Workforce & Safety

The Construction Jobs of Today May Require Different Skills for Success Tomorrow

For some time now, the construction profession has been in decline and skilled workers have left the industry during economic downturns. But new research about skills and jobs in 2030 shows the future of work is brighter than conventional wisdom suggests. Of today’s workforce, only one in five workers is in occupations that will shrink. This figure is much lower than other predictions claiming 40 percent to 60 percent of workers are in declining job fields. The reality is that many jobs recognized today will still be in demand by 2030 and beyond.
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Responding to Hurricanes and Other Natural Disasters

Weather events are changing the construction landscape, giving new vigor to the force majeure clause and requiring new approaches to project completion. Most recently, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria—and the wildfires in California and Montana—have highlighted the need to focus on best practices for responding to such events. Contractors and subcontractors can take steps to minimize out-of-pocket costs related to damage and recovery efforts and maximize their ability to transfer to others risks of force majeure events.
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Repairing Flood-damaged Floors

Businesses that fall victim to floodwaters will face a long list of challenges that need to be carefully approached in order to get the site back on its feet as quickly and effectively as possible.

One area of the building that will be particularly at risk, but that might not be immediately apparent as a cause for concern, is the floor finish. The floor is a crucial area for any business: It’s part of the visual image for commercial companies and it’s the solid foundation for the intensive work in an industrial facility.
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Inbound Recruiting: A Quicker Way to Attract Prospective Hires

Based on his research of companies that went from good to great, author Jim Collins advocates for keeping a position open rather than hiring a person who isn’t perfect for it. A bad hire simply costs a company too much—as much as or more than $17,000. 

Finding the right hire in an industry with a skills gap requires a two-pronged approach: undertaking long-term measures to eliminate the gap and adopting inbound recruiting strategies to fill positions in the short term. 
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Thwarting the Worst of Hurricane Irma

Insurance companies, homebuilders, and city and county officials are still assessing residential and commercial building damage after Hurricane Irma tore through South Florida on Sept 10, but in general, the stricter building codes enforced after Hurricane Andrew did their job. 
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Rising Above

In the days and weeks after Hurricane Harvey’s cataclysmic late August landfall, the resilience of the south Texas construction community and the area that it serves was put to the ultimate test. The largest storm to hit the United States since 2005, Harvey slammed into Rockport, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane, and then it dumped more than 40 inches of rain as it meandered across southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. 
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Fall Protection Failures Top OSHA’s List of 2017 Safety Violations

Fall protection (general requirements) was OSHA’s most frequently cited workplace safety violation this year, totaling 6,072, according to a preliminary report from the National Safety Council. Next was hazard communication with 4,176 violations, followed by scaffolding with 3,288 citations. Rounding out the top five were respiratory protection (3,097) and lockout/tagout (2,877).
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Retaining Construction's Greatest Asset

As the industry struggles to improve its reputation among the younger generation, many tactics can be used to foster a company culture that improves employee retention. Offer attractive benefits packages. Provide access to training and education. Keep communication with leadership clear and comfortable. Focus on safety. Encourage employees to become active in their communities. And, don’t be afraid to have a little bit of fun.
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Filling the Surety Industry's Generation Gap

Word of the construction industry’s labor shortage is being heard loud and clear: Two-thirds of U.S. contractors are having a hard time finding qualified workers and possess a virtually nonexistent backfill of young talent entering the industry. But what about the surety professionals working behind the scenes? Are they facing the same challenges?
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Industry Changes Push AEC Firms Toward Proactive Recruitment

When it comes to recruitment, the AEC industry is grappling with an already limited pool of talent, mass retirements of baby boomers and difficulties attracting millennials—compounded by rapidly advancing technologies, evolving project delivery methods and owners demanding specific capabilities on complex projects. 

Owners also have become increasingly savvy and well-educated in terms of design concepts, construction processes and delivery methods. They want to be highly engaged in the construction process, and many have their own internal design and construction teams that understand costs, schedules and constructability issues.
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How Field Service Technicians Are Reaching Higher Levels of Efficiency and Ensuring Safer Jobsites

The availability of more data will make sensors smarter, and usher in the opportunity for analytics programs to not only optimize and streamline field service, but also push jobsites capable of time and money-saving measures towards a zero downtime reality. 
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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.
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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. 
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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.
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An Inside Job: Use Indoor Construction Cameras to Monitor Workflow and Safety

Indoor construction cameras can give project managers the ability to remotely monitor interior construction on multiple jobsites. They can provide the immediate benefit of helping managers discover chokepoints in the workflow and where improvements can be made in safety and security. 
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Survey Gives Insight on Architecture and Engineering Firms’ HR Practices

Forty-two percent of all responding firms did not have a full-time HR department, and 81 percent of respondents said that the person in charge of HR functions participates in the firm’s annual business planning process. 
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Baton Rouge Leads U.S. Cities in Construction and Extraction Jobs

When it comes to construction and extraction (C&E) job opportunities, Baton Rouge, La., is the place to be. However, when looking at the cost of living, C&E workers in second-place Detroit got a bigger bang for their buck.

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Don’t Let Fires Damage Valuable Construction Equipment

Many companies choose to have a fire suppression system installed on commercial off-road vehicles because of their increased fire risk and the large monetary investment they require. This is a prudent investment that can save thousands of dollars, and even lives. Yet, the best fire protection is to prevent a fire from occurring in the first place.
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Balfour Beatty: Construction Sites Will Be Human-free by 2050

Robots are already in use on the jobsite, filling roles from overhead photography and surveying to worker and equipment tracking, and even site access and security. Technology on the horizon includes teams of remotely controlled machines that can work together efficiently. 
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Profiles in Leadership

With the help of recognition from their colleagues, peers, local media and business organizations, Construction Executive identified the following eight people as outstanding leaders who are making notable contributions within their companies, communities and the industry at large. 
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Think Like a Millennial: Build a More Mission-Driven, Diverse Culture

Organizations with inclusive, diverse cultures are six times more likely to be innovative, six times more likely to anticipate change and respond effectively, and twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets. 

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The Quiet Progress of Career Education

To truly give all Americans access to flexible, safe and high-quality career education programs like those offered by ABC’s chapters, member companies and training partners, lawmakers and construction advocates must make meaningful progress to address the skills gap and build the workforce of tomorrow. 
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Curbing Respirable Crystalline Silica: What to Expect

Monitoring must be done in a way that does not impact workers’ comfort or productivity. With the progress in data capture and reporting technology, solutions are available that enable full remote monitoring.
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Social Media Land Mines: Employer Responsibilities and Employee Rights

Social media law is a relatively new area for companies active in the construction industry, and the laws around this topic, much like the networks themselves, are evolving at a rapid pace. Legal counsel should be poised to help businesses efficiently develop a social media policy and be available to provide advice on content before it’s posted, should there be any concerns on the subject. 
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Components of a Quality Project Safety Culture

By making safety a key component of every project right from the start, companies can save lives and reduce injuries while keeping skilled workers on the job and projects on track. To reduce injuries, companies should build a robust corporate safety culture in coordination with their insurers and risk engineering consultants. The following steps can help enhance that safety culture. 
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The Future Is Now for Digital Project Management and Compliance Processes

Daily reporting and monitoring software can help firms cut costs, reduce the possibility of litigation and eliminate time-consuming travel from site to site.
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Don't Just Check the Compliance Box

A monumental shift is taking place in the construction industry regarding training operators in the safe use of equipment. While OSHA acknowledges that training is an essential part of every employer’s safety and health program, the degree to which that is currently required depends on the complexity of the environment and the actual work equipment being used. 
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Apprenticeship and CTE Policies Begin to Take Shape

President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will allow industries to build innovative workforce development systems that address glaring skills gaps. With the construction industry currently facing a workforce shortage of as many as 500,000 jobs, Associated Builders and Contractors says this action is an important first step to allow more entryways into becoming a construction professional. Full implementation of Executive Order 13801 will require further rulemaking. 
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How Not to Sweat Summertime Heat Stress

As those who’ve worked in the construction industry for years can attest, the often excessive exposure to heat during the summer months in many parts of the United States can cause a wide variety of illnesses associated with heat stress, ranging from heat rashes and heat exhaustion to heat cramps and heat stroke. Thousands of workers report suffering occupational heat-related illnesses each year, dozens of which result in fatalities. Of those fatalities, 40 percent occur in the construction industry. 
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Job Planning and Risk Assessment Under NFPA 70E 2018

While there are guidelines and requirements in place to help prevent electrical accidents, there is still a lot of room for error and oversight during the course of a busy workday. According to OSHA data, there are 30,000 arcs and 7,000 burn injuries per year, and more than 2,000 people are admitted to the hospital with severe arc flash burns annually.
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Strong Prospects

What happens when 20 million people are expected to move to Texas in the next 30 years? Local contractors and college construction programs get busy. 

Already last year, 20,000 homes were built in the greater Austin area to accommodate the anticipated population influx, which is estimated to require the construction of 50 percent more residential units than the current stock
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Staying SHARP on Safety

M&D Mechanical, Decatur, Ala., has more than 100 years of experience serving clients in the industrial, institutional and government sectors. During its legacy, the leadership team has certainly learned a thing or two about exceeding clients’ and employees’ expectations for safety on the jobsite. In December, the company achieved OSHA’s SHARP status—an elite ranking for small businesses that maintain exemplary injury and illness prevention programs. 
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How Millennials Have Shaped the Construction Industry—for Better and for Worse

Last year marked a milestone for the country’s youngest generation of workers, commonly known as millennials: They overtook baby boomers as the largest workforce segment in America. Employers should be ecstatic that elevated rates of retirement are positioned to be offset by an influx of younger, energetic, tech-savvy workers ready to stimulate productivity. 
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Prepare for Changes to Aerial Work Platform Regulations

Canadian and U.S. regulations for the safe use of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), ANSI A92 and CSA B254, are being updated in an effort to better align with international standards (ISO 16368). While the current ANSI and CSA standards are product specific (i.e., there is a standard for each type of MEWP), the new revisions will be subject matter-based standards (i.e., safe use, training and design). 
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NYC Construction Workforce Trending Younger, More Diverse

While New York City’s construction industry continues to be dominated by male residents of the five boroughs, a New York Building Congress analysis of Census Bureau data has found that the city’s construction workforce has become younger and more diverse.
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Majority of Florida Contractors Plan to Hire in 2017

Eighty-eight percent of Florida construction firms plan to increase hiring during the next six months and 84 percent anticipate experiencing more difficulty finding appropriately skilled labor, according to a report released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Florida. The inaugural Florida Contractor Confidence Index (CCI) showed a statewide reading of 81 for improving sales, indicating the typical Florida contractor expects to be much busier in 2017.
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ABC Craft Instructor of the Year Brings Field Experience to the Classroom

By all accounts, Roger Thompson is one of the industry’s best at funneling his 32 years of experience in the electrical field into the minds of first-year apprentices. They’re listening, they’re learning and they appreciate the care he shows for their careers.
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ICE Is Coming for Undocumented Workers: How to Prevent Corporate Frostbite

Undocumented workers and the businesses that knowingly or unknowingly employ them are coming under the microscope. Just looking at recent headlines, the president has implemented two immigration bans, is challenging so-called “Sanctuary Cities” that do not help federal immigration enforcement, has instructed government agencies to become more aggressive in enforcing immigration laws and is already reviewing proposals to strengthen the border wall. Plus, the E-Verify program for verifying worker status is likely to become mandatory.
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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.
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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. 
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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.
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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."
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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.
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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.
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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. 
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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.
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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. 
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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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Equip Construction Managers to Minimize Safety Risks

Construction managers help shoulder the responsibility of safety, ensuring the appropriate measures have been integrated into all aspects of the construction process while combatting the pressures of time, labor, cost, scope and quality. With the advent of new technologies, in addition to the right partners and resources, construction managers are more equipped than ever to tackle safety and minimize risk exposure.
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The Solution to the Construction Staffing Shortage Isn’t Just Money

The vast majority of contractors are having a hard time finding workers, including project managers. While offering competitive salaries is important, it’s not the key to staying properly staffed. Relatively few people leave because of salary; they leave because of a lack of engagement. Productive employees who are given support and authority and are encouraged to be entrepreneurial stay with their employer.  
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