[VIDEO] OSHA Silica Dust Standard Enforcement Will Start Soon

Starting September 23, acceptable crystalline silica exposure levels will drop from 250 to 50 micrograms in an 8-hour period; plus more construction industry news in the July 13, 2017, edition of Construction News Tracker

Construction News Tracker is presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

If you're in construction and use concrete, pre-warning is in order for September 23rd as OSHA will begin enforcement of its extensive silica standard. The physical exposure level mandate to crystalline silica has been reduced by five times over an eight hour period from 250 to 50 micrograms, and it all takes effect September 23rd.

Until now OSHA has delayed enforcement several months to provide education and outreach to the construction industry covering an estimated 2.3 million workers. Contractors are required to measure the amount of silica workers are exposed to protect them from silcia dust by use of controls from exposure above the PEL and provide respirators when dust controls are beyond limits.

The nation's economy continues to hum along nicely evidenced by the recent unemployment numbers. Non-farm payrolls rose in June by 222,000 while construction gained 16,000 jobs. Revisions from April and May numbers led to another 47,000 jobs acquired. The nation's jobless rate rose from 4.3% to 4.4% as a result.

An analysis by AGC of workers in construction indicates 42 states added jobs year over year for the month of May. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia were on the losing scale, apparently due to the continuing struggle to find qualified workers. California added the most workers, followed by:

  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Washington

Pennsylvania lost the largest number of construction employees…as did:

  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Wyoming

Flour Enterprises, Granite Construction, Ames Construction and WSP are the private component of Connect 202 Partners engaged in building a Phoenix area South Mountain freeway. And the Arizona Department of Transportation is reporting the P3 will complete its $1.9 billion project three years ahead of schedule, in late 2019.

The P3 restructured the 22-mile highway to the last section could be constructed at once as opposed to nine separate projects ADOT originally planned. The contract was awarded in 2015 for the new Loop 202 and is the first P3 project in Arizona highway department history.

After months of fretful bargaining and cajoling New York City is poised to take on a major rail project, and the heart of it will be at Penn Station where four rail systems merge into a single operation - all beneath ground. A $1.6 billion public private project will transform the Farley building into a western annex of Penn Station, housing train halls for Amtrak and Long Island Railroad.

Skanska and Vornado Realty Trust will join in building and operating the massive complex, collecting income from the 700,000 square feet of office and retail space. New York state is kicking in $550 million while Amtrak, the city MTA, Port Authority and federal government will contribute $420 million.

When completed 17 of 21 underground track systems will be married to each other in what will be called the Moynihan Station, named after the late senator. The rail hub is home to 600,000 daily commuters that now face a couple of years of construction.

Rising costs of building materials, labor and technology have combined to raise the cost of a new Orlando International Airport terminal by $350 million. Acknowledging the facts has been a hard nut to crack for the facility board as it recent approved raising its cost estimate from $1.8 to $2.15 billion. The airport will fund $149 million of the increase from user fees of the PCL construction services job. When completed the new air terminal will add 100 new gates to the sprawling complex, rail services and parking.

A compromise in financing structure will ensure that work continues on the massive Vogtle nuclear plant construction in Georgia. Toshiba, the parent company of Westinghouse, and the Southern Company sibsidiary of Georgia power have reached agreement that sees Toshiba paying $3.68 billion through January 2021 for continued progress.

This follows the bankruptcy filing by Westinghouse in March and threatened to shutdown all construction work on the $8 billion power plant. To date, 3,500 construction jobs have been filled at the complex which will support 800 employees when completed.

The iconic Space Needle in downtown Seattle is getting a face lift. Erected 55 years ago for the World's Fair the landmark building continues to jot upwards of 60 million visitors a year. Renovation includes replacement of a portion of the observation deck with glass; addition of glass, steel and wood staircases from the observation deck to its spire restaurant; as well as a rotating glass floor underneath restaurant tables. Continued upgrades in efficiency standards are included in the $100 million Space Needle upgrades.

One who refuses to seek the advice of others will eventually be led to a path of ruin. A mentor helps you to perceive your own weaknesses and confront them with courage. The bond between mentor and protege enables us to stay true to our chosen path until the very end.

This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place, presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

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