What do high-tech wearables, bird-friendly windows, and ancient ruins have in common? They’re all part of today’s evolving construction industry. In this week’s blog, we’ve tapped our sources to bring you some recent developments in the industry to keep you informed. Here are just a few.
Construction continues to embrace high tech with wearables
According to a study by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, new wearable technology could help prevent struck-by and caught-between injuries and incidents. Scientists created a special waist belt with vibrating motors designed to detect nearby hazards. Early tests of the prototype, known as an Embedded Safety Communication System (ESCS), have been successful, with an estimated 95 percent accuracy rate for all tasks completed. See the story here.
Laws getting tougher after trench collapse deaths
A Suffolk County Superior Court Judge recently sentenced a Boston contractor to two years in jail in connection with the death of two workers killed in a trench collapse in October 2016. In a horrific accident, the two Atlantic Drain Services employees were buried waist deep in dirt and then drowned after a water supply line broke and filled the trench with water. The contractor was convicted of two counts of manslaughter and OSHA slapped the company with more than $1 million in fines and 18 safety violation citations.
Big Apple mandates bird-friendly glass for new construction
According to New York Audubon, somewhere between 90,000 and 230,000 birds are killed in New York City every year due to collisions with buildings. That prompted the New York City Council to pass a new regulation requiring bird-friendly materials on all new construction. These materials include glass with frosted patterns to make it look like an obstacle to birds. See more here.
New crack team of building inspectors targets New York construction sites
As the New York Times reported, New York City has a new team of building inspectors, and they’ve been dropping in unannounced on thousands of construction sites in the city. With more than 20,000 surprise inspections at more than 10,000 sites, the team issued 11,484 violations and 2,523 stop-work orders for various safety violations. Since September 2018, the city has collected $15 million in fines as a result of these inspections.
Do you know the most common reasons behind commercial building code violations?
Every contractor knows that failed inspections mean project delays and added costs. The 2019 Common Code Noncompliance Survey Report by the International Code Council has ranked the top commercial building code violations in various construction trades, along with the most common reasons for the violations. Failing to follow manufacturer’s instructions and trying to save a buck by using substandard materials are two of the most common. See the rest of the list here.
Marijuana and safety-sensitive jobs don’t mix, says National Safety Council
Because construction is an inherently dangerous business, most employers have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drug use. But with the rise of medical marijuana use and the legalization of recreational marijuana use in many states, enforcing those policies is getting complicated. In what could be a boost to employers, the National Safety Council recently published a position statement declaring there is “no level of cannabis use that is safe or acceptable for employees who work in safety sensitive positions.” Find out more here.
Ancient site unearthed at Connecticut construction site
Construction sites occasionally yield museum-worthy discoveries, but one such discovery in Connecticut in January 2019 was special. While excavating a site for a new bridge, Connecticut DOT workers uncovered relics from the Paleoindian Period more than 12,000 years ago, a rare find. Roughly 15,000 artifacts were discovered that provide a glimpse into life for New England’s earliest humans. Check out the story here.