ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON CONSTRUCTION SAFETY AND HEALTH
HEALTH HAZARDS, EMERGING ISSUES, AND PREVENTION THROUGH DESIGN
MAY 7,2014, Room N4437 AlBIC 10:00am - 12:00pm
30 ATTENDEES (See attached sign-in sheet)
Co-Chair Walter Jones presided. Co-Chairs Steve Hawkins, Chuck Stribling, and Don Pratt were in attendance. The meeting began with self-introductions.
Focus Four for Health
The Co-Chair began the meeting by framing the issue about raising the profile of health hazards in construction. Construction is driven by addressing safety hazards because the results of an incident are immediate and apparent. The focus four effort in construction has been instrumental is raising the awareness of safety hazards. The focus four concept has been to stress the importance of work controls, practices and training to address the major causes of construction fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The focus four emphasize; falls, struck bys, electrocutions, and caught-in-betweens. This special emphasis has been amazingly successful in raising the awareness of these hazards and reducing the number of them.
Matt Gillen of NIOSH, in his last presentation to ACCSH before his retirement, suggested creating a Focus Four for Health. Health hazards in construction are not addresses with same fervor as safety hazards. Harmful health conditions take a longer time to manifest in workers and often result in chronic conditions that are usually not realized until long after the first exposure. Construction averages close to 5,000 fatalities a year. Most of those fatalities are attributable to safety incidents, falls, electrocutions, runovers. It is estimated that there are 50,000 deaths attributable to occupational health hazards per year.
The Co-Chair suggested that the work group consider promoting the concept of a Focus Four in Health for Construction. It was suggested the four routes of entry be delineated.
- Respiratory - dust, asbestos, silica, lead
- Hearing - Noisy equipment and processes
- Dermal- solvents, isocynates, pesticides
- Musculoskeletal- heavy lifting, awkward and repetitive motions.
There was discussion on whether the focus four for health (FFH) should be an awareness campaign, website, special emphasis program, training program, part of the OSHA 10/30 or an enforcement program. There was also discussion on whether we should wait for more data to determine if the health hazards and illnesses are as widespread as being presented because the focus for four for safety represents the most numerous and sever safety hazards on construction worksite. Members responded by reporting that there are more than enough data that exists to include noise induced hearing loss and musculoskeletal disorders. It was also pointed out that skin disorders are a leading cause of illness in construction and the severity of construction respiratory hazards, like asbestos, silica, lead, and welding fumes is well documented. Members also thought that it would be helpful to receive information from the OSHA consultation program on the number of request they receive on health hazard assistance.
State plan representatives talked about the fact that health inspections are challenging due to limited resources and that they conduct more safety inspections. Many members suggested that Federal OSHA look at ways the agency could change compliance officer training to mandate more compliance officer construction health training.
There was discussion on whether there was an opportunity to include FFH into the OSHA 10/30 training in the hazard recognition/hazard communication section of the program. There was also discussion to expand the OSHA 10 to include 4 hours dedicated to FFH.
Most members believed that here should be an awareness campaign utilizing the OSHA website to help raise the profile of health hazards. The campaign should include use of the newer forms of media. Members thought that OSHA should work more with NIOSH' NORA process to develop strategies on increasing awareness for construction health hazards. Discussion of the including NIOSH's Total Worker Health initiative into the campaign was suggested. Members were also concerned about NIOSH's defunding of the BLL surveillance is not helpful to this process of raising the profile of health hazards.
In conclusion, members thought that this work group should continue to examine ways to continue this process of raising the profile of health hazards in construction.
I move that ACCSH recommend that OSHA work with the workgroup to develop a website aimed at the idea of promoting FFH (Although not limited to calling itself FFH).