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.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued a combined 165 civil citations across 66 different construction companies last year, totaling over $1.23 million. Restitution payment for those instances of wage theft added up to $1.47 million, as well, according to the AG’s office.
Various reasons were cited for the wage violations, including failure to pay proper wages or overtime, retaliation, and failure to furnish records for inspection. Failure to pay prevailing wage, failure to submit true and accurate certified payroll records, and failure to register and pay apprentices appropriately were additional reasons that contractors were cited on public jobs.
In the video below about the citation announcements, greater BOSTON reports that immigrants are often the targets for wage theft, especially because of the fear of retaliation.
IN a press release, AG Healy said, “Workers in the construction industry are particularly vulnerable to wage theft from dishonest contractors who cheat their workers. As Massachusetts undergoes a historic construction boom, my office will continue to fight for exploited workers and ensure they are paid the wages they earn.”
If you are a victim of wage theft, The U.S. Department of Labor has resources for you to file a complaint to get your money and be protected on their website here: https://www.dol.gov/whd/howtofilecomplaint.htm
For nearly 3 years, an update to the overtime pay rule was held up in court battles, but we may finally have a resolution. The update sought to increase the minimum salary threshold of workers that are exempt from being paid overtime pay for any overs worked over the traditional 40 hour work week.
A 2018 trench collapse in Colorado lead to the death of a construction worker named Rosario “Chayo” Martinez-Lopez. Now, his employer faces manslaughter charges for his death.
Drones have been heavily used by the construction industry in recent years for anything from progress photos, to employee tracking, or calculating the volume of on-site stockpiles. Now, a report from EHS Today says that OSHA plans to employ more drones to conduct site inspections of employer facilities.
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.