Discover more from Construction Yeti
Construction Curiosities #47
Hey! Happy Saturday! Matt here.
Welcome to the Construction Curiosities newsletter. Especially to all the new beautiful faces!
This week was Safety Week 2023 !
So that calls for a Construction Safety edition of the Newsletter and for a Safety Dance!
This weekly Newsletter explores my Curiosities about the Construction Industry. It's meant to make you think, smile, and become a better, more well-informed Construction Professional.
This week we will look at:
One Musing: How much Safer has Construction Gotten?
One Video: The Watermelon in the Hard Hat
One Quote: Safety Gets Old
Two Memes: Safety Imposters
I meant to write a musing this week about how insurance companies and the litigious society we live in have caused the pendulum to swing too far on the CYA paperwork front that many times can be counter-productive to the actual mission of keeping folks safe. (I’ll keep that thought for another day).
But I spent the first half of the week out tent camping with the family and ran out of time. Soooooo I am sharing this musing from Brian Potter on his “Construction Physics" substack:
Make sure you read the comments too, especially this one from CatCube:
Not exactly tied to productivity, enough to bring up a website that fascinates me and that I link with the slightest excuse: Reclamation's list of fatalities for Hoover dam
This list is sorted into pages by year, then by type of fatal accident, and finally sorted by date, giving a by-name list and cause for deaths.
I had toured the dam when I was a kid, and had heard the statistics about the number of people killed (I think the 112 number on that page). However, until I was working in the construction industry, I did not realize just how abso-posi-loutely batsh*t bonkers this list is. It is one of the most astonishing documents to ponder when you have a twenty-first century view about the acceptability of construction casualties.
The one I always point at is the list for 1933: https://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/history/essays/fat1933.html
I really urge everybody who is familiar with how construction accidents to be handled on a modern jobsite to contemplate this project when deaths are considered chronologically:
Jan 1: Fred Palmer, killed by fall
Jan 10: Gus Enberg, killed by explosion
Jan 11: Howard Cornelius, killed by explosion*
Feb 1: Vernon Blair, killed by fall
Feb 7: M. Kaighn, killed by falling material
Feb 7: J. Powers, struck by truck/equipment
Mar 12: Tom Markey, killed by fall
Mar 16: William Koontz, struck by truck/equipment
For the first quarter of that year, they were killing a guy every two weeks on average on this jobsite. Using today's standards, by mid-February the US Government would fire this contractor. This is one of my favorite(?) examples of "The past really is a different country."
I’ve seen a few people do these watermelon hard hat demos and they are always eye-opening.
Make sure you wear your hard hats!
Where I lacked in my own Musing this week, I make up for with an extra meme. Enjoy!
Hope everyone has a great weekend and a Safe next week!
Construction Yeti is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.