Concrete Products

MAY 2018

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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10 • May 2018 GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AGENCIES An Environmental Protection Agency Notice of Funding Availabil - ity invites letters of interest from states and municipalities seeking credit assistance under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Inno- vation Act (WIFIA), whose funding doubled from the prior year as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. "This funding will spark new investments to repair crumbling water infrastructure," says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "EPA will play a key role in the President's infrastructure efforts by incen- tivizing states, municipalities, and public-private partnerships to protect public health, fix local infrastructure problems, create jobs, and provide clean water to communities." Leveraging private capital and other funding sources, the agency notes, WIFIA-backed projects could support $11 billion in water infra- structure investment and create 170,000-plus jobs. This year's Notice of Funding Availability highlights the importance of protecting public health, including reducing exposure to lead and other drinking water systems contaminants and updating the nation's aging infrastructure. "An investment in water infrastructure is an investment in our communities," notes EPA Office of Wastewater Management Director Dr. Andrew Sawyers. "The WIFIA program helps improve water quality and protect public health while supporting the local economy." The WIFIA program will play an important part in making vital improvements to the nation's water infrastructure and implementing the President's Infrastructure Plan, which calls for increasing the program's funding authorization and expanding project eligibility. Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program positions EPA to accelerate investment in the nation's water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. WIFIA credit assistance can be used for a wide range of projects, including: Drinking water treatment and distribution; Wastewater conveyance and treatment; Enhanced energy efficiency at drinking water and wastewater facilities; Desalination, aquifer recharge, alter- native water supply, and water recycling; and Drought prevention, reduction, or mitigation. EPA opens water infrastructure funding round with deepened pockets MASON'S BACK WAGE CASE NEARS $500K After a Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee has ordered Music City Masonry Contractors LLC and its owners, Brandy George and Robin "Bubba" Waller, to pay $494,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 247 employees for violating the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The order is part of a settlement in which the Wage and Hour Division assessed a $10,000 civil penalty for willful and repeat violations. Investigators found the contracting company paid employees straight-time rates for their overtime hours instead of the time-and- one-half required by law. Music City Masonry falsified time and payroll records to make it appear it was paying the proper overtime, and failed to maintain accurate records of the hours employees worked, resulting in recordkeeping violations. "The resolution of this investigation ensures these employees receive their rightfully earned wages," said Nettie Lewis, Wage and Hour Division District director in Nashville. "No employer should gain a competitive advantage by failing to pay its employees in compliance with the law." The Associated Builders & Contractors 2018 Safety Performance Report, aimed at furthering the construction industry's understanding of how to improve jobsites through the Safety Performance Evaluation Process (STEP), documents the impact of using proactive practices to reduce recordable incidents by up to 85 percent—making the best-performing companies 670 percent safer than the industry average. "ABC's fourth annual report on the use of leading indicators, such as substance abuse programs and new hire safety orientations, confirms that high-performing ABC members have safer construction jobsites," says Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Workforce Devel- opment Greg Sizemore. "This is one of the few studies of commercial and industrial construction firms doing real work on real projects, and it shows that implementing best practices can produce world-class construction safety programs." The Safety Performance Report is based on data gathered from ABC member companies recording more than one billion hours of work in building or heavy construction, civil engineering and specialty trades. It tracks 35 points from ABC's 2017 STEP participants to determine the correlation between implementing leading indicator use and lagging indi- cator performance, which is measured by the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Days Away and Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate. Among report findings: • Contractors attaining the highest level of STEP participation reduced their TRIR by 85 percent compared to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statis- tics (BLS) industry average of three injuries/fatalities per 100 full-time employees. • STEP participants with a robust substance abuse program/policy in place dramatically outperformed those with a weaker program, reducing their TRIR by 63 percent. • Conducting a new hire safety orientation lasting more than 200 minutes reduced TRIR by 85 percent compared to the BLS industry average. • Companies that held site-specific safety orientations reduced their TRIR by one-half. • Holding daily toolbox talks (brief, single-topic training sessions con- ducted on the jobsite for all employees) reduced TRIR by 62 percent versus holding them weekly. REPORT PROVES SAFETY SPIKE EFFECT ON BEST PRACTICES-DRIVEN CONTRACTORS The report is posted at

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