Construction employment increased in 329 out of 358 metro areas between April and May as a new survey finds that two-thirds of highway construction firms had at least one crash in the past year at highway work zones they operate. Officials with the Associated General Contractors of America and HCSS, which conducted the survey, urged drivers to slow down and be aware while driving through highway work zones during their summer travels.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a compliance directive designed to ensure uniformity in inspection and enforcement procedures when addressing respirable crystalline silica exposures in general industry, maritime, and construction.

Trench Safety Stand Down (TSSD) Week was held across the nation by the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), and as part of that event the association's Middle Tennessee Chapter held its first TSSD Week Contest. The contest was motivation for local companies to participate in this innovative educational opportunity that teaches thousands of construction industry employees the simple message, "be safe around trenches." The winner of the Middle Tennessee Chapter's 2020 TSSD Week Contest is Civil Constructors LLC.

The Texas Department of Transportation El Paso District will implement multiple safety projects after being awarded nearly $40 million in safety funds. The funding is part of the "Road to Zero" initiative the Texas Transportation Commission committed to nearly a year ago.

The New York City Department of Buildings released new COVID-19 safety guidelines for property owners and contractors as 33,556 non-essential construction sites get back to work as part of New York City's entrance into Phase One of New York State's reopening plan, which started June 8, 2020.

This is the third article covering OSHA's three steps to operator qualification. The first, "OSHA Takes Training to a Higher Level," (Crane Hot Line, June 2019, page 12) covers OSHA's expansion of operator training. The second article, "Misunderstanding Crane Operator Certification," (Crane Hot Line, July 2019, page 12) covers unreasonable expectations regarding operator certification.

The two biggest factors that contribute to crane failures are fluid leakage in the outrigger hydraulic cylinder and ground conditions, or the supporting structure for the outrigger pads. Ensuring that your crane is operating on firm, level and drained ground per OSHA's Cranes & Derricks in Construction rule, starts with a proper inspection of the crane and the job site.

June 2020 has been declared "Trench Safety Month" by the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), further highlighting its innovative educational and safety program, the annual "Trench Safety Stand Down" week held this year between June 15-19.

Portland-based Bremik Construction/MB Structures, Oregon City-based Coffman Excavation, Clackamas-based General Sheet Metal Works Inc., Aloha-based Inline Commercial Construction, Salem-based Mid-Valley Commercial Construction and Portland-based P&C Construction were honored for having one of the nation's best construction safety and wellness plans in 2019 by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Requiring the federal government to impose a single, emergency standard for coping with COVID-19 is misguided because workers are better protected from the virus by construction industry best practices rather than a rigid "one-size-fits-all" regulation.

Ramtech continues to gain momentum with its wireless security solutions. The company has introduced two new products - WES CONNECT and REACT - to help owners and construction professionals save lives, protect assets, and gain valuable insight to site safety performance using real-time data.