Friday, June 29, 2007

SAFE Stand Down largest in Texas history

SAFE Stand Down largest in Texas history
The AGC organized the SAFE Stand Down in Texas, an event that gives workers safety and procedural training. The theme "Take Five to Stay Alive" promoted pre-task planning to reduce accidents and increase work safety.

This was the fifth event in Texas, and the first to go state-wide. The first stand down took place in 2005 when the region experience 32 jobsite deaths in 2004, and nine occurred in the first four months of 2005.

"Every Stand Down gets bigger and bigger," said Dino Sideris, safety director for Bob Moore Construction. "We saw how successful the training sessions were in the Metroplex and rolled the concept out to the rest of the state. It's very gratifying to know that the efforts we put in motion two years ago are now improving the welfare of more than 5,000 workers around the state. Ultimately, I'd like to see other states pick up this program as well."

According to the AGC, about 306 general contractors participated in the event, training 5,200 workers, which stopped more than $2.1 billion in commercial construction projects.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Crane Accidents Raise Concerns About Safety

June 21st, 2007 @ 6:00pm

Whit Johnson Reporting,, KLS TV/Channel 5

Two Crane accidents in two days are raising some serious questions about safety.

We have no official word on what caused these two accidents, but a new law calls for crane operators to have mandatory certification. With ongoing construction across the state lawmakers say the change is a step in the right direction.

The accidents can be deadly and the damage extensive. Sen. Gene Davis(D), Senate Minority Whip, says, "This is a bigger piece of equipment that when failure hits can risk a lot of life, limp and property."

Sgt. Victor Quezada with the Sandy City Police Dept. says, "If this would have hit a car there definitely would have been a fatality. There's no question."

On State Street in Sandy this morning a crane installing a sound barrier tipped over. Traffic was blocked off for hours while crews cleaned up the mess.

Sgt. Quezada says, "It looks like it came down across the lanes of traffic. Again, nobody was coming at the time which is a good thing."

Yesterday in Orem a similar accident although the consequences much worse. A crane fell on top of a house three people inside. In both accidents, no one was hurt.

Sen. Davis says, "The object is to have certified operators in the seat of these cranes to lessen the impact of these accidents."

For the last four years democratic state Senator Gene Davis has attempted to pass a law that would require all crane operators to hold specific certification. "A semi truck driver has to be certified a fork lift operator has to be licensed," Sen. Davis says.

In the last legislative session the final piece of the puzzle enforcement was put into place. Sen. Davis says, "It raised that whole issue of safety in the work site and safety in the construction areas."

Complete with fines and penalties it's in an effort to prevent accidents like these from happening again. Multiple agencies are still investigating both crane accidents. The new law requiring certification will take effect next week.

Monday, June 25, 2007

8th Annual National Work Zone Awareness Week held

The National Work Zone Awareness week was hosted by the Virginia Department of Transportation in April 2007. It was created in 1997 and was designed to improve work zone safety through engineering, education, enforcement and coordination with public safety agencies. Some of the participating groups include the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration, American Road and Transportation Builders Association and the American Traffic Safety Services Association.

Work zone fatalities have increased by 40 percent from 1997 to 2005, according the Federal Highway Administration. In 2005, there were 1,074 work zone fatalities. However, the rise in work zone has fallen in highway fatalities. In 1996, there were roughly 5.5 deaths per 100 million miles of travel and in 2005, there were 1.46 deaths per 100 million miles of travel, according to highway officials.

Some of the things people had done in the past during National Work Zone Awareness week were tying orange ribbons to their vehicle's antennae and driving around with their headlights on. Now about 46 states participate in the event.

Yacht rollover preps sailor for race

As posted on the Hamilton Spectator, The Canadian Press, TORONTO (Jun 20, 2007)

Riding inside a racing yacht as it is tips upside-down may sound like a new extreme sport, but for sailor Derek Hatfield, it's an important step toward the Vendee Globe solo around-the-world race.

Each of the Open-60 class yachts competing in the race must prove to organizers that, should the boat roll over, it can be righted by the skipper alone.

Yesterday morning, about 100 sponsors, support team members and spectators gathered at the Canadian Yacht Club to watch a heavy-duty crane tip over Hatfield's yacht, The Spirit of Canada.

Sealed inside the boat's cabin, Hatfield held on as the crane slowly tilted the vessel until it rolled all the way over with a splash.

"When you're inside there everything is disoriented because you're upside down and now instead of things being on the floor, they're above your head and it really gets quite dramatic," Hatfield said after the test. "But once you get upside down it takes a few minutes to find yourself.

"I start looking for my control unit on the floor, and of course it's above my head. You're initial reaction is to go looking for it where you last saw it."

With everything inverted, Hatfield had to operate the boat's mechanical canting keel, which can be moved left and right. At about 15 degrees off centre, the keel's weight began to lift the hull out of the water. A few more degrees and a tipping point was reached as the boat rapidly righted itself to complete a successful test, bringing cheers from those gathered.

"I jumped on the floor, on the ceiling actually, and then on a shelving unit and then it rolled right over and I was nice and safe inside the ship," Hatfield said. "Everything went according to plan, no damage inside the boat."

Hatfield will be the only Canadian of the 27 sailors in the Vendee Globe race, which begins in the Bay of Biscay in France in November 2008. It will take racers about three months to sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope, then south to Australia and South America and back up the Atlantic Ocean to France. No outside assistance is permitted during the event.