OSHA’s Construction Incidents Investigation Engineering Reports webpage is an interesting and helpful resource for those of you in construction, construction engineering, and construction safety.
In this article, we’re going to introduce you to this useful resource and provide a brief overview of some of the findings, recommendations, and incidents.
OSHA’s Directorate of Construction performs incident investigations when buildings collapse (and after similar incidents) at the request of an OSHA field office or State Plan OSHA office and create reports as part of those investigations. These reports, gathered for convenient reference (and learning), contain the opinions of the investigating engineer from OSHA’s Directorate of Construction, including opinions regarding the incident’s root cause(s), as well as facts and findings.
Of course, the purpose of these reports is to help us all identify, learn from, and avoid problems in construction design, construction project management, and the management of field engineering changes.
There are a large number of reports on the website (I counted 67 going back to 1990, and the webpage itself notes that only selected incident reports have been presented, meaning there are more). And the reports are long. So obviously, in total there are a large number of highlights and significant and/or repeated themes that you’d find if you read them all. But OSHA provided some highlights which we’ll summarize below:
In taking a moment to review these issues that OSHA highlighted, I confess I can’t find a major theme (although two do involve winds). The selections for the “highlights” section seems somewhat random to me. But maybe there’s something here I’m missing? Please use the comments section below to share your opinions on this.
It would be hard to read and summarize all of these reports for you, but we decided to read a few of the more recent ones and give our own high-level thoughts. Feel free to add your own thoughts about any we summarize (or don’t) in the comments section.
The July, 2019 report details the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University. Here are a few interesting points from the Conclusion of this report (see page 113):
The October, 2018 report is about the collapse of a communication tower. Here are some items from the Conclusion (see page 19) that are noteworthy:
The December, 2018 report is about the failure of three hammerhead cranes after a hurricane. Some key points from the Conclusions section (see page 69) include:
Keep coming back to this blog post from time-to-time…we’re going to continue reviewing the reports and summarizing their conclusions here.
We hope that perhaps we’ve introduced you to a useful reference in this collection of incident investigations for engineers focusing on collapses and similar incidents in the construction industry and that you’re able to draw some useful lessons from this article and those reports in your own engineering and construction pursuits.
Remember we’re happy to help you with construction safety training courses as well as courses for AEC & construction project management certification. Just let us know if we can be of assistance!
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