Workforce & Safety

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 Workers are using outdated tools, both powered and hand-operated, and companies are losing millions of dollars in productivity and shelling out big bucks in recordkeeping, claims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 >

Materials Specification: An Overlooked Safety Measure

Mass timber systems allow for safe construction sites for several reasons: the ability to prefabricate large panels offsite, leading to reduced construction duration and easier erection; an installation that does not require the use of a ladder; and the “dry process,” which allows construction to move forward during poor weather. 
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Severe Driving Incidents in Construction Exceed National Average

The heavy construction and engineering industry recorded the second most severe driving incidents for service-based vehicles—29 percent above the national average of 2.5 severe driving incidents per every 1,000 miles driven.
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Safety: A Near-Perfect Alignment Between Doing the Right Thing and Enhancing Profitability

Firms with better safety records are less exposed to lawsuits and claims for workers’ compensation. Trained workers are more likely to stay on the job. Better safety means fewer expenses to repair damaged equipment and reputation. And, safe companies eliminate the costs of investigation, potential workplace interruptions and impacts on morale.  
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NCCER Compiles Average Salaries for 31 Trades

Average annual salaries for craft professionals ranged from just over $47,000 to nearly $89,000—not including overtime, per diem, bonuses or other incentives—according to NCCER’s 2015 Construction Craft Salary Survey. 
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Industry Groups Challenge OSHA’s Final Silica Rule in Court

Employers covered by OSHA’s final rule on occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica have until June 23, 2017, to comply with the new construction standard, except for requirements for laboratory evaluation of exposure samples, which begin on June 23, 2018.  Eight construction industry organizations have filed a petition for review of the final rule with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
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Safety: It's Everyone's Responsibility

“Contractors cannot be afraid of investing in the training and PPE required to do the job safely. Spending a couple thousand dollars here and there for training is nothing compared to paying that tenfold when you have an incident. Safety is good for business as it relates to efficiency and the bottom line, but also as it relates to the goal that every person on the jobsite leaves in the same or better condition as when they arrived.”
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How to Achieve a Safety Data Analytics Advantage

Data use plans are an effective way of driving leadership engagement. They are easy to build, easy to engage with, and provide a roadmap to action using analytics as the driver. Start small and get some early wins; then expand, start scaling the analytics pyramid and go for a true analytics competitive advantage. 
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Executive Order Targets Seismic Safety in Federal Buildings

President Obama signed an executive order that creates a Federal Earthquake Risk Management Standard requiring new, leased and regulated federal buildings to meet seismic safety provisions outlined in the International Building Code and the International Residential Code.
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Results You Can Expect If You Follow ABC’s ‘Roadmap to World-Class Safety’

If I told you that your company could be 720 percent safer than the industry average, would you be interested? If I told you that you might be able to reduce your DART rate by up to 93 percent by deploying a specific set of processes, would you be interested?


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Achieving a 4-D Breakthrough in Construction Safety Planning

Construction company leaders who already have implemented the recommended safety standards and accident prevention strategies will need a breakthrough in safety planning that surpasses existing best practices. The desired breakthrough can be achieved by adding a whole new dimension to the current planning methods, one that enables everyone on the project to easily understand exactly what will be happening ahead of time. 4-D safety planning does exactly that.
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Study Examines 33 Indicators of a Safety Culture

A new SmartMarket Report from Dodge Data & Analytics takes a close look at 33 indicators of a safety culture in the construction industry, including measures of management commitment to safety and health, worker involvement in jobsite safety, company communications on safety and the degree to which safety is treated as a fundamental company value. 
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EEOC Seeks More Data on Employees’ Pay and Hours Worked

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is considering public comments on a proposed a rule that would expand the data collected from certain employers on the Employer Information Report (EEO-1), effective Sept. 30, 2017. Under the proposed rule, federal contractors and private employers with 100 or more employees would have to report pay data and hours worked on the EEO-1 in addition to the existing reporting requirements. 

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OSHA and DOJ Double-Team Employers

On Dec. 17, 2015, OSHA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed to “double team” employers to investigate and prosecute worker endangerment violations. While the agencies have worked together in the past, this is now a formal arrangement that employers should be very concerned about. While facing OSHA is bad enough, it’s a walk in the park compared to tangling with the DOJ. 
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How to Comply With Federal Employment Discrimination Regulations

In legal terms, Executive Order 11246 expressly prohibits federal contractors and federally assisted construction contractors and subcontractors that conduct more than $10,000 in government business in one year from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. The executive order also requires government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of their employment.
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