Leviton Spreads Electrical Safety
Leviton Manufacturing Co., Little Neck, N.Y., recently formed the Leviton Institute, an educational outreach program designed to help consumers, builders, architects, and contractors understand the capabilities of new electrical wiring devices and the importance of electrical safety in the home and workplace. For more information, visit www.leviton.com.

New Construction Outlook Released
FMI, Raleigh, N.C., recently published “FMI’s 2000 Construction Outlook: Second Quarter Report.” The report explores the state of the U.S. economy and forecasts upcoming construction activity in more than 30 residential, nonresidential, and nonbuilding categories. Analysts project residential construction in 2000 will be 2% ahead of 1999, an increase of $6.6 billion; nonresidential construction will rise 5%, or $13 billion. For more information, call (303) 377-4740.

Graybar Opens New Regional Warehouse
Graybar Electric Co., Inc., continues the rollout of its logistics network with the opening of a 204,000-sq-ft distribution center in Youngstown, Ohio—the eighth of 16 such facilities planned nationwide. The new regional zone warehouse enables the company to enhance its customer service by consolidating orders for next-day delivery and stocking slow-moving and hard-to-find items.

Contractors Support Proposed Tax Credit for Industry Training
According to the Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc., Alexandria, Va., limiting the proposed tax credit included in the Skilled Workforce Enhancement Act (SWEA) to registered apprenticeship programs offered only by local unions would negate the effectiveness of a measure intended to increase training opportunities for the industry.

“IEC believes that there are numerous quality educational opportunities available to produce the skilled, productive electrical workers that we are desperate for in our industry,” says IEC Legislative Committee Chairman Kevin Bertke.

While IEC is a supporter of registered apprenticeship programs conducted per the requirements of the U.S. Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT), IEC does not believe the tax credit should be limited to students enrolled in such programs.

“Just as there is not one format to teach children how to read, there is no one magic formula to train and educate electricians,” says Bertke. “We need a bill that would promote the variety of quality educational opportunities out there.”

For more information, contact IEC at (703) 549-7351.

Know the Hazards Associated with Filling Gasoline Cans
According to the Construction Safety Council, Hillside Ill., several recent fires at service stations have been reportedly caused when people attempt to fill metal gasoline cans resting on plastic pickup truck bed liners. The plastic serves as an insulator, preventing discharge of static electricity caused by the flow of the gasoline. This sets up a situation where a spark is created between the gas can and the fuel nozzle. When the spark occurs in the flammable range in the gasoline vapor space near the open mouth of the gas can, a fire occurs. Here’s how to minimize the danger of fire:

• Use only approved containers.

• Do not fill any container while it is inside a vehicle, a vehicle’s trunk, pickup bed, or on any surface other than the ground.

• Remove the approved container from the vehicle and place it on the ground a safe distance away from the vehicle, other customers, and traffic.

• Keep the nozzle in contact with the can during filling.

• Never use a latch-open device to fill a portable container.

• Follow all other safety procedures, including no smoking.

If you have questions about construction safety issues, contact the Construction Safety Council at (800) 552-7744.

OSHA Cites Utility with Safety Violation
The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited Narragansett Electric Company, Inc., Providence, R.I., for alleged willful and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act—following an accident at its Olneyville Substation in Providence. The proposed penalties total $80,000.

According to Kipp W. Hartmann, OSHA area director for Rhode Island, the alleged violations were discovered during an inspection initiated Sept. 21, 1999. On that day, three Narragansett Electric workers were opening and closing disconnect switches to reenergize circuits that had been out of service for maintenance. Two of the workers were burned when they were exposed to a high-voltage electrical flash, caused by a defective disconnect switch.

“The inspection determined that the accident stemmed from a combination of defective equipment, failure to follow safe work procedures, and inadequate supervision,” says Hartmann. “The defective switch had not been replaced, lines and equipment had not been grounded nor tested to ensure that they were deenergized, steps in the switching procedure had been left out, performed out of order or not followed, and the system operator overseeing the work at the time of the accident had not received the required training to be considered qualified to perform those duties.”

Driving Ideas Series Now Available
FMI, Raleigh, N.C., recently released the third edition of its Driving Ideas audiotape series. The new series includes 30 instructional tapes covering a variety of construction-specific management topics. Each tape is presented by one of FMI’s expert consultants, including the company’s Chairman and CEO Chip Andrews and President Jerry Jackson. The series is divided into five six-tape sets, including: field management and training; financial planning and profitability; management development; marketing and selling; and motivating employees. You can purchase the entire series for $499; four sets for $429; three for $339; two for $239; and one for $139. You can also buy any three tapes for $79. For more information, call (303) 377-4740 or e-mail shartnett@fminet.com.