All posts by Kit Case

Port of Tacoma, WA Pier 4 Reconfiguration Update

The Northwest Seaport Alliance provided the following update of the South Harbor Pier 4 project to expand and fortify the pier to receive the new megaships. The project employs workers in the construction trades and, once completed, will lead to greater cargo coming through the port, potentially increasing longshore and harbor worker employment.

The Pier 4 reconfiguration is taking shape on the General Central Peninsula in the South Harbor. Crews are working heavily on pier construction and installing underground utilities, including electrical, communication, sewer and stormwater treatment.

Since awarding the contract to Manson Construction Company and launching the first phase of the project in May 2016, the 1,724-foot pier at the Port of Tacoma nears its halfway mark.

In February, Manson wrapped up the first phase of the pile driving, which set up the foundation for the structure that will be capable of serving two 18,000-TEU container ships once completed.

“Bigger ships require bigger cranes, and bigger cranes require a stronger foundation to evenly distribute the load,” said Trevor Thornsley, senior project manager for the Port of Tacoma. “Building the pier is all about providing enough support to handle the heavy cranes and the heavy load of the trucks, straddle carriers and the equipment that run on the pier.”

Each pile, varying from 70 to 170 feet in length, is precisely driven underwater in a neat row formation. The segments are then bound together with rebar and concrete to create a thick platform called a pile cap. Once pile caps are built, the crew will place 25-foot-wide deck panels between the caps and fill any gaps with more concrete. At the end of the project, the pier will be covered with 3 to 6 inches of pavement.

The second phase of pile driving is slated to resume in July. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2018. 

Watch a video of the latest progress and learn more about the Pier 4 project.

In a related post, the Northwest Seaport Alliance reported on the potential for additional crane purchases for Pier 4:

The Managing Members will consider purchasing four additional cranes from Zhenhua Port Machinery Company (ZPMC) in China at their June 6 special joint meeting. The Managing Members approved the purchase of the first four super post-Panamax container cranes in 2016 to handle larger ships. If the additional cranes are approved, all eight cranes are expected to arrive in spring 2018 at South Harbor’s Pier 4, where it is currently undergoing reconfiguration improvements.

Download and watch a video of the June 6 meeting here.

Photo credit: Northwest Seaport Alliance

 

Port Commissioners Approve Funding for Railroad

$600,000 will go to grade separation project in Kent, WA, easing rail-related congestion.

The Port of Seattle Commission has approved transportation funding for a grade separation project in Kent, WA. The South 228th Street project will help traffic flow delayed by railroad crossings. The project improves regional connections between thousands of businesses, employers and 40 million square feet of warehouse and industrial space.The $595,000 in funding contributes to an overall project cost of $25 million.

The Port of Seattle recognizes the need to keep freight, and all other traffic, moving throughout our region,” said Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “Grade separations like these are critical to remove traffic bottle necks, especially areas in the Kent Valley that handle the second largest freight and cargo volumes on the West Coast.

“The success of both the Port of Seattle and the Kent Valley’s robust manufacturing, warehouse and distribution activity depends upon safe, reliable, timely connections to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, and increasingly to Sea-Tac Airport,” said Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke. “Kent’s South 228th Street has been designated as a key freight route, attracting Port customers who value timely access. The elimination of the chokepoint at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing will help ensure our region’s future as a premier manufacturing and distribution center of world-wide importance.”

Source: Port of Seattle, Photo: City of Kent, WA

Jay Causey Receives WSAJ President’s Award

The Washsington State Association for Justice (WSAJ) awarded Jay Causey the President’s Award at its annual awards ceremony last month.  Jay was recognized for his career-spanning service and dedication to protecting the rights of injured workers.  Dominic L. Bacetich, WSAJ President, presented the award.

Although his receipt of the award was to be a surprise, there is word that a leaker notified Jay of award just prior to the event. This remains under investigation. What is not in question is how proud and grateful I am for having the privilege of working with Jay for a large part of his career.

Congratulations, Jay, on your recognition by WSAJ for a lifetime of achievement.

 

Photo credit: Erik Bell

Brian Wright Chairs Workers’ Compensation Seminar

Causey Wright featured prominently in the annual statewide workers’ compensation seminar conducted by the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ). This event, held last month in Seattle, provides education to legal professionals working on behalf of workers injured on-the-job.

Brian Wright had the honor of co-chairing the event. Also on the program was Jane Dale participating in a panel discussion of ethics topics. Jay Causey was awarded WSAJ’s President’s Award for a lifetime of achievement in the field of workers’ compensation.

Yay, Team! 

 

Photo credit: Erik Bell

Asbestos Deaths Remain A Public Health Concern, CDC Finds

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from www.npr.org

People are still dying of cancer linked to asbestos, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says, despite decades of regulations meant to limit dangerous exposure.

Starting in 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has regulated how much asbestos workers can be exposed to, because it contains tiny fibers that can cause lung disease or cancer if they are swallowed or inhaled.

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates asbestos too, setting requirements for inspecting, demolishing and renovating buildings that contain materials made with asbestos, like insulation, vinyl tiles, roofing, shingles and paint.

But, a recent CDC analysis found that thousands of people are still dying each year from a type of cancer called malignant mesothelioma that is associated with inhaling asbestos fibers, even briefly or in small amounts. Even after decades of regulation, between 1999 and 2015 there were 45,221 mesothelioma deaths in the U.S. The majority of those who died were men.

The greatest increase is among people over 85 years old, who were likely exposed to asbestos many years ago. It can take anywhere from two to seven decades for mesothelioma to develop after a person inhales asbestos fibers. And early deaths among people 35 to 65 are down overall.

But, investigators say, the fact that people younger than 55 are still dying of a disease linked to asbestos means that workers are still being exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos despite federal regulations.

One…

[Click here to see the rest of this post]

The Boeing Company: Celebrating 50 years in Everett, Washington

Last week, The Boeing Company announced their celebration of 50 years in Everett, Washington:

“The 747, 767, KC-46, 777, 787 Dreamliner, and soon-to-be 777X: all built in one very special place. We’re celebrating 50 years of our Everett site in Washington. From its development in 1967 to build the 747, to today’s 777X Composite Wing Center, our largest manufacturing site continues to rollout the most advanced jetliners in the world.”

In May 1967, Boeing employees moved into a new factory built beside Paine Field near Everett, Wash.  Thirteen months later, the group that became known in aerospace legend as “The Incredibles” rolled out the 747.

A half-century later, more than 40,000 employees, customers and suppliers visit Boeing’s largest manufacturing site daily. The hub of widebody factories is home to the 747-8, 767, 777, 787 Dreamliner, the KC-46 Tanker and several derivative programs. Building renovations and new construction tell a tale of continuous improvement and transformation — including the 1.3 million square foot (120, 800 square meter) Composite Wing Center — as today’s production system prepares for the 777X. 

As the company this month commemorates 50 years of Team Everett’s contributions, those changes reflect Boeing’s continued investment in the region, company leaders say.  And several employees who joined the Everett site in the 1960s added their unique perspectives about the past and future.

>>To read the rest of the story click here.

See The Boeing Company’s video scrapbook of the past 50 years in Everett, from forest to major manufacturing site.

Photo credit: The Everett Herald, “Visual History: 50 Years of Boeing at Paine Field in Everett.”

 

Louisiana Court Holds Employer Responsible for Failing to Protect Employee From Off-Duty Threat of Violence by Coworker

Today’s post was shared by Workers Comp News and comes from www.jdsupra.com.

A Louisiana appellate court has ruled an employee may sue her employer for negligence for injuries sustained on the job when the injuries resulted from a dispute that began outside of work. The case is particularly instructive for disputes that originate outside of work where one or both of the participants is a Louisiana employee.

“If an employer knows or should know of a dangerous condition or person on his premises, the employer is obligated to take reasonable steps to protect its employees.”

Background

In Carr v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., No. 2015 CA 0953 (February 17, 2016), Carr asserted a claim of negligence against her employer Sanderson Farms for injuries she sustained from an assault at work. Specifically, Carr alleged that her Sanderson Farms coworker, Webb, deliberately struck her with a pallet jack multiple times. Carr further alleged that, prior to this incident, while she and Webb were away from the workplace, Webb threatened her with bodily harm. Carr alleged that she told Sanderson Farms about the threats, to which Sanderson Farms responded that it would take no action because the threats were not made on Sanderson Farms property.

At the trial court level, Sanderson Farms filed a motion arguing that Carr’s negligence claim was barred by the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act. In general, an employee who is injured by a negligent act at work is restricted to asserting a claim for workers’ compensation and may not sue for his or her employer’s negligence under the act. The trial court agreed with Sanderson Farms and granted the employer’s motion dismissing the case. Carr appealed.

The Appellate Court’s Decision

On appeal, the court considered whether, under these circumstances, Carr could sue Sanderson Farms for its negligence, if any, in failing to prevent Webb’s attack on Carr. The court, relying on La. R.S. 23:1031(E), explained that “although negligence claims by an employee against her employer for injuries sustained on the job are typically barred by the exclusivity provision of the workers’ compensation act, the act does not cover injuries arising out of a ‘dispute with another person or employee over matters unrelated to the injured employee’s employment.’” When an injury is explicitly excluded from the Workers’ Compensation Act, the court reasoned, the employer is not immune from a negligence suit based on that injury. The court emphasized that in Carr’s case, her claim for workers’ compensation benefits was dismissed because of the finding that her injury arose out of a “non-work related dispute.” As a result, the negligence claim could proceed against Sanderson Farms.

Next, the court considered whether “a cause of action can be stated in negligence against an employer by an employee who was the subject of an intentional act committed by a co-employee, after the employee notified the employer of threats by the co-employee made away from the workplace.” 

Click here to read the full version of this post, including additional details of the appellate court finding that Carr’s negligence claim, as now plead, was not barred by the exclusive remedy provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Key Takeaways

The message of Carr is that a Louisiana employer is potentially liable for negligence under Louisiana law if an employee puts the employer on notice of a non-work related dispute that might spill into the workplace. Such notice might create a duty on the part of the employer to prevent harm to that employee by the intentional act of a fellow employee. Carr’s analysis extends to harm threatened by a non-employee who might come to work to harm an employee as well. The case carries a cautionary message for employers regarding domestic or romantic disputes involving Louisiana employees.

 Photo credit: mrbill78636 via Foter.com / CC BY

Maximizing Productivity: Accommodations for Employees with Psychiatric Disabilities

Today’s post was shared by US Dept. of Labor and comes from www.dol.gov

A psychiatric disability can impact various aspects of an individual’s life, including the ability to achieve maximum productivity in the workplace. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that one in five people will experience a psychiatric disability in their lifetime, and one in four Americans currently knows someone who has a psychiatric disability. It is likely that most employers have at least one employee with a psychiatric disability.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other nondiscrimination laws, most employers must provide “reasonable accommodations” to qualified employees with disabilities. Many employers are aware of different types of accommodations for people with physical and communication disabilities, but they may be less familiar with accommodations for employees with disabilities that are not visible, such as psychiatric disabilities. Over the last few years, increasing numbers of employers have expressed a desire and need for information and ideas on accommodations for employees with psychiatric disabilities.

Reasonable accommodations are adjustments to a work setting that make it possible for qualified employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their jobs. The majority of accommodations can be made for minimal (if any) cost and a small investment of time and planning. Moreover, effective accommodations can be good for business. They help employees return to work more quickly after disability or medical leave, eliminate costs due to lost productivity and can be key to recruiting and retaining qualified employees.

Not all employees with psychiatric disabilities need accommodations to perform their jobs. For those who do, it is important to remember that the process of developing and implementing accommodations is individualized and should begin with input from the employee. Accommodations vary, just as people’s strengths, work environments and job duties vary.

Click here to see the rest of this post, including examples of accommodations that have helped employees with psychiatric disabilities to more effectively perform their jobs. 

Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images via Foter.com / No known copyright restrictions

USDOL: NY Construction Workers to Receive $727K, Resolving Wage Violations.

NEW YORK CITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, US LABOR DEPARTMENT REACH AGREEMENT ON BACK WAGES OWED TO WORKERS

NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment in federal court requiring a New York City design and construction company and its owners to pay $726,989 in back wages and liquidated damages to 184 employees and take other corrective actions to resolve past overtime and recordkeeping violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Design Development NYC, Inc., had misclassified almost all of its employees as independent contractors, an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found.

The misclassified employees worked in numerous jobs, including carpenters, draftspersons, drivers, electricians, laborers, painters, and plumbers and tilers. The company also wrongfully considered three employees as exempt from the FLSA’s overtime compensation requirements, paying them a fixed weekly salary without regard to hours worked.

As a result, misclassified employees and non-exempt employees – some of whom worked 70 hours per week or more – did not receive proper overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The FLSA requires that employees receive one-and-one-half their regular rates of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek and that employers maintain adequate and accurate records of employees’ wages and work hours.

“This resolution commits this company to positive and effective steps to prevent future violations,” said Mark Watson Jr., the Wage and Hour Division’s northeast regional administrator.

“Our goal is to ensure that employees receive the hard-earned wages due them and that law-abiding businesses can compete fairly in the marketplace,” said Jeffrey S. Rogoff, the regional solicitor.

The company and owners, Michael Daddio and Earl Brian, neither admit nor deny the allegations; they have agreed to a consent judgment, entered in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which requires them to comply with the FLSA by determining employees’ overtime exemption status properly and recording employees’ work hours accurately, among other requirements. They will also submit complete samples of time and payroll records for all employees to the division for its review, and supply current and new employees with written notification of their rights under the FLSA in languages the workers understand.

The division is committed to providing employers with the tools they need to understand and comply with the variety of labor laws the division enforces. It offers useful resources ranging from an interactive E-laws advisor to a complete library of free, downloadable workplace posters. In addition, the division’s Community Outreach and Resource Planning Specialists conduct ongoing outreach activities to educate stakeholders, including employers, employees, business and labor groups and professional associations, among others, with accessible, easy-to-understand information about their rights and responsibilities.

The division’s New York City District Office conducted the FLSA investigation. Trial Attorney Frances Y. Ma of the department’s New York Regional Solicitor’s Office handled the case for the division.

For more information about the FLSA, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its New York City District Office at 212-264-8185. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.

SOL & WHD News Release:
05/03/2017
Media Contact Name:
Ted Fitzgerald
Email: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov
Phone Number:
(617) 565-2075

Media Contact Name:
James C. Lally
Email: lally.james.c@dol.gov
Phone Number:
(617) 565-2074
Release Number:
17-0470-NEW

Photo credit: ILO in Asia and the Pacific via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Seattle the Biggest Cruise Port on the West Coast

The Port of Seattle recently kicked off the 2017 cruise season with the inaugural visit of Holland America’s Eurodam to Terminal 91. Over one million revenue passengers on 218 vessels this season will make Seattle the biggest cruise port on the West Coast. With eleven ships offering Alaska cruise itineraries, it is a thriving industry that fuels the region’s economy.

The cruise industry in Seattle is responsible for over $500 million in economic impact to the region, providing more than 4,000 jobs and $18.9 million in state and local taxes, with each homeported vessel generating $2.7 million to the local economy.

The Port also will introduce a free cruise luggage valet program that will allow passengers to get their airline boarding pass and check their bags on board so they can spend time in Seattle before flying home. This program is expected to launch in the next several weeks.

For the latest on Cruise Seattle and what it means to our region, click here.