Our Heartfelt Thanks to our Convention Event Sponsors

 

Annual Member Luncheon & Business Meeting

ABC Supply Company Inc.

 

Educational Sessions

Boston Roofing Contractors Association

Brouillette & Son, Inc.

Lincoln Equipment Associates, Inc.

NorthStar Construction Services Corp.

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Industry Night Party Bar & Beverages

Beacon Sales Company

Quality Roofing Supply Company

Carlisle SynTec Systems

 

Neck Cords

ABC Supply Company Inc.

 

Tradeshow Bags

International Leak Detection

 

Welcome Signs

Hunter Panels

R.K. Hydro-Vac PA, Inc.

Roofing Contractor

Royal Adhesives & Sealants

 

 Aisle Signs

Allied Building Products

Hunter Panels

Roofing Contractor

 

General Convention Sponsors

A.C.T. Metal Deck Supply

Atlantic Asphalt & Equipment Co., Inc.

Firestone Building Products

Hurley Construction & Roofing Co., Inc.

J&S Building Exteriors Inc.

Lincoln Equipment Associates, Inc.

Royal Adhesives & Sealants

John F. Shea Co., Inc.

Silver Roofing Inc.

Max Sontz Roofing Services Inc.

OSHA Inspections Down in 2016

Given the increasing focus on safety, you would expect OSHA had a busy year.  However, continuing an ongoing trend, OSHA inspections dropped to the lowest level in 20 years.  This marks the 4th consecutive year that inspections have fallen.

In the Northeast, inspections of construction contractors have fallen by more than 30% over the last 5 years from about 6,800 to about 4,700 total.

Osha Inspections

The graph above illustrates the Northeast average compared to the average with its three biggest states. These declines in the Northeast make up about a third of the overall decrease in construction inspections nationwide.

The OSHA budget peaked in 2012, but was down by about 3% in 2016. OSHA has cited budget cuts as causing the decrease in inspections. However they have found citations 5% more often than in 2015. In addition, appeals of OSHA citations were roughly equivalent in 2015 and 2016 at around 9%. NERCA recommends our members always seek a legal safety consultant before settling a case with OSHA.

New Secretary of Labor

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Donald Trump has selected Andy Puzder to serve as his Secretary of Labor.  The CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. which owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s is an interesting selection by Trump who had toyed with appointing Victoria Lipnic, the current head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and a former Workforce Policy Counsel to the House.

Puzder is an interesting man, he attended Kent State, but dropped out in 1970 following the Kent State Shootings.  In his own words, “I spent the next three years attending concerts and marching on Washington”. After moving to Cleveland he graduated college and got his law degree.  As a young corporate lawyer he helped rescue Carl Karcher, founder of Carl’s Jr. from financial troubles. Years later, when CKE Restaurants fell into more financial difficulties after purchasing Hardee’s, Puzder was named CEO by the Board and tasked with turning it around.

Mr. Puzder has not been without controversy during his tenure. Franchisees overseen by CKE have been targeted by DOL in the past. Hardee’s Food Systems was found in violation of wage laws and ordered to give back pay to a group of 456 workers in 2006 and 2007. This money was owed for overtime on hourly employees. It is perhaps unsurprising then that Puzder has signaled that he opposes the Obama Overtime Rule which has already been blocked by the courts, and is most likely dead on arrival in a Trump Administration.

In addition, advocates calling for an increase in the Federal Minimum Wage will find Puzder opposes large raises of the minimum wage. $15 per hour will be out of the question because Pudzer opposed the Obama Administration attempt to raise it to $10.10 from the current $7.25.  When asked about the effect of raising the minimum wage, Mr. Puzder said it could lead to increased automation because machines are, “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall or an age, sex or race discrimination case.”

The effect of a business executive running the labor department will be interesting to watch. Like Mr. Puzder, the Secretary of Labor has traditionally been a loyal supporter of the president, but unlike Mr. Puzder, most former Secretaries of Labor were career bureaucrats not as well versed in the corporate and financial worlds.

August is Safe Driving Awareness Month

From August 17th to September 5th, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is promoting safe and sober driving. Initiatives like this have been hugely successful. Since 1973, drunk driving has declined by 80%! However, over the last 10 years there has been a spike in drug impairment of night weekend drivers. In that time, positive drug tests increased from 16.3% of drivers to 20%. Continue reading “August is Safe Driving Awareness Month”

Energy Report with Bright News for Solar Industry

According to an analysis by the International Renewables Energy Agency (IRENA), the United States increased green energy jobs by 6% in 2015 to reach 769,000 jobs.  While this is a good trend in the US, it represents a small fraction of global renewable energy employment which is at 8.1 million jobs. Continue reading “Energy Report with Bright News for Solar Industry”

Infrastructure Funding Issues Lead to Work Stoppages

In 2015, Congress passed a 5-year $305 billion Infrastructure Bill.  It was the longest reauthorization approved in more than a decade after years of stopgap bills and half-measures that bankrupted the Highway Trust Fund and made states wary of committing matching funding. Despite this small win, experts estimate the total infrastructure needs at over $1 trillion dollars in immediate needs. As states deal with the meager funding doled out by the Federal government, many are grappling with the results.

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Update on the Energy Marketplace

Power plants and other energy sources represent an important pipeline of work in the construction industry.  Therefore, we closely monitor the energy landscape not just locally, but regionally, nationally and internationally.

Rhode Island has served as a good barometer of the kinds of debates and decisions typical in our local market. From natural gas pipelines and power plants, to installing renewable sources like solar and wind power, Rhode Island has been out front lately on energy issues.  Just recently, Gov. Raimondo raised their renewable portfolio standard (RPS – the distribution of energy production by type) to 40% through 2039.

One example is the Block Island Wind Farm project, the first US offshore wind energy project.  Recently, the final transmission cables were laid from Block Island to the mainland. This is a first that not only provides the first connection with the conventional grid, but also will allow the wind farm to transmit energy back to shore.

Blockisland
National Grid’s sea2shore cable lands on Block Island

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Automatic Post-Injury Drug Testing Prohibited by OSHA

As we have written about at length, OSHA is now requiring the reporting of workplace injuries in to improve overall data collection. As a result, OSHA believes this will give a reason for employers to discourage reporting of such injuries. Therefore, OSHA is also providing guidance on the policies and procedures which employers can use to deal with workplace injuries.

To continue reading, please log into our Members Section for our July Newsletter

Or Join NERCA!