Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH)
Minutes of September 14-15, 2000, Meeting

Holiday Inn Capital at the Smithsonian
Discovery II Conference Room
550 C ST. S.W.
Washington D.C.

The meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) was called to order by the Acting Chair, Stewart Burkhammer, at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 14, 2000. The following members were present for all or part of the meeting:

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Stewart Burkhammer
Acting Chair
Mgt. VP & Mgr. Of Safety and Health Services, Bechtel Corporation
Felipe Devora Mgt. Safety Dir., Fretz Construction
William C. Rhoten Labor Dir. of Safety & Health Dept./ United Assoc. of Journeymen & Apprent. of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Indust. of U.S. & Canada
Stephen Cooper Labor Exec. Dir., Intl. Assoc. of Bridge, Struct. & Orn. Iron Wkrs.
Harry Payne Jr. State Commissioner, N.C. Dept. of Labor
Larry A. Edginton Labor Dir. of Safety and Health
Intl. Union of Op. Engineers
Marie Haring Sweeney Fed. Chief, Doc. Dev. Branch
Ed. and Info. Div., NIOSH
Jane F. Williams Public Safety and Health Consultant
Owen Smith Mgt. President, Anzalone & Associates
Michael Buchet Public Construction Division Manager
National Safety Council
Stephen Cloutier Mgt. VP,Safety/Loss Prev. Mgr.
J.A. Jones Construction
Bruce Swanson Fed. Designated Federal Representative (DFR) for ACCSH

Approximately 30 members of the public were in attendance at various times, as were a number of DOL/OSHA representatives, including Mr. Biersner (DOL Office of the Solicitor).

Stewart Burkhammer, the ACCSH Acting Chair, welcomed all attendees, and, after asking all present to introduce themselves, called for a moment of silence in honor of ACCSH member Danny Evans, who had recently passed away.

ACCSH voted to accept the draft minutes for the May 2000 ACCSH meeting. Burkhammer alerted committee members that there would be motions brought up concerning Fall Protection, and ACCSH Procedures and Guidelines issues later during the two days of the ACCSH meeting.

Barbara Bielaski and Todd Owen delivered a presentation on Paperwork Reduction. They gave the background on the Paperwork Reduction Act, and described how OSHA does its work to comply with the Act. They also discussed an April 27th, OMB information seminar on paperwork reduction, saying that OSHA participated by chairing a roundtable discussion on certifying regulatory compliance. Out of that came a number of recommendations which have been distributed to the committee. One of the recommendations is that rather than simply looking at revoking record requirements, certification records, or paperwork requirements, that OSHA examine the underlying provisions - in some cases the rules are so old that provisions are out of date. For example, the frequency of crane inspections could be changed, and that would affect the amount of paperwork associated with documenting the inspections. Bielaski and Owen asked the ACCSH to designate either an existing work group or a new work group to work with them as they prepare the supporting statements, and the justifications to renew clearance at OMB on these paperwork requirements. They also asked that they be allowed to work with the workgroup in taking a look at these underlying provisions to see whether or not they are in need of revision. There are approximately 20 cases that involve construction rules, which need to be addressed. It was pointed out that the Co-chairs of the Form 170 Work Group (Ms. Williams and Mr. Cooper) attended the April symposium and provided a report on that to ACCSH. ACCSH decided that the Form 170 Work Group would be tasked to liaison with Bielaski and Owen on all non-crane Paperwork Reduction issues (working with other work groups as needed), and that the Cranes (Subpart N) Work Group would work with Bielaski and Owen on crane-related issues.

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. They have also invited input on activities and strategies that have been shown not to work. They have recently addressed a variety of issues, including: an ergonomic invention intervention research study that is now being conducted collaboratively by NIOSH and the Maritime industry, and a new NIOSH study on ergonomic solutions in the construction industry; letters sent to the Assistant Secretary and to Michael Buchet in response to the draft MSD report ACCSH submitted to OSHA last year; and a presentation by Dr. Stephen Grennan from Work Safe, Back Safe. There was rather lengthy discussion about the letters and, in response, the co-chairs are going to consider revising the MSD document and bringing that document back to the work group. They have committed the December work group meeting to going through the document once again with the goal of making further recommendations to the Agency as to its content, style, distribution, and audience.

Larry Reed, Jim Thornton, Chico McGill, Steve Hudock, Karl Siegfried, Cherie Fairfield Estill, and Leslie McDonald gave a special presentation on: the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH); an update on the Maritime Ergonomics Study; and an upcomingNIOSH study of Ergonomics in the Construction Industry. They discussed the work of MACOSH, discussed areas of common concerns between ACCSH and MACOSH, and the synergy that can be obtained through collaboration. Common areas of concern include: fall protection, noise reduction, electrical safety, training in outreach, and confined spaces. They described the Maritime Ergonomics Study, and how it had been funded and executed, and pointed out that the primary product is a set of guidelines of the best ergonomic practices for the shipyard industry focusing on engineering solutions. They emphasized that the goal was to reduce repetitive motion injuries and workman’s compensation costs as well as to increase productivity and product quality. They emphasized the goal was definitely not to develop a draft standard, but to develop recommendations for the industry. They also discussed that fact that the incidence of injury and illness in the maritime industry is several times higher than either general industry, or the construction industry. An example of issues examined during the study was the differences in vibrational outputs between new and old power tools used to cut and grind. Estill and McDonald discussed a new NIOSH project in ergonomics for the construction industry, which was modeled after the maritime study. The study will address ergonomic engineering solutions for the construction industry. Among the topics which will be addressed will be material redesign and process changes. They will identify and evaluate existing ergonomic solutions, and then follow that by developing and evaluating new ergonomic solutions, specifically looking for areas with high physical risk factors. The study will start in October 2000, and continue for three years. One of the information products that will be developed from project will be a compendium of ergonomic solutions, and another will be a dedicated web site to showcase ergonomic solutions specific for construction trades and different segments within the construction industry. ACCSH members indicated willingness to participate in this study through the MSD Work Group, and Burkhammer requested that the Co-chairs report to each ACCSH meeting on how the partnership is progressing.

Michael Buchet and Marie Haring Sweeney presented a report on the Data Collection Work Group. Don Kochin, from F.W. Dodge, talked to the work group, and distributed a report describing an attempt to search the Dodge report databases to locate injury reports that matched the projects where incidents of injuries or fatalities were reported on OSHA 170 forms. There were no matches, indicating that more discussions will have to take place to determine how the Dodge reports could be more useful in identifying contractors and subcontractors that have high illness/injury rates. Sweeney also discussed the issues concerning worker activity codes. Suzanne Marsh discussed coding issue being worked on by the work group, giving in-depth examples.

Steve Cooper and Jane Williams presented a report on the OSHA Form 170 Work Group. They gave background information on why the form needs to be reformulated in order to capture data that could be useful in targeting, enforcement and accident prevention. It was demonstrated how the new form would appear to the COSHO in filling in the data to support it. In addition, it was shown that filling out the new automated form would be easier, faster, and should reflect the realities of the accident more accurately. The work group will attempt to complete their efforts by the end of December. Cooper submitted the following motion:

"To harmonize OSHA databases the work group recommends that OSHA begin coding all information required on the revised OSHA 170 ‘Investigation Summary’ and ‘Construction Accident Information’ forms using the systems in the American National Standard Z16.2-1995 (Information Management for Occupational Safety and Health)."

He read into the record an in-depth rationale for this motion, which demonstrated why this action will assist OSHA in developing standards and outreach programs to reach its Strategic Plan goals. ACCSH approved this motion unanimously and forwarded it to OSHA along with a 170 Form Data Collection Flow Chart developed by the work group.

Felipe Devora presented the product of the Fall Protection Work Group, which consisted of the following 10 recommended motions concerning fall protection:

Motion #1:
The ACCSH work group on fall protection recommends to OSHA that STD 3.01A as currently written is reasonably necessary and appropriate to protect employees from the significant risks of fall hazards.
Motion #2:
The ACCSH work group on fall protection recommends to OSHA that at this time there is no need for alternative procedures for pre-cast concrete erection if current standards are applied correctly and the greater hazard argument is not misused.
Motion #3:
The ACCSH work group on fall protection recommends to OSHA that there is no need for alternative procedures for post frame construction.
Motion #4:
The ACCSH work group on fall protection recommends to OSHA that there is no need for alternative procedures for vendors delivering construction materials to a site. Emphasizing that OSHA's subpart M interpretations m1 - m2 clarify when vendors are engaged in construction "When vendor employees are delivering materials to a construction site and exposed to fall hazards of 6 feet, they are covered by Subpart M."
Motion #5:
The ACCSH work group on fall protection recommends to OSHA that they should consider the use of alternative methods of protection workers climbing and installing re-bar walls & curtains such as: retractable lanyards, vertical lifelines with rope grabs, and double-lanyard systems with a harness. A cradle device could be attached to the climber to hold the re-bar but it is most effective to use mechanical lifting devices such as forklifts or cranes.
Motion #6:
The ACCSH work group on fall protection recommends to OSHA that it should NOT adopt a separate requirement for fall restraint systems and should meet the same standards as those for personal fall arrest systems to avoid accidental interchange of parts.
Motion #7:
The ACCSH work group on fall protection recommends to OSHA that it should change positioning devices anchorage requirements from 3000 lbs. or 2 times the actual force to 5000 lbs. or 2 times the potential impact, whichever is greater.
Motion #8:
The ACCSH work group on fall protection recommends to OSHA that a prompt rescue plan must be formulated whenever a worker is exposed to a fall situation and is using fall arrest equipment. Components should include:
  1. A second party to sound an alarm when possible.
  2. Availability of a communication device when working alone or in remote locations.
  3. The rescue plan should address promptness of rescue.
Motion #9:
The ACCSH work group on fall protection recommends to OSHA that unfilled shafts over 30" in diameter require guardrail or barricade systems and that rescue equipment be immediately available in such cases.
Motion #10:
The ACCSH work group on fall protection recommends to OSHA that it should disallow any design that permits a body belt to be used as an integral part of a personal fall arrest system. We believe it allows for confusion of where the lanyard is to be attached to the harness.

ACCSH unanimously approved motions #2 through #10, but voted against motion #1 by a margin of six votes against to two votes for the motion. The vote against Motion #1 necessitated that a new motion that "ACCSH recommend STD 3.1 be rescinded" be offered, and this motion was approved with six for the motion and two against.

Noah Connell gave a Standards Update. He indicated that regulatory agenda calls for OSHA to issue an advanced notice of proposed rule making (ANPR) in December of this year for Sanitation, and that they have a team in place that is working on drafting that document. For Confined Spaces, the regulatory agenda calls for OSHA to issue a proposed rule by July 2001. Three stakeholder meetings will be held, the first one in Washington, in October. OSHA is asking the public for a input on the following five areas concerning confined spaces in construction: information on the typical characteristics of confined spaces in construction, and how to describe them; whether there is a need for early warning systems to monitor non-isolated engulfment hazards, such as in sewers, where there are situations where you cannot block off the engulfment hazards; the issue of periodic versus continuous monitoring of atmospheric hazards, specifically, whether it is feasible and appropriate to require continuous monitoring instead of periodic monitoring; ways that we might be able to accommodate small business concerns for a new confined space standard; how many spaces can an attendant monitor and how many different responsibilities can you safely place on a single attendant. 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. The 1993 manual should be followed on all federal highway projects where federal money is involved, and this includes most roads in the United States. Under the OSHA standard, the employers technically have to follow the 1971 manual. OSHA has issued a letter which said that a technical violation of the 1971 manual would be considered a de minimus violation if the employer is in compliance with the 1993 manual. OSHA intends to use a procedure called a direct final rule to correct this problem. This is a process that has been used by other agencies for non-controversial rule making. OSHA would publish a final rule and provide a comment period. If significant adverse comments are sent in, unless OSHA could modify the direct final rule to deal with them, the agency would withdraw the direct final rule and go through the proposal process. Currently OSHA does not expect to receive significant adverse comments. He handed out a detailed description of the differences between the old and new manual. Cloutier made the following motion:

"That ACCSH support the issuance of a final rule incorporating the 1993 DOT UMTCD manual regarding signs, signals and barricades. This will help accelerate the revision and it will certainly assist employers and workers who are working on our highways."

The motion was approved unanimously.

Concerning the Subpart M ANPR, Connell reported that OSHA has received a little over 2,500 comments. OSHA is still in the process of reviewing these comments. The ANPR for Scaffolding is in the concurrence process, and Connell detailed six specific scaffolding issues which are under consideration. He also reported that the ANPR for Steel Erection is in the concurrence process.

Kevin Beauregard, Harry Payne and Thomas Marple gave a presentation on Communication Tower Erection. Beauregard began by describing the details of a recent (December 1999) tragic accident in North Carolina, in which three people were killed in a fall from a 1,500 ft. communications tower. He discussed actions taken in North Carolina to spread the word on the safety problems identified by the accident investigation, specifically hoisting personnel using non-approved hoist equipment, and the use of improper climber tie-off procedures. He also described proposed rule making in North Carolina designed to address the emerging communication tower safety problems. Beauregard reported that more than 20,000 communications towers are being erected each year in the U.S. and that over 5,000 companies are in involved in this field. He believes that North Carolina does not have sufficient coverage by standards to adequately cover this industry, especially given the fact that maintenance of the towers poses dangers similar to tower construction/erection. Marple gave a briefing on the status of OSHA negotiations with the tower erections industry, and on the status of CPL 2-1.29 (the interim procedures for tower erection and activity).> Recognizing that this is a national problem, ACCSH members discussed a number of ideas which would enable inspectors to know ahead of time where towers are going to be erected. Both the FAA and the FCC should possess information, and could share it with OSHA. The following motion was made and unanimously approved by ACCSH members:

"ACCSH recommends that OSHA place a communication tower erection standard on its regulatory agenda as a top priority and speedily exercise its considerable array of options to address the rapidly escalating work/injury/ fatality rate as well as number in this booming industry."

Bill Rhoten and Owen Smith 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 informed ACCSH that the work group most recently discussed the impact on the construction industry of lowering the minimum HVC Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL). Stainless steel welding is one of the activities which can expose workers to HVC, and Rhoten stated that 15% of the welding tests given by the UA (United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the U.S. and Canada) involve stainless steel. This does not mean that 15% of the welding done by UA members involves stainless, and he is in the process of requesting feed back to quantify exposure among UA members. He pointed out that advances in welding technology are reducing the exposure of humans to stainless steel welding products, by removing them from the close proximity of the welding activity. Rhoten made the offer to do a demonstration of semi-automatic and automatic welding procedures at one of the UA training sites in conjunction with a future ACCSH meeting. Burkhammer offered, on behalf of Bechtel, to supply the respirator equipment for the demonstration. Sweeney offered her expertise in developing a questionnaire attempting to quantify HVC exposure by workers.

Bill Rhoten, Steve Cloutier, and Owen Smith briefed the committee on the Safety and Health Program/Training Work Group. Rhoten reported that the Work Group primarily discussed training issues at the last meeting, and that the main topic of discussion was the proposition that: "Every construction worker have a 10-Hour OSHA Card or equivalent." This concept, as a motion, had been supported by a majority of members at the May meeting, but 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. The question of what programs should be considered equal to the OSHA 10-Hour Program was discussed at length by the work group. The work group ended up recommending that the following guidelines be used to determine if a proposed program is equal to the OSHA 10-Hour Safety and Health Training Program:

  1. The instructor of the proposed program must be authorized to teach the OSHA 10-Hour Course.
  2. The proposed program must be reviewed and approved by OSHA.
  3. If OSHA determines the proposed program is equal to the OSHA 10-Hour program - OSHA 10-Hour completion cards shall be issued to the students.

ACCSH accepted these recommendations as providing the descriptive details for a previously approved motion, and agreed to forward the package to OSHA. Swanson agreed to brief ACCSH at the December meeting on what will have to be done to make the OSHA 10-Hour course a nationwide requirement for working on a construction site.

Assistant Secretary Jeffress gave a general update on OSHA and its plans and recent activities. He pointed out that current legislation before Congress generally supports the President’s funding request for OSHA, representing a 25% increase in OSHA funding over the last three years. He also discussed pending legislation concerning the Ergonomics Standard, estimating that work on that standard should be completed by the end of the year 2000. Jeffress stated that OSHA is currently having discussions with OMB on the Record Keeping Rule. It will be out by the end of the year and it will take effect January 1, 2002. He pointed out that 20 percent of the fatalities in the country occur in the construction industry, which represents about 6 percent of the employment in the country. Jeffress was very supportive of the ACCSH consensus concerning requiring the OSHA 10-Hour course before working on a construction site - he felt that this could materially reduce the injury/accident rate in the construction industry. He thanked ACCSH members for their hard work, and stated that he expects that new ACCSH appointments will be made prior to the next meeting along with reappointments for those who are going to continue to serve. He agreed that OSHA should pursue obtaining information on future communication tower construction from the FAA, the FCC, and possibly major communications companies. Having this information would help regulate safety condition at tower erection sites.

Williams and Burkhammer guided ACCSH members through a detailed discussion on the latest draft of the ACCSH Rules and Guidelines document. A motion was made to adopt the latest draft with changes agreed to by the committee, and ACCSH approved the motion unanimously. Williams agreed to provide a new draft of the ACCSH Rules and Guidelines to the DOC prior to the next ACCSH meeting, so that new members can immediately be given a copy.

The next ACCSH meeting will be held at DOL headquarters in Washington D.C. on 7 - 8 December, 2000. One option for the first ACCSH meeting in calendar year 2001 is to hold it either in Charleston SC or in Palm Springs CA, during the week of 12 March, 2001. Both these locations would allow attendees to visit an UA (United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the U.S. and Canada) training site which addresses Hexavalent Chromium issues in the welding curriculum. The backup site is Chicago, during the week of 5 February, 2001, in conjunction with the ChicagoLand conference (this was the venue for the February 2000 ACCSH).

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m. on 15 September, 2000.