Workforce & Safety

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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The Impact of New Tools on Construction Productivity

Construction has never moved at the same technological pace as other industries. However, the old way of doing things is broken. Workers are using outdated tools, both powered and hand-operated, and companies are losing millions of dollars in productivity and shelling out big bucks in recordkeeping, claims processing and workers' compensation premiums. Using some of the most common types of construction tools can result in painful and potentially debilitating injuries referred to as work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). 

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Injunction Blocks Overtime Rule

Responding to a legal challenge filed by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and a coalition of business groups, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor’s final overtime rule from taking effect Dec. 1. 
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Trench Fatalities Doubled Last Year

Twenty-three workers were killed in trench collapses in 2016, according to OSHA, compared to 11 in 2015. Trench collapses are rarely survivable, as 1 cubic yard of soil can weigh up to 3,000 pounds.
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Report Examines DNA Of Construction Entrepreneurs

Sixty-two percent of construction small business owners have seen increases in revenue and 64 percent have seen profits increase, according to Hiscox’s eighth annual DNA of an Entrepreneur report.
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Merit Shop Scorecard Grades State Construction Policies

Louisiana, Virginia and North Carolina earned the top three rankings in Associated Builders and Contractors’ latest update to “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard."
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Industry Game-Changers

Typically, disruption in the workplace is counterintuitive to productivity. But in terms of creating innovative ways to manage people, processes and technology, the concept of “disruption” isn’t such a bad thing for the construction industry. Change is stirring whether contractors are ready for it or not, and firms that have adopted new ways of managing scheduling and workflows are seeing stellar results—earning the accolades of repeat projects for key clients, as well as happy project partners.
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A Win-Win Vision

Today, Goodrich occupies the office of the president at Gaylor Electric, a position he has held since 2014. The office itself tells quite a story: It is covered floor to ceiling in pictures, plaques and memorabilia highlighting everything from Indiana sports teams to company and family achievements, past Republican presidents and a love for ABC. This year, his passion for merit shop construction is widening in scope as ABC’s national chairman. 
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A Diverse Workforce, Built on Merit

In this spotlight on entrepreneurship and diversity, Construction Executive interviewed industry leader Larry Lopez, president and CEO of Green JobWorks, a Baltimore-based staffing company that provides both skilled and general labor to clients in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. As the new chair of Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) Diversity Committee, Lopez imparts his wisdom on what it means to be a minority business owner in a rapidly changing industry, and the path he envisions for small and emerging contractors to succeed. 
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Look Inward to Solve the Management Shortage

Most construction companies already have a pool of talented employees who can be trained on the ins and outs of what it means to be a construction manager. Effective training and mentoring programs need to be in place to properly retain standout employees and help them rise within the company, and that’s where some companies encounter difficulties. 
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Why Do You Want to Work in the Construction Industry?

I believe the construction industry will allow me to financially support myself while giving me a balance of time with my family. I also enjoy the idea of traveling for work and meeting new people and seeing different parts of the country. 
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New Training Curricula Offered for Workforce Development and Mentoring

NCCER has released two new training programs in response to the industry’s labor shortage and corresponding need for workforce development professionals and industry mentors.
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Medical and Benefits Costs Are Top Concerns

Fifty-six percent of construction businesses surveyed for the 2016 Travelers Risk Index report they worry most about medical cost inflation and legal liability, followed by rising employee benefits costs and broad economic uncertainty. Rounding out the top eight construction business concerns are attracting and retaining talent, employee safety and workplace violence, legal and regulatory compliance, and cyber risk and data breaches.
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Teaching the Art of Preservation

“We need to enable people to protect and preserve their histories through meaningful hands-on work. More people are coming into this field because it’s very satisfying to work on cultural preservation projects.” 
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How Does Safety Impact Surety Bonding?

When safety issues become a factor in a contractor’s ability to finish a project, the surety starts to question what other issues might be out there that could have a negative impact on the contractor’s ability to complete the project.
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Create More Reasons for Workers to Stay

Stimulating training opportunities, advancement accelerated to match the abilities of the worker and a “voice” in important decisions seem to be the most important expectations of the modern talent pool. It’s essential for the construction sector to focus on creating an exciting, modern image of itself as a profession of “building important things,” and more specifically one that piques the interest of tech-oriented candidates. 
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Greater Michigan Construction Academy Expands Training as Nation’s First ACCET-Accredited Vocational Program

The ABC-affiliated Greater Michigan Construction Academy has been able to expand its reach since being accredited as an institution of higher education by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training in April 2015. GMCA is the first vocational school in the country to achieve this designation.
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Career Pathways

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is working to address the industry’s worker shortage through more than 800 apprenticeship, craft training and safety training programs set up by its chapters around the country. Read on for examples of some recent initiatives supported by ABC chapters and member companies that are reaching out to students and adults from all walks of life. 
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Where Do You Go to Find and Recruit the Next Generation of Skilled Craft Workers?

D.R.B. joined Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) in 1992 and hires the majority of employees through ABC’s electrical apprenticeship program. We feel the combination of education and on-the-job training is an excellent resource for the next generation of skilled craft workers.  
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Paving the Way for Female Leaders

There are key things male-dominated industries like construction can do to address the gender imbalance, provide advancement opportunities for female talent and drive a more diverse workforce. The need to do so is more critical than some realize. 
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Scaling Safety Resources With Cloud-Based JHA Tools

Cloud-based JHA tools are gaining ground in helping construction companies scale limited safety resources. Through the use of wireless smart devices, subscribers to cloud-based JHA tools can develop and manage a company’s entire library of JHAs from the hood of a truck at the construction site or from their desk anywhere in the world. 
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Technology, Insurance and Personnel Drive Safe Auto Programs

In the following Q&A Travelers offers insight on recruiting qualified commercial drivers and integrating them into a company’s safety culture, as well as the impact of telematics on construction fleets and the insurance products needed to limit financial liability.
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S&B'S Women's Training Program Makes Strides

In 2015, S&B created a pilot program that provided accelerated, accredited training for female pipefitters. Today the Women’s Training Program is a full-fledged collaboration among S&B, United Way THRIVE and Texas Workforce Solutions, with each organization bringing something special to the training program.
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No Bounds to Success

Women business leaders at ABC and throughout the industry will agree, there is no one path to the top. 
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OSHA Delays Enforcement of Anti-Retaliation Provisions in Electronic Reporting Rule

OSHA has delayed enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its electronic injury reporting final rule from Aug. 10 to Nov. 1. Just days before the announcement, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), TEXO and a coalition of stakeholders filed a lawsuit challenging the rule’s anti-retaliation provisions, which will limit some forms of post-accident drug testing and safety incentive programs by deeming them to be unlawfully retaliatory.
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Construction Executive to Host Twitter Chat Aug. 16

Join Construction Executive (@ConstructionMag) in a live Twitter chat on Tuesday, Aug. 16 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (EST) to learn about and share expertise on the topic of workplace safety. Follow the hashtag #HRTailgate to engage in a discussion on how organizations can create a safety-conscious culture, how companies keep employees abreast of safety requirements, the safety challenges that are top of mind in the construction industry, and more.
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Workers’ Comp Report Reveals Top Five Causes of Workplace Injuries

In the construction industry, strains and sprains were the most frequently reported injury (28 percent of the total), and they caused work­ers to miss an average of 57 workdays.
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OSHA Finalizes Electronic Recordkeeping Rule

Effective Aug. 10, companies in high-hazard industries (including construction) with at least 20 employees must electronically submit injury and illness information, which OSHA will then post on its website.
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Best Practices Can Make Contractors 720 Percent Safer

ABC's 2016 Safety Performance Report documents how proactive safety practices can dramatically reduce recordable incidents up to 86 percent, making the best-performing companies 720 percent safer than the industry average. 
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Be Prepared for More Invasive OSHA Inspections

OSHA is shifting its inspection process to a more complex and potentially invasive audit. Under the new inspection criteria, OSHA could be at a business for days instead of hours.  Read More >

Tackling Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in the Construction Industry

Historically, the construction industry has been characterized by a stoic, tough-guy culture. After generations of this old school mentality, the times are changing as progressive contractors weave mental health and suicide prevention into a dominant “new school” culture.  Read More >

Paying It Forward

It’s not easy to pass on one’s passion for something to other people in a way that makes them want to learn more, but that’s exactly what John Lupacchino of Gaylor Electric, Noblesville, Ind., has been doing for Gaylor University for the past 22 years and the Indiana/Kentucky Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) for the past 17 years.  Read More >

For the Love of the Work

Professional success isn't always about climbing the corporate ladder. Sometimes it’s best illustrated by someone who forgoes promotions to do what he truly loves and is undeniably good at. Scott Walters is that guy for Dan Vos Construction Company Inc., Ada, Mich.  Read More >

Winning Strategies in the War for Talent

Companies can use several strategies to help retain current employees and attract new ones: evaluation and feedback, mentoring and training, succession planning, competitive wages and benefits, and alternative scheduling. Read More >

What One or Two Purposeful Things Can Companies Do to Enhance the Diversity of Their Staff and Construction Industry Relationships?

The more the word gets out that a company is truly supportive of its diverse staff for career enhancement, the easier it becomes to create a diverse team.  Read More >

Where Skill Meets Ambition

Now in its 29th year, ABC's National Craft Championships showcases that skilled craft professionals are the backbone of construction businesses and an essential asset to the national economy.  Read More >

How to Keep Cool on the Jobsite

Temporary cooling solutions such as cooling towers, chillers and air conditioners allow construction companies to prevent project delays, increase worker safety and improve their balance sheet by avoiding high-cost capital expenditure commitments on short- to mid-term duration needs.  Read More >
 

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Crowdsourcing a Charitable Beneficiary
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