All Trades – Confined Spaces Training

Confined spaces incidents aren’t the most common, but they can be the most deadly. As we have seen in numerous incidents throughout New England, confined spaces hazards tend to be misunderstood or underestimated. In addition, many confined spaces injuries or fatalities  involve not one, but two, victims: the worker and the rescuer.

BTEA and Contractor’s Risk Management (CRM) are working together to offer this training to all our signatory contractors.  Make sure your employees are up to date on the latest in confined spaces regulations and procedures!

The course covers:

  • Key elements of the OSHA Permit-Required Confined Spaces Regulation
  • Confined spaces concepts and terminology
  • The difference between confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces
  • How to identify and evaluate hazards: atmospheric, mechanical, chemical
    Procedures for controlling hazards
  • Proper protective equipment for confined spaces
  • Duties of the entry supervisor, entrant, and attendant
  • Procedures for self-rescue, non-entry rescue, entry rescue by company employees, and entry rescue by emergency responders
  • Completing the entry process

Register below

Confined Spaces Training
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New Secretary of Labor

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Donald Trump has selected Andy Puzder to serve as his Secretary of Labor.  The CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. which owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s is an interesting selection by Trump who had toyed with appointing Victoria Lipnic, the current head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and a former Workforce Policy Counsel to the House.

Puzder is an interesting man, he attended Kent State, but dropped out in 1970 following the Kent State Shootings.  In his own words, “I spent the next three years attending concerts and marching on Washington”. After moving to Cleveland he graduated college and got his law degree.  As a young corporate lawyer he helped rescue Carl Karcher, founder of Carl’s Jr. from financial troubles. Years later, when CKE Restaurants fell into more financial difficulties after purchasing Hardee’s, Puzder was named CEO by the Board and tasked with turning it around.

Mr. Puzder has not been without controversy during his tenure. Franchisees overseen by CKE have been targeted by DOL in the past. Hardee’s Food Systems was found in violation of wage laws and ordered to give back pay to a group of 456 workers in 2006 and 2007. This money was owed for overtime on hourly employees. It is perhaps unsurprising then that Puzder has signaled that he opposes the Obama Overtime Rule which has already been blocked by the courts, and is most likely dead on arrival in a Trump Administration.

In addition, advocates calling for an increase in the Federal Minimum Wage will find Puzder opposes large raises of the minimum wage. $15 per hour will be out of the question because Pudzer opposed the Obama Administration attempt to raise it to $10.10 from the current $7.25.  When asked about the effect of raising the minimum wage, Mr. Puzder said it could lead to increased automation because machines are, “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall or an age, sex or race discrimination case.”

The effect of a business executive running the labor department will be interesting to watch. Like Mr. Puzder, the Secretary of Labor has traditionally been a loyal supporter of the president, but unlike Mr. Puzder, most former Secretaries of Labor were career bureaucrats not as well versed in the corporate and financial worlds.

New Silica Regulations Being Challenged

We have presented at length the new Silica Regulations released on March 25, 2016. Although the rule is scheduled to take effect on June 23rd, 2017 it is currently being challenged in the US Court of Appeals.  The consolidated case features various challenges from both labor and employers and is currently awaiting a decision from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

Among the employers filing challenges were the American Foundry Society; the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association; and the National Association of Home Builders. From labor groups, statements were filed by the AFL-CIO and North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU).

All the employers asked for judgement on OSHA’s justification to set the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica at 50 micrograms, and whether complying with the PEL is technologically and economically feasible.  They also want judgement on OSHA’s preference for reducing silica exposure through engineering controls, such as wet cutting and indoor filter systems instead of workers using respiratory protection.

Concrete Dust

The unions focused on requirements for when employers must offer silica exposure testing to workers and the rule not including a “medical removal” provision that would provide some job and pay protection for workers who can’t be exposed to workplace silica.

Currently compliance requirements are not until June 23, 2017.  However this could be moved back depending on the time it takes for the court to rule on these issues.