[New York] City Council wants to track bad building contractors to stop construction accidents

BY GREG B. SMITH / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, May 11, 2015, 8:51 PM

With construction accidents on the rise, the City Council Monday pressed the Buildings Department to aggressively pursue “bad actor” contractors.

“People who are doing bad things are not being stopped,” Housing & Building Committee Chairman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) said. “We want to make sure we’re doing a lot more of connecting the dots.”

From 2013 to last year, the number of building permits rose 10% while the number of accidents jumped by 24%, Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler said at a housing committee hearing.

Labor and Employment Federal Regulatory Reporting and Other Requirements in the First Quarter of 2015

1/14/2015 by Robert Lian, Brian Glenn Patterson


There are several important dates that employers should keep in mind during the first quarter of 2015. While some are long-standing requirements, others are the product of recent regulatory action by the Obama administration.  Key dates appear below.
Effective January 1, 2015
Occupational Safety and Health Administration/U.S. Department of Labor Expansion of injury and illness reporting requirement


Historically, employers have been required to report to OSHA within eight hours any occupational fatalities and occupational injuries and illnesses resulting in the hospitalization of three or more employees. OSHA’s updated recordkeeping and reporting rule expands the list of injuries that employers must report to OSHA.  As of January 1, 2015, all employers must report the following:

Within 8 hours:

All work-related fatalities; and

Within 24 hours:

All work-related inpatient hospitalizations to any employee (no longer limited to three employee hospitalizations);

All work-related amputations; and

All work-related losses of an eye.

(Read More)


OSHA announces new requirements for reporting severe injuries and updates list of industries exempt from record-keeping requirements

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a final rule requiring employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule, which also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

The announcement follows preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2013 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries*.

“Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4,405 workers were killed on the job in 2013. We can and must do more to keep America’s workers safe and healthy,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them.”

(Read More)
(*Copy of BLS News Release)

OSHA: Hanford Contractor Must Pay $220,000 in Back Wages to Whistleblower

A contractor for the Department of Energy’s decommissioned Hanford nuclear site in Washington state has been ordered to reinstate an environmental specialist and pay more than $220,000 in back wages and other expenses after it fired the employee for voicing nuclear and environmental safety concerns.

OSHA took the actions against Washington River Protection Solutions after the employee repeatedly reported nuclear and environmental safety and permit and record keeping violations. When the employer advertised the vacant position, the employer refused to rehire the employee despite adequate qualifications and previous satisfactory performance reviews, according to OSHA.

“The people most able to identify hazards are often the workers who are threatened by them,” said Galen Lemke, OSHA’s acting regional administrator. “Employees must never be punished for sounding an alarm when they see a problem that could injure, sicken or kill someone, or harm the environment.”

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US Department of Labor’s OSHA Cites Duce Construction for Failing to Protect Employees from Trench Dangers

SAVOY, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Duce Construction Co. with four safety violations, including three serious and one willful, for failing to protect workers from trenching hazards at a job site on East Airport Road in Savoy. OSHA opened the February 2014 inspection under theNational Emphasis Program for trenching and excavation. Proposed penalties total $59,500.

“It is unacceptable for Duce Construction to allow workers into an unprotected trench. Each year, trench collapses result in numerous deaths and serious injuries,” said Thomas Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria. “Employers that specialize in this type of work must take all necessary precautions to ensure their employees have safe working conditions.”

There were two trench boxes used in the excavation. Workers were exposed to soil avalanching and cave-in hazards because the company failed to ensure that the boxes were used correctly. A willful violation was cited for failing to ensure workers were protected from these hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

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OSHA Accepting Susan Harwood Training Grant Applications

OSHA announced it is soliciting applications under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, with $7 million available for non-profit organizations, including community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, management associations, colleges, and universities.

According to OSHA, the program supports the creation of in-person, hands-on training and educational programs and the development of materials for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness, and fatality rates; and workers who are underserved, have limited English proficiency, or are temporary workers. The program awards two types of grants: Targeted Topic Training and Capacity Building. Each grant fund will have approximately $3.5 million in funding.

(Read More)

The Department of Labor Has Your Back

The federal Department of Labor (DOL) budget for fiscal year 2015 is official, and it includes new programs and additional protections for workers and employees. This is exciting news for millions of Americans, including the long-term unemployed, students who want to work when they graduate, and current employees whose employers may not be following the law as they should. Check out the changes that are being put in place to help you.