The Break Fast Show #385

In today’s show: Demolition firm fined $1.2 million over a fatal building collapse in Boston earlier this year; Doosan comes to the rescue at a US scrap yard; John Deere lifts the lid on its latest loader; and the unseen benefits of the switch to alternative energy.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

The disappearance of Dr Diesel

DemolitionNews Exclusive – On the anniversary of his mysterious death, we recount the tale of the disappearance of the inventor of the diesel engine: Rudolf Diesel.

The Break Fast Show #384

In today’s show: Construction’s image problem is contributing to the industry skills shortage; John Deere embraces tech to control excavator arm speed; SensorZone makes landfall in the US; and more machines are going under the hammer today ad Ritchie Bros declares its latest sale OPEN.

PLUS we peer into the future to see the new technology that might just replace humans on demolition and construction sites.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

Fines of $1.2 million over demolition death

The demolition company involved in the fatal collapse at the Government Center in Boston faces almost $1.2 million in fines for “wilfully exposing workers to hazards”.

A heavy equipment operator – 51-year old Peter Monsini – doing demolition on the eighth floor of the Government Center garage in downtown Boston died on March 26, 2022, when the partially demolished floor collapsed, and the excavator and its operator fell 80 feet. It was the employee’s first day on the job.

An inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Brockton-based contractor JDC Demolition Company. Inc. failed to adequately train its workers on the demolition plan and safety management system to help them recognise and avoid unsafe conditions.

Specifically, on the morning of the collapse, another heavy equipment operator, who had started demolition on a concrete beam on an upper floor bay, told the foreman they had concerns about the floor’s safety. Despite the employee raising safety concerns to the foreman, a second employee was assigned to operate the excavator. That worker, the deceased, never received a safety briefing and was not trained to follow the engineer’s demolition plan.

OSHA also found that JDC Demolition deviated from the demolition plan by imposing unsafe loads, in the form of heavy equipment, on the partially demolished seventh, eighth and ninth floors. The demolition plan prohibited the placement of heavy equipment on partially demolished floor bays.​

As a result, OSHA cited the company for eight egregious-wilful violations, two serious violations and one other than serious violation of workplace safety standards and proposed a total of $1,191,292 in penalties. The wilful citations address the training and loading violations; the serious and other than serious violations are regarding the inadequate accident prevention program, uncovered floor holes and insufficient record-keeping.

Read more here.

A parting of the ways…?

Is the National Federation of Demolition Contractors about to terminate its membership of Build UK?

The Break Fast Show #382

In today’s show: On Mesothelioma Awareness Day, we ask: Has the government and our industry done enough to prevent the thousands of deaths caused by asbestos-related diseases? We’re taking the wraps off a new 10 tonner from Wacker Neuson; we’re in Kentucky as flood clean-up operations switch into top gear; and Komatsu will be showing off a massive dumptruck at Bauma 2022.

PLUS anyone for morning wood?

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

Opinion – The Mark Noble way

You will have to bear with me. The story I am about to lay before you really IS rooted in demolition, even if at first it might feel like an excuse for me to talk about my beloved (and beleaguered) West Ham United.

Mark Noble has just been appointed as Sporting Director at West Ham United. Come January, one of the club’s most dedicated servants will return to the fold, just a few months after hanging up his boots for the final time.

Noble was that most rare creature in the modern game – A one-club man. He made his debut in the claret and blue aged just 17 years old. 18 years and more than 550 appearances later, he bid goodbye to the team he’d supported since childhood.

So what has all this got to do with demolition and construction, I hear you ask?

Well, the clue is partly in Noble’s new job title – Sporting Director. He has not been re-employed to kick a ball. He has not been employed to manage the team; David Moyes is doing that with varying degrees of success. And although he is likely to spend a fair amount of time with the West Ham Academy youth team, he will not be teaching them how to kick a ball – They already know that.

Mark Noble has been re-employed as an inspiration both on and off the pitch; someone to look up to and to emulate. Like having Usain Bolt trackside; or Sugar Ray Leonard as a constant presence in the gym.

Each year – in fact, each week- the demolition and construction industry allows dozens, hundreds and even thousands of Mark Nobles, Usain Bolts and Sugar Ray Leonards to walk out through the exit, never to return.

They take them some well-worn PPE and, if they’re lucky, a farewell gift from their employer and fellow employees. But they take with them something far more important and far more valuable. They take their knowledge, their expertise and their experience.

Teaching someone to operate an excavator is not particularly hard. It can’t be. Someone taught me to do so. But teaching them to operate it properly and safely is quite another matter. In the same way that passing a driving test does not make you Lewis Hamilton, gaining an excavator operator’s competence card does not make someone an operator. It merely grants them permission to start the journey towards experience. If they are lucky, they will draw at least some of that experience from those that have gone before them; those that done it all and seen it all; that can teach them not just to be a better operator but to be a better person and a more valued member of the team.

Allowing would-be mentors to just walk away is not just a waste of talent. It is a waste of money. Over the course of a career, a retiring operator or site manager will have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in wages and in training. Like the embodied carbon argument that is beginning to shape the UK demolition industry, allowing a person of that nature to just walk away means that all that embodied experience carbon is lost forever.

Just prior to Mark Noble’s retirement, a photo circulated on social media of West Ham club captain sweeping the floor of the West Ham changing room after a game. This was reportedly a regular thing; Noble’s way of showing respect to the unsung heroes that work at every club. Now that he is no longer in that changing room, that mantle has reportedly been taken up by a younger player – Ben Johnson – who says he now can’t leave a changing room unswept because that was not the Mark Noble way.

How many demolition and construction companies are losing out by failing to expose their younger workers to the Mark Noble way?

CITB slow to respond to card scams

Despite knowing that competence card scammers are here today and gone tomorrow, it took 17 days for the CITB to respond to a report of a bogus card scam.

The Break Fast Show #381

In today’s show: Should industry awards reward those that have admitted involvement in the UK demolition industry’s bid rigging scandal? If you’re playing away, try TradeStay; the CITB responds – eventually – to the online competence card scams; we’re back on the Road to Bauma; and girls just wanna have demolition fun.

PLUS the anticipation is building as Kobelco shows off the giant demolition machine that will form the centre-piece of its Bauma display.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

Opinion – The farce of industry awards

The latest outing of the Construction News Specialist Awards saw AR Demolition deservedly emerge victorious in THREE categories.

Meanwhile, the awards served to highlight the farce of awards sponsorship by interested parties, and the industry’s willingness to award those identified in a £150 million bid rigging scandal that has brought the entire industry into disrepute.