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Final DOL rule makes hiring a contractor that uses “subcontract labor” riskier than ever for building owners.

At Tri-State/Service Group, our work is performed by our own in-house professionals who are trained for both quality and safety.

On January 6, 2021 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule to clarify the standard for “employee” versus “independent contractor” status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule becomes effective six weeks from the day it was issued – March 8, 2021.

DOL published a Proposed Notice of Rulemaking on the issue in September, 2020, and considered comments from the public before issuing its final rule, which includes the following clarifications:

  • Establishes an “economic reality” test for helping to determine whether an individual is economically dependent on a potential employer for work (an “employee” and not an “independent contractor” per the Fair Labor Standards Act).
  • Identifies two “core factors” to help establish whether an individual is economically dependent on someone else’s business. Those factors are the nature and degree of control over the work, and the worker’s opportunity for profit or loss based on initiative and/or investment.
  • Identifies three other factors that may serve as additional guideposts in the analysis:
    – The amount of skill required for the work.
    – The degree of permanence of the working relationship between the worker and the potential employer.
    – Whether the work is part of an “integrated unit of production.”
  • Establishes that the “actual practice of the worker and the potential employer is more relevant than what may be contractually or theoretically possible.

In short, it will be much more difficult for an employer to use “subcontract labor” without meeting these clarifications. Even more important, it will be much more difficult – if not impossible – for an employer to exert any control over workers it claims are subcontract labor.

What does that mean for roofing or sheet metal work on your building? There are only two possibilities for contractors who use “subcontract labor.” One is that they control the work and do not allow the subcontractor the opportunity for profit or loss. In that case, they are in violation of the new rule. The other is that they follow the new “clarifications,” which means they cannot train the “subcontract labor”; they cannot make the “subcontract labor” adhere to a schedule; and they cannot supervise the “subcontract labor” to make sure the work is up to the contractor’s standards.

The choice they have is either to ignore the new rule and be subject to fines and other penalties, or to abide by the rule and give up the ability to exert proper control over the “subcontract labor.” Neither choice is good for the contractor – and certainly not the building owner.

When you hire Tri-State/Service Group for your roofing and sheet metal work, the people who work on your building will be our people. They will be trained in proper installation and in safety. They will be well paid, with a full range of benefits. They will be covered by workers compensation insurance. Their work will be supervised to be sure it meets our quality standards. And they will work for a company with nearly a century of experience.

Contact the office nearest you to discuss your roofing and sheet metal needs, and have the peace of mind that comes with working with true professionals.

Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 2% increase in fatal work injuries in 2019.

When you choose the Tri-State/Service Group, you’re partnering with an experienced and safe roofing contractor.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has prepared the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) each year since 1992, collecting and publishing a comprehensive count of work-related fatal injuries and descriptive data on their circumstances.

In 2019, 5,333 fatal work injuries were reported in the CFOI, a 2 percent increase from 2018 when 5250 fatal work injuries were reported. This is the largest annual number since 2007. The fatal work injury rate per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers remained the same, at 3.5.

Of note for the roofing and construction industries:

  • Fatalities in the private construction industry increased 5 percent to 1,061 – the largest annual number since 2007.
  • Roofers suffer more fatal work injuries than general construction trades/helpers, drivers, structural iron and steel workers, and farmers.
  • Only fishing and hunting workers, logging workers, and aircraft pilots/flight engineers reported a higher rate than roofers.
  • Hispanic or Latino workers accounted for 20 percent of all fatal occupational injuries, up from 9% in 1992.

At Tri-State/Service Roofing & Sheet Metal Group, we know that performing work by our own in-house professionals is the safest way to operate. Our workers are paid an excellent wage with good benefits. They are trained regularly in the best practices of roof installation. And they receive ongoing safety training, to be sure they go home safely every night – protecting them, and protecting our customers.

Richmond, VA class action lawsuit highlights risks of using “subcontract” labor.

At Tri-State/Service Group, our work is performed by our own in-house professionals who are trained for both quality and safety.

According to a recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch highlighted by the National Roofing Contractors Association, two laborers have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against a drywall company and two labor brokers alleging unfair practices on almost three dozen major construction projects in Virginia.

The suit alleges that that the drywall company used a labor broker to provide laborers whom they treated as independent contractors instead of employees who would be entitled to wage protections and certain benefits.

The suit seeks unpaid wages, benefits, and damages denied because of alleged misclassification.

Two law firms – one in Arlington County, Va. and one in Washington, D.C. filed the suit on behalf of the two laborers and other “similarly situated” workers involved on other projects. It charges the drywall company with maintaining “many of the traditional functions of employment relationship” with the workers, including setting their schedules, supervising them, setting or influencing their rate of pay and maintaining the ability to fire or demote them.

Building owners should be cautious when hiring contractors who use “independent contractors.” If their schedules cannot be set by the contractor; if the contractor can’t train them; if they can’t be fired or demoted, then the contractor has little ability to perform any kind of quality control on the project the workers were hired for.

At Tri-State/Service Roofing & Sheet Metal Group, our work is performed by our own in-house professionals. They are paid an excellent wage with good benefits. They are trained regularly in the best practices of roof installation. And they receive ongoing safety training, to be sure they go home safely every night – and to ensure there are no needless interruptions on any of our projects.

Contact the office nearest you for more information about reducing risk with the Tri-State/Service Roofing & Sheet Metal Group.

December 21 at 5:02 a.m. EST

Winter begins December 21, 2020.

The first day of winter is marked by the winter solstice on December 21 at 5:02 a.m. EST. At that time, the sun will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn – the southern-most point the sun will be directly overhead during the year.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains that on the day of the winter solstice, we are tilted as far away from the sun as possible, which means that the sun’s path across the sky is as low in the sky as it can be.

The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year with only about 9? hours of daylight. The good news is, after reaching the winter solstice, days grow longer until the summer solstice at 11:31 PM on Sunday, June 20, 2021.

Severe winter weather can be the toughest test for any commercial roofing system: winds, temperature extremes, condensation issues, and expansion and contraction of materials all contribute. Plus, roofing materials perform differently in lower temperatures, potentially limiting repair options.

While it’s best to prevent problems with inspection and maintenance, when leaks do occur, the Tri-State/Service Roofing & Sheet Metal Group is your knowledgeable, experienced, and safe choice for roof repair in tough winter conditions.

Contact the location nearest you for help with roof repair this winter.

Tri-State honored with 2020 Encova Safety Award.

The Tri-State/Service Group works continuously to improve safety performance–evaluating and refining processes daily–with a zero injury and illness goal through their safety program “Working. Safe.”

Tri-State Roofing & Sheet Metal Company in Charleston, WV was recently honored with the 2020 Encova Safety Recognition award.

According to Allan Williams, Encova Senior Safety and Loss Control Consultant, Encova is committed to building safer workplaces, and is proud to recognize Tri-State as an industry leader in safety.

Considerations for the award include overall safety performance during 2020, safety culture and training, dedication of management and supervisors to maintenance of safety goals, and number of claims.

In its second year, the annual award is chosen among companies partnering with Encova for at least three years that demonstrate overall safety excellence and commitment to safety.

Elastomeric roof coating can be a cost-effective roof maintenance option.

Tri-State/Service Group installs elastomeric roof coating with minimal interruption to your business or institution.

Elastomeric roof coating is a spray-applied roofing material designed for resurfacing metal and single-ply roofs.

After application, the coating cures to form a protective membrane that restores and shields the roof surface without weight stress or wind uplift concerns.

Elastomeric roof coating provides increased reflectivity to reduce thermal movement and to cool ambient air at AC intakes, resulting in energy cost savings.? It helps to safeguard your roof, enhance UV and chemical resistance, reduce noise, as well as beautify the appearance of your building.

Our experienced team can select a product compatible with your system, and has the experience and attention to detail required for proper surface preparation and application.

Contact the office nearest you to see if elastomeric roof coating is the right maintenance choice for your facility.

Department of Labor issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning the use of subcontract labor.

The Tri-State/Service Group does not use subcontractors. Our work is performed by our own in-house professionals who are trained for both quality and safety.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning the use of subcontract labor. Under the proposed rule, which still has to go through a formal rulemaking process, the Department’s Wage and Hour Division will evaluate whether a “subcontractor” should really be considered an employee by using an “economic reality” test.

The proposed rule makes it clear that the Department will make it more difficult for a contractor to classify workers as subcontractors, when in fact the workers are often treated like employees. And that means building owners and managers should take extra care when choosing roofing contractors – a profession that has increasingly relied on “subcontract” labor.

DOL says the economic reality test will look at two “core factors”: the nature and degree of the worker’s control over the work, and the worker’s opportunity for profit and loss based on initiative and/or investment.

In addition, DOL will consider three other factors as “guideposts.” They are: the amount of skill required for the work; the degree of permanence in the working relationship between the worker and the employer; and whether the work is part of an “integrated unit of production.”

DOL goes on to say that these factors will apply regardless of any contractual provisions.

If the “subcontractor” is NOT following the letter and spirit of this proposed rule, there could be problems.?

What does this mean for building owners and managers? There could be visits to the jobsite from ICE; from the Wage and Hour Division; from OSHA; and from others – all of which could be incredibly disruptive not only to the work in progress but to the building owner. No building owner wants to be on the evening news because of the actions of an illegal subcontractor.

But if the “subcontractor” really IS following the letter and spirt of this proposed rule, there could be different kinds of problems.

Under the rule, the employer should not be training subcontract workers, so there is no assurance the workers are properly trained for difficult roof installations. The employer should not be supervising the work, so there is no assurance of a proper installation. And many roofing material manufacturers and insurance companies also require roofs to be installed by full-time employees of the contractor in order for coverage to apply. Obviously, no building owner wants to discover, ten years later, that the roof’s warranty is void because of the labor that was used when it was installed.

The only prudent course of action is to use a roofing company that employs its own labor.

Tri-State/Service Roofing & Sheet Metal Group workers are paid top wages and excellent benefits; receive continual training, including safety training; they are covered by workers’ compensation insurance; and they are subject to the company’s disciplinary policies.

Call us for more information about this rule, or to learn more about our full line of roofing and sheet metal services.

September is National Preparedness Month.

September is National Preparedness Month.

What could possibly go wrong? According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), plenty:

  • Natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.
  • Health hazards such as widespread and serious illnesses like the flu.
  • Human-caused hazards including accidents and acts of violence.
  • Technology-related hazards like power outages and equipment failure.

That’s why FEMA launched National Preparedness Month (NPM) in 2004. Each September, this event encourages and reminds us to be prepared for disasters and emergencies like these, and provides resources to help.

Consider Tri-State/Service Group a trusted resource in the event of an emergency causing disruption to your organization.

  • Available 24 / 7 / 365
  • Licensed to do warranty repair work for all major roofing product manufacturers.
  • Experienced with emergency assistance to facility managers following fires, floods, high wind events, snow emergencies
  • HVAC/mechanical service including maintenance of recommended humidity levels and improving indoor air quality
  • Automatic stand-by generators

Contact the Tri-State/Service Group nearest you for help with an emergency, or help with preparation for one.

2020 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls rescheduled for September 14-18.

The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) holds the annual “National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls” each May. This year, the event was postponed due to COVID-19, and will now be held September 14-18.

As the leading cause of fatal injuries in construction and consistently one of OSHA’s most cited hazards, construction falls inspired the creation of this event in 2012.

At the Tri-State/Service Roofing & Sheet Metal Group, we remain focused on fall hazards every day – not just during the stand-down.? Through our “Working. Safe.” program, we work continuously to improve safety performance–evaluating and refining our processes daily–with a zero injury and illness goal.

Did you know?

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls accounted for 320 of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded in 2018.
  • Hearing loss is linked to three times the risk of falling; and one in four noise-exposed construction workers suffer some level of hearing loss.
  • Small construction companies (10 or fewer employees) account for 61% of all fatal falls.

All falls can be prevented through planning, training, and proper use of safety equipment. When you choose the Tri-State/Service Group, you’re partnering with an experienced and safe roofing contractor.

Fall is approaching fast.

Even as the season changes to fall in September, it may still feel like summer for many, as warm weather holds strong over much of the country.

Even when the season changes to fall in September, it may still feel like summer for much of the country. AccuWeather is predicting that peak fall foliage could be delayed by about two weeks due to warm weather predicted for September.

Weather predictions aside, fall will officially begin on Tuesday, September 22. Cooler temperatures, cozy sweaters, and beautiful foliage are sure to follow.

When the colors do change, it’s always a great time to get outdoors and take it all in. Be sure to take care of your building maintenance checklist for fall as well.

Leaves and debris can accumulate on the roof and keep water from draining properly, putting a roof inspection at the top of that checklist.

Schedule your fall roof inspection.

Our group can help maintain thermal comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality with a fall/winter HVAC inspection.

Schedule a fall HVAC/mechanical inspection.

Your building will be ready to take on cooler weather ahead.?

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