Constructing a Framework of Regulations

Sherman & Howard Construction Law Seminar to address current cases, evergreen subjects

Sherman & Howard will hold its annual Construction Law Seminar Oct. 31 in Colorado Springs. The presentations will range from hot topics like Vallagio v. Metropolitan Homes to ever-important subjects such as OSHA and employment law considerations in construction. But a common thread among a few of the presentations will be the uncertainties in regulation of the construction industry created since President Donald Trump took office.

OSHA may be an evergreen subject, but this year’s presentation will focus on developments in the agency since Trump assumed office. Pat Miller, who co-chairs Sherman & Howard’s OSHA practice group and also is a member of the firm’s labor and employment group, said the biggest uncertainty for the agency under Trump is whether his administration will take an enforcement approach to OSHA regulations or a more hands-off, voluntary compliance approach.

“We haven’t actually seen as much change as we thought we might have,” Miller said. “During the campaign, of course, we heard a lot about deregulation and really curbing the regulatory agenda that we saw in the last eight years in the Obama administration. … We haven’t seen a lot of the regulatory reform that was promised.” He explained much of the uncertainty comes from the currently vacant spot for the head of OSHA. But he said he expects the Trump administration will take a more hands-off approach to enforcement than the Obama administration, and introduce few new regulations.

Miller did point to two controversial OSHA regulations the new agency head may take action on: The crystal-line silica exposure limit for construction, which took effect in September, and electronic submission of injury and illness reports. Both faced legal challenges and delays.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the October 23, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.