Business groups and organized labor are at odds over the nomination of David Michaels, President Obama’s pick to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They agree that Michaels, if confirmed by the Senate, would likely shift OSHA’s focus from voluntary compliance programs to stronger enforcement. While unions typically support that approach, business organizations are worried Michaels would take an adversarial approach toward employers, and groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are pressing for the Senate to schedule a confirmation hearing. Michaels, an epidemiologist, served as assistant secretary of energy for environment, safety and health from 1998 to 2001.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.