Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health

November 13, 2008 Meeting Minutes

Room N-3437 A/B/C
U.S. Department of Labor, Francis Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210

Representatives Attending

Thomas M. Stohler, Acting Chair
Acting Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health
Department of Labor

William "Chico" McGill, Vice Chair - Labor representative
Director, Government Employees Department
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO

Curtis M. Bowling - Federal agency representative
Director of Environmental Readiness and Safety
Department of Defense

Donald G. Bathurst - Federal agency representative
Chief of Administrative Services
Department of Homeland Security

Ralph E. Dudley
General Manager - Safety and Health
Tennessee Valley Authority

Gilbert 'Gil' L. Smith, Jr. - Federal agency representative
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Kathleen J. H. Wheeler - Federal agency representative
Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer
U.S. Department of the Interior

Dennis J. Bushta - Federal agency representative
Director, Safety, Health and Environmental Management Division
Environmental Protection Agency

Matthew Biggs - Alternate labor representative
Legislative and Political Director
International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers

Ruth Ann "Randi" Ciszewski - Alternate labor representative
Government Fleet Representative
National Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, AFL-CIO

Alan Kadrofske - Alternate labor representative
Legisltive Representative
American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO

Deborah Kleinberg, Esq. - Alternate labor representative
Seafarers International Union, AFL-CIO

Also Participating

Patrick Kapust, Acting Deputy Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Department of Labor

Francis Yebesi, Director
Office of Federal Agency Programs
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Department of Labor

Shelby Hallmark, Director
Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP)
Employment Standards Administration (ESA)
Department of Labor

Tom Galassi, Director
Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Department of Labor

John Ferris, Director
Office of Emergency Management
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Department of Labor

Mikki Holmes
OSHA - Office of Federal Agency Programs
Department of Labor

Greg Barber
OSHA - Office of Fedearl Agency Programs
Department of Labor

Lewis Ligon
OSHA - Office of Fedearl Agency Programs
Department of Labor

Michelle Walker
OSHA - Office of Fedearl Agency Programs
Department of Labor

Joe Plick
Office of the Solicitor of Labor
Department of Labor

Nalini Close
Office of the Executive Secretariat
Department of Labor

Call to Order and Introductions

Acting Chair, Thomas M. Stohler, Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, called the meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH or Council) to order at 1:08 p.m. on November 13, 2008. Mr. Stohler requested that Francis Yebesi, Department of Labor (DOL), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Office of Federal Agency Programs (OFAP) provide a review of the emergency and shelter-in-place procedures. FACOSH members and alternates, and other attendees were then asked to introduce themselves.

Council Organization and Procedures

Mr. Stohler explained the January 2008 FACOSH member nomination process and welcomed the newly appointed Council members. He also explained the meeting's procedures and Council's purpose, organization, and function. Mr. Stohler noted that the members would need to elect a new vice chair from among the labor representatives and stated that this election would occur later in the proceedings.

FACA Requirements

Joe Plick, Office of the Solicitor of Labor (SOL), DOL, briefed the Council on the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and its requirements for FACOSH members and the Department. Mr. Plick explained that Congress enacted FACA in 1972 to provide structure to the operation and termination of advisory committees, and to allow them to give advice and recommendations to the Executive Branch. He noted that the General Services Administration (GSA) has government-wide oversight of FACA committees.

According to Mr. Plick, FACA outlines how committees may be established, requires that they be chartered, stipulates a "balanced" membership in terms of points of view and committee functions, requires public meetings and recorded minutes, calls for bi-annual rechartering, and provides guidelines for meeting discussions and media contact. Mr. Plick further explained how FACA imposes responsibilities on the agencies, including creating roles such as the Committee Management Officer, and the Designated Federal Office (DFO). He informed the members that Francis Yebesi, OSHA, is the DFO for FACOSH. He also noted that FACA required various periodic reports to specific entities.

Mr. Plick described the circumstances that could result in a closed meeting and clarified that FACA required reports of closed meetings. As additional information on FACA, Mr. Plick reported that subcommittees were not generally subject to FACA requirements, that certain Council-related activities such as preparatory work did not need to occur in an open forum, and that most committee-related material needs to be made available to the public.

Nalini Close, Office of the Executive Secretariat, DOL, Committee Management Officer, drew members' attention to the provided FACA brochure. She provided further information on the public nature of advisory committees such as FACOSH and cautioned members on discussing committee business outside of the public forum. Ms. Close also discussed the use of electronic communication and noted that if electronic conversations became substantive discussions they could be considered meetings and require notice. Finally, Ms. Close provided information on the process for providing the required annual report to Congress.

Election of Vice Chair

Mr. Stohler thanked Curtis Bowling, Director of Environmental Readiness and Safety, Department of Defense, for his service as Vice-Chair during calendar year 2008 and reported that Mr. William "Chico" McGill, the Director of the Government Employees Department, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO, had been nominated and was willing to serve as Vice Chair for 2009. Mr. Stohler entertained the motion and it was seconded; no additional nominations were received. Mr. McGill was elected on a voice vote with no opposition.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Stohler certified the accuracy of the April 10, 2008 meeting minutes and entertained the motion to accept the minutes. The motion was seconded and approved without opposition.

Old Business

Safety, Health, and Return-to-Employment (SHARE) Initiative
SHARE FY 2008 Progress

Mr. Yebesi and Shelby Hallmark, Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), Employment Standards Administration (ESA), DOL, conducted a joint presentation on the Presidential Safety, Health, and Return-to-Employment (SHARE) Initiative to improve safety and health among federal employees. Mr. Yebesi recalled that the previous FACOSH meeting had included information on the performance results from the first quarter of FY 2008. He reiterated the four goals of the SHARE initiative as reducing total and lost time injury and illness case rates, increasing the timely submission of workers' compensation claim forms, and reducing the lost production day rates (LPDRs). Mr. Yebesi noted that the FY 2007 SHARE summary was part of the FY 2007 President's Report that was forwarded to the President.

According to Mr. Yebesi, the federal government (less the U.S. Postal Service — USPS) and 10 of 18 departments achieved the first goal by reducing their total case rates (TCRs). He reported similar success for the second goal of reducing lost time case rates (LTCRs) in that the federal government (less the USPS) and 9 of 18 departments achieved the goal. Mr. Yebesi specifically praised the accomplishments of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Mr. Hallmark extolled the benefits of the SHARE Initiative and explained the rationale for including timely filing of workers' compensation forms in an initiative to improve federal occupational safety and health. According to Mr. Hallmark, there had been tremendous accomplishments in improving the timely filing of claims forms over the course of the Initiative and that nearly all departments were above their goals. With respect to the goal of reducing LPDRs, Mr. Hallmark reported dramatic improvements and cited the benefits of such improvements. He also echoed Mr. Yebesi's praise of DHS's efforts and successes in achieving the goals of the SHARE Initiative.

Mr. Hallmark closed his presentation by noting the cooperation of OSHA and OWCP in providing the resources to help federal agencies improve their working environments and cited his belief in the ability to continue such improvements.

Mr. Stohler thanked all the agencies on behalf of the Secretary of Labor for their efforts and noted that FY 2009 was the Initiative's final year and the Department was exploring options for a replacement program.

FY 2007 President's Report

Michelle Walker, OSHA, provided "major highlights" from the Fiscal Year 2007 President's Report, which she stated had been delivered to the White House on October 6, 2008. Ms. Walker explained that the President's Report on the status of occupational safety and health (OSH) in the federal sector was a requirement under Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Ms. Walker noted that the report contained several sections:

  • The Overview covered the reporting requirements for federal agencies and the Report itself. The Overview also included a discussion of federal agency OSH program requirements.
  • The Executive Summary synopsized the various topics and sections of the Report.
  • Part I contained detailed information on the federal government's FY 2007 performance towards achieving the goals of the SHARE Initiative.
  • Part II contained individual summary reports from each of the departments and independent agencies.
  • Part III included summary statistical tables and charts depicting trends for specific data sets over extended time periods.

After describing the Report's format, Ms. Walker discussed highlights of the report, including several categories of OSH statistics. According to Ms. Walker, the federal government experienced decreases in injury and illness cases and rates, and fatalities. She noted that many of the fatalities were the results of motor vehicle accidents. Ms. Walker reported that workers' compensation costs had increased slightly.

Ms. Walker also highlighted:

  • The majority of agencies have implemented the revised recordkeeping requirements and several have established electronic information systems. Some of the systems include "near misses" in their records and tracking.
  • All agencies reported having some type of motor vehicle safety program and most included seat belt requirements in keeping with Executive Order 13043.
  • Agencies reported a wide variety of experience with respect to workplace violence and several agencies provided information on their policies and prevention programs.
  • Part II of the Report provided summaries for the individual departments and independent agencies, and each summary included sections on department/agency statistics, SHARE achievements, motor vehicle safety, recordkeeping, employee support (including training and involvement in the DOL-chartered Field Federal Safety and Health Councils), accomplishments, and goals.
  • Part III included 17 statistical charts.

Ms. Walker stated that the memorandum asking for FY 2008 agency reports had been forwarded to the agencies on October 16, 2008 and that it included a request for information on injuries and illnesses related to emergency response situations. She also noted that the memo asked for detailed information on agencies' self-evaluation programs to assess the effectiveness of their OSH management systems.

According to Ms. Walker, there were two different report templates for agency annual reports: the detailed report, and one allowing an abbreviated format for smaller agencies. She also mentioned that the reports were due to OSHA by January 1, 2009.

Ms. Randi Cizewski, National Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (NMEBA), questioned whether OSHA was the source of the Navy's recently implemented motorcycle driving and reporting requirement. Ms. Walker stated that such reporting was not an OSHA requirement. There were no more questions on the topic.

FEDTARG08 Inspection Program

Greg Barber, OSHA, noted that the FEDTARG08 program was first implemented in January 2008 and had been designed based on the private sector's site-specific targeting (SST) program. He clarified that FEDTARG used OWCP claims data instead of the OSHA 300 data used for the SST program.

Mr. Barber explained that FEDTARG08 inspections were comprehensive safety inspections, but could also include a health inspection and address ergonomic issues. He noted that site selection for FEDTARG08 was based on FY 2006 OWCP lost time case data and that FEDTARG09 would use FY 2007 data. He stated that each OSHA Region could contact the National Office to request a list of secondary sites and would be encouraged to do so.

Mr. Barber enumerated the circumstances that would entail deleting a specific site from the inspection list, either automatically or once selected. According to Mr. Barber, these circumstances included:

  • Fewer than 20 lost time cases;
  • Has received a comprehensive safety inspection within the previous 24 months;
  • Is a participant in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP); or
  • Is an OSHA Strategic Partnership site that satisfies specific program requirements.

With respect to the results of the FEDTARG program, Mr. Barber reported:

  • 490 federal agency inspections discovered over 1,000 violations;
  • Of those numbers, 109 were FEDTARG inspections and discovered 189 violations; and
  • There were four significant cases in the federal sector, all of which were associated with FEDTARG; Mr. Barber explained that significant cases were those that would have resulted in at least $100,000 in penalties in the private sector.

Following Mr. Barber's presentation Dennis J. Bushta, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked what organization actually performed the inspections. Mr. Barber responded that OSHA area office personnel performed the inspections. Ralph Dudley, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) asked about the program's measurement of "success" and whether it was qualitative. Mr. Barber explained that the program's success would be measured over time based on the numbers and types of violations discovered during inspections and acknowledged it is a qualitative assessment.

As there were no further questions, Mr. Stohler moved on to the next agenda item.

FACOSH Recordkeeping Subcommittee

Mikki Holmes, OSHA, explained that the Recordkeeping Subcommittee was established during the March 1, 2007 FACOSH meeting to explore strategies for collecting the site-specific injury and illness data that federal agencies are now required to keep under OSHA recordkeeping requirements found at 29 CFR Part 1904. She clarified that the subcommittee was focused on how OSHA could collect the injury and illness data from federal agencies, and how agencies could identify volunteers on the required logs. She also discussed the subcommittee's recommendations for how OSHA could accomplish these goals and the benefits they predicted would accrue from the data collection.

Ms. Holmes continued her presentation by discussing the SOL-recommended rule changes that were necessary to establish the data collection process. According to Ms. Holmes the rule changes would include:

  • Establishing OSHA's authority to collect the injury and illness recordkeeping data on a recurring annual basis,
  • Changing the due date for the agencies' annual reports to OSHA and the Department of Labor's required annual report to the President,
  • Re-establishing that OSHA has the right to access medical records,
  • Clarifying the reporting requirements for volunteers and federal employees employed by one agency and supervised by another, and
  • Require that federal agencies use the Office of Personnel Management job series number to fill out the job title information on the OSHA 301 form.

Ms. Holmes noted that the current status of the project was that the rule change language was being finalized and would then need DOL and Office of Management and Budget approvals. She also reported that SOL was drafting a necessary related interagency agreement between OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

According to Ms. Holmes, the related current accomplishments included:

  • Collection of major departments' and largest independent agencies' establishment lists and lists from 59 other federal entities,
  • Continuing list consolidation and review,
  • Piloting the data survey and addressing the subsequent difficulties with compiling establishment-level data,
  • Determining where OSHA will store and code the data,
  • Identifying training options, and
  • Projecting support costs.

Gilbert Smith, Jr., U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asked a question related to record access that was not completely recorded and Ms. Holmes responded that the original one did not address the issue.

Since there were no other questions on the subject, Mr. Stohler proceeded to the next update.

Federal Agency Training

Lewis Ligon, OSHA, reported that the federal agency training week would be held the following week (November 17-21) and was intended to provide an opportunity for non-OSHA OSH and collateral duty personnel to enhance their OSH knowledge. According to Mr. Ligon, the training was free to federal personnel and would consist of half-day sessions of concurrent seminars held over three days.

Mr. Ligon stated that approximately 120 students had registered for the training sessions during the October pre-registration period. Mr. Ligon listed the available classes and clarified that the last two sessions would be a joint session and would include a discussion of 29 CFR 1960 requirements and allow questions to a panel of experts.

As to future training plans, Mr. Ligon noted that in FY 2010 the training week would occur during the summer months at the OSHA Training Institute (OTI). Mr. Smith's (USDA) question was not recorded; Mr. Ligon's response was that he did not have the list of attendees but that it included a big cross-section of federal agencies.

Mr. McGill (IBEW) asked about the types of attendees and who was allowed to attend. Mr. Ligon clarified that it was OSH personnel and those with safety and health collateral duties. Mr. McGill expressed interest in a list of attendees and Mr. Ligon stated that OSHA would provide that information at the next FACOSH meeting. Mr. Smith clarified that his question related to the calendar change because summer was during the fire season and a higher injury area.

There were no other questions so Mr. Stohler moved on to the New Business portion of the meeting.

New Business

Emergency Preparedness

Tom Galassi, Director, Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management (OSHA) explained that his Directorate had previously been named the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Medicine, but had been reorganized to consolidate and institutionalize the emergency management function. He also noted that he had been the Director for less than three months. Mr. Galassi then introduced John Ferris, Director, Office of Emergency Management.

Mr. Ferris began by providing an overview of his presentation, noting that he would include information on:

  • OSHA's role in emergency preparedness and response,
  • Current projects and requested necessary assistance, and
  • Questions for FACOSH.

Mr. Ferris first discussed the emergency response hierarchy by describing the federal government's role in supporting local emergency response. He also clarified that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Department of Homeland Security is the designated lead agency for coordinating most federal emergency assistance. Mr. Ferris described the National Response Framework and the various federal entities involved in providing emergency response assistance and their roles in providing that assistance.

According to Mr. Ferris, OSHA's role within the National Response Framework is to coordinate the Worker Safety and Health Support Annex. Mr. Ferris stated that the Annex outlines the resources available under the Framework and specifies actions necessary during an emergency response.

Mr. Ferris noted that the Annex was responsible for collecting response-related injury and illness data and providing it to FEMA. He explained that the difficulty in collecting injury and illness data varied with the size and complexity of the response effort and that the collection effort itself was relatively recent.

Mr. Ferris stated that the Annex had piloted that data collection process during the responses to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Mr. Ferris clarified that the Annex was asking for data that agencies were already required to report on OSHA recordkeeping forms. He noted that the pilot project collected data on a weekly basis during the hurricane responses, but that the collection would occur during any sort of emergency response, not just hurricane responses. Mr. Ferris also mentioned issues related to separating work-related fatalities from the overall number of fatalities associated with the disaster, and ascertaining the accuracy of the information collected. According to Mr. Ferris, the project was working with the Office of Workers' Compensation to correlate claims data with the data reported during the disaster. He also mentioned using the agency annual report data to assist with the tracking effort.

With respect to assistance with the data collection effort, Mr. Ferris asked for information related to:

  • Whether individual agencies could provide "real time" information and any challenges involved with providing timely information. Contract language addressing safety and health and collecting related data.
  • Agencies' systems for safety and health data collection and analysis.
  • Options and considerations for broadening the scope of the data collection beyond those agencies involved in the hurricane responses. The value of and recommendations for collecting the data from the various state and local response agencies.

Mr. Ferris concluded his presentation by asking for comments or suggestions from FACOSH members.

Ralph Dudley, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) noted that TVA typically sent 40-100 electrical workers to aid with emergency response efforts. He opined that simply adding language related to the data collection to TVA's mutual aid and emergency response plans would clarify the issue and that, since TVA always sent a safety professional with its emergency response crews, the safety professional could transmit the information electronically.

Responding to Mr. Dudley's comments, Mr. Ferris noted that the concept of mutual aid and coordination and communication between agencies and employers were matters that needed resolution within the data collection effort. Mr. Dudley clarified that he saw no issues with federal reporting but that adding state, local, and private sector employers would increase the complexity of the effort. He also noted that providing education and information on the collection effort would likely increase the willingness of employers outside the federal sector to provide the information.

Ms. Cizewski (NMEBA) noted that communicating the reporting requirements to the line supervisors was imperative to the success of the collection effort. Mr. Ferris replied that including the necessary language would probably need to originate from the tasking agency. Ms. Cizewski continued and asked for clarification on distinguishing the reported data and whether the effort wanted injury data only for disaster-related events or for everything that occurred during the response. Mr. Ferris stated that the effort wanted all the data.

Mr. McGill (IBEW) asked whether the data collection was including the private sector. Mr. Ferris replied that the current project was only collecting data from "federal assets or the federally-deployed assets."

Mr. Bushta (EPA) asked about the composition of membership on the Annex Coordination Committee. Mr. Ferris responded that he thought the Committee had over 40 members and provided some names. He also noted that the Committee wanted to assure that it was communicating with the proper personnel in order to collect all the relevant data and that he was asking for FACOSH input for that reason.

Mr. Ferris then thanked the members for their assistance and concluded his presentation. Mr. Stohler proceeded to next item of new business.

2009 FACOSH Nominations

Mr. Stohler noted that five members' terms would expire in June 2009: three management members and two labor members. He stated that a request for member nominations would likely published prior to the next meeting to allow time for member selection. According to Mr, Stohler everyone who submitted a timely nomination and met the membership requirements would receive consideration. He added that the Secretary (of Labor) might consider other qualified individuals and could refer to other relevant sources of information in making appointments. He assured the members that they would receive notification of Notice publication.

When there were no questions regarding FACOSH nominations, Mr. Stohler opened the floor for any other new business.

Other New Business

Kathleen Wheeler, Department of the Interior (DOI), asked about the existence of government-wide or White House awards for health and safety. Ms. Cizewski mentioned the Navy's award for Seafarers, and Mr. Yebesi confirmed the existence of agency-level awards, but no one knew of any national or government-wide awards. Ms. Wheeler expressed interest in exploring the subject and Mr. Stohler noted that it was a good idea.

Since there was no other new business, Mr. Stohler began discussion of setting the date for the next meeting.

Next Meeting and Adjournment

Mr. Stohler suggested that the next FACOSH meeting be scheduled for April 16, 2009 and there was no objection. Mr. Yebesi (OSHA) then entered the various meeting documents into the record. Mr. Stohler adjourned the meeting at 3:08 pm.

* Exhibit documents (listed below) from this meeting are available for copying and inspection at the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2009-0018, Room N-3437, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2350. Exhibits can also be accessed at http://www.regulations.gov, the federal eRulemaking Portal.

Document Document Description
0002 News Release: FACOSH Meeting Annoucment
0003 April 10, 2008 Approved FACOSH Meeting Minutes and combined program updates and PowerPoint on SHARE and the FY 2007 Secretary of Labor's Report to the President
0004 Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program, Federal Agency Recordkeeping Data Collection Effort, Federal Agency Training, and Injury and Illness Data Collection During Disasters
0005 FY 2008 SHARE Report
0006 FY 2007 President's Report
0007 OSHA's FY 2008 Annual Report Request
0008 FEDTARG08 Directive
0009 Federal Agency Training Week Registration and Course Description Information