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|In the matter of:
ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
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|Thursday, April 9, 1998
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
The above-entitled matter was convened, pursuant to notice, at 9:00 a.m.
Tim Lee Nichols
Building and Construction Trades Department
Charles N. Jeffress
Stephan J. Cloutier
J.A. Jones Construction
Dr. Marie Haring-Sweeney
National Safety Council
Stephen D. Cooper
International Association of Bridge, Structural & Ornamental Iron Workers
International Union of Operating Engineers
United Assoc. of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States &
Anzalone & Associates
EEO Officer, Local 138
International Union of Operating Engineers
Jane F. Williams
Safety & Health Consultant
Fretz Construction Company
The Ryland Group
CAO, OSH Enforcement Division of Industrial Relations
Nevada Department of Business and Industry
Russell "Bruce" Swanson
|P R O C E E D I N G S
MR. NICHOLS: We appreciate everyone's attendance this morning. We'll get started. I'd like to
start as close to the scheduled time as possible. To begin this morning's activities, we passed around to everyone
yesterday a copy of The Advisory Committee on Construction and Health, I'm going to send a sheet in both directions.
Please look over the information on your name and see if that's correct, phone numbers, fax numbers, e-mails,
whatever might be on there. And then pass them back to the front so that we can make sure that we're passing out the
right information and not the wrong information. We appreciate your help on that.
MR. SWANSON: May I make an announcement?
MR. NICHOLS: Yes, you may.
MR. SWANSON: I was chided yesterday for not giving out the egresses from this room for fire. The three doors are
marked, and there is emergency lighting that will stay lit in the event of fire. And there is a stairwell, which I'm
sure you found on the way to coffee, except go down rather than up. You don't have time for coffee if there is a
fire. And there's another egress right out here. Both of them go down to the plaza level and you exit the building
from both sides. Thank you, sir.
MR. NICHOLS: Not a problem. If we're going to have a fire today let it be when there is plenty of rain outside to
help prevent the whole thing from going up. At this time we'd like to start with the special recognition program for
construction. And we Assistant Secretary Charles Jeffress, along with Cathy Oliver and Zoltan Bagdy to do the
MR. JEFFRESS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the chance to lead this off. As I mentioned to you yesterday,
this is one of the two areas that I wanted to make sure that we consulted with you and told you where we were headed
on this. Stew Burkhammer yesterday was talking about the frustration of a subgroup of this committee, a couple of
years ago, who worked so hard on a demonstration project for excellence in construction and saw no outcome from it.
They felt like OSHA didn't respond to it and experienced some frustration. I talked to you on the break and said,
"Gee, I wasn't really quite prepared for that at the time."
But what you are going to hear this morning from Zoltan and from Cathy is that, in fact, they are going ahead with
that very same pilot program, those very same principles that ACCSH came up with a couple of years ago as an outline
for how to recognize excellence in construction. So I can't speak to what may have happened in the intervening years
and why things may not have gone forward in the past. I'd rather not look at the past, I'd rather to look towards the
I'm happy to bring to you today the prospect of our, in fact, going forward with this construction safety excellence
demonstration program in these sites. And for several of you who are new, Cathy and Zoltan are going to talk about
what the outlines of what the demonstration program is about, as well as a little about where we're proceeding to
But let me say also at the outset, it is a pilot program. There are four sites that have expressed interest in it.
These are not the same four sites that Stew was talking about yesterday. Those four sites have closed and gone, so
the opportunity to pilot excellence of those sites has passed us by.
But there are four additional sites that we are identifying. And we are proposing to limit the pilot to these four
sites. And I'd like to feel very comfortable that this program is well designed and will work in the field and that
it is a reasonable kind of program to have, so we don't anticipate opening this up to a lot of any additional
participants. We propose going ahead with these four and seeing how these four work and making sure the program works
before we expand it any further.
But, again, I wanted to let you know we are in fact being responsive to what Stew said yesterday. This is the same
kind of program that ACCSH worked up a couple of years ago, and I'm happy to say we are going forward with it now.
Zoltan, Cathy which of you are going to take the lead on this?
MR. BAGDY: Well, I'll start.
MR. JEFFRESS: Okay.
|SPECIAL RECOGNITION PROGRAMS FOR CONSTRUCTION
MR. BAGDY Good morning. I'm Zoltan Bagdy. I'm the Deputy Director for Federal and State Operations. And my colleague
is Cathy Oliver, Head of the Division of Voluntary Programs. And the Head of the Office of Cooperative Programs is
Tyna Coles, sitting behind us just to make sure we are saying the right things.
Again, our topic is to discuss special recognition programs for excellence in the construction industry. And
basically we'd like to do two things this morning. I'd like to talk a little bit, very briefly, about OSHA's
Voluntary Protection Programs. And Cathy is going to discuss in some detail the current proposed pilot program for
Both for background, and I suppose in terms of context, let me just talk about Voluntary Protection Programs. This is
OSHA's premier recognition program for those sites with have achieved excellence in safety and health by establishing
functioning and successful comprehensive safety and health programs. The major elements of those programs are
management leadership, employee involvement, work site analysis, hazard identification and control, and training.
We have considered the value of this program to OSHA through several means. First of all, of course, they provide
superior safety and health protection for their own employees. But in addition, they provide OSHA with a model. A
model that, indeed, it's possible to establish functioning and successful safety and health programs.
In addition, the sites who are in the program almost serve as an extension of OSHA. They help us in training, they
assist other sites who are not in the program at the present time but are interested. So they are very helpful in
every aspect of safety and health.
And, finally, they serve as a sounding board, almost as a laboratory as OSHA comes up with new programs, new
policies. And as we are designing those and developing those, we are turning to these companies and they provide us
with information, recommendations in their own real life experiences.
The criteria for the program are generally the same for all industries, although for construction we take into
account that's it a different and more dynamic industry. So, therefore, the requirements are slightly different for
line accountability, planning, hazardous estimate, and employee participation.
In terms of process, those who are interested in becoming a member of the Voluntary Protection Program, make an
application and undergo an extremely comprehensive, and I must say, a long safety and health program evaluation. The
onsite evaluation takes about a week, and we have about four members in each team.
If the evaluation is successful, a decision is made by the Assistant Secretary for approval. And the approval can be
either for Star, which is the premier program or the Merit Program, which is the stepping stone to the Star, or one
of the demonstration programs.
Once they are approved, the sites undergo further evaluations either annually or within a five year period. And, as
you know, they are exempted from program inspections, except of course if we have a complaint or a catastrophe, or a
fatality, then of course we investigate those.
At the present time we have close to 350 sites in the Federal program, and these represent 137 companies, 13
industries, and over 200,000 employees, and close to 40,000 contract employees. Overall, these sites have injury and
loss case rates 60 percent below the national average.
And I would like to add, through the history of the program, construction has been represented in the lower level of
the program. Since the inception of the Voluntary Protection Program, 29 construction programs have been in the
program. Currently we have 12. Admittedly, these are long term projects. We require that they have at least a year's
data. But, again, we have had construction participation in the program.
So the avenues, the process for becoming of the Voluntary Protection Program are either through the traditional
system, and again if it's a long term site, you can apply through the normal traditional procedure. And we also have
a so called "Resident Contractor Demonstration Program." These are existing Voluntary Protection Program
sites where a contractor may apply for the program. And it's slightly different than the usual requirement that the
employer has to have control of the site.
Again, just to point out that those who are currently in the program have injury and loss case rates 84 percent below
the industry average. In our estimation, this translates into over $300,000 in direct costs alone and other savings
of a similar nature. And now I'm going to ask Cathy to talk about the demonstration program.
MS. OLIVER: Thank you, Zoltan. Good morning. It's good to be here with you this morning to talk about a new limited
Construction Demonstration Program. One of the things I'd like to point out, that Mr. Jeffress gave me permission to
correct him on, was that we don't, in fact, have four sites and or companies that are ready.
We have one company right now that would really like to get into this program, but there will be additional places
for additional companies to come into the program, if they want to. We want to limit it at first to four companies.
It's going to be a three year demonstration program. And, as we go along, if we have good experience with those
companies, and resources allow us to do so, we may be able to expand the program down the road.
Essentially, the Demonstration Program is very much like the traditional Voluntary Protection Program that Zoltan
described. However, what we wanted to do was respond to some of the criticisms that we've had from the construction
industry, in terms of their not being allowed to bring sites into the program that are short term sites. In order to
handle that, what we decided to do was try to place an additional emphasis on the company's Safety and Health
And so we've tried to take a two-phase approach to qualifying sites for the Voluntary Protection Program. The first
phase of qualification would mean that a company would submit a Voluntary Protection Program Application to OSHA. And
that particular application would be reviewed very much like it is today.
But, again, as Zoltan mentioned, we would place a lot of emphasis in terms of management commitment on written
policies, where that particular Safety and Health Program stands in the organization. And, most importantly, the
Subcontractor Program. How is it that that company program takes into account the safety and health of the
subcontractors at the work site?
In addition, we would look at work site analysis programs such as, is the company looking at their injury data to
determine what's going on at these work sites? And are they, in fact, making changes to their programs to respond to
those hazards in the work places? Do they do preplanning analysis, do they do phase analysis?
In terms of hazard prevention and control, we're obviously going to take a strong look at the Personal Protective
Equipment Program. We're going to take a look to ensure that there is a weekly inspection program at the work site,
and make sure that the people that conduct those inspections are very qualified, the safety and health rules at the
work site, the emergency response procedures at the work, and so on.
And then, finally, training. Does training go at the supervisor level and at the employee level? And, in fact, if
employees are being very much involved in the program, which is pretty much the heart of the Voluntary Protection
Program, are those employees trained to do those things that you are asking them to do at the work site, in terms of
weekly inspections, incident investigations?
I just want to mention once more how important we believe the employee involvement is. And, generally, our experience
is at construction sites. This would be through a joint labor management committee where subcontractors would be
involved at the work site.
Also, to qualify, a company would have to have a three year injury rate at or below the industry average. And we
would also take a look at the total of the subcontractors for the three years to determine if, in fact, their total
injuries are at or below the industry average.
Once we've completed the review of the application at the company level, we plan to go out to the corporate site and
actually talk to some of the top level executives at the company to get a feel for their commitment and their
leadership in safety and health and to make a final determination whether or not they will qualify for this program.
After the company qualifies, then that company would be eligible to submit site applications to the program for sites
that are going to be in existence for at least one year. Because of the nature of getting the approval done and,
also, us having to go out onsite to the program to evaluate it, we feel that anything less than one year would put us
in a window that we just couldn't work with.
So when we get the site application, what we're looking for is a site implementation plan which would be a
streamlined Voluntary Protection Program application. And we feel this will be good for the companies because they
won't have to put together comprehensive applications, like for a normal Voluntary Protection Program site, but will
be able to give us some abbreviated applications.
We will review those in terms of the program, the implementation plan at the site. And if we determine that that site
would probably qualify for VPP, then we would go out to the work site. We would take a team of individuals and
actually evaluate that site. And if it was determined that they would meet the VPP qualifications, and the Assistant
Secretary would approve it, then that site would be eligible for VPP.
As I mentioned earlier, we are hopeful to get at least four companies into the program with a variety of sites. And
our hope is that we'll gain some experience in going out and evaluating short term work sites. We do want to run the
program for three years.
And if at the end of that time period this demonstration proves successful, then these requirements would just be
incorporated into the standard VPP Excellence Program so that a work site wouldn't have to a year's injury rates to
qualify, as Mr. Bagdy talked about earlier.
MR. NICHOLS: Questions?
MR. CLOUTIER: Are you at liberty to say which four companies at this time?
MS. OLIVER: As I mentioned, I really don't have four companies yet that have applied to the program. I do have one
company that's very interested.
MR. JEFFRESS: I misspoke on that. We're limited to four sites, but in terms of which four sites they are, those have
not been identified yet.
MR. CLOUTIER: What bothers me is I've heard for years we want to get the construction industry in this VPP business
to demonstrate excellence. The average construction project doesn't last a year. And those are the people which we
should be targeting because that's where we have our accidents and injuries. I know my company starts and stops 100,
125 every year, year in and year out nationwide.
So if we are looking at long term projects, you are looking at the Big Dig in Boston, you are looking at Intel
projects, you are looking at Merck. You are looking at the major players that demand safety excellence. You can't
even get on the bid list without being a premier contractor with an outstanding safety record. So now the Department
is going to go out and look at the best of the best.
And what are we doing for the Merit Shop folks, because most of our projects are bid and whoever is low bid gets the
work whether it's a closed shop, whether it's double breasted, whether it's an open shop contractor. And I just feel
if we are going to spend six months to a year evaluating the contractor or identify the sites, most of the
contractors in the construction industry don't have long term sites, unless it's a long term maintenance contract at
a paper mill, at a refinery, or it's a major project like what's going on in Boston.
And that concerns me deeply, as a general contractor, and as a member of this committee that represents a number of
folks. We go through the application, by the time you all get to the field to evaluate the job site, it's going to be
finished. And what's the base line? You said we had to be at or below the national average.
What about the players that are way below the national average right now? Why can't we side step some of that and get
right to the meat of the program and submit sites, because we know we have ongoing programs and upcoming projects
that could probably meet this. And I'm curious for some feedback from the group.
MR. JEFFRESS: Let me respond. First, we don't have the solution for how to recognize excellence in every conceivable
type or permutation of construction. I recognize that up front. The history that OSHA has has been that we want to
see some demonstrated excellence before we give some benefit for it. And if you have a short term site, it is very
difficult to demonstrate that and also get recognition.
What we did do at the urging of this group, a couple of years ago, was to say, "Okay, how can we focus the
inspections where we go so those folks who are doing a good job and have a exemplary Safety and Health program get
some kind of benefit, some kind of credit for that kind of investment?"
And so we started the focus on inspections policy in construction, which I think has been a significant aid to
construction sites in terms of reducing the interruption caused by an inspection and giving some benefit to those
folks that have a very good program.
So that was one step that OSHA made to try to recognize where people are doing a good job, and how can we carry out
our job without at the same time imposing an unnecessary burden on people that are doing a good job already.
This is, as you say, the upper end of it, the longer terms sites where there is a track record for us to look at and
evaluate. Can there be more done, other ways of looking at shorter term site? Maybe there can be. This is not the be
all and end all, but this is simply the next step, I guess, in where we are going in the direction of excellence.
MR. BAGDY: This is our first step. This is what we'd like to learn from our demonstration program. And if, indeed,
it's successful, what we learn and what we apply, we may be moving in that direction.
MR. CLOUTIER: I think there is some prerequisites, prequalifiers right now. Folks that qualify for the Business
Roundtable Annual Awards, went through the meat grinder to get there. And those folks ought to move right up the list
if they qualify for and got the presentation at the Business Roundtable. It's unheard of to get that award, it's a
tough award to get.
If they've met the Business Roundtable standards, they should certainly meet the Department of Labor's standards. So
that could be somewhat of a clearinghouse or a benchmark for you to initiate some of the players that are out there
that have outstanding programs.
And I also think that the Department should look at partnering on some of the major projects that are upcoming. And
you guys should be aggressive to say, "We want to partner with you, we want to be part of the team." I
suggested it a number of years when the Denver International Airport was coming and that was under construction.
Before you know it, Bart Jabok (ph.) had an office out there. And I don't think we've maximized what we really wanted
to do. We had the Olympics come to Atlanta and never got that off the ground. We all knew it was coming. And it's
come and gone and it's history now. You've got the Big Dig in Massachusetts, and there is other projects all around
the United States, these Intels, and IBMs are out there, because they are long term fast track projects. And when we
hit the road running on these major projects, it's seven days a week, almost 24 hours a day. And everybody has got to
toe up to meet the standard. And I encourage you to continue to look at subcontractor participation. But you know in
this business nothing beats a low bid.
MR. NICHOLS: Let me also add at this point, this is one of the issues that one of the work groups will be working on.
So this committee, or others have input into that process, we need to get them to the co-chairs of the work group.
MR. CLOUTIER: Are you all going to be able to come back to this group in 90 days and say that such and such a
contractor is up and running and approved and you've got a demonstration site ongoing?
MS. OLIVER: We certainly can come back and tell you about any company that has qualified, where we are in the
MR. CLOUTIER: Because I think this group would love to hear the successfuls. Maybe we need to have a meeting at that
site or near that site so that we can go and look at successful programs that all of us can benefit from, the
outstanding work that that company and their employees and all their subcontractors do.
MR. JEFFRESS: Good.
MR. NICHOLS: Felipe?
MR. DEVORA: First of all I want to compliment the Agency on taking that view towards a short job site like that.
That's always been a question, how shorter term projects could be identified for the VPP program.
I would also want to echo what Steve said here, as far as the backbone of most construction in our neck of the woods
anyway, and I'm sure most of the country, are the short term six month to nine month jobs. A year and a half job is
probably a long job. These things are dynamic and they are moving quickly.
And I think one of the steps that we could also look at would be this prequalification on the company part. I mean, I
think if we identify the safe players out there, they shouldn't be penalized for only having a job site that's less
than a year. So I think that process should continue to identify the contractors, the short term contractors, the six
to nine month to one year jobs, and let's not lose them in the shuffle and penalize them with that.
So I think the first part of that, the application for these companies, is very important to identify the good
players. And then, until we work out a mechanism for site-specific, for short term projects, less than a year, I
think that is an important step that should go forward as far as identifying the companies with the application part
of your program.
MR. NICHOLS: Robert?
MR. MASTERSON: Okay. I think the program is a great program but you have successfully eliminated all residential
builders in the country. It's very, very rare that you'll ever see a residential site last a year. And depending on
how you define "site," if you are looking at an individual house, you are talking 90 to 120 days.
Now that's an awful lot of construction that goes on every year in this country. And some of those players are really
really conscientious and do a good job on safety and deserve some form of recognition as well.
MR. JEFFRESS: Let me just say that I don't think we've eliminated folks, I'd say we haven't gotten to them yet, okay?
It's whether the glass is half full or half empty, I understand. I mean it's not like we've made a decision to
MR. NICHOLS: Any other questions or comments?
MR. BUCHET: I find the two step application process interesting, and I'd like to see how it works out. I have a
question. Do you envision any sort of award or recognition for having passed the first part of the application? Or do
they have to go through both of these before anything is done about the company? Is, one, the company is site
specific so, theoretically, if the company applied for act one and had 10 sites at stage two, do we give them
MS. OLIVER: No. The company comes in and gets accepted and qualified for the program. And after that, then we just
approve site applications from that company.
MR. NICHOLS: Larry?
MR. EDGINGTON: Let preface my remarks by saying that certainly this is a concept that my organization can afford.
However, I think it's important that we keep our eye on the prize which really is how we protect and promote the
safety and health of working people.
You know, I sometimes think we get so caught up in terms of giving recognition to employers. What we are really
talking about is giving recognition to employers that do the right things to improve worker safety and health. And I
say to you that my own organization's experience in general industry with VPP is not everything we would like it to
be, in the following sense.
One, that there are some who believe that perhaps the VPP Association is getting more control over the VPP process
than OSHA itself. And whether or not that's true I think is something that you need to be sensitive to as we work
with employers in terms of how we do build programs of excellence.
And two, in a more practical sense, I can tell you that my organization has had a great deal of frustration with OSHA
in dealing with VPP employers that have killed and injured my members. We truly have a sense that sometimes there is
a tendency on the part of the Agency to want to give what I would call "kid glove" treatment to employers
who have Star status, for example. That's not what these programs are about.
If you are killing and injuring my workers, we have to get to the bottom of that. And I think as we talk about how we
do this in construction, which is inherently dangerous, we cannot lose sight of that. Again, this is something we
want to work with you on. But I can tell you that my own organization's experience, in general industry, is not
everything that we would like it to be.
MS. OLIVER: I'd just like to say that in terms of the VPP, if there is a fatality, or an injury, or an accident at a
work site, the enforcement arm of the Agency goes into motion. And the VPP aspect drops out so that there is always a
full enforcement investigation. It's done according to the firm guidelines. And if you can be specific on some of the
places, then later on maybe we --
MR. EDGINGTON: All I can say is that you can tell me that for today, tomorrow, next year, however long, but I can
tell you in my own experience in working in the field with OSHA staff, whenever we deal with a VPP employer,
ultimately, that always comes up as a part of the discussion, that this is an employer that enjoys VPP status.
And, look, I recognize that that's an achievement, and that's an important, and that's an indication that that
employer does attempt to do everything they should be doing. However, when I have OSHA say to me, "Look, this is
an employer that is intent upon keeping their VPP status and they are going to do everything they can do to keep
that," that's not what we are talking about here.
What we're talking about is getting to the bottom of why people are injured or killed, and not whether or not an
employer is eligible for VPP status. And that's simply my point.
MR. NICHOLS: Any other questions or comments? Marie.
MS. HARING-SWEENEY: I have just one more comment about the short term projects. According to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, more than 80 percent of all construction firms have less than 10 employees. And it seems to me that if
you recognize, like Steve was saying, only the big players who have extremely good safety records, you will be saying
to the rest of the industry, "You really don't count."
It would be really important to find some smaller contractors who have extremely good records and hold them up to
their credit and hold them up as examples and say, "Yeah, you have a small business. You may not have the
resources of the big company, but you have been able to protect your workers, prevent fatalities, reduce your
MR. NICHOLS: Steve.
MR. CLOUTIER: I think that opens up a window of opportunity that you could use your major players that qualify for
the program, and then maybe they could qualify or help some subcontractor some smaller contractors raise their
benchmark, and everybody wins. Because I think everybody that works on a major player site has really had to keep
their nose to the grindstone and do a better job, plan their work, set the example, investigate accidents, and train
for excellence, and all of those things.
MS. OLIVER: We've had some experience with that with the traditional VPP because the sites that have qualified for
the VPP, some of the subs at the site have come forward and asked to be recognized for their excellence. And so we
opened up what was called the "Resident Contractor Program," which Zoltan talked about earlier. And we
actually allow subcontractors at VPP sites to get VPP status.
And that program has been so successful that when we come out with our new Star VPP requirements we're going to
incorporate that as a regular program element. So you are absolutely on target.
MR. BAGDY: Could we ask that the subgroup that is going to address this issue, that you give us a little bit
information on this or frame it somehow so we can look at it?
MR. NICHOLS: You can ask it and I'm sure they'll be delighted to. Any other comments? If not, we appreciate, Cathy
and Zoltan, your participation this morning. Even though the Assistant Secretary had to leave for another meeting, we
appreciate his attendance again this morning to be with us to show his concern about the action that this committee
|DIRECTORATE OF CONSTRUCTION - REPORT
MR. SWANSON: Thank you. Before I get to my comments, if I can just comment on what Larry said. I think it's totally
valid. I think we have a breakdown sometimes between what OSHA has as policy and would like to see happen, like the
folks described to you, when you move downstream and get to where we really are investigating a problem.
Sometimes the policy that folks should be treated the same as everyone else out there just doesn't reach all the way
down. And it's something that we in management, and I see that OTI is in the room, and fortunately they can make some
amendments to their training programs, it's an attitude that we have to make sure that compliance officers do not
exhibit exactly what you are talking about, because that is not OSHA policy.
A couple of things I'd like to share with you this morning. On the agenda it says I'm going to get into statistics,
and only lightly so. This is a group that is about 50 percent new to the Advisory Committee. I'd like to share with
you at least my concept of what it is we are looking at as a problem out there and some good news and some bad news
in the construction industry.
We in OSHA in FY '96 had only made 11,500 construction inspections, as we were rolling out new offices and
reinventing ourselves. And that 11,500 figure was a low point for us. And senior management here in Washington said
"That's not what we want to see happen in the construction industry. We have to make our presence felt on a
broader basis out there."
And the response to that, the Assistant Secretaries have a way of getting what they ask for, the response to that was
the OSHA field force made over 18, 150 inspections in FY' 97 in our construction industry. That's a 57 percent
increase, if you are keeping count on this. On focused inspections, which the Assistant Secretary touched on lightly
here awhile back, there was also an increase from 1,785 to 1,900 focused inspections, an approximately 10 percent
For those 18,000 inspections, we had an increase in total violations of 68 percent, and an 83 percent increase in
serious violations. You can argue that that's either good or not good. And if you are one of those contractors that
received a serious violation, it maybe doesn't look good that that serious number is increasing. From my viewpoint,
it indicates that OSHA is applying its resources not only on an increasing scale but, hopefully, that indicates that
we are sending those inspector resources to those sites more in need of it. At least, I would hope, that's a correct
interpretation of an 83 percent increase in serious violations.
Other general figures, from 1992 to 1996. Construction fatalities actually went up from 903 fatalities, as BLS counts
them for us, to 1,039. The construction employment industry, however, grew from 6.5 million to 7.5 million, so our
fatalities per 100,000 workers remained at exactly the same rate, at a 13.9 rate over that four year period for which
we have the figures. That indicates to me, anyhow, that something more has to be done.
A sub figure to that, if I can add it to this discussion, is for that same time period, 1992 to 1996. Falls in the
construction industry, 267 fatalities for the early year, 337 fatalities for the latter year. Fatalities per 100,000
workers employed went from 4.1 to 4.5, the wrong direction for those years.
We have been at this task for over a quarter of a century and we are still producing numbers that indicate the trends
are not strongly in the right direction. This Assistant Secretary has filled his requirements under the GPRA Act. And
you heard him yesterday mention a strategic plan that OSHA has written and promulgated, and has promised the United
States Congress that it will live up to.
He is talking about a 20 percent reduction in 100,000 workplaces that are the most serious hazards in this country.
And in the construction industry specifically, he is talking about a 15 reduction in fatalities, and a 15 percent
reduction in the rate of injuries and illnesses. And these figures for our recent history indicate that we're not
likely to get a 15 percent reduction in fatalities unless we, OSHA, find another way of doing things. We have a brand
new ACCSH, and we are going to look to you for some guidance on your ideas as to how we can change our past
practices, improve our past practices, change our targeting system, perhaps more inspection resources, and other
resources that we utilize.
We talked about a reward system for excellence to inspire various elements of the construction industry to do better,
to maybe create mentoring concepts out there. This has been mentioned here this morning. But the base that I am
trying to lay here is that at least those of us like myself, that have signed onto the Assistant Secretary's
Strategic Plan and what we are going to accomplish in the next five years, we've got a big job ahead of us.
And for those of you who have volunteered and signed on, either a one year, or two year term, or intend to reup and
make it a four year term, you're in this with us, I guess, for the ride. And I welcome you on board, and I hope we
can get somewhere.
The agenda also says that I'm going to, and I always follow my assignments here, says I'm going to talk about Special
|SPECIAL EMPHASIS PROGRAMS
MR. SWANSON: Let me just touch on a number of things that OSHA does in the area of emphasis. An
emphasis program to us is a targeting mechanism. When we use the term "special emphasis program," it means
a broad based national program that we as OSHA are following everywhere. A local emphasis program is obvious.
We also have recently reinvented problem solving initiatives. That's something that goes all the way down to the area
office where a rolled out, quote, "reinvented" OSHA office looks at its own unique problems in that
geographic area and comes up with a unique solution for what it perceives that problem to be, or has analyzed the
result that that is the problem.
And in the construction area and we have a good geographic spread here on this committee. Around the country, in some
format, you will find from your area offices or regional office that you have an emphasis program of one of the three
types I've mentioned. You might find falls, scaffolds, trenching, tunneling, lead in construction, silica in
construction, roofing emphasis program, residential construction. And I was told this morning we even have an
emphasis program on noise for highway work out of one of our area offices in Arkansas.
It's an attempt by OSHA, and I welcome comment from these work groups in the future, to better target those resources
so we can get into those areas where our data indicates we have unique problems that are causing the fatalities that
are causing the injuries and illnesses. It is not new, it is a concept that OSHA has been involved in for many years.
So, A, it has been successful in the past. But, B, as you heard from those early statistics, not sufficiently
successful. We have to either build upon this, or if our friends and advisors can tell us what we ought to be doing
instead, we can look at that.
MR. SWANSON: Another area that we have increased our efforts in is outreach and partnership, started under Joe Dear
with the reinvention of Government the reinvention of OSHA, and a push to reinvent ourselves in our relationship with
the construction community.
And those of you who have either been on this committee before, or who have heard me at a meeting before, which I
think probably is the whole committee, you already know those things that we are doing and have been doing for
several years. For example, the roofing pilot in Chicago, the scaffold training, the outreach, where we are working
with our colleagues in organized labor, the carpenters, the painters and the laborers, and our OPI friends to put
together training courses to better reach their membership. The carpenters, I'm told, alone they have done some 9,000
employees have been trained on the new scaffold standard. With the AJC, the Assistant Secretary recently signed a
partnership agreement with them that he intended to set a tone for future work between us and that organization. A
year or year and a half ago, we worked with NIOSH on an agreement to find another way of alleviating hazards for
those that work on asphalt paving.
Operating engineers and laborers signed on, as well as the industry side of that table, and the seven manufacturers
who produce 95 percent of the asphalt laying equipment in this country. And we're working on a couple of other
partnership agreements, one with a labor contractor organization down in the St. Louis area.
And we're saying that if we can't work with outside organizations to do something about certification of training for
crane operators, which I would hope comes to fruition in the months ahead, this is a sample of the type of program
that we would also like advice, guidance, and encouragement or discouragement on, whichever is appropriate for the
If some of these, you think we're off in the wrong direction, please tell us. If you have some thoughts as to how we
can amplify what has already been done, and that's really where I hope you come down, we look forward to the work
product from your subcommittees.
|RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION GRANTS
MR. SWANSON: Residential construction grants, I was asked to comment on. Most of you I think are familiar with the
fact that the United States Congress gave us some $2 million a couple of years ago to do something with in the order
of a vertical standard for residential homebuilding. That was done. A book was completed and put out in print. It was
done in conjunction with National Association of Home Builders and the Building Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.
And that was rather an easy task. It didn't seem so at the time, but it was with hindsight, a relatively easy task.
We did not spend the $2 million that Congress had been kind enough to give us and order us to produce a book with. We
used the $2 million for the training grants.
We went out with an RFP and asked for training grants to train contractors supervisors, foremen, most importantly
employees organized or unorganized, and OSHA compliance officers, be they state or Federal, on give us your grant
ideas. Three grants were awarded. One to the NAHB, one to the Building Trades Department, and one to a consortium of
the National Safety Council and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters to train compliance officers.
Progress to date on those three grants. One of them has actually begun training and I understand four sessions have
been given by the National Association of Home Builders around the country. The training for compliance officers is
anticipated to start probably in June, several months down the road. And the kick-off date for the first training
session for the building trades has not yet been established but, hopefully, is in the same time frame.
I would like to ask the committee, and I think I'm in part being redundant and echoing my boss here, which is never a
bad idea, three of the groups that were set up yesterday, I'd like to give special emphasis to. Because I, as the
head of the Directorate of Construction, feel like we have problems that we can use whatever help you can give us.
And one is in data development. I feel that as we look at this teaching plan and what OSHA hopes to accomplish in the
next five years, we're not going to get there or even very far down that road until we better describe the road for
ourselves. And that road has to be described with data, data driven. BLS produces data and we have an information
management system in-house, inside OSHA, both of which were developed with other goals in mind. BLS has been
collecting information for years, the construction industry included, and they did not give a whole lot of thought 10
years ago as to what OSHA problems were going to be in 1998 for data sources. There is data not only from BLS, there
is data from other institutions that gather information on the construction industry. You folks know where it is you
folks know how to get it better than we do. We have a couple of organizations sitting at the table that have
information and know how to get it, and if you can share that with us or share that with your own subcommittee, I
beseech you to do so. Targeting, which is a derivative of that, OSHA has used the Dodge Report System for its program
targeting. And then it uses self referrals, complaints, fatalities, catastrophes for scheduling its enforcement
activities. It seems to many of us and it has for years, that this is not the most efficacious or efficient way for
us to use our resources. But once arriving at that insight how to proceed beyond that has not been readily apparent
to any of us. Any help you can give us again talking about how to better use our data for targeting. And targeting, I
mean mostly inspection targeting because if we are using our inspection resources in the wrong places and sending
enforcement compliance officers to those construction sites that don't need our benevolent attention on any day in
question, that's a misuse of our resources. There are contractors out there that could better use that kind attention
from our compliance officers on certain dates. But I'm talking about more than that. I'm talking about how to target
our other resources as well. How can we better use our compliance assistance, our consultation, our education and
training tools that we have available to us. Are there elements of the community where we have not been in the last
25 years. and what I mean by that is as you well know, Mr. Masterson, we have not done in the last 25 years
residential home building inspections at the same rate as we have done inspections in other areas of the community.
And the reason for that is the targeting system doesn't lead us to do that. There has been an improvement, my term,
an improvement in the past year with some 1300 residential construction inspections in FY '97 which I don't have a
base to compare that as we didn't capture it that way earlier. but at 1300 residential inspections in FY '97 has, by
everyone's opinion, been a significant increase in that area. It's an area where we haven't been before. There are
probably other sub areas of the construction industry that we could better use our resources in. And the third area
I've already lapped into, and that is not only inspection resources but outreach tools. What other outreach tools
should we could we develop and utilize to improve safety and health on construction sites? Or how can we better
target those tools that you already have, the traditional tools? And that's all I have, Mr. Chairman. Any questions
MR. NICHOLS: Before I take any questions or comments, it was brought up yesterday that it's a great idea that for
future meetings we'll have a chartboard that'll be put up here to list the work groups, who the chairs are and the
topics that they are addressing, and some type of timeline on there of what they hope to achieve. So it'll be set up
here, or wherever we have our meetings in the future, and it will address some of the key issues that the work groups
are working on. So in the other comment, from sitting through yesterday and today, it appears that we have very few
people that are bashful on here. So if they have ideas, I'm pretty certain that they are going to share them.
Questions or comments? Jane.
MS. WILLIAMS: First, on the 85 percent increase of serious citations, has there been any recognition as to how many
of those might have been brought by an employer to a controlling authority where the actual cause was by the
MR. SWANSON: I don't have that figure, Jane. And I'm not sure that we can capture that without going through and
doing a file by file count. I don't know.
MS. WILLIAMS: Have you seen that increase over the last year or two where the multi-employer policy truly is --
MR. SWANSON: I have seen new data. But I haven't, in all honesty, asked anyone to try and generate a program that
would produce that data. I have heard from various elements of the construction community that there is a perception
out there that general contractors are being cited under the multi-employer policy more vigorously in the recent
months or in the last fiscal year than three, four, or five years ago.
I can neither deny or affirm that. But I have heard it from others on the contractor side of the aisle. In fact, in
some states, like Mr. Devora's, it's dangerous for me to go into because they mention that rather vigorously. I'm
sorry I can't be more specific than that.
MS. WILLIAMS: That's fine, thank you.
MR. NICHOLS: Marie?
MS. HARING-SWEENEY: I'm sorry to put you on the spot again but one these three cooperative agreements or training
grants, do you have an evaluation component that will evaluate the effectiveness of each of these programs? I've not
seeing the details of it but it would be interesting how they target and what the components of their training
programs are and whether or not they think it's effective in terms of reaching the goals of the training.
MR. SWANSON: There is an evaluation component in each of the grants. And again, I'm not prepared to go into that in
any depth this morning, but I'd be happy to either between meetings or with a sub group or at the next meeting,
whenever the committee wishes.
MR. NICHOLS: Any other questions or comments?
MR. NICHOLS: Seeing none or hearing none, why don't we take a short break and come back to finish our agenda. We'll
have everybody back at 10:20 please.
(Off the record for a brief break.)
MR. NICHOLS: As we reconvene, some of the public had asked, "Is there going to be time for comments before we
adjourn today?" Yes, there will. Before we move for adjournment, we will take public comments. So those of you
that wish to come up and make some comments to the committee, you will have an opportunity to do so. At this time we
will move to the report by Marie on NIOSH and the construction programs. Marie.
|NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR OCCUPATION SAFETY AND HEALTH - CONSTRUCTION
MS. HARING-SWEENEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning. My first few remarks I'm going to
actually I would like to preface my report and talk to our committee members who are new to ACCSH. What I'd like to
do is give you a little description of what NIOSH is because even though when I talk to individuals and I say I work
for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and health they always say, "Oh, OSHA." And that's not
an insult it's just a misstatement of fact. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health was formed,
like OSHA, with the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. And we unlike OSHA, which was placed
in the department of Labor, we were placed in the Department of Health and Human Services. We are also one of the
centers for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Our headquarters, unlike the CDC which is in Atlanta, our
headquarters are here in Washington. Our institute Director is Dr. Linda Rosenstock. And she has an open door policy.
If you are interested in discussing an issue with her, do not hesitate to call her or me, for that matter.
NIOSH has four main priorities and these were framed in the Occupational Safety and Health Act. We conduct research
related to occupational safety and health. We make recommendations to OSHA on development of standards, they are
science-based recommendations. We train occupational safety and health professionals and lately we have been
developing programs for workers, supervisors, and foremen. And, finally, we conduct what we call health hazard
evaluations. Health hazard evaluations are requests to NIOSH from employers, employees, and labor representatives to
come an investigate what we hope is a one time problem, not a chronic problem but an emergency problem.
NIOSH has in the order of about 1100 employees. We are spread all over the country in Morgantown, Pittsburgh,
Washington, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Spokane, Washington. We have about $180 million budget of which $11 million plus
or minus change, is dedicated to construction. Two thirds of those dollars go out the door for extramural projects.
And I'll be talking both about our intramural and our extramural programs.
We have a Construction Steering Committee, which is made up of representatives from all over NIOSH. I sit as the
Chair of that committee. We were put in place about two years ago to manage our construction research program and to
put a focus to it. Ad we'll be talking about that focus in a few minutes.
(Beginning overhead presentation.)
In your packet is a document that we produced last year which contains all of the construction research and other
types of activities that NIOSH had planned for FY '97. Now you say, "Well, this is FY '98," but if you
consider that many research projects have a two to five year life cycle, we haven't had many that have ended and many
are still continuing, so this is fairly current. For those of you who do not have a copy of this, I only brought
enough for right Committee, you can dial 1-800-35NIOSH. That's our 800 number, and you can ask for the publications
office. And this publication is Number 97-152.
Our research and development activities can be fit, not easily, but into five categories. And that's surveillance of
health effects and hazards. That is we identify hazards or toxins that might be potentially hazardous to workers
exposed, and find out whether or not they in fact are a problem.
We do etiologic research which suggests the hypotheses that have been developed through the surveillance mechanisms.
We develop research methods, as well as other kinds of programs. We do interventions, and we also have a large
What I'd like to do is talk to you about a few of the projects that we have going on at NIOSH both intramurally and
extramurally. Currently, we have somewhere between 65 and 70 projects internally and somewhere on the level of 30
extramurally. So we get a lot of research out of our $11 million.
Our construction program started in 1990 when Congress first initiated, they gave us seed money of about $800,000.
And during that time we've been able to develop an infrastructure, internally and extramurally, of researchers that
are able and have developed methods to look at construction, which you all know is unique. Much of the research that
had been done in the first 20 years at NIOSH was solely based on manufacturing. We did not do much in construction.
So over those eight years we've been able to develop more than 70 to 100 projects, and hopefully we'll be able to
apply that to the construction scenario, reduce worker injuries and fatalities.
One of our primary goals was to evaluate the mortality experience of construction trades so that we can target
potential problems within each of those trades. We've done nine of them and we have three more in the pot. I think we
had one individual, Cindy Robinson came about a year and a half ago and talked about some of the results of the PMR
studies. And I'll be happy to share that with you, send you the papers, if you are interested.
We are currently working with Duke University to analyze medical claims data in the State of North Carolina with the
Home Builders' Association. This is first study of its kind to look at the injuries and illnesses among residential
We have two studies that are looking at emergency room surveillance, one of which is based here in Washington D.C.,
being conducted by George Washington University. In the past five years they have had more than 3,000 emergency room
visits by construction workers. They had the contract for taking care of the construction workers at the Federal
Triangle project, which you all know was a multi-year project. About 10,000 employees came in off of that site over
the period of that construction. More data is coming out. They are analyzing that data. One of the interesting parts
that we found that there is an increase in eye injuries among plumbers. They found that 5 percent of all the
emergency room admissions were plumbers. 19 percent of their admissions were due to severe eye injuries. So we're
using these data for is targeting different trades, in terms of developing prevention activities. We have a number of
projects that are -- sorry, Sue isn't here -- that have done surveys for the different trades on musculoskeletal
disorders. And we will be using this information for our musculoskeletal subcommittee. We also have a large project
that we deal with 34 states, called the Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology Surveillance Program. It's ABLES. In these 34
states they report all blood leads that are over 20 micrograms per deciliter. And please correct me if I'm wrong, the
OSHA for medical removal I think is 40. So the mast majority of workers that come into this program or are reported
in this program are construction workers.
In our etiologic research, again, we are testing hypotheses that have been generated either through the surveillance
mechanisms or through other gaps in the data. We're doing pulmonary functions tests on operating engineers and
laborers. This is being done by the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. We have another study where we're
evaluating what are the long term effects of traumatic injuries. Many people say, Okay, you get hurt, you break your
leg, and when you get well, you are well. But what we would like to look at is what are the long term health effects
of that traumatic injury. And for some people that may in fact mean the long term effect relative to their employment
We're looking at biomechanical evaluation of dry wall installation. As many of you know, drywall sheets range
anywhere from 50 120 pounds. We have a high rate of back injuries among drywall installers, and it's also part of the
legacy of the drywall installer is that you don't do it after you are age 30. So what we're trying to do is begin to
intervene to see what we can do about lengthening the employment opportunities for these individuals.
We also do a number of laboratory studies. Just to talk about two of them. We have, as OSHA, a special emphasis
program in silica. One of our activities is to look at the different types of silica that are out there, and how it
reacts in the lung of individuals. There is not just one type of silica. We also have a few studies that are looking
at the different types of isocyanates and how they instill or cause allergic reactions among individuals. One of the
big problems with isocyanates is that they cause asthmatic reactions and allergic reactions among people. These
reactions are permanent, they last through the lifetime of the individual once they begin to occur.
As I said, we do a fair number of methods development research. Right now we're looking at how we quantify the risk
factors for musculoskeletal disorders among construction workers. As it was stated yesterday, unlike manufacturing we
don't have jobs that are continuously repetitive.
Construction workers, their tasks tend to have long cycle times and require a different method for evaluating and
quantifying those risk factors. And we're talking about repetition, awkward postures, et cetera, et cetera.
Some of our chemists are in the field right now are validating a spot test for lead and lead based paint. We're also
doing a spot test for chromium in paint. This is long in coming and also very much needed for constructions to say
for one for their bids as well as identifying the types of personal protection that needs to be for the various
We're also looking at robotic paint removal systems, specifically for ships, to reduce the lead exposure among
painters as well as the exposure to abrasive blasting. We have another project in evaluating substitutes for silica
sand. One is to look at their effectiveness in removing paint, but also looking at if in fact they cause lung damage
to workers. And actually they are doing it in rats, not in people.
And then finally one of our real high tech things is to validate virtually virtual reality simulation program in our
fall prevention program. Here they harness people up in fall protection. They put a head gear on them and simulate
fall scenarios to see what the reaction of the individual is, and how we can help prevent falls. These are just a few
of the things that we're doing onsite, at NIOSH, as well as extramurally.
What our intervention programs are is we take the methods that we've developed in the methods development research
and apply theme to the field. One of the things that we haven't talked about in this committee is I know over the
past two years is that fact that construction workers tend to have a high rate of hearing loss.
And if you look at the data, even young workers who have been in the industry for only five years have significant
hearing deficits compared to others in their same cohort who don't work in the industry. So we are working with the
United Brotherhood of Carpenters to develop a training program for apprentices in making them aware of what kind of
hearing protection is out there, and what it can afford them as they age in the industry.
We are looking at tool designs for a reduction in musculoskeletal disorders. And right now we're also dealing with
the issue of prevention of eye injuries. If you look at the data, the Workers' Compensation data that came out of the
carpenters' Health and Welfare Fund.
Eye injuries are one of the top five compensable injuries among these workers. And if you talk to me, I think most if
not all eye injuries are preventable. So we have three projects that are going on right now. Hopefully we can instill
a passion for people to keep their eye protection on.
Finally, over the past five years, under the direction of Dr. Linda Rosenstock, we have enhanced our communication
and information dissemination and transfer efforts. We have the Office of Health Communication which was established
in our Washington office. We have a Health Communications Research Branch that was developed with the installation of
our new Health Effects Laboratory Division in Morgantown.
And we have our Education and Information Division, of which I am a part. These three organizations are moving
rapidly to begin to develop communication efforts to penetrate all levels of the construction industry in terms of
health and safety information.
We are not only developing communication methods but also training materials. One of our programs, as we had talked
about yesterday, is to develop a Respiratory Protection Program Manual for small businesses. This will take their
Respiratory Protection Standard that came out in January and put it into lay language and give them a step by step
procedure for developing and maintaining a respiratory protection program.
We have a program which is called our Young Workers Program, but what it really is it establishes developing modules
to go into secondary and post-secondary programs for training students that are coming into the construction industry
about safety and health. And these are specific modules.
Right now we're just finishing the first module on electrical and there will be seven more coming down the pike.
Hopefully, they will be out in April and I can share that with this group.
As I said, we make recommendations to OSHA for standards. Sometimes we also develop technical documents which look at
the state of the art and the science.
Currently we're in the process of writing documents on lead, silica, asphalt, and ceramic refractory fibers. There
are more coming down the pike now. We have a criteria document that's on its way that will recommend to OSHA on the
noise standard, and hopefully that will be out shortly.
We are in the process of developing a construction resource center in our libraries, such that we have library of
video tapes, CDs, training programs, scientific literature related to construction. We also are putting this stuff on
our web site, and if you go to NIOSH's home page, there is a construction pick. Actually, I have to get in there and
clean it up a little bit. They've been putting stuff on willy nilly and I think we need to look at it a little bit
As I said, we also have an 800 number, and we also have free publications. And you can call our 800 number or you can
get our publications through our Internet site and just order them there, they are all free. When they are out of
print, then they go to the National Technical Information Survey and you have to pay for them. Currently, our pocket
guide came out in February. We've already distributed 40,000 copies of that pocket guide.
I just want to spend a few more minutes in talking about where our Construction Steering Committee is moving NIOSH in
terms of our future research. When one does a study, when one gets into a new field of endeavor, you want to pick the
low hanging fruit. And when I first started in 1990 to try to put our construction research program together, there
was very little basis for our research. I felt like it was a charging elephant, it was going in all kinds of
directions. But what we found is that we take one piece at a time, and focus on a couple of areas.
Over the last seven years we've spent most of our time looking at big sites, big contractors, the large international
unions. Now it's time to move in another direction to look at those areas where there is great gaps in the
information. Our areas of emphasis are information and technology transfer.
Although we have a large communications group, they are all getting started, and we feel that it's incumbent upon the
Construction Steering Committee at NIOSH to move them in a direction where it is most useful for the industry.
We also feel that the data for small businesses, non-union construction workers, and residential construction is
really poor, we need more information in order to help us target and prevent fatalities as well as injuries and
illnesses for which we have, in my opinion, pretty poor data.
In convincing both our director, as well as the rest of the researchers in the country, and NIOSH, we said,
"Lookit, all of these areas are interconnected. You do work in one of them and you'll be able to enhance the
issues for all of these sectors." That's all I have right now.
So we're going for four priority areas. They include information and technology transfer, small businesses, non-union
construction workers, and residential construction. And that doesn't mean we're going to stop all the research that
we're doing now or any of the other things.
Even though this committee is a standing advisory committee to OSHA, be aware that I am listening to you as well and
that I can take information back to NIOSH and have some impact on our research agenda. And any advice and assistance
that you can give NIOSH, we'd be happy to have.
MR. NICHOLS: Thank you, Marie. Is there any questions?
MR. SMITH: I have one. Marie, you said you have modules. Are those pamphlets or do you have a video or what?
MS. HARING-SWEENEY: Oh, for the vocational technical programs?
MR. SMITH: Yes.
MS. HARING-SWEENEY: They actually have a number. From what I've seen they have an instructor's guide, they have a
student's handout, and whether or not they are going to do videos, I don't know. But this group is entirely capable
of doing just about anything to make sure that the message gets across. If you think that would be helpful, we
MR. SMITH: I'm Chairman of our Training Trust for Southern California. You know, we have an area from Nevada to
Mexico, from Arizona to the Ocean. There is roughly 15,000 people there. I'd be very much interested.
MS. HARING-SWEENEY: Great.
MR. NICHOLS: Other questions?
MR. EDGINGTON: Marie, let me first say, how appreciative my own organization is for the opportunity we've had to work
with NIOSH over the past 30 years. Good things have happened. But in the process of doing that, we've noticed a
couple of things about your organization that we thought could be improved.
One is the level of, shall we say, communication between the various NIOSH entities. For example, on the issue of
asphalt fumes and research that was being done there. I think some of us involved with that had a sense, at least for
awhile, that the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing. I think things have improved there, and
certainly thank you for that.
But one of the things that has struck us is that often times the work of NIOSH as a whole, and construction in
particular, you could get more bang for the buck in terms of leverage and resources when working with other Federal
agencies, for example, OSHA, on issues. And I'm wondering what, if anything, is being done in that regard in terms of
just looking at how you leverage your skill and ability with CDC, or others that can help?
MS. HARING-SWEENEY: We have a number of activities that are going on right now. One, is we're working with OSHA to do
some evaluation of residential construction life cycle in terms of their hazards. We've gone hand in hand with them
in their Denver operation. We've actually worked with some of the folks from Bob Masterson's group, as well as AGC
and ABC, to expand our knowledge about residential construction.
We are always looking for partners. Again, we've been expanding that. And as a person who has been intimately
involved with the asphalt document, that partnership I think worked very well in the last year or year and a half.
We are working with OSHA in their establishment of guidelines for the communication tower erection. We are developing
an alert for that, but we felt that in order for us to effectively develop that alert, we had to work with OSHA. We
have two people, one from Morgantown and one from my shop, that are actually sitting on their committee and assisting
in that guidance. So those are at least two examples.
CDC hasn't done much in terms of building or construction. We do also sit on what is called the C and B Subcommittee
of the White House Committee, the OSTP Committee. And we've been working with them in their PATH initiative, which is
called Partnerships Advancing Technologies in Housing, and developing an initiative for residential construction.
And we also sent some individuals to what is called the PARITY, which is the new Federal initiative for highway
construction. I didn't go to that meeting. So we are actually moving in a variety of directions in partnering.
And, hopefully, through our Internet site, or our 800 number, through development of new kinds of documents, new
kinds of materials, that we will in fact be improving our communications in addition to our new partnerships.
MR. EDGINGTON: Thank you.
MR. NICHOLS: Any questions? Owen.
MR. SMITH: Yes, I have one more. You had mentioned that by age 30 the drywall hangers, I assume you are talking
about, seemed to have pretty much dropped out of the industry. Do you know why, or is there something that indicates
why they may drop out?
MS. HARING-SWEENEY: Well, it's more anecdotal that they drop out. Part of the problem is installing drywall is an
extremely physical operation. If you've seen the operation, if you've seen how some of them work, there is a lot of
physical exertion that has to be done. So you have to lift the drywall. Plus, drywall is heavy, just in general. So
in the biomechanical analysis, we are finding that there is a fair amount of physical force that has to go on in
terms of muscular activity. Things wear out.
MR. BUCHET: I think anecdotally that if you can't keep up the pace, you don't get paid that well.
MR. SMITH: It's nice to be in the drywall business. And my ceiling crews, when the rates were $5.25 an hour, they
only worked three days because they had made $910 by Wednesday, and they wouldn't work Thursday and Friday because we
wouldn't pay under the table. I don't know what they are doing now, I got out of the business. But it's true that
those guys make a lot of bucks.
MS. HARING-SWEENEY: For a while.
MR. SMITH: Yeah, for a while.
MR. NICHOLS: Any other comments or questions?
MR. NICHOLS: Thank you, Marie. At this time I'm going to pass out what I went over yesterday and didn't have copies,
so we made these. And the chairs can see what it is that you agreed to do.
(Pausing to hand out "ACCSH Work Group Assignments.")
MR. NICHOLS: One is the standing committees, one is the work groups.
MR. SWANSON: Mr. Chairman?
MR. NICHOLS: Yes, sir.
MR. SWANSON: Could I ask you to encourage the membership on your committee to look at some of these again and see if
they wouldn't be interested in developing a little more balance on a couple of these?
MR. NICHOLS: Are you talking about the work groups?
MR. SWANSON: Yes. On the work groups I noticed, for example, on fall protection we have Mr. Masterson and Mr. Devora,
who are very competent and adequate to handle this, but it seems like somebody from the labor side might be
interested in joining that group.
(All pause to review handouts.)
MR. NICHOLS: Hearing no one jump right out here and want to change, without objection, we'll approve these as they
stand. Thank you.
At this time I'd like to make one announcement. Upon adjournment, if the committee would stay in place for a few
minutes, we have some discussion about your travel that you may want to know about before you head out.
Secondly, at this time I will call on public comment. So those of you that wish to comment, please come up here to
the table. And when you comment, if you'd give us your name and where you are from, we'd appreciate it. Thank you.
(Pause while attendees are seated.)
MR. PFAU: Mr. Chairman, my name is Richard Pfau -- P-f-a-u. I am the Safety Director for the Donohoe Companies, which
is a local construction firm, hospitality firm. And I also serve as the vice chairman of the local ABC Chapter of
I noticed this morning from both Ms. Williams comments and Mr. Cloutier's, that a few topics that I wanted to bring
to the attention -- not necessarily bring to your attention because obviously you are looking at it -- but ask you
strongly that this committee look more deeply into two issues. One is multi-employer work sites.
I think we have a real problem there. I'm sitting here as a contractor who in the last seven years has had the firm
visited about 26 times. And of those times, none of them were directly attributable to anything that our employees
did. They were all as related to the subs.
And in the recent year there is almost an, and this is on the part of the compliance agencies, if we get a sub then
we must certainly pass this on to the general contractor, even though he may have an excellence program, strongly and
vigorously prosecutes its program internally, probably much more strongly than the agency would, up to and including
the removing of offending contractors.
This dovetails with the actual monetary problems that we are starting to experience. And here they are and they are
probably not in an area that you may have considered. Locally, here in the Washington Metropolitan area, there is an
agency known as the Fairfax County Organization, in Fairfax County. It's a county organization that it will preclude
us, if we as a general contractor in the previous few years, have had one serious violation.
Now in our particular case, we happen to be very good in a niche market of schools. There are probably nine schools
to be built in the next five years in the Fairfax County system, and that probably will deny us the ability to
compete. And, basically, on something that is really not as a result of anything that we failed to do on the job
I honestly urge and strongly urge that this committee look at this. I don't necessarily think that there needs to be
rulemaking. I think this is all an internal matter that the Agency could very easily provide some direction on, ask
those of us in the community to come in and chat. That's a very simple thing.
And I think we're all frustrated in the fact that the Agency can't just go out and say, "Rich Pfau, I'd like you
to come in," and so forth, because that then becomes a political problem, and there is some legal rules.
But I think if this organization said, "Hey, we'd like to study this," that maybe this could be advanced.
And I think it's serious. I notice several heads shaking and agreeing with me on this, and it's not that I'm the only
one raising this issue.
On the second issue, Mr. Cloutier earlier was talking about the compliance programs. I think we've got a situation. I
think the Agency very quickly talks about the bad actors, and we all want to go after the bad actors. But what about
those of us that for years have diligently, strongly, prosecuted safety programs because we believe in it. Not only
because it's good business but our most important asset is our people. And we can't have that without a good safety
But in the same token, why must we as contractors that do a good job, why can't we get some credit for being the good
actor? That's not to say that if we goof, if we make a mistake, which we're going to, that we shouldn't suffer
penalties. But I think there also ought to be some credit for us having done a good job, and it could certainly be
less time consuming.
And I think it was Ms. Oliver who was talking earlier, that the process right now is well over a year to get
qualified. It doesn't allow you to be qualified in the area of a specific -- in my case I would need many sites. As
Mr. Cloutier said, and as someone else commented this morning, most job sites are over and gone in 9 to 10 months.
This doesn't help me. I need something that's -- you talk about multi-employer, I need multi-site. And I need me as
the contractor qualified. And I need it done in a reasonably short period of time without necessarily the bureaucracy
that's involved now with the VPP program. We need to be able to work together.
I think that and there is a couple of you in this room that know me, I've always been very vocal about this agency.
But in the same token, I like the idea of a lot of things that have happened in the last couple of years. The focused
inspection is probably the best thing you've done.
But there are opportunities here, that I think I heard Mr. Cloutier talk about earlier, allowing us in the community
to start directly dealing with the Agency and giving, if nothing else, feedback. And I think that they are in a box,
but I don't think this agency or this advisory committee is in quite that box.
And I think you folks can very easily say, "Okay, Rich. Put up or shut up. Do you want to be on some sort of
committee?" My answer is "Yes." And in fact I'll bring you four or five other safety directors from
the local area with no problems and probably in less than 48 hours notice. But we need that help to start letting the
Agency hear from those persons that they regulate. And I'm sure that there is some very good honest solutions we
could make and quickly.
And I ask you to consider those two areas, multi-employer work sites, as far as how they are dealt with by the
Agency. There is, and I will admit to being one of those that has recently made some complaints to Mr. Swanson on
that subject, there has been an increase recently. But I think that we can resolve some of that and, again, get some
credit for being the good guy. And we do need some help in that other area, as it relates to credit for a good
program and what we're about. Thank you sir.
MR. NICHOLS: Okay. I'd like to comment, before we take other comments, that yesterday I had mentioned for anyone that
was sitting here in the public that wished to participate in the work groups, if you get your names and information
in to the co-chairs of those work groups, that would be appreciated.
And we've handed out, or it was outside on the table, a list of the committee members so that you know who to
participate in. And we'll hand out the committee assignments which will be open for your review also. Steve?
MR. COOPER: Your comments are well taken. As Tim pointed out, there is a work group on Safety Excellence Recognition.
The gentleman on my left is the co-chairman. You can see him after our meeting and I'm sure you can participate in
helping to design safety recognition.
MR. PFAU: Absolutely.
MR. COOPER: The other concern on multi-work sites, I think it may become difficult as the regulations, the written
word, describes the action that should be taken on multiple work sites in the Federal Register. That would be much
more difficult. You said it might be easy. It wouldn't be easy. This problem is across the nation. The manner in
which contractual agreements are made by contract on the construction site. And that works both ways with the
subcontractors who come in and complain also about the CM or general.
MR. PFAU: Sure.
MR. COOPER: But it is an issue, and I certainly agree with you.
MR. PFAU: Thank you, Mr. Cooper.
MR. NICHOLS: Felipe?
MR. DEVORA: Backing up to a moment ago to Bruce's comment. When we talked about the multi-employer, you said that you
characterized it as a perception. And I think, don't we have a Data Task Force? Is that correct, that we're going to
be collecting some data? Is that some data that your office could see? These numbers with the two for one citations,
can you break those out as far as multi-employer citations as a category?
MR. SWANSON: I will take a look after this meeting as to what our IMIS database allows us to generate. If we can't
readily generate it from what we already have, to meet the earlier question as to what are the numbers, and are they
growing, and what are the trends, and et cetera, then it perhaps is something that ought to come back to the data
group and say, "What can we do with this?" I'll ask the same question in-house too, as to how we can
MR. NICHOLS: And get rid of the perception or decide if it's an accurate perception.
MR. SWANSON: Right.
MR. SWANSON: Any other questions or comments to Rich?
MR. NICHOLS: Thank you.
MR. PFAU: Thank you.
MR. NICHOLS: Next?
MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, my name is George Kennedy. I'm the Director of Safety for the
National Utility Contractors Association. And like this gentleman just here spoke about his VPP, we represent a
number of contractors around the country, most of which are small contractors.
Our guys don't spend more than a week on most sites. And, however, we have a lot of good contractors who have
excellence records, and we can show you some of the stats, if you are ever interested. And, basically, what I'm
saying is I think OSHA is going in the wrong direction with VPP starting at the top with the big sites. The exposures
are with the smaller companies.
The big companies have safety directors, safety departments, that are generally actively involved in safety issues.
And if you are going to give a break and help out the contractors, let's do it with the small guys. Let's get some of
them qualified as companies. They are carrying their program from site to site, and they are using it. And they are,
like this gentleman, concerned about their people.
And I think this task force or the Safety Excellence Recognition Task Force should look at this issue. And instead of
spending a fortune a lot of money on four big companies when you can reach out to hundreds of small companies,
probably for the same dollar, I think you need to look at that. That's all I have to say on that.
But there is another issue that's more of an administrative thing that I'd like to address, and that is the value of
the Internet. The Internet that OSHA has developed has been excellence. It's growing, it's full of good information,
technical information as well as general information about what's going on in OSHA. And one of the things we don't
see out there is the minutes from these meetings.
And I think even though the construction industry is somewhat represented here, there is a lot of groups and a lot of
trades that are not represented. Underground contractors for one. And I have a number of members that I think would
like to know what's going on here who would like to attend these meetings, but because of cost, and travel, and time
cannot make it to these meetings. And, of course, they come to me and they ask me what went on and I tell them what I
But even myself, sitting here in the room, I often miss some of the discussions, or parts of the discussions that
take place, partly because the microphones aren't used all the time properly, or a conversation starts and then the
microphone is brought up and then we've missed the first part of the conversation.
So what I'm suggesting is that the ACCSH Committee ask OSHA to put the minutes and an Executive summary online so
that we can read these minutes, and so that other people can share it. And it would be also nice if you had a search
capability so people could search certain topics, such as respirators, or PPE that was discussed here this week.
And also give them an opportunity to maybe give some feedback to the committee, to ACCSH. Have an ACCSH e-mail
address, where they can send some e-mail back to you and maybe some comments on their thoughts.
I think you'll be representing the industry more, you'll have more feedback and more input, labor as well as
employers can give feedback because everybody is online. Well, not everybody but a lot of people are online today.
And we find in our industry, in our particular association, it's growing at about 5 to 10 percent a year in terms of
our members going online. So that's my suggestion, and I just wanted to bring it to your attention.
MR. NICHOLS: Thank you, George, we appreciate it. Bruce?
MR. SWANSON: Yes, Mr. Kennedy, the idea of putting the minutes online seems to me to be imminently doable. And until
somebody explains to me differently, we ought to be able to do that. Whether or not it's an executive summary="" that
goes with it, we'll take a look at that as well.
The other suggestions, we'll take under advisement and see what we can do. My office provides staff to ACCSH. And
ACCSH just set up 14 committees that I suspect that somebody is going to suggest that we provide staff service to
each of those 14 committees too. But we will do what we can with the resources we have and we'll take a look at
having an interactive setup.
MR. KENNEDY: What I'm talking about with the Internet, I'm not just talking about the minutes. I mean you are taping
the whole thing, you put the transcription up. I know they used to make a document, the committee used to get that
whole entire document. But actually who wants to carry around 50 to 100 pages? If we could go online and search out a
particular area of interest, we can get the information we need. And I hope it can happen soon.
MR. SWANSON: We'll take a look at it.
MR. KENNEDY: Thank you.
MR. NICHOLS: Any other comments or questions? Thank you.
MR. FRIEDMAN: Hi. My name is Mark Friedman. I'm the Director of Government Affairs for the Painting and Decorating
Contractors of America. And I'd like to respond to a couple of points that Marie made about NIOSH's mission and some
of the activities they have going on.
First, you asked to be corrected on the lead removal figure. And I believe that the removal level is 50 micrograms
per deciliter of blood, 40 is a notification level. You have to be removed when your blood is 50, you are notified at
40. So, that correction.
The other point, and it's more significant I think, is the question of what NIOSH's mission is in terms of research
versus other activities. And I'm a little bit curious because I always understood NIOSH to be a fact gathering and a
research organization, and some of the things that you mentioned seemed to stray a little bit.
And to be honest with you, I think some of the things you are doing are very useful but I'm curious why OSHA is not
doing them. Specifically, you talked about some compliance assistance for the Respiratory Protection Program. You
talked about trying to put together a step by step type of thing. And that's always been the kind of thing that I
would have liked to see OSHA do. I don't think the Agency has done nearly enough.
In fact, I'm not sure they've done anything in terms of putting out those types of programs that contractors can use.
And so I guess I'd like to see a little dialogue between Bruce and you about where the two groups interact, and how
you guys decide, if you do have that interaction, about who is going to do what and whether that's something that
OSHA should be doing more than NIOSH. Ding.
MR. SWANSON: I would love to have dialogue with Marie. If NIOSH is going to be giving something up, and OSHA is going
to be taking something over, as you well understand, Mark, it is not going to be done at our level. We'll have
MR. FRIEDMAN: Well, the question sort of goes to the heart of the mission of either agency. And, I mean, I think
NIOSH tends to be somewhat aggressive in trying to go and find things that they can be doing and sort of developing
their agenda. And yet Bruce said these things would naturally be something that -- I'd like to see your, in fact,
very specifically your office take on because that's the crying need in the industry right now.
It is, you know, when my members come to me and say, "Well, how do we comply with the lead standard?" These
regulations are a series of requirements. There is no procedure, there is no description about how someone is
supposed to make their way through and become compliant.
I mean, I'll tell you a quick little story. I got a call, I can't even remember how long ago, maybe a year and a half
or so, from NIOSH, who said, "We understand that you've produced the definitive manual on how to comply with the
OSHA lead standard, we'd like to take a look at it and see if we can use it for something." I said,
"Wonderful. Where were you three years ago and where was OSHA three years ago?"
So it's that kind of an effort that I would like to see the Agency look at doing. That's really the heart of my
thoughts. I was just really getting into the question of what the two agencies can do together. And I notice that
some of the things that you were looking at doing under your research areas sounded very similar to the efforts that
were discussed earlier by OSHA. And I was curious whether there is a concern about overlapping there or whether you
are on a separate track altogether?
MR. NICHOLS: Marie?
MS. HARING-SWEENEY: I think in general what we try to do is respond to OSHA's request in terms of getting research
data. And I have to admit, if OSHA is going to make different goals, we're going to develop methods, and do research
in methods development, and also in how we can collect data relative to small contractors in residential
construction, and help them intervene. So I don't think there is a lot of overlap.
I think what they have an emphasis on residential construction. But what we're seeing is that there is a need for
information and data that can go to them. And also there is a need for methods development for new research methods
for residential construction which hadn't been done before. So there may be an overlap in topical area, but in terms
of content, I think we're going to be complementary. And, definitely, Bruce and I will be and are talking. Mostly
right now at meetings.
MR. FRIEDMAN: Are the other people that Bruce cites so frequently as calling the shots, are they talking?
MS. HARING-SWEENEY: Dr. Rosenstock had a good working relationship with Mr. Dear. And I would think she will have the
same with Mr. Jeffress.
MR. NICHOLS: Any other comments?
MR. NICHOLS: Hearing none, thank you for your participation. Next?
MS. HARRIS: Hi. My name is Claudia Harris, and I'm the Director of Government Relations for the National Association
of Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors. And Mr. Chairman, I just have two administrative requests from you and
this committee and from Bruce's office.
The first is, people back here, sorry Bruce, people back here for years have been asking if the materials that are
available to the Committee members also be made available to the public prior to the meetings so that the
organizations that we represent can prepare for topics that may come before this committee at the meeting, and use
the opportunity for public comment, such as this, to respond to issues that you've talked about.
And I would like to reiterate that request that when the meeting materials do become available, and I know sometimes
it's the last minute. Even if it's our own responsibility to obtain those materials, not having your offices mail
them out. I mean, I'd be more than willing to come here and pick them up myself.
But having those materials available prior to the meeting, I think would help everything and everyone involved. And I
guess maybe, at a minimum, to please have extra copies available at the tables in back, or outside, or however you do
that. But, obviously, the sooner the better.
And, secondly, related to that is handouts that are passed out during the meeting, that are provided by Agency
personnel during their reports, such as the handout of committee and work groups that you just passed out. If you
could please have enough of those available for the public.
I don't know if you do now, but you've mentioned several times that it's our obligation to talk to the committee work
group co-chairs. But if we don't know and we weren't quick enough with our writing yesterday to write that down, we
don't know who they are, so we can't contact them. Then we have to go through Bruce, and that makes a lot of work.
So I guess they are both intrinsically related, but just have the materials available. And if we can help, we will.
MR. NICHOLS: We'll do our best to have the materials available. And I do have copies. And I apologize for not having
those available yesterday prior to the start of the meeting. So we'll do our best.
MS. HARRIS: Thank you. That's all I ask.
MR. NICHOLS: Michael.
MR. BUCHET: We're moving into the Internet age. Isn't there a way, echoing what Mr. Kennedy said earlier, of putting
almost all of this material on the Net? An ACCSH page that people can look at. And what we had before the meeting
would be posted, downloaded, and make copies?
MR. SWANSON: Yes. I'd just reiterate what I said before, we'll look at our capacity and work load capacity to get all
of this out. And I know when you make the suggestion, that you had an asterisk. You know there is some material that
was not ready for dissemination to the whole world prior to this meeting, and it went to Committee members only, and
that was intentionally. But that's not always the case, to be sure.
MR. NICHOLS: I think everybody understands that. Any other public comment? Steve?
MR. COOPER: Mr. Chairman, I'd like to address this to Mr. Swanson. As relates to the subcommittees, usually we have a
contact within the Agency. And I know as relates to the Sanitation Committee, which myself and Jane Williams are
co-chairing, it has been Ellen Roznowski. Does that still stand? Do these committees need to know who their contact
is within Agency?
MR. SWANSON: Yes. Each of the committees, we will be assigning someone to be your contact person. And you, as a
co-chair, will be informed as to who has received that assignment, Steve.
MR. COOPER: Thank you.
MR. NICHOLS: Other comments?
MR. NICHOLS: Prior to the next meeting, we will get a draft of the Policy and Procedures of the ACCSH out to the
group so that you can look it over and we can discuss it at the next meeting. For those of us that are new, we may
not know quite all the policies and procedures and it would be nice for that to be available.
Secondly, I would like to thank all of those that participated in giving reports to the committee, we appreciate your
reports. And to the staff that also helped to put the meeting together, we appreciate your efforts in making
everything available to the committee.
And we look forward to as a committee to sharing your knowledge and expertise with ours in moving ACCSH forward. So
is there any other comments, statements, questions? Steve.
MR. COOPER: Do you have a date for the next committee meeting?
MR. NICHOLS: No. We will do that and get it out in advance more quickly than we did in the past. Bruce.
MR. SWANSON: May I state that, as you well know, Steve, what was done in the past, which doesn't mean that it has to
be followed here, but what was done in the past is we had some discussion before you left the table as to what was
not available for you folks. And we would try and work within those parameters.
I get the strong sense that the Assistant Secretary is going to involve himself more in this committee than maybe his
predecessors have. So another factor is, I will have to ascertain what his schedule will allow as well. But if there
is something that doesn't work, it would certainly be helpful to know that ahead of time.
MR. NICHOLS: Steve.
MR. COOPER: Well, the question is going to be which month are you talking about?
MR. SWANSON: Historically, what has happened is you tried to have these meetings four times a year. That doesn't mean
that it has to be every 90 days and not 91 or 92. But within those general guidelines. So somewhere three months from
now is when I would assume that you would be looking for your next meeting.
MR. COOPER: To me that means July.
MR. NICHOLS: What we'll do is we'll put a proposed three months schedule out from now until the end of the year and
then ask for your input in how that works. And we'll get a tentative date set up, knowing that there may be a time
that we have to adjust the meeting for urgency of an issue or because of the scheduling of the committee.
But we'll attempt to do that far enough in advance where you can set up the next meeting and prepare for the final
two of the year. Bruce.
MR. SWANSON: One of the more helpful suggestions that we had, that I received from the committee, is why don't we set
the room up a day ahead of time. Schedule the meeting the day before everyone's going to get here and maybe we'll --
I thank you for that, whoever made that suggestion.
MR. NICHOLS: Hearing no other comments, journey safely. And a motion to adjourn would be in order.
MR. COOPER: So move.
MR. EDGINGTON: Second.
MR. NICHOLS: Move to support, all in favor leave. All opposed stay here.
(Whereupon, at 11:35 a.m., the meeting was concluded.)