Safety First

A Top Priority

Construction can be dangerous, and when contractors fail to take safety precautions, both workers and the general public can be put at risk. Shoppers typically assume that mall management will protect their families from potential construction safety hazards, but unfortunately that is not always the case. For example, a number of safety problems were documented during the renovation of Ridgedale Center, including fall hazards, exposed electrical boxes, improper disposal of hazardous materials, and unsecured construction sites. Shoppers are encouraged to treat all mall renovations with caution, including the ongoing removal of asbestos from a former J.C. Penney's at Edina's Southdale Center.

Tips for staying safe during mall renovations:

1. Ask mall personnel to identify active projects

2. Avoid touching or inhaling construction dust

3. Keep children far away from construction areas

4. Watch for exposed wiring and open circuit boxes

5. Notify management if entrances are not secured

Construction safety: A matter of life or death

Construction is dangerous work, accounting for more U.S. deaths than any other industry.  Nearly 800 construction workers died from occupational injuries in 2013.  A majority of these deaths were attributable the “fatal four” causes of work-related construction fatalities: electrocution; falls, being struck by equipment or flying objects; and becoming trapped by cave-ins or between pieces of equipment.

The risk of construction-related injuries and fatalities is greater when contractors fail to follow safety rules and industry best practices.  And when contractors fail to secure active construction sites, they expose the public to the same hazards that kill hundreds of construction workers every year.  And they increase the risk to their own workers who could be endangered by the actions of an adult or child who wanders into a construction site unawares.

Asbestos removal: Asbestos is a hazardous material and human carcinogen that is often present in older building and potentially dangerous if disturbed by construction activity. Materials containing asbestos must be properly handled in order to avoid releasing asbestos fibers into the air. Once airborne, asbestos fibers can become trapped in the lungs and, in some cases, cause mesothelioma (a form of cancer) and a number of breathing disorders. Asbestos fibers can remain airborne for days in a still room, so it is critically important for asbestos materials to be handled in a manner that prevents discharge into the air.