This week marks the fourth year construction companies come together to observe Construction Safety Week, an annual construction industry-wide education awareness event. During Safety Week, construction companies work to educate, inspire and share best practices. Approximately 150,000 construction-site injuries occur each year and Safety Week programs aim to raise employee awareness about preventable workplace injuries.
This year's Safety Week theme, "It's in Our Hands," emphasizes the personal stake of each worker in safety, as well as puts a focus on hand safety. Hand injuries are second only to back strains as a cause for missed work days in the construction industry. According to government and industry statistics, hand injuries represent nearly one-third of all reported workplace incidents. Approximately 75 percent of industrial injuries that cause partial disability involve the hands, and over 16 million individuals seek emergency care each year for hand injuries.
New York's City Council passed a new safety bill last week, which changes how construction deaths are reported under penalty of fines up to $25,000. All people injured or accidents resulting in a death must be reported to the Dept. of Buildings; this includes injured workers or members of the public on the construction site. The city will be required to track and publish a full list of all deaths and injuries at construction sites.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration's (OSHA) National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls, an annual weeklong campaign focused on preventing deaths and injuries on construction sites, starts next week. The Stand-Down is a nationwide effort focusing on fall hazards and reinforcing the importance of fall prevention. Falls caused the highest number of industry deaths in the construction industry and accounted for almost 40% of all construction fatalities in 2015. We applaud the industry's effort in promoting worker safety and education.
President Trump selected Philip A. Miscimarra to chair the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Miscimarra served as a member of the NLRB from 2013-2017 and has been the acting chair shortly after Trump took office.
Miscimarra was part of the dissent on the National Labor Relations Board's 2015 Browning-Ferris ruling, which refined the standard for determining joint-employer status. The new joint employer standard expanded potential liability for any employer that uses workers employed by another company through contractor, staffing, and other arrangements. The D.C. Circuit Court heard arguments in the Browning-Ferris appeal in March. We'll keep a close eye out for this ruling.
Making Our Way Around The Country
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Last week, the Senate confirmed R. Alexander Acosta as the next secretary of labor. Acosta was previously confirmed by the Senate when he was a federal prosecutor, a civil rights chief at the Justice Department, and a member of the National Labor Relations Board. Acosta was sworn in last Friday and now leads the Department of Labor, which enforces more than 180 federal laws covering 10 million employers and 125 million workers.
The Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission submitted proposed amendments to the governor and Legislature this week. One of the proposed amendments would require documents to be filed via electronic data interchange effective Jan. 1, 2018. Some of the proposed amendments also include parties to redact all but the last five digits of a Social Security number on pleadings, forms, and other documents and revoke the opt-out rules (Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act), which was ruled unconstitutional.
About The Way
The Way is Gallagher Bassett's weekly governmental briefing on state and federal affairs that affect our industry. We thank you for starting your Wednesday morning with us. Please be sure to follow #GBTheWay for additional news and updates as we make our way throughout the country on the issues affecting our industry. For more information, please connect with GB on LinkedIn, follow us on Twitter, or contact the authors, Greg McKenna or Cari Miller, directly.