News Update

8/28/2015 - MetoKote opens new facility

LIMA, Ohio—MetoKote Corp., the world's largest applicator of protective coatings, recently opened a new facility in Mebane, N.C. The facility allows the company to collaborate with its customer, GKN Driveline, Roxboro, N.C., a leading supplier of automotive driveline components and systems, on the coating of steel drive shafts. More than 30 employees are already employed at the facility, with expected growth of up to 50 employees when at full capacity. The plant has adequate room for expansion.

8/27/2015 - NEI launches new protective clear coat

SOMERSET, N.J.—NEI Corp. has launched SR 500EC, a new protective clear coat and surface treatment for plastics, metals, glass, ceramics, and other surfaces. Applications include parts, outdoor structures, equipment, turbines, and electrical grid parts needing insulation.

The transparent coating is designed to protect in aqueous environments. Its high hydrophbicity and water repellency are designed to create easy-to-clean surfaces. The coating resists scratching and chipping; strongly adheres to metal, glass, and ceramic surfaces; and is soil resistant. The single-component product can be applied by dip, spray, or brush, and cures at room temperature.

8/26/2015 - Coating boasts a power plant boost

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—A new nanoengineered coating for power plants has the potential to save millions of dollars in fuel and avert thousands of tons of carbon dioxide emissions, its developers at MIT say.

Two thousand times thinner than a sheet of paper, the coating causes water droplets to bead up and roll off, self-shedding the blanket of steam that normally envelops (and slows down) condensers.

The coating is so thin that it doesn't block condensation, but is strong enough to survive years of steam exposure. For years, researchers have searched for a way to make steamcondenser surfaces hydrophobic, but most materials have limited durability and would start to degrade within minutes of exposure to the hot steam. The team says the new technology can save 0.58 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions—more than solar or wind power—through improved efficiency.

The research has snowballed into a startup called DropWise, which is developing a grafted hydrophobic coating that prevents water from building up on pipes when applied to condenser surfaces in power plants. The new coating is currently in the development stage, and the company is working on scaling up the process to apply the coating at a large scale.

8/25/2015 - Hempel acquires coatings maker

CONROE, Tex.—Hempel has acquired Schaepman's Lakfabrieken B.V. (Schaepman Coatings), a Dutch maker of industrial, protective, and decorative coatings. The acquisition is part of Hempel's five-year growth strategy and advances its goal of becoming a top 10 global coating supplier by the end of 2015. Schaepman will gain access to Hempel's products and global support in the acquisition, while Hempel's global presence will expand the potential market for Schaepman's products. By mutual agreement, terms of the sale were undisclosed.

8/24/2015 - Bill Wiggins receives lifetime achievement award

BURBANK, Calif.—The Metal Finishing Associations of Southern California (MFASC) and Northern California (MFANC), chapters of the National Association for Surface Finishers (NASF), have honored Bill Wiggins with the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. Wiggins is a former Burbank Mayor and owner of Glendale-based Automation Plating Corp.

A respected leader throughout the surface finishing industry, the award commemorates Wiggins' generous service, valuable assistance, and outstanding contributions to the status and advancement of the surface and metal finishing industries. Wiggins actively served as an MFASC board member for 40 years in addition to taking a leadership role at the national level for NASF.

8/21/2015 - SSPC updates two standards

PITTSBURGH, Pa.—SSPC committees have announced updates to two standards — SP 1 for surface preparation and Paint 39 for polyurea topcoats. The standards can be downloaded from SSPC at

SSPC-SP 1, “Solvent Cleaning,” is used to specify removal of visible deposits of oil, grease, and other soluble contaminants from metal surfaces before employing additional mechanical means of surface preparation. All of SSPC's surface-preparation standards require solvent cleaning to SP 1 before performing additional cleaning required by the project specification.

Revisions to SP 1 include: expansion of the scope to metallic substrates; new definitions of visible and solvent; clarification that heavy deposits of oil, grease, and other contaminants are best removed by scraping before solvent cleaning; deletion of the inspection section; and addition of nonmandatory notes with description of additional verification methods that may be specified to confirm higher levels of contaminant removal than SP 1 requires.

SSPC Paint 39, “Two-Component, Weatherable Aliphatic Polyurea Topcoat, Fast or Moderate Drying, Performance-Based,” can be used to establish minimum performance requirements for a thin-film aliphatic polyurea topcoat that can be used over compatible corrosion-prevention primers or intermediate coats to protect from ultraviolet light.

Because Paint 39 is a topcoat standard, performance requirements focus on color and gloss retention and physical film properties. Revisions to Paint 39 include: addition of a third level of natural weathering requirements, and reorganization of the standard to parallel other standards recently revised by the Polyurethane Coatings Committee.

8/20/2015 - AGA launches updated online cost calculator

CENTENNIAL, Colo.—The cost of corrosion protective coatings is always a concern when specifying steel exposed to the atmosphere. Economics is also one of the key tenets within sustainability. With that in mind, the American Galvanizers Association (AGA) has announced the relaunch of its online LifeCycle Cost Calculator (LCCC) at

The LCCC automates the calculation from ASTM A1068 Standard Practice for LifeCycle Cost Analysis of Corrosion Protection Systems on Iron and Steel Products using cost data from a survey of paint manufacturers from the KTA-Tator paper published at NACE in 2014 entitled “Expected Service Life and Cost Considerations for Maintenance and New Construction Protective Coating Work.” The galvanizing cost data is derived from a 2014 AGA Industry Survey. The LCCC update includes all of the new 2014 cost data, a new design template, and more user-friendly functionality.

The LCCC was originally launched in 2007 with an update in 2010 to include the option to evaluate duplex systems (hot-dip galvanizing and paint). The LCCC allows specifiers to compare either the initial and lifecycle costs of hot-dip galvanizing or a duplex system to various other corrosion protection coatings. The user inputs three simple forms of data about a particular project including size, service life expectancy, exposure atmosphere, inflation, and interest, and the calculator will run the ASTM A1068 equation and return the results in a customizable, printable format.

8/18/2015 - Registration now open for online radiation curing program

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—RadTech has partnered with the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNYESF) to create online learning courses through the Radiation Curing Program (RCP). Registration is now open for the program, which offers both short courses and advanced courses.

The two professional development short courses are: Principles of Energy Curing Technologies and Basics of UV Curable 3D Printing. The three advanced online courses are: Introduction to Polymer Coatings, Radiation Curing of Polymer Technologies, and Radiation Curing Equipment, Instrumentation, and Safety.

The courses are all self-paced and online, so they can be taken whenever time allows, provided the course is completed within the specified time period. This offers students the ability to quickly and easily pick up where they left off and go to specific sections for review.

RCP offers the flexibility to accommodate your schedule, with additional advanced graduate-level courses that further explore UV/EB curing principles and applications. Plus, you can earn a Graduate Certificate in Radiation Curing from SUNY. For more info, visit or email

8/13/2015 - ACA introduces hazard labels

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Coatings Association (ACA) has introduced a variety of materials to help employers comply with new federal hazmat communications requirements. The resources include new Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS) labels that are designed to communicate in-plant hazard information and comply with the revised Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) workplace labeling requirement.

Even though the revised HCS requires compliant GHS-based labeling on shipped containers, standard HMIS labels can still be used as part of a comprehensive workplace hazard communication and training program. The HMIS system uses colors, numbers, letters, and symbols of types of personal protective equipment to clarify risks for workers. The labels are being sold through ACA licensees LabelMaster and J.J. Keller and Associates Inc.

8/12/2015 - EPA deems coal ash nonhazardous

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Four and a half years after it was proposed and one year after a federal judge demanded a decision, a rule to determine the disposal fate of coal waste has finally been published. In a decision widely viewed as a victory for the coal industry, the US Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled a final rule that classifies coal combustion residuals (CCRs) as solid—not hazardous—waste.

Furthermore, millions of tons of coal ash that are beneficially reused in concrete, wallboard, and other products will continue indefinitely to be exempt from regulation. But coal disposal impoundments and landfills are in for some changes and increased oversight.

Those highlights mark the EPA's long-awaited 745-page prepublication version of Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities Final Rule, released in December at the tail end of a court-ordered deadline set a year ago. The final rule was published on April 17, 2015, and takes effect 6 months after publication in the Federal Register.

Coal ash includes fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and flue gas desulfurization material. Coal ash is the second-largest source of industrial waste, after mining waste, in the US. The rule establishes the first national regulations for the safe disposal of coal ash from power plants. The high-stakes decision carries significant implications for the coatings, construction, and abrasive blasting industries, where CCRs are widely used.

The final rule establishes a comprehensive set of requirements for the disposal of CCRs under the solid-waste provisions (Subtitle D) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). While the rule sets standards for impoundments and landfills and will likely close some facilities that do not meet those standards, the EPA maintained its historical view that the 110 million tons of coal waste generated in the US each year by more than 470 power plants are not hazardous.

The EPA's new regulations are designed to prevent another catastrophic failure such as the one that triggered the regulatory review: the December 2008 spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston Fossil Plant, which dumped 5.4 million cubic yards of coal fly ash slurry across more than 300 acres of land and river. The cleanup from that disaster is still not complete.

The new rule establishes requirements for new and existing CCR landfills and surface impoundments, including lateral expansion of any unit. More information is available at

8/10/2015 - CCAI launches Salt Lake City chapter

TAYLOR MILL, Ky.—The Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI) has launched a Salt Lake City Chapter. Joe Jeppson, Coral Chemical, has taken the reign as the first chapter president along with Ken Nein, IFS Coatings, as vice president and Jared Ainsworth, TCI Powder, treasurer.

The new chapter will offer programming to attract finishers throughout the region. The chapter plans to provide educational meetings with expert speakers and networking activities where members can share information on relevant issues in the industry. Chapters are the heart of CCAI and they provide significant educational and networking opportunities for those in the finishing industry.

If you or your company services the Salt Lake City region, visit the CCAI website at and learn more about how you and your co-workers can get involved. Information on the Salt Lake City chapter can be found under the Chapters tab.

8/6/2015 - Axalta Coating Systems selected as award finalist

PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, has been named a finalist in the 2015 Automotive News PACE (Premier Automotive Suppliers Contribution to Excellence) Award program for its 2-Wet Monocoat paint system.

The innovative paint system was designed to help OEM customers reduce the complexity of the conventional coating process and increase productivity by fusing the properties of a base coat and clear coat into one coating layer and reducing the number of drying cycles and ovens from two to one. The result is a system that needs less space on the shop floor, which is ideal for manufacturing facilities with smaller footprints and for brownfield paint shop conversions.

8/5/2015 - Vac-U-Max test facility provides pneumatic and mechanical bulk materials testing

BELLEVILLE, N.J.—Vac-U-Max material test facility incorporates pneumatic and mechanical conveying equipment and automated systems tailored to bulk material characteristics, ensuring proper handling and processing of bulk materials. With application expertise in the handling of more than 10,000 bulk materials including powders, flakes, granules, pellets, fibers, capsules, gel caps, tablets, and various other bulk materials, careful consideration is given in reviewing flow properties, product segregation, pneumatic conveying behavior, particle attrition and other particle properties like shape, size, and density. The fully-equipped material test facility simulates a customer's bulk material handling applications, incorporating dense and dilute phases in vacuum and/or pressure conveying for batch, continuous, loss-in-weight and gain-in-weight applications.

The company designs and manufactures pneumatic conveying components and systems for vacuum conveying, batching, and weighing of powders and bulk materials in the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. For more information or to request a material test, visit

8/4/2015 - IHEA offers additional safety seminar

TAYLOR MILL, Ky.—After the success of its Annual Safety Seminar in Chicago in April, the Industrial Heating Equipment Association (IHEA) has scheduled a second Safety Standards and Codes Seminar to be held August 31-September 1, 2015. The event will be held at the Hilton Columbus Downtown in Columbus, Ohio.

The Fall seminar will take place concurrently with IHEA's 46th Annual Combustion Seminar and its newly launched Induction Seminar. Attendees from all three seminars will be able to attend a joint Tabletop Exhibition on Monday, August 31. This gives registrants the added benefit of networking with industry peers, seminar speakers, and dozens of companies in the industrial heat processing business.

The two-day seminar will provide a comprehensive overview featuring the new NFPA 86—2015 edition, including updated requirements for many areas of safety. Sessions will cover the required uses of the American National Standards governing the compliant design and operation of ovens and furnaces.

For more information and to register for this course, call 859/356-1575 or visit and click on the Events tab and then scroll to 2015 Fall Safety Seminar.

8/3/2015 - Courses: September 2015

September 15: Practical Course on Viscosity Measurements. St. Louis, Mo. Also offered September 16 in Middleboro, Mass., and September 17 in Atlanta, Ga. Offered by Brookfield Engineering Laboratories. Contact Brookfield at 800/628-8139; fax 508/946-6262;

7/31/2015 - Twin Cities expo draws crowd

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.—The Twin Cities chapter of the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI) and the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at the University of Minnesota jointly hosted the 9th Minnesota Paint and Powder Coating Expo this March at Century College in White Bear Lake, Minn. The event consisted of a vendor show, hands-on demonstrations, and educational sessions. More than 55 exhibitors displayed equipment and services at this well-respected regional trade show. The event also offered industrial painter training sessions, provided by the Iowa Waste Reduction Center, where trainers worked with attendees to improve finishing techniques on virtual reality spray equipment.

7/28/2015 - European CAV industry undergoing regulatory changes

LONDON, England–The European chlor-alkali/vinyls industry (CAV) is undergoing a major transformation due to rapid consolidation and regulatory changes introduced by the European Union. These regulatory changes require chemical producers to either convert mercury cell-based chlorine plants to a more environmentally friendly membrane technology or shut down the technically obsolete plants altogether by December 2017. This will affect roughly 20 percent of the total European capacity.

The regulatory mandates, in addition to increased mergers and acquisitions in the European CAV marketplace, will likely lead to some closures of older plants and continued consolidation. However, the facilities that survive the transition stand to enjoy higher operating rates, increased market share, and greater profitability.

Western Europe will be the most impacted region due to this technological transformation. Producers in Central Europe will also be impacted. These changes will force the region's producers to adapt rapidly or exit in the mid-term. Besides the regulatory and technological changes being experienced by the industry, chlorine, caustic soda, and PVC markets also will see slower new capacity growth going forward. At the same time, global construction is reviving and Europe is slowly turning the corner.

7/27/2015 - ACE Equipment launches new website

CLEVELAND, Ohio—ACE Equipment Co. has launched its new website: The website has information and data on the company's Coil Winding Equipment, Burn Off Ovens, and Curing Ovens. The new site also includes info on installations, customer reviews, blog information, social media links, and much more. The company is celebrating 96 years as a family owned business.

7/23/2015 - Gastonia company fined in employee's death

GASTONIA, N.C.–A company was fined more than $50,000 over violations uncovered after a 58-year-old man fell to his death last May. An investigation into the death revealed the company, Powder Coating Services Inc., was home to safety issues that could have endangered more people.

The N.C. Department of Labor issued two citations to Powder Coating Services. The state found four problems inside the plant. The first concerned the death of the 58-year-old man. According to the state, the man fell through an opening in the mezzanine on May 16 and died as a result of his injuries. He fell more than 11 feet. According to the Labor Department, the plant had the openings uncovered for at least a year. Someone had moved the coverings to a spot elsewhere in the plant. The holes were also uncovered for a period in April when several employees had to reset a circuit breaker on that level. The citation says those workers, too, were in danger of falling.

Other issues dealt with locks on electrical devices and a lack of company procedure for certain hazardous situations. The owner also failed to check whether the company needed permits for chemical solution holding tanks and an underground pit. Employees had to enter and clean the tanks and pit. The fines totaled $50,100.

7/22/2015 - Reliable Plating Works celebrates 85 years

MILWAUKEE, Wis.–Reliable Plating Works is celebrating 85 years in business. The company is owned by the Maliszewski family, was started by Julian Maliszewski in 1929, and its current company president is Jaime Maliszewski. The company offers decorative and functional nickel and chrome finishes on steel products, and provides services for every stage of the plating process.

7/21/2015 - Chief Fabrication opens new facility

GRAND ISLAND, Nebr.–Chief Fabrication, a division of Chief Industries, has opened a new powder coat facility in Grand Island that, once in full production, will be one of the largest powder coat operations in the country. Among its many capabilities, the facility enables the primer and topcoat to be applied in one pass and can accommodate parts up to 17 feet long. With this new facility, the company is now able to take products from raw sheet steel and turn them into very intricate weldments with an automotive-quality powder coated finish providing years of durability, all under one roof.

7/20/2015 - Coating operation fined $341K

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Workers repeatedly inhaled, absorbed, and even ingested toxic hexavalent chromium through a variety of coating tasks at an Oklahoma contractor, federal authorities are alleging. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Pride Plating Inc., Grove, Okla., with 38 violations, including nine repeat violations, and fined the company $341,550.

The company's workers were exposed to hexavalent chromium through spray painting and dip tank operations and in the lunchroom and smoking areas. Hexavalent chromium is a carcinogen commonly used in industrial processes, anticorrosives, and protective paints and coatings. Health effects range from skin irritation to lung cancer.

Nine repeat citations, with a penalty of $180,180, related primarily to chromium violations. A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Pride Plating was cited for similar violations in 2009.

Twenty-eight serious citations were also cited. A serious violation reflects substantial probability of death or serious physical harm from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Pride Plating, which employs about 110 workers in Grove, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to respond to them.

7/16/2015 - Coating made for industrial interiors

AUBURNDALE, Fla.–SealKrete has introduced a two-part premium water-based epoxy coating for vertical and horizontal interior application in refineries, clean rooms, chemical processing plants, and similar settings.

According to the company, EpoxyShell WB 250 is water-based but has solvent-based performance characteristics. The industrial strength product offers good adhesion, film hardness, chemical and abrasion resistance, hot tire pickup resistance, and breathability. With a slow working time, the product can be used for large interior projects, as well as priming and high traffic areas. It also works as a primer for flake floors and offers a fast return to service.

7/15/2015 - OSHA investigates Buchman Lumber

WASHINGTON, D.C.–A complaint investigation found workers at Buchman Lumber Co. LLC, were exposed to excessive noise and amputation hazards at its Springbrook, Wis., lumber plant. The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the company for 17 violations, including four willful violations and proposed penalties of $145,200. OSHA has also placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA initiated a complaint investigation in December 2013 and expanded it to a comprehensive inspection of the entire facility because of the number and magnitude of hazards found.

The investigation uncovered four willful violations, including failing to administer a hearing conservation program, failing to provide eye and face protection to workers exposed to flying wood chips and boards, and failing to implement lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machines from turning on during maintenance and servicing. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Buchman Lumber was also cited for 13 serious violations, including multiple incidents of failing to provide adequate machine guarding on shafts, belts, pulleys, saws, conveyors and drives. Other violations involved failing to develop and train workers in a hazard communication program, electrical safety violations, and failing to conduct assessments for required personal protective equipment and permit-required confined spaces. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Buchman Lumber has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

7/14/2015 - Axalta forms partnership with Jeff Gordon

PHILADELPHIA, Pa.–Axalta Coating Systems and Jeff Gordon, one of the most celebrated race car drivers in history, have announced a new multiyear partnership. Gordon will become Axalta's global business advisor, and serve as special advisor to Charlie Shaver, Axalta chairman and CEO, bringing his winning skills and innovative thinking to Axalta, its leadership team, and its customers worldwide.

Axalta and Gordon have a long history, which began through the company's sponsorship of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Although Gordon recently announced that 2015 will be his final season as a full-time driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Axalta will continue to sponsor and be the official paint supplier of Hendrick Motorsports.

Through the new partnership, Gordon will offer unique insights to Axalta global leaders in the Automotive Refinish, OEM, Commercial Vehicle and Industrial businesses. He will have the opportunity to directly contribute to specific global strategic initiatives, including goal setting and execution, and creating a winning culture. Axalta is a leading global company focused solely on coatings and providing customers with innovative, colorful, beautiful, and sustainable solutions.

7/9/2015 - Mexican researchers convert industrial waste into high-temperature coatings

MONTERREY, Mexico–While the US awaits a federal decision on the safety of coal ash, Mexican researchers have found a new use for the industrial waste: high-temperature coatings. Scientists from Mexico's Center for Research in Advanced Materials (Cimav) say they have developed a nanostructured coating capable of withstanding temperatures exceeding 1,000°C (about 1,832°F). The coating aims to address one of the most common problems in aviation–the microstructural degradation of superalloys that integrate turbines.

Inside a turbine's hot zone, blades, nozzles, and other components made of nickel-based superalloys are subjected to strong damage by the heat, which diminishes the turbine's energy efficiency and compromises the structure's thermal and mechanical properties, according to Dr. Ana Maria Arizmendi Morquecho, who is leading the research. Her research specialty includes multicomponent nanostructured coatings on metal substrates for corrosion protection and resistance to high temperatures. She also has explored the development of thermal barrier coatings with ultra low thermal conductivity based on waste materials. The new research combines those specialties, putting fly ash to work in the new material mix.

After five years of development, the team is planning final laboratory testing. If successful, the coating would not only benefit the aviation industry but find an additional beneficial use for the industrial waste from northern Mexico's coal plants. The Mexican research was announced as the clock ticks down in the US on a federal determination on whether to regulate Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs) as hazardous waste.

7/8/2015 - Courses: August 2015

August 4: Practical Course on Viscosity Measurements. Portland, Ore. Also offered August 6 in San Francisco, Calif., and August 13 in Middleboro, Mass. Offered by Brookfield Engineering Laboratories. Contact Brookfield at 800/628-8139; fax 508/946-6262;

7/7/2015 - Accurate Coats begins operations in Iowa

MILFORD, Iowa–Accurate Coats Powder Coating, a custom powder coating company, opened its doors in July 2014. The company is owned and operated by the father-son duo of Chris and Jerad Alger, who also own its sister company, Alger Customs Inc. Alger Customs has been operating in the Milford area for 10 years. The Algers emphasize size capacity – anything that can fit in their oven, they will coat. This includes anything from agricultural equipment to steel car frames to steel, fences, and patio equipment.

7/6/2015 - Federal grants aid coating advances

EUCLID, Ohio–Two federal grants aim to use one technology to develop advanced ways for joining dissimilar metals and antimicrobial coatings for large contact surfaces. MesoCoat Inc., a subsidiary of Abakan Inc., and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory will split a $1 million award from the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a process to join dissimilar metal alloys. The primary objectives of the DOE project are to develop functional gradient transition joints between carbon steel and austenitic stainless steel for nuclear reactors, and to develop advanced joining techniques for dissimilar materials used in nuclear fission reactors.

In addition, MesoCoat was awarded a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop antimicrobial coatings using its high-speed, large-area metal cladding technology. The NIH project aims to develop copper-based antimicrobial coatings primarily for contact surfaces in hospitals, but that could also be applied to other public areas such as airports, bus and railway stations, schools, restaurants and work places.

Both projects focus on the company's CermaClad technology, which uses high energy density IR fusion to metallurgically bond a layer of API-compliant metal alloy and nickel tungsten carbide to a steel substrate.

7/2/2015 - US construction job boom creates need for more training

ST. PAUL, Minn.–US construction unemployment, which neared 20 percent at the height of the recession, has now shrunk to just 7 percent, with 230,000 jobs added in the last year. Construction employers added 16,000 jobs between August and September, bringing the total to 6,079,000, the highest rate seen since May 2009. September's unemployment rate of 7 percent was the lowest September mark in 7 years, according to a report by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). The number of unemployed workers was 604,000, a level not seen since August 2007.

Residential and specialty trade contractors added a combined 11,800 employees between August and September 2014 and added 129,400 (5.9 percent) over 12 months. Nonresidential building and specialty trade contractors hired a net of 3,700 workers for the month and 100,300 (2.7 percent) since September 2013. However, heavy and civil engineering contractors, which perform the majority of public-sector construction, increased their headcount by just 500 in September and 29,000 (3.3 percent) over the year amid tight government budget conditions, according to AGC.

The employment gains coincide with continuing concerns by some construction firms over finding qualified workers to fill available positions. Employers are reporting a lack of local vocational training, especially at the secondary level. AGC officials urge federal, state and local officials to enact measures to make it easier for school districts, local associations, and private firms to establish career and technical education and training programs.

7/1/2015 - San Cast fined $156K by OSHA

WASHINGTON, D.C.–A follow-up inspection by the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at San Cast Inc., Coshocton, Ohio, found that workers were still exposed to amputation and fall hazards at the casting and foundry facility. The facility was previously cited after a worker suffered a leg amputation in June 2013. OSHA has issued 17 additional violations, carrying proposed penalties of $155,900, as a result of the recent inspection.

OSHA cited repeat violations for failing to protect employees from the ingoing nip points of belts, pulleys, chains. and sprockets. San Cast was also cited for failing to protect employees from fall hazards associated with an unguarded platform. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule, or order at any other facility in federal enforcement sates within the last 5 years. San Cast was cited for these violations in both March and September 2013.

San Cast also was cited for 11 serious safety violations involving lack of lockout/tagout procedures, exposing workers to struck-by hazards, and failing to maintain an overhead trolley system. The company also failed to inspect cranes and hoists regularly, and broken crane wires were discovered. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

OSHA has inspected San Cast five times since 2009. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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