Apple Park Applies Decals to Help Mitigate Glass Collisions

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has closed an inspection by letter case into Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters after reports that at least three employees were hurt after walking into glass panels within the new building.

Paola Laverde, public information officer for the California Department of Industrial Relations, told USGlass magazine that someone made an informal complaint about the issue. Cal/OSHA proceeded with an inspection by letter in January 2018, which required Apple to respond with a way to abate the situation. On January 25, Apple informed Cal/OSHA that it would put distraction dashes around the area.

According to Laverde, Apple posted information on its Apple Park-specific website about how to stay safe. She did not confirm the injuries reported by several news outlets this year. Laverde says that any injuries that occurred were non-reportable, meaning they were not serious enough for Apple to be required to report them.

“No injuries were reported to us, so I do not know how many injuries occurred,” she says.

Subchapter four, article three of Cal/OSHA’s Title 8 regulations specifies that “employees shall be protected against the hazard of walking through glass by barriers or by conspicuous durable markings.”

An anonymous source disclosed to Bloomberg in February that some of Apple’s staff put Post-It notes on glass doors throughout the ring-shaped building, but were told to remove them to preserve the building’s design aesthetic.

German company sedak supplied the glass for the project, which features 872 bent laminates and 1,616 glass units for the location’s canopies.

C.R. Laurence (CRL) supplied more than 1,000 custom panic handles with custom finishes for Apple Park. The company also designed and developed custom electric strikes with lock indicators specifically for the project.

“I’ve read reports that Apple has already addressed the issue by applying safety decals to the glass systems. These surface-applied decals are typically applied near eye level to give a ‘floating’ appearance that serves to subtly warn pedestrians of the presence of glass,” says Andrew Haring, vice president of marketing at CRL. “Reducing the risk of accidental collision with glass panels and doors has been a consideration for some time. I think the stature of this project in particular is garnering more attention. With today’s architecture incorporating more glass than ever, it’s important to address and prioritize safety in a way that still satisfies the design intent.”

Apple had not responded to a request for comment by press time.

Deaths from Being “Caught-In/Between” Increase, Injuries Decline

The number of “caught-in/between” (CIB) fatalities of construction workers, which includes glaziers, has increased 33.3 percent from 2011 to 2015, according to a recent report by CPWR. The increase surpassed the 26.1-percent growth rate of overall fatalities during that time, accounting for approximately 8 percent of construction fatalities.

“When stratified into more detailed categories, more than two in three (68.6 percent) of CIB fatalities that occurred from 2011 to 2015 were due to being caught or crushed in collapsing materials. The number of such deaths increased 50 percent, from 32 in 2011 to 48 in 2015, while deaths due to being caught or compressed by equipment or objects stayed relatively stable during the same period,” reads the report.

Among the 189 construction workers who died from being caught or crushed in collapsing materials from 2011 to 2015, 99 were killed by collapsing structures or equipment such as walls or cranes. The leading cause of caught/compressed by equipment or objects deaths was due to running equipment or machinery (45.3 percent or 39 deaths), followed by being compressed or pinched by shifting objects or equipment, according to the report.

Of those fatalities, 59 percent were laborers and 7 percent were foremen.

Ironworkers had the highest rate of fatalities due to CIB injuries. From 2011 to 2015, there were 5 ironworker deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers (FTEs), for a total of 11. Laborers had a rate 1.8 CIB fatalities per 100,000 FTEs for a total of 122 and foreman had a rate of 1.1 fatalities per 100,000 FTEs for a total of 33.

Nonfatal Caught-In/Between Injuries

While CIB fatalities rose from 2011 to 2015, caught-in/between injuries resulting in days away from work (DAFW) in construction declined. In 2015, 2,690 CIB injuries occurred in construction, a 30-percent decrease from 2011. The injury rate fell 41 percent from 7.6 to 4.5 injuries per 10,000 FTEs during the same period.

The nonresidential building sector had the lowest rate of nonfatal CIB in-juries among construction subgroups in 2015 with 1.5 injuries per 10,000 FTEs for a total of 110 injuries.

Ironworkers had one of the highest rates or injuries in 2015, with 13.7 in-juries per 10,000 FTEs for a total of 60. Construction laborers had a rate of 6.1 per 10,000 FTEs with 740 CIB injuries, and foreman had the lowest rate among construction subgroups with 2.7 injuries per 10,000 FTEs (130 injuries in 2015).

The report offers several solutions to prevent CIB injuries and fatalities for each type of identified hazard.

To prevent workers from being pinned between equipment, walls or other immovable objects:

  • Never stand between moving mate-rials and immovable structures;
  • Never work in the wing radius of rotating equipment; and
  • Wear high-visibility apparel appropriate for the job.

To prevent workers from being crushed by collapsing structures or tip-overs, the reports suggest:

  • Use caution when handling materials;
  • Never exceeding the load capacity of equipment; and
  • Inspecting and illuminating all stairways and passageways.

Court: Ignorance of OSHA is Not a Defense

A federal appeals court has ruled that citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are valid even if the offender claims ignorance.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld a $49,000 OSHA penalty against Georgia-based Martin Mechanical Contractors following a November 2015 incident in Athens, Ga. A 39-year-old HVAC installer, Timothy O’Neal Gearing, fell through the opening for an uninstalled skylight to a concrete floor 15 feet below. He was hospitalized and later died of his injuries.

According to court documents, the skylights in the roof were about 10 feet long, unguarded and only covered with thin plastic sheeting. The employees did not wear fall-arrest systems, even though Martin Mechanical’s foreman had them in his truck at the jobsite.

OSHA cited Martin Mechanical for failing to protect its employees from falls and issued the $49,000 penalty for a willful violation that showed a reckless disregard for employee safety. The company appealed, but an administrative law judge rejected the argument that the foreman’s ignorance of the regulations demonstrated that it wasn’t a willful violation. After the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) declined to review the administrative law judge’s decision, Martin Mechanical took the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

The appeals court rejected the argument, saying the company shouldn’t be allowed “to use its ineffective training as a defense against OSHA’s most serious charge.”

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