In February, the House of Representatives voted 236-187 on a resolution to block the ‘blacklisting' rule, sending it to the Senate for a second vote. 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.
On Monday, the Senate officially voted against the ‘blacklisting’ rule, giving it its second of 3 strikes. The final step in completely killing the rule is obtaining a signature from President Trump.
The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has been leading the charge within the construction industry in blocking the rule from implementation. In a press release, ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck said:
“By using the Congressional Review Act to nullify this rule, Congress has taken an important step in removing burdensome and duplicative reporting requirements and eliminating a costly barrier to entry that would have discouraged many small contractors from bidding on government contracts. ABC looks forward to working with the Trump administration and Congress to improve the federal government’s existing suspension and debarment system, which already requires contractors to report violations, as well as to ensure contracts are bid through a process that encourages competition from all qualified contractors while protecting the American workforce and taxpayers’ investment.”
As usual, there’s a clear divide among party lines, as Republicans are generally against the ‘blacklisting’ rule and Democrats are generally in favor of the rule. Proponents believe the rule protects the workforce, while those against believe it could lead to the blackmailing of companies wishing to perform work for the government, according to the Hill.
Last fall, OSHA announced its intentions to explore updating the 2016 silica dust regulations that seemingly took the construction by storm. Their intent was to gain feedback on additional dust control methods that would be suitable for hazard control, as well as on additional tasks and equipment not currently covered by Table 1 in 29 CFR 1926.1153. Last week, they announced the next step they’re taking towards revisions.
The spring of 2019 saw 3 trench collapse deaths in a span of 10 days. One at a home construction site in Colorado, another during a culvert install in Marysville, Ohio, and a third at a residential site in Sugarcreek Township, Ohio. The latter has recently received a hefty fine and penalty from OSHA.
Last year, over 130 organizations petitioned OSHA to issue a heat protection standard, citing needs for mandatory rest breaks, PPE, hydration, and monitoring. On July 10, 2019, Representative Judy Chu of California introduced H.R. 3668 to meet the organizations’ request.
In 2017, President Trump signed an executive order expanding the role of apprenticeships in America, in hopes that it would help build the workforce in many skilled trades. In late June, the US Department of Labor (DOL) announced yet another expansion, but this time it left out the construction industry.
I’ve been very fortunate over the course of my relatively short career in construction to spend time focusing on many different aspects of construction. I recently spent about two and a half years working in site development and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) compliance on a national scale and I wanted to share some of the insights that I gained from that experience.
Construction Junkie’s annual Best Construction Podcast Competition is underway for 2019 and the voting booth is officially open. As part of the contest this year, we will be highlighting one of the contest’s nominees each week. This week we highlight The Lien Zone Podcast (TLZ).
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.