Maggie Murphy's Articles

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Silica Update: OSHA Issues Interim Enforcement Guidance

On Oct. 19, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Galassi issued a memorandum on Interim Enforcement Guidance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard. The memo provides interim enforcement guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing the standard, stating: “Effective Oct. 23, 2017, OSHA will fully enforce all appropriate provisions of the Silica in Construction Standard. This memorandum will serve as interim enforcement guidance while the standard's companion compliance directive is proceeding through the review process. It will expire when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field.”

Massachusetts and California Nab Top Spots on Energy Efficiency Scorecard

Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Vermont and Oregon landed in the top five spots on the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s 2017 scorecard, which assesses states’ utility programs, transportation policies, building energy code compliance, government-led efficiency initiatives, appliance and equipment standards, and heat and power policies. Idaho, Florida and Virginia were the three most improved states. For more information, visit aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard.

Q: What does it mean for your company to be employee-owned?

Employee ownership allows Choate to share long-term success with our employees while also remaining an independent, internally operated company—keeping the business “in the family” and complementing our core values and mission. And while employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) are not for every company, Choate was a good candidate for this type of ownership because it has zero long-term debt. 

Practicality Drives Remote Workers

More than 90 percent of millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers take advantage of their company’s remote work policy, according to a survey of about 300 full-time workers by West Unified Communications. The vast majority of respondents work remotely from home and predominantly for practical reasons, such as caring for a sick child (35 percent), avoiding a long commute (30 percent), improving productivity (30 percent) and avoiding office distractions (28 percent). Three-quarters of remote workers use email and phone as their main form of collaboration, followed by instant messaging, video and web conferencing, and apps.

FAA Awards More Airport Infrastructure Grants

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is awarding $162.4 million in airport infrastructure grants for 72 airports in 31 states through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). So far this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced more than 1,350 airport grants totaling $2.1 billion affecting 1,205 airports—targeting projects for runways, taxiways, and airport signage, lighting and markings.

Millennials Spend Less on Business Travel Than Older Employees

Average dining, hotel and entertainment expenses for employees between the ages of 36 and 65 totaled $8,596 over two years compared to $5,188 for employees between the ages of 22 and 35, according to a global report from Concur, a business travel management firm. The biggest difference was in the dining and entertainment category: $52 per transaction for employees over age 36 versus $33 per transaction for those under age 25. Meanwhile, millennials spent slightly more on hotels: $114 versus $111.

Jersey City Adopts PLA Requirements

City councilmembers voted 6-3 to approve a measure that rewrites Jersey City’s project labor agreements (PLAs) to require developers to hire union and local workers for city-subsidized construction projects exceeding $25 million. Specifically, the revamped PLAs require women or minority workers who are Jersey City residents to comprise at least 20 percent of the workforce on jobs subject to the agreements. 

NIOSH App Calculates Safety of Manual Lifts

A free mobile app from NIOSH, called NLE Calc, offers a quick and simple way for workers to assess their risk for injury before they manually lift an object. The app is based on the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation, an internationally recognized standard for safe lifting.

Construction Fleets Poised to Expand

Teletrac Navman’s new Telematics Benchmark Report found more than half of global construction firms will be expanding their fleet size during the next year as a result of increased demand for services and the need to replace older machines. More than 80 percent of organizations already are using telematics or plan to do so in the next year, citing equipment tracking as the most common use, followed by tracking speed and hours driven. More than half of respondents using telematics have seen reduced fuel costs up to 40 percent, and almost one-third have had fewer accidents. 

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