Associated General Contractors Blog

Annual Workers Memorial Day Ceremony: April 28

Mourn for the dead

Not all Oregon families experience the safe return of their loved ones following a day at work. Oregon workers who died on the job will be honored with a ceremony Friday, April 28, at noon in Salem. The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) and the Oregon AFL-CIO invite all Oregonians to attend the Workers Memorial Day observance to remember those who died on the job and to renew Oregon’s commitment to creating safe and healthy workplaces.

The event will take place at the Fallen Workers Memorial outside the Labor and Industries Building, 350 Winter St. NE, on the Capitol Mall. The memorial service, coordinated by the Oregon AFL-CIO, will feature remarks from State Rep. Barbara Smith Warner and from Elana Pirtle-Guiney, workforce and labor policy advisor to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

The ceremony will include the reading of the names of Oregon workers who died on the job in 2016.

“Workers Memorial Day is a time to remember the victims of workplace injury and disease, and to rededicate ourselves to improving safety and health in every American workplace,” Brown said. “By seeking stronger safety and health protection, we commit ourselves to prevent these tragedies in the future.”

“It’s important for Oregon’s legislature to be involved in observing Workers Memorial Day,” said Smith Warner. “The reading of the names is more than a symbolic gesture. It’s an affirmation that these workers are not forgotten and that we as policy makers have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent further workplace fatalities.”

Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood and Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain will also be among the event speakers.

While Oregon workplaces are safer today than in previous decades, there are still far too many preventable on-the-job deaths each year. In fact, 2016 saw a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of workers who died in Oregon workplaces, according to a new data collection program begun in 2015 by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.

“On April 28 we mourn the fallen, and fight for the living by recommitting to fight for stronger workplace safety protections,” said Chamberlain. “This year, we are reading more names of fallen workers than the year before. Each of the names we read on April 28 has family, community, friends, co-workers – people who miss them dearly. These are preventable deaths, workplace accidents. We have to do more as a state to protect working people.”

Through a partnership of labor, business, and government working together to improve workplace safety and health conditions in Oregon, the number of fatal workplace incidents eligible for workers’ compensation benefits has been cut by about 75 percent since the Oregon Safe Employment Act was enacted in 1973.

“For each of us, Workers Memorial Day serves as an important reminder that we must do better in our struggle against death in the workplace,” said Wood. “At its heart, this day is not about statistics or rates, but about individual stories, about lives cut short, about families and friends who have lost loved ones. Each year, there are far too many such stories. We can—and must—do better.”

The annual Workers Memorial Day serves as a nationwide day of remembrance. It recognizes the thousands of U.S. workers who die each year on the job and the more than one million people in the U.S. who are injured each year at work. The observance is traditionally held on April 28 because Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act on that date in 1970. It is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers. It is also the day OSHA was established in 1971. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance.

Last year saw an increase in fatalities by 20 to a total of 61 workers. “While Oregon workplaces are safer today than in previous decades, there are still far too many preventable on-the-job deaths each year,” Michael Wood, administrator for the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said. “A dramatic increase such as we saw last year helps to drive that lesson home. And it certainly serves as a reminder that we must do more in our struggle against death in the workplace.”

Join Us In Southern Oregon

Southern Oregon Upcoming Events

Rogue Valley Legislative UpdateLegislative Update Photo

Tuesday, May 2
11:30 am–1 pm (lunch provided)
Inn at the Commons
Cascade Ballroom
200 N Riverside Ave, Medford

Learn About

  • How AGC develops its core policies
  • How those core policies guide AGC’s lobby team
  • What our industry faces in Oregon’s current political environment
  • The top issues AGC is pushing for and battling against in the 2017 Legislative Session

Please RSVP by April 26 to Viktoria Schulz.

Southern Oregon Golf Tournament

Friday, June 2
1 pm Shotgun start
Running Y Ranch
5500 Running Y Road
Klamath Falls, OR 97601

Online registration is open! Come and enjoy a round of golf with other AGC members while supporting future contractors. The proceeds of this tournament are donated to the OIT Construction Program. Sponsorship opportunities still available.

New this year! The Board of Directors meeting will be held the morning of the golf tournament. All members are welcome to attend, but an RSVP is required. Questions regarding the board meeting can be directed to Kari Schoonover, 503-685-8318.

AGC’s group rate ends Friday, May 12 so make you reservations today!
For Running Y Ranch reservations call: 541-850-5500
Group Name: AGC (make sure to mention this to get the group rate)
Group Rate:$129 plus tax

Safety Week 2017: May 1–5

Safety Week 2017, We are Stronger and Safety

Being safe every day on every job site crosses competitive boundaries. That’s why construction businesses have banded together to create and celebrate Safety Week, running this year from Monday, May 1 to Friday, May 5. Many construction companies host a Safety Week once a year as a way to refocus and re-energize their commitment to reducing injuries on jobsites.


The mission of Safety Week is to collectively raise the awareness of the construction industry’s continuing commitment to eliminating worker injury, and to clearly communicate its dedication to a shared culture of care and concern and the belief that every week must be Safety Week.


The Construction Industry Safety Initiative (CISI) includes twelve major contractors who come together every other year for a two-day meeting to discuss only one thing – SAFETY. CISI holds a Safety Summit that includes over 30 major contractors in the United States. The goal of CISI is to influence not only those within their group, but others to work safely and elevate safety awareness to a new level in the United States.

Engage Your Team May 1–5

Although safety is a topic that goes beyond one week, Safety Week is a great opportunity to remind your team about the little things that can keep everyone safe. This year’s Safety Week focuses on hand safety, and each day of the week focuses on one aspect of hand safety. You can add other safety tips as needed.

Here are the key topics for each day of the week. These can be covered in morning team meetings or through special activities.

Mon, May 1 – Hand InjurySafety for everybody
Tues, May 2 – Analyze the Hazards
Wed, May 3 – Types of Gloves
Thurs, May 4 – Teamwork & Incident Response
Fri, May 5 – First Aid

SafeBuild Alliance Safety Week Kick Off Event

SafeBuild Alliance is have their 2017 Safety Week kick off event on Friday, April 28, 2017 from 6:30–9:30 am. It will be held at the World Forestry Center in Portland. You can register here 

The Safety Week website has many resources available to plan you Safety Week activities. There are tools that can help bring Safety Week to life in your company, on your jobsites, and in your community.


April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

3,477 People Killed by Distracted Driving in 2015

391,000 People Injured by Distracted Driving in 2015

660,000 Drivers Using Electronic Devices While Driving During the Day

National Safety Council's Distracted Driver Study

Technology allows us to make phone calls, dictate texts or emails and update social media while driving – all actions that are proven to increase crash risk. The National Safety Council observes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to draw attention to this epidemic. NSC wants empower you to put safety first and Just Drive.

Studies show many drivers will talk and text when they’re alone, but think twice about it when they have a passenger. Yet nearly all drivers think it’s dangerous to do so, passengers or not.

More than eight in every ten respondents to a 2016 survey in Oregon said they feel uncomfortable riding with a distracted driver.

ODOT and partner agencies Oregon State Police and AAA Oregon/Idaho are emphasizing the importance of focusing on driving when you’re behind the wheel.

“Our goal is to change cultural norms when it comes to distracted driving,” said ODOT Director Matt Garrett. “If each of us focuses on the job of driving when we get behind the wheel, we’ll save lives every year.”

Here are some tips that could save your life or the life of someone you love:

  • Turn it off and stow it. Turn your phone off or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car. Then stow it away so that it’s out of reach.
  • Use “drive mode” if your phone has it (Similar to “airplane mode”).
  • Install an app. Apps can help you avoid texting while driving. Go to your app store and search for “distracted driving.”Are you driving distracted?
  • Pull over. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
  • Spread the word: “Do Not Disturb.” Record a message on your phone that tells callers you’re driving and will get back to them when you’re off the road, or sign up for a service that offers this feature.
  • Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to make the call or respond to a text for you.
  • X the text. Don’t ever text and drive, browse online, or read your email while driving. It’s dangerous and against the law in most states. Even voice-to-text isn’t risk-free.
  • Know the law. Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the car. Oregon prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones in addition to texting.
  • Prepare. If using a GPS device, enter your destination before you start to drive. If you prefer a map or written directions, review them in advance. if you need help while driving, ask a passenger to assist you or pull over to a safe location to change your GPS or review your map/directions.
  • Secure your pets. Unsecured pets can be a big distraction in the car.
  • Mind the kids. Pull over to a safe place to address situations involving children in the car.
  • Focus on driving. Multi-tasking behind the wheel is dangerous. Refrain from eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking, and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.

There are many resources available to learn more, pay attention, and save a life.

CTE funding is (still) sorely needed

Ptld TribuneThe crippling of the education pipeline for construction and other basic industries must end.

Ptld Tribune headshotAs Spring Break comes to an end for many of Oregon’s students, you can almost hear the familiar sighs in the hallways as students reluctantly head back to class.

For many of Oregon’s students, high school has become a dead end that leaves many students uninterested and unmotivated. At 47th out of 50 states in high school graduation rates, Oregon’s students leave high school generally unprepared for college or to join the workforce without the hands-on skills needed to be successful.

The crippling of the education pipeline for construction and other basic industries can be seen across many educational programs. For over 40 years, Oregon has joined much of the rest of the country in pushing students toward a four-year college model. For some industries, such as high tech, this was essential. For a modern economy, it is critical. But for many students, there is no interest in going to a four-year school. These students tend to want to work with their hands and not be inside or stuck at a desk.

During this same period, vocational education programs were systematically disassembled. Where wood, metal, and car shops were in almost every high school (and some middle schools), today they are rare. Over the years and during the economic recession, over 600 (50 percent) of Oregon’s secondary Career Technical Education (CTE) programs were eliminated, reducing school districts’ connections to their local and regional workforce and educational leaders.

Looking at data from 1970 to the present, there is an almost unmistakable relationship between Oregon’s dropout rate and the decline in vocational/CTE education. With a nearly 50 percent reduction in CTE programs, Oregon’s public high school graduation rate fell to the fourth lowest in the entire country. This is simply unacceptable.

These numbers demonstrate that a fundamental change is needed within public high schools to keep many students motivated and interested. These are capable, intelligent young people, but they do not perform well within the traditional education environment. If left unaddressed, low graduation rates will continue to plague Oregon’s workforce and economy.

In the November 2016 general election, Oregonians began to address this problem. Ballot Measure 98 was passed by voters by a 2-1 margin. The measure promised to get many more students to earn diplomas by allocating $800 per student for career technical courses, college credit classes, and dropout prevention in high schools.

However, with the legislature facing a $1.6 billion budget gap and what some critics have said are “weak points” in the measure, the future of CTE funding across the state is still unclear. Because the passage of the measure changed Oregon law, as opposed to the Constitution, the legislature has the power to alter funding levels or any other provisions of the measure before schools receive any money.

In her December budget proposal, Governor Kate Brown recommended allocating just $139 million to the programs in the measure instead of the $300 officials estimated would be needed to carry out the measure as the voters clearly intended over the next two years.

So where do we go from here?

Over the past six years, AGC has worked with other industry partners, legislators, administrators, and two governors to increase funding for CTE. Although these efforts have successfully doubled the amount of dedicated CTE money (roughly $22 million per biennium), there is still more to be done for the up-and-coming generations. For comparison’s sake, Washington State alone invested $411,675,936 from July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014 for their state’s CTE and apprenticeship programs. We are not keeping up with our neighbors to the north. And we are not doing what we must do to help our children succeed.

Fully funding the measure that voters approved will enable school districts to expand upon proven approaches for addressing the dropout crisis, open new career doors, and prepare students for success in college and their career. Full funding will also be one more step in helping these students become fully-employed tax-paying citizens, which will also contribute to generating the revenue to pay for this and other important services.

As industry members and leaders in our communities, it is our duty to ensure that classes for construction trades and technologies, engineering, alternative fuel design, computer science, 3-D printing, welding, graphic arts, health care, and others are available to all high school students should they choose to pursue those opportunities. We know students can succeed in the hands-on environment of CTE classes. Successful and engaged students make for highly skilled workers.

Fortunately, we are finding willing partners in many of Oregon’s school districts. As bond measures for school maintenance, modernization, and new construction are brought before the voters and are passed, we are seeing physical space to support vocational education classes and programs being rebuilt into our schools. Most notably, providing for CTE space and programs is a common part of conversations in bond development committees, which are heavily guided by parents. They get it.

If we can reach our future workforce in high school and channel the energy they have into the development of a pipeline of highly skilled workers, the future of construction and other industries — indeed, all of Oregon’s economy — will be very bright.

Income stability and long-term career development is important to our kids. If Oregon is serious about improving graduation rates and providing for greater student success, CTE is the perfect means to that end. CTE is a win for the economy, a win for the industry, and a win for the kids themselves.

For now, we applaud the Measure 98 campaign’s work on this critical issue as a means to improve both the construction industry and Oregon’s overall economic well-being. We thank Governor Brown for beginning the full-funding discussion through her budget request. We hope the legislature will see the wisdom in and the need to fully fund this request as the 2017 legislative session continues.

Mike Salsgiver is the executive director of the Associated General Contractors, Oregon-Columbia Chapter. He can be reached at 503-685-8305 or by email at:

This article originally appeared in the Business Tribune and can be viewed here.

Work Zone Awareness Lasts All Year

2017 Work Zone Awareness WeekThis year’s Work Zone Awareness Week is coming to a close. April 3–7 was recognized as National Work Zone Awareness Week, and motorists across the country have been encouraged to drive with extreme care and caution and “expect the unexpected” in roadway work zones.

The nationwide safety observance, established in 1999, is set aside each year at the beginning of the busy roadway construction season to draw the motoring public’s attention to the dangers associated with roadway work zones. The most recent federal statistics (2015) reveal 700 fatalities occur in roadway work zones from coast to coast, the majority of those victims being motorists, not the workers themselves.

Work zones are extremely dangerous, and that number could be significantly reduced if motorists would simply slow down, be patient, turn off their cellphones, and obey posted signs and directions from flaggers in work zones.

Due to our aging infrastructure and the improvements that must be made to meet the demand of America’s motorists, work zones have become part of the American landscape. You are likely to encounter one every time you get behind the wheel.

There are several reasons for work zone crashes, including excessive speed, following too closely, texting, fatigue, and aggressive driving. And night work is especially dangerous, when impaired drivers are added to the mix.

It’s important to remember that you have the ability, as a driver, to improve work zone safety. Nearly four in five victims in work zone crashes are drivers and passengers. Your driving habits can directly help—or harm—the well-being of other motorists, cyclists, workers, and pedestrians. When you choose to put aside distractions, you gain the ability to save a life…perhaps yours. Choose to put safety in your own hands and help drive the number of work zone accidents down to zero.

2017 Work Zone Awareness Week: Total Fatalities

Contractor Tool and Equipment Sale

saleGeneral contractor Robertson, Hay & Wallace is closing its doors. The late Ian Robertson was a believer of “re-cycle, re-use, and re-purpose,” and following his philosophy, their tools and equipment are up for sale. The sale is targeted to general and sub/specialty contractors only.

  • Wednesday, April 19: 5–7 pm
  • Thursday, April 20: 5–7 pm


1801 SE Grand Ave (Corner of SE Mill Street, gate entry on SE Mill), Portland, OR 97214

Sale Information

No one under 18 is permitted, and sales are cash only.

Contact or 503-234-6497

Click here for sale information and inventory (updated 4/13).

AGCA: US OSHA Delays Silica Standard Enforcement

AGCA_bugOn April 6, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it will delay enforcement of the respirable crystalline standard for construction for three months—until Sept. 23, 2017. In its announcement, OSHA explained that the construction silica standard has a number of unique features warranting development of additional guidance and educational materials before enforcement begins. AGC continues to believe that implementation of this standard is technically infeasible and continues to challenge it in court.

Although OSHA enforcement of the standard is delayed, the notice does not alter the compliance date of June 23, 2017. OSHA will not take enforcement action against contractors that fail to meet the standard on their sites between June 23, 2017 and Sept. 22, 2017, but legally, the standard will still be in effect.

While an interested group could file a lawsuit challenging the three month delay, that appears to be unlikely given the short duration of the delay and the broad enforcement discretion federal agencies—like OSHA—have traditionally enjoyed. AGC will continue to fight this standard in court and advise OSHA on the problematic issues the construction industry faces with implementation. In addition, members should review AGC educational resources on its comprehensive silica website, found here.

For more information, contact Kevin Cannon at or (703) 837-5410.

Support the Oregon Food Bank Through Canstruction

Canstruction Portland

This year Canstruction Design and Build Competition will celebrate its 21st year. The event will be held at Pioneer Place September 2017 to coincide with Oregon Food Bank’s Hunger Awareness Month. Last year they passed the ONE MILLION meals mark thanks to continued support; they can’t wait to see what will be accomplished this year.

Oregon Food BankThe kickoff meeting will be Tuesday, April 25th from 5:30–6:30 pm at DOWA-IBI Group office in downtown Portland (907 SW Stark St). Light snacks and drinks will be provided. Get an overview of the competition, timeline of submittals, and the updated rules and regulations. Oregon Food Bank will give an update on the state of hunger in Oregon and their impact. Veterans and newbies are encouraged to attend the meeting; it is a great way to network and get excited about the competition this year.

If your company or organization would like to participate in the 2017 event, please contact Chris Mount. The Canstruction competition is open to all companies who would like to participate. Each team must include one company from the architecture/engineering/construction (A/E/C) community. We encourage companies to team up with other organizations and companies for this event and we are available to assist you in finding additional companies for your team.

Remember space is limited, so get your Call for Entry in now.

Please RSVP to if you are planning to attend the kickoff meeting.

Blacklisting Regulation Repeal to Become Law Today

AGCA_bugThanks to AGC advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill, AGC and its members are on the verge of a major legislative victory: the repeal of the so-called “Blacklisting” regulations, which would have implemented President Obama’s “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Executive Order. The president will today—March 27—sign a bill repealing the Blacklisting regulations. In addition, the House and Senate will soon send the president a bill repealing the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “Volks” Rule. Issued in December 2016, the “Volks” Rule would have exposed employers to unfair liability for honest and inadvertent paperwork mistakes related to record keeping, while doing nothing to enhance workplace safety. The rule extended the statute of limitations on record keeping violations from six months to five and a half years.

AGC has also recently created and updated a number of regulatory websites and documents that are helpful for AGC Chapters and members. First, AGC recently published an educational OSHA Silica Rule website that will help contractors learn about what the agency will expect from them under this rule and for which contractors must comply by June 23, 2017. In addition, AGC has updated its comprehensive documents describing the current regulatory and executive order state of play.

For the latest on the 2017 Regulatory Road Ahead, click here.

For the latest on President Trump’s Executive Actions/Orders, click here.

For more information on this or other federal regulatory issues, please contact Jimmy Christianson at or 703- 837-5325.