Attending to the safety, security and well-being of all craftspersons is the foundation for building and sustaining a high performance workforce. That means establishing high safety standards and ensuring workers' compensation coverage. It also means that FUTA, SUTA and FICA are paid on behalf of all craftspersons.

From the window of my home. I can see two cranes against the skyline. I live in Houston and over the past few years, cranes have become a pretty common site. With binoculars, I can see the sole operator in his solitary perch. All day he swings the long lateral arm. Sometimes it is a bucket of cement, other times long steel rods and other assorted materials. Any other method of moving so varied payloads would take a great deal more time and human power.    Read more » about Drill Bits

Millennium Tower in San Francisco is still leaning. We called it the Leaning Tower of San Francisco in an earlier post when we explained that the tower, completed in 2011, has sunk about 16 inches after six years, two times the amount expected over the 50 year life of the project. It is leaning 2 inches.

It is built over landfill, and in an apparent effort to reduce development costs, the piers under the building do not reach bedrock. Additionally, an adjacent transit station being developed has been accused of contributing, if not causing, Millennium tower to lean.    Read more » about Leaning Tower Gains Lawsuit

A construction company in Washington state faces stiff fines for "numerous repeated safety violations" that reportedly "exposed workers to potential falls and other hazards at a residential construction site." The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries slapped J&I Construction with fines resulting from multiple violations. Now the company owes more than $200,000.

More from the Insurance Journal:

The three violations, each with a penalty of $42,000, were for not providing proper fall protection to three employees who were working on the top edge of a wall nearly 20 feet off the ground, and the company has been cited two other times for the same issue, according to L&I.

J & I was also cited for three repeat violations for not having a plan outlining the fall hazards on the specific job, exposing workers to unguarded wall openings that they could fall through and for not ensuring that workers didn’t stand or step on the top of a self-supporting ladder. Each violation carries a penalty of $21,000.

The company was cited for two additional repeat violations for not having railings on open-sided stairs to protect employees from falls ($5,600), and for not ensuring that employees wore hard hats where there was a danger of flying or falling objects ($4,200).    Read more » about Construction Firm Hit with Major Fine for Safety Violations

Hi there. The Chamberlin Man here.

Well, here we are. We’ve made another full lap around the sun. Welcome to 2017! It’s hard for an old guy like me from another generation to believe we’ve made it this far.

It’s also hard for me to believe how far technology has come. I just got my copy of the Winter Chamberlin News and read all about Electronic Leak Detection, or as the cool cats in the know call it, “ELD.” Let me tell you friends, if you’re curious about ELD methods, efficiencies and limitations, this story serves up some great insights. Take a look to get a pulse on ELD and see if it’s right for your next project.

The newsletter also features a project of which the Chamberlin team is particularly proud, the Hallmark Senior Living Community in Houston. Because the work was taking place while folks were home, this restoration project included a series of precautions and extra communications ensuring residents weren’t disrupted in the least.   Read more » about My, How Far We’ve Come!

It turns out that it is safer to be a construction worker on a skyscraper than on a shorter building. According to a report in Commercial Observer, the safety measures utilized on major buildings that are 10 stories or more are much more stringent than the those put on minor buildings (less than 10 stories), and historically this has resulted in more fatal accidents on shorter building projects:

“From 2010 to 2015, there were 1,446 accidents on construction sites, resulting in 40 deaths, and 75 percent of those fatalities happened in buildings with less than 10 stories, according to a 2016 report by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)”

Although accidents happen on both tall and short building projects, safety violations are more likely to accompany accidents on minor projects because of the lack of safety oversight.    Read more » about Report: The Taller the Building, the Safer the Jobsite

After an increase in construction related deaths, the New York City Council is poised to consider a raft of proposals aimed at increasing safety on jobsites throughout the largest city in America. Crane safety is on the minds of council members as is the oversight of smaller jobsites. 

If this package is passed, there would be stricter monitoring of “troubled actors” and increased penalties for lawbreakers.

More details from a site called Crain's New York Business:

The legislation, called the Construction Safety Act, is led by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, but some elements could face resistance from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has ambitious goals for housing development and has clashed with construction-worker unions. The mayor has already expressed skepticism with one of the council measures, a bill to require training programs for construction workers.   Read more » about New York City Council Moves to Crack Down on Construction Site Safety

The following article is a guest piece by Jose Garza, Executive Director of Workers Defense Project:

Today, the middle class is out of reach for too many men and women working in the Texas construction industry.

That hasn’t always been the case.

After serving in the Pacific during World War II, my grandfather, Saul, returned to Texas in 1945 hopeful and optimistic about the future. He got his start working for a general contractor in San Antonio where he picked up the skills that would  lay the foundation for the life that he and his family hoped to build.

Eventually, through his hard work and good fortune, he was hired by the Texas Highway Department. There, he earned good wages and had access to benefits that allowed him to raise eight children and put several of them through college.    Read more » about Garza: Building a Better Texas, Together

As construction companies continue to look for ways to grow a sustainable workforce whose craft professionals are well trained in skilled craft trades as well as in essential safety procedures, TEXO has developed an initiative to help commercial construction companies achieve the latter.  TEXO is a large trade association of builders in the Dallas/Fort Worth region of Texas, and Safety First is a safety training course which companies can send employees to for an interactive orientation in how to keep themselves and others safe on jobsites.  Classes are offered in either English or Spanish, and participants must be pre-registered as the classes usually fill up in advance and are limited to approximately 40 students each.

Todd Holtz, Vice President of Safety at TEXO, had this to say about the program:

“TEXO’s Safety First program is a hands-on, interactive safety orientation for commercial construction employees.  In place since 2013 and endorsed by industry leaders in the field of construction safety, participants have the opportunity to handle and wear the PPE they are expected to use on a jobsite, in addition to learning about the safe use of tools in their trade.   Read more » about Texas Construction Companies “Do the Right Thing” for Jobsite Safety

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