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October 26, 2009

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Look, Lindsay, construction is a dangerous business. For example, five workers died building the empire state building. Eleven died building the golden gate bridge. These are inevitable accidents. Sad? Yes, but accidents all the same. It's just silly to blame Nevada OSHA. If Nevada has more construction deaths then other states, that's obviously just because Nevada has more construction.

The skope of accidents says more about speed of real estate boom in previous years when there was a lack of experienced supervisors. The accidents are usualy more about supervision and established practices then about OSHA standard safety and toxicity in work place. Accidents come from changing standard practice and workers awarness of environmnet.

I agree with Jordan. You also have to accept the cold hard fact that construction deaths are ineluctable. If you want construction, you have to accept people dying. Lindsay just comes across as naive in believing that these deaths could be prevented.

Nevada inspectors told federal investigators that their superiors pressured them not to write up employers for willful violations of safety laws.

The above is the heart of the story. The below may become a large part of it.

Many of the worst offenders are powerful casino interests, a contingency known to donate lavishly to both Democrats and Republicans.

I can't seem to find anything in this post asserting that all accidental deaths in construction are preventable. So, would anyone like to suggest that there are no such things as preventable accidental construction deaths? Otherwise, I don't get your point.

These are inevitable accidents. Sad? Yes, but accidents all the same. It's just silly to blame Nevada OSHA.

You really should have read the link. NOSHA has willfully abrogated it's responsibilities under federal and state law.

There's so much wrong with Ralph's posts, I think it would be more fun if we each took a little bite*:

"For example, five workers died building the empire state building. Eleven died building the golden gate bridge. These are inevitable accidents."

So, we can't have construction projects without 1930's standards? I wasn't aware that our progress on workers' safety made construction projects utterly impossible.

How many people died constructing the WTC?

*unless it's decided that this falls under DNFTT jurisdiction

Many of the worst offenders are powerful casino interests, a contingency known to donate lavishly to both Democrats and Republicans.

Not just donations--Sen Ensign's father was CEO of Mandalay Bay . . .

Pretty sure Ralphie is a spoof.

Look, Lindsay, construction is a dangerous business. For example, five workers died building the empire state building. Eleven died building the golden gate bridge. These are inevitable accidents. Sad? Yes, but accidents all the same. It's just silly to blame Nevada OSHA. If Nevada has more construction deaths then other states, that's obviously just because Nevada has more construction.

So, we shouldn't even try to be safe, hm?

As written, taken at face value, this is a stupid post. Stupidity enrages me.

Ralph -> No one will disagree that Construction is a dangerous business. But it is a dangerous business spread across all 50 states, not just Nevada which whose OSHA organization is undergoing investigation. For some reason it is much more dangerous for construction work in Nevada than the other 49 states. Saying that Nevada is more dangerous than anywhere else because it has more construction (more than Florida, Arizona, Texas, California, etc?) is an unsupported argument.

Jordan -> I agree - whenever there is a large construction boom then there will be a shortage of experienced personnel overseeing the build-up. But that is where OSHA is supposed to step in, to provide guidance of how to do things safely for people who lack the experience. This is the purpose of any safety guideline. But if the safety guidelines can be ignored with impunity, such as what appears to be the case in Nevada, then unsafe standard practices and unsafe environments will flourish.

I'm always surprised by the number of people who knee-jerk complain about OSHA, but wouldn't ever think of complaining about other codes such as the National Electric Code (NEC). Both OSHA and NEC are designed to protect lives (and, in the case of the NEC, prevent fires), and both have inspectors dedicated to verifying application and adherence to specs.

But the difference is that while work performed under NEC is permanent and infractions can be traced back to the installer if any future issue may occur, OSHA infractions are, unless there is an injury or death, temporary and disappear when the job is done. An electrician who uses 14ga wire for a 30-amp circuit would be tracked down and will lose his license if a building was to catch fire due to his infraction. But if a construction crew were to assemble 30-feet of scaffolding, perform at the top of the scaffolding the desired work without properly attaching safety gear, and complete the job without injury, then all traces of the infraction are gone.

I guess people dislike OSHA because they think they can constantly get away with infractions. Until someone dies, or is seriously injured that is. When the local arm of OSHA is corrupt people will not have the disincentive to cut corners, take chances, etc. for the sake of speed and cost-savings.


I'm not saying that people should violate the rules. I'm just saying that you can't necessarily attribute construction deaths to rule violations.

So, we can't have construction projects without 1930's standards? I wasn't aware that our progress on workers' safety made construction projects utterly impossible.

It's not just the 1930's. Maybe those were bad examples. People still die in construction accidents all the time. I used to work construction

Pretty sure Ralphie is a spoof.

What does that mean? Ralph Cifaretto is a fictional character. Of course I'm not the "real" Ralph Cifaretto.

Ralph "Ralphie" Cifaretto, played by Joe Pantoliano, is a fictional character on the HBO TV series The Sopranos. Ralph first appeared on the show as a soldier in the Aprile Crew in the second episode of season 3, Proshai, Livushka, but eventually reached the rank of Caporegime of the Aprile Crew in the DiMeo crime family, under the regime of Tony Soprano and Corrado "Junior" Soprano. Cifaretto was highly intelligent, cunning, and dexterous at money making; however, these positive attributions were undercut by his psychotic exuberance, irascibility, impetuous outbursts, which would usually come at the worst possible times, callousness, and insensitivity that habitually raised the ire of virtually everyone with whom he associated. Ralph also had very poor social etiquette and absolutely no inhibitions. Unlike his peers, Ralph affected a preppy style in appearance and ensemble, usually sporting a tan suit or striped, Ralph Lauren dress shirt, an ascot tie, and dress pants.

Interesting choice of pseudonyms for a Vegas-construction post, but it's not just the use of a pseudonym that makes your comments appear to be spoofs. It's a combo of pseudonym and content.

People get murdered all the time, but I would guess that it would happen a lot more often if murder weren't against the law or if we didn't have police forces and courts and prisons and such.

DIAF, italics.

People get murdered all the time, but I would guess that it would happen a lot more often if murder weren't against the law or if we didn't have police forces and courts and prisons and such.

That's not a fair analogy. You're comparing intentional acts with accidents. A better analogy would be someone who assumed, without evidence, that an uptick in the murder rate was caused by lax enforcement of gun laws. You just can't assume that.

construction is a dangerous business

indeed it is. it is the 9th most dangerous job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. but that's not the question. the question is: is construction in Nevada more dangerous than average, and why is NOSHA apparently failing to do its job.

Ralph "Ralphie" Cifaretto, played by Joe Pantoliano, is a fictional character on the HBO TV series The Sopranos. Ralph first appeared on the show as a soldier in the Aprile Crew in the second episode of season 3, Proshai, Livushka, but eventually reached the rank of Caporegime of the Aprile Crew in the DiMeo crime family, under the regime of Tony Soprano and Corrado "Junior" Soprano. Cifaretto was highly intelligent, cunning, and dexterous at money making; however, these positive attributions were undercut by his psychotic exuberance, irascibility, impetuous outbursts, which would usually come at the worst possible times, callousness, and insensitivity that habitually raised the ire of virtually everyone with whom he associated. Ralph also had very poor social etiquette and absolutely no inhibitions. Unlike his peers, Ralph affected a preppy style in appearance and ensemble, usually sporting a tan suit or striped, Ralph Lauren dress shirt, an ascot tie, and dress pants.

"(A) She was a hoo-wah! (B) She hit me."

I love Ralph Cifaretto!!!

You just can't assume that.

And indeed why should you, when you can read the freakin OSHA report and find actual evidence of repeated violations that were not properly dealt with, as opposed to drawing conclusions from the number of fatalities?

What's the largest number of construction workers that you would consider "acceptable losses"?

The casino industry is not a CONTINGENCY but a CONSTITUENCY.

What's the largest number of construction workers that you would consider "acceptable losses"?

That depends on the project. I don't want anyone to die.

"(A) She was a hoo-wah! (B) She hit me."

"All this over some dead whore."

"You're comparing intentional acts with accidents."

You mean, like how plane crashes are accidents?

I mean, yeah, plane crashes just happen. No point trying to prevent them - they're accidents!

That's not a fair analogy. You're comparing intentional acts with accidents. A better analogy would be someone who assumed, without evidence, that an uptick in the murder rate was caused by lax enforcement of gun laws. You just can't assume that.

Pehaps no one intends to kill workers on construction sites by not following established safe-work practices, but they do intend not to follow established safe-work practices, resulting (perhaps unintendedly) in a higher likelihood of accidents and deaths. The intention here is not the point. People don't drive drunk for the sake of killing people, but they do end up killing people. And they would do it a lot more were it not for the criminal penalties incurred for doing so.

As far as your better analogy, see Hogan at 2:31 PM.

(I'm not sure why I'm responding to what is likely a joke of some sort, but I am.)

BTW, you can't just write "whore." That takes away what's funny about the quote.

That's true. But I don't know how to transcribe. Look up "Ralph Cifaretto says the word 'whore' on YouTube."

I don't think there's anything funny about calling women whores.

which is kindof irrelevant, since that's not what's funny about it.

The [email protected] just ate a lot of unallowable profanity.

up until that scene gets violent, it is a bit funny. it's funny in the same way that all of Ralphie's scenes are funny: he's a vile and ridiculously over-the-top jerk who's also clever and quick with a witty insult. he's got a certain panache; it's low-brow and evil, but it's there. he's like an insult comic with a murderously violent temper and a screwed-up sex life.

Oops.

Please knock it off, guys. If you want to just sit and chat about anything but the topic, Atrios has a few dozen threads you can jump into.

Cifaretto was, apparently, our Chandlerbot.

Construction is dangerous, OSHA is frequently incompetent and/or hopelessly rigid, but neither of these excuses a contractor's failure to abide by industry standards, nor do they excuse an employee from using the safety equipment and following the rules that are management's job to lay down and enforce. Construction accidents generally stem from poor training and supervision, on the employer side, to unbelievable stupidity on the employee side. I've seen plenty of both. At first, and only, blush, it looks like too many under-trained people going to fast--usually a management problem. But we'd have to know a lot more to comfortably indict a company.

At first, and only, blush, it looks like too many under-trained people going to fast--usually a management problem. But we'd have to know a lot more to comfortably indict a company.

Which is why OSHA investigated- so we would know more. And their investigation found that companies failed to change their bad practices after being cited for them. In some cases, they didn't change their practices after repeated citations. And one can see why; the repeated citations were not backed up with increased penalties. That implies that there was an oversight problem in addition to the management problem.

Hey Ralph, don't overlook the fact that about a hundred guys died building Hoover Dam.

Too many in the construction business downgrade safety because there are immediate costs, but there is no apparent immediate payoff....until such time as you are sued for everything you have. Good companies know how important safety is, not just the obvious morality of it, but the cold hard bottom linededness of it...lower L&I costs, fewer legal costs, etc.

But the builder of the latest "world's biggest" monstrosity in Vegas (MGM Mirage City Center) I hear pencilled in the cost of 16 worker fatalities. I guess the need for a fast track schedule overroad all other concerns. Frankly that is criminal.

And you thought the boyz at Goldman Sachs were heartless?

PS, Ralpie. I am a construction management professional. Go peddle that bull elsewhere (spoof or not).

I don't think there's anything funny about calling women whores.

...unless it is in the context of Firefly/Serenity .
---
Did anyone check whether KBR was involved in any of those criminally negligent building enterprises? Iirc they have still not be called to account for their shoddy work that electrocuted numerous US personnel in Iraq.

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