welder with prism rainbow reflection

New Path to Skilled-Trade Jobs

Thanks to budget cuts and a growing emphasis on preparing teens to enter four-year colleges or universities, many trade-related programs have been reduced or cut completely from the public school system. This has shrunk the pool of qualified workers who can trade their caps and gowns for hard hats and steel toes upon graduation. One strategy delivering positive results is to tailor education that fits the prevailing college-bound mindset of today’s students. Such programs allow young people to have theRead More

Young Adult holding blueprints.

Investing in the future: Partnering with education

by Katrina Kersch             The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce states, “The business community is the number one consumer of the public education system and therefore must be an involved and engaged stakeholder in the education of America’s children.”             It is not unusual to hear employers talk about partnerships with education as having no real return on investment (ROI). I have personally heard the following statements from employers: “I attended three career fairs and sawRead More

Road construction

Mobile technology aims for safer highway work zones

More than half (54 percent) of highway contractors reported that motor vehicles had crashed into their construction zones during the past year, according to the results of a highway work zone study conducted in 2018 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). In response, association officials have launched a new mobile advertising campaign that urges drivers who pass through work zones to slow down and be alert. Forty eight percent of contractors who reported crashes on jobsites said driversRead More

Worker in PPE cutting steel beam

Creating a safety culture:
Focus on more than just recording zero incidents

by Bob Fitzgerald, Sr. Risk Control Consultant at Willis Towers Watson Great news! Your project achieved a safety milestone with zero OSHA-recordable injuries. Mission accomplished, right? Not entirely. Most safety practitioners insist that there is always room for improvement with safety practices and procedures. While the OSHA Recordable Incidence Rate (RIR) is a common and important metric for many organizations, some industry groups rank this indicator too high. Avoiding OSHA-recordable injuries is always a good thing, but claiming victory basedRead More

Rattlesnake in grass

Poisonous Snakes: How to avoid them and what to do if they bite

After a Texas man’s recent post of a video showing a den of rattlesnakes under his shed, we knew it was time to pull out one of our articles from 1969. This information is still helpful today. FROM OUR ARCHIVES: Usually rattlesnake bites are a rare occurrence but there is no point in putting out a welcome sign. Seldom, if ever, are such bites fatal to healthy adults if the victim refuses to panic. For those who do not know snakes: assume thatRead More

Lower equipment operating costs:
Simple ideas for reducing fuel-related expenses

Contractors know that today’s marketplace is more competitive than ever and any edge can make a difference. With ever-fluctuating fuel prices, one chief concern is how to bid a project, knowing that the job may not start for months. Do you bid at current prices and hope they stay stable, or do you plan for potential price increases? Either way, there are methods to offset the rising costs of running equipment. Some may be things you’re already doing, others areRead More

Workers and foreman uses virtual reality glasses

Construction goes high tech:
Wearable technology monitors health, safety, jobsite data

Nearly a decade ago, the use of electronic devices to transmit information about equipment operation earned widespread acceptance throughout the construction industry. Now called “telematics,” it was first used for tracking equipment. But, what about the health and safety of workers? Now there are ways to monitor that as well, with the use of wearable technology. At approximately the same time as machine telematics began earning favor, the advent of wearable tech occurred. Most people are familiar with it, thanks,Read More

Construction wages rising:
Firms paying more, but labor market remains tight

An Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) analysis showed construction wages on the rise, which seems to be attracting workers to return to the industry. The organization cautioned, however, that labor conditions still remain extremely tight. “Many firms are boosting pay and taking other steps to compete for a relatively small pool of available, qualified workers to hire,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s Chief Executive Officer. “While these measures appear to be luring construction workers back to the job market,Read More

Highway into city

Goal: No fatalities
Research suggests traffic-planning approaches would save lives

Research from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Bank concludes that if all countries adopted a Safe System or Vision Zero approach to safety and traffic infrastructure, nearly a million lives could be saved around the world each year. WRI analyzed data from 53 countries and found that using Safe System tactics achieved both the lowest rates of traffic deaths and the largest reduction in fatalities in a 20-year period. The report, “Safe and Sustainable: A Vision andRead More

Man painting outside

Adding the arts to technical skills can generate more productivity, innovation

by Stuart G. Walesh, PhD, PE In 1871, engineer James Watt patented a steam engine that produced continuous rotary motion. Steam engines both figuratively and literally drove the Industrial Revolution and introduced the expression “build a head of steam.” When critical pressure is applied to pistons, things happen. Construction-sector professionals and organizations must strive to achieve the same momentum by building a head of STEAM – that is, by adding the “A” to STEM, the already-developed skill levels of science,Read More