Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH)
Minutes of May 4-5, 2000, Meeting
U.S. Department of Labor
Frances Perkins Building
Room N - 3437 B,C & D
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
The meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) was called to order by the Acting Chair, Stewart Burkhammer, at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 4, 2000. The following members were present for all or part of the meeting:
Stewart Burkhammer Acting Chair
William C. Rhoten
Harry Payne Jr.
Larry A. Edginton
Marie Haring Sweeney
Jane F. Williams
VP & Mgr. Of Safety and Health Services, Bechtel Corporation
Safety Dir.,Fretz Construction
Dir. of Safety & Health Dept./ United Assoc. of Journeymen & Apprent. of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Indust. of U.S. and Canada
Exec. Dir.,Intl. Assoc. of Bridge, Struct. & Orn. Iron Workers
Manager, Safety and Loss Control The Ryland Group
Commissioner, N.C. Dept. of Labor
Dir. of Safety and Health Intl. Union of Op. Engineers
Chief, Doc. Dev. Branch Ed. and Info. Div., NIOSH
Safety and Health Consultant
Construction Division Manager National Safety Council
VP,Safety/Loss Prev. Mgr. J.A. Jones Construction
Designated Federal Representative (DFR) for ACCSH
Approximately 20 members of the public were in attendance at various times, as were a number of DOL/OSHA representatives, including Berrien Zettler (DOC).
Stewart Burkhammer, the ACCSH Acting Chair, welcomed all attendees, and, after asking all present to introduce themselves, called for a moment of silence for workers killed in recent construction accidents.
ACCSH voted to accept the draft minutes, as amended, for the February 2000 ACCSH meeting. ACCSH members agreed that Training should be added to the Safety and Health Program Work Group's charter, instead of standing up a separate Training Work Group. This work group will act as liaison between the OSHA Training Institute and ACCSH, with one of the first issues to be addressed being the enhancement of the credibility of the OSHA 10 hour training card.
Steve Cooper and Jane Williams presented a report on the OSHA Form 170 Work Group. They pointed out that the Data Collection Work Group Co-chairs attended the last meeting because of the overlapping interests of these work groups. The work group is attempting to find a balance between needing a great deal of information on each fatality, and keeping the form short enough that it can be filled out in a reasonable period of time. They reported that they anticipate that the work group will have a preliminary draft of the 170 form ready for review in August 2000, and that the final version of the form could be completed in the fall of 2000.
Michael Buchet and Marie Haring Sweeney presented a report on the Data Collection Work Group. The Work Group is concerned about collecting data in a format that allows the data to be fully utilized. Don Peterson (a retired BLS employee) attended the most recent meeting to address a number of questions which resulted from his presentation at the December 1999 work group meeting. This included a more in-depth explanation of the utilization of workers' compensation data to possibly assist in targeting interventions. Representatives from F.W. Dodge gave the work group a briefing on the collection of data on the construction industry.
Michael Buchet and Marie Haring Sweeney, the Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) Work Group Co-chairs presented a report on activities of the work group. The work group will continue to collect useful and successful intervention strategies which have been shown to reduce the risk of MSD injuries to workers. In addition, the work group will, in the future, discuss whether to recommend the inclusion of ergonomics modules in the OSHA 10 hour course. The work group requested that an OSHA representative brief the work group on the status of the draft ergonomics brochure, and it was decided to request that this brief be provided to the full ACCSH.
ACCSH members participated in a detailed discussion on the latest draft of the ACCSH Rules and Guidelines document. Much of the discussion centered on the nomenclature for various types of reports generated by work group Co-Chairs, and the mechanism for putting written documents on the ACCSH web site. It was decided that Williams would collect written comments on the latest draft of the Guidelines from ACCSH members early in the summer, and have a new draft ready for comment at the next ACCSH.
Bill Rhoten presented a report on the Hexavalent Chromium (HVC) Work Group. The work group has received excellent support from OSHA and NIOSH in briefing the members on the scope of the HVC problem, and the relevant issues. Rhoten further informed ACCSH that the work group is still in the process of defining the role of the work group. It is clear that a very large number of workers face the possibility of HVC exposure. Rhoten pledged his support in providing NIOSH personnel access to job sites in order to perform tests - these tests will help generate information on which crafts face what levels of exposure to HVC.
John R. Bogner presented a brief on the Carolina Star Program. He pointed out that this North Carolina safe work site program is comparable to the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), and that there are currently 22 Carolina Star sites, which generally cover the larger companies. For the smaller companies they have instituted the Rising Star program. Bogner emphasized that two of the more important goals of any safety program are gaining the committed support of front line supervisors, and achieving a high level of employee involvement in the program.
Larry Edginton presented a report on the Subpart N - Cranes Work Group. Edginton reported that questions concerning the work group's charge were resolved by consultation with DOC. The Solicitor's Office provided assistance in reviewing the rule making process, and in providing information on the ramifications of utilizing new references. Since changing references might impact employer obligations, the work group will need to study this issue further. In addition, the work group is in the process of attempting to attract participation from more industry areas. Edginton indicated that the next Work Group meeting would probably be held later in May 2000.
Burkhammer presented a report on the Process Safety Management (PSM) Work Group. He indicated that recent meeting was productive, and discussed the fact that the work group will meet again after the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making for the PSM standard is available.
Steve Cloutier briefed the committee on the Safety and Health Program/Training Work Group. He reported that the Work Group primarily discussed training issues at the last meeting, including: the perceived dearth of training aids provided by the OTI for instructors; the need for a more secure, trackable course completion documentation system for the OSHA 10 hour course; the high frequency of accidents at Job Corps training sites, and how implementing the OSHA 10 hour course for the trainees at these sites might alleviate this situation; and a variety of methodologies which could be utilized to improve safety awareness. ACCSH members discussed at length a motion to recommend to OSHA that every construction worker be required to complete the OSHA 10 hour course. Although a majority of members approved the motion, it was decided to return the issue to the work group to develop a more fully defined proposal to submit to OSHA later this year.
Felipe Devora presented a brief on the Fall Protection Work Group. Devora pointed out that the fall protection ANPRM is now on the long term action agenda, with the next action undetermined. The work group has compiled a binder with comments and information relevant to the ten issues/questions OSHA addressed in the Federal Register. The Co-Chairs are mailing copies of the binder to each ACCSH member, with the request that members read the material and prepare comments on each issue prior to the next ACCSH. At that time, each question/issue will be brought up in the form of a motion, for discussion and a vote on what will be provided to OSHA by ACCSH on each issue. A four hour block will be set aside in the agenda for the September 2000 ACCSH for this purpose.
Felipe Devora and Marie Haring Sweeney reported on the Noise in Construction Work Group. A NIOSH representative (Don Franks) gave the work group a presentation on hearing loss, and an OSHA representative (Jim Maddox) gave an update on the noise ANPRM, which is currently in legal review. It appears that the noise ANPRM will probably be published this summer. The work group is still in the information gathering stage, attempting to determine how to best support OSHA in preventing noise induced hearing loss in the construction industry. The Co-chairs reported that they may not hold another work group meeting until after the ANPRM is available.
Marthe Kent and associates (including Claudia Thurber and George Henschel), presented a brief on the Rule Making Process, specifically giving the attendees an overview on how the rule making process is designed to function. Topics covered included: the OSHA Act; procedures for rule making; setting priorities; Emergency Temporary Standards; the Presidential Memo on Plain Language; rule making steps; Advanced Notices of Proposed Rule Making; regulatory texts; preambles; SBREFA; rules for making proposed rules public via the Federal Register; public comment periods; internal reviews; OMB reviews; issuance of Final Rules; and the status of the Ergonomics proposed standard for General Industry. Henschel took an action to provide ACCSH with a simplified flow chart outlining the steps in the standard generation process.
Susan Fleming gave a presentation/demonstration of the OSHA internet Site Workers' Page. In addition to providing a great deal of background information concerning work place safety, the page delineates workers rights and responsibilities in regard to work place safety, and specifies employer responsibilities. In addition the new page informs workers how to file a complaint with OSHA, and describes OSHA's mandate and coverage.
During the Public Comment period, two persons provided comment to ACCSH. Charlie Maresca, representing the Associated Builders and Contractors, stated that his association had sent a letter to ACCSH objecting to the Ergonomics booklet which was posted on the ACCSH web site, and requesting that it be removed. The basic contention was that the public might perceive that the information on the web site actually constituted an approved standard. Burkhammer committed to reviewing this matter with the MSD work group, and Mr. Maresca was invited to present his association's views to the next MSD work group. Mr. James Suttle, Executive Vice President for HTR Inc., made a short presentation to ACCSH, in which he discussed ways in which architectural engineering companies could become more involved in addressing construction safety issues. He also suggested that more safety information could be included in the formal education of engineers and architects.
Berrien Zettler and several associates (Mohammad Ayub, Tom Marple, and Noah Connell) gave a briefing on Directorate of Construction (DOC), which included: DOC Organizational Structure; DOC Goals; and a Standards Update. Zettler reminded attendees that the DOC was formed in 1995, and that the first Standard developed by DOC was the Scaffold Standard in 1996. He also discussed how DOC is organized to carry out its charter. Ayub described the activities of the Engineering Services Group. Connell presented the Construction Standards Update, and included status on: the Steel Erection Final Rule; the Scaffolding ANPRM; and the Confined Space Proposed Rule. Connell also discussed a strategy to revise regulations for the construction industry to require adherence to the 1993 version of the ANSI standard called MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices), vice the 1971 version that is now referenced. It is possible that a Direct Final Rule can be used, because it would be based on a rule already in existence. Marple described the Construction Services Group's responsibilities and activities, including an in-depth briefing on partnerships. One salient point that emerged was that if an entity has entered into a partnership with OSHA, the benefits of the partnership apply even in cases where the entity is a subcontractor on a site.
Assistant Secretary Jeffress briefed ACCSH on recent developments concerning OSHA, including budget, the mid-year review, the strategic plan, standard development, and priorities. He also discussed the fact that although most categories of construction industry safety and health metrics are showing improvement in prevention of injury, time lost, and contamination exposure, the number of fatalities has not improved. He discussed a variety of strategies OSHA is using or is going to use to address this problem, including targeted enforcement, increased funding for outreach and education initiatives, partnership programs, and measures to effect positive changes in workplace culture. Jeffress indicated that budget cutbacks by Congress could jeopardize the safety improvements these programs could provide. He also asked ACCSH to advise him on appropriateness of putting an ergonomics rule for the construction industry on the regulatory agenda for next year - ACCSH will take up this issue at the September 2000 meeting. In response to a query from an ACCSH member, Jeffress committed to discussing with his staff the possibility of going straight to a Notice of Proposed Rule Making with the Sanitation standard.
ACCSH members discussed a recent communications tower accident in North Carolina, in light of the fact that OSHA has put together an agreement with the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) to formalize safe tower erection procedures. Swanson stated that if the workers had followed the proper procedures, this terrible accident would not have happened. He emphasized that getting the safety message out to smaller contractors continues to be a problem. ACCSH agreed to address the tower erection question at the September 2000 ACCSH meeting, with Cooper taking the lead in assembling a briefing.
The next ACCSH meeting will be held at DOL headquarters in Washington D.C. on 14-15 September, 2000. The next ACCSH meeting after the August meeting will be held during the week of 4 December, 2000.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m. on 5 May 2000.