Professional and Career Topics

  • 1.  ASCE Safety Policies - Vague by Design?

    Posted 12-05-2022 05:53 PM

    Prompted by the recent article in Civil Engineering on safety and last year's article on the same topic I've been curious as to ASCE's policy on this topic and any overarching guidance that's available to all members. The importance of safety is clearly annunciated in ASCE's mission statement. It's also addressed - well sort of - in the policy statements. I say sort of because I could not find anything on personal safety and keeping members safe. Is the lack of supporting guidance under the policy statements by design and if so why? Is the absence of a policy statement on member safety also by design or a possible omission? 



    ------------------------------
    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: ASCE Safety Policies - Vague by Design?

    Posted 12-06-2022 10:32 AM
    Policy Statement 350 - Construction site safety | ASCE

    Policy Statement 350 applies to "safety of the workers and public."  There are those who would argue that workers are not the general public and therefore exempt from safety protections - their job requires some level of inherit risk that cannot be eliminated.  I think the distinction between general public and worker quickly evaporates when a person doesn't come home from work at the end of the day.... it does matter in legal terms, but the importance here is that we are protecting people.

    Engineers would fall under the category of workers on the job site.  We must recognize that just because we are not operating a jackhammer, does not mean we are not exposed to hazards that exist on site.  As leaders we should model the behavior that we expect from others.

    In my recent visits to college campuses, I have stressed the importance of students visiting the job site prior to graduation and how to stay safe on the site.  This includes the reminders to use basic gear.

    I look forward to continuing this conversation at the CI Summit in St. Louis!  Home | Construction Institute Summit (cisummit.org)


    ------------------------------
    Chad Morrison P.E., F.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: ASCE Safety Policies - Vague by Design?

    Posted 12-06-2022 02:26 PM

    I think your response just amplifies my point. When I think about safety in the context of civil engineering, the scope for me includes the office environment, our designs, the jobsite, and transportation. The office environment is not without hazards, think slips, trips, and falls as well as ergonomics.  The use of codes and standards in our designs intrinsically addresses safety using safety factors or load and resistance factors developed by leading practitioners to provide safe outcomes; however, one needs to cognizant of deviations. Then there is the jobsite and getting to and from. The jobsite for civil engineers is much broader than physical construction and includes inspection, project engineering and management, clerk of the works, etc. Ideally, all these elements need to be  addresses as part of an overarching safety policy/ policies. Furthermore, there should be no ambiguity as to the definition of workers.



    ------------------------------
    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
    ------------------------------