Changes are afoot in Harris County, as the local Commissioners Court recently announced new guidelines for the construction workforce.
The guidelines include the following:
- Construction laborers working under county contracts must be paid a $15 minimum prevailing wage.
- Purchasing agents, county attorneys and county engineers must evaluate prospective construction vendors based on their safety records, the health insurance coverage they offer and how open they are to hiring employees with criminal records.
- County vendors working on federally funded projects must provide certain OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) training for workers and their supervisors.
- The Community Services Department must create new apprenticeship and job training programs.
The new guidelines, based on standards the city of Houston implemented in April, were announced to coincide with the second anniversary of Hurricane Harvey. Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said that similar rules were put into place in New York after Hurricane Sandy and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. According to Ellis, the millions of recovery dollars pouring into the construction industry offer a chance to address inequities in the region.
“To build a truly resilient community in the wake of Harvey, we need to be proactive about economic policies to create more opportunity for working families” said Ellis in a recent statement to the press.
The new guidelines could also help alleviate the current shortage of construction workers in the Houston area, as better wages, improved benefits and more comprehensive job training could attract qualified workers to the area.
At Ritter Forest Products, we’ve been proudly providing hardwood crane mats, outrigger pads and more to the construction firms in our area for more than 20 years. To learn more about how we can help with your next project, feel free to give us a call at our location nearest you today.