header services logo masthead
The Exclusive Magazine for the Building Service Contracting Industry Since 1981

The Wild West a Look At Recent BSC News and Industry Hot topics from America's Most Diverse Region

Written by 

From hot deserts and dry valleys to mild climates and mountainous terrain, providing janitorial services in the western U.S. comes with its own set of unique challenges.

With clients’ needs vastly dependent on their location, this edition of SERVICES takes a look at some of the issues affecting BSCs in the west including: technological development, outsourcing, marketing, OSHA updates and tips on how to add lawn care and landscaping services to your existing business model.

By focusing on BSCs in the west, SERVICES is able provide valuable resources and news updates to both region-based companies as well as companies located throughout the country.

News in the West

The Wild West

The western U.S. is a vast and variant region encompassing contrasting climates and differing landscapes. The needs specific to clientele in the sprawling city of Los Angeles, California, will be different from the needs of clients in the mountains of Colorado.

Existing in an industry with such variety can often times be a challenge. Where you are and who your clients are affect your marketing, your decision to outsource, what technology you use and what additional services you can provide.

BSCs in this region also face varying labor laws and other regulations. For example, California passed a new law to protect janitorial workers from harassment and wage theft. The Property Services Workers Protection Act is designed to protect janitors with employers having to register with the state labor commissioner, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Existing in an industry with such variety can often times be a challenge. Where you are and who your clients are affect your marketing, your decision to outsource, what technology you use and what additional services you can provide.

Mountain

This act spark-started a conversation about janitorial workplace culture as we moved into 2017.

Oregon also passed a similar bill to protect janitorial subcontractors in the state from harassment and wage theft. House Bill 3279, passed by the Oregon House of Representatives, is geared toward increasing accountability for employers and creating more transparency for employees. The west has also put an emphasis on safety.

In Colorado, OSHA and the Rocky Mountain Education Center renewed an alliance to support worker safety education throughout the state, according to an OSHA press release. The alliance aims “to reduce and prevent exposures to a wide variety of hazards across all industry sectors throughout Colorado.” They plan to provide employers with access to pertinent information and training resources.

The alliance also aims to help employers and workers understand their responsibilities under OSHA. The partnership was announced at the annual training event, Safety Fest of the West and has a five-year term.

In addition to work conditions and safety, this region has also been a major player in the conversations surrounding the rights of whistle blowers.

Reports out of southern California said that U.S. Department of Labor ordered the big banking institution of Wells Fargo to pay over a half a million dollars in back wages to a branch manager who was terminated after she reported misconduct by private bankers. While this issue was not directly in the BSC arena, the conversation around whistleblowing affected the industry.

In fact, in August of 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor piloted an expedited whistle-blower review process. According to an OSHA press release, “the ‘Expedited Case Processing Pilot’ allows a complainant covered by certain statutes to ask the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to cease its investigation and issue findings for the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges to consider… Administrative law judges may order the same remedies as OSHA, including back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages where authorized, attorneys' fees and reinstatement.”

The online whistle-blower complaint form was recently revised by OSHA to better help users file a workplace complaint with the appropriate agency. While reports of progress and advancements in important conversations came out of the West this year, there were also lessons to be learned from the inauspicious acts of others.

Saipan casino contractors faced $193,750 of proposed penalties after an OSHA investigation revealed that workers were exposed to harmful workplace hazards that included inadequate fall protection, unsecured scaffolding and failure to report a work-related amputation, according to an OSHA press release.

According to the Daily Breeze, a janitorial airline contractor at LAX settled a case involving discrimination after supervisors allegedly forbade employees from speaking Spanish during work hours and breaks.

Owners of a San Diego Company that provided janitorial service to hotels pleaded guilty to worker fraud at the beginning of the year. The owners were accused of hiding at least 800 workers to avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance rates and payroll taxes, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Despite trials and tribulations, the janitorial industry continues to grow and evolve, providing people with a variety of opportunities.

For example, a cleaning company in Spokane, Washington, was recognized by the Washington Department of Employment Security’s Hire-A-Vet program. Over half of its 26 staff were veterans at the time of the report, according to the Spokesman-Review.

BART janitors in San Francisco illustrated the benefits of hard work and dedication to the industry after reports broke of three employees earning up to a combined $364,000 in overtime pay while working to clean up stations in the downtown area, according the Mercury News.

News from the west remains just as diverse as the region itself. Read the rest of this edition of SERVICES Magazine to hear from industry experts, get your OSHA updates and find out about the latest technological advancements in the industry.

CityScape

While reports of progress and advancements in important conversations came out of the West this year, there were also lessons to be learned from the inauspicious acts of others.

With clients’ needs vastly dependent on their location, this edition of SERVICES takes a look at some of the issues affecting BSCs in the west including: technological development, outsourcing, marketing, OSHA updates and tips on how to add lawn care and landscaping services to your existing business model.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.