Tag Archives: pole barn safety

Construction Safety Trajedy

Sometimes Things Go Tragically Wrong

Construction safety is nothing to overlook. Even the most experienced among us can make errors (read a very personal story here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/07/dont-take-a-fall/)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 an under construction building in Queenstown, Maryland had some challenges. Here is the story:

“Two construction workers were flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for treatment after a building they were working on in Queenstown collapsed Tuesday, Sept. 8.

barn collapse The Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, Queenstown Volunteer Fire Department, Queen Anne’s County Emergency Medical Services and Maryland State Police MedEvac responded Tuesday afternoon to 201 Overlook Drive, where the floor gave way in a pole barn-type structure under construction, according to the sheriff’s office. Five construction workers fell through the floor to the ground, police said.

Police said the structure is believed to be intended for personal use as a barn in a residential area.

 In addition to the two workers flown to Shock Trauma, a third worker was taken by ambulance to University of Maryland Shore Medical Center in Easton. The other two workers refused treatment, the sheriff’s office said.

 Maryland Occupational Safety and Health also responded. The scene was made safe by the county contractual building inspector, police said.

 The cause of the accident and the names of those involved were not released on Tuesday evening.”

To set the record straight, this particular building, while it may be a barn, is not a post frame (pole) type structure. The building framework is stick frame (stud walls) built upon a poured concrete foundation wall.

What happened here?

I spent a fair amount of my life in the metal connector plated prefabricated wood roof truss industry. Generally, if a truss is going to fail it is due to improper, or a lack of, truss bracing.

(Read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/12/temporary-truss-bracing/)

Looking at the photos of this building, nowhere is any diagonal or X bracing evident which would have prevented the trusses from toppling over given the least amount of wind or vibration. I am frankly amazed they were able to get all of the trusses up and in place before the collapse.  The best I can see on the photos is minimal blocking between the trusses, which is totally inadequate given the height and weight of the trusses.

Don’t become the next tragedy we read about on the internet. Be safe, be smart, and use sound construction safety practices. And finally, follow sound building principles, thoroughly bracing as you go!

Pole Barn Security – Police Offer Tips To Prevent Theft

OK, I admit, at times I can be a bit “over-the-top” when it comes to pole buildings. I even get Google alerts for any stories which mention pole buildings! Nearly every day there is an alert about a pole building having been broken into. Pretty sad, when one thinks about it, as the concept of a new pole building is to protect those valuables.

Much of the information below is from a November 6, 2013 article written by Jim Hayden for The Holland Sentinel:

pole barn securityAlllegan County — Allegan County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the Michigan State Police are investigating several break-ins and thefts over the last few weeks in the northwest corner of the county. Areas in Laketown and Manlius townships have seen most of the thefts.

The suspects are taking items from pole barns and outbuildings. They most likely have a vehicle large enough to transport tools and equipment such as generators and air compressors.

 Now is a good time to conduct a pole barn security audit and inspect home security procedures, said Capt. Frank Baker of the sheriff’s office.

 “For example, if you have been putting off on buying or installing a motion sensor light on your pole barn, now would be a great time to complete that project,” he said in a press release.

 If you see any suspicious activity, call 911.

 The sheriff’s department has several tips to help secure pole barns:

 • Walk around your home and outbuildings in the daylight and check for items outside that someone could use to gain entry to a building, remove items people could use to climb in a window and trim back shrubs and landscaping to prevent people from concealing themselves.

• Walk around your pole building after dark and check areas for additional lighting, if current lighting is directed properly and if doors and windows are visible in the light.

 • Walk around the inside of your outbuildings to see if the windows are locked, if valuables are hidden and if you have recorded serial numbers or taken photos of valuables to assist in recovery if they are stolen.

• Other tips include adding deadbolt locks, asking neighbors to keep an eye on the property and watching for strange vehicles in the area. Don’t post your work schedule or vacation plans on social media.

Much of this is just common sense, but common sense isn’t always common – and far too often, action is delayed until too late – after there has been a break-in.