It’s been a tumultuous year between several governmental agencies and businesses alike and, because of that, both sides have been repeatedly put into a state of limbo. Three new major rule changes have made headlines, especially in the construction industry, this year, including an injury and illness record keeping and reporting rule, a “blacklisting” rule, and an overtime pay rule.
The overtime pay rule, a directive of President Obama, was supposed to go into effect this week, on December 1, but a Texas judge has recently issued an injunction against the rule, preventing it from being carried out.
The new overtime rule would have potentially impacted around 4.2 million workers throughout the United States, as it intended to raise the minimum salary threshold of workers who are exempt from receiving overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. That means if a salaried worker works makes less than $47,476 per year, they are entitled to overtime pay, one and a half times normal pay, for any hours worked over 40 in a single week. The rule was intended to either put more cash into workers’ pockets or allow them more free time outside of work.
Construction industry groups disagreed with the rule, because of the length of certain projects. “Construction projects often last longer than three years and are meticulously planned in order to stay on time and budget,” said Kristen Swearingen, ABC Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs, in a press release. “This rule will create uncertainty for contractors and their employees by forcing contractors to speculate about employees’ status years into the future when work on a project will actually be performed.”
The US Department of Labor believes that workers are being taken advantage of and not properly compensated for their long hours. They also believe the minimum salary amount for overtime pay is extremely out of date. Below is a short video produced by the DOL explaining the overtime rule. It’s clear that the rule would have a major effect on how many businesses operate, especially in the construction industry, due to many projects requiring long hours.
What do you think? Tell us in the comments.
The lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedure has been one of the critical elements of electrical safety training on construction sites for a decade. Generally, it’s pretty simple: if you need to work on an energized circuit or piece of equipment, shut down the breaker, put a lock on it so no one can turn it back on, and place a tag on it with your information. OSHA is considering updating the standard now and is currently requesting information from interested parties.
As the United States just recently suffered another tragic and deadly construction incident involving civilians after a crane collapsed in Seattle over the weekend, we’re reminded that the bridge collapse on FIU’s campus in Miami in early 2018 still has many unanswered questions.
Last July, a 13 story building in Miami Beach that undergoing a demolition suddenly fell, amid odd circumstances, and flying debris fatally injured one of the contractor’s project managers. Now, the family of the man killed is filing lawsuits against all parties involved with the demolition, calling it “illegal” and “reckless.”
Construction is hard work and those working hard for your company should be paid in full and on-time for all hours worked. Cash flow can certainly complicate things for contractors, as pay draws can be delayed for various reasons, but cheating workers out of money is not only unscrupulous, but is gaining attention from government agencies.
Even though OSHA recently eliminated the need for employers to electronically submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301, citing privacy concerns, companies are still responsible for submitting OSHA Form 300A – and the deadline is fast approaching.
Multi-employer worksites are extremely common in the construction industry, but they can still make work extremely complicated. One of those complications results when a subcontractor receives a governmental violation, such as an OSHA violation. As a controlling employer on the site, can a general contractor be held responsible for safety hazards of a subcontractor? One court says yes.
Be careful - owners and contractors are now being held criminally liable for their carelessness and disregard of safety protocols.
Last November, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced felonious assault charges against a contractor’s superintendent and a manufacturer’s branch manager after two men suffered horrific injuries on a New York jobsite. Last week, OSHA formally announced citations against the St. Louis, Missouri based contractor.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr strikes again on his hard stance against corruption and safety negligence in the construction industry. A Few weeks ago, he announced assault charges against a superintendent and a manager after 2 construction workers were seriously injured on a jobsite. In 2016, he successfully convicted a construction foreman of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment after a laborer was killed in a trench collapse that he was overseeing. Just last week, Vance announced charges against formers Turner Construction and Bloomberg LP executives in a $15M bid-rigging and commercial bribery conspiracy.
In September of 2017, OSHA’s new standard on exposure to respirable crystalline silica went into effect in the construction industry. The rule lowered the allowable exposure to the harmful substance to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, a measurement that we’re all familiar with [/sarcasm]. After a full year of enforcement, OSHA is considering making a change to the rule.