United States Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH)
Rooms N-3437 - AB&C
U.S. Department of Labor
Frances Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 21210
Thursday, July 23, 1998
STEPHEN D. COOPER
LARRY A. EDGINTON
WILLIAM C. RHOTEN
JANE F. WILLIAMS
A G E N D A
Directorate of Construction - Report
Bureau of Labor Statistics Presentation
Status of Ergonomics and Fiberglass
P R O C E E D I N G S
MR. BURKHAMMER: Good morning and welcome to the second day of the ACCSH Committee Meeting.
Before we get into our special guest this morning, a couple of housekeeping notes. Yesterday, there was a discussion on the public -- in a question of the public stakeholders joining the workgroups, and I think in one of your hand-outs yesterday, there was a list of the workgroups and the chairmen. So, if you don't -- if you didn't get that or don't have that, let me know, and I'll run over them quickly for you.
The Safety and Health Programs Standard is Steve Cloutier and Bill Rhoten. Training is Steve Cloutier and Bill Rhoten. Confined Space is Steve Cloutier and Bill Rhoten. Sanitation is Steve Cooper and Jane Williams. Scaffolding is Owen Smith and Michael Buchet. Safety Excellence Recognition Program is myself and Larry Edginton. Enforcement Priorities is Bob Masterson and Gladys Harrington. Fall Protection is Robert Masterson and Felipe Devora. Data Collection is Marie Haring Sweeney and Michael Buchet. Subpart M is Larry Edginton and Steve Cooper, and Musculoskeletal Disorders is myself and Marie Haring Sweeney.
We're also going to take up today the addition of a couple of other workgroups. So, if you would like to join one of those work groups, please advise myself, Bruce Swanson or the chairman. We'd be happy to have you.
MR. SWANSON: May I add to that, Mr. Chairman, just for point of clarification? Please help save me from the Solicitors on -- on FACA objections. The world is being asked to join these workgroups, to participate in the work of the workgroups, but you are not there as members of the workgroup. Otherwise, I have to explain the selection process under the Federal Advisory Committee Act as to how you were selected.
The members are the members of ACCSH who are on workgroups. You can invite whoever you want to participate in your deliberations. You can treat them as -- as full members as far as you're concerned, but, technically speaking, they are there assisting you as members.
MR. BURKHAMMER: With that, I'm pleased to introduce Charles Jeffress, who has joined us this morning. We're pleased to have him. I know he's taken time out of his busy schedule to come and be with us. So, Charles.
MR. JEFFRESS: Thank you, Stewart.
I appreciate the opportunity to be with you. I'm sorry I couldn't be with you yesterday. I had intended to be here at the beginning of the meeting and help start it off yesterday, only to realize that I was the only agency official expected to address the state labor commissioners in San Francisco, and the Secretary asked me to give her regards to them and speak to them about OSHA, and, so, I was yesterday meeting with the labor commissioners in California, which was a very interesting group, by the way, in terms of what we do in OSHA.
We've got the 23 states and territories that have, including Nevada, that have state OSHA programs. So, in talking with the labor commissioners about our activities, some of them are very much our partners, and we very much need their assistance, and it's a very helpful group, I think, for us to stay in touch with and communicate with, and a number of the states continue to do creative things on safety and health. So, I learned a little bit when I -- when I met with them as well as told them a little about what we're doing.
But again, I'm sorry I could not be with you to start it off yesterday.
I'd like to cover this morning three general areas where I want to report to you on some activities that -- that I'm engaged in, and then I would -- I would like to leave some time to hear from you all of things that you all may have heard yesterday, follow-ups to things you've heard from the staff that you'd like to give me your perspective on or if you have comments or questions about things that haven't been presented and want to know where we're going, I'm here to receive your advice. So, I certainly want to leave some time here for you to have the chance to tell me directly what it is your observations are and what you've been hearing or what you'd like to see happen.
I want to touch -- talk about construction, congressional action. I want to talk some about the Strategic Plan and talk some about some innovative programs.
On congressional action, the last meeting, I believe we reported that Congress had passed the bill that -- or actually had passed committee, not passed the whole Congress, that codified the state consultation program that we fund through Section 7(c)(1) of the Act. Each of the 50 states have state consultation programs. They have been done historically by OSHA, never actually authorized in statute, and the bill passed by Congress and signed by the President last Saturday now provides statutory authorization for these state consultation programs.
It doesn't really occasion any change in what we're doing, but it -- it makes statutory protection for what we have been doing. It is the first amendment to the OSHA Act since it was passed, and I'm glad to say this was an amendment the Administration and Congress could agree on. We all are happy to see passed.
The second amendment, which also passed, to the Act which passed and the President signed on Saturday, is a stipulation that OSHA will not use quotas in evaluating compliance officers, that in no case will the simple conduct of a certain number of inspections be the basis for determining whether or not a compliance officer is or is not fulfilling their duties as expected by the agency.
So, that bill has also been signed by the President and is now law, and we will not be -- there will be no question. We have not been in the past, but there will be no question in the future that quotas in terms of numbers of inspections, that they cannot be used to evaluate compliance officers.
Another aspect of congressional action which is more troubling relates to the budget. The House committee has acted on the House recommendation for the budget for the Labor Department. The Senate committee has not acted. The Senate committee may not act until September. They will be recessing here shortly for the August recess. It may be September before the Senate acts.
In the House, however, after hearings and consideration of what to do, the House committee has recommended a significant decrease in OSHA's budget. It actually is the same dollar amount, dollars, as the current fiscal year, but by failing to provide for what's going to be a mandatory pay increase, for what's going to be increased rent, for the other inflationary increases, it's in essence a $9 million reduction in funds available to us.
Further, they took money that has -- is this year appropriated for federal enforcement activities and transferred $5 million of that to state consultation programs. So, that's again a transfer of money away from the federal program. $5 million. The total is $14 million reduction in the federal program in the House committee version. Now this has not passed the House. It's not -- not -- not final budget by any means, but the first mark in the House is a $14 million reduction in what we do.
To give you a feel for what that means, there's a lot of expenses besides personnel, but over 80 percent of our budget is personnel. So, you can't take that kind of reduction without affecting people. We anticipate that it would be a 140 positions lost to federal OSHA should the House budget pass. That's troubling to us.
Of course, there are other things in that bill that are problems as well. The House has cut out a billion dollars of money that's dedicated to youth job training and summer jobs for youth. The President's very concerned about this, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget has sent a letter to the House leadership saying that for numerous reasons, the President would veto this bill if it were to pass in this form. Amongst the reasons he listed was the -- was the impact on safety and health programs.
To give you a little feel for why it is that way, every agency in the Labor Department, except for MSHA and OSHA, received in the House bill funding for the mandatory increases, for inflation, for pay increases. MSHA and OSHA were the only agencies in the Labor Department which did not receive the inflationary increases, and it would appear to be a conscious decision to reduce the emphasis and reduce funding for safety and health agencies, and that's the basis of the President's response to the Congress.
So, that is some concern. We'll continue to work with the Senate as the Senate develops that budget, and, of course, we'll see how the final game plays out. Because the Senate is -- may not start marking up until September, I think it's going to be very close in terms of whether the Congress can actually get a bill in place by the first of the fiscal year. September will probably be a very lively time around here as -- as Congress and we work on -- on the budget for the -- for the Labor Department.
Any comments or questions on the congressional action before I move on to other things?
MR. BURKHAMMER: What does the budget cut due to the Strategic Plan initiative?
MR. JEFFRESS: The budget cut is -- doesn't -- is not targeted to any particular part of OSHA, except for the $5 million that comes out of enforcement and goes to consultation. Otherwise, the impact's going to be felt throughout the organization.
We have not -- since it's preliminary and not final, we haven't made any effort to say exactly where within the organization we would take the cut, but, you know, we're committed to following through on the Strategic Plan. If we receive a budget reduction, we'll have to decide which pieces get less emphasis than others, but -- but I haven't begun to make an assessment, if this happens, we'll cut this out or cut that out.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you.
MR. EVANS: Charles, was -- were there any indications that that reduction would trickle down to the state programs?
MR. JEFFRESS: Well, there's no question of trickling down. State programs are a specific line item in -- in the budget. The House mark has the state programs at the same dollar amount for next year that they had this year. So, to the extent that states have inflationary increases or pay increases or other pressures, you'd have the same problem that the federal folks face.
I would note that the state consultation programs, there are eight states that don't fund the consultation programs through the 7(c)(1) section of the Act. They fund them through the 23(g) grants, and those consultation programs would receive no increase. The increases would only be in the 7(c)(1) portion of the budget.
MR. EVANS: Nevada being one of the eight.
MR. JEFFRESS: I just happened to mention that. I thought you might be interested.
Okay. No other comments or questions about congressional action?
MR. JEFFRESS: I'll talk some about the Strategic Plan. Each year, we will have the opportunity and the responsibility to develop operating plans as to what we're going to do this year in order to carry out our five-year Strategic Plan.
In that process, we also have the opportunity, if we desire, to refine our Strategic Plan, and for those of you who are interested, we are now considering should there be any refinements to the five-year Strategic Plan that we have -- that we adopted last year.
I'm not proposing any that affect construction. Maintaining construction fatalities is a high concern for us. Continuing to achieve a 15-percent reduction in injuries and illnesses in construction remain a high priority for me. So, it's not any proposal for any refinements in that, but we do have the opportunity here in the next few weeks before the first of October if you wish to refine our Strategic Plan to do so.
We have put -- given all of our staff through the Internet opportunity to comment on it, and we'll be sharing it with others as well. If you would like before the first of October to make some suggestions to us on refining the Strategic Plan, we will be soliciting your advice on that.
But our focus will remain, I believe, -- I anticipate focus is going to remain on fatalities in construction, on trying to bring those numbers down, and will remain on the 15-percent reduction overall in the injuries and illnesses in construction.
I would like to report to you that we have made progress on a better targeting system to identify where the -- where we -- how we can -- can better focus our efforts in construction. I regret to inform you we have not yet got a new system or a better system for targeting, and I still am soliciting advice from people on how we might better identify those contractors that are in need of our attention, how we can best impact the injury and illness rate in construction.
Even -- excuse me. Even though the -- the cooperative compliance program in general industry was put on hold by the court, nevertheless, we have site-specific data in general industry, and we have continued with a targeting program, so that those employers in general industry that have the highest rates of injuries are now getting first priority in terms of inspections.
We don't have anything similar in construction. We don't have any data on which sites or which companies have the highest rates of injuries and illnesses. So, we're still looking for a way to do that.
A local group in -- in the Midwest has suggested that they'd like to see a program based in their area, a creative partnership between OSHA and that group in St. Louis, based on experience rate modifiers in the construction industry, and that seems to me to have some prospects. You know, maybe if we could get cooperative agreements with the rating bureaus, maybe we could look at experience rate modifiers rather than injury and illness data. Maybe that data's out there somewhere that we -- we could look at, but we haven't yet got a fix on how we should best identify contractors or construction sites that have high injury and illness rates, and again solicit your thoughts, individually or collectively, on how OSHA can -- can do a better job of that.
Otherwise, on the Strategic Plan, we are -- we are proceeding with the -- the five major industries that we're focusing on, the three areas of illnesses and injuries that we're focusing on. We're proceeding with partnerships as a way to carry out our Strategic Plan. We're emphasizing education and training.
Recently, the Associated General Contractors came in. You remember at the last meeting, I reported that we had signed a statement of principle of cooperation and partnership, trying to put some meat on those bones. We're now talking about some -- some joint -- some training materials that we would jointly develop that will be used, particularly to focus on new entrants into the construction industry. I think Bruce is going to talk a little later about that.
We anticipate the impact of the ICTEA bill resulting in higher levels of construction. That means a lot of new people coming in, a lot of inexperienced folks coming in, and what impact that might have on our need to do more training, more educating, to -- to protect people at work.
Comments, observations, questions about the Strategic Plan?
MR. JEFFRESS: Anybody got that killer of an idea on how we should identify those employers -- those contractors that have the highest injury and illness rates?
MR. BURKHAMMER: I thought your EMR comment was interesting. We -- we've done a lot of studies in the construction industry on EMRs.
MR. JEFFRESS: Is it any better than LWDI?
MR. BURKHAMMER: No.
MR. JEFFRESS: That's what I was afraid of.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I mean there's so many variables in calculation of EMR in interstate rate states and also in state plan states, you have wrap-ups that sometimes get included in your overall premium base in your EMR and others don't.
Companies that are self-insured versus companies that are funneled insurance or paid straight out to get a policy from a carrier, and then you've got companies that have a very aggressive restricted duty or return-to-work policies versus companies that have other types of return-to-work policies.
You have companies that pay for some claims out of pocket and others that think that policy violates ethics, and we don't do that. So, there's a lot of ways to effect your EMR, up, down, and plus then you have state rate increases and decreases based on claims reported in the states.
So, that's not really a true picture of the contractor's worth or non-worth when it comes to implementing safety and health programs, I think, and, of course, the old argument of lost work day cases and recordables can be pro or con, either way, too.
So, you have a real dilemma, and, no, I don't have a better suggestion. But it's a struggle for us all, --
MR. JEFFRESS: Yes, it is.
MR. BURKHAMMER: -- and a lot of employers now and have been for several years, when they let contracts, strictly look at the -- the lost work day case rate and the OSHA recordable rate as a determining factor of whether you received the benefit or not received the benefit of safety and health is a prime factor in that particular bid, and in the DOE jobs, DoD jobs, that's a fine example of that, and that's one of the prime factors they look at.
So, -- so, a lot of contractors to make sure they get included on the bid list or have a chance to go in and play with the numbers one way or another, and I'm not saying anybody cheats, I'm just saying they play with the numbers.
So, again, you -- you've got a dilemma of what is the true indicator of an honest, safe contractor versus maybe one that wants to be safe but isn't.
MR. COOPER: Charles, I agree with the chairman. The engineering -- the EMR is a bad way to try and evaluate any company, and I know that because I helped originate and am on the board of directors of an insurance company for this industry.
I think the OSHA 200s would be a good place to look. It's after the fact, but that's an accuracy that sometimes is fairly good on the -- on the 200s, but in the past, the OSHA's come down hard on people who play games with the OSHA 200, and I think the 200 would certainly be a place to look. Unfortunately, it's after the fact.
MR. JEFFRESS: At least the 200, we can look at relatively recent data. That experience rate modifier usually is picking up three- or four-year old data in order to calculate experience rate modifiers. So, the 200 data is more current.
One of the difficulties, though, is people with less than 10 employees don't keep them, and so many of the subs in construction are very small. A lot of them will not have records.
MR. COOPER: You can play games with that modifier by joint ventures and changes in name of the company and etc. I know how that's done.
MR. JEFFRESS: You're not suggesting you've done any of that; you just know how it's done.
MR. BURKHAMMER: On the 200 log even, and Steve, I know, is aware of this because he and I have seen some of these, how you word the injury or how you word the illness greatly determines whether it goes on the 200 log or not, and the use of words by a medical person, a first aid person, a paramedic or an EMT or a nurse even, or even doctors, determines whether it goes on the 200 log or what type of injury or illness that was, and you can play a lot of games with words.
So, you're missing a lot of things in the 200 log.
MR. JEFFRESS: Right.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Danny?
MR. EVANS: Looking at the 200 log, in Vegas, about three years ago, we had one general contractor that was involved in building two different hotel casinos. One project had 680 and some lost work days. I don't remember the total number of injuries that were there. The other project that was supervised by a different superintendent for the same company had like about 20 to 40 lost work days.
That's quite a difference. Same company, same parent company, same -- same requirements that they -- in Nevada, we have to -- they have to have a written safety program, and every sub that works on the job has to have one, if they have 10 employees or more, and the difference between the lost work days was just unreal.
So, I don't know that even looking at the 200 logs really are going to tell you anything, unless the company has only one major superintendent running the project.
MR. JEFFRESS: Did you ascertain that there were significant differences in -- in the safety and health programs at the sites, and that those were accurately reflecting what was going on or was in fact a different way of keeping records?
MR. EVANS: I -- what we looked at, we -- we did do inspections at each one of them. I mean that's something that we do on major hotels. We try to do that every 90 days, and those projects normally last a year and a half, in that neighborhood.
At the one location, there were just a lot more injuries for whatever reason. All of the sub-contractors had written workplace safety programs that seemed to be effective, but I don't know if it had anything to do really with the general superintendent from the same parent general contractor or not.
MR. JEFFRESS: Of course, this is one of the issues in our rulemaking on recordkeeping, is with respect to construction, the difference from site to site may be just as important as the difference company to company, and we don't have site logs at present, but, you know, site logs would get you information that would tell us that kind of distinction and might help direct OSHA's activity, if they were available. They're not currently available, and a lot of resistance, I know, to keeping them. Even if they were available, how OSHA would get access to them is still yet another question.
MR. EVANS: The only thing I can say the difference between these two hotel casinos being built was that one started about six or seven months later than the other one, but the -- as far as comparable in size, the number of employees there, pretty much the same.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Steve?
MR. COOPER: One of the ways to do it, which is on the 200 which may be what happened with the hotels, you put a medical station on that job site, you'll reduce that 200 way down. I'm talking lost work days, and that's one area.
The other area that we've been successful with in our industry is keeping the employee on the payroll which many times does not show up on that 200. Give them a different job, although they can't -- stationary job or etc., which also reduces your workers comp rate in some cases in this nation that's up to a 130 percent of payroll, it was, now it's a weak market, but two-three years ago, it was like that.
MR. JEFFRESS: Since I mentioned recordkeeping, let me give you one update on that. I don't believe that was on the agenda here for the -- for this meeting.
You know, had a proposal out there to revise our recordkeeping rules for a couple of years now, and I've recently taken some people and shifted some responsibility, so that Jim Maddox from our office in Statistics is full-time on this rule processing right now, and Marta Kent is taking the leadership as a project officer on it, and my goal is to have the new recordkeeping rule out by March or the Spring -- strike that March, whoever's taking notes, by the Spring of next year, so that we will have an extended amount of time, six months or more, next year to go around the country, do training sessions, teach folks what the new rule requires, get people up to speed on it, so it can take effect for records kept January 1, the year 2000.
That's our current agenda for that new recordkeeping rule, but if we succeed in that, what you'll be seeing next year in 1999, the last half of 1999, in particular, is an extensive education training effort on our part, and I hope that some of your companies and associations will -- will participate and do it on your own as well in teaching people and re-emphasizing the -- how OSHA records are to be kept and teaching folks whatever new twists there may be.
I think from my perspective in this business for a few years anyway, we need to have a significant education effort on how to keep injury and illness logs every few years anyway, that the turnover in the recordkeeping end of business tends to be kind of high. People move on, get promoted to other things, and it's been awhile, been seven or eight years since OSHA had a major educational effort on how to do recordkeeping.
So, I expect that a lot of what we'll be needing to be teaching next year will be the basic fundamentals of -- of recordkeeping. The emphasis won't be just on the changes, it will really be on how to keep records properly, even the things that don't change, we'll probably have to spend a fair amount of time teaching people about.
But I do expect second half of 1999 for us to have an extensive program of training on how to keep records. Invite suggestions you all would have on ways we should deliver that, people who could help deliver that, appropriate forums and needs to do that, I would welcome, particularly in the construction industry with a lot of small folks who don't have time to go to a class some place, how we can best reach those people, I would welcome your -- your advice and suggestions on.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I think the Web page is one good example to do that.
MR. JEFFRESS: Good thought. We are using the -- the Internet more and more to deliver -- to get our information out, and I'm astonished the number of hits that we receive.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Also, you could make a simplified CD for those individuals, some present here today, who don't have Internet capabilities.
MR. JEFFRESS: This conversation has gone on before, is that right?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Larry, would you like to add anything?
MR. JEFFRESS: Okay. Fair enough. The final piece that I want to touch on in my presentation, and then I'll throw it open to whatever things you may have on your minds, relates to our innovative local programs that are going on around the country.
I believe since we last met, I have traveled to Colorado and kicked off the Steel Erection Safety Association program in Colorado called SESAC, where we're focusing on partnership with steel erectors in Colorado to reduce injuries, illnesses there.
Also with the homebuilders there, the Home Safe Project, in the Denver area, for a way to increase safety and health in the homebuilding industry there in Denver.
We're working with a group in St. Louis trying to get the local partnership going there. But since the national partnership piece of the cooperative compliance program is stayed, our real efforts at creating innovative cooperative programs are going on at the local level now and at the area and regional level and not so much at the national level.
Sometimes those programs don't get visibility because they're not national programs, but in terms of impact and effectiveness, from what I've seen so far, I'm really impressed by the dedication at the local level, and I think it's going to have -- show us some significant numbers.
In every case where we do a program, create a program at the local level, we are asking that the participants have a tracking system so they can show the impact on their safety and health experience, whether it be injury and illness logs, whether it be experience rate modifier, but some way to show the impact of this program on the real human costs and dollar costs of their safety and health parts of their business.
So, over the next few years, we should be able to come back and report to you this particular project, this particular area, and this particular part of the construction industry, here's what a difference they've made.
As I said, we have projects now with steel erection and in homebuilding in Colorado. We've had one with roofers in the Midwest that I guess was started over a year ago, two years ago, maybe two years ago, and we will -- we're trying to encourage more and more of these projects at the local and regional level that are creative. Maybe we can learn things from them that would be useful for us to implement at the national level.
But I want to make sure you all are aware that while the partnership efforts that OSHA may have, hope to do through the CCP at the national level, while those are stayed, we are pushing ahead very strongly with partnership efforts at the regional and area office level. Most of them do involve commitment to safety and health programs, and, of course, in the construction industry, there's already a standard that requires that. So, there isn't any question of this being in conflict with the -- with the lawsuit.
So, in return for those -- that greater emphasis on safety and health programs, we're finding ways to focus our inspections with participants, and hopefully we'll have some results that will show in a year or two the positive result of these efforts.
But if you are interested in local efforts or if your associations are interested in particular partnerships, let me encourage you to talk to the area office people, to the regional office folks in your regions.
This year, we have had this -- a big emphasis on our targeting programs because of the CCP and our interim inspection program in general industry. The partnerships that have begun are going well, but I've asked folks beginning October 1 to emphasize them even more for next fiscal year, and we're looking for more opportunities for creative local partnerships. So, you probably will be seeing and hearing some of our people asking in construction industry for -- for groups that are interested in partnering and creating innovative partnerships at the local level.
Well, those are the three areas I wanted to cover. The congressional action, the Strategic Plan, and -- and the fact that we are continuing with these local partnerships.
Let me stop there and see what might be on your minds, things that you think I should have mentioned or things you're interested in or would like some follow-up in or a response you have to things that have gone on for -- during the day yesterday.
MR. BURKHAMMER: One of the initiatives that I've been working on, and I know the agency has, is the OSHA-DOE agreement. Maybe you could share with us, since I missed the last session of the OSHA-DOE agreement, where -- where your feelings are they are on that, and where you think the panel needs to go to get where we want to be.
MR. JEFFRESS: For the benefit -- can I give a little background --
MR. BURKHAMMER: Sure.
MR. JEFFRESS: -- on that for the whole --
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes, please.
MR. JEFFRESS: -- council? The Department of Energy for years has regulated themselves in terms of safety and health on their energy sites, even where their sites are primarily operated by contractors, by government contractors. Nevertheless, the Department of Energy has had responsibility for employee health and safety in those sites, and OSHA has not had that responsibility. That's by law.
There's been increasing unhappiness and some dissatisfaction with the way the health and safety has been regulated on those sites, and for the last year or year and a half, there's been an emphasis in Congress saying, okay, it's time for the Department of Energy not to regulate itself and for OSHA to assume the regulation of health and safety at these Department of Energy sites.
We did a pilot program in a laboratory to see what it would take for us to -- you know, what kind of resource impact it would have on us, what kind of knowledge we would need if we were to assume responsibility for health and safety at these sites.
On the laboratory side of things, I think we're satisfied we know for the labs what it would take. We currently have a pilot program going at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to look at some of the sites at Oak Ridge, which are much more sophisticated and can be much more complex.
The Department of Energy has been producing
-- those sites have been producing nuclear materials, nuclear weapons, other materials. They inherited the Army and the Armed Forces nuclear weapon sites some years ago, and they are dealing with no longer producing nuclear weapons, but they are dealing with what they do with all these contaminated sites and all the sophisticated and esoteric chemicals and heavy metals, radioactive metals, that they have on these sites.
If we assume the responsibility for regulating these sites, we're going to have to look at the -- construction may be the wrong term. It may be deconstruction, since they're disassembling much of what's going on at these sites. What are their particular health and safety hazards at these sites that we need to be concerned about and that we need to be prepared to protect those from?
We need to look at the continuing operations. There will be issues of exposure to radiation, exposure to some -- some metals and chemicals we don't currently have good standards on that we'd have to look at. We'd have to look at perhaps a much higher level of OSHA activity.
Because the Department of Energy is on site at each site, their regulation of health and safety has been very much hands-on and every day, and employees and contractors have got used to having somebody looking over their shoulder on a regular basis. You know the way OSHA works, you know we show up at the construction site once a year or so, if then, and, so, it would be a very different kind of operation for us if we assumed this responsibility.
Well, that's background. Currently where we are, the pilot program, I think, in Tennessee is going to give us some idea of how much we have yet to learn and how much knowledge we need, but it does appear that a fair amount of the activity at these sites is going to be construction. So, it does appear that our activity, which I guess I had originally thought about more industrial hygiene and -- and radiation issues, more traditional industrial occupational health issues, may in fact be a fair amount of traditional construction or -- or unusual construction issues as well.
Congress has asked the Department of Energy to -- by October 1 of 1998 -- excuse me -- October 31 of 1998, to have a plan in place between all the safety and health responsibility for external regulation over to OSHA.
If that happens, the Department of Energy would still be like any employer responsible for their own health and safety, but we would be regulating them and enforcing our standards.
For contractors who are used to dealing with OSHA standards in their other types of businesses wouldn't be terribly different than where it is at any other non-DOE site.
I have a little concern that the Department of Energy as a federal agency is not subject to OSHA penalties, and if we came on a site, and there was a question about whether the contractor had some responsibility here, the Department of Energy had some responsibility here, I think OSHA's going to have to have some leverage with the Department of Energy. Otherwise, this could be finger pointing about whether it's the Department of Energy responsibility or the contractor responsibility, and it's not going to be very clear.
So, one of the recommendations we have made back to Congress is that if OSHA assumes external regulation responsibility for health and safety at these sites, that the Department of Energy be subject to the same rules a private contractor would be, same kind of penalties and enforcement schemes that a private contractor would be.
But in response to your question, Stu, the Department of Energy is supposed to have -- if this bill passes Congress, they will have to have a plan by October 31 of this year on how they intend to turn that over to OSHA. Some time during the next fiscal year, it's anticipated that -- that that hand-off would be made, and at some point, it may still be 18 months out, but at some point, OSHA would assume the responsibility for regulating health and safety at these sites.
It has impacts on us in terms of inspections, in terms of the standards that we would need, in terms of education and training, and perhaps in terms of 11(c) whistleblower kinds of issues.
MR. BURKHAMMER: One -- one twist to this that you didn't mention, and I know is important, is the privatization of some of these sites. Savannah River is a prime example of where DOE is allowing privatization in some parts of the sites.
MR. JEFFRESS: Right.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Big issues on access to the privatization parts through the non-privatization parts. So, there's a lot of balls up in the air still, I guess, when it comes to doing --
MR. JEFFRESS: One of the interesting things that's happening at Oak Ridge that we're looking at that pilot there is DOE wants to -- has no further interest in some of the facilities there, and one of the facilities is a lot of beryllium and other kinds of chemicals and metals that are at this point in the dirt around the building and the concrete slab in the building, otherwise in the building, and DOE's way of privatizing this is to essentially lease the building to an occupant and allow the occupant to reclaim and recycle any of the valuable materials that are in that building.
DOE -- and it's turned out to be -- can be fairly profitable for the company that's come in to the building to recapture some of these metals and some of these materials and recycle them. So, DOE signs a contract, takes a hands-off and says let's privatize this. It's the contractor's responsibility. Well, the contractor has some opportunity to make some money here, but he's also inheriting some liability in terms of exposure of their people to some of these things, and -- and I guess some of the chemicals and metals, we don't know what the long-term exposure problems may be from some of them.
So, -- so, even in a deconstruction, they're privatizing, and as you say, some of the current operations, they are privatizing as well.
There's a place on the Hanford reservation in Washington where the site that used to be a part of the energy production is now producing aluminum baseball bats. That seems like a factory like any other factory, and maybe it can be regulated by OSHA like any other factory, but if it turns out that there are residual exposures to some esoteric chemicals and metals and radiation there, then it's not any other factory. So, it's been complicated for us.
You talk as if you're familiar with some of these sites. You have some contractor work at some of these sites?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yeah. We're one of those contractors.
MR. JEFFRESS: You're one of those. Oh, okay. I -- frankly just policy-wise, to have the Department of Energy both responsible for regulating health and safety on the site and to be the manager of the site raises a policy question that I think Congress can come down on, saying that's a conflict of interest, that they ought not to regulate themselves and be responsible for management on site.
So, I -- even though OSHA has resisted getting into this area for good reason in the past, I think Congress is going to say very soon it's too much of a conflict, somebody's got to do it, and OSHA, you're elected. So, I believe we are going to have this responsibility.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hopefully get the increase in resources to cover it.
MR. JEFFRESS: That would be nice to believe.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Larry?
MR. EDGINTON: Charles, there are many different communities that have expressed some frustration with the pace of the transition, and -- and I think that most people have not felt that it's OSHA that's been responsible for the slowness, it has been the Department of Energy, and I think that in recent hearings on the Hill, I would not have wanted to have been the Department of Energy representatives testifying there.
But I think some concerns have been raised as to whether or not the slowness of the Department of Energy coming up with a plan is perhaps reflective of the change of thought on their part as to whether or not they want to continue to move forward or if in fact it has more to do with certain people leaving the agencies and transitions associated with Secretaries, etc.
Do -- do you really have a strong sense that they're going to follow through on this commitment, and it's going to occur in a timely fashion?
MR. JEFFRESS: The Administration's committed to having an administration plan, and that doesn't get submitted to Congress until February. So, this 10/31 date is a bit of a sticking point, and the Administration will have a plan that both DOE and DOL will be behind at the time of the budget submission in February.
I do think the fact that they have had three DOE Secretaries in four years has had an impact. The transitions have had an impact on the leadership from DOE on the issue.
MR. COOPER: Charles, what is the status -- I think I may have lost it -- with the Postal Department and OSHA?
MR. JEFFRESS: The Congress has a bill both in the House and the Senate that makes the post office -- has OSHA treating the post office as any private employer. It makes the post office subject to OSHA penalties, just like a private employer. The bill has passed committee in the Senate. It has passed the subcommittee in the House. Full Committee House vote is today in the House, and so far, there appears to be bi-partisan support to bring the post office under OSHA, like any other employer.
MR. COOPER: So, therefore, in the wisdom of our friends up on the Hill, that you may -- you would have -- regulate the United States Post Office, which is a pretty good size, let's say.
MR. JEFFRESS: It's the largest employer in the country.
MR. COOPER: And DOE, and reduce your budget?
I know you can't respond to that, but I can.
MR. JEFFRESS: That -- that is an accurate observation, Steve.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Danny?
MR. EVANS: Charles, if you end up with the responsibility on the post office, how would that affect the state program? Would they take that on or would that be considered federal property?
MR. JEFFRESS: Currently, we're considering it a federal employment. Postal workers generally have the benefits of federal employment, even though it is a public corporation, if you will. It's not actually a federal agency. But we are considered federal employment. So, I'm assuming that federal OSHA will retain jurisdiction.
I'd be interested in a proposal from the state that thinks that it has jurisdiction and would like to talk about it, but I'm acting on the assumption right now that it would be a federal program.
The Administration has weighed in on this and said to Congress that they believe the post office should be covered by OSHA. As a matter of fact, all public employees should be covered by OSHA. So, the Administration's clear as to where we're headed on this.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any other --
MR. JEFFRESS: Jane had a question earlier.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: In regards to the recordkeeping and your target for Spring of '99, do you currently have the current verbiage that you're considering for that with any changes since its original issue?
MR. JEFFRESS: There is nothing out since the original proposal. The original proposal is what we have, and we got a lot of comments on that original proposal.
One of the things that has -- that I'm convinced of, I guess, the original proposal, we talked about eliminating the distinction between injuries and illnesses and just deleting that.
Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics has tracked occupational illness for a number of years, I think it would be a mistake to lose that distinction all together.
So, one of the -- one of the significant proposals that we're considering is capturing illnesses on this form in some way. The difficulty in the past, employers had to decide up front is this an injury or an illness before they decided how to record it. What I want people to be able to do is record the -- the incident and then check the kinds of things that apply, and one of them may be or several of them may be things that are illnesses, you know, check that it involved a respiratory problem or did it involve exposure to a hazardous substance or check the categories that traditionally may have been occupational illness.
That's one of the significant differences in terms of what I'm currently considering compared to the proposal, is I do think we need to continue to collect illness information. But otherwise, I think what you see in the proposed rule is those -- all those issues are still out there on the table.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Felipe?
MR. DEVORA: I'd like to -- I guess this isn't really a question but a comment. I'd like your comments. Yesterday, the multi-employer doctrine again raised its ugly head in here a few times, and in discussions around the country and with different groups, I see a gap, my observation is a gap, between the subcontractors and the potential general contractors, a gap there in terms of responsibility of hazards, and then with the IBP and other court cases and other interpretations and compliance officers determining these things out in the field, and then trying to hash them out in informal's or in contests or even in court.
I think the bottom line here is to -- what we're losing here is the worker is somewhere falling in this gap, and while we're arguing policy, I think the American worker on construction job sites is probably suffering, and yesterday, I heard some -- some scary comments in here yesterday about general contractors hands-off as far as safety.
Is this -- now that this multi-employer doctrine -- it's basically always been in place, I guess, in some form or another, but now that there's so much discussion on it, are we missing the point, and are we deluding accountability so much so in terms of determining who the employer actually is or who the controlling employer actually is that the loser is -- is -- is the American worker, and are we being regressive with this doctrine?
MR. JEFFRESS: As I think you know, I'm a strong supporter in the multi-employer doctrine and the policy that OSHA has had in place for years and believe it's the right thing to do.
The IBP case, while it didn't overturn that, had language in it that suggested the court might be willing to look at that again. Several circuits have upheld our multi-employer policy. So, when it gets looked at again, we will aggressively defend our policy as it stands.
I am encouraged that AGC and some of the other associations want to continue to have discussions, to continue to refine it in a way that I hope will make it more and more clear what the responsibilities of subs and generals are in controlling employers who are on such sites.
I would be concerned, too, if this became a matter for the lawyers and then taken out of the hands of the safety and health professionals that really are responsible for -- for delivering the health and safety programs at the sites, and the -- perhaps are in danger of focusing too much on -- on the legality of it, but in terms of what we're telling our compliance officers, we're telling them that we have a multi-employer policy. We expect general contractors to control the employers, to be responsible overall for the safety and health at a site, and telling folks to continue enforcing that kind of policy.
So, at least from our point of view, what people see at the field level, I hope, will be a continued emphasis on our multi-employer policy the way it has been.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Steve?
MR. COOPER: Charles, on these cooperative agreements, are there contractors that -- that are in association with the cooperative agreement, are those contractors exempt from inspection on multi-employer work sites? Some of them?
MR. JEFFRESS: No. No. We do not ever exempt somebody from inspection with one of our cooperative agreements. That's -- that's not policy. It's not permitted to provide exemptions from inspections where you have a cooperative agreement.
What we will do is to say we offer focused inspection if people have a safety and health program in place, and you know that's part of our focused inspection policy anyway. If you have an effective safety and health program in place, then we will focus inspections.
In some places where we have not traditionally done program inspections, for instance, in homebuilding, we do very few program inspections in homebuilding, the agreement recognizes that we don't do program inspections in homebuilding, but talks about when we come to a site, what it is we'll do when we get there, and we will get there through referrals, through complaints.
In virtually every case where we have a cooperative agreement, the group of employers or employers and employee groups, unions, or whatever association we're working with, as a part of that agreement has some way of policing that agreement themselves.
So, frequently, the association will have someone on their staff who is going around doing visits to the work sites, to the contractors involved, and making sure that they are living up to the principles of the cooperative agreement.
In a way, it's kind of leveraging our resources. These are -- are sites which we might not get to anyway, such as homebuilding sites, and someone else going out there and checking and making sure folks have an aggressive safety and health program, that's a protection that we never would have had in the first place.
On the steel erection program, there is no agreement of any kind of reduced inspection presence at all.
MR. COOPER: And I bring that up because yesterday, Berrien Zettler was -- was reporting on -- on the issues and jumped on his case a little bit away from the proposal. OSHA will not subject SESAC contractors to inspections on multi-employer work sites, unless OSHA has reasonable grounds to believe that a serious violation or hazard exists.
MR. JEFFRESS: That's -- that's a different way of stating the same focused inspection policy. In terms of when we go out and do a focused inspection, if you have an effective safety and health program, then all we look at is the serious hazards that are out there.
So, if you're a SESAC member, then you have committed to have an effective safety and health program in place at that site. So, if we get to that site, and it is a SESAC member, then when we do the inspection of the work site, unless we observe a serious violation of -- there, we would not open with the SESAC sub. We'd be open with the general.
But that is essentially another way of stating what is our focused inspection policy. The difference is we would not open in that case, whereas in other cases, we might open and then do the focused inspection. We would be open with the general, we wouldn't open with the steel erector unless we observed something.
MR. COOPER: But they are exempt from inspection?
MR. JEFFRESS: No. When we're out there, we will be looking at their work just like we would anybody else, and if there is something -- like on our focused inspection, if there is something observed, at that point, we then open and do the regular inspection.
MR. COOPER: Well, I thank you for clarifying that. That's a big issue, and --
MR. JEFFRESS: Yeah. When we go out to those sites where there is a SESAC employer, we will open with the general, and then we'll walk around the site, and we'll be looking at what the steel erector's doing just like everybody else, but the assumption will be, and there are some checks to make sure that they have safety and health programs in place, that they have effective safety and health programs in place, so we won't open unless we observe a serious violation.
MR. COOPER: I brought that up for Mr. Devora, too. He just touched on that area. So, thank you very much, Charles.
MR. JEFFRESS: Yeah. Okay.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any other comments or questions for Mr. Jeffress? Danny?
MR. EVANS: Charles, yesterday, Larry raised an issue in regard to the 11(c) inspections, investigations. One of the concerns I've always had is that in a lot of cases, particularly probably more so with construction because a guy can normally go from one job to the other pretty easily, that if they -- an employer discriminates against that employee, he goes to work somewhere else, probably making about the same money or maybe even more, there's no -- if the case is proven that the employer did do something wrong, the guy's brought back to work for him maybe, and it doesn't cost him anything out of pocket from doing that.
I just wonder if there's any avenue in a situation like that or maybe there's something needs to be done to actually issue a monetary penalty to that employer on top of making the employee whole.
I think that that may be more of a deterrent than -- than the fact that an employer just has to take somebody back and may or may not have to pay anything to make him whole.
MR. JEFFRESS: That's an interesting question. I guess I haven't encountered many cases where whistleblowers made out better after the discrimination than before. I mean I think it's usually the other way around.
Potentially, I guess, it can be a situation where there's very little loss suffered by the employee who goes on to another job, and -- and perhaps some kind of monetary penalty might be -- might be a deterrent.
It's not currently a violation of a standard. Therefore, there's not an OSHA penalty for discrimination. There's a separate determination on that.
If I can talk about that for just a minute, on what we're currently doing on discrimination, I don't think we've addressed the issue you raised, Danny, but I'm concerned about whistleblowers having a very short period of time to file. They only have 30 days to file. In many cases, they aren't aware of what's happened to them in 30 days, and I'm concerned that when the case is filed, if we find merit there, we've got to go to U.S. District Court to -- to prosecute that case.
A lot of these cases can be handled other ways than going before a federal judge, and I think we need an administrative law judge system like we have for appealing OSHA cases to handle these discrimination cases.
Moreover, if -- if one of these cases where someone has been fired inappropriately, and six months later where we're able to get that person the job back, in the meantime, they haven't had any income, you know. They've lost -- they haven't been able to keep up payments on the house or the car. They've lost their health insurance, may have lost the car, the home. There's a lot of damages that they have suffered, and making somebody whole means a whole lot more than simply back pay and putting them back on the job.
I'd like to see some strengthening of the whistleblower protections in the OSHA Act and have talked to several members of Congress and several associations about the need to do more here to protect whistleblowers, and while that's not likely to be done this year in Congress, it is one of the things I hope to achieve here in the next Congress, is some better protection for whistleblowers.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Larry?
MR. EDGINTON: Following up on that point, I'm wondering what activities have been undertaken by the department with respect to tightening up its own internal processing of the complaints. I mean I think the IG report was a pretty damning report --
MR. JEFFRESS: Yes.
MR. EDGINTON: -- in terms of the inadequacies of -- of the field staff and others who are charged with the responsibilities to investigate and prepare cases for the Solicitor's Office.
Is work being done in that area?
MR. JEFFRESS: Yes. I guess we didn't have a presentation on 11(c) here.
MR. BURKHAMMER: We did not.
MR. JEFFRESS: Okay. Before I came here and took this position, a task force had been appointed within OSHA to look at what could we do to squash the IG report, to -- to improve the processing of -- of our -- of the claims we currently had, and that task force has now reported to me, and we are putting a series of changes into place to speed up the processing of our cases.
One of the problems with the Inspector General's report, though, that, you know, -- where I think they were probably unfair, they suggested that our staff was not accurately documenting cases.
MR. EDGINTON: Right.
MR. JEFFRESS: In point of fact, when we were settling cases, when we settled them, it was a done deal. There wouldn't be any further prosecution of it. So, at that point, people didn't put anything else in the file. Frankly, I think that's probably a good decision. Why spend a lot of time documenting something when it's settled?
So, the IG was criticizing us for not documenting things that probably didn't need to be documented, but there were also criticisms of -- of how -- that we were not as quick to respond as we needed to be, that we were not as effective as we might be in getting recoveries for employers -- employees who had been discriminated against, and we are putting some procedures in place that I hope will speed these up and will ensure that we have good well-documented files where we need them.
But the point in fact is we don't have the statutory oomph we need to do what needs to be done in this area. So, that task force, while it is going to improve our processing cases, bottom line is we need some more -- some better statutes in order to really make a difference in this area.
MR. EVANS: Are they also looking, Charles, at maybe changing the training that the OSHA inspectors receive at OTI?
MR. JEFFRESS: One -- one of the things that's become clear, I think, is that, you know, investigating a case of discrimination is a lot different from investigating a safety and health issue.
You're looking at what did somebody intend to do. You're trying to make decisions and make calls based on evidence unlike anything you get in a safety and health case. So, it requires, I think, really a different skill.
There are some different training that's going to be provided, but really different qualifications of people recruiting. If you look at the people that have been hired as 11(c) investigators in the last few years, they're a different kind of -- they have different backgrounds than people we've traditionally hired as safety and health inspectors because it really does take a different skill, I think.
MR. EVANS: I know a lot of the state programs normally use safety and health inspectors as also 11(c) because, you know, the numbers of inspections on -- investigations on 11(c) go up and down. So, you have to have something else for them to do, and I've always questioned whether or not the training's adequate for those folks or maybe we need to hire a different caliber of person to do those.
MR. JEFFRESS: Well, OSHA inherited -- federal OSHA inherited responsibility last year of investigating not just discrimination cases under the OSHA Act but also under seven other federal acts. So, we are -- I don't think we have to worry about our number of cases going down. I think actually our cases are going up. We probably don't have enough 11(c) folks, but I think we can afford some specialists right now.
At the state levels, it could be difficult, but at the federal level, I think we can afford specialists.
Bruce is pointing out I'm eating into his time.
MR. SWANSON: Not at all, boss, but you have a time problem.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Well, we appreciate you spending over an hour with us. Thank you very much.
MR. JEFFRESS: Well, I appreciate you all spending several days of your time on this, and I appreciate your commitment to workgroups. I think some of the problems that come before you aren't easy to resolve. It's going to be hard to resolve in a big group, and it's going to take a fair amount of your time struggling in smaller groups with specific issues.
I appreciate your commitment to doing that.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you very much.
MR. JEFFRESS: Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Now let's take a 10-minute break, and then we'll come back and talk with Bruce.
(Whereupon, a recess was taken.)
Directorate of Construction - Report
MR. SWANSON: We are trying to work with several labor organizations since our last meeting on -- on employee training, on scaffolding issues, on -- on other issues. We've worked with the laborers. We've worked with the carpenters. We've worked with the painters. We continue to do that and -- and help them with -- with their training.
We also are working on partnerships. The boss would like to see that area grow in a responsible manner, and we are continuing to do that. We've completed our -- our second year of the roofers pilots in -- in Chicago. That pilots, I'm sure, will be extended, has not been formally so yet.
He mentioned that we're trying to put something together in St. Louis with a labor-management organization, Pride, out of the -- out of the construction industry down there.
The boss was early this year in New Orleans, signed a very general partnership agreement with the AGC. Recently, AGC Safety Committee chairman was in and said can we put some meat on those bones, and let's talk about some other programs that we can do to advance the cause of safety.
One of those Charles mentioned this morning is some very preliminary conversation as of yet on -- on ICTEA, the new Transportation bill. As you know, there's some $46 billion at least out there on new construction pending in the area of -- of highway bridges, etc.
It's an area where OSHA, using its traditional approach of inspections, has not spent a lot of time in the past. It is an area that $46 billion tells a lot of us it is going to grow. We are going to have new employees.
What can we do training-wise, traditional training, video training, computer training, any other way to -- to make ourselves ready for this influx of -- of new folks into a construction area where we have traditionally not -- not been emphasizing safety and health?
What can we do, and what can we do together with -- with the laborers organization, and they have already started some preliminary work, as I understand it, with the -- with the AGC. Is there room for a third at that -- at that table?
Grants. The -- just a quick update on the -- on the residential home training grants, residential homebuilding. The -- the National Association of Homebuilders has -- has been out and about the country, and I believe that they have had eight seminars, eight more last -- and David tells me they've been averaging about 70 students at -- at each of those seminars.
They are the only one of the three that have actually conducted seminars as of yet. I am told that the National Safety Council intends to start early Fall with -- with presentations, and the Building Construction Trades Department has not given us a date, but we anticipate that they will be underway soon. They are delayed at least in part by an internal transfer of the -- of the grant authority, and it will be handled by the Center to Protect Workers' Rights from this point forward, and there's been a slight delay for start-up purposes with them.
And as I mentioned, we have done a number of outreach activities, not only the -- the training type but sometimes just discussion types, where we attend either safety conferences being held by individual companies that are broad enough to bring in a couple thousand employees. We join them on a safety day.
I have participated with numerous associations on helping bring them up to speed on -- on what we are doing and intend to do in OSHA on this draft plan and otherwise.
Next, if we can quickly cover not what DOT is doing but what OSHA is doing vis a vis the construction industry, I just have a couple of slides that have been requested in the past, and a quick overview and invite comments or conversation from the -- from the committee.
The first slide shows a number of construction inspections. It compares year-to-date last year with year-to-date this year, and a couple of things I'd like to point out.
One, you can see by the -- by the numbers in the inset box that it's almost a duplicate of the preceding year in toto. Some 13,000 construction inspections, that term again.
Let me caution you as -- as the committee members look at this, and you see your own favorite region and what its numbers are. I assume you know, but let me re-emphasize, your regional administrator would appreciate my doing so, that some of these regions have far, far different staff and have different jurisdictional responsibilities than other regions, such as Region 9, which is made up of all state plans, such as Danny's state of Nevada, and his numbers are not reflected here. These are federal inspections only, and you can see that those areas in the country where we are heavy federal jurisdiction in size and number of work places, like Region 2 and Region 5, the numbers are up accordingly.
So, the purpose of this slide is simply to show you your favorite region and where they are on construction inspections this year versus past years.
Next slide, we have the popular question of focused inspections, and how are you doing on focused inspections, and what are the percentages, and although this slide was prepared for the RAs, and we went back quite a ways, I would recommend that you -- that you look only at the -- at the last several quarters on the right-hand side of the slide, and you can see that we are averaging -- although from quarter to quarter, the number of construction inspections varies, depending upon where you are in the year and how much construction activity is going on, the -- the percentage of focused inspections is relatively consistent, plus or minus, look at 30 percent. If I were asked what the percentage is, 30 is a good round number.
The next slide goes back, breaks it down by regions, and now you'll see that we have slipped a term in on you "projects", and we've had this discussion for those of you who have viewed these slides with me before.
The first number that dealt with inspections, that's every contractor inspected, this deals with projects inspected, which, regardless of the number of -- of contractors that are on a job site or on a project, it only goes for -- for one project only is counted. So, the numbers are much lower, but the -- the proportions again are what are important, and the total for the country is -- is fairly consistent between the two fiscal years displayed. Take a look at your favorite region, and that's how you're doing at home.
The next one -- slide introduces a whole new subject. We have -- we have touched upon the -- the need to better target, to have data that allows us to better target, and Charles spent some time talking about how better to target OSHA inspection activities and why he is turning to local initiatives.
You can see, and this is again a regional breakdown because it was prepared for a slightly different audience, but you can see that with some generalized consistency, the annual -- the national average is 40 percent of those inspections that OSHA conducts, we find that the contractors are in compliance.
Those of you who are contractors at the table or in the audience, I'm sure many of you would like to see those at a hundred percent in compliance, but to us, that indicates that we are firing our resources at the wrong target if 40 percent of the time that we're on there -- I mean we applaud you for being in compliance. We're not disappointed that you're in compliance. Our disappointment is as managers, that we have our inspection resources on the wrong site.
It is -- it is our belief that in the construction industry in the United States, we are not all in compliance out there, possibly not even 40 percent in compliance. We are -- as we talked about in the past, we still are looking at about a thousand fatalities annually by our count in this -- in this industry.
You'll also note on this -- on this graph that there are some almost significant, if I can use that figure, that word, significant differences between the in-compliance rates between the regions, and some regions are being more successful with the local initiatives for targeting than others, and they are putting their resources, 5 would be a good example, they are putting their resources on those construction sites that are more in need of our attendance.
The last one is possibly the least important in my opinion, the least important picture in here, but for those that are continually concerned about whether or not OSHA is getting to the -- to the important work site and is having an appropriate impact on that work site, we feel we're doing something right.
We are ever so slowly increasing our ability to arrive at those sites that are most seriously in need of our attention and reflected by the significant citations that are issued at a slowly growing number. But I don't wish to make too much of that.
Thank you, Bill.
Comments, questions, on that rather abbreviated report?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Larry?
MR. EDGINTON: Bruce, with respect to this disparity between regions, construction sites, shall we say, needing attention and those not, what do you attribute that to? I mean is it better targeting? I mean have they figured out?
MR. SWANSON: You mean the in-compliance rate chart that I showed? Yes, some of them have -- we talked yesterday about the reinvented OSHA, the rolled-out offices. Some of them have -- have a higher percentage of rolled-out offices. Some of them are just being somewhat more creative. Hopefully we'll all learn from those that are out in front.
They are -- they are finding more non-traditional ways of targeting construction sites rather than using the Dodds report and -- and the University of Tennessee targeting system and following the puck into the zone and finding four out of 10 times that they're on a site that they shouldn't be on, shouldn't be on in the largest context of the thing.
Region 5 is -- is in several of its area offices, has been quite creative about using the -- the local building codes office, for example, when they have a special emphasis program on -- on scaffolding, let's take a look down at the -- at the building codes office as the nature of the work that's being done, and where based on our analysis would we be likely to find scaffolds.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Felipe?
MR. DEVORA: Are these in-compliance statistics, are these at the field level at the time of citation or are these settled after informals or resolved inspections?
MR. SWANSON: No. This is -- this -- this data indicates the result of the inspection at the time of the conclusion of the inspection, after it was found in compliance.
MR. DEVORA: But it doesn't show the informal conference results or anything like that?
MR. SWANSON: No.
MR. DEVORA: So, these numbers could be skewed if a lot of those were found -- okay.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any other -- Owen?
MR. SMITH: I would suspect that as you inspect the larger jobs, you'll find more compliance. I know the jobs that we're on, you know, they're large projects. There's safety engineers there. Everybody's got a program. It's almost like just going through the motions unless they've been called for a specific purpose, and about those hotels, we used to do hotels.
I think that probably the one that has the most accidents, I suspect, was the one that started behind and was trying to catch the other guy. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that you start out, and you hit the peak, and then they -- everybody's rushing like everything trying to get done and working long hours, and the longer the hours, the more tired people get, then they're less safety conscious.
MR. DEVORA: Could you make these charts available?
MR. SWANSON: Certainly.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you. Thank you, Bruce.
MR. SWANSON: Thanks.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Next, we have the Travel Procedures presentation. Are they present?
MR. SWANSON: Yes, they are.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Please proceed.
MR. SENTKOSKI: Good morning. My name is Greg Sentkoski. I'm the fiscal officer for OSHA. This is Ms. Kimberly Bush. She's financial operations specialist, and we handle the financial management area, fiscal office, that handles the processing of your travel vouchers, and what Kim has prepared and has been distributing here is a sample of a common travel voucher that we receive that's pretty much laid out in the format that makes it simple and easy to process, get you your money in a timely fashion.
The rules on travel, GSA, General Services Administration, has relaxed some of the regulations over the years, increased the latitude, especially in the area of receipts, what you must retain and what the threshold is for certain levels that require receipts, especially in the area of taxicabs.
What we would remind you that -- there are three areas that there are no exceptions for. You must have the receipt for your hotel. You must have a copy of your ticket stub for airline tickets. You must have the receipt for rail cars.
If you look at the sample form on the inside, where it basically has the itinerary laid out, you can see that this individual here made a trip from Detroit to Washington, D.C., and Kimberly has gone through here and updated the lodging totals on here. The rate for Washington, D.C., is a $126 for lodging, $42 for meals and incidental expenses.
The voucher is pretty straightforward. It does describe leaving Detroit and arriving at the airport through a number of different ways, taxi, some type of local transportation, in this case Metro for Washington, or privately-owned vehicle.
You are entitled to mileage to and from the airport. If you leave your vehicle at the airport, you're entitled to parking fees. Those parking fees would be claimed in the far right column, the other column. We would suggest you do get a receipt for that, although it's not required. The limit on receipts has been raised to $75.
If you have a spouse or -- who takes you to the airport and then returns home, you are entitled to mileage both ways, to and from the airport, for both your departure and your return.
If you take a taxi to the airport, you're entitled to taxi, and you're also entitled to 15-percent tip. We suggest -- it's actually mandatory that you break that cost out, the costs of the cab and the tip costs. As you can see, it is on that voucher.
The general rule for government travel has always been, and we've been saying this for years, the government does not want you to live in the lap of luxury nor do we want to put you in a situation that you would feel uncomfortable in. Of course, if you've been here in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday, comfortable has certainly to do with the temperature that's going on right now, unless you're from Texas, you're probably wondering why you're here.
I think Theresa Berry was probably coordinating the travel vouchers and been doing this for many years. She certainly is knowledgeable in what is necessary and can counsel you. Kimberly and myself are on the same telephone number, and we can give you that number. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us. We'll help you in any way we possibly can.
Want to tell them about the --
MS. BUSH: Yes. If you all -- you can elect to have EFT, which is an electronic type deposit to your account. You need to -- if you turn to the front of the voucher, where it has your mailing address, which is Letter C, instead of putting your home address, you can put the name of your banking institution, the routing number, the account number and whether it's checking or savings, and the turn-around time takes about three business days, and that's as long as your voucher and everything, all your receipts and everything, are attached, and everything is correct as opposed to waiting seven business days.
MR. BUCHET: Do you need a copy of the check or the deposit slip? You just need the routing and --
MR. SENTKOSKI: Just the routing number and the account number, and the name of the institution, if it's Crestar Bank. More and more people are electing to go with this process. Treasury certainly likes it because it's less checks they have to cut, and the turn-around time is drastically reduced.
That is pretty much all that we have. I would just give one warning, and it concerns the area of receipts. I think we named the three most important areas. If there's something you do, and you're not sure if you should have a receipt or not, our advice would be to go ahead and get the receipt. Better be safe than sorry.
MR. BUCHET: When you buy your ticket, do we still give you the stub?
MS. BUSH: Yes.
MR. SENTKOSKI: Yes. It's kind of an inside joke around here, but IRS will accept copies of receipts. The Department of Labor will not. I see Bruce nodding over there. He's well aware of the department's position.
MR. EVANS: What if you have an electronic ticket?
MR. SENTKOSKI: Electronic ticketing is your -- you're really into a gray area here because the department is pushing for that procedure, and eventually it will be the procedure in probably a year or two.
Bruce is again shaking his head. He has experience with this.
They have never made a formal decision on what the requirements are. We are going on the basis, and we have had to certify vouchers ourselves, where people have had a copy of the itinerary, which is usually given out by the travel agency, that indicates that person did in fact receive a ticket.
The department was going on the basis that you had to wait until you received your credit card bill that showed where you bought that ticket. We told them that that was not adequate because it certainly conflicted with the quick turn-around that they demand from you, that they want your voucher turned in as quickly as possible.
So, right now, I think the only thing that's really being given out is a copy of the itinerary from Carlson that indicates that you did in fact buy a ticket, and this is the ticket number. So, we would suggest you attach that to your voucher, and if there's any problems with the department, we will deal with that, but we think we have them pretty much focused on what the requirements are for that.
MR. EVANS: The reason I asked was because I didn't get a ticket for this flight, and it was arranged through Ms. Berry with my secretary.
MR. SENTKOSKI: If Theresa obtained the ticket, -- can you confirm that? If you obtained the ticket, then obviously the agency will be billed for the ticket itself. So, you would not have to be involved with that.
MR. BUCHET: I was faxed a copy of my itinerary, and what the airport -- and all I have left is the little stub that says I actually got on the plane.
MR. SENTKOSKI: Okay.
MR. BUCHET: Since I didn't buy -- I'm not asking for funds --
MR. SENTKOSKI: You -- you didn't buy it, and you don't have to claim it. Where your ticket would go on the front of the voucher, right in the middle, Number 12, Government Transportation, --
MR. BUCHET: Right.
MR. SENTKOSKI: -- all you would have to put on there would be the value of the ticket, say it's $400, mode, which is the class, coach class, the date it was issued, where it was from. Again say Detroit to Washington and return. That's all, because whatever's on the front here is what the agency's paying for.
Where you have situations with receipts are we as federal employees have American Express cards. When we buy a ticket, the American Express card is automatically charged. So, if we, Bruce, have to claim that on the inside of the voucher to get reimbursed, so we can pay American Express. That's where the receipt part becomes critical.
As long as you have your -- the itinerary, the little stub that they gave you, the boarding pass or whatever to send along with the voucher, the agency itself is being billed for that ticket. So, that's not a problem, a concern for you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: Sir, with all due respect, I suggest you protect Ms. Berry a lot because this past week in her absence, it was a major fiasco for me. It was very, very discouraging, I might add, having been traveling as much as I have, calling the office repeatedly and no one being able to respond to me with any question.
I was really left on my own cognizance, if you will, and I attacked Mr. Swanson, who happened to be in another meeting, and put him in a very interesting position, I'm sure, but even then, it did not materialize.
I was supposed to get the information and my ticket on Friday for a departure Monday morning. I was told it was delayed until Saturday, and Saturday, I still don't have anything, could not reach anybody, and almost made up my mind I would not be here, other than paying an $1,100 ticket to come to Washington, and I had a problem with that.
So, I got ahold of the travel agent on an emergency number who said no, you're not getting the ticket. We have no record of your address, and we did electronic ticketing.
So, needless to say, I was a little bit relieved. I immediately called the airline to confirm it, but it was certainly something I would not really appreciate having to go through again.
MR. SENTKOSKI: Theresa brought to our attention yesterday, as a matter of fact, some problems that did occur, especially with the timing of the issuance of the travel authorizations in terms of not having enough turn-around time to -- our preference is that the tickets are picked up here, and they're overnighted to you. That way, you have them in hand to make things a lot simpler, and I think what happened this time was there also another committee meeting going on, the Metalworking Fluids Committee, with a lot of people involved, where we just got caught up in the total number of authorizations that had to be given out, and it's usually done by one person, and, you know, I told Theresa we would try to allow enough time.
One of the rules that they usually make us follow, they being the department and the travel agencies, that we not give out authorizations usually more than a week ahead of time. They say that because if for some reason we decide to cancel, then the tickets can be returned, and there's no additional paper work that is involved. If it's over a week, then they have to go through a lengthy refund process.
What they failed to realize is in a situation like yours, where you have a whole number of people getting in, that those rules have to be waived, and we have to deal with the situation. One, we would like to turn them over as soon as possible because that way, we're not doing 45 at one time, and also it gets you your ticket in hand, so when you go to the airport, you know you're not debating with yourself whether or not there's going to be a spot on that plane for you.
MS. WILLIAMS: Constantly in the office, that hopefully would work, but in this case, it's very frequent that I would be traveling. So, I would have to make arrangements with them to forward it to me upon receipt. So, a minimum of one week would be acceptable to myself, and again I apologize for any inconvenience to Mr. Swanson, but he was there.
MR. SENTKOSKI: Bruce is probably used to getting beat on, sometimes by us, but if you can't get Theresa, then you should call Kim or myself. We usually keep a baseball bat in the office where we can go down and persuade the travel agency to do what we want.
MS. WILLIAMS: May I have your number, sir?
MR. SENTKOSKI: Sure. It's obviously area code (202) 219-5290. Both of us are on the same number. The spelling of my name, the first name is Gregory, last name is Sentkoski. It's
MS. BUSH: And Kimberly Bush, B-U-S-H.
MR. DEVORA: Did I understand you correctly, a week ahead of time is -- is --
MR. SENTKOSKI: That's the normal rule of thumb, but when they established that rule, they're thinking of federal employees.
MR. DEVORA: Okay. So, -- okay. So, you don't -- not really sure -- because I got my tickets. I had to track them down in the Federal Express station, you know, an hour before my flight.
MR. SENTKOSKI: That's why we would like to do them well ahead of time because if there is a problem, --
MR. DEVORA: Right.
MR. SENTKOSKI: -- you know, obviously if we have to track something down or if you're at the last minute not knowing where you are, that's why we're saying call us.
MR. DEVORA: So, should we call you if we don't have them a week before the meeting?
MR. SENTKOSKI: That would be a good rule of thumb.
MR. DEVORA: Okay.
MR. SENTKOSKI: Because we're -- we're going to try to at least get them out at least two weeks ahead of time.
MR. DEVORA: Good.
MR. SENTKOSKI: And I know Theresa has brought them down well ahead of time. We've kind of held back on processing them till we fell in with the guidelines of the department, but just as with each situation, the department has to realize there are exceptions to the rules, too.
MR. BUCHET: If electronic ticketing is perfectly useful for us, can we ask you to do that or
MR. SENTKOSKI: Yes, sure. You have a preference. Many people do not trust the electronic ticketing and would rather have the ticket in hand. So, we try to accommodate whatever your wishes are, but, yes, it's perfectly acceptable.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any other questions?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you.
MS. BUSH: Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: The next item on the agenda, they've been waiting patiently all day, Guy Toscano and the Bureau of Labor Statistics Presentation. Guy, thank you for coming.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Presentation
MR. TOSCANO: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. Let me get set up here, and I'll -- my colleague's going to hand out some materials so that everyone can follow my presentation.
In the hand-out, there's a booklet, "Report 922", that I'll make some reference to during my presentation. Also, there's a brochure which will give you instructions on how to get on our Internet site relatively easy, and you also have a hand-out of -- which pretty much follows my presentation this morning.
It's a pleasure to be here today because it gives me an opportunity to promote the use of data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that we can use to alert workers -- that can be used to alert workers of potential hazards in the workplace.
In my presentation, I'm going to tell you about high-risk occupations, high-risk industries, and high-risk circumstances.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics conducts two programs in which they collect occupational injury and illness data. One of them's the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which was started in 1992 as a result of the National Academy of Science report which criticized the lack of information about occupational fatalities and the details concerning these -- these fatalities.
The second program that the Bureau conducts is the Occupational Injury and Illness Survey. This is a probability sample of approximately 200,000 business establishments in the United States which include private -- the private salaried workforce.
The survey questionnaire is sent out annually, and basically information is reported based on the -- on the OSHA's recordkeeping requirements.
Information collected in both your programs are available in published form and also on the Internet. On the Internet, we have current news releases. Each year, we issue three news releases. One is the Census, and we will be issuing the 1997 -- results of the 1997 data collection on August 12th.
We also issue a news release on incidence rates by industry that's generally in December of each year, about -- and demographic characteristics of those that are seriously injured, which is usually issued about 15 months after the calendar year.
We also issue or publish Issues on Labor Statistics, such as available in your hand-out. Here's one on electricity-related injuries at work. We also provide information on very specific case in demographic characteristics of those that are injured, and I'll go over some of these -- these type of publications.
In my first -- in my next slide, first I'm going to talk about the fatality program and what we compiled. During the last five years, '92 to '96, there's been over 32,000 workers killed in the workplace. Highway fatalities lead the manner in which job-related injuries occur, accounting for about 22 percent, followed by homicides at 15 percent.
We see during the past five years, there have been slight increases in the highway fatalities but decreases in homicides. In fact, last year, we had almost a 10-percent drop in homicides. The biggest drop occurred for taxicab drivers, where they went from -- the '95 figure was 69 homicides to 46.
The next slide shows you how we compiled the information on the fatality census. We used diverse reporting forms, such as death certificates that are marked "at work", news media reports, state workers compensation reports, OSHA reports, and basically these are all cross-referenced so that we can come up with a complete count of job-related fatalities each year.
Last year, we collected over 23,000 source documents. So, -- and we identified 6,112 job-related fatalities. All these source documents are used to code about 30 data elements for each case, so that you can study how these serious injuries occur for prevention purposes.
My next chart shows you the employment and fatality profile by gender of workers. You can see that men account for 50 percent of all job-related fatalities, that they incur 92 percent of -- of -- of the job-related fatalities, largely because of the risks that are -- larger because of the higher-risk jobs held by men, such as timber cutters and construction laborers, and I'll -- and here I'm going to refer you to a -- the article in Report 9 in 922, which shows injury -- work injuries occurring to women compared to men, and I'll talk about that a little further down the line.
My next chart shows the number of fatal occupational injuries by major industry, and for the last five years, construction has reported more fatalities than any other industry. Generally over a thousand fatalities per year.
The next chart, though, shows that you should not only look at the frequency of fatalities but also the risk, that is the rate, of fatal work injuries. As you can see here, that although construction had the largest number of fatalities, mining and agriculture, in fact the workers in mining and agriculture have a much higher risk of a fatality than those in construction, and construction being 13.9 fatalities per 100,000 workers.
In my next chart, what I do here is I look at the percent distribution of fatal work injuries in construction by event or exposure. Almost a third, that is a little over a third, of all fatalities in construction are a result of falls, followed by transportation incidents.
Breaking down these falls in the next chart shows the type of falls, and as you can see, falls from roofs account for little better than a third of all these fatalities.
During the past five years, we've seen a steady increase in fatalities as a result of falls, and in fact, because of this steady increase helps to explain what's one of the -- each year, I put together a little list of the 10 most dangerous occupations in the United States, and during the 1996 period, look at this little brochure, you can see that roofers made the list for the first time and came in at ninth at 31 fatalities per 100,000 workers.
In the next chart, I was asked to specifically look at SIC 1611 in terms of the manner in which job-related fatalities occur for highway and street construction, and you can see more than half of these involve some type of truck hitting a worker, and the next chart, you can actually see again for SIC 1611 exactly what the worker was doing at the time of the incident, whether he was flagging traffic-16 percent or whether he was assembling or dismantling or just walking near the roadway.
In my next chart, I show that in addition to looking at data by industry, we can also look at the data by occupation, and we can see here, again looking at frequency, truck drivers have more fatalities than any other occupation. In fact, they account for 13 percent of the fatalities in 1996. 65 percent of them being highway-related.
But when we look at the risk for truck drivers on the right side, the rate per 100,000, we can see that truck drivers come in 10th at 23 per 100,000. So, the point of this chart is to tell you that equally important, not only to look at the frequency but also at risk.
I wrote an article last year which talked about dangerous jobs, and I was trying to -- to stress this point, and I used the example of elephant trainers. One elephant trainer was killed in 1995. So, that gives you -- actually it was two. That gave us a rate of about 300 per 100,000, which is obviously very dangerous.
But what I do in all the tables I produce, I generally have a cut-off on the minimum number of fatalities and the minimum number of workers in that industry, and, so, as a result, I usually don't do rates per -- if there are fewer than 20 fatalities in an occupation. That way, I combine both frequency and the risk factors.
I'm going to now switch to the occupational injury and illness data collected on our survey. As you can see in this chart, since 1992, the rate -- the incident rate of injuries per 100 full-time workers has slowly declined, and in 1996, of the total cases, 6.2 million, 1.8 million required some time away from work to recuperate. For these, since 1992, we have been collecting demographic characteristics of those injured workers as well as the circumstances, and I'll just briefly look at some of these -- highlight some of this information for you.
In the next chart, you can see this decline more pronounced, comparing industries, service-producing and goods-producing, for the last -- since 1992.
In the next chart, it's just a comparison of employment and non-fatal injuries and illnesses by gender. You can see that women account for 33 percent of the job-related fatalities. However, this is very misleading. Again, I invite you to an article in this Report 922, where I look at the top 20 occupations in which women have the largest number of non-fatal injuries, and in fact, in 15 of the top 20, women have a much higher risk of being injured than men, that is seriously injured which required time away from work, and in the hand-out, it actually shows you the top 20. I don't have an overhead for that.
In the next chart, just like in fatalities, we can also array data by frequency and for fatalities. Truck drivers also leads the list for having the largest number of non-fatal injuries, requiring time away from work to recuperate, at a 152,800. This is eight percent of all the non-fatal injuries that require time away from work to recuperate.
We can also look at occupations in terms of median days for recovery, and you can see truck drivers have the -- have one of the highest median days for recovery of 10 days or we can look at the next chart in terms of the nature of some of these injuries, and as you can see, of course, common knowledge, sprains account for 43 percent of most of these disabling injuries that require time off from work to recuperate.
And you can look at the -- in the next chart, the median days away from work to recuperate for some of these -- these injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, which has median days of 25, followed by amputations at 20, and the final chart, basically I -- once again, I've tried to compare this to the fatality data for SIC 161, and for non-manufacturing, the survey only publishes three digits, and once again, I pulled out the data in terms of the nature of the injuries that you see here. Fractures leads the list.
In addition, in your hand-out, what I've done is I've included abstracts of the nine articles that are in the compendium. You can read the abstracts or you can try -- find them on the Internet if you like.
In addition to that, in the hand-out, after the abstracts, you have a Table P-1, which is the construction data for the last five years. It profiles these fatalities by various characteristics, such as employee status, gender, age, race, time of incident, event or exposure, as well as injuries in occupation.
Also, I provided you with the construction falls which was one of the charts, once again providing you with the same amount of detail, and then final, we have a list of the struck-by road workers for SIC 1611.
The point of this is again there's a wealth of information that's available to you, both in published form from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as on the Internet. Again, we invite everyone to access it.
On average, during the last several months, we've been having about -- getting about 13,000 hits on the Internet site at -- for the occupational injury and illness data. So, we know it is being used. We hope that it certainly promotes safety in the workplace by highlighting these -- these hazards in the workplace.
And that concludes my -- my presentation, and --
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you, Guy.
Questions from the committee?
MR. RHOTEN: One question. How do you determine the number of employees in the industry, particular industry, like plumbers and pipefitters? How would you --
MR. TOSCANO: By occupation or industry, occupation or industry?
MR. RHOTEN: By -- by industry. How would you determine how many plumbers and pipefitters --
MR. TOSCANO: Okay. The Bureau conducts a number of surveys to collect employment data, one of them being a household survey which is called the Current Population Survey, where interviewers go out every month, and they actually ask a sample around 50 -- I think it's 54,000 households, who's employed and what their occupation is.
Based on that information, again it's a probability sample, scientific, it's blown up to represent the entire country. That's the household survey.
From that survey, we also get our unemployment rate that comes out every month. We also conduct what we call an establishment survey. That questionnaires are sent out to approximately 300,000 business establishments every month that report information on basically the labor reports, information in terms of total employment, number of women workers, production workers, and their payroll, and hours worked.
Those are the two primary surveys. There's one other survey that the Bureau conducts which is called the Occupational Employment Survey, which now has been put into full gear, and that provides you detailed information by occupation. So, there's lots of employment data again on the Internet, and you certainly are welcome to -- if you can't find it on the Internet, drop me a line, I'll be glad to get it for you or certainly provide you -- get you in contact with the right individuals.
MR. RHOTEN: Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: Sir, in any of your data collection survey collection efforts, do you identify training or the lack of training as an indication of the injury?
MR. TOSCANO: Not specifically as an indication of injury. We did do a -- a survey recently for the Employment Training Administration, which had to do with the type of training that employees get at work, and one of the questions had to do with safety training.
It had really to do with in terms of not just safety but all kinds of training, and we certainly can provide that to you, if you'd like. Just drop me a line. Give me your name and put a little note exactly what you want. That was done as a one-time survey, but there are some results from it, but then linking to the injuries is very difficult. That's the key really, is how do you link, you know, getting training to the injuries by industry.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Could you provide a copy of that to Bill Rhoten, who's co-chair of our Training Subcommittee right there on the end?
MR. TOSCANO: Oh, certainly.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you.
MR. TOSCANO: Yes, I'll do that.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Bill, you can incorporate that data --
MR. TOSCANO: It's basically a news release, and like you say, you can -- we can provide you with copies for distribution.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Okay. Thank you.
MR. TOSCANO: Sure.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Other questions for Guy?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you very much. We appreciate it. Thanks for the hand-out. It's very informative.
We have one presentation left, and that's the Status on Ergonomics and Fiberglass, and I think -- do we have that here? Are we ready? Okay. Good. Welcome.
Status on Ergonomics and Fiberglass
MR. FINKLE: Thank you. I feel a little sheepish. I've been head of Health Standards for three years now, and I still feel like I'm learning on the job, and I've not yet come to the ACCSH meetings. So, apologies for letting it go this long. I know you've heard from a lot of the Health Standards folks yesterday and over the last few years.
I was going to be in Atlanta today with the Ergonomics rest of the team at stakeholder meetings, but this gives me a chance to avoid that and catch up with you folks.
So, what I'll try and do in 10 or 15 minutes is give a little more information on ergo. I assume that Charles talked about that this morning a bit and answered some questions.
I want to talk a little bit about something that's preliminary but I think those of you who don't know about it ought to be apprised, which is some work on fiberglass, and then I can just update everybody on the rest of the Health Standards agenda which does not have a lot of overlap with construction issues but there are a couple of items of interest.
As far as the ergonomics goes, as I said, the whole group is now in Atlanta today doing some interaction with the stakeholders. There was a meeting Tuesday in Kansas City, and we'll be having another one here in D.C. in September, following on a D.C. meeting we had in February, I believe.
Whenever we have stakeholder meetings inside the Beltway, we get letters about we never go out to the hinterlands, and we got a bunch of letters last week about why are we going to the hinterlands. Nobody cares. We should stay inside the Beltway.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I sent you one of those, by the way.
MR. FINKLE: I guess the first and most important thing to say, which I assume again that Charles said this morning, is that despite the fact that we have a congressional rider in effect which does authorize us to develop a standard during this year, although not to publish one, the -- the impression that we have been working all along with the goal of -- on the first of October having a fully-written proposal to dump in the Register is -- is a mis-impression in large part because of the enormity of the task and all of the steps that would have to occur, including OMB review and Small Business panels and so forth.
So, we're aiming for the Spring or Summer of next year, assuming that there's not an additional congressional prohibition in the appropriation that's going through now.
I'm sure everybody's heard over and over again the basic background on the problem, the numbers of musculoskeletal disorders in the nation, the billions of dollars spent in workman's compensation costs, the extensive scientific underpinnings. As with everything, there's controversy around -- around the edges, but on this one, we think that it's -- it's -- we've long since passed the time when there is fundamental challenge to the notion that there is a connection between some MSDs and -- and work-related risk factors.
For those of you who were familiar with a draft pre-proposal that was circulating in the '94-95 period, although we don't have a reg text at this point that we're working from fully fleshed out, it's -- it's fairly clear to us at this point, pending additional discussion with interested parties, that we are headed for a rather different template for the standard this time around that is going to emphasize not details of quantified risk factors and numerical targets for reducing these stressors but rather a program standard which is going to be modeled to some extent on the safety and health program standard, emphasizing the activities that -- that firms ought to be engaged in to assess and recognize and deal with whatever ergonomic MSD problems they may have rather than emphasizing specific design-oriented requirements.
So, the regulation or the proposed regulation is -- is probably going to emphasize, you know, the need to have a serious coherent response tailored to the situation in the workplace to the problem with the elements of hazard analysis and worker training and employee participation and a preventive orientation, medical management where preventive measures fail, and program evaluation to continuously gauge the success of whatever interventions are -- are taken, rather than any kind of a formula for what you have to do, when you have to stop, and so forth.
So, right now in Atlanta, the four basic issues that are being discussed with the stakeholders there, we sent out a document with issues and questions which is now available on the Internet, and the four areas are, Number 1, questions about what the basic obligation of all employers covered under the standard should be, what are the sine qua non, sine qua non, whatever, of -- of an ergonomics program, that whatever the level of risk in the workplace is that ought to be taken into account, what are some of the details of hazard analysis and employee involvement that -- that ought to be part of everyone's program?
The second area is how can we construct one or more trigger points where additional information about the seriousness of an MSD problem in a particular workplace would lead to requirements for additional obligation beyond the most basic elements.
So, the -- the dichotomy really is whether we ought to focus on kind of reactive measures, recordable incidents or signs and symptoms or other post-hoc triggers that would -- that would come into play when observations of damage occur, which is, I think, the way we're leaning at this point, but the other current of discussion would be to what extent should we work in pro-active triggers based on the presence of very high-risk stressors in the workplace, problem jobs that have been identified elsewhere as having a very high rate of MSD damage, irrespective of whether in a particular worksite signs and symptoms have been observed.
The third question, which is on everyone's mind, is how are we going to, and to what extent are we going to, try and specify to employers guideposts for knowing when controls that have been implemented are adequate for the situation at hand. Kind of stopping rules for how the employer would know that -- that the response has been commensurate with the problem. That's a real difficult area because we're not going to be putting in a lot of, if any, real design-oriented detail in the standard, but we recognize we need to provide some guides, particularly for the small employers, about what our views are about how -- what kind of data can be used to gauge whether the interventions have been successful or not.
And the final issue, which is probably of most interest to this group, is the scope of the standard. As you probably have been told at this point, we are leaning towards a program standard that in at least the first incarnation, the first phase of the rulemaking, would cover production processes in manufacturing and manual handling operations in general industry and not to cover construction operations.
Again, a lot of real difficult discussion over the months about what portions of this problem to try and go after in the first phase, and the tentative choice to look at manufacturing and manual handling represents an admission that we can -- I don't have the figures in front of me, but deal with -- with a fairly large percentage of -- of all MSDs with -- with a somewhat lower percentage of -- of covered workplaces and covered employees.
So, it's an efficient way to try and deal with circumscribing the problem, but again we are envisioning this as a very long-term effort, and we -- we recognize that there are problems in -- in the construction area, in other areas outside of manufacturing, particularly the data entry and keyboarding areas, and by -- by limiting it, if we do so, to those two in the first phase, it's by no means a suggestion that that's going to be the end of the line.
Again, I was not here this morning. So, I don't know if I'm going over old ground, but if you have any questions about --
MR. BURKHAMMER: No. Go ahead. No, you're not going over old ground.
MR. FINKLE: That was what I was going to say about ergo. If there are any questions, bearing in mind that I'm here on my own with a whole team in Atlanta.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Felipe?
MR. DEVORA: With regard to construction on the ergonomics standard and the other -- the other areas that you talked about, you've made a reference to the science.
Are we basing -- are we still separating construction from this ergo standard in general industry because of the lack of sound science in construction? Are you saying that we -- we do have studies and surveys of construction that already point to that?
MR. FINKLE: I think it's the latter, but -- but I'm really not the expert on that. I think our view is that our task now is to make the cuts on scope based on -- more on a -- on a decision about the size of the problem, of the potential problem, where we can target ourselves most efficiently, where the solutions are best known, and we did not try and make a cut saying that the science is better known here versus there.
My -- my suspicion is that -- is that based on the -- on the NIOSH report, that we're not inclined to make that -- that kind of distinction. We think the risk factors are risk factors wherever they -- wherever they occur, but at this point, it's more of a practical decision about where we can be most effective.
MR. BURKHAMMER: The -- this committee, in the past, had and still does have a musculoskeletal disorders in construction workgroup, and several members of the -- several members of the associations that are sitting in the audience today have voiced their objections to that workgroup report that was generated out of the first workgroup, and it was forwarded on to OSHA as an information-only product and not voted on by the committee, and I think you have that in front of you.
There were volumes, and I -- if you don't have the volumes, I do, of material and studies and information that were gathered by that workgroup that I think sufficiently, in my personal opinion, not the committee's opinion, my personal opinion, supported the fact that there are several work operations in construction that certainly fall or should fall within an ergonomic protection-type standard, and we presented our views on that to the committee, and even in the committee, there were members of the committee, ACCSH committee, that, for one reason or another, were not able to support the work product.
But the committee is now reconstituted, and Marie Haring Sweeney from NIOSH and I co-chair that committee, and we will be happy to sit down with you and share our previous work product if you don't have it or are missing parts of it.
MR. FINKLE: Yeah. I think we'd like that. I know that the rest of the team was fortunate to hear a presentation from, I know, Scott Schneider and perhaps some other people who came and talked about some of the work practices and other solutions that are being implemented. So, it's not for lack of interest in the area. It's just, you know, we get based on what the reaction to the earlier version that was more ambitious, broader in scope, the decision was made to try and start with a less sweeping scope.
MR. BURKHAMMER: That's fine. Larry?
MR. EDGINTON: Just to second what Stu said, you know, there are many of us around the construction industry that believe that it's quite appropriate to give consideration to including construction in the scope, based upon the criteria that you've established.
You know, the premise, we're saying it ought not to matter what industry a worker works in as to whether or not they're going to receive protection.
What we know in the construction industry -- and many -- much of what we know has been developed in a cooperative fashion between labor and management, is that we understand the science of the problem, the potential for the risk, and perhaps most importantly we know of cost effective interventions.
I mean those things are there, and if that's the criteria that the agency's considering, then that gives good reason and support to include construction in the scope.
MR. FINKLE: Well, again, you know, the decisions are not -- are not firm at this point, but, you know, I know there is -- there is great concern about not leaving out sectors that for various reasons ought to be logically included, but there's the reality of -- of the political undertaking that we're engaged in here, and, you know, I know Charles is -- is still grappling in his mind with how to make those very difficult balancing decisions.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any other questions on ergonomics?
MR. BURKHAMMER: How about fiberglass?
MR. FINKLE: Well, this is something that is very preliminary, but I -- I didn't want to let another quarter go by and not give you some early information on this.
As you probably know, fiberglass and all of the -- the synthetic fibers, the rock wool and slag wool as well, was listed on our priority planning process several years ago as one of the 18 hazards that we were committed to taking some -- some action on, and as we've been continuing to -- to amass information about possible regulatory action on fiberglass, I was approached more than -- well more than a year ago now by various companies in NAMA, the Insulation Manufacturers Association, including, I think, all of the large manufacturers of -- of these fibers, about a possible non-regulatory alternative, and that process is now to the point where NAMA, along with -- with -- with participation from a number of other industry groups, including the Insulation Contractors of America, the National Insulation Association, and having had discussions with the Laborers Health and Safety Fund and the Glass Molders Union, NAMA has presented to us a fairly detailed plan for essentially a voluntary standard and a product stewardship plan for -- for the fibers that the rest of OSHA is now discussing internally, and it was the participation from Health Standards and Construction and Compliance and Policy and the various affected groups within OSHA.
The basic idea would be that rather than moving directly ahead to a comprehensive mandatory standard, that the -- the producers of this material would commit to a number of aspects of the standard and confer on OSHA the recognition that this is the general duty of the producers and the customers of these products to -- to adhere to.
There is a PEL in this proposal that is being hotly debated internally, but it's not -- in my mind, it's not really the cornerstone of the agreement because practically, I think, almost any PEL that we would be able to agree on, the paradox would be that that -- that level would be above what's already being achieved in the manufacture of these products, but it would be below and perhaps well below what prevailing levels are in installation and removal.
So, I'm encouraging -- have encouraged the people drafting this proposal to us to focus not so much on the -- the PEL per se but on all of the activities that need to go -- go on outside the manufacturing operations to provide the maximum amount of worker protection.
So, they've been working on training programs, on a plan for respiratory protection, different -- different types of respirators and different work operations, medical monitoring protocols, exposure assessment, and -- and required reporting to OSHA about the -- the successes or -- or the trends in -- in exposure levels.
But, ultimately, what it comes down to is for this to succeed is really the notion of product stewardship and that the manufacturers would -- would commit to being very actively involved in dealing with their customers to disseminate information about how these materials ought to be handled, and ultimately to be willing to take a stand and try and leverage behavior on the part of the customers through the kinds of product stewardship initiatives that have worked with -- with other products in the past.
We've been looking to EPA, which has an agreement of fairly longstanding with the producers of the refractory ceramic fibers, where there, I think, have been some real positive changes among the customer community based on that industry's commitment to -- to making sure that the products are not sold to people who are not willing to -- to handle them responsibly.
So, I think we're at least six months away from -- from being able to really hammer out the details of -- of what an alternative to regulation at this point would be, but I just wanted to give you a preview of it, and any -- anything that anybody has to send along.
We're aware of some of the work practice documents that Canada and some of the European countries have come up with, but I'm sure we're not aware of everything that's out there with respect to -- to these products.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Questions? Larry?
MR. EDGINTON: I guess not so much a question but a comment. I know myself and maybe a few others in the room have had an opportunity to meet with the manufacturers representatives and other parties of interest, and -- and I think (1) most of us are fairly supportive of the concept, that it shows great promise.
However, we had some concern, at least some of us had some concern, with respect to focusing on the manufacturing processes in new construction, and I think you've touched on an important thing. It's not so much with respect to demolition and rehabilitation activities, which seem to suggest that maybe where some of the greatest exposures are, and I would encourage you to continue to cause them to focus on that.
MR. FINKLE: Yeah. I think their initial -- their initial focus was -- was manufacturing and particularly installation, particularly blown-in insulation. But, yeah, I'm aware that your group and
-- and the Laborers have -- have brought that to their attention, and they've come back with additional appendices governing demolition.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any other questions or comments for Adam?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you very much.
MR. FINKLE: If I could just take a couple minutes on -- on the rest of the agenda, which amounts to real short items.
The one -- the one item that does have direct implications for construction is methylene chloride, where we are very close to settling all the remaining litigation on the standard, and that's going to involve the finalization of -- of a supplemental notice that we published a couple of months ago, making some changes to two aspects of the rule which we published in final form in early '97.
One of them is adding some very limited medical removal protection benefits for workers, including construction workers, who are medically determined to be -- to have pre-existing or existing cardiac and neurological conditions and dermatological conditions that are aggravated by continued methylene chloride exposure, and probably more important change is some extensions of time for companies in certain applications to comply with the provisions of the standard, and in particular, our willingness to provide relief from some of the requirements to install respirators during the period between the effective date of the standard and full compliance with engineering controls.
We were persuaded that in this case, because cartage respirators are not effective at all against methylene chloride and air supply respirators are needed, that there are a lot of companies affected who really don't have the resources to -- at the same -- at the same time both be installing compressors and air lines and trying to engineer down to the final PEL.
So, we provided as long as these companies will meet the short-term limit and comply with the number of work practices, we're just kind of letting them concentrate their resources on engineering controls as quickly as possible, but in no case beyond April of 2000, which was the original final compliance date anyway.
So, there are a number of special applications in manufacturing, but in addition to that, really at the behest of the industry, trade associations negotiating this settlement, we've included -- I want to read it exactly just to make sure we know exactly what we're talking about here.
It's "construction work for the restoration and preservation of buildings, including painting, paint removal, floor refinishing and resurfacing and cabinet-making".
So, those operations that are using methylene chloride for those purposes, to some extent, depending on the size of the company but no matter how large the companies, there will be some additional time to engineer to the PEL in those cases.
Again, that was published as a notice in May, and we expect to publish it in final form in the next several weeks, and other than that, you've heard already about the silica standard, the chromium proposal. Our tuberculosis rule is finished with public hearings, and we hope to have the final out within the next 12 to 18 months.
We have a number of permissible exposure limits that we're very close to promulgating as proposed rule, none of which I think have any real import for construction. We've added beryllium to our regulatory agenda but we've not made too much progress towards proposal in the last few months, and the sign protection factors for respirators are getting close to promulgation, but it's still not going to be within the next several months, unfortunately.
So, I think, unless I'm missing something, I think that's the extent of what we're involved in that might have any relevance to ACCSH.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any further questions or comments to Adam?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Great. Thank you very much, Adam.
MR. FINKLE: Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: We appreciate your taking the time to come.
Some final committee business before we take a look at the date of the next meeting. We've had discussion on a couple of -- adding a couple of workgroups, one on hexavalent chromium in construction, and one on multi-employer worksites.
In looking at the co-chairs for the various existing committees, there's several members of ACCSH that have not yet been trapped -- I mean volunteered to chair a workgroup. So, please feel free to raise your hand.
Bill, I think, and not to pick on Mr. Rhoten, but I think hexavalent chromium is -- is more predominant in the pipefitter trades and the plumbing trades, --
MR. RHOTEN: I'd be happy to serve, Mr. Chairman.
MR. BURKHAMMER: -- and I know that Owen would be more than happy to serve as your co-chairman since painting also falls within this realm. So, any -- any objections to those two people and their volunteering to be co-chairmen?
MR. RHOTEN: We're not having an election here, are we?
MR. BURKHAMMER: You just won. Thank you for volunteering to chair that.
The multi-employer workgroups --
MR. RHOTEN: Steve volunteered, also.
MR. COOPER: I'll just come to the meetings when you call a meeting.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Did I see a hand from that side -- I didn't see your hand go up. Did you volunteer?
MR. COOPER: No.
MR. BURKHAMMER: You never volunteer. Participate. Thank you.
Multi-employer workgroup. Thank you very much for raising your hand. I was hoping you would volunteer, Felipe, and Danny, good.
Anybody else would like to be on the multi-employer team? Good.
The one we also had some discussion on this morning, and I think we can include it in one of the existing committees, and that's targeting, and I would like, Michael, to include the targeting in the data collection group and just expand your -- you and Marie's committee to include that.
MR. BUCHET: No problem. The co-chair will have no problems, since I'll speak for her.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you.
MR. BUCHET: We'll see what happens.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Great. Did anybody have any comments on Form 170 they wanted to turn in? Steve?
MR. COOPER: This was a surprise.
MR. BURKHAMMER: It's not a surprise. I asked you yesterday to bring your comments this morning.
MR. COOPER: There's a lot of mistakes, typos in 170, Bruce. We need someone to go over it. I think it was hurriedly done, which is fine, because it's a good document. I wonder, Mr. Chairman, there were some comments yesterday on 170, if something could be added to that form. Do you recall that there were a couple of things that were not on that form that the committee thought should be on the form? Revising the form -- and it's been in use 18 months or whatever. You might want to call on someone to touch base with the directorate or something on that form.
There's quite a few typos on it for one, Bruce, and there's repetition in it, and a couple other mistakes in it.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Could we ask you to sit down with Mark and go over those with him? Represent --
MR. COOPER: Yes, you can.
MR. BURKHAMMER: -- the committee?
MR. COOPER: I will.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you. And then maybe next time, you could report back to the committee with Mark on the conclusions you've --
MR. COOPER: To the committee members, there were some comments yesterday on what should be included, they would like to see included to 170, and Danny was one of them, and they need that information or it's to no avail.
MR. EVANS: I haven't had an opportunity to look at the form, but the one question I asked was the time period of employee being on the job before the accident happened, and --
MR. MASTERSON: The other thing that I would think would be useful, not just the time period on the -- not just the time period on the job but the time period in the field.
MR. EDGINTON: I made the same note myself.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Why don't we do this? Why doesn't the committee, if you would, mark up your questions on your copy and forward them to Steve within 30 days, and then Steve will set up a meeting with John Franklin and Mark and go over them as a representative of the committee. Bruce, would you see that that happens?
MR. BUCHET: I noticed some of the duplications in the coding, especially in the operation contributing factor. What I also noticed was that in particular, steel erections have a whole host of sub-categories whereas some other operations are not included the same way, and I sat down last night and tried to reorder some of these, and it might be interesting if we took all concrete work and put it in one spot and started out with 40 and then went 41, 42, 43, 44, which would allow you to pick the general, if you couldn't be more specific, but if you were more specific, you could go 4 is concrete work, and then go down to pouring or rotting or vibrating.
I mean there's a series of things that we haven't captured in the operation. I don't know how thorough we're allowed to be with the coding or how many numbers you're allowed to have, but --
MR. BURKHAMMER: I don't think there's a restriction on the numbers.
MR. BUCHET: -- one of the things that would make it easier for the person using it would be if we would -- if we took steel erection as an example and started sequentially numbering certain activities, you might look for concrete work in one spot. You might look for framing in another spot. You might look for forming and having different categories of that in the spot which would allow you to think through how you filled out the form and think through what you're observing there, what you're asking questions on, instead of jumping -- jumping around.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Would you make a note to that?
MR. BUCHET: Sure.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Pass that on to Steve for discussion, please.
Larry, did you have a comment?
MR. EDGINTON: No.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Okay. Mr. Cooper?
MR. COOPER: I would like to compliment Bruce and his office on this 170 because it's very, very important, as I mentioned yesterday, and we asked for something, and we got something, and that's nice.
But it's information we have to have, and that's one problem we have in this agency or endeavor is -- is that. So, thank you, Bruce.
MR. BURKHAMMER: One other thing we discussed was -- and Larry kind of led this discussion, was the Web page versus the CD-ROM, and maybe it might be appropriate, Bruce, to think about or consider the Director of Construction preparing a CD that was basically a small simple construction CD that had regulations, the construction directive and letters of interpretation and that's it.
I mean that's all the contractor would basically need, and especially the small contractor that's trying to struggle with having a computer and getting on a Web page and fighting their way through the maze of information to get to that, and if we could do something real simple, it -- it might be a real plus for the industry.
MR. SWANSON: I thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Would you get out your calendars? We'll take a look at the date for the next meeting. Let's take a look at the October-November time frame. October 5th? Any objections in that week? Good? Hear a lot of goods. I don't hear any bads. Jane, do you have -- you look perplexed.
MS. WILLIAMS: I was just thinking there might be a couple workgroups that might want to be meeting, and I was wondering if there was a time in September with the holidays and all that, is that early enough to --
MR. BURKHAMMER: Good point.
MS. WILLIAMS: Would mid-October work for group meetings to be satisfied as well as --
MR. BURKHAMMER: We could look at work meetings. The 12th is Columbus Day. Some people get that as a holiday and some don't. What about the 14th, 15th? Yeah.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Let's -- let's go back to the week of the 5th. How about the 7th, 8th? 7th, 8th? Bruce?
MR. SWANSON: Fine.
MR. BURKHAMMER: All right. Let's pencil in the 7th and 8th, and we'll get out a note to the members that aren't here. Yes, it will be in Washington. We don't want to be too far out of town when the Redskins play on the weekends.
So, let's take a look at the 6th for workgroups and the 9th for workgroups and the 7th and 8th for the meeting. I'd like to schedule as many workgroups as possible. So, would the chairmen and the co-chairmen please get together and take a look at their workgroup, and I know some of the workgroups are going to meet between now and then, musculoskeletal disorders being one.
MR. COOPER: The Sanitation --
MR. BURKHAMMER: For those of you in the audience, be prepared. No. I'll let you know the day before. It will be here.
MR. COOPER: The Sanitation Workgroup wants to provide the committee with a draft document for Sanitation.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Okay.
MR. COOPER: For your consideration. If we would meet on the 6th, one day prior to our meetings here, we may not have that document typed up but maybe we would if we did it the 6th. We'd do all that stuff for the document to give you.
So, therefore, we might have to meet a few -- prior to that. If we do that, we have a committee member that required air travel in and out. So, I think the commitment might be is to try and get OSHA to -- we can draft the document. It's close, but to get it printed up for the committee, do you think, Bruce, if we gave them -- it's pretty short standard, that we could probably get it in on the second day and then give them a day to -- to type it up?
MR. SWANSON: For you, we could try anything, Steve.
MR. COOPER: Thank you very much. Because that would require the other co-chairman to fly in way early, but if you'll do that, Bruce, we can schedule it in a timely fashion.
MR. BURKHAMMER: How -- how much time on the agenda do you think you're going to need to present?
MR. COOPER: We could use a CD.
MR. BURKHAMMER: How much time on the agenda are you going to need to present that draft and discussion?
MR. COOPER: 10 --
MR. BURKHAMMER: How much?
MR. COOPER: 10-15 minutes.
MR. BURKHAMMER: You don't want any discussion on that?
MR. COOPER: Oh, no discussion.
MR. BURKHAMMER: That sounds like about a two-hour time slot.
MR. COOPER: We could do it probably in an hour.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hour. Okay.
MR. COOPER: I'm sure there'll be much discussion afterwards, too.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yeah. You might need two hours.
Are any other workgroups planning on presenting a draft report to the committee? Bill, do you have anything?
MR. RHOTEN: I don't -- I don't think that we will at the next meeting.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Okay. Michael, are you going to have anything? No? Okay.
Any -- any other discussion, open business, anybody would like to bring up before we ask for Public Comment? Felipe?
MR. DEVORA: Is there a compliance directive meeting on the respiratory standard?
MR. SWANSON: No, there is not.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any other?
MR. SWANSON: Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the members of the committee through you as the acting chair, and we don't know what is going to happen, of course, vis a vis the chair between now and October. I know that that's still an open issue. Tim's departure was on very short notice for most of us.
I'd like to ask the committee's assistance through you, Stu, as long as -- as long as you hold that -- that title, for help on -- on putting an agenda together in a -- in a timely fashion, subject matter.
The agenda that we've gone over here for the last day and a half was largely a creation of -- of my office. We were able to make a presentation, respectable presentation to you based on a lot of help from a lot of other offices, and we can -- we can do that again in the future, but what I'm asking assistance on is what do you want to hear, and please let us know that in a timely fashion, and then we will try and -- and -- and build an agenda around your wishes.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I think this is one of the better agendas we've had recently. I mean it was full --
MR. RHOTEN: I would just comment, --
MR. BURKHAMMER: -- day and -- go ahead.
MR. RHOTEN: -- if I could, that all the presentations that were made were -- were informative and quite well done, and I thank you for that.
MR. BURKHAMMER: And this is the first time in a long time we've used the full day and a half to -- and we haven't wasted any time. So, I thought you did an excellent job.
MR. SWANSON: Thank you on behalf of the staff.
MR. COOPER: Mr. Chairman? Bruce, you're asking the committee members to offer you agenda items that -- for your consideration for --
MR. SWANSON: Correct.
MR. COOPER: -- the next meeting?
MR. SWANSON: Correct. And do that -- and do that far enough in advance so that if we have to create something, as we often do with your requests, Mr. Cooper, we're -- we're able -- we're able to do so and -- and present a respectable product.
MR. COOPER: Well, you've always been very creative in the past, Bruce.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any other discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any Public Comments?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you very much. Meeting adjourned.
(Whereupon, the meeting was adjourned.)