When it comes to workplace fatalities, zero is the only acceptable number. Yet, about 25 workers are killed every year in the U.S. due to trenching activities. Most of those fatalities are due to cave-ins. Others involve electrocutions and struck-by incidents. Given that shoring systems are an effective way of mitigating the risks of trenching activities, there is no excuse for placing construction workers at risk of losing their lives.
OSHA and industry leaders have been hard at work to raise awareness of the dangers of trenching and the necessity of worker protections. In July 2018, OSHA released a free sticker for workers, which reminds them of the three main systems for protecting themselves in trenches:
- Sloping: Angling the trench wall away from the excavation
- Shoring: Erecting supports to prevent a trench collapse
- Shielding: Installing trench boxes to prevent a cave-in
Experts note that, in most cases in which a worker dies or sustains a serious injury, there is either no protective system in place or the shoring system has been improperly constructed. The latter category includes the failure of the contractor to perform a job hazard analysis.
It is the primary responsibility of the construction manager or the competent person to ensure the safety of all workers on site. However, it’s also essential for companies to train their workers in appropriate safety practices. One persistent problem involves workers returning to unprotected trenches when there is no work-related reason for doing so. As an example, one worker lost his life because he returned to an unprotected trench to retrieve a pack of cigarettes that he’d dropped. In that brief time, a fatal cave-in occurred. Workers must be advised and repeatedly reminded of the fact that a cave-in can occur in the blink of an eye. It’s equally as dangerous to return to an unprotected trench for 30 seconds as it is to return to it for 30 minutes or longer.
Maintaining a safe working environment is our top priority here at Scaffold Resource, and one of our specialties is the erection of safe and appropriate shoring systems. You can request information about shoring rentals and installation by calling a knowledgeable staff member at (301) 924-7223. Scaffold Resource, headquartered in Washington, D.C., proudly serves construction companies throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
It can be tricky to keep track of all of OSHA’S requirements, but you can use technology to make the job of staying in compliance a little easier. This handy app, called OSHA RecordKeeping, is up to date with the latest requirements as of October 2018.
Download this app to your smartphone for a quick and easy reference guide while you’re on the jobsite. You’ll be able to see important information at a glance, such as partial exemptions from recordkeeping requirements, recording criteria for specific types of occupational injuries, and info about the determination of new cases and work-relatedness. You’ll also get access to the requirements pertaining to the retention and updating of old OSHA forms.
Scaffold Resource in Washington, D.C. is a leading provider of construction scaffolding and shoring systems for construction sites in the region. Our scaffolding company prides itself on our superior safety record and commitment to employee health. Call (301) 924-7223.
In construction, lateral and longitudinal stability of structures can be achieved with compliant wall bracing techniques. The series of braces evenly distributes the load of the wall, giving it needed strength. A wall bracing system is just as important in constructing a building as shoring erection is during trenching activities. Here’s a quick look at some of the most commonly asked questions about wall bracing.
What’s the difference between temporary and permanent bracing?
Every building requires a permanent bracing system, which is built right into the walls and sub-floor of the structure. This is left in place permanently, although it will not be visually obvious after the construction process is completed. Temporary wall bracing is needed during the construction process. It holds up the walls until they are ready to stand on their own. Temporary wall bracing systems are removed after the construction process is complete.
Is temporary wall bracing really necessary?
Absolutely. Temporary wall bracing is critically important for the protection of workers and the general public. Without it, there is a risk of a catastrophic wall collapse that may seriously injure or kill bystanders.
What are some of the common hazards that wall bracing protects against?
Buildings under construction are vulnerable to a number of threats. Regarding wall bracing, the most significant concern is the lateral load, rather than the vertical load. The lateral load lies parallel to the ground. For example, wind force exerted against a partially constructed wall can cause the structure to sway, bend, collapse, or occasionally, to roll over if it’s not securely attached to the foundation yet. Another potential threat is seismic activity. Although the Washington, D.C. area is not known for earthquakes, seismic activity is a major concern among construction managers in other parts of the country. Engineers plan for lateral load resistance when designing the wall bracing system to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the construction process.
Scaffold Resource in Washington, D.C. has constructed wall bracing systems at a number of major landmarks, including the Springfield Mall and the Columbus School. We’re also known for shoring systems and dance floor scaffolding. Call (301) 924-7223 to request a quote.
The Pennsylvania State Capitol Building, located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is a national historic landmark, and an architectural and artistic marvel. It was dedicated in 1906, at which time President Theodore Roosevelt commented on the building’s remarkable beauty and stately design. Scaffold Resource has had the privilege of working on this historic building. When the cluster of sculptures created by George Bernard required restorative work, Scaffold Resource was called in.
Our team of experts designed, furnished, and installed a scaffold access system on the western face of the Capitol. During the process, we overcame a number of formidable challenges, such as the need to design a scaffolding system that would have zero contact with the statue surfaces. And because the construction scaffolding was being erected in close proximity with a priceless national treasure, close attention was paid to the protection of the sculptures and building materials.
Scaffold Resource is a trusted source for construction scaffolding and work platforms in Washington, D.C. Call (301) 924-7223 to request information about our rentals, installations, or engineering services.