Chapter Corner

Insights Magazine: March 2013

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Code Q&A

Over the course of my career, I have been asked several code-related questions by both apprentices and other experienced contractors. Here I answer some of the most popular questions.

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STRESS: More than Just Structural

As an electrical professional, we are no different than many others when it comes to stress; we deal with deadlines, commitments, financials, and other tasks associated with managing the business. and other tasks associated with managing the business. Stress is our body’s normal reaction to events that pull us in different directions. The effect of stress in our daily lives is sometimes quite visible but then again often it is not. Stress can be healthy but just like anything, too much can be unhealthy. Your mood, productivity, concentration, and general over-all health concerns are just a few negative results for someone under a lot of stress. For the electrical professional, stress has other possible safety impacts as things may become more complicated, especially for those who may find themselves working in and around energized equipment.

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The High Cost of an Untrained Workforce

Zero Defects is a common business practice which aims to reduce and minimize the number of defects and errors in a process and to do things right the first time. The ultimate aim will be to reduce the level of defects to zero. However, this may not be possible in practice and what it means is that everything possible will be done to eliminate the likelihood of errors or defects occurring, and to fix any issues that are discovered.

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The Scalable Workforce

Growth during a recession isn't usually a top priority for contractors - it is survival. When the recession abated in 2009, contractors were eager to invest in their business through organic growth or by expansion into new geographies, but they were cautious about adding employees to their payroll. Enterprising contractors used specialty staffing firms to allow for low-risk expansion as a way to deal with the peaks and valleys in construction cycles.

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A Good Employment Policy Requires More Than Just Hiring

Business owners frequently ask, "What can I do to avoid a wrongful termination charge by an employee?" The easy answer: "Don't hire the wrong person for the job." The reality is, every business owner will face the unpleasant task of having to terminate an employee for one reason or another.

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Personnel Files: Are They a Legal Time Bomb?

An employee's personnel file should give an accurate and complete history of his/her employment with your organization. In case of a lawsuit, a judge and jury will expect documentation to back up your actions. Some documentation is required by law and could have very costly consequences in both time and money if they are not followed. For other records, you have a lot of leeway on exactly what you should file and how long you should keep it. This article will provide a basic guideline for personnel files. Always check that your state follows these basic federal guidelines.

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How To Get Paid Faster!

The construction business used to be easier. All you had do was design, bid, build and bill. Submitting bids that were clear complete, and competitive would get you more jobs. Doing high quality work, according to the plans and on-time, kept customers happy. And when you submitted bills in a timely manner, you always got paid. But what happened?

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Control Issues

Home automation, once the realm of gadget geeks and well-heeled customers, is gaining ground as costs come down and the technology becomes easier to use.

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What Happens When the Government Knocks on Your Door?

I nodded to the few people I knew in the room and took a seat quickly, hoping not to draw any attention - just wanting to observe and support a member through a challenging situation. Challenging is an understatement. The situation was an administrative hearing in the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry building with the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance making allegations of wrong-doing under the state prevailing wage laws.

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Free Agency

If you have read previous "From the Editor's Desk" columns, then you know I love using sports analogies. As a former collegiate athlete and overall sports enthusiast, I truly believe that the lessons and values garnered from participating in sports can positively impact a person's professional career.

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