By now, everyone knows someone effected by the opioid epidemic. However, as construction employers, we must all pause and consider this issue as an industry.
In August, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) released a report examining opioid related deaths by industry from 2011 to 2015. The historical data available paints a dire portrait of the construction occupation in the face of the drug crisis which is surely to continue increasing as more recent data is also examined.
Across the state in this 4 year period, the DPH was able to identify 4,302 opioid related deaths for employed residents. Of these, 1,155 or 26.8% were construction workers!
These numbers are staggering to consider with only agricultural worker and fishermen even coming close to the rate at which construction workers are dying.
Now, obviously, these rates are probably less in the union building trades, but nevertheless a breakdown of deaths by the trade reveals that the worst 3 trades for opioid related deaths are represented by the BTEA, Laborers (34%), Carpenters (18%) and Painters (8%).
Currently, the BTEA is considering ways in which to raise awareness of these issues and inform our employers and their employees of the dangers of opioids and how to get help.
Below is a copy of the report. Please read it and consider what you can do to help!
MA Report on Opioid Deaths
In 2017, Massachusetts created the Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) form that employers with six or more employees must submit annually starting November 30.
The Department of Revenue guidance provides that any employer who has or had six or more employees in any month during the preceding twelve months will be required to complete the HIRD form annually. The form is designed to collect information relating to an employer’s health insurance offerings and help DOR identify MassHealth enrollees with access to qualifying employer-sponsored insurance who may be eligible for the MassHealth Premium Assistance Program.
This newsletter has previously discussed the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) fees being charged to employers if their employees enroll in the MassHealth program. Recently, the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) finalized regulations allowing a hardship exemption from the fines for employers who are either: (1) suffering a financial hardship such that payment of the assessment is likely to result in closure of the business or a significant loss of employment; (2) subject to multiple assessments in a year; or (3) facing a significant employee turnover rate.
Employers must file their HIRD forms by November 30, 2018 and each year on November 30th. In order to comply with the reporting requirement, employers must submit the HIRD form through the MassTaxConnect (MTC) web portal. If an employer uses a payroll company to file tax information on the MTC, the HIRD form may be filed by either the employer or the payroll company. However, employers are responsible to ensure that the HIRD form is filed.
We have also heard that union employers are being assessed the EMAC fines as a result of employees not being covered by union healthcare plans until they have achieved the required hourly threshold. After some digging, we have found that a form may be filed by employers if they are incorrectly assessed these penalties despite offering union health benefits.
Below is a form for employers to download and submit upon receiving their quarterly EMAC fines. We encourage our employers to file it along with a letter from the union benefit funds stating that contributions are being made for the employee.
EMAC Employee Information Form Q3 2018
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) is the state regulator responsible for enforcing anti-harassment and nondiscrimination regulations on business. They provide a model Sexual Harassment Policy for use by employers. The BTEA has revised this policy to highlight the areas where our members must edit the document in order to make it their own. We recommend that when identifying who may receive a complaint of harassment that our members also acknowledge the role the union can play in receiving a complaint and passing the information onto the employers.
You may download the BTEA Model Sexual Harassment Policy here.
The Building Trades Employers’ Association would like to issue a reminder to all employers that the effective date for the new Federal Crane Operator Certification Rule is November 10, 2018 for construction employers.
Under this rule, the Massachusetts Hoisting and Rigging License WILL NOT count for compliance. Only exams that contain a written and a practical portion will meet the federal criteria for compliance. We recommend ensuring that all of your crane operators have received the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) or Crane Institute Certification (CIC) training for each type of crane they control.
Employers signatory with the Operating Engineers Local #4 should be aware that all Local #4 operators are already NCCCO certified and no further action is needed.
Private instructors are available through NCCCO and CIC. The BTEA has created the attached document to better inform our members of the Federal and various State certification requirements.
As soon as possible, we recommend that all employers of crane operators ensure that their state licenses are up to date and to require employees achieve NCCCO/CIC certification. While there is always the chance that the Federal Crane Operation Certification Rule will be delayed again, there will be a last minute rush all across the industry, so it is best to be ahead of the curve.
BTEA Crane Operator Certification Overview
At the June Board of Directors meeting, the BTEA bylaws were officially amended. Please contact the Association office for information regarding these changes.
The Massachusetts union labor and management communities came together for the 3rd annual “Girls in the Trades” conference. More than 500 young women came for a day of workshops, demonstrations, and a job fair to learn more about opportunities in the building trades. The goal is to increase young women’s interest in productive, rewarding careers in the trades, and to grow their ranks in the industry long term.
“Today was great! More than 500 girls got to hear from women in the industry that the trades are not just for the boys,” said Hannah LaCivita, of the Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School.
(Jeff Sullivan, Business Manager of District Council #35, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and Tom Gunning of the BTEA were all in attendance.)
In addition to sponsorship from the BTEA, our affiliate the Paint and Glass Employers Association of New England (PFEANE/GEANE) were well represented. Sharon Tankel, President of Hub Glass Services, a contractor member was invited to address the conference. “If girls are thinking of going into the trades, my message to them is simple: go for it! The industry is changing and more women are joining all the time,” said Ms. Tankel.
(Sharon Tankel of Hub Glass Services after her speech)
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito offered support on behalf of the Baker Administration. “The work that I can do along with Charlie Baker is to make sure that each one of you has the opportunity, equal to everyone else, to work at whatever career, whatever job, whatever industry, and at whatever place in this great Commonwealth.”
Please see the attached PDF below for information on the Recall Notice!
Continue reading “Safety Recall: MSA Gravity Welder Harness”
The Association was notified by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) approved certain changes to construction supervisor license continuing education requirements. These changes will become effective on January 1, 2018.
The current continuing education requirement is to complete the following amount of hours over a two year period.
- Construction Supervisors License (CS) – 12 Hours
- Construction Supervisors License (1-2 Family Dwellings) (CSFA) – 10 Hours
- Construction Supervisor Specialty License (CSSL) – 6 Hours
Now there are requirements for these licenses regarding the amount of hours that must be spent on specific topical categories such as:
- Code Review – 4 hours for CS and CSFA; 2 hours for CSSL
- Workplace Safety – 1 hour for all
- Business Practices – 1 hour for all
- Energy – 1 hour for all
- Lead Safe Practices – 1 hour for 1st renewal
In addition, there are new restrictions on the amount of training that each license category may take online. Now CS and CSFA licensees may only take a maximum of 6 hours of online continuing education for credit. CSSL may complete all 6 hours of their training online if they wish. However, online courses are also required to administer pop quizzes every 30 minutes and a final exam to ensure that attendees are paying attention and active on the seminar.
For more information on MA CSL and continuing education credits, please contact the Association office, or visit the Mass.gov webpage here.
Find information below on the YouthBuild Pre-apprenticeship program and how to apply!
Continue reading “YouthBuild Boston Pre-apprenticeship Program Open!”
The Massachusetts Operational Service Division (OSD) has asked BTEA again to promote the 3 Tradespersons Statewide Contracts. They want to identify union contractors available to bid on some small to mid-size state contracts for trade services required by state facilities.
Interested in this opportunity? If you are, please read over the flyer below!
Continue reading “MA Statewide Contracting Opportunities Still Available!”