We invite and encourage you to share your news of interest with the CIC membership. Please contact Beverly Wittmeier at (605) 343-5252 or email: cic@constructionindustrycenter.com to submit your news.

GenPro Energy Solution Launches a Re-Designed Website




Solar Energy    LED Lighting    Solar Water   Blog    Contact   


GenPro Energy Solutions is proud to announce the launch of our freshly
re-designed website.

Our new website features a clean and modern design that has been aimed to improve the user experience.  It features a fully responsive design, made to adapt to a wide range of web browsers and mobile devices.

We’ve made great strides in creating a user-friendly website to make navigating our wide range of services simpler.


West Plains Engineering Expands Power Division to Wyoming


For More Information
West Plains Engineering, Inc.
Marketing Director
(605) 348-7455


West Plains Engineering Expands Power Division to Wyoming


Casper, WY – West Plains Engineering is pleased to announce the expansion of its Power Engineering Division to Casper, Wyo. The Power Division specializes in transmission and distribution system design, substations, SCADA and load management; and will join WPE’s existing MEP engineers at 145 South Durbin, Suite 205.


Senior Electrical Engineer John Rickert will lead the division’s effort in Casper with 25 years of experience in consulting and utility power engineering.


The expansion means WPE can now better support rural and municipal utilities in the Wyoming and Colorado service area, while continuing to partner with clients in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska out of its Rapid City office.


To learn more about West Plains Engineering, visit westplainsengineering.com.


West Plains Engineering, Inc. (WPE) is a certified small business mechanical, electrical, plumbing and power engineering firm that has been designing reliable, resourceful and efficient systems for over 30 years. Our team spans five regional offices in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, SD; Bismarck, ND; Casper, Wyo. And Cedar Rapids, Iowa.; and our professional engineers maintain active registrations in more than 15 states.


NEWS MEDIA: For more information or to arrange an interview, please call Kelli Crouse, West Plains Engineering Marketing Director, at (605) 348-7455.



Nick Berglund Promoted to Regional Manager for North Dakota



Contact: Jody Elam-Foote, Business Development Manager
Northern Technologies, LLC
651.389.4170 / JodyE@ntigeo.com

Nick Berglund Promoted to Regional Manager for North Dakota

Fargo, ND – May 2, 2017 – NTI congratulates Nick Berglund on his promotion to regional manager for North Dakota. As regional manager, Berglund will be responsible for the operations and overall management of NTI’s offices in Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot, North Dakota. He will also be heavily involved in the strategic planning and business development activities for these offices as well as any future acquisitions in North Dakota.

Berglund has spent his 13-year career with NTI, beginning as an engineering technician intern in 2004. He worked as an engineering technician for two years and was named construction services manager in 2015. Berglund has provided construction materials testing, forensic engineering services, environmental assessments, and pre- and post-construction surveys on several construction projects for NTI such as West Fargo Schools, Essentia Hospital, Veterans Administration Hospital, Microsoft Campus, Scheels retail store, Scheels Arena, and the NDSU Track Facility.

Berglund graduated from North Dakota State University in 2005 with a bachelor of science in civil engineering. He is a registered engineer in North Dakota and Minnesota. Berglund is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the FM Engineers Club.

Established in 1996, NTI provides comprehensive geotechnical engineering, construction material testing, forensic engineering and non-destructive testing services to a variety of governmental agencies, property owners, developers, contractors, engineers and architects. NTI has offices in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. It is our mission to help our clients manage risk, reduce design and construction costs, and protect the environment by delivering strategic, sustainable, and technically sound services.



Balliet Passes Fundamentals of Engineering Exam


Contact: Jody Elam-Foote, Business Development Manager
651.389.4170 / JodyE@NTIgeo.com

Balliet Passes Fundamentals of Engineering Exam

St. Paul, MN – April 10, 2017 – Northern Technologies, LLC (NTI) congratulates Nick Balliet on passing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and becoming an Engineer in Training. Balliet joined NTI last August after graduating from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in material science and engineering. He currently serves as an engineering technician in the Inver Grove Heights office and provides construction materials testing on projects throughout the Twin Cities area.

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, also referred to as the Engineer in Training (EIT) exam, is the first of two examinations that engineers must pass in order to be licensed as a Professional Engineer in the United States. The exam is open to anyone with a degree in engineering or a related field, or currently enrolled in the last year of an ABET-accredited engineering degree program.
Established in 1996, NTI provides comprehensive geotechnical engineering, construction material testing, forensic engineering and non-destructive testing services to a variety of governmental agencies, property owners, developers, contractors, engineers and architects. NTI has offices in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. It is our mission to help our clients manage risk, reduce design and construction costs, and protect the environment by delivering strategic, sustainable, and technically sound services.



NTI Acquires Red River Testing and Inspecting


Contact: Jody Elam-Foote, Business Development Manager
Northern Technologies, LLC
651.389.4170 / JodyE@NTIgeo.com

NTI Acquires Red River Testing and Inspecting

Fargo, ND – April 3, 2017– Northern Technologies, LLC (NTI) is thrilled to announce the acquisition of Red River Testing and Inspecting, LLC (RRTI). This acquisition includes the merging of RRTI’s location in Shelly, Minnesota with NTI’s Grand Forks, North Dakota office. Chad Culp, RRTI Founder, will serve as the Grand Forks Area Manager for NTI. For the past five years, RRTI has provided superior value to clients in the Red River Valley through attention to detail and a commitment to every project regardless of size and scope.
“We are very pleased to welcome Chad and his staff to the NTI team. We believe that both clients of Red River Testing and Inspecting and Northern Technologies will benefit from this acquisition,” said NTI President Barry Morgan. “By supplementing our testing and inspecting services with very experienced engineers and technicians from RRTI, we are adding additional depth to the services we provide.”
“Joining the expertise and experience of NTI enables us to thrive and grow by strengthening our combined ability to provide more responsive and innovative services,” expressed Chad Culp, Founder of Red River Testing and Inspecting. “Our highly complementary cultures, shared approach to client service and wealth of experience should yield multiple benefits for our clients, employees and the communities we serve.”
For the past 20 years, NTI has built a firm that is truly unique among our peers, maintaining a reputation of quality by consistently delivering exceptional services. It is our mission to help our clients manage risk, reduce design and construction costs, and protect the environment by delivering strategic, sustainable, and technically sound services. With offices in Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot, North Dakota as well as Minnesota and South Dakota, we provide comprehensive services to clients throughout Upper Midwest.



Consolidated Construction Announces New Branch, Staff in Rapid City, South Dakota



For Immediate Release

Kerry Arndt, Marketing Manager
Direct: (920) 882-2543 


(Links to hi-res photos at the bottom of the release.)


Consolidated Construction Announces New Branch, Staff in Rapid City, South Dakota

Following several high-profile projects in the community, the company opens a permanent location.


Rapid City, S.D. (February 27, 2016) – Consolidated Construction Co. Inc., a full-service design/build firm headquartered in Appleton, Wis., announces the opening of its new office and newly hired staff in Rapid City, where the company has been completing construction projects for nearly a decade.


“After years of success in Rapid City, we’re looking forward to being an official part of the community by opening our new branch,” Rick Bickert, Consolidated Construction CEO, said. “The office is staffed with local professionals who are experts in the needs of the area and have built strong relationships within the community.”


The new branch, at 919 Main St. in downtown Rapid City, allows Consolidated Construction to better serve its commercial, hospitality and industrial customers throughout South Dakota, Wyoming, and southwestern North Dakota. Rapid City-based employees have local experience and are long-standing members of the community.


Consolidated Construction has completed a number of high-profile projects in Rapid City and the Black Hills. The list includes Home2 Suites, Residence Inn Rapid City, Cambria Hotel and Suites and MainStay Suites. In addition, the company recently began work on the Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort expansion in Deadwood.


Rapid City and the Black Hills have seen a boom in commercial and residential construction in recent years. In 2016, the city of Rapid City issued a record $320 million in building permits. Consolidated Construction officials look forward to continued growth in the market and want to participate as an integral part of the Black Hills business community.


Frank Smyle, who has spent his extensive, 34-year construction career in Rapid City and its surrounding communities, will serve as a senior project manager at the Rapid City location. Smyle previously worked for area contractors including MAC Construction Co. Inc., R.C.S. Construction, Inc. and the design firm Dunham Associates, Inc.


“Rapid City is my home, and we have endless opportunities for growth and advancement in all industries,” Smyle said. “I’m looking forward to continuing my career in this booming area with Consolidated Construction, offering our customers the best in design/build construction.”


In addition, project engineer Phil Hawki, who has been with Consolidated Construction’s Black Hills projects since 2012, is also stationed at the Rapid City office. He has 19 years of construction experience, including site supervision and project management. Chad Redder, senior site superintendent, is also based in the Rapid City office. He is currently supervising on-site activities at the Home2 Suites hotel, under construction locally.

As a design/build firm, Consolidated Construction offers the Rapid City community something a little different with specialists in architecture. This allows the company to assist customers in every aspect of the construction process, from start to finish.


Companies looking for more information on Consolidated Construction’s services or design/build process should contact Frank Smyle at (605) 593-8340.


About Consolidated Construction

Consolidated Construction Co., Inc. consolidates financing assistance, architecture and construction into a single source to provide streamlined building services to commercial, hospitality, industrial and food industry clients throughout the Upper Midwest. Company headquarters are located in Appleton, Wisconsin, with additional offices in Bismarck, North Dakota and Rapid City, South Dakota. The company’s simplified delivery model has resulted in national awards for design/build ingenuity and cost reduction. Project information and company history can be viewed at www.1call2build.com.



NTI Announces New President


Contact: Jody Elam-Foote, Business Development Manager
Northern Technologies, LLC
651.389.4170 / Jodye@ntigeo.com
NTI Announces New President
St. Paul, MN – February 27, 2017 – Northern Technologies, LLC (NTI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Barry Morgan, P.E. as our next president. Morgan will be based at NTI’s Inver Grove Heights office, with responsibility for the firm’s operations across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

“We are very excited to have Barry joining the NTI team as our company grows into a stronger, more capable firm,” stated Will Lindenmayer, Chairman of the Board. “Barry knows the engineering and testing business intimately and brings a deep commitment to enhance NTI’s impressive roadmap. Under his leadership, NTI will continue to evolve as a best-in-class company and market leader focused on quality, value added engineering design, exemplary customer service, professional ethics and innovation."

Morgan has over 20 years of experience in the engineering and construction industry across the upper Midwest. The first half of his career, he practiced as a geotechnical and civil engineer and, most recently, managed commercial construction projects for the largest builder in the Twin Cities.

“I’m excited to be working with the team at NTI and focus on continuing the growth of our organization. I believe our best strength is the staff we have and how we approach engineering by focusing on what makes our customers successful,” expressed Morgan.

Established in 1996, NTI provides comprehensive geotechnical engineering, construction material testing, forensic engineering and non-destructive testing services to a variety of governmental agencies, property owners, developers, contractors, engineers and architects. NTI has offices in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. It is our mission to help our clients manage risk, reduce design and construction costs, and protect the environment by delivering strategic, sustainable, and technically sound services.





Warren Window & Supply Adds New Product Line



The committed team at Warren Window & Supply, Inc. is extremely pleased and  excited to announce an additional product offering for the building community in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. We have entered in to a partnership with Sierra Pacific Windows and Doors. In researching this company, we were attracted to their    product innovations and numerous window and door varieties. They are an emerging company with an excellent product selection, state of the art manufacturing processes and exceptional detail to quality. Without question, Sierra  Pacific Windows and Doors is an up and coming company in our industry and our region. They are continually investing in their products, manufacturing processes, product options and all other aspects of the organization to provide solutions and good service to their customers. This new product line will allow us to offer additional products and options that we were not able to offer in the past, along with price advantages.

Warren Window & Supply Inc. has always strived to provide the highest quality products in the industry along with exceptional service. Sierra Pacific Windows and Doors will fit in alongside our other brands we provide. We continue to be dedicated in selling all our  other products, Marvin Windows and Doors, Integrity Windows and Doors, Therma-Tru Doors and Phantom Screens.

We invite you to stop into our showrooms in both Rapid City and Sioux Falls to see and experience Sierra Pacific Windows and Doors.


Dan Warren, President

Rebecca Hauff, Vice President of Sales and Marketing




NTI Expands Services




Contact: Jody Elam-Foote, Business Development Manager
Northern Technologies, LLC
651.389.4170 / JodyE@NTIgeo.com


NTI Expands Nondestructive Testing and Inspection Services

Fargo, ND – February 8, 2017– Northern Technologies, LLC (NTI) is thrilled to announce the expansion of our nondestructive testing (NDT) and inspection services through the acquisition of assets and key personnel of Midwest Industrial X-Ray. This expands our offering of professional nondestructive testing services that can be conducted at the jobsite or in our laboratory. Our NDT services include radiography, X-ray, ultrasonic thickness, shear wave & C-scan corrosion mapping, magnetic particle, liquid penetrant, certified welding inspections, welding qualifications, quality assurance, concrete inspections, and ASNT Level III services.

Our NDT key personnel include Troy Fink as general manager, Missy Loween as radiation safety officer, Bryan McKown as ANST Level III technician, and Brent Thorsness, Erik Kroke and Dan Marsolek as Level II technicians. Our professionals are certified under the written practices of ASNT (American Society of Non-Destructive Testing) and provide NDT and inspection services in all aspects of the oil and gas industries, transmission, refining, storage facilities, and oil related support industries as well as inspection services to the chemical, manufacturing, food processing, building / structural, agriculture, machining and power industries.

For the past 20 years, NTI has built a firm that is truly unique among our peers, maintaining a reputation of quality by consistently delivering exceptional services. It is our mission to help our clients manage risk, reduce design and construction costs, and protect the environment by delivering strategic, sustainable, and technically sound services. With offices in Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot, North Dakota as well as Minnesota and South Dakota, we provide comprehensive services to clients throughout Upper Midwest





Hebron Brick is now Employee Owned



For immediate release-February 2 2017

For information, please contact

Jeff Laliberte, President

701-232-0781 phone



Hebron Brick Company announces sale to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)


Fargo ND:  Hebron Brick Company, a leading manufacturer of clay brick and concrete block is proud to announce they are now a 100% employee-owned company.  An ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) is an employee benefit plan which provides company stock as part of their retirement benefits.  The transaction was made possible through a collaboration with First International Bank and Trust and the Bank of North Dakota. The sale of the company to the employees was completed on January 10, 2017.


"I wanted to ensure that Hebron Brick remained a North Dakota company and was viable for generations to come. An ESOP sale ensured both." said CEO Rodney Paseka.   Establishing an ESOP rewards long term employees, many of who have 20 plus years of service.  It also creates a company culture where the employee takes ownership and responsibility for their area of employment.


"We are very excited to become an employee owned company" said Jeff Laliberte, President of Hebron Brick. "We believe providing ownership as an employee benefit will lead to greater employee satisfaction, better retention, and greater customer service."


Hebron Brick was founded in 1904 in Hebron, ND.  The company has expanded over the last century to 9 locations in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.  Hebron Brick distributes their award winning brick line throughout the entire United States and Canada through a national distribution system.  In addition to brick, they distribute stone, fireplaces, landscaping supplies and concrete building materials.  For more information visit www.Hebronbrick.com or www.mybrickstore.com





Bierschbach Equipment Names New President


  Chad O’Donnell has been named the new President of Bierschbach Equipment & Supply. O’Donnell brings 32 years of industry experience to his new role.  

  Casey Dolney is now our Rapid City Branch Manager.       

  Also Brad Willits is now serving our customers in a Territory Manager capacity in the Rapid City region.   


OSHA and NOAA provide guidance to protect outdoor workers from lightning strikes.


OSHA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have released

Lightning Safety When Working Outdoors Fact Sheet that provides employers and workers with information about lightning hazards and protective measures that can be taken to ensure workers’ safety. Often overlooked as an occupational hazard, lightning strikes can severely injure or kill workers in occupations such as construction, logging, utility repair, agriculture, telecommunications, lawn services, airport ground operations, and pool and beach lifeguarding.



Summer heat safety campaign begins.


OSHA has kicked off its summer campaign to inform employers and employees about the dangers of working in the heat. The campaign will continue its annual outreach to highlight how heat-related worker fatalities are entirely preventable. In 2014 alone, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness and 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job.

On May 26, Kelly Schnapp, who directs OSHA's Office of Science and Technology Assessment, joined four other experts on a White House webinar highlighting the risks of extreme heat to four vulnerable populations: the elderly, athletes, emergency responders, and outdoor workers. Schnapp noted that a majority of recent heat-related deaths investigated by OSHA involved workers on the job for three days or less – highlighting the need for employers to ensure that new workers become acclimated to the heat when starting or returning to work. OSHA also provided heat safety tips for workers in a blog, Twitter posts, and an updated heat campaign webpage that now includes illustrations of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, an animated video, training resources, and links to an updated heat safety phone app. #WaterRestShade is the official hashtag of the campaign, encouraging employers to provide their workers with drinking water, ample breaks, and a shaded area while working outdoors. OSHA also continues to partner with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to raise awareness on the dangers of working in the heat through its Weather-Ready Nation campaign.


OSHA issues final rule to make employers, public better informed about workplace injuries, illnesses


OSHA today issued a final rule to modernize injury data collection to better inform workers, employers, the public, and OSHA about workplace hazards. With this new rule, OSHA is applying the insights of behavioral economics to improve workplace safety and prevent injuries and illnesses.

OSHA requires many employers to keep a record* of injuries and illnesses to help these employers and their employees identify hazards, fix problems and prevent additional injuries and illnesses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than three million workers suffer a workplace injury or illness every year. Currently, little or no information about worker injuries and illnesses at individual employers is made public or available to OSHA. Under the new rule, employers in high-hazard industries will send OSHA injury and illness data that the employers are already required to collect, for posting on the agency's website.

The availability of these data will enable prospective employees to identify workplaces where their risk of injury is lowest; as a result, employers competing to hire the best workers will make injury prevention a higher priority. Access to these data will also enable employers to benchmark their safety and health performance against industry leaders, to improve their own safety programs.

"Since high injury rates are a sign of poor management, no employer wants to be seen publicly as operating a dangerous workplace," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Our new reporting requirements will 'nudge' employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable 'big data' researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer."

OSHA's injury and illness recordkeeping Form 300.

Under the new rule, all establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301. Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain industries* must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A only.

To ensure that the injury data on OSHA logs are accurate and complete, the final rule also promotes an employee's right to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation, and clarifies that an employer must have a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries that does not discourage employees from reporting. This aspect of the rule targets employer programs and policies that, while nominally promoting safety, have the effect of discouraging workers from reporting injuries and, in turn leading to incomplete or inaccurate records of workplace hazards.

The new requirements take effect August 10, 2016, with phased in data submissions beginning in 2017. These requirements do not add to or change an employer's obligation to complete and retain injury and illness records under the Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation. For more information see the news release and blog post by Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, and visit OSHA's webpage on the final rule, which includes links to a fact sheet and frequently asked questions.

Adams ISC now serving the Fire Suppression Industry!



Pipe Fabrication, Assemblies, and Supplies

Adams-ISC now offers complete solutions for fire suppression sprinkler systems. Our pipe shop is equipped with the latest fabrication machinery for cutting, threading, grooving, beveling, and welding. Fire sprinkler piping is prefabricated to your specifications and delivered to the project site along with the necessary piping accessories. Adams-ISC guarantees fast and easy system installation by packaging, organizing, tagging, and line bundling your materials. Our extensive range of capabilities consolidates job tasks that are frequently done by several different vendors. By combining these services under one roof, we effectively become your single source for fire sprinkler systems.

• Materials are packaged, tagged, and bundled
• Complete line of fittings, valves, nozzles, and sprinkler parts
• Prefabricated by trained and certified operators and welders
• Serving the fire sprinkler contractor industry


Pipe Fabrication
• Cut-to-order lengths 1/8" – 36" Ø
• Grooving to 16" Ø
• Threading through 6" Ø
• Beveling to 12" Ø
• Pipe welding by ASME or AWS certified welders
Sprinkler Pipe Assemblies
• Threading, grooving, and welding
• Leak testing of welded assemblies
• Tagging and line bundling
• CPVC compatible oils and lubricants

Pipe Nipples – to your specification
CPVC pipe and fittings
PEX tubing and fittings


Available Pipe Fittings and Accessories
• Dixon Valve
• Anvil International
• Oatey
• Smith Cooper
• Ward
• Wheatland
• Gruvlok
• Nibco
• Ridgid
• Spears
• Weld-on
• Bull Moose
• Ipsco
• Flexhead
• Victaulic

Adams-ISC, LLC. | 2090 Deadwood Ave | Rapid City, SD 57709
605.343.9393 | 800.677.7335 | custser v@adamsisc.com

How to Survive an OSHA Audit

By Jim Rhoad
Ottawa Kent Insurance

"Hello. I’m from OSHA and I am here to help you." 
If you own or operate a business, chances are good you’ve heard these dreaded words before.  Next to, "Hello. I’m from the Internal Revenue Service," there are few greetings more inclined to make your knees weak. But it doesn’t have to be that bad.

Even with the seven million workplaces it covers each year, OSHA will most likely find its way to your location. When they do, here are some tips to help you survive your OSHA audit. 

Plan for an inspection by making sure you have three key items in place prior to the arrival of the OSHA compliance officer (CO): 
1. A determination if you will ask for a warrant; 
2. A form to document what occurs during the inspection; 
3. All pertinent documentation such as written programs, training records, inspection records, etc. 

We recommend you do not require the CO to obtain a warrant before entry unless you need to gain time, such as when a manager or counsel needs to be present. It is your legal right to ask for a warrant but this might trigger a stricter audit (and raise possible red flags).  It’s wiser if you simply work with the inspector. Answer questions honestly and fully, but don't offer additional information unless it will help you avoid citations. Cooperate as long as the inspector remains ethical and reasonable. 

Be prepared. These inspections are without notice so you will want to have all information readily available in anticipation of an impending audit. Here are some items to have prepared:
  • Assignment of responsibilities, to include a "greeting team" to meet the CO
  • Documented training logs
  • Recordkeeping
  • Equipment inspection records
  • Safety and health policies
  • Review of insurance and third-party audits
  • Hazard assessment and abatement
  • Review of previous audits and citations.
     It is also wise to have a form available to record the inspector's actions and comments during the inspection. This information will help you understand what transpired and will assist your attorney should you contest the citation or penalty.  Items you should record on this form include: 
  • The inspector's name and office telephone number 
  • The documents that the inspector reviewed and copied 
  • The attendees at the opening and closing conferences 
  • The areas that were inspected 
  • The employees and union representatives who participated 
  • The dates and times when the inspector was onsite 
Almost all OSHA inspections begin with a review of written documents. These documents include your injury and illness records, safety manual, OSHA-required programs, OSHA-implied programs, safety procedures, and training records. There are many records and written programs that OSHA does not specifically require to be in writing, but you should have them anyway. These documents are referred to as OSHA-implied records. For example, although OSHA requires every employer to conduct frequent ladder inspections, there is no specific requirement to keep a written record of ladder inspections. The written record in this case could be a log of all ladders with initials and dates of inspection or a tag attached to the ladder with spaces for the inspector to initial and date. 

Just to get you used to what you’re in store for, here's a mock OSHA audit walk through:

1. The knock at the door. We recommend escorting the CO to your office or waiting area. This will give you time to gather your documents and "greeting team" to accompany the CO through the inspection.

The opening conference. The officer will explain why OSHA selected your workplace for inspection and describe the scope of the inspection. Have your "greeting team" here to accompany the CO during the inspection. Make sure you set ground rules for the inspection, get a copy of the complaint if applicable, treat the CO in a professional fashion, coordinate with onsite contractors and vendors, bring up any trade secret issues you may have, but DON’T volunteer any information unless asked.

The walk-around/inspection.  Make sure you have an employee representative attend the entire inspection and take accurate notes on areas reviewed and all discussions and comments from the CO, as well as any photos, videos, air monitoring, etc. Keep in mind whatever is in the CO’s sight is subject to inspection. But maintain control. Remember, it’s your facility and you have rights. But don’t try to talk your way out of an apparent hazard. It will not help and probably make it worse. And above all, don’t destroy evidence. The CO may also want to interview employees. Make sure to schedule these away from your work area. It’s up to your hourly employees if they want company representation during the interview. Advise the employee of his/her rights, your appreciation of their cooperation, and to tell the truth. Be aware that employees do have whistleblower rights. As for management and supervisor interviews, always have another management/counsel present during the interview. If there is a fatality investigation your attorney should always be present. No tape recording is permitted and you will need a signed statement upon completion. 

4. The closing conference. During the closing conference the CO will review any apparent violations and discuss possible methods for correcting the violations within a reasonable time period. The CO will explain that the violations found may result in a citation and a proposed financial penalty, then describe the employer’s rights and answer all questions. Remember, this is not a time for debate. The law requires OSHA to issue citations for safety and health standards violations. The citations include:
  • A description "with particularity" of the violation
  • The proposed penalty if any
  • The date by which the hazard must be corrected
Citations are usually prepared at the local OSHA office and mailed to the employer via certified mail. OSHA has up to six months to send a Notice of Penalty. Employers have 15 working days upon receipt to file an intention to contest OSHA citations, and/or to request an informal conference with the area director to discuss any citations issued. Common causes to dispute citations include:
  • The citation is false
  • The citation’s dollar penalty is excessive
  • You disagree with the citation’s contention that the danger was real, serious, and that an accident was likely to occur
  • The contention that you are responsible for causing the unsafe conditions
Finally, contesting may not relieve you completely of a penalty, but it may help you negotiate a lesser fine. Contesting is usually a good idea. OSHA typically negotiates with employers to a lesser penalty amount.

There is no way to avoid an OSHA audit, much like there is no way to avoid having a root canal. But similarities aside, you can lessen the pain by being well-prepared. 

Jim Rhoad is an outsource risk manager with Ottawa Kent Insurance, Jenison, Mich. He has experience in dealing with workers' compensation issues across all industries, including construction and manufacturing. He can be reached at Jrhoad@ottawakent.com.




Building Buzz


Building Buzz

Whats the buzz at your job site?????

We would like to highlight the projects going on in the CIC Community. Please allow us to visit your project site so we can share your hard work and progress.

Click Here to see the newest Project Highlights


Balancing Lagging and Leading

In past Informers we've presented the difference between lagging and leading indicators, as well as the benefits of managing with leading indicators. There is no doubt about the effectiveness of managing with leading indicators, but is it realistic? What are the top construction companies doing to manage safety.

 The law firm Fisher & Phillips LLC Workplace Safety and Catastrophe Management Practice Group recently conducted a survey of Associated General Contractors' members on this topic. The findings of the survey were published on EHS Today's website this month. The full article can be read here.

 It is not surprising to learn that many of the respondents use leading indicators, but are forced to report lagging indicators to prove safety performance to potential clients. As much as we've stressed the use of leading indicators, it is important to note that lagging indicators may represent the success of a company's safety program. Then again, the numbers may be the result of luck.

 Either way balancing your safety management of lagging and leading indicators is a profitable endeavor. In safety management, success comes from a full-orbed perspective, which comes from an accurate understanding of both lagging and leading factors.


Workers' Compensation


The Other Factors in Your Business Bottom Line

by:  SD Division of Insurance



Workers' Compensation has not experienced the significant regulatory changes that have affected other lines of insurance.  However, it continues to be an area generating a lot of questions from employers and those in the industry.  Some of the more commonplace questions are in the areas of audit, interchange of labor rules, independent contractors, and election/rejection of coverage by owners and executive officers of the business.  


Payroll calculations are frequently an area of dispute, particularly when an audit results in an upward adjustment in payroll.  Payroll is a broad term and includes compensation in many forms including but not limited to bonuses, lodging and meals provided as part of the compensation (as opposed to reimbursement of extra expenses such as travel), employer merchandise provided, or other non-monetary considerations.  Pay for jury duty, holidays, vacations, and sick leave are excluded from payroll provided the adequate records are kept.  


A common question is whether a person is considered an independent contractor as opposed to an employee.  The method the department uses to make this determination involves a test using multiple factors.  Those factors used in determining whether a person is an employee include the extent to which the employer controls the work performed and when it is performed, the method of compensation used, what tools and equipment are furnished, and whether the person can work for others.  Inevitably, the determination as to whether someone is an independent contractor as opposed to an employee is driven by the individual facts of the situation.


Interchange of labor is permissible under certain circumstances.  As is the case with payroll, proper documentation is key to any determination that an interchange of labor is allowed.  Records need to detail each affected employee's time, payroll, and classification.  


Additionally in order for interchange of labor to apply, the affected employees cannot be accurately incorporated into an existing classification code.  


Not everyone needs to be provided with Workers' Compensation coverage.  A sole proprietor or the partners of a business may choose to elect the coverage, but unless elected, they are automatically excluded.  Likewise, executive officers of corporations can reject Workers' Compensation coverage if written notice is provided.  If no written notice is provided, the executive officers are included in the coverage.   

Economic Stimulus - Made in America

A recent report by ABC News regarding a home in Bozeman, Montana that is being constructed completely with American made materials notes that if every construction job used just 5% more products that are Made in America over 200,000 jobs would be created. 


If you are a local manufacturer or supplier you might be interested in this Made in America movement to promote your business. If you are a Construction Firm you may be interested in using local and American Made manufacturers and suppliers to help stimulate the economy in your area as well as our country.  There are many websites promoting American Made Products that you can contact.  


Here’s the link to the ABC News story and a sampling of links to sites with American Made stories and product lists.  If you are a manufacturer, most of these sites allow you to add your company information to their product lists.  Construction Industry Center does not necessarily endorse this movement or any particular site listed below. This compilation of sites we found while surfing the web is simply meant for informational purposes only.







Product List