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OSHA Issues Final Rule on Beryllium Exposure

On Jan. 9, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule on beryllium exposure. In the final rule, OSHA includes the construction industry; this was expanded from the proposed stage which focused on general industry. Beryllium is a lightweight but strong metal used in a number of industries.  Read the rest of entry »

OFCCP Announces 2017 Veterans Hiring Benchmark for Federal Contractors

On March 31, 2017, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) updated its Annual Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act Benchmark Database to reflect a new hiring benchmark of 6.7 percent.  The new benchmark is slightly lower than the previous year’s benchmark of 6.9 percent.  Read the rest of entry »

2017 Craft Professional of the Year Receives Ram Truck

Adam Ruff of Ely, Iowa, field supervisor at Price Electric, received a brand-new 2017 Ram Tradesman Crew Cab truck from Pat McGrath Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in March. The truck is one of the prizes awarded to the 2017 ABC Craft Professional of the Year, which is presented annually to a construction craft professional who excels in his or her field while also demonstrating a commitment to safety, training and the merit shop philosophy each year. Ruff received the honor at ABC’s Careers in Construction awards ceremony on March 3 during ABC’s Workforce Week ’17. The truck is paid for by the award’s exclusive sponsor, Tradesmen International, with custom upgrades donated by ABC business partner Ram Commercial.
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Trump Administration Approves Keystone XL Pipeline Permit

On March 24, the U.S. Department of State signed a permit approving the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, which would ship crude from Canada's western oil-sands region to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The memorandum invited TransCanada to re-submit its application for a presidential permit for the construction of the 1,600-mile pipeline and requested that the State Department reach a final permitting decision within 60 days. Read the rest of entry »

House Committee Approves ABC-supported Bill to Increase Competition, Lower Costs on Federal Construction Contracts

ABC applauded the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s favorable reporting of the Fair and Open Competition Act (H.R. 1552) out of committee. The bill, introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) and passed by voice vote, will boost competition on government construction projects and reduce building costs to taxpayers by preventing federal agencies from forcing contractors to sign controversial project labor agreements in order to compete to build federal and federally assisted construction contracts.  Read the rest of entry »

Health Care Update: the American Health Care Act

During the week of March 20, Republican Leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives scheduled a vote on H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would have repealed and replaced the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ABC joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several other organizations on March 22, in sending a letter to the House in support of AHCA. However, by late Friday afternoon on March 24, House Republican leadership pulled the bill due to a lack of votes needed for passage. Based on recent statements made by President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, focus will now turn to tax reform and infrastructure spending.   Read the rest of entry »

Construction Coalition Requests Extension for Silica Compliance

On March 10, 2017, the ABC-led Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) sent a letter to the acting secretary of Labor requesting that the department delay enforcement of OSHA’s final silica rule by one year, saying that “Construction employers across all trades are finding compliance extremely difficult if not impossible for many job tasks.” 
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Association Health Plans Legislation Passes in the House

On March 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101), which would allow small businesses access to quality, affordable health care coverage through Association Health Plans (AHPs). The bill passed by a vote of 236-175. Read the rest of entry »

Senate HELP Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing on Secretary of Labor Nominee R. Alexander Acosta

On March 22, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a confirmation hearing on the nomination of R. Alexander Acosta to serve as United States Secretary of labor. President Trump nominated Acosta to head the U.S. Department of Labor On Feb. 16. Acosta’s nomination must be approved by the HELP Committee before the full Senate can vote on his nomination.  Read the rest of entry »

ABC Report: Safety Best Practices Can Make Construction Companies 770% Safer

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) recently released its 2017 Safety Performance Report to further the construction industry’s understanding of how to make jobsites safer through its Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP). Packed with infographics and practical takeaways, the report documents the dramatic impact of using proactive safety practices to reduce recordable incidents by up to 87 percent, making the best-performing companies 770 percent safer than the industry average.  Read the rest of entry »