Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

A New York Times report this week digs into why construction deaths have been rising in New York. The numbers are unfortunate and they underscore the need for better-trained craft professionals on jobsites in NYC and all around the world. From the report:

"Eight people have died in construction-related accidents this year, according to the city’s Buildings Department, as many as in all of 2014; the year before, three died. Not since 2008, during the height of the last building boom, has the number of construction accidents been so high, when a rash of episodes, including two falling cranes, claimed 19 lives.

The number of accidents has also been on the rise, with 231 in 2014, up 24 percent from the year before. (Accident figures for 2015 were unavailable.)"   Read more » about NYT reports that construction deaths are on the rise in New York City

As we’ve been telling you on Construction Citizen, the ABC Houston Industrial Committee is hard at work figuring out the absolute best way forward for construction training. The committee has come up with recommendations for the full ABC Houston Board and we’d like to share some of them with you.

The committee agreed at a recent meeting that we’ll know success has been reached when we have a coordinated pathway for construction training and available projects can be completed locally within project goals on a sustained basis by identifying and partnering with existing resources.    Read more » about Setting a Successful Course for Training in the Skilled Trades

The president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, resigned today after being re-elected in the midst of an unprecedented scandal over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Scandal is not new to the global scene, nor is the seedy underbelly of the construction industry in the countries where major facilities are needed to host the games. In this case, there are five stadiums being built for Qatar 2022, but recently, amid the scandal, the underbelly of global construction has once again been exposed in an investigative report by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

In a recent article by ABC, the kafala system of forced labor, “kin to slave labor” even though the world’s richest per capita country, “is spending $260 billion building the stadiums, public transport systems, freeways, hotels and apartments to stage the tournament.”    Read more » about Scandal and Slum Conditions in Qatar for 2022 Games

As Safety Professionals, we are dedicated to the protection of people, property and the environment.  Our success is often measured in the amount of human suffering we prevent as we chart OSHA rates for recordable injuries, lost work day cases or cases of restricted work activity.  We attempt to quantify our success as we compare past results against current performance.  If the needle trends downward, we pat ourselves on the back, notify management and tout the success of our safety efforts.  We become singular in focus as if the success or failure of our organization is predicated on this sole outcome.  This type of thinking causes us to be pigeon holed in our world, many times, outside of the heartbeat of the organization and its leadership.  We are brought into the Board room to report on a certain situation and promptly escorted out once our information and expertise is no longer needed.  It is a sad reality that this is how a large majority of safety professionals operate.  If this is how you operate, the question becomes, “why should I change and if I do, how do I change?”

To address the question of “why should I change,” I challenge you to view safety through a performance based looking glass.  As safety professionals, much of our time is spent on research of standards and creating policies and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable governmental standards.  This methodology breeds a compliance or prescriptive based approach that restricts our influence throughout an organization.   Read more » about Viewing Safety through a Performance Based Looking Glass: Part 1 of 2

2015 CEFGA CareerExpo and SkillsUSA State Championships Draw Record Attendance and Link Students and Industry Professionals

Editor’s note:  The following article by Allen Allnoch, feature writer for the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), was written following the March 26-27, 2015 event and was originally included in CEFGA’s latest electronic newsletter.  Reprinted with permission.

As Bryan Tapia walked toward the rear entrance of the Georgia International Convention Center, he tried to get his mind around what he had just experienced. Behind him was a dizzying array of earth-moving equipment, and he and two Coosa High classmates, Eric Vargas and Israel Domingo, had sat in the driver’s seat and operated each one.

“I’m speechless,” said a wide-eyed Tapia, an 11th-grader who was attending his first CEFGA CareerExpo and SkillsUSA State Championships. "I thought it would be something where you could look at a lot of things, but there are a lot of opportunities where you can actually work the equipment and really have a hands-on experience. It’s mind-blowing.”   Read more » about The Connection Zone

The news team at WFAA Television in Dallas/Fort Worth has done an oustanding job of highlighting the problem of worker misclassification. In their latest installment, reporter Byron Harris focuses on the story of Belen Valasquez:

"He has a vague memory of the construction fall that paralyzed him.

"I think I fell with my head doubled over," he said in Spanish. "I felt like I couldn't breathe. I got the wind knocked out of me."

Velasquez faces a lifetime of medical care that could total more than $11 million. He is now a tetrapelgic: He can't move his legs, and can barely move his arms.   Read more » about WFAA Report: Independent contracting costs workers and taxpayers [VIDEO]

In a previous entry, I wrote about the grand opening event for ABC Greater Houston’s new office, training, and meeting facility in northwest Houston.  The gathering of ABC members enjoyed the chance to tour the renovated building and to meet and network with each other.

After the group had been given a chance to sample the bountiful spread of complimentary food and drinks, Russell Hamley, President of Associated Builders and Contractors Greater Houston Chapter, greeted the crowd with a few welcoming remarks in which he recognized the elected officials who were there and the donors to the New ABC Office Building Fund, who had made the purchase and renovation of the facility possible.  He offered special thanks to Burton Construction and to PDG Architects who had worked so hard to bring the building into its now beautiful and functional reality.

Darlene East, President and COO of Holes, Inc. and 2015 Chairperson for ABC Greater Houston, next recognized the Planning and Design Committee, the Construction Committee, and the Fundraising Committee – each comprised of ABC Members who had given so much of their time and effort toward bringing the new facility into being.  Russell Hamley concluded the presentation before returning the guests to their socializing.  He said:   Read more » about ABC Houston Opens New Facility to Meet Needs of the Houston Construction Industry: Part 2 of 2

Contributing Parties- OSHA, Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston (ABC-Houston), American Subcontractors Associations-Houston Chapter (ASA-HC), Gulf Coast Safety Institute of the College of the Mainland (GCSI-COM) and the Scaffold and Access Industry Association (SAIA):

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will enter into an alliance with the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston (ABC-Houston), American Subcontractors Associations-Houston Chapter (ASA-HC), Gulf Coast Safety Institute of the College of the Mainland (GCSI-COM) and the Scaffold and Access Industry Association (SAIA) to protect workers from exposure to fall hazards in the construction industries on May 12, 2015 at an event hosted by Lahyer, Inc.    Read more » about OSHA, ABC-Houston, ASA-HC, GCSI-COM and SAIA Launch New Alliance to Protect Workers from Falls