Electrical Wire Recalled by Cerro Wire due to Fire Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: THHN Electrical Wire

Units: About 1,000

Manufacturer: Cerro Wire Inc., of Crothersville, Ind.

Hazard: While the actual electrical wire has “14 gauge” printed on it, the packaging incorrectly labels the electrical wire as 12 gauge. If used as a 12 gauge wire, it can overload, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: This recall involves THNN electrical wire labeled on its packaging as 12 gauge solid white 100′ UPC 48243982721 and 12 gauge stranded red 50′ UPC 48243229215. The actual wire has “THHN Cerro Wire 14 gauge” printed on it. The UPC number and 12 gauge is found on the plastic wrap and on a label at the bottom of the reel.

Sold at: Home Depot & Menards stores in the following states: Colo., Iowa, Idaho, Ill., Ind., Kan., Ky., Mich., Minn., Mo., Mont., N.D., Neb., Ohio, Ore., Pa., S.D., Utah, Wash., Wis., Wyo. from December 2009 through April 2010. The 50-foot wire spools were sold for $9 and the 100-foot spools for about $16.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using any switches, outlets or electrical devices using this wire and contact Cerro Wire for instructions on returning the product for a refund. Any contractor or subcontractor who used this wire should inspect their work to see that their work meets local electrical wiring code.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Cerro Wire toll-free at (866) 572-3776 ext. 269 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.cerrowire.com

To see this recall on CPSC’s web site, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to:

Brigade Hickory Handle Sledge Hammers Recalled by White Cap Construction Supply Due to Risk of Injury

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Hickory handle sledge hammers

Units: About 15,000

Importer: White Cap Construction Supply Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif.

Hazard: The head of the sledge hammer can loosen and detach, posing a risk of impact injury to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: This recall involves Brigade sledge hammers with a hickory wood handle. There are 11 models included in this recall, ranging in size from 2 to 20 lbs. A green and white label with the word “Brigade” and the model name is affixed to the head of the sledge hammer, and “Genuine Hickory” is printed on the handle. Model and UPC information are printed on the label.

Model / UPC / Part Description
444BR10675 / 847044060535 / 8LB 36 double Face Sledge Hammer
444BR10677 / 847044060559 / 12LB 36 Double Face Sledge Hammer
444BR10685 / 847044060634 / 4LB 16 Engineers Hammer
444BR10678 / 847044060566 / 16LB 36 Double Face Sledge Hammer
444BR10679 / 847044060573 / 20LB 36 Double Face Sledge Hammer
444BR10688 / 847044060665 / 4LB 10-1/2 Drilling Hammer
444BR10687 / 847044060658 / 3LB 10-1/2 Drilling Hammer
444BR10674 / 847044060528 / 6LB 36 Double Face Sledge Hammer
444BR10676 / 847044060542 / 10LB 36 Double Face Sledge Hammer
444BR10686 / 847044060641 / 2LB 10-1/2 Drilling Hammer
444BR10684 / 847044060627 / 3LB 16 Engineers Hammer

Sold at: White Cap Construction Supply distributors nationwide from April 2009 through May 2010 for between $12 and $47.

Manufactured in: India

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled sledge hammers and return the product to White Cap Construction Supply for a full refund or exchange.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact White Cap Construction Supply toll-free at (877) 281-4831 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.whitecap.com

To see this recall on CPSC’s web site, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to:

Worker Fatalities Fall 17% on Decline in Construction Deaths

By Inyoung Hwang
Bloomberg News
Aug 19, 2010

U.S. workplace deaths fell 17 percent in 2009 to a record low on a decline in construction fatalities, as unemployment surged to the highest level in a quarter century.

There were 4,340 deaths across all industries, compared with 5,214 a year earlier. Fatalities among private construction firms dropped 16 percent in 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said today in a statement.

Workplace injuries have been falling for more than a decade, according to the National Council of Compensation Insurance. Workers’ compensation insurers that are facing lower sales and rising medical costs may benefit from a decline in job-related accidents as U.S. payrolls shrink. New claims for unemployment jumped 500,000 in the week ended Aug. 14.

“Economic factors played a major role in the fatal work injury decrease in 2009,” the bureau said in the statement.

Construction spending dropped 15 percent in 2009, the worst performance on record, signaling an industry at the forefront of the economic crisis will be slow to rebound.

Construction has “fallen off a cliff,” said Ed Priz, president of Riverside, Illinois-based Advanced Insurance Management LLC, a consulting firm, in an interview on Aug. 11. “It reflects a shift in the kind of work Americans are doing. There are a lot less hazardous jobs.”

Workplace deaths among blacks declined 24 percent last year to 407 from 533 in 2008. There was a 16 percent decline for whites to 3,059 and a 17 percent drop for Hispanics to 668.

Homicides, Suicides

Homicides at work fell 1 percent to 521 deaths in 2009. That marked a decline of more than 50 percent from the high of 1,080 in 1994. Shootings made up about 80 percent of the homicides last year, which includes the 13 victims of the November massacre at Fort Hood Army post, according to the bureau’s statement.

Workplace suicides declined 9.9 percent to 237 last year from a record 263 in 2008.

In New York State, 184 workplace deaths occurred, compared with 213 a year earlier. Job-related fatalities in New York City fell to 63 from 90 in 2008.

Transportation accidents were the most frequent cause of worker deaths for the second straight year. The number of fatalities involving cars, trucks, airplanes, trains, and other vehicles was 1,682, compared with 2,130 in 2008. About 20 percent of the deaths were on highways.

Fatalities in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting fell to 551 from 672 a year earlier. Deaths in crop production dropped to 278 from 304.

Falling Sales

Liberty Mutual Group Inc. was the largest workers’ compensation insurer in the U.S. by 2009 policy sales, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, followed by American International Group Inc., Travelers Cos. and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.

U.S. workers’ compensation insurance, an industry tied closely to payrolls, posted sales that fell for the third straight year as the economic slump curbed employment, according to the NCCI. The jobless rate was 9.5 percent in July.

“Any decline in fatalities indicates that element of workers’ compensation costs is continuing to moderate,” Priz said. “The rapid decline in employment — that’s got to be a factor.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Inyoung Hwang in New York at ihwang7@bloomberg.net.

OSHA 10-Hour Construction Safety Course Now Mandatory in Seven States

ARLINGTON, Texas, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ — Seven states now have laws on the
books that require construction workers to complete the OSHA 10-hour
construction safety training course before they can work on certain
construction projects. The states with an OSHA law already in effect are
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, and most
recently, Missouri. The state of Nevada OSHA training law becomes effective
January 1st, 2010.

Most of the state laws restrict the required training to workers on publicly
funded construction sites, such as public roads and bridge construction
projects and public school buildings. However, the state of Nevada, whose law
takes effect January 1st of 2010, requires all construction workers to
complete the course. The state laws also vary on exactly which “workers” need
the training, according to Curtis Chambers, Vice President of OSHA Pro’s,
Inc., an OSHA training company with national coverage. “While all seven state
laws require the same 10-hour training class, there are slight nuances from
state to state. A particular state law may require all labors and supervisors
to complete the class, whereas another state law may require the class just
for laborers,” says Mr. Chambers. “There are also varying thresholds for the
dollar amounts of the contracts that dictate when the states’ laws become
effective. However,” he warns, “each of these state laws contain a provision
that say failure to comply with their rule can result in fines and penalties
being assessed, typically to the employer of the non-compliant workers. So
affected workers are required to obtain the OSHA 10-hour construction training
wallet card to prove they completed the course.”

The OSHA 10-hour construction outreach training course was developed by the
federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) as a voluntary
safety course to teach workers about the hazards of construction work and the
regulations applicable to their worksite. But these seven states have decided
to make the course mandatory training for construction workers in hopes of
reducing the number of injuries and fatalities afflicting construction
workers. The OSHA 10-hour construction outreach training course can be
conducted by instructors who are authorized by OSHA to conduct this training
and issue the OSHA cards. Some large companies even have their own authorized
OSHA trainer on staff. There are also private safety consultants and companies
that conduct the training for a fee for companies or groups needing the
course. OSHA has also authorized online OSHA 10-hour construction outreach
training courses, allowing a worker to take the required class on the computer
via the Internet, and have the wallet card subsequently mailed to the trainee.
Carrie Braswell, administrator for the Internet-based online OSHA training
website http://www.osha10hourtraining.com, says, “Business has really boomed
since these state laws have taken effect. Especially right before a particular
state deadline comes along.”

Worker Killed by Boom Truck

Worker Is Killed on Throgs Neck Bridge

Workers gathered around a white sheet covering the body of a contract worker who was killed on the Throgs Neck Bridge Tuesday morning.  Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

Workers gathered around a white sheet covering the body of a contract worker who was killed on the Throgs Neck Bridge Tuesday morning. Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

New York Times
By Sewell Chan AND Christine Hauser
August 25, 2009, 10:51 am

An electrical worker died on Tuesday morning after being struck by the boom of a truck on the Throgs Neck Bridge, which connects the Bronx and Queens, according to the city’s Fire Department.

The police said the worker, William Barnes, 48, of Port Washington, N.Y., was working for Tri-State Electric Contracting of Haverstraw, N.Y. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Tri-State was a subcontractor to E. E. Cruz, a contractor that authorities said was responsible for a July 10 fire on the bridge that caused significant damage.

Mr. Barnes was struck at 10:23 a.m. around the middle of the span, on a northbound lane, and the first emergency units arrived at the scene at 10:31 a.m., according to the Fire Department.

The authorities, based on preliminary reports, initially said that Mr. Barnes fell from the bridge itself, but officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the bridge, later said the worker died after being struck and pinned by the boom, or lift.

“The employee was outside of an aerial lift truck operating the lift controls when he was struck by the lift,” M.T.A. Bridges and Tunnels said in a statement. The police said Mr. Barnes “was removed from beneath the boom of a crane after the cable snapped, pinning him against the vehicle.”

The authorities said that Mr. Barnes had a commercial driver’s license, which was required to operate the truck.

For more than an hour after the accident, the only northbound (Bronx-bound) access to the bridge was via the Cross Island Parkway ramp, and drivers were advised to use the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge or the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough Bridge) as alternative routes. But by 12:10 p.m., the authorities announced that all northbound lanes were open to traffic.

The Throgs Neck Bridge was the site of a construction fire on July 10 that caused significant damage and led officials to close one of three northbound bridge lanes, and ban most trucks on the bridge, for several weeks. On Aug. 10, the lane reopened, but the northbound lanes were slightly narrowed to allow work to continue, and oversize and overweight trucks that normally cross at night with an escort remained prohibited.

Further repair and reconstruction work, including a portion of a planned deck replacement, was to last into the fall.

M.T.A. Bridges and Tunnels and the Fire Department found that the fire had been caused by a spark from a contractor’s torch that ignited construction material on scaffolding below the bridge.

Tom Bach, the chief engineer at M.T.A. Bridges and Tunnels, said in a statement earlier this month that an on-site independent safety monitor, paid for by the contractor, would continue to report directly to the authority until all the construction work had been completed.

The contractor, E. E. Cruz, agreed to bear responsibility for the fire and for its costs. The contract employees who were directly involved in the accident were removed from project. Mr. Bach said that all of the authority’s other bridge construction projects had been reviewed by an outside safety consultant to ensure that they were safe.

The Throgs Neck Bridge, which opened in 1961 and is run by the transportation authority, carries 110,000 to 120,000 vehicles a day, including many trucks heading to and from Long Island.

1 Worker Killed in NYC Scaffold Collapse

1 Worker Killed in NYC Scaffold Collapse
August 19, 2009
by The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A construction worker fell five stories to his death when part of a scaffold collapsed in Brooklyn, police said.

The worker had been resurfacing bricks on an apartment building’s facade in the Park Slope section when the accident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Police identified the victim as 42-year-old Henyrk Siebor, an employee of Nova Restoration, Inc., of Brooklyn.

Siebor was moving from one scaffold to another one occupied by two other workers when the second scaffold collapsed, Buildings Department spokeswoman Carly Sullivan said.

Siebor fell and the other two workers clung to the tilted scaffold where firefighters eventually pulled the workers through the building windows to safety.

The Fire Department one of the workers at the site was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries. Two other workers refused medical attention.

Nova Restoration did not immediately respond to a call for comment left on its answering machine Tuesday evening.

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SMART Client Expanding With Military Projects

One of SMART Safety Group’s clients, Straub Construction, was featured on the front page of the San Diego Business Journal. SMART Safety Group provides Straub with objective third-party safety auditing on many of Straub’s military projects. The benefits of third-party auditing include:

  • Enhanced record-keeping
  • Greater compliance
  • A second set of eyes

Please read the article below…

August 10-16, 2009

August 10-16, 2009

Builder Expanding With Military Projects
By BRAD GRAVES – 8/10/2009
San Diego Business Journal

It’s news that seems to have come out of another decade: A construction company adds middle managers to better handle a growing volume of work.

But it’s happening today in Fallbrook at Straub Construction.

Privately held Straub has put down roots in one of the few growth markets in construction: military base work. It’s been growing its business in anticipation of increased government building programs. The firm has doubled in size over five years to 75 employees. In the same period it has doubled revenue to $120 million.

The firm recently moved from Bonsall to Fallbrook to accommodate its growth.

Before the month is over Straub and joint venture partner, Las Vegas-based Martin-Harris Construction, will submit bids to build two “packages” of barracks at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Bachelor Enlisted Quarters Package 5 has four barracks complexes sleeping 1,800 Marines. Package 6, with three groups of buildings, will sleep 1,100.

There is $5 billion of construction scheduled on local military bases in the near future, according to the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

That $5 billion applies to San Diego County, but Straub is willing to travel to get work. It does business in Nevada and Arizona in addition to California.

The joint venture with Martin-Harris is in the early stages of a $101 million project at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. They are building three sets of four-story barracks, sleeping 1,150 Marines, plus garage. Pierce Goodwin Alexander & Linville of Alexandria, Va., is the architect.

The team got the deal, known in Navy building circles as Package 9, on May 1.

Closer to home, Straub has several projects in progress at Camp Pendleton, including a $50 million, multiple-building force intelligence operations complex, a $9.6 million infantry training center and an $8.5 million communications/electronics maintenance shop.

Coffee And Steel

Ask about a noteworthy recent project, however, and CEO Richard Straub will talk about a town library in Santa Barbara County.

The city of Santa Maria opened its $19 million, 60,000-square-foot library one year ago. Giving the community a centerpiece building (which includes a full-sized tree sculpture in the children’s reading area) did not come without challenges for Straub.

The library went up in the center of town, next door to city buildings that still had to function. Straub had to work in a confined space and find suitable places to stage materials.

The Straub crew was able to borrow some space from a nearby coffee shop. They returned the favor with a paving job.

Then there was the matter of the steel for the building’s skeleton. The supplier was hit with a labor dispute, so Straub had to scramble. The company parceled out the work to shops in San Diego.

Nevertheless, the library went up on time, and on budget. Larry Lavagnino, Santa Maria’s mayor, lauded Straub’s ability to anticipate obstacles and prevent delays that would have added to the price tag. Jack Buchanan, the city’s librarian, added that Rick Straub was easy to work with.

Straub sees more opportunities in government work — particularly in military construction — in the next four years.

It’s built its organization to anticipate the work. For example, the number of employees in Straub’s preconstruction department has grown 300 percent.

The company also reports seeing an influx of competitors, which is a product of the recession.

“We are seeing some very low bids from companies that don’t have any experience, or very limited experience, in military construction,” Straub said. “… The question is, can these firms perform to the expectations of the government, and are they pricing themselves out of business?”

Straub Construction
CEO: Richard Straub.
2008 revenue: $120 million.
Backlog: $180 million.
Number of employees: 75.

Company description: General contractor specializing in government and public works projects.
San Diego Business Journal, Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved.