NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH
Minutes of February 12, 2014 Meeting
U.S. Department of Labor
Room 6 C5320
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
|Jacqueline Agnew, Ph.D.||Health Representative|
|William Borwegen||Labor Representative|
|William B. Bunn, M.D. (via telephone)||Health Representative|
|Mark Carleson||Public Representative|
|Peter Dooley||Safety Representative|
|Joseph Van Houten, Ph.D.||Management Representative|
|James Johnson||Management Representative|
|Linda Rae Murray, M.D. (NACOSH Chair)||Public Representative|
|Lida Orta-Anes (via telephone)||Public Representative|
|Margaret Seminario||Labor Representative|
|Anne Foote Soiza||Public Representative|
|1||Agenda, 2/12/14 NACOSH Meeting|
|2||Annotated C Tables|
|3||Transitioning to Safer Chemicals|
|4||"Know the Facts"|
|5||"How Safe is Your Hospital for Workers? Learn More and Take Action."|
|6||"How Safe is Your Hospital? A Self-Assessment."|
|7||"Worker Safety in Hospitals, Caring for Caregivers."|
|8||OSHA Press Release, 2/11/14|
|9||"Protecting Temporary Workers and Transitioning to Safer Chemicals."|
|10||Executive Order 13650, 8/1/13|
|11||Recently Published NIOSH Documents|
|12||Work Group Report, 2/11/14|
|13||OSHA's Web page, "Protecting Temporary Workers"|
|14||OSHA News Release Re 1/22/14|
|15||OSHA News Release Re Automotive Manufacturer in Thompson, Georgia|
|16||Temporary Employee Safety and Health Guidance Document|
|17||Census of Fatal Occupational Injury, 2011 Report|
|18||Census of Fatal Occupational Injury, 2012 Report|
|19||ANSI AIHA Z10, 2012 Standard|
|20||Temporary Worker Policy Recommendations, 8/21/13|
|21||PowerPoint Presentation, 6/11/13|
Dr. Murray and Ms. Edens make introductory remarks. Packets for today's meeting will be available online shortly at OSHA-2013-0020, on regulations.gov, Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. The transcript will also be put in the docket in about two weeks. Questions about the exhibits can be directed to the Docket Office or to Ms. Edens. A summary statement of the meeting on the previous day is circulated.
OSHA Update, Dr. Michaels:
Dr. Michaels makes introductory remarks. He thanks Mr. Borwegen for his contribution on the Committee.
Administrative Issues as Result of Sequestration
Fiscal Year 2013 was challenging, particularly in light of the sequestration. OSHA cut a number of activities to avoid furloughing as much as possible. Some of those changes have become permanent.
Impact of Sequestration on Customer Support
OSHA eliminated contract support for their 1-800 line, the 1-800 help line, and for electronic correspondence or e-CORR. Those activities were previously channeled through contractors, but are now handled internally. Customer support is now handled by field staff. Last year, the Agency responded to 200,000 calls to the 1-800 number, and 27,000 emails through the Website. The quality of work has been improved by having federal employees handle those contacts. In fiscal year 2013, there were over 205 million viewers on the Website.
Impact of Sequestration on Training
OSHA cancelled a great deal of training because of sequestration. We cancelled all mandatory courses that required instructor travel or bringing in contract trainers. We continued to do training for new inspectors, new co-shows, and certain training in certain priority areas. Critical courses in process safety management and ergonomics were also cancelled. As a result of these cancellations there is an increased demand on training in 2014.
Reduction of Outreach and Compliance Activities
Outreach and compliance assistance activities have been significantly reduced. Travel was expendable, but meant that many programs had to be cut back. For example, VPP re-certifications could only be done if the OSHA staff could get to those facilities during the workday and not have to travel or spend overtime plus travel. We were unable to do many re-certifications. We also cut back on worker centered compliance assistance that required travel or overtime. We did fewer meetings and consultations with state partners. Monitoring visits and various visits with consultation programs were suspended.
Impact of Shutdown on Inspections
The 16-day shutdown impacted OSHA for three weeks or more because of time preparing for the shutdown and gearing back up afterward. We opened 1,400 fewer inspections than normal as a result of the shutdown and only responded to fatalities, catastrophes, imminent danger situations, and certain complaints. During the shutdown, OSHA opened 283 inspections, which is about 16% of the normal number.
Impact of Shutdown on State Consultation Programs
Because funding stopped flowing to the state consultation programs, about a third of the programs stopped doing employer visits during the shutdown. In some cases the States laid off or furloughed their employees. That impacted about 500 small businesses that would have gotten free consultation to reduce safety and health hazards during that time. During fiscal year 2013, there were almost 30,000 on-site consultation visits. That was on par with previous fiscal years, even with the sequestration. OSHA estimates that about four million workers were removed from hazards through those state consultation on-site visits.
Proposed Rule on Crystalline Silica
OSHA issued a proposed rule on crystalline silica in August. Once it is fully in effect, it is estimated that the rule will save 700 lives per year and prevent 1,600 new cases of silicosis. This is an extension of a Department of Labor effort that began in the 1930s when Secretary Francis Perkins warned about the threat of silicosis and stated that we know how to contain and eliminate exposure, thereby preventing the disease. The comment period on the proposed rule closed yesterday. Upcoming hearings are expected to run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day for several weeks. The rulemaking process is evidence-based, fact-finding process. People are asked to bring data for discussion. This discussion is open to the public and a transcript will be produced afterward. Meeting attendees are invited to participate.
Injury Recordkeeping and Reporting
OSHA has issued a proposal to modernize injury recordkeeping and reporting. Certain information from employers from their OSHA injury logs will be put onto the OSHA public and data.gov websites. There are two reasons for this. First is that it would be useful for OSHA to know where there are facilities with high injury rates. Currently, through OSHA. initiative, we get the injury rates of about 60,000 employers in high risk industries every year. That information is on the Website and on data.gov for the past three years. OSHA looks at the employers with the highest injury rate, and within that group randomly selects workplaces to target for inspection. This new initiative would expand that pool to include injury rates from employers between 20 and 250,000, in certain high risk industries. This new information will allow them to target resources, including inspections, compliance assistance, state consultations, etc. to employers who need it. It is also a way to encourage employers to look at this information and change what is going on in their workplace because they are concerned about public disclosure of that information.
In rolling out the program to modernize injury recordkeeping and reporting, Dr. Michaels was joined by Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neil, who was previously CEO of Alcoa. Alcoa posts their injury rate on the top left-hand corner of the website. That rate is updated in real-time. O'Neil's only criticism of OSHA's proposal is that injuries should be listed quickly rather than quarter or annually as in their proposal. The docket is still open and we welcome comments from stakeholders about the proposal.
Recordkeeping Reporting Rule, SIC to NAICS
OSHA is working on finalizing our other recordkeeping reporting rule that was proposed a year ago, which moves from the SIC category to the NAICS category and also changes some of the reporting requirements around injuries and hospitalizations. We hope to issue final fall protection in general industry standards before the end of 2014.
Even with sequestration, OSHA continues to do about the same number of enforcement inspections as we have done every year, about 40,000. About 57% of inspections were programmed, and 43% were unprogrammed. About a quarter of inspections are based on complaints.
Lack of fall protection is the most frequently cited standard. More information on frequency of standards cited can be provided. In fiscal year 2013 OSHA did more health inspections and issued more citations around health issues and exposures than previously.
Credit for Inspections
OSHA is moving toward a system where inspectors receive credit for inspection units, where certain types of inspections like fatalities give more credits than a more simple inspection. We are keeping the old system in place, which counts one credit for each of inspection, while also counting inspection units. The two methods will be compared to determine the best way to move to a system next year where we give inspectors credit for the time they take to perform more complex inspections. This will free the inspectors to do the work necessary for complex inspections with the highest quality.
Program on Isocyanates
OSHA began a new emphasis program on isocyanates and exposure to isocyanates in a large variety of industries. The first group of inspections has been completed. Citations have been issued around isocyanates. Exposure to isocyanates is an important cause of adult onset asthma.
Chemical Plant Facility Safety and Security
OSHA is involved in a major effort with several other agencies to improve chemical plant facility safety and security. This follows the West Texas explosion. Deputy Assistant Secretary Barab is on the afternoon agenda and will discuss this.
Temporary workers were the subject of a meeting yesterday. OSHA continues to receive reports of temporary workers killed or seriously injured on the first day or days on the job. Additional studies show that injury rates among new workers are high. At the last meeting, we heard from American Staffing Association, who represent the staffing agencies. OSHA has also reached out to a number of trade associations who represent employers who host temporary workers, talking about their responsibilities and the implications of having temporary employees and how employers, the staffing agency, and the host employer, together have a responsibility to protect workers. Work will continue on this and input is solicited.
When OSHA inspectors enter a worksite, they are to ask the employer if there are any temporary employees. As the inspector conducts the inspection and sees violations, they record whether there are temporary workers among the workers exposed to that hazard. Inspectors also ask if there are hazards or exposures that require training and if all workers, including temporary workers, have been trained in the language and vocabulary that they understand. Inspectors record a code onto the data sheets with respect to whether there are temporary workers exposed to any of the hazards that they have discovered, and the number of temporary workers who were exposed to each of those hazards. Inspectors document the staffing agency name, location, and supervisory structure.
Definition of Temporary Worker
For purposes of this initial study with respect to temporary workers, they are defined as workers provided by a staffing agency and paid by that staffing agency. We have tried to separate contractors versus temporary workers.
Number of Temporary Workers versus Regular Employees
OSHA's data systems are not set up to identify the magnitude of the temporary worker problem or to measure progress. We do inspections based on complaints, referrals, and within larger inspections programs. For us to make any global statements about the presence of temporary workers from their data set would be of questionable value. We are keeping track of the percentage of those workers defined as temporary workers who are exposed to hazards. We cannot make an overall statement about the presence of temporary workers in any industry, or in all industries. Perhaps the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other agencies might be better equipped to conduct such a survey. OSHA does not do surveys.
Recordkeeping Re Injuries and Hazards of Temporary Workers
Dr. Michaels attended a meeting last week where recordkeeping rules with respect to injuries were discussed. The current recordkeeping rule requires that the supervisory employer keep track of the injury log. If the staffing agent sends a supervisor with the workers, the incident is reported there. The question arose as to why they do not just maintain all injuries on the log of the facility. There are difficulties in following up on temporary workers who are injured because that person is working for an agency. It is expected that information about injuries and hazards would flow between the host employer and the temporary employer, but it is very difficult to make sure that happens.
Changes in Employment Relationships and Collection of Data
Ms. Seminario states that they discussed the changing employment relationships in the workplace yesterday. The efforts on temporary workers should be targeted. The NACOSH Work Group yesterday looked at this as a particular sub-group of contract workers. In light of these changes, there are issues on who should record, with BLS thinking about how to capture this more broadly. They want to explore how to have those discussions and include BLS in trying to put together the baseline information that is needed and to collect that information to begin to change the policies and practices to reflect what is going on with the workforce and employment relationships. Furthermore, it is difficult for people in management positions to be clearly aware of the payment source of all of the various people that they may be supervising.
Real-Time Surveillance System
Ms. Seminario states they discussed the need for a real-time surveillance system that allows them to quickly detect problems and to put in place preventive measures. This is an opportunity for OSHA and NIOSH and the entire field to rethink in an I2P2 kind of systems approach what they need to change in their system to take care of the temporary workers and the broader implications.
Integration of Health and Safety Management Systems
Mr. Johnson states that they talked about the importance of the health and safety management systems integrated into the business practices. It is important to look at the entire set of workers, including temporary and contract workers. There can be a serious disconnect between the executive level of an organization and the supervisory level of control for the hazards and work that temporary and contract workers perform. The I2P2 systems perspective, integrating into the business practices becomes very important, so that both the staffing agency and contractor as well as the host employer better understand the policies and procedures that they need to have in place to address those exposed workers.
Washington State Policy Re Inspections, Training and Citations
Ms. Soiza states that they discussed that in Washington State they have a version of I2P2. When confronted with a situation where temporary workers are exposed to hazards alongside regular employees, they cite both the staffing agency and the host employer for the hazard. One of the principal violations that goes to the staffing agency comes out of the accident prevention program requirements, that they must provide a safe workplace and training that is site specific. This can be challenging for a staffing agency because they change locations frequently. The inspector is required to look at the contract between the staffing agency and the host employer and perform an analysis about who controls the hazard. If it is not spelled out in the contract, then the host employer is responsible. If the staffing agency primarily provides workers to a specific industry, they are expected to have a safety and health system which addresses basic training for the hazards most often encountered by their employees.
Responsibility for Health and Safety of Workers
Dr. Van Houten thinks making one person responsible at a location is valuable. At his company, they have the concept of the directly responsible individual (DRI). He has always felt that he is responsible for the health and safety of anyone working at his company, regardless of what company or contractor they work for. This year, one of his facilities reached a point where greater than 50% of employees at that location were non-company employees. It is very difficult for a company to maintain a strong safety culture when more than half of the workforce is not employees. If the contract company is responsible for individual safety, that would make it much easier to establish a strong safety culture, and prevent injuries.
BP Texas City Refinery Explosion
Dr. Michaels states that at the explosion at the BP Texas City Refinery, none of the 17 workers who were killed worked for BP. There were from engineering firms with terrific safety programs whose workers were put at risk and killed because of what happened at BP.
Illness and Prevention Programs
Ms. Seminario states that they discussed the need to look at what is being developed in illness and prevention programs in terms of regulations, guidelines and initiatives. They brought up the Z10, the latest document on their management system, and how they deal with procurement and contract workers, and sent around a post asking what is in the BP guidelines on this issue. One of the goals as a work group was to come up with recommendations for what should be the elements in the rule, what the agency might do in terms of updating its guidelines in this area.
Mr. Johnson states that they discussed the opportunity to collect best practices. There are staffing agencies that know how to do it right. There are employers who are looking at it from a systems perspective. There are organizations such as VPPPA, NSC, ORC and others that can help by collecting those best practices, which would support the work that Ms. Seminario has suggested. Dr. Michaels states that they are jointly working with NIOSH on a best practices publication specifically on temporary workers.
Responsibility for Health and Safety of Workers Mr. Dooley states that they discussed trying to figure out how to keep both the staffing agencies and the host employers accountable to maintain health and safety workplaces.
Health and Safety of Contractors Dr. Bunn asks how they are to handle people who come in to do a specific job, such as an electrician. Dr. Michaels thinks that is another factor that they have to take into account. Depending on the employer, there are requirements that those contractors are integrated into the safety program. Some employers require that those contractors be in VPP.
OSHA Update, Jessica Schiafano:
Development of Regulations on Single Chemicals
Ms. Schiafano is a health scientist in the Directorate of Standards and Guidance. We have been working to develop new regulations on single chemicals like silica and many others. This is a long process and takes a lot of resources. In the meantime, workers are being exposed to hazardous chemicals that they will probably never get to in a regulation. We recognize the need for new approaches and additional strategies to supplement existing efforts on updating PELs and developing new PELs. They have decided to develop some additional resources to help employers and workers to more systematically transition to safer alternatives.
Annotated PELs Table and Other Resources
The idea for the annotated PELs table came out of a roundtable discussion in 2010 where it was suggested that they present the OSHA PELs in relationship to other existing occupational exposure limits to identify the limitations of the existing PELs. OSHA has presented all of the Z tables from 1910.1000 in line with the CAL/OSHA PEL, the NIOSH RELs, and the ACGIH TLVs. We will continue to update this resource as these other organizations revise their standards. There are other occupational exposure limits available and employers might consider looking at these and implementing them in order to better protect their workers. We also have direct links to all of these resources. These other organizations have PELs or occupational exposure limits for many other chemicals, so people can easily use this resource to link directly to CAL/OSHA, ACGIH and NIOSH to see other exposure limits as well.
Chemical Exposure Limits
Dr. Van Houten comments on the range of exposure limits to various chemicals and cites as an example that for acetone there is a range from 250 to 2,400 mgs per cubic meter. Dr. Michaels states that OSHA has information specifically about acetone and also sampling information. He agrees that there is a difference of opinion as to what the appropriate exposure levels are. Dr. Michaels was recently at a meeting of ORC and many of the executives in the audience told him for the most part they determined their own occupational exposure limit. For larger employers, while it is resource intensive, it is doable. For small employers it is not, so they have tried to determine how to help those employers who probably do not have access to toxicological expertise.
Chemical Exposure Limits by Suppliers
Dr. Van Houten adds that they buy chemicals from suppliers where they feel that the supplier is not providing the appropriate level of information. He asks why companies should be spending resources developing that level when the supplier should be responsible for providing that information. His company is going back to the suppliers and saying that they are not going to develop their own internal limit for a chemical purchased from the supplier. He thinks it is the responsibility of the person selling the chemical to give them the hazard data. Dr. Michaels adds that he has heard of the possibility of listing either on the OSHA website or a facilitating website where manufacturers who set their own limits can list them so they are all in one place. He knows of no suggestion that any of the OSHA PELs are too stringent.
Toolkit for Evaluation of Chemical Use
Ms. Sciafano states that they have developed a toolkit for systematically evaluating the chemical use in a company and transitioning to a safer alternative. The toolkit outlines seven steps that can be applied systematically and continuously to achieve chemical use that is safer for workers and better for businesses. The seven-step process begins with forming a team to develop a plan with safer chemical goals, and using that team to gather information, inventory the chemicals that they are using, evaluate those chemicals, and identify and prioritize targets for possible substitution. In Step 3, they talk about how to identify efficiency and more sustainable solutions and how to use existing resources to help identify some of those alternatives. Step 4 assesses alternatives and compares them based on hazard performance and cost.
Step five in the toolkit is about how to organize the information in the alternatives assessment to evaluate tradeoffs and make sure the alternative is safe and beneficial for workers. Steps 6 and 7 discuss how to pilot and fully implement the alternative. This process has embedded all of the existing tools, methods and other resources available through the work of many other organizations. Each step begins with a set of key questions, followed by a description and text about how to achieve that step, and some key examples of useful tools and methods to achieve these goals and perform these assessments.
Toolkit Re Additional Resources
The toolkit includes an additional list of resources on the topics.
Toolkit Re Company Stories
The toolkit includes examples of companies that have already transitioned to safer chemicals in some of their products or processes. There is a form people can use to share their story.
Toolkit Re Feedback
We want the toolkit process to be an evolving resource, and also want the companies and OSHA field staff who use the process to provide feedback.
Toolkit Re Training and Future Steps
The Directorate has taken some next steps to provide training to the field and worked with the OSHA Training Institute. We have completed some presentations for workers and unions to that they are aware of the toolkit and the resources that are available. We will continue to explore opportunities to work with businesses and others to make this a useful resource that spurs the transition to safer chemicals.
Resources on Alternatives Assessment
Ms. Agnew asks what input the Directorate got from employers. Ms. Sciafano says that a lot of work in the environmental health context on alternatives assessment had already been done. The EPA has been working on their Design for Environment Program on developing methodologies for alternatives assessment. NIOSH's Prevention through Design Program has been exploring these issues. Many other companies and academic institutions that have developed their own frameworks and used alternatives assessment regularly in their work. The Directorate tried to identify all of the existing frameworks to see how they could fit in to make sure that workers were part of the discussion on transitioning to safer chemicals to make sure that in the process of evaluating tradeoffs they do not make a tradeoff that is detrimental.
EPA and TOSCA Regulations
Dr. Bunn states there are a number of similar regulations under EPA and TOSCA. In his industry they have similar requirements from TOSCA, and look at both workers and customers, but primarily at workers. He cites the fiberglass industry, where they have gotten away from formaldehyde in the binders, as an example of substitution.
OSHA Annotated PELs
Mr. Dooley suggests that the OSHA annotated PELs integrate a controlled banding concept to the PEL concept, within the industrial hygiene movement.
Collaboration between OSHA and EPA
Dr. Van Houten states that control banding has been used in the pharmaceutical industry for many years. He thinks there are a lot of experts who could be involved in the discussion. Also, when looking at products in his company, they look as environmental as well as safety aspects. OSHA and the EPA should collaborate.
Ms. Seminario says there have been some responses from certain employer groups criticizing OSHA for doing this. There was a congressional hearing last week where this was viewed as a sub-regulatory activity and where it was questioned why Dr. Michaels is bad-mouthing these PELs. These are legal standards, and this is a subversive effort for OSHA to go around the law to try to impose a new system of chemical regulation through one or two Websites. They know the problems with the PELs, and that is an issue that needs to be addressed. These efforts to get the information out, making it usable to people so they can take the initiative and improve worker safety are terrific and need to be commended an encouraged. She motions that the Committee come up with a formal statement to commend OSHA and all of the staff who worked on this, to acknowledge their excellent work. This is an incredibly useful tool for everyone in the safety and health profession to assess chemicals and reduce exposures and look for safer alternatives. The motion is seconded by Ms. Soiza.
Dissemination of Information to Trade and Member Organizations
Mr. Johnson comments that there are a number of trade and member organizations, such as the ASSE, AIHA, NSC, and others. It is very important that the Committee consider how they can support disseminating the information to more employers so as to achieve broader impact.
Differences between Agencies, Genesis of Guidelines
Mr. Borwegen thinks it would be useful to describe the differences between NIOSH and CAL/OSH and ACHH (ph), and a genesis of how they come up with these guidelines. He comments that this is still an active program that is constantly reviewing these PELs. He says they should pass a resolution and ready for a vote.
Vote and Passing of Motion
Ms. Shortall asks Ms. Seminario to write out the motion. Ms. Seminario says it was pretty clear in the transcript as to what the motion was. A vote is taken by Dr. Murray and the motion is unanimously passed.
OSHA Update, Dr. David Michaels:
Health and Safety of Patients and Workers in Hospitals
Dr. Michaels states that the OSHA has also embarked on an effort around hospital workers. Hospital work continues to be an industry with a very high injury rate. Many of the leading hospital systems across the county have recognized that there is a very clear relationship between worker safety and patient safety, and have committed to improving both. OSHA's partners in this effort include NIOSH and the Joint Commission, who have issued an important monograph on ways that hospitals can address patient safety and worker safety. OSHA is working closely with the NIOSH, the Joint Commission, and the National Patient Safety Foundation, and have put out an extensive guidance aimed at hospital leadership and manager on ways to implement management systems that will improve patient safety and worker safety together. Materials are available in the meeting and on the Website.
Cell Tower Safety
OSHA has been focusing on cell towers in recent months. There are about 12,000 workers actively employed in this industry. There were 13 fatalities last year that OSHA knows of. There have been four fatalities so far this year, three of whom were cell tower climbers or construction workers. This is an astoundingly high fatality rate. It is a difficult industry to address in traditional ways. OSHA has reached out through the National Association of Tower Erectors to talk about the importance of safety. A press release went out yesterday about OSHA's new focus. OSHA is putting out materials and has just put up a website where there is information about some hazards and ways to address them. How to make sure workers do not fall from these towers and that these towers do not collapse on workers is pretty straightforward, but continues.
Cell Tower Safety Re Contracts
Ms. Seminario states that there was a piece by the Center for Public Integrity in the last year or so on cell tower deaths. They found that this work is done by a lot of different contractors. Much of the work is done for large companies like AT&T and Verizon. She thinks one approach to this problem would be to go to the sources who are contracting for this work and not just the individuals to try and build into their contract arrangements the safety and health requirements. A lot of this may be low paid work and some may be temporary workers. The safety requirements for building these towers should be included in the specifications for how the towers are constructed.
Cell Tower Safety Re Review of Contracts by Inspectors
Dr. Michaels states that for about the last year they have been asking inspectors when they go into one of these situations where there has been a fatality or an incident to collect the contracts for review. The preliminary review indicates that contracts have specific health and safety requirements, but they are not implemented or there is no oversight. It is more difficult than simply getting something in the contract. The issue is how that contract is enforced and what responsibilities go further up the chain.
Cell Tower Safety Similar to Windmill Safety
Dr. Van Houten refers back to a discussion with the Europeans a few years ago about windmills. U.S. windmills are constructed without elevators. So technicians have to climb ladders while carrying materials on their backs to service the windmills. The problems with falls from heights on cell towers is similar to the problem with windmills.
Cell Tower Safety Re Falls
Dr. Michaels says that they found in several cell tower incidents last year that the workers were wearing harnesses, but were not clipped on. A question arises as to those requirements can be followed and who is responsible for ensuring that they are followed. The rate of fatalities in this industry is far higher than it was a year ago. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning that talked about this, and that it could be the race to build more tower or larger towers because of changes in the telecommunications industry. If that is the case, more fatalities may be seen in this industry, and that is unacceptable.
Cell Tower Accident and Safety Rules in Washington State
Ms. Soiza is from Washington and one of the cell tower fatalities occurred in her state. She charged them with going over the rule and giving the State advice about cell tower safety because of how the fatality occurred. It was clear that how the structure was built and maintained over the years was at issue. Washington is currently in the process of adopting new rules on cell tower safety and in conjunction with and in partnership with the industry, with business, and with the main employer groups who use those towers.
Cell Tower Safety Re Contract Language
Dr. Bunn says that perhaps OSHA should suggest a set of contractual language for cell tower safety.
Whistleblower Protection Program
Dr. Michaels states that OSHA continues to log an increasingly large number of cases under the Whistleblower Protection Program. They are doing everything they can to encourage cases to come in. An online complaint form was launched, which increased the number of allegations received. They have a number of new programs, including a pilot alternative dispute resolution program in two regions that they hope will enable them to deal with some of the backlog issues quickly. This week OSHA filed an historic case in Ohio with about a dozen workers against AT&T which appears to have a policy that when a worker is injured, they are suspended without pay. OSHA thinks that policy discourages workers from reporting injuries, and that it is a retaliation against the workers.
The Hardwood Program continues. OSHA gave $10 million to 70 organizations last year. This remains an important program.
National Outreach Campaigns on Fall Prevention, Construction
OSHA continues its national outreach campaigns with their partners, especially NIOSH on fall prevention. We are planning a National Safety Stand Down with many partners in the construction industry in June to focus on fall protection. The outreach materials have been translated into many languages.
OSHA continues itsr Heat Campaign. Our cellphone app has been downloaded over 100,000 times. They still see workers who are made sick and in some cases are killed by heat in the summer.
National Outreach Campaigns on Fall Prevention, Oil and Gas
OSHA has done the National Safety Stand Down with their partners in the oil and gas drilling industry, onshore and upstream. This National Safety Stand Down was launched in November and is taking place in various locations around the country at different times, at sites from Pennsylvania to California.
Safety in Grain Industry
OSHA continued to focus on fatalities in the grain industry. There has been discussion about the appropriations rider that says if there is any incident or fatality in a farm of 10 employees or less, OSHA is precluded from going on. We follow that law carefully, so there are many fatalities that they do not investigate. In 2010 there were fatalities all across the country where workers were caught in grain silos, were trapped and suffocated. In the summer of 2010 there were 57 entrapments and 31 fatalities, including two teenagers at one situation in Mount Carroll, IL. The families of the two teens sued the company that managed the grain in that facility, and this week a jury awarded each family $8 million. Following the fatalities in 2010, OSHA did a major outreach campaign. We did more enforcement in the grain industry, and also put together new materials. OSHA and our state partners sent letters out to over 10,000 grain employers about the law and how to make sure workers are safe. In 2012, the fatalities decreased by 74%, and the entrapments decreased by 67%. OSHA believes it is having an impact.
Workplace Fatalities as Predictable and Preventable
Reports of workplace fatalities are generally buried in the newspaper and termed accidental. However, these accidents are predictable and preventable. With very rare exceptions, they are the result of decisions that were or were not made to provide protections. The conversation needs to change. Dr. Michaels has asked his staff not to call them accidents when speaking to colleagues, friends, and the media. He wants to talk about how they could have been prevented. OSHA is going to try to reframe that national conversation. He solicits assistance from the meeting participants.
Industries or Employers with High Injury and Fatality Rates
Dr. Bunn states that the TRI received a tremendous amount of publicity. They listed the industries or employers where there were particularly high rates of fatality or injury my name. An annual report could be useful to put the TRI in focus.
Dr. Van Houten states, regarding the conversation around accidents, that on the fleet safety side several years ago they changed the way they talk about events. They used to refer to accidents per million miles driven. They now refer to crashes per million miles driven, in recognition of the fact that not necessarily all are accidents.
Workplace Injuries Resulting from Distractions
Dr. Van Houten raises the issue of workplace injuries resulting from the use of earbuds and distraction from technology. He asks if anything has come to Dr. Michaels about this as an emerging issue. Dr. Michaels has not seen anything on this. He has heard from the emergency room at George Washington University Hospital that texting while walking is a major cause of visits to the emergency room. Mr. Johnson states that the NSC has done a significant amount of work on distraction. Their focus has been on cell phone use in vehicles and working for total bans. More and more large corporations are instituting those policies. The NSC Website, nsc.org, has information regarding cognitive distraction associated with the use of cell phone and other technology, which can be applied to distracted walking.
Exhibits 1 through 7 Marked for ID
Exhibit 1 through 7 are marked for ID. They are listed on summary page 3.
NOISH Update, Dr. John Howard:
Dr. Howard states that the budget for NIOSH is about $600 million, only $292 million of which is actually NIOSH. The rest of the money is mandatory programs for health care delivery and compensation. For the third year in a row, the President decided that the ERCs and the Ag., Forestry and Fishing Program were not of high value. The Congress disagreed. The 18 ERC and ten Ag. Centers remain open. There are four total worker health centers. Oregon Health Sciences University is a new total worker health center.
Publications and Outreach
There is a list of publications in the back [sic]. There is a blog and YouTube on the focus on women in science. There is a new smartphone app for extension ladders. They encourage public comment.
NIOSH Carcinogen Policy, Target Risk Level Policy for RELs
There is a comment period closing tomorrow on a recent draft of the current intelligence bulletin which updates the NIOSH carcinogen policy and the target risk level policy for RELs. The history of this is over 40 years, starting in 1977. The last time NIOSH looked at it was in 1995. He encourages everybody to read it and comment on it.
Standard on Occupational Exposure to Heat
NIOSH has a criteria document for recommended standard on occupational exposure to heat and hot environments. There is a meeting tomorrow in Cincinnati. The comment period closes on 2/25/14.
Safe, Skilled and Ready Workforce Initiative
NIOSH has a new Safe, Skilled and Ready Workforce Initiative, based on the belief that anyone who enters the U.S. workforce should have basic skills they need to stay as safe and healthy as possible. NIOSH has published a New Youth at Work Talking Safety curriculum for California schools, and are customizing that for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. There are ongoing demonstration projects in California, New York and Oregon to integrate this into the curriculum of high schools and other work readiness programs. They are also creating an online assessment tool for teachers and school districts for the talking safety curriculum with the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute, which can be found at NOCT.org. There are two large research projects with Research Triangle Institute in NC to explore ways to get the eight competencies at the core of the Safe, Skilled and Ready Workforce Initiative into national training programs like the Job Corps, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Junior Achievement, as well as temporary employment agencies.
Total Worker Health Initiative
The Total Worker Health Initiative is still going on. There is a large symposium on the campus of NIH on October 6 -8, 2014. Following that is the Federal Agency Total Worker Health biennial meeting on the NIH campus.
Dr. Bunn asks where NIOSH is going with productivity analysis, productivity, absenteeism, and presenteeism. Dr. Howard states that it is a major issue within their Total Worker Health Program. The essence of the Total Worker Health Program is to integrate traditional occupational safety and health protection, with health promotion and wellness.
Chemical Toxicity Risk Assessment
NIOSH, OSHA, EPA, ATSDR, National Toxicology Program, and others, are involved in a study by the GAO of chemical toxicity risk assessment and how it is done across agencies.
Impact from Science
NIOSH recently contracted with the Science, Technology and Policy Institute (STPI), a contractor of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House. We are looking at science metrics and how to figure out whether you are having an impact from your science.
NIOSH Research Studies
The NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors asked Dr. Howard to consider the issue of how NIOSH conducts research studies in the new world where not everyone is represented in an official bargaining unit. They received a report from RBSC, and hired a contractor to assist in developing policy and procedures.
Climate Change and Worker Health Initiative
NIOSH is engaged in a new initiative called the Climate Change and Worker Health Initiative. NIOSH participates as part of HHS with EPA looking at human health issues associated with climate change. NIOSH is interested in worker health. There is an internal group headed by the directors of the Denver and Alaska offices. Paul Schulte of Cincinnati published a paper in 2010 which identifies seven categories of climate related occupational safety and health hazards. The heat REL is an example.
Social Media Presence
NIOSH now has 14 Twitter accounts with over a quarter million followers, and one ranking from Twitaholic.com. NIOSH is in the top ten of all Twitter sites amongst followers in Washington, D.C. NIOSH posted it 100th video on YouTube last year and have had about 200,000 views on their YouTube channel.
Dr. Bunn asks if NIOSH is coordinating with the Duke Website that Gary Greenburg puts up. Dr. Howard says that they are.
Safe, Skilled and Ready Workforce Program
Dr. Van Houten asks if health is incorporated in NIOSH's Safe, Skilled and Ready Workforce Program. Dr. Howard states that they do. NIOSH is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. They have an initiative in total worker health. The primary emphasis in middle school and high school is core competencies in hazard recognitions, rights and responsibilities.
Fatigue in Commercial Drivers
Dr. Bunn asks if NIOSH is working on sleep apnea, which he says has become a major issue for truck drivers and for licensing of commercial drivers. Dr. Howard responds that they are not focusing so much on sleep apnea, but rather on fatigue in truck drivers. They have a number of psychologists who work on that issue within the Center for Motor Vehicle Studies. Fatigue has a cumulative effect as intoxicating and impairing to driving ability as alcohol.
Future Plans for NOISH
Dr. Murray asks Dr. Howard's thoughts about placing the importance of worker health and safety as a subset of general environmental issues on the agenda for this country. It is remarkable and good that the Congress is more enlightened than the Executive Branch in terms of understanding the importance of continuing to train health and safety professionals. She asks for Dr. Howard's view of what they need to be doing in the next 25 to 40 years. Dr. Howard prepared some remarks on these issues, but in short, agrees that all of them are trying to figure out what they need to do to prepare for the new era. They are looking into smarter surveillance systems, including coordinating surveillance with other entities. They have constant discussion with industry, labor, and academics about lagging versus leading indicators. There are a couple of people at NIOSH who are trying to figure out whether business analytics can be adapted to occupational safety and health to produce predictive analytics.
NOISH has adapted a question to put in very large surveys that Gallup would be conducting, and the National Center for Health Statistics would be conducting, on occupational safety and health. NOISH has also spent a lot of time with the National Coordinated for Health Care Technology trying to get industry and occupation into the electronic health record. They are having another meeting with the National Academy on that issue.
Exhibits 8 through 11 Marked for ID
Exhibit 8 through 11 are marked for ID. They are listed on summary page 3.
Presentation on Executive Order for Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, Jordan Barab:
Mr. Barab states that as a result of the explosion in West Texas last April that killed 15, primarily emergency responders, President Obama issued an Executive Order on 8/1/13 called "Improving Chemical Facilities' Safety and Security." The Department of Labor, specifically OSHA, along with the EPA and the DHS are chairing this effort. This has been broken into several work groups. There was a deputies' meeting at the White House a couple of weeks ago, which Dr. Michaels attended. The White House is fully behind these efforts.
Executive Order Re Information Exchange
One of the working groups deals with improving the exchange of information between regulators, emergency responders, chemical facility owners, operators, and communities. Out of that is a pilot project in Region II, the New York/New Jersey area, where the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, FIMSA, the pipeline regulation agency, and a number of other agencies are working together. They are talking about cross-training inspectors so that when an EPA or DHS inspector goes into a facility and they see some obvious workplace safety issues, they can report that to OSHA, and vice versa. This should help leverage resources significantly.
Executive Order Re Coverage of Employees by OSHA
Another issue that has arisen in light of the Executive Order is that public employees are not covered by OSHA in half of the states. Some of the state plans define employee to include volunteers, but some do not. Federal OSHA has no authority over volunteers who are not employees. That is Section 3 of the Executive Order and is being led by the EPA, but OSHA has been very involved.
Executive Order Re Sharing of Information
Section 5 of the Executive Order deals with information collection and sharing. Both the EPA and DHS have an enormous amount of information about what facilities have what kind of chemicals. OSHA only has data that comes out of their inspections. If OSHA can share in the information that the EPA and DHS has, it will significantly help their efforts to target their inspections more effectively. OSHA is involved in how the information is shared among agencies.
Executive Order Re Sharing of Information about Chemicals
The Executive Order working groups will also be discussing the extent to which information about chemicals can be shared with the public, which has become a difficult issue since 9/11. The information required under the EPA's Risk Management Program used to be publicly available. Availability has been significantly limited for national security reasons. However, the communities around these facilities feel that they have need to have more information than is currently available.
Executive Order Re Policy and Standards Modernization
Section 6 of the Executive Order is called policy and standards modernization. This is the section that OSHA is heading up. The Executive Order charged OSHA with identifying improvements to existing risk management practices through agency programs, private sector initiatives, government guidance, outreach standards and regulations. We were assigned to come up with an options paper within 90 days, which is now posted on the OSHA website at osha.gov/chemicalexecutiveorder. OSHA was next charged with collecting public input. We have had a number of listening session throughout the country, and a couple more are scheduled in coming weeks in Baton Rouge and New Jersey.
Executive Order Re Chemical Risk Management
OSHA's next assignment in connection with the Executive Order will be to develop a plan for implementing practical and effective improvements to chemical risk management in keeping with the options document. They are collecting comments through the listening sessions, and on the Website. The deadline for comments is 3/31/14.
Executive Order Re Ammonium Nitrate
One of the other parts of Section 6 of the Executive Order deals specifically with ammonium nitrate and regulatory legislative proposals for safe, secure storage, handling, and sale of ammonium nitrate.
Executive Order Re Regulated Substances and Hazards
Section 6 of the Executive Order includes a section requiring EPA and OSHA to look at whether and how regulated substances and hazards can be added to either RMP or PSM. Homeland Security has been assigned to look at whether other chemicals need to be added to their CFATS chemical of interest list.
Executive Order Re Process Safety Management Standard
In Section 6 of the Executive Order, OSHA was required within 90 days to issue a Request for Information (RFI) on modernizing the process safety management standard, which we did. The Agency is also receiving comments on that RFI, which can be accessed on the website. One of the issues is adding more substances to the covered materials in Appendix A. We have an issue due to a court case quite a few years ago about atmospheric storage tank coverage. There is also a retail exemption that we have to deal with, which we trying to decide whether to address through regulation or in other ways. We have a longstanding issue that has come out of both events, as well as recommendations from the Chemical Safety Board to address the issue of reactive hazards. We are looking at reporting forms for PSM covered facilities, in addition to possible requirements that make facility owners responsible for coordinating with emergency response officials in the local area.
Executive Order Re Standards
As a result of the Executive Order, OSHA is also looking at other standards dealing with emergency response, HAZWOPER, 1910.38. OSHA is looking at other related standards that deal with flammable, combustible materials, and whether they need to address those standards. EPA, the Coast Guard, ATF, and some other agencies are also part of the effort to come up with options and develop the plan.
Questions Mr. Barab solicits questions.
Safe Case Regime
Ms. Soiza asks if Mr. Barab would like to comment on the Chemical Safety Board safe case regime in California and Washington regarding refinery incidents and fatality events. She asks if the Chemical Safety Board is participating in this process. Mr. Barab states that the Chemical Safety Board is an independent agency and is not part of the Executive Order. There is a section in the Executive Order where they have been assigned to determine what, if any, memoranda of understanding and processes between EPA, CSB, ATF, CSB, and OSHA exist or can be improved that would provide for timely and full disclosure of information and assist in their joint investigations. There is always an issue with respect to coordination of large incidents. The Chemical Safety Board is restricted in that they only have six months to do an investigation, whereas the other agencies can take as long as they want. Nationwide implementation of the safe case regime would require changes in legislation for OSHA and an enormous amount of additional resources. It is possible that pieces of the safe case regime could be adopted under current law and current resources and that will be explored.
OSHA Chemical Processing PSM Group
Ms. Soiza comments that OSHA established a chemical processing PSM group about 18 months ago to address regulation, enforcement and consultation efforts. OSHA needs to continue to move forward on prevention of large incidents.
Executive Order Re Best Practices and Cross-Training
Dr. Bunn states that at Navistar they had four audits, environment, energy, safety, and security, which they integrated quite a bit. For example, they trained their security guards to look at energy issues, but also at safety and do some degree at environmental issues. They also cross-trained safety environment employees. As a result, they have a safer company, more secure with a very impressive audit. They saved a lot of money, particularly in the energy side. He suggests Mr. Barab might want to look at some best practices. Cost-training is very common in large industries and is very cost effective. Mr. Barab states that Section 7 of the Executive Order assigns the group to identify best practices. He encourages Dr. Bunn to send anything that he has on cross-training.
Executive Order Re Timeline
Ms. Seminario asks what the timeline going forward is for the Executive Order. Mr. Barab states that each section has its own deadlines. Some of them are to deliver reports to the President. Some of them are to deliver reports to the public for comment or conclusions. The dates have changed because of the government shutdown. At some point in late May, they are supposed to deliver the plan on Section 6. A number of items are also due to the President at that point. That information will be made public in some format subsequently. There are some independent efforts ongoing which will lead to a SBREFA Panel and then to a proposal and a final standard. The schedule for that is unknown.
Executive Order Re Prioritization and Funding
Ms. Seminario stresses the importance of prioritizing the tasks set forth in the Executive Order and the manner in which they are to be performed. Mr. Barab states that Section 6(c) requires EPA and Department of Labor to develop a plan, including timeline and resource requirements to expand, implement and enforce the RMP and PSM in a manner that addresses the additional regulated substances and types of hazards. They were supposed to do that within 90 days. They cannot significantly expand what they are doing with fewer resources. The White House recognizes that is an issue, and that will be factored into the short, medium, and long-term plans.
Issues Raised in Listening Sessions
There are a couple of areas that have been debated in the listening sessions. One is information availability and transparency. This is where environmental issues, especially environmental justice issues, have potentially conflicted with security issues. Another issue that is raised at every meeting is that everybody agrees that it is a good thing to move toward inherently safer technologies. The question is to what extent government should be involved and how aggressively in moving that forward.
Report from NACOSH Work Group, Dr. Murray:
One goal of NACOSH is to schedule a meeting and work group meeting to continue this discussion in September.
Expiration of Members' Terms
The terms of eight of the 12 members expire in 5/2014, and the other four expire in 1/2015. Some people may be reappointed and some will not.
Work Group Meeting Summary
The work group meeting summary is a formal summary, but is not a final set of recommendations around temporary workers. This work group is continuing and will be looking at system approaches in September. The question at present is whether they are comfortable with this one-page summary as a formal statement of thinking to date. On Ms. Seminario's suggestion, the language in .3 will be changed to "NIOSH, BLS and others." In two, the word "favors" will be changed to "recognizes." At the end of the first paragraph, the words "This work group will continue to consider and work on these important issues," will be added.
Scheduling of Future Work Group Meetings
Dr. Van Houten asks if they are going to have work group meetings by phone over the next several months so that at the September meeting they have a proposal to present to OSHA. Dr. Murray suggests that Mr. Dooley and Ms. Edens to consider whether they can organize a phone conversation. Dr. Murray does not want to put a deadline of September for a final set of recommendations. They may have two or three recommendations by September. Ms. Edens states that she can arrange more than one teleconference and send out notices because the work group meetings are public. Ms. Shortall says that they do not do formal Federal Register notice announcements, but can put something up on the Website or on OSHA's Web page. If anyone present today is interested in participating, they are asked to let Ms. Edens of Michelle [sic] know today so they will be included on any email correspondence sent out about a work group meeting. Dr. Murray suggests that Mr. Dooley schedule a series of meetings between now and September as soon as possible so that people can plan ahead. Some communication about the schedule will come out in the next week or two. People should make every effort to attend as many meetings as possible.
Communications among Members
Ms. Shortall points out that is it permissible for members participating in a work group meeting without violating advisory format, provided that when this is reported back to the Committee there are honest discussions within the whole Committee and they do not rubber stamp what the work group did. Members are free to exchange information and are to retain any email trail to make sure that valuable information is not missed in the overall materials that they rely on. Everyone on this roster is to send everything [sic, communication] to the staff who will make sure others who are interested receive the same information.
Vote on Report from Work Group
Mr. Dooley moves that they accept the report from the work group as amended. The motion is seconded. Editing revisions to the work group summary are discussed and will be made. The vote is unanimous.
Exhibits 12 through 21 Marked for ID
Exhibit 12 through 21 are marked for ID. They are listed on summary page 3.
Mr. Borwegen's Farewell
Mr. Borwegen retired as SEIU's Health and Safety Director last June and specifically told the agencies that he was not interested in being reappointed. However, he was asked to continue as SEIU's part-time health and safety advisor, and has taken on other projects unrelated to SEIU. He is happy to serve on NACOSH until there is a new labor representative nominated and appointed. His term will continue until at least May.
Nomination Package, Continued Service
Ms. Edens states that they will be putting a nomination package together, and those who wish to continue to serve can put their names forward for consideration. There is no limit on the number of terms.
Active Work Groups
Dr. Bunn asks if any of the other work groups is active. Dr. Murray says they are not at the moment. Ms. Edens adds that they put temporary workers under the I2P2 work group and never created a new work group.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:58 a.m.