Where do “God is great” and “working hard” lie next to other signs that are about to be replaced? “I do not work” and “practice beautiful, healthy mind, body and soul”? Probably next to “sick, tired and sometimes”?
Work’s long done but construction signs stay on duty—and you’re in danger
Starting March 15, signage around buildings in the United States and Canada will get a one-year “interim” license renewal. While some of the signs may be as necessary as ever, the reasons for the renewal are a little unclear.
The National Conference of State Legislatures, which represents states’ legislative bodies, provided just two official explanations:
“New construction equipment, while not under the direction of the MSA, will be exempted from this license. Newly manufactured construction equipment should be licensed by the state where it is constructed.”
“The MSA’s termination of temporary licenses and technical exceptions to administrative provisions will help provide further clarity as to how the MSA should treat temporary signs for new construction equipment.”
The provisional fees can range from $12 to $55 each year, per state, depending on your zip code. So how do you know if you’re affected? You can check your MSA decal number to see if it’s on your mailbox. Some states allow temporary licenses to be renewed when your original expires, while others do not.
“We’ve had temporary office and construction signs in place for many years,” Laura Mangan, legal chair of the National Association of Counties, told The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware. “It seems that when something is out, it stays out and when something is in, it stays in. There’s no consistency.”
The renewals may raise new questions about what’s allowed in buildings in the United States. “Every time you get a new construction start, there will be added signage about the new jobs and the approvals the building needs to be complete,” Art Douglas, vice president of the Salt Lake Building Industry Association, told the New York Times.
Suffolk County spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter responded to a reporter’s inquiry with a “no comment” — but she did later say, “We need to make sure [construction signage] is constantly reviewed and updated.” She added that “all signage is reviewed every year, but renewals are possibly required because of the length of time it took to build the building.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOL) said the “interim license” existed only to “ensure continuity in activities at construction sites and to allow for collaboration between labor and employer representatives on adding, removing, altering, replacing or removing.” But not everyone is convinced, as reports of construction equipment’s temporary license renewals have been going viral.
“When I work in Manhattan, I see literally hundreds of construction signs with the ‘interim’ tag,” Michelle O’Rourke, a reporter for Business Insider’s New York office, told the Times.
How do you think the rule should be enforced?