There are two kinds of business owners, those who take pride in being informed about what is going on in the construction industry, and those who don’t actively stay up-to-date on industry issues. As construction recruiters, we know that following the news is important because it helps you form an educated opinion, win more projects and clients, and attract better talent. Here are some of the trends and important developments in construction that we are seeing right now.
Infrastructure projects are being delayed around the U.S. due to budget cuts and the effects of coronavirus. Hiring freezes, furloughs, and cuts to inspections are some of the things that many cities across the country continue to deal with. But firms and contractors could soon see relief in the form of federal legislation for infrastructure investment. If passed, the INVEST in America Act would provide new construction careers by providing $1.5 trillion toward bridges, affordable housing, wastewater infrastructure, renewable energy, hospitals, and marine projects.
Poll: Keep Job Sites Open
A recent poll indicated that a majority of construction workers aren’t too concerned about getting sick on the job. Although some states have deemed certain projects essential, the industry lost close to a million jobs during the pandemic. If you are working in this profession, then here are some actions that you can take to protect yourself and slow the spread:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Follow CDC home isolation steps.
- Practice social distancing.
- Consider wearing cloth face coverings.
- Clean and disinfect shared tools, equipment, etc.
- Practice proper hand hygiene.
Reader Consensus: Environmental Laws are Important
President Donald Trump issued an executive order to repeal certain environmental regulations in an effort to expedite more infrastructure projects. Federal agencies are no longer required to follow certain environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. The looser regulations are expected to impact construction businesses in some of the following ways: more efficient permit process, cost reduction, streamline project timelines and a boost in profits. Even though the loosened regulations could potentially benefit firms in a variety of different ways, many people around the industry are still concerned about how it will impact natural resources and safety standards going forward. Construction Dive readers stressed that projects should be built with environmental consciousness to ensure that resources are protected for future generations, especially as it pertains to hazardous waste and water quality. Readers also expressed concerned about how it will impact worker safety when it comes to things like lead and silica dust.
Health Screening Privacy Concerns
New coronavirus safety protocols and provisions have many employers concerned about violating the Americans with Disabilities Act that prohibits asking employees about their health. But employers are typically protected if they are ensuring the health and safety of others in the workplace. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), inquiring about symptoms and taking the temperature of employees doesn’t violate the rights of employees. Employers aren’t allowed to require COVID-19 antibody tests though. Contractors also should not reveal the identity of workers who test positive without obtaining written consent.
We will post updates regarding the INVEST in America Act as they become available. Job sites with the proper precautions can help slow the spread of COVID-19. A growing number of contractors are consulting employment lawyers to avoid violating employee rights.
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