Construction Health & Safety – USA Style!

During a recent holiday (vacation as they say in the states) in Annaoplis USA, I witnessed what can only be described as unbelievably relaxed health and safety regulations.

The standard of Health and Safety on the site in question was a total contrast to the standards in the UK.

It had to be seen to be believed.

I was amazed to witness workers ‘surfing’ on fork lift trucks, up to 3 stories high.  I also witnessed workers ‘jumping ladders’, again 3 stories up, to prevent them from climbing down the ladder to move it along the building.

This was not all,  there was no site fencing to keep trespassers out, no welfare facilities on site, no scaffold to access the roof, no edge protection on the roof, building debris was thrown out of windows to the ground below, the list is endless and i could go on.  Oh and the best bit, all of this was taking place 30 yards from somebody’s front door, an area where children were playing with their friends.

The works were taking place on a new build housing development in a sought after location of Annapolis Maryland, the developer (whom i won’t name) was one of the State’s largest and most prestigious, specialising in the building of executive homes.

I can only assume that they chose to turn a blind eye to what was happening and hope that they could get away with it, however it can only be a matter of time before someone is seriously injured if not killed.  Only when this happens will they tighten up the regulations on this particular site.

There are several likely reasons / explanantions for this lack of health and safety and i wonder if it is because of the highly competitive construction economy in the US, which it appears, is placing the emphasis on getting the job done behind taking the basic steps in health and saftey to protect its workers. Having no health and saftey measures in place is surely a cost saving to the project, right?…

Also, do the workers in the photograph actually put their own Health and Safety behind earning a living?  It appears so.

I am not talking about taking a reasonable risk, for example not wearing gloves to protect your hands when using a saw for a short duration, i am talking about risks of serious injury or death due to falls from height of having something hit you on the head from above.

I will be monitoring the construction news for Annapolis and will keep you all updated, should there be any issues on this site.

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