Volume 42, Issue 10 - October 2007


Construction Industry Leads Number of Workplace Fatalities 
The construction industry accounted for 1,226 fatal work injuries in 2006—the most occupational injuries of any industry sector. This represented a 3-percent increase over the 2005 total of construction industry fatalities according to statistics from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) national census of fatal occupational injuries for 2006. Fatalities among specialty trade contractors rose 6 percent (from 677 fatalities in 2005 to 721 in 2006), due primarily to higher numbers of fatal work injuries among building finishing contractors and roofing contractors. 

The increase in construction industry fatalities and injuries has led the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to focus on construction site safety. 

“OSHA has an emphasis this year on construction sites [safety],” says Pete Pontikis, senior project manager and safety director at MTH Industries in Hillside, Ill. He advises other glazing contractors to “make sure your projects have the proper information at the job.” 

Among the required information is the OSHA jobsite safety and health poster, which must be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees can see it.

MTH offers safety training for specific events, including training for scaffolding and fall protection. According to the census information, fatal work injuries involving falls increased 5 percent in 2006 after a sharp decrease in 2005. The 809 fatal falls in 2006 was the third highest total since 1992, when the fatality census began. Fatal falls from roofs increased from 160 fatalities in 2005 to 184 in 2006, a rise of 15 percent. 

To prevent injuries in any area, construction industry workers—including glaziers—are required to have training in OSHA’s safety standards. 

“All of our foremen receive OSHA 30-hour cards, which is the 30-hour construction outreach program,” says Pontikis. “That’s all our glaziers and workers and project managers. All of our journeymen receive a 10-hour card.”

Pontikis says MTH also provides project-specific training based on the jobsite hazards or conditions. “Most larger projects are requiring now from the subcontractors site-specific safety plan,” he adds. “The first day your crew starts, you go out and do the training.” 

The numbers reported in the national census of fatal occupational injuries for 2006 are preliminary and will be updated in April 2008. www.bls.gov

PPG Worker Dies in Machinery Accident 
Neil T. McMichael died on September 13, 2007, from injuries sustained as a result of a machinery accident at PPG Industries Inc. McMichael was a glass-cutting line operator and for 43 years had been an employee at the company’s facility in Crestline, Ohio.

According to a statement from the company, PPG is investigating the accident in conjunction with local officials and the federal office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Grief counseling and employee assistance programs have been made available to Crestline employees. 

“We extend our deepest sympathy to Neil’s entire family,” says Vicki Holt, senior vice president, glass and fiber glass. 

McMichael was a 1964 graduate of Colonel Crawford and from 1965 to 1967 served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, according to his obituary. He is survived by several brothers and sisters. 

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