Falls are the leading cause of construction worker deaths. To help prevent on-the-job accidents, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued the following video to discuss the top five ways to prevent workplace falls.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers that the deadline for electronically submitting their 2017 Form 300A data to OSHA is July 1, 2018.
Electronic submissions are required of establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20 to 249 employees that are classified in specific industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses, which includes construction and waste collection and treatment jobs.
For more information, and a link to the Injury Tracking Application, visit the Injury Tracking Application Electronic Submission of Injury and Illness Records to OSHA.
Berkeley County, South Carolina, officials have awarded a contract to Liberty Tire Recycling, Pittsburgh, to clean up a tire recycling site for a price of $239 per ton, a report by WCIV says. The cleanup has a 10-month projected time frame.
The abandoned Viva tire recycling site in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, currently houses an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 tires. According to the report, the site got attention from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster after aerial footage depicting heaps of tires on the facility and inside trailers on the property was shown.
McMaster sent the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Columbia, South Carolina, a letter asking for action to be taken. The report says the DHEC estimated the site had at least 222,000 tires on-site, but McMaster estimated that number had tripled in his letter.
The DHEC granted $2 million for the project, the report says, which pays for the removal of 8,300 tires. Berkeley County Council Chairman Ken Gunn said in a Facebook post that if there are more tires than that, the issue of additional funding will be addressed at that time.
Berkeley County landfill scales will tare and weigh all trucks hauling the tires and spot inspections will be conducted to ensure water is removed from the tires when loading to determine correct tonnage, the report says.
Estimated construction unemployment rates for May fell in 45 states on a year-over-year basis, rose in four states and were unchanged in one state, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released June 26 by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).
The May not seasonally adjusted national construction unemployment rate fell 0.9 percent from May 2017 to 4.4 percent, the lowest May rate on record. At the same time, the construction industry employed 291,000 more workers nationally than in May 2017.
“May proved to be an excellent month for construction employment, despite the ongoing shortage of skilled construction workers,” Bernard Markstein, president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC, says. “In addition, contractors are contending with a rise in building materials prices and the likelihood of further increases due to proposed tariffs on many inputs into construction.”
Because these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, national and state-level unemployment rates are best evaluated on a year-over-year basis. The monthly movement of the rates still provides some information; although, extra care must be used in drawing conclusions from these variations.
From the beginning of the data series in January 2000 through May 2017, the national NSA construction unemployment rate from April to May has declined every year but one (May 2009). The rate for May 2018 was down as well, decreasing 2.1 percent from April. Among the estimated state construction unemployment rates, all were down except for one, Wyoming, which was up 0.9 percent from April.
The top five states
The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest were:
- Iowa, 0.9 percent
- Vermont, 1 percent
- South Dakota, 1.4 percent
- Maine and Montana (tie), 1.6 percent
Two of these top states were in the top five in April: Iowa and Vermont.
Iowa had the lowest rate in May, up from second-lowest rate in April based on revised data (previously reported as tied with North Dakota for the lowest rate). It was the state’s lowest May rate on record since the beginning of the estimates in 2000.
Vermont had the second-lowest May construction unemployment rate, up from tied with Utah for fourth lowest in April based on revised data (previously reported as sixth-lowest rate). It was also the state’s second-lowest May rate after last year’s 0.7 percent rate.
South Dakota had the third-lowest May construction unemployment rate, up from tied with Kansas and Wisconsin for 11th lowest in April. It was the state’s second-lowest May rate after the 1.2 percent rate in May 2015.
Maine and Montana tied for the fourth-lowest May rate. For Maine, this was a significant improvement from tied with Nevada for 28th lowest in April. The state also had the nation’s largest year-over-year drop in its rate, down 3.3 percent, and the third-largest monthly decline, down 5.4 percent. For Montana, May’s ranking was an improvement from eighth-lowest in April. For both Maine and Montana, it was their lowest May rate on record.
North Dakota, which had the lowest rate in April, fell to sixth lowest in May, 1.7 percent. Nonetheless, it was the state’s second-lowest May rate behind the 1.3 percent rate in May 2015.
Wyoming, which had the third-lowest rate in April, dropped to 14th lowest in May, 3.1 percent. It was the only state to post an increase in its rate from the previous month (up 0.9 percent) and one of the only four states to see an increase in its year-over-year rate (up 0.4 percent).
Utah, which tied with Vermont for the fourth-lowest rate in April, tied with Minnesota for the eighth lowest rate in May, 1.9 percent.
The bottom five states
The states with the highest NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest were:
- Kentucky, 7.6 percent
- Arkansas and West Virginia, 7.7 percent
- Mississippi, 10.3 percent
- Alaska, 11.1 percent
Four of these states—Alaska, Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia—were also among the bottom five states in April.
For the 11th month in a row, Alaska had the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Since these estimates are not seasonally adjusted, a high construction unemployment rate for the state often occurs from late fall through early spring. However, its May rate—its fifth-highest May rate over 19 years—continues a troubling trend. Still, the state posted the nation’s largest monthly decline, down 8.2 percent from April.
Mississippi had the second-highest rate in May—the same as in April—based on revised data (previously reported as the seventh-highest rate).
Arkansas and West Virginia tied for the third-highest rate in May. For Arkansas, that was the same as in April based on revised data (previously reported as tied for the second-highest rate with New Mexico). For West Virginia, that compared to fourth-highest rate in April based on revised data (previously reported as the sixth-highest rate). It was also the state’s lowest May rate since 7.2 percent in May 2013.
Kentucky had the fifth-highest rate in May compared to being tied with New York for the seventh-highest rate in April.
Houston-based Continuus Material Recovery LLC (CMR) has acquired the manufacturing assets of Des Moines, Iowa-based based ReWall Co. CMR says the move is designed to “create an entirely new value network in construction building materials, along with ushering in a new era for recycling.”
ReWall uses postconsumer and postindustrial mixed paper and plastic scrap in what it calls a proprietary process to convert it into 4-foot-by-8-foot building material boards that can be used to clad exterior walls and commercial roofs.
CEO Carl Rush told Recycling Today the company’s Everboard, the name it is using for its new product, performs “as well [as] or better than the materials that are available today in the marketplace.”
The company says that with China “closing its doors to United States recyclables, tens of thousands of tons of paper and plastic no longer have a clear path to reuse and are being sent to landfills. The ReWall process can address that problem and supply what CMR says is “rising consumer demand for durable sustainable building materials and corporate zero waste goals.”
“Throughout its history, ReWall has been a terrific example of innovative entrepreneurial spirit, and we are grateful to bring [its] energy and drive into the Continuus team," says Rush. “With this acquisition, we can accelerate waste reduction opportunities through low-cost, easily implementable solutions and generate a universal sustainable raw material for a multitude of new products.”
As the Everboard technology was coming out of the lab, Rush says China began implementing its new scrap import contamination standards. Rush says his company’s technology was “at the right place at the right time” because recyclables that do not meet China’s contamination standards can be diverted to CMR and used for its products. He says, “The less-than-desirable plastics and the less-than-desirable papers are just fine for our process.”
Rush says investing to boost ReWall’s capacity is in the works. “Design and engineering are underway for an even larger facility where we will be producing hundreds of millions of board feet of building materials, and then we’ll move into other areas. In the end, millions of tons of waste won’t end up in landfills.”
In its news release announcing the acquisition, CMR says the new product will be “a welcome opportunity for companies committed to zero waste goals.” By using Continuus roof cover boards for large commercial roof projects, companies can qualify for waste diversion volumes as an offset toward their zero-waste reporting, says the firm.
Rush also says the Everboard is durable, strong and unique: “It’s not a step down using recycled materials—it’s actually a better-performing product.”
“When I was running the recycling program for the state of California, we really didn’t have large enough markets for recycled material,” says Bridgett Luther, former president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. “Continuus has proven they can take mixed paper and plastics and use them to make products and create jobs here in the United States. That’s what recycling is really all about—closing the loop. Not just collecting the materials but turning them into products that can be used over and over.”
“I think we’ve got to crawl before we run, and the ReWall acquisition gives us the opportunity to start producing materials,” Rush says.“Value [is] created from this process—from this recovery and processing of these boards. There is value in those streams and we’re excited about the opportunity.”
CMR describes itself as a waste-to-resources company that operates the largest waste separation facility in the country. It says its mission is to capture and extract components that are currently discarded in waste streams and instead use them to manufacture new products.