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Francis Lowe's Articles

OSHA Issues Final Rule on Walking/Working Surfaces

On Nov. 18, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued the Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems) final rule. This is an update for general industry and does not change the construction standard. This update could impact maintenance activities being completed on a facility. OSHA indicated that under the final rule they have worked to align the general industry standard with the construction standard. 

OSHA Issues Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs

On Dec. 1, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a document entitled recommended practices for safety and health programs in construction.  This document is meant to help small and medium contractors who may not have safety and health specialists on staff to create proactive programs to keep their workplace safe. The recommendations do not change any existing obligations from OSHA standards or create new legal obligations, rather is meant only as advisory. 

Find and Do Business With ABC Members at FindContractors.com

The new site allows members and staff to search for ABC members across the country by name, chapter, location, sales volume or type of construction. Plus, you can search for members that participate in STEP, have signed the Drug- and Alcohol-Free Workplace Pledge and those who have federal designations. Members can also manage their membership information, including verifying company name, chapter, CSI and NAICS codes and designations.

Congress Passes Temporary Resolution to Fund the Government

The U.S. Congress passed the Continuing Resolution, Stopgap Funding Bill (CR), Dec. 9 to prevent a government shutdown and continue funding for federal programs and services until April 28, 2017. The short-term spending bill maintains the current budget cap level of $1.07 trillion put into place under the Budget Control Act of 2011 and continues funding provisions included in currently enacted fiscal year 2016 Appropriations legislation. 

ABC Urges Congress to Prioritize Regulatory Reform in the 115th Congress

On Dec. 5, ABC, along with a broad coalition of 380 stakeholders, sent a letter to Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) urging him to make the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) an early priority for the 115th Congress.  The bill seeks to improve the transparency of regulations by requiring agencies to invest more effort earlier in the rulemaking process to gather data, evaluate alternatives, and receive public input about the costs and benefits of its rules.

New I-9 Form Beginning Jan. 2017

On Nov. 14, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised I-9 Form. Employers can begin to use the newly revised I-9 Form or continue to use the current version, which is dated 3/8/2013. However, beginning Jan. 22, 2017, all employers must use the revised I-9 Form (edition date 11/14/2016 noted at the bottom of the form) for all new hires to verify their employment eligibility, including U.S. citizens and non-citizens. Employers who fail to use the new form on or after Jan. 22 may be subject to penalties. 

ABC Announces New Resources Aimed at Preventing Suicides Through Industry Alliance

ABC announced new resources made available to its members through its membership in the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention. ABC joined the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA)-led alliance in October 2016 to help provide resources and disseminate information on suicide prevention and mental health awareness in the construction industry, with a goal of building a zero-suicide industry.

ABC Praises Injunction Against Department of Labor’s Controversial Overtime Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 23– Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) welcomed news that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) burdensome and costly overtime final rule. Prior to the injunction, the rule was scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 1 and would have doubled the current minimum salary threshold for employees that are exempt from overtime pay and automatically increased it every three years.

Page Mechanical Group Launches NCCER-Accredited Apprenticeship Program

ABC member Page Mechanical Group Inc. (PMG) reached a major milestone in its employee education program in October by launching its own apprenticeship training program. The program is accredited through NCCER and offers PMG employees an in-house apprenticeship training program in pipefitting, welding, sheet metal fabrication and insulation trades. 

Fall 2016 Regulatory Alert: Learn about Important Updates on Federal Rules and Regulations

ABC's Regulatory Alert, released Nov. 22, provides an overview of federally mandated rules, regulations and enforcement actions from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and other federal agencies.