UPDATE YOUR PPE

The beginning of the season is a good time to update any personal protective equipment (PPE) that has become worn or damaged during the past year. Old, tattered or dirty PPE loses its effectiveness and can put a person at risk of injury.

HIGH-VISIBILITY SAFETY APPAREL

  • If you’ve worn hi-vis clothing for more than six months, inspect it for effectiveness.
  • Replace hi-vis apparel when it’s torn, cracked or the background material has become faded or dirty.
  • Ensure your high-visibility apparel meets ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 Type R (Roadway) Class 2 or 3 standards.

HARD HAT

  • Hard hat manufacturers recommend replacement every five years.
  • Ensure your hard hat meets the ANSI Z89.1 requirement.
  • At a minimum, your hard hat should be a Type I, Class G (General) Hard Hat.
  • Inspect your hard hat for cracks or other damage.
  • If your hard hat has accumulated an abundance of stickers from projects or training, these stickers can hide cracks or other damage. Replace your hard hat and start a new sticker collection.
  • Monitor your hard hat for deterioration from exposure to UV rays (sun) and chemicals (asphalt or concrete).

EYE PROTECTION

  • If your safety glasses are past their useful life, it’s time to replace them. Like your hard hat, your safety glasses can break down due to exposure and reduce the protection they provide.
  • Scratched or damaged eye protection is difficult to see through and can put a person at risk.
  • Make sure your eye protection fits properly and provides good visibility. Poorly fitted eye protection is potentially ineffective against hazards and makes it difficult to see correctly.
  • Ensure your safety glasses meet the ANSI Z87.1-2015 requirement. Typically, this information is located on the temple of the eye wear.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk soon.

Work Site Speeding Points

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has proposed a revised Traffic Violations Points Table. The proposal is contained in a proposed rule posted on April 28. The BMV has scheduled a public hearing for May 27.

The BMV’s proposal includes the following:

  1. ADDS section including points for excessive speed in a school zone.
  2. ADDS section including points for excessive speed in a work site.
  3. REVISES the current language associated with texting while driving to associate with the 2019 law change disallowing use of handheld devices while driving.

Proposed points for excessive speed ranges and associated points for school and work sites are: 1-15 mph 4 points, 16-25 mph 6 points, and over 25 mph 8 points. Accumulating 20 points will result in a one-month suspension. The state may already impose a 60-day license suspension under Indiana Code 9-21-5-11(f) and 9-30-13-9 after two or more violations within a work site within one year.

Centennial Internship Opportunity

About ICI

Indiana Constructors, Inc. (ICI) is the nonprofit trade association representing Indiana’s highway, heavy and utility contractors. For nearly 100 years, ICI has served its member companies and their employees through safety services, legislative advocacy, labor relations, communications and workforce development.

About the Internship

As we prepare to mark our centennial in 2024, ICI’s mission is not only to celebrate that milestone, but also to educate folks about our industry’s rich history and motivate the next generation to choose a life-long career in it. The Centennial Intern will be key to collecting and creating a historical record of our industry – a task that will add value to our association and provide professional experience and portfolio material for the intern.

Candidate Qualifications

  • A sophomore, junior or senior with a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • All majors are welcome to apply, though preference is given to students studying nonprofit management, public affairs, digital media, English, communications and/or the humanities.
  • Strong organizational, writing, research, critical thinking and active listening skills.
  • Experience with the Microsoft Office Suite. Adobe Creative Cloud experience is a plus.

Duties

  • Digitize/catalog photo collections.
  • Digitize/transcribe/summarize/catalog historical documents.
  • Assist in completing tasks related to our roadmap to the centennial celebration, including but not limited to:
    • Develop centennial content for digital, social and print media.
    • Attend centennial committee meetings, partnership meetings and general organization functions.
    • Assist with event planning and administration.
  • Possibility to safely lift boxes up to 50 lbs.
  • Occasional general office duties.

Time Frame

This internship will be full-time, in-person at the ICI office through the summer of 2021. There is an opportunity to extend through the fall 2021 semester with 15-20 hours flexible to fit the student’s class schedule.

Compensation

The position pays $12 per hour, plus parking.

Hiring

The Centennial Intern will be hired and report to ICI’s president and communications staff. The deadline for applications is Friday, May 14, 2021 and the selection will be announced on Friday, May 28, 2021.

INDOT/DOR Working to Improve OSW Permitting

Several ICI members recently communicated concerns to me about oversize/overweight (OSW) load permitting. Members stated that, as the newly instituted OSW permitting system works well for the majority of loads and routes, concerns remain including difficulty delivering equipment to project sites and unusual long and broken up routing. While members have worked diligently to communicate issues directly to the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) and INDOT, ICI’s Director of Government Affairs Dan Osborn followed up with agency contacts to emphasize industry concerns and determine what industry, the DOR and INDOT could do to avoid the issues.

INDOT Multimodal Director Kristen Brier responded to ICI. She explained that the new permitting system includes a more comprehensive evaluation process including “vehicle configuration, origin, and destination to automatically generate a safe route safe route, taking into account road restrictions and closures, vertical clearances for bridges, and bridge load rating.”

“We are working with our vendor to make the location of the failed bridges visible externally, to help applicants determine if a different origin or destination on the state system will avoid those bridges. Information about the road restrictions and closures can be displayed within the permitting system, and it remains available on the Indiana Truckers’ Info page. Bridge vertical clearance information remains available as well, through the online Bridge Clearance Map,” stated Brier.

Brier offered several agency contacts to assist permittees. Contact INDOT Freight Manager Leslie Morgan to disclose unsafe routes or difficulty with a permit involving accessing a project site.

If you need help using the new permitting system, contact DOR Motor Carrier Services Division OSW Supervisor James Vest or Morgan.

Contact Dan Osborn if you have feedback or recommendations about any aspect of OSW permitting.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (COVID Relief)

On March 6 the U.S. Senate approved multiemployer pension plan relief as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA 2021). U.S. House is set to vote on the legislation on March 10, and it will likely be signed into law by President Biden shortly thereafter.

The bill contains multiemployer pension plan provisions of interest to union construction contractors.

  1. For failing plans, the legislation includes significant multiemployer pension relief through a Special Financial Assistance Program by providing a one-time lump sum payment to eligible plans to pay all benefits through 2051 (30 years) with no expectation of repayment.
    • This Special Financial Assistance Program concept differs greatly from previously debated relief programs like an expansion of partitioning or loan programs.
      • This new approach by Congress is meant to clear procedural rules to avoid a filibuster and improves the likelihood the relief is enacted into law.
    • Under the Special Financial Assistance Program plans using 2020 assumptions that are “Critical and Declining” plans, and some “critical” plans and a few “endangered” plans would receive a onetime lump sum payment that is equal to the amount needed to pay benefits through 2051 (30 years). There is no concept of repayment for this assistance.
    • The package would also include provisions similar to those in response to the 2008 stock market event:
      • 2-year zone freezes;
      • 5-year extension of funding improvement and rehabilitation plans;
      • investment loss smoothing; and,
      • man hour smoothing.
    • It is estimated there are about 100 “critical and declining” plans, some “critical” plans and a few “endangered” plans in the construction industry that could be eligible for some relief.
      • Teamsters Central States Pension Fund (among many other Critical and Declining Plans) is expected to among the multiemployer plans that will receive relief. 
  2. Starting in 2031 PBGC premiums would be increased to $52/year and indexed for inflation every year after for all plans and participants.
    • Premiums are currently scheduled to be about $43 in 2031 because of indexing.
  3. None of the harmful public policy changes, that have been proposed in various bills over the last several years, are included the ARPA 2021. For example – the following are NOT included in the ARPA 2021:
    • massive PBGC premium increases,
    • employer assessments,
    • participant benefit reductions,
    • increased withdrawal liability and
    • mandating lower assumption rates.
    • However, at the same time a long AGC advocated policy change, authorization of Composite Plan design, which incorporates the best features of DB and DC plans by offering voluntary options to share risks, funding stability, lifetime income to participants, and limiting employer obligations to negotiated contributions only, without cost to the taxpayer was not included.
      • AGC will make authorization of new plan design a priority and will ensure the implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act considers the impact on construction employers.
  4. Some other policy changes of note in the American Rescue Plan Act:
    • New, 100% temporary subsidy of COBRA health benefits for unemployed workers through September 30, 2021.
    • Voluntary tax credits under FFCRA for paid sick time and paid family leave credits through September 30, 2021. (there is no federal paid leave mandate)
    • Extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) through December 31, 2021. Previously it was available through June 31, 2021.
    • Extends federal pandemic unemployment benefits at $300 per week through September 6, 2021 along with tax treatment advantages. (a late change)
    • Unfortunately, none of the $350 billion for state and local governments are dedicated to capital construction investment projects.

The actual legislative text for the pension language can be found beginning on page 477, COBRA on page 315 and the voluntary paid leave tax credits on page 407.

The situation has been very fluid over the last several weeks and AGC will be providing more information and resources soon.

More details on the pension provisions can be found in this Fact Sheet.

GUEST BLOG: Superior Construction Boasts Diverse Workforce for the I-65/I-70 North Split in Downtown Indianapolis

Submitted by Jennifer Hashem, public information manager, Superior Construction. (Superior Construction photo/www.superiorconstruction.com)

Superior Construction, the contractor selected by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) for a nearly $320 million dollar infrastructure project that will reconstruct the I-65/I-70 North Split in downtown Indianapolis, has spent the last nine months organizing the most diverse team in its Midwest business unit’s history since securing the project last spring.

The North Split project team, which humbly began with only seven individuals, required an additional fifty roles for its success, ranging from controls and quality to roadways and structures. The sprint to fill these positions with the right talent was no easy feat, not to mention the added layer of a global pandemic.

“We knew that even with the challenges the coronavirus presented us with, we still needed authentic leaders and learners that brought a wealth of experiences along with them to take this project, and Superior, to new heights,” said Tim Johnson, chief operating officer for Superior.

Despite the obstacles the summer months brought them, Johnson and other senior level leaders still managed to tap into their networks, lean on industry recruiters, and attend virtual career fairs to interview more than 200 potential candidates.

The search for those leaders and learners presented Superior with a team that now boasts over 55 full-time employees that represent various skillsets, work experiences, and countries, including representation from Nepal, Nigeria, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, India, and South Korea. The construction industry, which has historically been comprised of middle-aged, white males, has seen a great shift and push for a more diverse, inclusive workforce.

“Diversity isn’t just a checkbox for us, it’s a critical function of how we conduct our business and encourage teammates to feel welcome, safe, and empowered to use their backgrounds to elevate our company’s mission,” said Johnson. “As our recruitment continues throughout the lifespan of this project, we envision continuing to cultivate the wealth of knowledge and skills we’ve accrued to this point and expanding it to future projects. The future of Superior Construction will come out of the other end of this project.”

Aishwarya Kodnikar, who began with Superior as an intern and is now a full-time employee in the structures department on the project, shared how joining a team like the North Split has helped her better assimilate into the United States since arriving from India back in 2018.

“When you come from a different country and have to assimilate into a new culture, you want to feel like you can eventually call your new country home,” said Kodnikar. “In my time with Superior, I’ve not only gained new opportunities and knowledge for my job, but I’ve built quality relationships that have helped make my journey on this project smoother and more enjoyable.”

Learn more about Superior Construction by visiting their website at www.superiorconstruction.com. For information on the North Split project, visit www.northsplit.com.