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 They also believe the minimum salary amount for overtime pay is extremely out of date.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.
Last November, OSHA issued a final rule that would finally allow them to enforce language, which has been in their standards since 2010, requiring construction crane operators to be formally qualified to operate the equipment. The first day of enforcement for that rule had been set for November 10, 2018, but the agency has recently proposed a new rule that would pull back some of the initial requirements.
In March, OSHA announced that they would be enforcing their previously delayed beryllium exposure limit for the construction industry on May 11, 2018. The agency has recently confirmed that enforcement date in a memorandum on May 9, 2018.
OSHA newer and more stringent regulations regarding employee’s exposure to respirable crystalline silica officially went into effect on September 23, 2017. The new reduced the permissible exposure limit of the substance, which is found mostly in products containing sand (like concrete, mortar, and brick), from 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air down to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged over an 8 hour shift.
If your company did not electronically submitted its 2016 OSHA 300A injury and illness log to OSHA before December 31, 2017, they could be facing an other-than-serious violation with a maximum penalty of $12,934. We tried to warn you, and warn you, and warn you again.
First announced in January 2017, OSHA’s new beryllium exposure limit for construction workers was originally supposed to be in full effect on March 12, 2018. The administration just announced last Friday that the new enforcement date for the rule will be May 11, 2018.
OSHA gives employees many rights in the workplace and employers many responsibilities. One of those is the employee’s right to see the company’s OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Summary Log and the employer’s responsibility to post it.
When OSHA raised its citation penalty amounts for the first time since 1990 in 2016, it raised them 78% to catch up with inflation over that many years. It wasn’t just a one time increase, however, as the amended Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 no longer exempts OSHA from its requirements.
If you have not submitted your company’s OSHA Form 300A electronically through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) yet, you only have a few days left to do so.
OSHA has long used the language in the OSH act to find and hold multiple employers accountable for the actions of another on construction job sites. For decades, OSHA would not only cite the employer whose employees were exposed to hazards, but would also cite the employer who was designated the “controlling employer” on-site, which is most often the general contractor.
The controversial Electronic Injury and Illness Reporting rule from OSHA was supposed to go into effect on December 1, 2017, but OSHA has recently delayed that enforcement to allow those affected to become familiar with the new electronic reporting system.