In this Edition... Stabilize the Economy and Better Your Community
As we start a new year, many are making plans to start building on the various projects that better the communities we belong to. Whether you have plans to build a new public structure, renovate and complete facelifts on an older public building, or engage in other projects that benefit the public— this edition has you covered as it highlights certain programs and surrounding public works projects.
Educational Opportunities for Public Bodies
With the new year upon us, many public works projects are underway, or will begin soon. For public bodies charged with bidding these projects and setting them into motion, it is imperative to be in compliance with state and federal laws during the construction process. For this reason, the Department launched a new program, Building Blocks for Public Works, which is aimed at helping public bodies, contractors, and all other involved parties, remain in compliance with regulatory and safety requirements applicable to the building/rebuilding process.
The program brings together federal, state, and local officials to provide information on an array of topics: Occupational and Safety Health Act (OSHA) issues, on the job safety, workers’ compensation, worker misclassification (1099 fraud), and much more. In addition to the presentations, attendees are able to view exhibits and have time to converse with these labor officials.
Building Blocks seminars have recently taken place in St. Louis and Kansas City. A group of 92 contractors, subcontractors and public bodies attended in St. Louis, and the Kansas City seminar had 56 attendees.
“The topics that were discussed at the seminar were very informative. Our association is looking forward to partnering with the Department to host a seminar in the near future to help further educate our members,” commented an attendee of the seminar.
Take advantage of this chance to get connected with state and federal resources! To request a compliance seminar in your area, contact the Department by phone at 573-751-3209. Visit the Building Blocks webpage to learn more, and watch the video to get an idea of what you can gain from attending one of these seminars in your area!
Workplace Fatalities Take a Toll
The last thing a municipality wants to happen on a job site intended to improve the lives of the community is to lose a member of the community while building it. However, these unfortunate incidents can and do happen and it is up to Department to investigate accidents that result in the death of public employees and to instruct their employers on how to prevent such losses in the future.
Within the last year, the Division of Labor Standards (DLS) investigated an incident involving the death of a Columbia, Mo., Parks and Recreation worker. The worker was killed when he was caught between the cab of a dump truck and the bed while in the process of dumping rock near a local trail. The DLS conducted an investigation of its own and met with various city officials to assess the nature of the accident and determine what pre-existing risks could have been avoided. Upon closure of this investigation, the DLS made safety recommendations including more extensive training for employees on dump truck safety, more thorough inspections of dump trucks, and holding employees accountable for reports concerning problems with dump trucks and taking corrective action. After receiving the report, the City of Columbia accepted recommendations and have since put plans in place to have more precise safety training for workers surrounding hazardous equipment, including dump trucks.
The purpose of these investigations is not to place blame or fault, but rather to find cause AND urge the public employer to implement necessary safety measures so that future incidents don’t happen. The Department does not levy fines as a result of these investigations.
Providing a safe work environment is a way to avoid these investigations altogether. All public sector workers should receive routine safety training and attend safety meetings. Municipalities should develop and enforce formal safety rules including a seat belt policy. Vehicles and equipment should be maintained properly. Employees must be trained to do their job correctly and recognize hazards. Safety gear and equipment like confined space air monitors, trench boxes and lockout-tag out equipment should be provided.
Public work can be dangerous. Hazards are encountered on a daily basis. Management must do everything it can to keep its crews safe and injury-free. That starts with checking out our workplace safety page.
Missouri Contractors Influence Prevailing Wage Rates
Its wage survey time! If you are a contractor or subcontractor, we are asking you to submit your hours and rates to be considered for this year’s wage determination. The more participation, the more accurate the wage rates will be for the Annual Wage Order #19 that is to be used for all future public works projects.
Missouri’s Prevailing Wage Law states that the prevailing wage rate is a minimum that must be paid to workers on public works projects – bridges, roads, public schools, government buildings, etc – in the state of Missouri. It is important to note that wage rates differ by county and occupation. There are separate prevailing wage rates for 26 different occupational titles (some with subgroups) in each of Missouri’s 114 counties and the city of St. Louis.
How it Works:
To determine prevailing wage rates, the DLS collects information from contractors, labor organizations, public entities, and any other interested parties regarding the actual wage rates paid on both public and private construction projects across the state. The DLS then examines this information and identifies the actual wages rates paid in each county to workers in each occupational title and tallies the total number of hours each of these rates was paid. The wage rate that has the highest number of hours worked within a county for a particular occupational title becomes the prevailing wage rate in that county for that occupational title. The more contractors, labor organizations, public entities, and others that report wage information, the more accurate prevailing wage rates will be. Wage information should be submitted no later than February 1, 2012 in order for the Department to consider the data and determine wage rates for the Annual Wage Order, which will be issued in March 2012.
To report wage information to the DLS, please use the Contractor’s Report of Construction Wage Rates form. Instructions on how to complete the form are located on the back. Please note that incomplete or unsigned forms will not be accepted by the DLS. In order to streamline the process and make it easier for you, wage information can be mailed, faxed, or submitted electronically.