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Construction

Workers in the construction industry face a disproportionately high risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. Learn about ergonomic strategies and material handling solutions that can remove hazards while boosting productivity at the construction site.

Topics

  • Safety and Health Programs for Electrical Contractors: Preliminary Research

    Electrical contractors may have been working in the field for decades, remaining injury-free the whole time. They might go on to train their staff in the common-sense protections that have kept them safe through countless installations. But despite this admirable preparation, employees can still be injured on the job. In 2016, for instance, workers sustained more than 1,600 electrical injuries... Continue Reading
  • What’s New at the 2019 NECA Convention in Las Vegas?

    If you attended last year’s NECA convention, hosted in Philadelphia by the National Electrical Contractors Association, you already know that the event is on an upward trajectory. Between 2014 and 2017, just over 6,000 people attended each year. In 2018, the number of participants exploded to over 10,000! If anything, NECA 2019 promises to be even bigger. So what can... Continue Reading
  • Store Electrical Materials for Easy Access at Job Sites

    Where do you store electrical materials during a construction project? As just one contractor sharing space with all the other trades, electrical firms can quickly run into storage limitations. Add to that the challenge of sharing elevators, navigating narrow aisles, and the multiple trips usually required, and the scope of the material-handling challenge becomes apparent. You don’t want access to... Continue Reading
  • Do OSHA Regulations Apply to Independent Contractors?

    In a 2001 standard interpretation letter, Russell Swanson, then-director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction, made it clear that self-employed workers are not subject to OSHA’s construction safety standards. “If a construction worker is truly self-employed — is not an employee — and has no employees working for him or her, OSHA has no authority to require that individual to abide by OSHA construction requirements,” Swanson wrote. That seems simple enough. After all, the construction safety standards devised and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were built to protect employees. Independent contractors aren’t employees, as any tax professional will tell you. But what about subcontractors working under a general contractor? What about equal partners on the same job site?... Continue Reading
  • Why You Should Always Keep Electrical Materials Off the Floor

    During the course of a long, complex electrical installation, the fastest, easiest way to store tools and building materials is to pile them up on the floor. It may be messy, but you can’t argue with the efficiency…or can you? In fact, stacks of conduit, connectors, circuit breakers, light fixtures, and other electrical products may do more harm than you... Continue Reading
  • Workplace Electrical Safety: Setting a Baseline with Injury Statistics

    In honor of National Electrical Safety Month, we’re looking at electrical safety in the workplace throughout May. We’ll start with an examination of the current state of electrical safety, particularly as it relates to those most exposed to the risks: construction electricians themselves. You can’t figure out where you’re going until you know where you are, after all. In the... Continue Reading
  • Gantry Crane Disconnect: Compliance With the National Electrical Code (NEC)

    Construction electricians are occasionally called upon to install a gantry crane system. The National Electrical Code provides specific rules for such an installation in Article 610, but gantries differ from other electrical installations in one particularly surprising way. Specifically, we’re talking about disconnecting means for the power supply. The NEC is pretty clear on the subject as it pertains to... Continue Reading
  • Electric Forklifts at Construction Material Warehouses

    Construction professionals are probably familiar with gas-powered rough-terrain forklifts, but electric counterbalance lift trucks are often the best option for indoor applications like a firm’s materials warehouse. Electric forklifts offer many advantages over the construction industry’s standard rough-terrain lift truck, at least when operating in a strict material-handling capacity on warehouse floors designed for such traffic. The benefits of going... Continue Reading
  • OSHA for Construction Welders: Storing Gas Cylinders

    Gas cylinders present obvious dangers for welders, but fortunately, proper equipment — and strict adherence to OSHA guidelines — can mitigate the risks. Whether you’re working with gas cylinders for the first time or you’re simply looking to ensure full compliance in your facility, this overview should help you understand OSHA requirements for storing gas cylinders safely. The good news... Continue Reading
  • Rising Construction Material Prices: Tips for Electrical Contractors

    Market forces have aligned to create rising construction material prices, and electrical contractors in the industry are faced with a dilemma: Do they pass those prices onto builders, and, ultimately, the customer? Or do they take the hit themselves? A handful of trends combine to create these price increases. There are the tariffs on steel and aluminum, of course. New... Continue Reading
  • Government Contractors: Strategies for First Quarter Spending

    The Fiscal Year 2018 ended on September 30. The traditional wisdom in the industry holds that the fourth quarter is by far the busiest for government contractors, and for the most part, that’s true. However, according to GSA Schedule sales figures, Q1 is nearly as active as Q4. In fact, the first quarter is a remarkable time to go for... Continue Reading
  • Construction Ergonomics: Safety Solutions for Overhead Work

    The right construction ergonomics program can prevent costly injuries, improve staff morale, and boost productivity. But different tasks create different ergonomic risks. Workers who spend most of the shift with arms raised and necks tilted back — while installing conduit, ducting, or overhead lighting, for instance — may develop any number of musculoskeletal disorders. Here are a few tips for... Continue Reading
  • The Electrician’s Guide to Careers in Construction Month

    October is Careers in Construction Month, a yearly promotion led by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The event is meant to spread awareness about construction trades, including electricians — a worthwhile effort, given this age of labor shortages in the construction trades. So how can construction electricians participate in this industry event? Here are just a few ideas... Continue Reading
  • Electricians and Musculoskeletal Disorders: Common Symptoms and Prevention Tips

    For electricians, musculoskeletal disorders remain a serious occupational hazard. Electrical installation teams aren’t alone with this risk; workers in most construction trades face a higher risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders than those in other industries. Between 1992 and 2014, the rate of occupation-based musculoskeletal disorders remained higher in the construction industry than in all combined industries. This disproportionate rate of... Continue Reading
  • Building a Culture of Electrical Safety in the Construction Industry

    Electrical safety in the construction industry has been studied, argued over, and refined since Thomas Edison started burying copper wires beneath the streets of Manhattan in 1882. From the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) — which publishes NFPA 70, otherwise known as the National Electrical Code (NEC) — to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), all sorts of safety organization offer important insights into electrical safety. No matter how well a construction electrician understands the NEC or OSHA regulations, though, the key to keeping every employee safe on every jobsite is to build a culture of safety into every workplace task — especially for those who install electrical systems. Safety cultures start at the top. Everyone in a leadership... Continue Reading
  • Custom Paralleling Cable and Wire for the Commercial Construction Industry

    Cable and wire dealers frequently offer custom paralleling as a value-added service. The benefits of wire-cutting and paralleling at the point-of-purchase do look pretty good: Custom-cut lengths prevent waste, and pre-paralleled combinations of product save time during installations. Given the volume of cable and wire involved in a large building — and the code-compliance and strict scheduling you’ll find working... Continue Reading
  • Handling and Storing Construction Tools at High-Rise Building Sites

    The hazards of working on high-rise construction projects have been well-documented. While self-climbing perimeter protection systems, or “cocoons,” protect workers from falls, there’s another safety risk that cocoons can’t eliminate: injuries involving construction tools. A safety guide from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health offers a few rules to keep construction tools safe: Cal/OSHA requires employees to keep... Continue Reading
  • The Easiest Way to Carry Drywall at Construction Sites

    Ergonomics in the construction industry has come a long way, but there are still materials that present particular handling challenges. Large panels are among the most difficult to transport and install; there’s simply no easy way to grasp them. At least with windows and other plates of glass, you can use a vacuum lift. Moving drywall is another story. Even... Continue Reading
  • OSHA Standards in the Battery Room — Part Four: Construction Industry Standards

    Comparing Battery Handling Regulations for General Industry and Construction In the previous two posts, we provided a basic introduction to OSHA regulations for battery rooms in general industries. This post will examine OSHA standard 1926.441, which addresses batteries and battery charging in the construction industry. The relationship between the battery handling regulations in standards 1910 and 1926 is complex. In... Continue Reading