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.

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Home Builders Report Labor Shortage

A National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey showed that residential subcontractors feel there is a crisis in finding the skilled workers they want. With housing construction up 10% from 2015, survey respondents identified shortages of labor across skilled trades.

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OSHA Warning on Heat Related Illnesses

Thousands become sick every year and many die due to heat-related illnesses.  With temperatures rising, prepare your employees for working outdoors in excessive heat.

They must know the signs of heat-related illness—

  • Heat Stroke is the most serious and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include: confusion, fainting, seizures, and hot, dry skin. CALL 911 at any sign of heat stroke.
  • Heat Exhaustion symptoms include: headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, thirst and heavy sweating. Heat fatigue, and heat rash are less serious, but are still signs of over exposure.

They also must know how to handle heat-related illness. If you can,

  • move the person to a shaded area,
  • loosen his/her clothing
  • give him/her water (a little at a time)
  • cool him/her down with ice packs or cool water.

But the best way to beat the heat is through preventative measures that will help avoid these issues. Tell your employees to follow theseprocedures:

  • Hydrate every 15 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty.
  • Rest in the shade to cool down.
  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
  • Know the symptoms and what to do in an emergency.
  • Keep an eye on fellow workers.
  • Acclimate – be sure to get used to the heat and build up tolerance.  Many people who die from heat were either new or returning from a break.  If a worker has not worked in hot weather for a week or more, their body needs time to adjust.

How to Work Safely with Silica

Silica, often referred to as quartz, is found in many materials common on construction sites, including soil, sand, concrete, masonry, rock, granite, and landscaping materials. The dust created by cutting, grinding, drilling or otherwise disturbing these materials can contain crystalline silica particles which create a potential health hazard. Continue reading “How to Work Safely with Silica”