From the category archives: Workforce & Safety

Workforce & Safety

Wired for Success

When Adam Ruff was promoted to field supervisor at Price Electric, Robins, Iowa, last year, he set some personal goals to help develop the company’s next crop of leaders, improve operational efficiencies and have a positive influence over a larger group of people. He can place a definitive checkmark next to that last goal now that he has been named Associated Builders andContractors’ (ABC) 2017 Craft Professional of the Year. Ruff received the award in front of hundreds of contractors, apprentices and their families at ABC’s Workforce Week, held in March in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Regain Control With Weather Monitoring

While weather is completely out of a contractor’s control, advances in technology have allowed inclement conditions to be better predicted—increasing worker safety, improving productivity and driving profitability. In an industry that is always on the go, companies adopting innovative technology early on can create more effective and efficient workplaces and jobsites. 

Both skilled and unskilled workers engage in a number of activities that put them at risk of injury and expose them to serious hazards even before factoring in dangerous weather conditions. Safety incidents or onsite injuries should never be a factor in finishing a project on time. When working outdoors, supervisors should continuously monitor weather conditions to keep their crews safe. 

Meet the Competitors

Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) 30th annual National Craft Championships (NCC), held March 1-2 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., raises the profile of careers in construction and highlights the $1.1 billion that ABC member companies spend annually on workforce development. Each year, the competition draws some of the nation’s most talented craft professionals and highlights the important role that skilled craft training plays in the construction industry.

What is your proudest safety moment?

"M. Davis & Sons is a fifth generation construction company that builds, installs and maintains corporate plants and facilities for national and international companies. M. Davis began as a tinsmith shop in 1870 and has evolved into a company that services Fortune 500 companies. 

Our mission statement says it all: To provide quality services to our clients while providing satisfaction, security and a safe workplace for our team. At the end of the day, we want our team members to return to their families."

Build a New Approach to Female Construction Leaders

If you’re expecting another article about breaking through the concrete ceiling or why women need to keep up the fight, prepare to be disappointed. While it’s necessary to appreciate all the women who have paved the way in the construction industry and the workforce overall, it’s not a good idea for today’s female leaders to focus on the struggle. 

A positive emphasis on the power women already possess makes better business sense. Several recent studies indicate that increasing the number of women in executive leadership and board roles can increase profitability. One report from Grant Thorton LLP suggests that male-only boards in the United States, United Kingdom and India are incurring an opportunity cost, measured in lower returns, of a whopping $655 billion.

Safety Leadership at All Levels

Nobody wants a jobsite incident to occur, but how a contractor responds to a worst case scenario is part of what separates it on the safety spectrum. 

Fisher Contracting Company, Midland, Mich., which performs civil infrastructure projects across Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee, can attest. On a job last year, a scaffold wall bracket failed, causing an employee to fall to a lower level and suffer rib injuries. Upon review, Fisher Contracting determined the relatively new employee didn’t feel comfortable mentioning he was unsatisfied with the condition of the rented scaffold equipment.

Clearing the Air: OSHA’s New Construction Silica Standard

In March 2016, OSHA issued its long-anticipated final rule on respirable crystalline silica with two separate standards, one for the construction industry and the other for general industry plus maritime. The effective date was June 23, 2016; construction must be in full compliance by September 23, 2017, and general industry and maritime by June 23, 2018.

As the clock continues to tick down to September 23, now is the time for contractors to begin planning their compliance approach. The requirements of the silica standard apply to all occupational exposures to airborne respirable crystalline silica in the construction industry, except where employee exposure would remain very low. 

Capitalize on the Most Valuable Data from Fleet Telematics

Whether operating dump trucks or pickup trucks, most companies with a fleet of more than 25 vehicles have at least entertained the idea of installing telematics devices to help reduce operational costs and improve safety. However, many companies are not realizing the potential risk-reduction benefit because they are not focused on the appropriate measures to improve driver behaviors, especially hard braking.

Where the Heart Is

  From the outside, the headquarters of hth companies, inc., Union, Mo., looks like a humble construction office—a two-story, tan-colored structure, set back a bit from a country road, with trucks parked outside, a side entrance for the warehouse, an awning bearing the company logo and a light dusting of snow on the front stoop.

But peek inside—where a warm welcome reveals the heart and soul of the company—and it’s evident why Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) selected this family-owned mechanical contracting firm at its 2016 Contractor of the Year. The award is about the employees and their sincere dedication to the betterment of the construction industry. 

OSHA Issues Recommended Practices for Safety Programs

  OSHA recently issued “Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction,” a document intended to help small and medium contractors that may not have safety and health specialists on staff to create proactive safety programs. The recommendations are purely advisory and do not change any existing obligations tied to OSHA standards or create new legal obligations.
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