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

Hand drill cutting concrete

New OSHA silica dust exposure limits

A new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule regarding respirable crystalline silica dust in the construction industry requires covered employers to comply with stricter exposure limits and take steps to protect workers. OSHA reduced the exposure for construction activities to 20 percent of the previous permissible limit (from 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 50) averaged throughout an eight-hour shift. The previous standard had been in place since 1971. These new regulations for the construction industry wentRead More

Tax Prep on desk

Investment Incentive: New tax law allows bonus depreciation on used equipment

Used equipment buyers are the recipients of expanded benefits with the passage of last year’s tax law, including the ability to combine Section 179 Expensing and first-year bonus depreciation. Previously, bonus depreciation was limited to new purchases only. Section 179 Expensing by itself can be significant, and generally companies use this deduction first. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act doubled the deduction limit to $1 million on qualifying equipment purchases, including previously owned machinery. It also raised the spending capRead More

SAFETY STUDY: Time of day, size of firm play role in construction fatalities

Understanding why, when and how construction fatalities occur and helping construction firms implement the most effective safety measures in response are vital to reducing work-related accidents and deaths. To that end, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) conducted a study, Preventing Fatalities in the Construction Industry, during a three-year period in association with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech University. Researchers studied every construction fatality during that time span. Best time for safety talks? The study dispels the beliefRead More

Action Camera on Helmet

CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE: Drone and action-camera footage takes marketing up a level

Looking to give your next marketing campaign a little more punch? Adding a vibrant photo or stunning video may do the trick. These images can be captured with conventional cameras by scouting a site to set up a shot with extreme angles or interesting lighting, but finding that perfect location takes time and capital. Another way to achieve eye-catching visuals is by adding a drone or an action camera, such as a GoPro, to your arsenal. Sweeping landscape shots, underwaterRead More

ConExpo Trade Show Floor

TRADE SHOWS: An excellent way to reach your target market

Social media and the Internet have changed marketing’s landscape throughout the last few years. Many companies are relying more on these avenues to get their brand’s message in front of customers. They can be effective, but how sure are you that your target audience is seeing what you want them to? Traditional forms of marketing, such as industry trade shows, are an excellent way to “see the right people.” Individuals attending these events are specifically looking and in the marketRead More

Tech working on machine

BUILDING THE FUTURE: New service tech training program

When Ann Pollert watched members of the inaugural class for the Komatsu Diesel Technician Program at North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, it was the culmination of 10 years of planning and an important step in helping the heavy equipment industry address its shrinking workforce. “This was a goal of ours for a while,” said Pollert, who is the Technician and Career Developer at General Equipment & Supplies, Inc., a KomatsuRead More

construction worker looking off in the distance

SAFETY ECONOMICS 101: Creating a safety culture

(Part three of three) In the first segment of this blog, we highlighted some of the issues that companies encounter when implementing a proactive safety program. Part two focused on ideas to strengthen your safety program and encourage employees to take part in the process.  This final segment addresses the importance of creating a safety culture within your organization. Involving all employees in the pursuit of safe practices and holding regular training sessions are part of a comprehensive mind-set thatRead More

Construction worker on scaffolding

SAFETY ECONOMICS 101: Safety is a team effort

(Part two of three) In the first segment of this blog series, we highlighted some of the issues that companies encounter when implementing a proactive safety program. Part two focuses on ideas to strengthen your safety program and involve employees in the process. Getting started preparing a written safety plan is not difficult. If you don’t have one, you need one immediately. If you do have a program and aren’t using it, pull it out and go through it carefully.Read More

SAFETY ECONOMICS 101: Proactive safety approach boosts productivity and provides a competitive edge

(This blog post is a series. Part one of three) Through the years, safety has become one of the most important aspects of the construction industry, if not the most important. Legislation protecting workers from harm is extensive, as lawmakers require businesses to put worker safety ahead of profitability. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your business will lose money by implementing sound practices. As you know, OSHA requires companies to have a safety program that outlines good practices and policiesRead More