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Safety & Health

July 20, 2016

OSHA, EPA and FWS Finalize New Maximum Civil Penalties

The financial penalties that federal agencies may impose on the regulated community as restitution (or a deterrent) for any violation of statutes/regulations or permit requirements are about to go way up, some by as much as 150 percent.  The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – to name a few – all have finalized penalty increases that take effect this summer.

April 18, 2016

Court officials announced late last week that the AGC of America backed lawsuit to block the Obama administration’s misguided new silica rule will be heard in the D.C. Circuit Court.  AGC, via the Louisiana AGC, filed suit in the 5th Circuit earlier this month to block the measure arguing that the administration established a new standard that is beyond the technological limits of current dust removal equipment.  However, a number of other groups filed similar motions in other court circuits, forcing judicial officials to select a venue via random lottery.

April 4, 2016

The Louisiana chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America today filed a challenge to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) final respirable crystalline silica rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  In doing so, the chapter joined a number of local industry partners who are also concerned about the impact of the rule on the construction industry. 

October 30, 2015

The Bipartisan Budget Act removes a statutory exemption from penalties under certain statutes, including the Occupational Safety & Health Act, from inflation for civil penalties. Unlike other similar civil penalties in federal law, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) civil penalties have been explicitly exempted from inflation since they were created in 1990. Under the Budget Act, OSHA will now have to report on their adjustment in their annual financial statements and via the Government Accountability Office. The bill also allows the agency to use a “catch up” formula to make up to 150 percent adjustments in the penalty in the first year to meet current inflation levels. The Secretary could limit the increases if there’s a negative economic impact that outweighs benefits and any proposed increase in penalties would go through the formal notice and comment process.

May 21, 2015

AGC of America joined with a broad coalition of employers, labor unions and other entities to provide detailed comments to the Treasury Department’s request for information on implementing the 40-percent excise tax on high-cost, employer-sponsored health coverage, also known as the “Cadillac Tax”. The controversial tax has been delayed until 2018, but employers – notably those with labor agreements that stretch into 2018 – are beginning to anticipate the ramifications from the tax.

September 24, 2014

AGC of America will provide highway work zone safety training classes next year thanks to a federal safety grant the association earned. The association will use the $135,000 Susan Harwood Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to offer the safety training classes designed to prevent injuries among highway, street and bridge construction workers, officials said.

April 7, 2014

Forty-five percent of highway contractors had motor vehicles crash into their construction work zones during the past year, according to the results of a new highway work zone study conducted by AGC. 

March 13, 2014

Gray Construction of Lexington, Ky. was named the nation’s safest construction company in 2013 by AGC of America.  The association, which oversees the Willis Construction Safety Excellence Awards, an annual ranking of construction safety programs, noted that 51 other companies were selected as winners for the quality of their safety programs.

March 7, 2014

On Nov. 7, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a proposed rule to amend its current recordkeeping regulations to require the electronic submission of injury and illness information. The proposed rule would require construction firms with more than 250 employees to electronically submit detailed records on a quarterly basis to OSHA, which would then be made available to the public online. OSHA is also proposing that firms with 20-249 employees be required to submit only their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses once a year.

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