The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, November 30, 2018

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Money starts moving to new Soo Lock

Money is starting to move for construction of a new lock at Sault Ste. Marie.

For decades only hot air in Congress was devoted to constructing a desperately needed new Soo lock, necessary as a twin to the existing Poe Lock in case it ever suffers a mechanical malfunction. A breakdown of the Poe Lock, the largest at the Soo, for any length of time would wreak havoc on shipping and the economy of the Midwest. 

A pledge earlier this year by President Trump during a visit to Michigan to move the $1 billion project forward finally greased the gears to move the funding through Congress. On Nov. 20 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted to Congress its updated 2019 work plan, which includes $74 million in funding toward construction of a new Poe-sized lock at the Soo Locks complex. 

“This is great news for Michigan’s First District, the Great Lakes region, and the entire U.S. economy, which relies on the Soo Locks," said Congressman Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet). "I'm proud of the progress we’ve made to finally break ground on a project that’s been delayed for decades. I also applaud the Trump Administration for acknowledging the importance of a new lock, and for working with the House, Senate, and Great Lakes industries to make construction of a new lock in Sault Ste. Marie a reality."  

The 2019 money is coupled with the $57 million allocated this year by Congress toward modernizing the Poe Lock, which was built in 1968.

Familiar violations top OSHA list

The list of frequently cited hazards in the construction industry is fairly consistent, unfortunately.

That's evidenced by the release this fall of OSHA's top 10 Most Frequently Cited Violations list.

"In fact eight of the most violated standards by all industries were on last year's list, and the top four — fall protection, hazard communication, scaffolds and respiratory protection — have been on the list since the agency started compiling it in 2015," says Construction Dive. 

OSHA said the list covers violations issued during fiscal year Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018, although the data is preliminary. 

Falls are the most frequently cited cause of construction worker deaths in Michigan and across the country, and that's backed up by the number of citations given employers for violating fall protection guidelines and not having proper barriers or warnings for workers toiling on surfaces where they can fall six feet or more. 

OSHA issued 7,270 fall-related violations during those 12 months, which tops the list. 

Below falls on OSHA's list were violations in the areas of hazard communication, 4,552 violations; scaffold standards, 3,336; respiratory protection, 3,118 violations; lockout/tagout, 2,944; ladder safety, 2,812; improper use of powered industrial trucks, 2,294; fall protection training, 1,982 violations; machine guarding, 1,972, and personal protective and lifesaving equipment, including eye and face protection, 1,536 violations.