The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, November 15, 2019

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Road warranty reduction bill moves

A bill that would, surprisingly, limit road warranties in Michigan has unanimously passed the Senate Transportation & Infrastructure Committee on Nov. 6

Senate Bill 0520 would require warranties on state road projects costing more than $5 million, and on local road projects costing more than $2 million.

"We had this discussion back in 2015," Se. Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes) said during an Oct. 30 hearing, via the news service MIRS. "At that time, we increased the number of warranties on road projects in the state to the point where we require the most warranties of any state. Road warranties add from 3 percent to 15 percent to the project cost. I've been assured that this legislation (by only requiring such warranties for projects costing $5 million or more) would basically cut the amount of State-required warranties in half."

If it's enacted into law, the bill would not preclude the state or local units of government from requiring warranties on certain projects under $5 million, if they desired.

Transportation Committee Chair Tom Barrett (R-Potterville) said research by the state revealed that Michigan has the highest number of warranties – mileage-wise in the nation.

Construction injury rate improving

The nonfatal injury rate in U.S. construction dipped a bit in 2018, continuing a steadily improving trend over the past five years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report on Nov. 7 that shows the construction industry's nonfatal injury rate dropped to 3.0 percent in 2018 from 3.1 percent in 2017. That number has fallen each year since the rate was 3.6 percent in 2014.

Cases with "days away from work" in the construction industry, which tend to be more serious injuries, stayed at 1.2 percent. 

In terms of U.S. construction nonfatal injuries, the BLS said the total of 199,100 construction nonfatal injuries in 2018 actually increased compared to 2017 by less than 1 percent. A larger pool of U.S. construction workers from 2017 to 2018 accounts for the variance in the lower injury rate but higher number of actual injuries.

Among all U.S. industries, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, unchanged from 2017,

The injury incidence rate for total recordable cases in private industry also remained unchanged from a year ago, the BLS said. It was the first year since 2012 that the TRC rate did not decline.

The injury category "sprains, strains, tears" did in 2018, as it has in past years, easily account for the likeliest cause for workers to miss days away from work. That rate fell to 30.7 percent in 2018 from 31.5 percent in 2017.