with Frontline’s podcast. We’re covering the top EHS news, along with some quick and useful tips, so you can stay safe and keep rocking on the frontlines.

Serious violations in Rhode Island

In October 2021, an employee entered the drum of a cement truck to install a fabricated plate onto the chute as the drum began to turn. The worker’s head was caught by the mixing fins which resulted in fatal injuries to the head.

The recent OSHA investigation found that the Rhode Island company involved did not establish a lockout/tagout program to prevent the drum of the truck from operating while employees serviced or maintained it. Not only that, but they also neglected to train employees in lockout/tagout procedures and failed to conduct periodic inspections to ensure proper procedures were being followed.

The agency also found that the concrete supplier did not evaluate the workplace for permit-required confined spaces, such as the inside of a cement truck drum, and neglected to provide fall protection while working on cement truck platforms, all the while exposing their workers to both silica dust and rotating drums and augers.

The company received citations for six serious safety and health violations and were proposed $43,506 in penalties. This tragedy is proof that OSHA compliance is not a matter of preference.

Women in construction

Continuing with some statistics on the construction industry. The National Association of Women in Construction and Safe Site Check-In recently announced the results of a survey they conducted on Digital Technology in Construction.

600 women throughout the United States working in the construction industry at companies with revenues between $500,000 to over $1B annually, were asked a variety of questions about digital transformation, the construction labor shortage, and the impact of supply chain disruptions we’ve been seeing.

The biggest takeaway from the results was that digital transformation is a priority at 71% of construction companies. When asked about the benefits of digital transformation, 77% of respondents believe it will make their jobs easier while 17% believe it will have no impact. When asked about the most helpful construction technology they used, smartphone apps took the lead with 72% followed by GPS layout with 13%.

OSHA’s budget for 2022

Last news of the week, OSHA is set to receive a $20 million increase in its fiscal year 2022 budget after President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act on March 15.

A sizable portion of the $20 million increase is slated for enforcement (nearly $7.3 million), while OSHA’s compliance assistance efforts will receive nearly $3.7 million more than in 2021.

The agency’s total budget is approximately $612 million for the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30. Congress gave OSHA around $591.8 million in FY 2021. The Biden administration sought to increase that amount to $664.6 million in their initial request, so the jump isn’t as big as they anticipated but it’s still a considerable increase.

Well, in the meantime, stay safe and stay tuned for next week.