Climbing Capitol Hill

codes and regulationsIt has never been more challenging to keep up with codes and regulations throughout all levels of government.

At the local level, communities across the United States are changing their sign codes to become compliant with the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Reed v. the Town of Gilbert, which prohibits content-based restrictions.

Sign, graphics, and visual communications companies may hear about these ordinances through local media or through relationships with community officials. In the worst instances, they hear about code changes when a permit is denied.

But keeping up with what’s happening in Washington, D.C., is another matter altogether. Many federal laws and regulations don’t always make the national news. So, it can be challenging to stay on top of them.

At the federal level, there are a number of both new and upcoming regulations that our industry should be concerned about.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently changed rules on silica dust on the job, which could impact sign installers working on construction sites.

And OSHA’s often-delayed crane operator certification requirement is still on tap to take effect this coming November.

Add in state licensing requirements in many areas and there just isn’t enough time to stay ahead of the curve.

That’s one reason why the International Sign Association has expanded the resources it offers to help keep the industry aware of and educated on these issues.

Just recently, ISA hosted a Webinar on medical marijuana and the way that company policies may conflict with state disability laws.

The association also brought in OSHA representatives for a webinar on the silica rule, designed to help companies comply—and avoid hefty penalties for violations.

Meanwhile ISA’s advocacy team also hosted a Sign Code Town Hall, allowing participants to ask questions of sign code experts. All three of those webinars were recorded and are now available to view at

Crane operator certification in particular has proven to be a constantly moving target. It was delayed so many times that it would be easy for a sign shop to dismiss it taking effect this year. That said, bookmark, which is updated as new information becomes available. If the regulation does take effect as expected on November 10, companies out of compliance could face
significant fines.

I know it can be hard to stay on top of regulations when you have businesses to run, new projects to bid, and employees to bring on board. But failing to do so can be costly, especially if regulations are ignored and fines are then levied.

The ISA is here to help your business on these issues so that you can focus on what’s important—protecting and growing your bottom line.

By David Hickey, ISA Vice President, Government Affairs.