Construction News Tracker is presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.
It may seem like its just another exercise of more paperwork, but the new rules from OSHA are much more than that. Effective August 10, if your business employs between 20 and 249 people you must electronically send the federal agency paperwork in the event of any illness or injury.
Both Associated Builders and Contractors and Associated General Contractors are crying foul over the new edict as it fails to spell out just how minor an injury or illness needs to be for coverage under OSHA Form 300A.
The only specific comment from the agency is that excessive incidents reflect poor management, and new record keeping will be available to investors, prospective employees and the general public.
Admitting that it's been through a roller coaster ride in the last eight month, Dodge Momentum Index reports the institutional month-over-month index is currently 7% higher than last year, indicating a sustained economic recovery.
Revised from March, the Momentum Index inched up in April to 116.5 mainly due to better planning for construction projects. The Dodge people now believe residential and nonresidential construction starts will rise by 7.4% for the year.
Not a rosy outlook for infrastructure funding from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The group claims the country is short 56% of the money needed for infrastructure spending over the next 10 years — in dollars, $1.44 trillion.
ASCE claims such a loss could strip 2.5 million new jobs and $4 trillion worth of Gross Domestic Product out of the nation's economy. The report delineates five key areas of concern for funding shortfalls:
- Surface transportation
- Water and wastewater construction
- Inland water and coastal ports
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Index remains unchanged — as it has for the past three months — at a score of 58. That's a positive reflection of home building overall.
But just how miserable is the construction employment picture? The NAHB has an answer. Scouring Federal Labor Department statistics for job turnover data, NAHB claims that 210,000 jobs are going unfilled in construction — the highest since 2007.
Construction industry support groups have been lamenting the situation for months, if not since the recession recover, as contractors beg for skilled workers despite a March hiring rate of 4.9%. The home builders' group reports the quits rate for workers leaving jobs behind rose to 2.4% in the same month. Regardless of where the reports begin, the bottom line appears to continue that the industry as a whole needs additional workers.
High speed rail plans for California have been significantly altered, again. The authority that oversees the massive $64 billion bullet train project has changed the route to exclude southern California from the first segment plan. This means that the focus is now on northern California, thus avoiding major tunneling prospects just to access the south.
Meanwhile, engineering continues on aspects of using hyperloop transportation, as we learn from this report recently on CNN...
Whatever system is selected, high speed California rail appears to be a future construction milestone.
Finally, encouraged people achieve the best; dominated people achieve second best; and neglected people achieve the least.
This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place. Presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.