January marks the beginning of my third and final year as President of the National Electrical Contractors Association – I certainly can say I’ve enjoyed the experience – and I’m happy to report we’re a growing organization that has made tremendous strides. There’s a lot to look forward to. That includes NECA 2017 Seattle in October, after what turned out to be a rousing convention in Boston.
It’s also important talk about the impact of the election. A new occupant in the White House and a new Congress to work with means new and different relationships and opportunities will take center stage. NECA will remain committed to being electrical construction’s leading voice on Capitol Hill. Our government affairs team, led by Marco Giamberardino, works tirelessly on behalf of the industry to advocate for what is in the best interest of you and your companies. Among the issues expected to be analyzed and debated in Washington this year are comprehensive tax reform, infrastructure investment and a possible rollback of a host of regulations.
Speaking of the nation’s capital, it can be a busy place. In December, for instance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued recommended practices for safety and health programs in construction to help industry employers like electrical contractors develop proactive programs to keep their workplaces safe. OSHA believes the recommendations may be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized contractors who lack safety and health specialists on staff. I think that is the case. OSHA listened to the concerns of the construction industry, and these recommendations will certainly benefit smaller contractors.
Construction sites vary differently from one job to another, and multi-employer job-sites offer many challenges for contractors. According to OSHA, 4,821 workers died on the job in 2014, the most recent year in which statistics were available. You might have seen or met Wes Wheeler, NECA’s Director of Safety, at events around the country. He is dedicated to leading our safety efforts and providing you with the information you need to make smart decisions. Electrical contractors know the importance of having health and safety programs in the workplace, but it’s worth repeating something shared by OSHA: These programs encourage finding and fixing workplace hazards before they cause injuries, illnesses and deaths. Implementing these programs also helps reduce the financial difficulties these events can cause for workers, their families and their employers.
Technology is another area that is constantly evolving and affecting the way electrical contractors do their job. Joey Shorter, NECA’s Director of Research, has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas. As part of his initiative, he has been reviewing research and presenting ideas to help you determine the impact technology might bring to your business.
I will continue to be a strong supporter of a forward-looking approach that encourages electrical contractors to stay innovative and embrace change.
As a leader in the electrical construction industry, I’m enthusiastic about exploring ways to be successful. I hope you are, too. Feel free to reach out to me with questions or concerns in the days and months ahead. Happy New Year!
David A. Hardt,
ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR Magazine - Published: January 2017
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