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Meet Miles Boyer, Safety and Construction Expert

The Builders' Association

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Miles Boyer is the Springfield Office Manager for The Builders' Association, which is a nonprofit commercial construction trade association serving hundreds of member companies that employ over 25,000 people in mid-America. Founded in 1887, The Builders’ Association has advanced the construction industry by delivering safety, craft and management training; employment, labor, and government relations; and construction plans and technology tools.

Four service and training centers operate in Kansas City, Jefferson City and Springfield to serve both union and nonunion member companies and to aid collaboration by connecting passionate people and businesses, with a vision of improving lives through construction.

This is accomplished in several ways, including:

    • 3,000+ safety trainees annually. 
    • Community outreach. 
    • 1,500+ apprentices in cosponsored programs.
    • Delivery of business education and professional development. 
    • Negotiation of 27 collective bargaining agreements. 
    • Coadministration and trustee-appointment authority for 28 fringe funds with over $3 billion in assets. 
    • Government relations services at the local and state level, as well as federally through AGC Kansas City, a chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America and the association’s sister organization. 

What are some basic fire prevention strategies we can apply on the job site?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports there were an average of 3,840 construction fires each year between 2013 and 2017 alone, which caused 49 civilian injuries and $304 million in property damage annually. And while fire prevention has real impacts on the bottom line, even more importantly, knowing how to identify potential hazards can save lives. According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fire or explosion accounted for 71 occupational fatalities in 2020, which is down from prior years, so continued diligence in preventing fires can help achieve zero fire fatalities on the job. Colder weather brings an increase in fire risks as we look for ways to keep warm, but basic fire prevention strategies can mitigate that risk. Daylight saving is a good biannual reminder to replace batteries in smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and any other battery-operated devices, if the building under construction has them installed and operational. Also check to make sure AED and fire extinguishers are in working order. According to the NFPA, the leading causes of fires in structures under construction are cooking equipment, electrical distribution and lighting equipment, and heating equipment. The NFPA has free fire safety resources, and our construction safety experts can audit your job site for this and other safety measures. Contact me or visit www.buildersassociation.com to learn more about making The Builders’ safety team part of your risk-mitigation team.

What is being done to address construction workforce challenges?

The Builders’ is committed to workforce development in our region and supports a variety of initiatives to help ensure a well-trained pipeline leading to fulfilling construction careers. For example, The Builders’ Association Scholarship Foundation awards 29 scholarships annually to full-time college students in the Midwest who are pursuing degrees in construction. Established in 1994, the foundation uses investment income from the scholarship endowment fund to create scholarships for outstanding individuals preparing for a career in construction within the region served by the association. Through members’ generous donations, the fund now exceeds $1,000,000. The foundation has helped many talented young people in their efforts to gain an education in construction-related fields. Many of them are now building a future in the construction industry. If you know a student who qualifies, direct them to the “Scholarships” page under the Workforce and Professional Development menu at www.buildersassociation.com to apply before the Nov. 1, 2022, deadline. You can also visit the same page to learn more about how you can contribute to the fund, including information about how your company can fund a named scholarship.

How can I get involved in promoting the construction industry?

Salute to Design & Construction represents a collaboration of several local industry organizations, including The Builders’, to promote construction by organizing volunteer speakers for local school career days and hosting an annual banquet to recognize scholarship recipients, project awards, professional honors and lifetime achievement awards. The 38th annual banquet will be Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, at the Oasis Convention Center. Contact me for more information.

Visit www.buildersassociation.com for a calendar of construction industry networking events, including the Southern Region Summer Par-Tee at Getaway Golf on Sept. 21.

 

I’m ready to grow my business. What can I do to spur business development?

Since 1887, The Builders’ Association has served as a “chamber of commerce” for commercial construction, helping contractors and the businesses they use build connections that ultimately grow business. Networking provides an avenue for exchanging ideas, makes you more noticeable and can serve as a launchpad for new opportunities.

Networking has long been part of the building and construction industry, and it has been a core service of The Builders’ since its inception. Whether it’s sharing a meal with area general contractors, subcontractors and industry partners or hitting the links for a round of golf, the chance to step away from the office and visit with colleagues from around the industry is a vital part of growing business, and The Builders’ Association is committed to facilitating those opportunities whenever we can.

Visit www.buildersassociation.com for a calendar of construction industry networking events, including the Southern Region Summer Par-Tee at Getaway Golf on Sept. 21.

If I’m a member of The Builders’ Association, what does the upcoming membership unification with AGC Kansas City mean for me?

It was recently announced that two of the region’s biggest commercial building associations, The Builders’ Association and the Kansas City Chapter of AGC, will merge memberships on Jan. 1, 2023, to become The Builders, a chapter of the AGC. Unified, the association will have over 600 construction firms and related businesses as members, and all current Builders’ members will have access to new and expanded benefits, including discount programs, training and advocacy at the highest levels of government. “Our members have told us they are most concerned about workforce shortages and supply chain problems,” said Rob Cleavinger, Board of Directors chair for The Builders’ Association & JE Dunn Construction Company senior vice president. “With the strength of our two association memberships merged and engaged at the national level, we are in a stronger position to be able to support solutions to these issues.”  www.buildersassociation.com  

 

What are some ways my firm can be recognized for exceptional work in construction?

Recognition for exceptional projects is a great way to earn new business. Members of the AGC can submit their projects for consideration to receive a regional Building Excellence Award. The AGC of America also hosts the Build America Awards annually and one winner receives automatic submission to the national awards. Visit www.buildersassociation.com to see the list of this year’s winners and finalists, and find out if local firms, Carson-Mitchell, Inc. and R.E. Smith Construction Company, took home top prizes.

 

As it gets hotter, how can workers best protect themselves from heat stress?

Dangerous heat exposure can occur indoors or outdoors. There are a range of heat illnesses, and they can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition. Almost 75% of heat illness fatalities happen during the first week of work. By taking frequent breaks and working shorter shifts, workers can build a tolerance to the heat gradually over time. The process of building tolerance is called heat acclimatization. Lack of acclimatization represents a major risk factor for fatal outcomes. Safe work practices include:

• 20% rule: On the first day in a hot environment, limit time working during the hottest part of day to 20% of the shift and increase by up to 20% a day until acclimated to the heat.

• Drink cool water: Drink at least one cup every 20 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.

• Rest breaks: Take time to recover from heat in a shady or cool location.

• Dress for the heat: Wear a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing, if possible.

• Watch out for each other: Monitor yourselves and one another for signs of heat illness. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related health problem. It occurs when the body’s temperature regulating system fails and body temperature rises to critical levels. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that may rapidly result in death. Confusion, slurred speech or unconsciousness are signs of heat stroke. When these types of symptoms are present, call 911 immediately, and cool the worker with ice or cold water until help arrives. Act quickly! When in doubt, call 911. Visit www.buildersassociation.com for more heat safety resources. 

With midterm elections around the corner, how can I be sure those elected are friendly to the construction industry?

One of the core member services of The Builders’ Association is to advocate on behalf of commercial construction firms. In 2020, for example, Allen Dillingham, The Builders’ government relations director, worked with decision-makers and industry leaders locally and nationally to ensure construction was considered an essential industry and could keep working during early pandemic lockdowns.

Locally, the Builders’ Association Political Action Committee (BAPAC) supports candidates who are knowledgeable about the construction industry and share our views on legislation that may be critical to the industry and our members. Your company is often directly affected by decisions made by state and local elected officials, which is why it is critically important to have input into the decision-making processes at all levels of government. Construction firms are encouraged to get involved and contact elected officials directly when important issues surface. Builders’ often provides tools and resources to make it easier to do this outreach for key issues.

On May 13, you can join me for our Baseball for BAPAC fundraiser at the Springfield Cardinals game to support the work of BAPAC while networking with industry colleagues.

Visit www.buildersassociation.com for more about the advocacy work of Builders’ and register for the event or contact me directly to learn how you can get involved with the Southern Missouri region’s BAPAC efforts.

How can we make sure there are enough well qualified construction workers in the workforce pipeline?

Our association is committed to workforce development in our region and supports a variety of initiatives to help ensure a well-trained pipeline leading to fulfilling construction careers exists in southern Missouri. Builders’ participates in Build My Future, an annual career expo event with hundreds of student participants.

The Build My Future Career Expo was created to show high school students potential career opportunities in construction and to shed light on the industry’s meaningful and well-paying jobs available. In its inaugural year, Build My Future hosted 900 students and by 2019 participation had more than doubled. The Build My Future Committee, in which Builders’ participates, includes a mix of government, private industry, nonprofit, education and union representatives. Today, Build My Future is one of the largest events of its kind in the country. The Springfield Build My Future Collaborative invites schools from across southern Missouri to participate in a day of hands-on exhibits, including activities representing architecture, construction, bricklaying, heavy equipment operating, virtual reality simulations, welding and more. To get involved with Build My Future, taking place April 13 this year, reach out to me directly or check out www.buildersassociation.com to learn more about our workforce development efforts! 

 

Is there an OSHA temporary standard in place requiring COVID-19 vaccination or testing for companies with over 100 employees?

If there’s one thing that remains consistent about this pandemic, it’s that nothing remains consistent. OSHA withdrew its COVID-19 vaccination or testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) applicable to private businesses with 100 or more employees in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. However, the agency will pursue a more tailored, permanent standard applicable to health care. To stay up to date with changing pandemic policy and safety protocols, Builders’ publishes a COVID-19 updates newsletter weekly. With Builders’ weekly COVID-19 Updates email, you'll get the latest information regarding the pandemic, including: Developments regarding government vaccination and testing requirements. Updates on the status of pandemic-related litigation. The latest guidance regarding quarantine and isolation. Local orders related to the pandemic. To see the latest pandemic updates, visit the COVID-19 Action Center at www.buildersassociation.com, or reach out to me directly to find out how you can get the COVID-19 updates newsletter delivered straight to your inbox!

 

Should I consider requesting a construction job site inspection by a safety professional?

Prevention is the best medicine. Job site inspections add immediate value, have the long-term benefit of improving your organization’s safety culture, and can prevent problems down the road. Builders’ safety professionals who perform these inspections will offer assistance and recommendations for your safety and compliance programs. Visit buildersassociation.com to get started or reach out to me directly!

Instead of hiring someone, is it OK to have my employees put lights on our office building or at a job site?

To make sure the “most wonderful time of the year” doesn’t become soured with injuries, you’ll want to make sure safety is your top priority when it comes to holiday decorations. Consider these precautions when making your office or job sites festive: If you want to install lights at an elevated height, use a contractor with the proper training and equipment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 5,822 falls requiring medical attention occur each year while installing holiday decorations (majority of these falls are from roofs and ladders).

  • Use flame-resistant decorations.
  • Inspect lights for damage before use, and ensure they are rated appropriately (indoor and outdoor).
  • If using candles, place the candles clear of combustibles and out of reach of children. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than one-third of home décor fires are started by candles.
  • Don’t place decorations in exit paths and ensure doors in exit paths are not impaired by decorations.
  • Special regulations apply to some occupancies related to Christmas trees and decorations, such as health care, business, educational and hotel occupancies. See NFPA standards for specific requirements.

For more holiday safety tips or safety help on your job site, reach out to me directly! You can also visit www.buildersassociation.com for more information.

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