ICE work-site investigations are double compared with previous fiscal year
In May, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced it has doubled the amount of ongoing work-site cases this fiscal year compared with the previous fully completed fiscal year, according to www.constructiondive.com.
From Oct. 1, 2017, through May 4, ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) opened 3,510 work-site investigations, initiated 2,282 I-9 audits and made 594 criminal and 610 administrative work site-related arrests. During fiscal year 2017 from Oct. 1, 2016, to Sept. 30, 2017, HSI opened 1,716 work-site investigations, initiated 1,360 I-9 audits, and made 139 criminal and 172 administrative work site-related arrests.
HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Derek N. Benner said in a statement the agency's work-site enforcement strategy continues to focus on the criminal prosecution of employers that knowingly break the law, as well as the use of I-9 audits and civil fines to encourage compliance.
In October 2017, ICE announced it planned to increase work-site investigations by four- or five-fold and has since undertaken several high-profile raids.
Employers have been encouraged to conduct self-audits of their Form I-9 processes and train some employees regarding what to say or do if federal agents visit a work site.
Some states have taken action against ICE's efforts; California enacted a law prohibiting employers from providing "voluntary consent" to a federal immigration enforcement agent's request to enter nonpublic work areas and was sued by the federal government for allegedly intending to obstruct the enforcement of federal immigration law.
OSHA proposes rule addressing crane operator certification requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a rule to provide long-term clarity regarding crane operator certification requirements and reinstate the employer duty to ensure a crane operator is qualified to safely operate equipment, according to www.osha.gov.
Under the proposed rule, a change to the categories of certifications for crane operators would ensure more operators can meet the requirement. The proposal discontinues a 2010 requirement, which never took effect, that would have required crane operator certification to include the crane lifting capacity for which an operator is certified. The proposal also expands the type of certification programs for crane operators.
At press time, OSHA was accepting comments regarding the proposed rule; comments were accepted through June 20.
On Nov. 9, 2017, OSHA published a final rule extending the crane operator certification compliance date until Nov. 10, 2018, to provide the agency with additional time to complete rulemaking to address stakeholder concerns related to the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard.
Kansas roofing contractor cited for safety hazards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Jose Barrientos, Wichita, Kan., for exposing employees to falls and other safety hazards, according to www.osha.gov. Barrientos is not an NRCA member.
On Dec. 18, 2017, OSHA inspectors observed workers at a Derby, Kan., residential job site working without appropriate fall protection. Barrientos received citations for six serious violations and two willful violations for failing to provide adequate fall, eye and face protection; train workers on fall hazards, ladder usage and hazardous materials; and clear debris from a work area. Proposed penalties total $191,071. OSHA previously cited Barrientos for fall hazards five times during the past decade.
"This employer's continued failure to comply with federal safety requirements needlessly exposed workers to a number of serious hazards, including falls, which are the leading cause of injury in the construction industry," says Ryan Hodge, OSHA's area director for Wichita.
Barrientos has 15 business days from receipt of the 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.