NRCA member wins SBA Small Business Person of the Year award

Joel T. Johnson

Joel T. Johnson, president of NRCA member company P.I. Roof Maintenance Inc., North Little Rock, Ark., was announced as a winner of the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) 2015 Small Business Person of the Year award.

The SBA recently announced the 2015 Small Business Person of the Year winners from the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands.

"Competition was extremely keen across the nation for these prestigious awards," says SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. "I couldn't be any prouder than recognizing these outstanding entrepreneurs and small-business owners; they represent the backbone of our economy. Small businesses created nearly 2 million of the roughly 3 million private-sector jobs generated in 2014. More than 7 million of the 11 million jobs created during our recovery have been generated by startups and small enterprises."

Each year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. This year, National Small Business Week was recognized May 4-8 with events in Miami, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York and Washington, D.C.

To view the list of winners, visit www.sba.gov.

OSHA unveils new safety and health poster

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has unveiled a new version of its "Job Safety and Health—It's the Law!" poster. The poster informs workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities and helps ensure workers have a voice in their workplaces and the protection they deserve.

The newly designed poster informs workers of their rights to request an OSHA inspection of their workplaces; receive information and training regarding job hazards; report a work-related injury or illness; and raise safety and health concerns with their employers or OSHA without fear of retaliation.

The poster informs employers of their legal obligation to provide safe workplaces. In addition, it has been updated to include the new reporting obligations for employers, who must now report every fatality, hospitalization, amputation and loss of an eye. It also informs employers of their responsibilities to train all workers in a language and vocabulary they can understand, comply with OSHA standards, and post citations at or near the place of an alleged violation.

During OSHA's 44-year history, there have been several versions of the poster, with the last update published in 2007.

OSHA's poster is free and can be downloaded. Employers must display the poster in a conspicuous place where workers can see it. Previous versions of the poster do not need to be replaced.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

More homebuilders offer solar panels as options for homes

The number of homes that rely on some sort of solar energy to produce at least part of the power they use could reach 3.8 million by 2020, according to www.constructiondive.com.

The number grew from 30,000 in 2006 to 400,000 in 2013 and currently is about 500,000. Between 2012 and 2013, the U.S. solar industry grew 53 percent.

Homebuilders are contributing more to the growth, and nearly all the top 10 U.S. homebuilders include some type of photovoltaic (PV) system, often in the form of rooftop solar panels, in new construction offered as an upgrade or standard feature. And the Solar Energy Industries Association estimates demand for PV systems is increasing by more than 50 percent per year. The growth will continue as California requires all new residential construction to be "net-zero energy" by 2020, which means homes will have to generate as much power as they consume.

Solar energy's growing popularity among homeowners is related in part to environmental awareness and increasing affordability. In response, builders have installed solar power systems on thousands of homes throughout the U.S.

Homebuilders are working to convince homebuyers to upgrade to solar for new construction by informing them it's about 20 percent less expensive to install solar panels during new construction than to add them after a home already has been built; the price of solar equipment is declining; and federal and state tax credits and utility rebates are available, among other benefits.

OSHA partners with Health Canada to align regulatory approaches for workplace chemicals

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it will continue its partnership with Health Canada to align U.S. and Canadian regulatory approaches regarding labeling and classification requirements for workplace chemicals through the Regulatory Cooperation Council.

The partnership's goal is to implement a system allowing the use of one label and one safety data sheet that would be acceptable in the U.S. and Canada. OSHA and Health Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2013 to promote ongoing collaboration regarding implementing the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling in their respective jurisdictions.

OSHA aligned its Hazard Communication Standard with the GHS in March 2012 to provide a common approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. Canada published a similar regulation in February 2015.

"We work in a global environment with varying and sometimes conflicting national and international requirements," says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. "Through this partnership, OSHA and Health Canada will work together to reduce inconsistencies among hazard communication regulations and provide concise information to protect workers exposed to hazardous chemicals without reducing current protections."

OSHA's Hazard Communication Web page includes links to the agency's revised Hazard Communication Standard and guidance materials such as frequently asked questions, fact sheets and Quick Cards. To view the Hazard Communication page, visit www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html.


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