Chapter Corner

Newsroom & Insights

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Proposed Changes to NFPA 70E - Electrical Safety in the Workplace

The primary purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to enforce safety and health standards for most of the country’s workers by mandating by federal law that employers provide a safe work environment to decrease workplace hazards. OSHA recommends that both employers and employees cooperatively establish workplace-specific safety standards.

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Complying with GHS

Many people assume that because the revised HazCom standard went into effect in May 2012, along with the first deadline to train employees on the formatting changes to labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) was December 1, 2013, all of the new SDSs must be ready and waiting. This is not the case, nor is it likely to be for several years.

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Is Safety Worth the Cost?

Safety needs to be a high priority for all construction contractors because of its direct impact on productivity and profitability. Based on the latest data available in the United States, the construction industry alone accounted for 16 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2012, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The construction industry is, by most statistical rankings, among the top 10 most dangerous work environments in the United States often just behind logging, commercial fishing, or aircraft operations.

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Using Fall Protection Helps Save Lives

Twenty-five-year-old construction worker Luis Gilberto Tenezaca Palaguache was attaching new shingles on the roof of a house in New Bedford, Massachusetts. As he turned to yell to his co-worker 30 feet below, he lost his balance and fell off the roof, hitting the concrete driveway. Unfortunately, the employer had not provided fall protection to prevent Palaguache from falling. Palaguache died from his injuries, and his family is left with memories of a man whose life was just beginning.

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AFCI Circuit Breaker Usage is Up. Residential Electrical Fires are Down

Residential electrical fires dropped nearly 20 percent over the seven-year span of 2002 to 2009, according to a 2012 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report. Instituted in the 1999 National Electrical Code® (NEC), at first, only bedroom circuits required arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) circuit breakers. Since then, the NEC has continued to expand for greater protection throughout the home, and the incidence of fires involving electrical distribution and lighting equipment has declined as well. Unlike a standard circuit breaker, AFCI circuit breakers identify arcs or sparking in wiring and quickly de-energize a system to prevent a fire. As contractors, no one better understands the dangers of electricity and can appreciate the importance of making our homes safer.

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What OSHA Has in Store for the Construction Industry

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been focused on enforcement, as have other federal workplace agencies. OSHA forecasts that it will inspect almost 38,000 workplaces in 2014. OSHA’s plans for the construction industry include these compliance initiatives.

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IEC Keeps Safety at the Forefront

Safety is an easy topic to talk about and set as a top priority. However, it’s the times when an employee is on the job and in the heat of the moment that they must draw upon their previous training to ensure safe work practices. For this reason, we can never do too much promotion about workplace safety.

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Take Action

"Inside the Beltway." "Politics as usual." These are phrases that quickly turn off any Texan, myself included. When you look at the political climate in Washington, D.C. today, it is so easy to get discouraged. Congress has been halted to nearly a stalemate, and many of the federal agencies are increasing oversight on our companies.

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Tactics for Recruiting Veterans

If you had the opportunity to hire a new apprentice who could follow directions, think on his or her feet, learn complicated skills quickly and demonstrate them accurately, bounce back from difficult situations, work well on a team, and exhibit a strong sense of dedication and commitment to an organization, would you? You’d probably jump at the chance!

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Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Create Tax Credit for Hiring Apprentices

On April 10, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced S. 2234, the Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprenticeship Programs (LEAP) Act, to incentivize registered apprenticeships through a new tax credit for employers.

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