Every year, more than 800 construction workers in the U.S. lose their lives while on the job, and approximately 31,000 suffer serious injuries. As tragic or debilitating as these cases are, the reality is that they are also preventable. This video compilation uses powerful animated sequences to show how such hazards occur, and how close attention to OSHA safety standards can protect lives and livelihoods going forward. With an average length of three minutes, each clip focuses on a particular work setting and can be presented in stand-alone fashion or in conjunction with other clips. Scenarios focus on fall prevention, carbon monoxide poisoning, struck-by accidents, and excavation safety. The animation does not graphically depict bodily injuries, but each clip presents a true record of an actual accident. Viewer discretion is advised. (37 minutes)
• Reroofing. Two workers lack fall protection while reroofing a two-story home. One worker slips and falls off the roof. In a revised scenario, both workers wear personal fall arrest systems, including full-body harnesses, rope-grab lifelines, and connectors. Snap hooks connect each worker’s lifeline to secure roof anchors. D-rings connect safety harnesses to rope-grab lifelines.
• Fixed Scaffolds. Installing vinyl siding on a two-story townhome, a worker stands on a ladder placed on top of a scaffold. The worker reaches too far and loses his balance, falling to the ground. In a revised scenario, the worker stands on a fully-decked pump-jack scaffold. It has guardrails at the top, middle, and ends.
• Skylights. Two roofers are not wearing any personal fall protection, but guardrails are installed on the pitched roof. One worker installs new shingles in the center of the roof near an unguarded skylight. He falls through the opening. In a revised scenario, the skylight is guarded by a secure cover.
• Floor Openings. Two workers are framing walls on a second floor near an open stairwell. There is no guardrail or floor cover, and the workers are not wearing fall protection. One worker falls over the unguarded stairwell edge. In a revised scenario, the stairwell is protected by a guardrail. The clip also shows how to protect workers by putting a secure cover over the stairwell opening.
• Bridge Decking. Installing deck pans on a bridge, two workers lack personal fall protection and no safety net is in place. One worker slips onto an unsecured deck pan, creating an opening and falling 75 feet to the ground. In a revised scenario, a temporary horizontal lifeline runs along the beams and each worker, wearing a full-body harness, connects to the lifeline using a self-retractable lanyard.
• Leading Edge Work. Four workers apply sheet metal roof decking. They are not wearing any personal fall protection. As one of the workers walks along the roof he loses his footing, falling between the purlins and landing on the floor below. In a revised scenario, a temporary horizontal lifeline attaches to two or more anchor points on the roof, and the workers wear safety harnesses.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
• Portable Gas-Powered Equipment. Two workers finish a basement renovation. As one cuts a window hole in the wall with a gas-powered wet saw, exhaust from the saw fills the space with carbon monoxide. Both workers collapse and die. In a revised scenario, the workers use a hydraulic saw with no buildup of carbon monoxide. Dangers from other fuel-powered tools, such as generators, space heaters, and water pumps, are identified.
• Swinging Cranes. A truck driver is allowed to stand near a hydraulic crane. Suddenly, the crane begins moving and within seconds the truck driver is crushed between the counterweight and the right rear outrigger. In a revised scenario, a temporary barricade prevents workers from coming too close to the crane’s swing radius. Use of an “all clear” signal is also highlighted.
• Vehicle Back-over. Before backing up, a tractor scraper driver checks his mirrors, but his back-up alarm doesn’t work and there is no spotter and no internal traffic control at the site. A surveyor does not hear the scraper coming toward her and is run over. A revised scenario features a working back-up alarm, a spotter in a reflective vest, and an internal traffic control plan in place.
Sprains and Strains
• Pulling Cables. While standing on a ladder that is too short, an electrician pulls long runs of heavy-gauge wire. He then attaches the wiring above his head. After several days on the job, the stress on his arms, neck, back, and shoulders has become too much, and chronic pain affects his ability to work. In a revised scenario, the electrician uses an elevated platform at a correct height and a mechanical wire puller to get the wire he needs.
• Laying Stone. A stonemason and her tender build a walkway of large stone pieces. The tender mixes mortar in five-gallon buckets and carries it to the mason, and the two workers bend at the waist to pick up heavy stone pieces. They also kneel down and hunch over to position the pieces. After several days, both workers suffer from severe back and knee pain. In a revised scenario, a cement mixer is used and the tender wheels the mortar to the mason. The stone pieces have also been placed off the ground and both workers wear knee pads.
• Trenching. Five workers place a sewer pipe at the bottom of a trench. When one side of the trench collapses, two workers are able to escape using a ladder, but the other three are buried and suffocate. In a revised scenario, the soil has been properly classified as type B, the trench has been properly sloped, and the spoil pile is moved away from the trench edges. In addition to sloping, two other safety procedures—shoring and shielding—are explored.