Laura M. Porinchak / July 2015
These dog days of summer often make me think about the men and women who work in construction. When you work on buildings that haven’t yet been enclosed or are outdoors, you may be even more at risk than usual. I suppose we should be grateful that the work is on the books, but let’s not take any chances.
OSHA says that in 2012, 31 heat-related worker deaths and 4,120 heat-related worker illnesses were reported. OSHA has a heat illness website (https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html) and an app that lets you monitor the heat index at your work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index along with reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. You’ll find the app here: www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html. The website is available in English and Spanish, and it has plenty of useful information that you should check out, if you haven’t already.
But lately, even the lucky contractors who work in air-conditioned buildings (or trailers) are feeling the heat. When giving their regional updates at the board meeting at the end of April, many AWCI directors reported good backlogs and increased man-hours—and current or impending labor shortages. One director said his region’s unions are considering asking some retirees to come back to work.
To help, our first article asked AWCI member contractors about managing a construction workforce and pushing programs what will put trained workers in the field faster. But, as the article points out, only three in 10 workers are happy, according to a Gallup poll, and 29 percent of those are in construction. So there’s that. I mean, not only do you have to the workers in the first place, now you’ve got to keep them happy too? This article begins on page 32.
After that, you want to get paid, so just continue reading on over to page 40. This is where Doug Bellamy, author of our Management Desk column and a former contractor, uses his firsthand experiences to help you get the money you’ve earned. Here he discusses everything from camping out at your debtor’s office, to getting legal assistance until you get paid. You might lose some friends along the way, but were they really your friends to begin with?
Finally, meet AWCI’s new president, John Hinson. His term started July 1, and he’s ready to go by taking on the issues of worker misclassification and immigration. If you haven’t met him yet, turn to page 48.
Last but not least, we are sad to say good-bye to Lee Jones, AWCI’s director of technical services and the author of our Wachuwannano column for a total of eight years. He has also spent some time with our friends at the Gypsum Association. Lee came to us with a strong knowledge of walls, specifically how they do with paint, and he is leaving us knowing all about drywall, fireproofing, steel framing and so much more. He’s going to be hard to replace, and he will be missed.