In July of 2016, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order was signed into effect and has been a hotbed of controversy, especially within the construction industry, ever since. The act would have given the federal government the ability to disqualify contractors if they violated any of the 14 labor laws, which can be found here, over the past 3 years on any project totaling $500,000 or more.
In October, The Associated Builders and Contractors, INC. (ABC) filed a legal challenge to the rule and also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. On October 24th, a day before the new rule was set to go into effect, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction against the rule, delaying it from going into effect.
“Associated Builders and Contractors is pleased the court ruled that the Obama administration cannot order private businesses to publicly disclose mere accusations of labor law violations that have not been fully adjudicated,” said ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor & State Affairs Ben Brubeck in a press release. “By issuing this decision, the court has maintained the First Amendment rights of government contractors and protected them and taxpayers from the poorly crafted blacklisting rule.”
Last week, the House of Representatives voted 236-187 on a resolution to block the ‘blacklisting rule,’ according to The Hill, moving it one step closer to being fully repealed. The Senate is next to vote on the resolution and it is expected to pass. If it does pass the Senate, it also stops another similar rule from being issued in the future.
“As the district court ruled in its preliminary injunction, treating non-adjudicated claims the same as actual wrongdoing denies federal contractors their due process rights,” said ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. “ABC supports policies that increase fairness and competition in government contracting and looks forward to working with the Trump administration and Congress to pursue commonsense policies that hold bad actors accountable while attracting the best companies and trained workforce to rebuild America.”
Full Story: House votes to repeal Obama 'blacklisting' rule | The Hill
In March of this year, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would begin taking orders on their Solar Roof Shingle concept. Tesla Solar Roof is a solar power roof system that eliminates the need for bulky solar panels installed over top of traditional roof materials. Instead, the shingles themselves, which come in a variety of different styles, are the solar panels.
At the company’s second quarter earnings report, Tesla announced that the first solar roof installations have been completed.
Construction crews in Parma, Idaho were busy working onmulti-story onion shed, when the under construction structure collapsed, sending some that were on the roof down with it. 14 crew members were either on the structure or around it at the time of collapse, but 6 of them were transported to the hospital. First responders on the scene explained that it was lucky that only 6 were injured.
Standard vertical elevators have had it too good, for too long. After the first cable dependent elevator was unveiled in 1857, not much has changed in the elevator industry. They’re still using cable systems and still only going up and down. But not anymore. ThyssenKrupp has officially made a multi-directional elevator a reality.
You may remember a story we shared at the end of June about a rescue of a construction worker who was dangling from a suspended scaffold 15 stories in the air. The Sarasota County Fire Department completed a very skilled rescue, in which one firefighter scaled down the side of the building to the trapped worker, attached him to a harness, and both men were hoisted back up to the roof. The cause of that failure was a snapped line. At that time, the fire chief mentioned that he rarely sees events like this and that only 5 or 6 rescues like this have happened in his 29 year career.
OSHA currently controls over 20 laws that protect workers who file safety complaints against their employer or other employees. In general, whistleblowers are protected against retaliation from their employer.
In August of 2016, it was discovered that a luxury high rise condominium complex in San Francisco, which houses several celebrities, was sinking and leaning considerably. The 58-story Millennium Tower contains home that range in value of anywhere from $1.6 million to $10 million. Since the discovery, fingers have been pointed in all directions and several lawsuits have been filed.
In January of this year, tragedy struck a Florida construction company when 3 construction workers died while working underground below a newly paved road. After the first worker entered the hole and collapsed after entering the confined space through a manhole, the second went in to rescue him and also collapsed, followed by the third. After a post-incident investigation, OSHA has released their findings, as well as several fines.
In late June, OSHA pushed the enforcement of their 2016 rule which will require employers to electronically submit injury and illness reports from July 1, 2017 to December 1, 2017. At that time it was unknown when the administration would launch the platform to submit the data online, but that has now been decided.
Caterpillar is not resting on what made it successful in the past anymore and probably for good reason. The equipment manufacturing giant recently bought Yard Club, a heavy construction equipment sharing company, looking to take advantage of the recently popularized sharing economy. Earlier this month, Caterpillar invested $2 million in Fastbrick Robotics, an Australian robotic technology company.
Just last November, a massive Five-Alarm fire rocked a multi-story residential building that was almost 80% complete at the time, completely destroying the project. This month, yet another multi-story residential tower that was almost complete caught fire, making it the 5th in 5 year to suffer the same fate. At least 3 of the previous 3 fires have been ruled as arson but, up to this point, no arrests for any of the previous arsons have been made.