Welcome to General Contractor News!

On this site, we combine our personal knowledge with other credible sources to create informational blogs regarding the construction industry with a focus on general contractors. Please feel free to comment with informative information or opinions.

Leading Causes of
Construction Worker Deaths: 

How they can be prevented

 

Drivers:

This sign look familiar?

Speaking from a Minnesotan—there is always construction happening. Don’tcha know?
Traditionally we aren’t the craziest drivers; however, whether it is deliberate or not, we still have some chaotic drivers when passing through construction zones. As a general contracting company, the idea of cars/2+ ton battering rams zipping by our workers is terrifying and truthfully becoming more of problem each day.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2015, “there was an estimated 96,626 crashes in work zones, an increase of 7.8% over 2014.” [1]
With fines roughly being found at double the original amount price, you would think drivers would reevaluate their speed and slow down. Unfortunately, they are either distracted by the many things that exist in our world or simply being inconsiderate to the workers within the work zone. As the population rises, the number of drivers are likely to rise as well. With that being said, as the population rises, the need for investment in infrastructure increases as well. We like to believe that the work being performed by the constructions workers is being done for the community in a variety of ways. With that, we like to respect them in the best way we can by doing our part to slow down and keep the workers safe.

Falls:
Another leading cause for fatal construction events results from accidents on structural elements. As an example, a structural element in construction would include roofing. When sites fail to have safety nets or improper safety guards, the construction workers are being put at risk for falling and possibly dying. Within the construction industry, “falls from the roofs account for one-third of all fall-related fatalities.” [2] There needs to be more effort put forth on the safety of these workers. What can we do for these workers to help prevent fatalities?

Electrocution:
Between 2003 and 2007, 445 construction workers died from coming into contact with an electrical current.[3] One way to prevent this from occurring would be to use insulated tools or other forms of insulators. Advancements in tools such as these have created a solution to minimize the tragedies that can occur when working with electrical currents. If possible, the circuit should be shut off and tested for power prior to touching any wires. Although many instances can and have occurred where the electricity was not able to be turned off, it is still important to take all the necessary precautions to keep everybody safe.

Burns:
This awful accident can result in permanent damage or even fatality. A burn can be caused by radiation, chemicals, or even a job site accident. There are four degrees of burns. 

First degree: Burn affecting the superficial layers of skinSecond degree: Partial-thickness burn, damaging some underlying skin layersThird degree: Full-thickness burn, extends through all layers of the skin and damages tissue/nerve endingFourth degree: A severe burn extending beyond the skin and into underlying fat, muscle, or bone


To prevent burns from happening, make certain all rules are being followed at the job site and enforcing rules and safety techniques regularly to all employees. You also must handle everything with care. Take extra precaution when you are around hot surfaces, reaching across the surfaces, or transporting materials. Lastly, dress for the part. If you are dealing with hot parts, there is proper clothing attire for that. The most commonly known fire resistant material is wool for clothing. Proper gloves, shoes and eye protection will help significantly.




[1] Fhwa. "Work Zone Facts and Statistics." Work Zone Safety - FHWA Facts and Statistics - FHWA Work Zone. Accessed July 21, 2017. https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/resources/facts_stats/safety.htm.
[2] Valentz, Art. "8 Shocking Roof Safety Statistics You Won't Believe." Roof Support System. Accessed July 21, 2017. https://www.phpsd.com/blog/8-shocking-roof-safety-statistics-you-won-t-believe.
[3] Valentz, Art. "8 Shocking Roof Safety Statistics You Won't Believe." Roof Support System. Accessed July 21, 2017. https://www.phpsd.com/blog/8-shocking-roof-safety-statistics-you-won-t-believe.

Go Green: Reduce Waste in Construction


July 21, 2017

During the different phases of construction, there are a lot of wasted materials from projects that can impact the environment in a variety of ways. As professionals operating within this industry, we believe it is our responsibility to help educate those around us about the ways in which you can help reduce your waste during construction. ­







Bring awareness of your goals within this stage.
  • Some contracts may put specific target goals about recycling their materials. If you are working with a general contractor, make it clear to them that you would like them to operate in whatever ways possible to minimize the environmental impact.
  • By bringing awareness right away, the building itself can be designed around the standard sizes of materials. Saving the need to cut materials allows the contractor to fully optimize the materials on hand, and therefore reduce waste.
  • Try to avoid purchasing excess materials in the beginning of your project. Go over your plans to determine the correct amount of materials you need with some wiggle room, as we know that mistakes may happen. By avoiding the purchase of excess materials to your job site will save on your budget. It’s a win-win for everyone. How can you not be happy about that?

Identify reusable or reused materials in your plans. 
  • This will create awareness to those working on the project and they will know if I can be reused, recycled, demolished, or thrown into a landfill.


    Listed below are a few examples of some materials that can be recycled:
  • Plasterboard
  • Aggregates
  • Metals
  • Plastics
  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Bricks and Blocks
  • Floor and Wall Coverings
  • Insulation
  • Packaging













Referring to a study conducted at Stanford University, “recycling can be more efficient in terms of energy, money, and natural resources when compared to a system that manufactures everything from virgin materials and sends it all to landfills when consumers discard it.” [1]
Concerned that using these methods will cost more? If you take the time to research and compare prices, it can often times be less expensive to recycle compared to throwing it into a landfill.










Create a system.
  • As we discussed earlier, it is important to bring awareness to which materials are reusable, recycled, or thrown away. By creating separate areas designated for trash and recycling during the construction process, a system is created for the contractors to discard the materials accordingly.
Try to avoid adhesives, laminates, and protective coatings.
  • Using those materials will limit the offer to reuse or recycle.
Seek other ways to reuse materials
  • If you seem to have a variety of resources that seem to be useless to you in the foreseeable future, reach out to other organizations that can use these materials. Although the materials may not be of use to you, there are plenty of people going through their own construction process that could be looking for the exact materials you have in excess.
Have a secure area to store the various building materials.
  














[2] 10 Surprising Things You Can’t Recycle

1. Pizza Boxes
2. Wet Paper
3. Plastic Bottle Caps
4. Juice Boxes
5. Plastic Bags
6. Styrofoams
7. Wire hangers
8. Paper Napkins or Towels
9. Ceramics
10. Heavily-Dyed Papers


Try to think of these methods within the different stages of construction that will reduce the waste of materials. Not only will it reduce costs, but it was also be beneficial to the environment and the society.


Question:  What are some ways you reduce waste throughout projects?

Please share your advice to create awareness!




[1] Butler, Katherine. "10 Surprising Things You Can't Recycle." EcoSalon. July 11, 2012. Accessed July 14, 2017. http://ecosalon.com/10-surprising-things-you-cant-recycle/.
[2] Micks, Ashley. "The Costs of Recycling." The Costs of Recycling. December 12, 2012. Accessed July 14, 2017. http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2012/ph240/micks2/.