The Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council, Inc. is dedicated to the advancement of the construction industry and the protection of its members and the general public.
NEWS
Trump administration eyes changes to wage and hour issues

While things got off to a slow start, the new administration is beginning to make good on its promises to rescind and revise various wage and hour requirements for employers.
In several sessions at the American Bar Association’s recent Labor and Employment Law Conference, experts told attendees to expect updates in the areas of misclassification, overtime, joint employment and more. And while some of those changes will be welcomed by employers, the lack of movement so far has left them in the dark on several fronts. There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel for at least some of these concerns. Read More....


OSHA Again Pushes Back Record-Keeping Rule Deadline
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is extending again—this time, by two weeks—the compliance date for its rule requiring companies to file annual electronic reports of workplace injuries and illnesses.
OSHA also says it is reviewing the underlying 2016   Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses regulation  and will propose a new rule next year "to reconsider, revise or remove" some provisions.
The latest injury-reporting deadline, which OSHA  announced on Nov. 22, is Dec. 15. Earlier this year, the agency had pushed back the date to Dec. 1 from July 1.
The reporting requirement applies to companies with 250 or more workers. It also applies to companies employing between 20 and 249 workers in construction and 45 other "high-hazard" industries.
The agency also noted that seven states' OSHA-approved health-and-safety plans haven't yet adopted the federal electronic-filing requirement: California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. There are 22 such OSHA-approved state plans.
On another front, a group of industry organizations, led by the National Association of Home Builders, filed a lawsuit on Jan. 4 in an Oklahoma City federal district court, seeking to strike down the reporting regulation. The organizations contend that, among other things, OSHA doesn't have the authority to set up an online injury and illness database that would be publicly available.
Granting a Dept. of Labor request, U.S. District Judge David Russell on July 11 issued a stay of the proceedings in the case.

BRIEF
EEOC publishes best practices for preventing, responding to sexual harassment

Dive Brief:
  • The co-chairs of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC)'s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace identified five core principles for addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • The principles are "promising practices," rather than official guidance or legal requirements. They include: 1) committed and engaged leadership; 2) consistent accountability; 3) strong harassment policies; 4) trusted, accessible complaint procedures; and 5) regular, interactive and tailored training.
  • The task force cites leadership and accountability as hallmarks of a successful harassment prevention program. Leaders can show their commitment by, among other actions: 1) clearly and frequently communicating that harassment is prohibited; 2) enforcing and complying with their organization's anti-discrimination policies; and 3) allocating enough resources to make their harassment strategies effective. Read More...
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
WEST VIRGINIA

Given the original euphoria and excitement regarding the  recently announced partnership with the Chinese government, state lawmakers and regulators are trying to determine what the announced Chinese MOUs mean for existing state development efforts being planned and, possibly, permitted. State Commerce officials indicated that the two proposed gas fired power plants (Brooke and Harrison Counties) might be the first projects funded. Subsequently, the Justice administration indicated that these two projects are part of the general discussion with the Chinese, but no priorities had been agreed upon. It is expected that most elected officials will take a “wait and see” attitude concerning the $87 billion investment pledge. 

The state unemployment rate remained at 5.1% for the month of October. This rate seems to be holding steady during the recent summer and fall months. 

Governor Justice has named Mitch Woodrum as the new Labor Commissioner. Woodrum had been appointed Acting Commissioner by Justice in August when former Commissioner, David Mullins, resigned following the Governor’s party switch. Woodrum is a career Labor Department employee who has served in a number of capacities.
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The WV School Building Authority has accepted requests for nearly $106 million worth of school projects spread around the mountain state. Unfortunately, the Authority is budgeted at $50.5 million for the fiscal year. Some projects will not make the cut. There  are two local projects that the Authority will consider: first, Marshall County BoE submitted a request for $693,780 to be used for safe entrances at elementary schools in Cameron, McMechen and Moundsville; secondly, Hancock County BoE submitted a request for $1 million to be used for a new roof at Weir Middle School.

OHIO

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Supreme Court Justice, Bill O’Neill, created quite stir this week with some eyebrow raising comments concerning his past sexual experiences over his 50 year adult life. The very public tweet was a humorously lame attempt to address his consternation over the Roy Moore and Al Franken indiscretions from decades ago. He has since publicly apologized for his poor and flip attempt at urging a reasonable approach to intolerable events that occurred many years earlier. 

Former Ohio Attorney General and Treasurer, Richard Cordray, has announced that he will step down next month from his post as the Director of the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray was appointed to the position as one of the nations top banking regulators by former President Obama. Most Ohio pundits believe that his pending resignation will pave the way for his entry into the state democratic gubernatorial primary next spring.

In some interesting statehouse news, first term republican State Representative, Wes Goodman (87 District, Morrow County) resigned abruptly last week amid reports that he used his office for an inappropriate sexual encounter. Goodman was the second lawmaker to resign for inappropriate sexual harassment issues. Earlier this month, Republican State Senator Cliff Hite (1st District, 11 counties in NW Ohio), was forced to resign after a female legislative aide reported a number of sexual harassment experiences with Hite over a two year year period. Both Goodman and Hite acknowledged culpability and accepted responsibility for their despicable actions. They resigned willingly.
OVCEC Lobbyist Pat McCune
SAFETY & EDUCATION
Top 10 OSHA Violations Announced at National Safety Congress
At the National Safety Council's annual Congress & Expo, OSHA Deputy Director of Enforcement Programs Patrick Kapust announced the preliminary list of 10 standards most frequently cited by the agency’s inspectors during Fiscal Year 2017.  Fall protection  was the most-cited standard for the seventh year in a row, followed by   Hazard Communication , and  Scaffolding . The only new addition to last year’s list was  Fall Protection – Training Requirements , which came in at ninth place. OSHA publicizes the  Top 10 list  to increase awareness of these standards so employers can take steps to find and fix the hazards to prevent injury or illness.
PLAN ROOM NEWS
Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council

Ginny Favede Executive Director

Telephone 304-242-0520 Fax 304-242-7261 Website  www.ovcec.com
21 Armory Drive Wheeling West Virginia 26003