Volume 43, Issue 2 - February 2008

Contract Glazing

U.S. Department of Labor Asks: 
Is Window Installation Apprenticeable? 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship is seeking to determine if the occupation of “window installer” is an occupation that can be learned through the apprenticeship system of training. “We routinely collect industry feedback when someone (typically an employer—in this case, an association and/or an apprenticeship field rep) wants to have an occupation recognized nationally as officially ‘apprenticeable,’ as per U.S. Department of Labor protocols,” explains Kenneth Lemberg with the DOL. “We want to make sure that the proposed training and development program accurately reflects industry demand for a skilled workforce.”

According to information from Lemberg, an apprenticeable occupation possesses all the following characteristics as stated in Title 29 CFR Part 29.4, Criteria for Apprenticeable Occupations:

  • It is customarily learned in a practical way through a structured, systematic program of on-the-job supervised training;• It is clearly identified and commonly recognized throughout an industry;
  • It involves manual, mechanical or technical skills and knowledge that require a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job work experience; and
  • It requires related instruction to supplement the on-the-job training.

Lemberg says that should DOL decide that this occupation is apprenticeable, seeking or offering an apprenticeship would be entirely voluntary. To take part in this survey, e-mail mheadley@glass.com

OSHA Rule Requires Employers to Pay for Protective Equipment 
Until recently, contract glaziers and other construction companies only had to provide employees with personal protective equipment (PPE) when deemed necessary to protect employees from job-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities—but employers weren’t required to pay for it. However, now the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final ruling requiring employers to pay for the PPE too. Some companies may have to factor another cost increase into their budgets. 

Prior to the OSHA ruling, employers were required to provide many types of PPE—hard hats, gloves, goggles, safety shoes, safety glasses, faceshields, fall protection equipment, etc.—but there were no provisions requiring that the employer provide the items at no cost to the employee. Under the new ruling, employers must pay for the PPE provided, with exceptions for specific items. Exempted items include, among others, non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear; non-specialty prescription safety eyewear; and regular clothing. The rule does not require employers to provide PPE where none was required before, but “merely stipulates that the employer must pay for required PPE, except in the limited cases specified in the standard,” according to OSHA.

But not all glass companies will have to feel the added burden. Dennis Welch, vice president with Trainor Glass Co.’s Atlanta branch, says he expects they will feel no impact. “We have always furnished all required PPE to employees as part of our ongoing commitment to safety,” Welch says. “In my estimation, it would be very risky for an employer to place the burden of furnishing this equipment on employees due in large part to the OSHA-required inspection logs on 5-point harnesses, lanyards and certain other types of PPE equipment we use. The responsibility of maintaining OSHA compliance ultimately rests on the employer.” The situation is similar for Atascadero Glass Inc. in Atascadero, Calif.

“It has long been our practice to provide each new hire with a set of good quality PPE,” says Roger Grant Jr., president. “We typically issue, gloves, eye protection, ear protection, hard hats, lanyards, safety harnesses and dust masks.”

Grant says they also replace any defective or worn-out equipment as needed for two reasons.

“First, we want to ensure that our employees have good, quality safety equipment. Second, we want to ensure a program of continuing safety for our team members. We don’t want an installer who is in a tight spot financially to postpone the replacement of critical equipment to his or her own detriment,” Grant says. The OSHA ruling went into effect February 13, with final implementation required by May 15. 

Trainor Glass Division Opens in Maryland
Trainor Glass Co., headquartered in Alsip, Ill., has opened a new division in Elkridge, Md. As division manager, Dan Trainor brings years of expertise and experience in manufacturing, custom-designed systems and government contracts, including projects requiring security clearances. The division’s current projects include the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences and the Legg Mason towers in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. www.trainorglass.com

Construction Workers Rarely Get the Blues, New Report Says 
Rates of depression for full-time workers in the construction industry are among the lowest, according to a new report by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

Depression Among Adults Employed Full-Time, by Occupational Category says the occupations with the lowest rates of past-year depression among all full-time workers ages 18 to 64 were engineering, architecture and surveying (4.3 percent); life, physical and social science (4.4 percent); installation, maintenance and repair (4.4 percent); and construction or extraction professionals (4.8 percent). Among young adult workers, those in health care and technical occupations had the highest rate of past-year depression (11.9 percent). 

In SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the source for this report, a major depressive episode is defined as a period of two weeks or longer during which there is depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image. 

Overall, 7 percent of full-time workers faced depression in the past year, according to these combined 2004-2006 estimates. 

“Depression exacts a high price from workers and from their employers, costing the U.S. workplace an estimated $36.6 billion per year in lost productivity,” says SAMHSA administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D. “Employers, workers and their family members need to know effective treatments for depression are available. Depression screening, outreach and enhanced treatment can improve productivity, lower employer costs and improve the quality of life for individuals and their families.” http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k7/depression/occupation.htm

Following a rebound in October, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) increased by more than two points in November. As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI shows an approximate nine- to twelve-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI rating was 55.3, up from 53.2 in October (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings) and inquiries for new projects was 56.6. 

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