Working Near Roads: The Deadly Shoulder


Not all workers who are involved in vehicle struck-by accidents are road construction workers. In fact, many of them are builders, groundskeepers, tradesmen and workers in other areas of maintenance and construction. Working near roads, regardless of how busy the traffic may be, is always a serious risk that cannot be ignored. Drivers are distracted now more than ever with texting, GPS, phone calls and much more. When you have workers who are within 25 feet of a roadway, you should be taking enough precautions to protect them from distracted drivers and the dangers of the deadly road shoulders.

Take a moment to think about the last few times you saw the aftermath of traffic crashes. There is a good chance that you may have seen a car or two in the ditch, pushed past the sidewalk, on someone’s front lawn, or passed through a fence or crashed into a tree. When accidents happen, the car’s final stopping location may be anywhere but the road. Setting up temporary road signage, even for home renovation, roofing, window replacement or anything excluding road work, may seem foreign to most contractors, but doing so may give motorists the caution they need to slow down sufficiently to be aware of your employees. Advanced warning temporary signs for road traffic may be regulated by your local laws, but looking into what is required based off the city may be worthwhile if you plan on working near roads often. Something as simple as a “Caution, Workers Ahead” sign, placed up the road may slow down traffic and make the site safer.

The importance of a traffic cone cannot be understated. Even on residential roads with minimal traffic, a safety cone may mean the difference between a close call or nothing at all. Do you work out of a vehicle or trailer? If so, that may mean you are stationed in a parking lot, roadside, or a road shoulder. Having something as simple as a road cone placed a foot or so away from each road-side corner of your vehicle will warn drivers that someone is there or that something is going on.

Residential areas can be some of the most dangerous, as many people may let their guard down and may not think twice before walking around the vehicle into the roadway without looking.

Branding and uniform apparel is something that a lot of contractors and builders seem to have in common. More so recently, fashion trends in these areas have emphasized earth-toned colors for shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, and pants. A large growth of camo-themed company attire has taken the appeal of many. While it is probably one of the last thoughts of someone who works inside or on the exterior of a building, wearing highly visible clothing should always be considered. The last thing you would want to be wearing is something that blends you right into the backdrop of your surroundings. While ANSI class 1, 2, and 3 vests may not be required, outfitting your employees or encourage brights colors like orange, yellow, safety green and other bright colors. Avoid dark grey colors or the same color as your vehicle as possible, as these may it hard to been seen by passing by cars. Wearing headlamps during early morning work may assist worker visibility to traffic as well.

Ensuring safety can be done at multiple levels, safety discussions such as tailgate talks, safety trainings, or just informal discussions can be performed to generate awareness of roadside safety. Talking to your staff about how they can protect themselves is instrumental to ensuring your employees stay safe, which leads to reduced injuries, lower workers’ compensation costs, and better worker morale. Talk to them today about roadside safety and the deadly shoulder.

Posted in 2023, June 2023 | Comments Off on Working Near Roads: The Deadly Shoulder

Advocacy Update


Legislation Would Require LARA To Develop Decarbonization Plan

Legislation introduced in the Michigan Senate would require the Michigan Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to develop a written construction decarbonization plan. Senate Bill 274 directs LARA to create a plan which provides:

  • Guidance on technologies, building materials and construction methods to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions for any building the construction of which commences after 2026, and, greenhouse gas emissions reductions in renovation, alteration, or reconstruction projects
  • Targets for building decarbonization based on the most accurate and complete climate change data for each 3-year construction code cycle update
  • Recommendations for changes to building codes to achieve building decarbonization targets
  • Priorities for equity in decarbonization
  • Promotion of prevailing wage to workers on projects that implement the plan

The bill calls on LARA to host public hearings for the plan, consult with other state departments (such as Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy – EGLE), and convene a stakeholder committee to advise the department. The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Environment.

AAM-PAC Fundraising Drive Is On!

The AAM Board of Directors has set an aggressive $100,000 fundraising goal for AAM-PAC during 2023. AAM-PAC is the Apartment Association’s political action committee, which utilizes contributions from members and aggregates them into one fund. This fund is used to financially support those elected officials who understand the important role of rental housing in Michigan’s economy.

We need your help to strengthen our voice in support of the multifamily rental property industry. One great way you can assist us is by supporting the fundraising campaign by making your donation today! Remember, AAM-PAC contributions must be made via personal, partnership, LLP, or LLC check or credit card.

To comply with state reporting requirements, all contributions must be accompanied by a PAC Contribution Form. If contributing by check, please complete the form at, then print and mail with your check to AAM Offices.

If you are making your contribution by credit card and prefer to make your contribution using our secure website, please use the link at to enter the required information and your credit card number.

If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 248-862-1004 to make your contribution today.

Posted in 2023, June 2023 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

OSHA Standard Interpretations


Have you ever found yourself in a weird situation where you know the OSHA standard, but have a fairly unique situation where you’re unsure if you’re within compliance? Have you ever had a question in regard to record-keeping criteria on an odd recordable lost-time case that also involved days away? Have you ever had a situation where you have a position that might need PPE, but want more credible info to determine if PPE is required in an atypical task? Have you ever wanted more description on very specific standard, but just don’t know where to get quality references? If you said ‘yes’ to any of these questions, or have any similar situations to any of these examples, you should learn about OSHA’s Standard Interpretations.

OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, describes standard interpretations as “letters or memos written in response to public inquiries or field office inquiries regarding how some aspect of or terminology in an OSHA standard or regulation is to be interpreted and enforced by the Agency. These letters provide guidance to clarify the application of an established OSHA standard, policy, or procedure, but they may not, in themselves, establish or revise OSHA policy or procedure or interpret the OSHA Act.” As a safety professional, I find myself frequently checking for standard interpretations on fairly unique situations to better assist companies. You, too, can look into these standard interpretations by going to, selecting the drop down box “STANDARDS”, and following the “Standard Interpretation” link.

These letters are all created from real companies who have written to OSHA with question involving a real or possible situation and are asking OSHA for further clarification. After OSHA responds to the situation, they will publish the replies, in hopes to provide additional details and description on the standard that was referenced. This expansion on the standard cannot be used to hold any other company accountable for the additional detail, but can give companies more detail to help ensure they are within compliance.
Certain state programs have their own standard interpretations, as well. In Michigan, MIOSHA or Michigan OSHA, has MIOSHA Interpretations. These questions are asked in general settings or by submitting an “Ask MIOSHA” question. They are kept brief and rarely state a scenario and who the question comes from originally. Even still, these answers are very informative and help out when you may have a similar instance that someone may have already faced and reached out to their state program for further help and support. If you have a question in regard to a known standard and are not finding it within the standard interpretations, you may also check out MIOSHA’s FAQs where additional questions are asked. If you still do not find the help you are looking for, submit a question in writing to OSHA or electronically through the “Ask MIOSHA” LEO form, found on Michigan’s government website.

An example of a MIOSHA interpretation references sky lights. The question asks, “How close do I have to get to a skylight before it must be guarded?” MIOSHA states: “There are no distance requirements. Part 2, Rule 240(1) states, ‘A skylight guard shall be designed and constructed to withstand a 200-pound load that is applied perpendicularly at any 1 area on the screen.’” Not all questions and answers are this short.

It is okay to not know exactly what a standard is describing. Many standards are several years old and may use terminology that is no longer familiar. Utilizing the available resources, such as OSHA’s standard interpretations and MIOSHA’s interpretations can better help you and your company ensure compliance and safety for all staff. The more time spent on these websites, the more you come to find that although safety and health enforcement can be intimidating, those that enforce these laws and regulations are truly there to help and ensure that every worker goes home safely.

Posted in 2023, MAY 2023 | Comments Off on OSHA Standard Interpretations

Advocacy Update


Legislation Protecting New Natural Gas Infrastructure Introduced
Three bills protecting against local efforts to ban new natural gas infrastructure or appliances have been introduced in the Michigan Legislature. Sen. Joe Bellino (R-16th District) and Rep. Dale Zorn (R-34th District) have introduced bills – one in the Michigan Senate and one in the Michigan House – to support the continued availability of natural gas for new construction and existing buildings. Senate Bill 10 and House Bill 4036 would prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing an ordinance, resolution, or policy which prohibits the use of natural gas or the installation of natural gas infrastructure. Also on the Senate side, Sen. Michelle Hoitenga (R-36th District), has introduced Senate Bill 41, which would prevent any local unit of government from adopting, maintaining, or enforcing an ordinance prohibiting the use of gas appliances in new or existing residential buildings. These bills have come in response to local discussions, like those in Ann Arbor’s A2Zero Plan, which seek a mandate for new buildings to be constructed without gas lines as a part of programs seeking carbon neutrality.

This issue is also seeing legal action in other parts of the country. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently overturned the City of Berkeley’s (CA) ban on the installation of natural gas piping in new buildings. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) filed amicus briefs in this case at both the district court and appellate court. Importantly, the decision only stops Berkeley from banning the extension of gas lines inside a building, but does not touch on gas delivery from a utility to gas meters.

Have A Builder’s License? Remember Your Continuing Competency
Some AAM Members hold a Michigan Residential Builder License even though they may not be currently building. If you wish to maintain your license, please remember that the State of Michigan requires you to complete three hours of “continuing competency” by your license renewal deadline of May 31, 2023. AAM and HBA are holding three hour classes (covering each of the required categories – one hour codes, one hour legal and one hour safety) which will provide you what you need to comply. Visit for class dates and online registration.

Posted in 2023, MAY 2023 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Advocacy Update

Forrest Wall March 2021Written by HBA and AAM CEO, Forrest M. Wall, CAE

LGBTQ Expansion of Elliott-Larson Act Signed Into Law

After legislative passage by both the Michigan House and Senate, Governor Whitmer signed an expansion of Michigan’s Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act to include LGBTQ individuals. Public Act 6 of 2023 amends all relevant sections of the act (title, scope, employment, real estate, etc.) to include sexual orientation, gender identity or expression among the protected classes under the law. Prior to PA 6, Michigan’s civil rights law prohibited discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, familial status, and marital status.

Housing Inspection Notification
Legislation Introduced

Legislation has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives which increases notification requirements under rental inspection law. House Bill 4273 would require an enforcing agency to notify the property owner as well as each rental unit occupant of any inspection violations. Currently, the owner must be notified of a violation but occupant notification is discretionary. The legislation also proposes to expand what is in the notice, to include a reference to the specific section of act that was violated and whether the violation constitutes a serious and imminent hazard to the health or safety of the occupants.

Have A Builder’s License? Don’t Forget Your Continuing Competency

Some AAM Members hold a Michigan Residential Builder License even though they may not be currently building. If you wish to maintain your license, please remember that the State of Michigan requires you to complete three hours of “continuing competency” by your license renewal deadline of May 31, 2023. AAM and HBA are holding three hour classes (covering each of the required categories – one hour codes, one hour legal and one hour safety) which will provide you what you need to comply.  Visit for details and online registration.

Posted in 2023, APRIL 2023 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update