Industry News Update April 15, 2022

REGULATORY UPDATE: NEW OSHA EMPHASIS PROGRAM FOR HEAT HAZARDS

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OSHA will proactively initiate inspections in over 70 high-risk industries in indoor and outdoor work settings when the National Weather Service has issued a heat warning or advisory for a local area.

OSHA announced it has launched a National Emphasis Program to protect millions of workers from heat illness and injuries.

As part of the program, OSHA will proactively initiate inspections in over 70 high-risk industries in indoor and outdoor work settings when the National Weather Service has issued a heat warning or advisory for a local area. On days when the heat index is 80 F or higher, OSHA inspectors and compliance assistance specialists will engage in proactive outreach and technical assistance to help stakeholders keep workers safe on the job.

Inspectors will look for and address heat hazards during inspections, regardless of whether the industry is targeted in the NEP.

“Our goal is to make it safe for workers in hot indoor and outdoor environments so that they can return home safe and healthy at the end of each day,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker, said in a statement. “Working together, we can ensure workers know their rights and employers meet their obligations in order to protect workers from the growing dangers of extreme heat.”

In the announcement, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh noted that the three-year average of workplace deaths caused by heat has doubled since the early 1990s.

The agency’s On-Site Consultation Program, free and confidential health and safety consulting program for small- and medium-sized businesses, will assist employers in developing strategic approaches for addressing heat-related illnesses and injuries in workplaces.

 

COMPUSOFT + 2020 APPOINTS JOERG JUNG AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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Compusoft + 2020 has appointed Joerg Jung to the position of chief executive officer (CEO) for the recently merged company. 

Compusoft and 2020 merged in 2021, creating a global technology powerhouse providing end-to-end solutions that power design, creation, sales, manufacturing, and services across the value chain of spaces for life which includes kitchen, bathroom, office, furniture, window, and door industries. 

The combined group now has cross-functional teams based across Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and the Asia Pacific.

Jung was most recently the president and general manager of international (EMEA & AJP) and a member of the executive leadership team with Infor. 

 

BUILDERS' ASSOCIATION ADVOCATES FOR BANNING RUSSIAN, BELARUSIAN WOOD PRODUCTS

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Jerry Konter, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Savannah, Ga., issued a statement supporting legislation that would ban timber imports from Russia and Belarus. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.).

“Rep. Westerman’s ‘No Timber from Tyrants Act’ is a moral and economic imperative that needs to be enacted immediately. Banning imports of Russian and Belarusian wood products will help to further economically isolate Russia and deny President Putin another source of funding for his unprovoked aggression against Ukraine. At the same time, the legislation also calls for responsibly increasing domestic lumber production from federal lands to address the resiliency of our national forests, create jobs, reinvigorate the forest industry and improve housing affordability. Time is of the essence and Congress must act swiftly on this bill.”

 

CHINA TRADE: UNEXPECTED FALL IN IMPORTS AMID CORONAVIRUS, UKRAINE WAR RAISES ALARM FOR EXPORT MACHINE

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China’s first monthly fall of imports in one and a half years is likely to set off alarm bells in Beijing that its hardline zero-Covid strategy could threaten the country’s massive export machine and weigh on economic growth.

While numerous factors explain the decline, including lockdowns in key port cities to contain Omicron outbreaks and commodity price spikes driven by the Russia-Ukraine war, data released by the General Administration of Customs on Wednesday painted a damning picture of domestic demand and supply chain disruptions.

March imports were down 0.1 per cent year on year to US$228.7 billion, the first decline since August 2020, customs data showed.

Purchases from Canada plunged 28.2 per cent, followed by a decline in purchases from the US by 12 per cent and a drop of 11.6 per cent from the European Union. Imports from Russia, however, a major energy supplier for China, rose 26.4 per cent last month, according to calculations by the South China Morning Post.

Chinese exports rose 14.7 per cent from a year earlier to US$276 billion last month, slowing from 16.3 per cent in the first two months. Read More.

 

DEMAND FOR AFTER-SCHOOL CHILD CARE OUTPACES SUPPLY
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A lack of available after-school childcare is forcing many parents to stay at home rather than work or to search for alternative arrangements.

By the numbers: According to an After School Alliance survey, about 24.6 million children couldn’t access an after-school program at the end of 2021. Fifty-four percent of 1,000 after-school program providers surveyed said that they had waitlists.

  • Not surprisingly, in the last quarter of 2021, 6% fewer jobs were held by parents of children aged 5-12, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.

Labor shortages: Wells Fargo reported that child care employment levels are down 12.4% from pre-COVID-19 levels. This shortage forced about 460,000 families to find alternative child care.

Incentives abound: “The Afterschool Alliance survey found that 71% of programs had taken action to attract and retain staff. The most common was raising salaries, in some cases using federal pandemic relief money in the form of child care stabilization grants. Some also have offered free child care for employees as well as signing bonuses or paid time off.”

Impacts on women: The lack of available child care has disproportionately impacted women because they are more likely to stay home to care for their children. Experts say that the shortages are limiting many women’s ability to reenter the workforce.

 

HOMEOWNERS SEEN INVESTING IN ‘PURPOSEFUL, JOYFUL’ PROJECTS

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Homeowners are focused on investing in larger remodeling projects, including those involving the kitchen and bath, that are aimed at making their home “more purposeful and joyful,” a major new survey has found.

According to the 9th Annual LightStream Home Improvement Trends Survey, a recent online poll of some 1,300 U.S. homeowners, 73% of those surveyed reported that they’ve invested in a home improvement since the COVID-19 pandemic began two-plus years ago.

The top home improvement projects continue to be kitchen (39%) and bathroom (36%) remodels, but “there has been significant growth in the number of homeowners investing in large projects that create additional useable space and functionality in their homes,” the LightStream survey found.

For example:

  • 20% of the homeowners surveyed are planning home additions, compared to 12% in 2021
  • 20% are planning basement/attic renovations, compared to 14% in 2021
  • 40% are planning outdoor renovations, compared to 35% in 2021

Read More