[VIDEO] OSHA Will Raise Maximum Civil Penalties by 78%

Starting August 1, 2016, and retroactive to November 2015 OSHA’s maximum penalties, which have not been raised since 1990, will increase by 78%; plus more construction industry news on the July 21, 2016 edition of Construction News Tracker

Construction News Tracker is brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

It was a mere weeks ago when the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, known as OSHA, announced it was tightening workplace injury reporting rules. Now heaping more woe particularly affecting construction, OSHA will raise its maximum civil penalties by 78% retroactive to November 2015. The industry is crying foul over reporting that requires all workplace injury via electronic means and open to the public for review. Look for heightened pushback from industry associations as the imposition date grows closer.

The overall jobs market jumped by 287,000 in June, but construction itself remains flat — or the same level as the month of May. Much of the lag is seen as a direct result of a loss of skilled workers stemming from the last economic recession.

June 30 was a bell weather date for construction in New Jersey as the state transportation budget dried up. It forced the governor to stop all transportation projects statewide. Two weeks later DOT officials say the shutdown could add another 10% in costs to the $246 million in maintenance and projects affected. Furthermore, contractors have no idea on how long the budget mess will last and whether they should consider packing up equipment at jobsites and moving on.

The FAST Act approved by Congress last December is generating interest from state and municipalities — in fact, $9.8 billion worth of Federal DOT grant application requests. The federal agency has been overwhelmed by infrastructure money requests totaling 212 — 76 from rural areas and 136 for projects in urban areas. We'll let you know when the DOT announces its selections.

Wow, it is hot outside, and my do construction workers know it. Temperatures can reach 300 degrees where asphalt is being used, and related conditions can be downright miserable for those working on projects in daylight hours.

How to Keep Construction Workers Cool

Here are just a few OSHA recommended tips for dealing with heat:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Stay in good physical condition
  • Eat as health as possible
  • dress to stay cool as long as possible
  • Wear head covering whenever possible
  • Avoid repeated in/out of air conditioned spaces
  • Be aware of your body and how it relates to heat stress as heat exhaustion has a sudden impact that can cause severe reactions

Recent rains have inundated parts of West Virginia leaving behind an estimated $36 million in highway repair costs. The state DOT claims 18 counties in the state experienced severe road damage, not to mention 1,500 homes destroyed and 125 businesses gone. The Federal DOT has already allocated $5.7 million under its quick release program to West Virginia to clear federal highways and pay for emergency repairs. Once flood waters receded, it's anticipated that even more damage will be discovered.

What is termed the largest project ever for the company, Skanska has finalized a $4 billion project at La Guardia New York airport. The P3 package consortium with LaGuardia Gateway Partners includes Parsons Brinckerhoff, Vantage Airport Group, Meridiam, HOK and WSP. It will cover design, finance, construction, operation and maintenance as the airport undergoes significant infrastructure and central hall renovation. Work is to being shortly with completion set for 2022.

With completion Jun 20 of a major interchange in downtown Birmingham, AL, the area is experiencing its first major interstate highway link years in the making. I-22 and I-65 intersect bringing the new I-22 online and giving motorists their first true new highway between Birmingham and Memphis, TN. The new roadway completes 98 miles of which was begun 32 years ago, and its final cost has reached the $1 billion mark.

In closing, I will not be impressed with technology until I can download food from the Internet.

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