<< Back to ACCSH: Meeting Minutes/Transcripts

Conference Rooms A & B
Holiday Inn O'Hare International
Rosemont, Illinois


The meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) was called to order by (the Acting Chair), Michael Buchet, at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, February 17, 2000. The following members were present for all or part of the meeting:
 

Michael Buchet Public Construction Division Manager 
National Safety Council
Felipe Devora Mgt. Safety Dir., Fretz Construction
William C. Rhoten Labor Dir. of Safety & Health Dept./ United Assoc. of Journeymen & Apprent. of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Indust. of U.S. and Canada
Owen Smith Mgt. President, Anzalone & Associates
Danny Evans State Chief Admin. Off. OSH Enforcement 
Div. of Indust. Rel., Nevada
Robert Masterson Mgt. Mgr., Safety and Loss Control, Ryland Group
Larry A. Edginton Labor Dir. of Safety and Health 
Intl. Union of Op. Engineers
Jane F. Williams Public Safety and Health Consultant
Bruce Swanson Fed. Designated Federal Representative (DFR)
Stephen B. Cooper Labor Director, International Assoc. of Bridge, Structural & Ornamental Iron Workers

Approximately 30 members of the public were in attendance at various times, as were a number of DOL/OSHA representatives, including Robert Biersner (Office of the Solicitor). The meeting location was selected to coincide with the 10th Annual Conference on Construction Safety which was convened at the Rosemont Convention Center.

Michael Buchet, who chaired the meeting, welcomed all attendees, and asked all present to introduce themselves. He then introduced Assistant Secretary Jeffress and invited him to address the committee.

Assistant Secretary Jeffress briefed ACCSH on recent developments concerning OSHA, which addressed five issues: Budget, OSHA Opinions and Advice, Partnerships, Standards and the Role of ACCSH. On the OSHA Budget, Mr. Jeffress noted that the proposed FY 2001 budget included an increase of 11%. If enacted, OSHA will have received more than 25% increased funding over the past three years. The budget provides $1 million for a survey to identify mid- and large-sized contractors with above average accident rates. The budget includes funds for 63 new compliance officers, increased resources for training and capacity building. He also noted that there is a proposal to conduct a best-practices survey to update a similar report last produced in 1980. On the issue of OSHA Opinions and Advice, Mr. Jeffress noted that the Department was reviewing this process in light of the response to the "work at home" opinion reported in January. With regard to Partnerships, he noted that the construction industry was leading the way on implementing innovative public/private agreements. The goal is to focus limited inspection resources on those contractors that have not made the commitment to improve workplace health and safety. Mr. Jeffress used an innovative college curriculum as an example of ways that organizations can improve the risk assessment skills of planners and engineers. He spent a few minutes talking about OSHA's process for developing and implementing standards. A possible streamlining option will be the adoption of other federal standards rather than creating parallel standards with the goal of eliminating or minimizing the review and comment periods. Mr. Jeffress' final point concerned the work of ACCSH and how better to coordinate its work with the general operations of OSHA.

The Assistant Secretary then responded to questions from the Committee. Among the comments came a suggestion to have an ACCSH member act as a liaison to the OSHA Training Institute Center. A motion was made to have Mr. Rhoten further investigate this proposal. Other questions and comments pertained to increased investment in training and technology.

The formal meeting began with ACCSH members voting to accept the draft minutes, with corrections (add Masterson and Rhoten, delete Ayers from the attendees), from the December 1999 ACCSH meeting.

The next meeting of the ACCSH was agreed to on May 4 with work groups convening May 2 and 3. May 5 was set aside should the meeting extend into a second day.

A motion was made to break the work groups into two hour sessions instead of 4 hours, whenever possible. This motion was made so that ACCSH members can participate in multiple work group sessions during the May meeting.

Work Group Reports


Danny Evans provided an update on the activities of the Process Safety Management (PSM) Work Group. Mr. Evans discussed the status of the proposed rule making policy and his work groups' recommendations. Much of his discussion focused on reactive chemicals and their potential hazards (explosions, fires, toxic fumes). The suggestion was made to include all reactive type chemicals into the PSM program. Action item (#5) concerning the ANPR on PSM was extended to the May meeting. Written comments will be provided to OSHA at that meeting on the proposed rule making.

Michael Buchet next issued an update on the work of the Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) Work Group. He reported on the draft MSD report and reiterated to the public that its use would not be used as a guidance document now or in the future as an enforcement tool. There was discussion, for and against, concerning the release (on the Internet) of the draft report. It was agreed that the Internet represented an efficient medium for soliciting public comment, but that future releases would clearly describe the documents as products of ACCSH (not OSHA) and that they are subject to change.

A motion was made to examine the process for placing ACCSH documents on the Internet for review and comment.

Robert Masterson presented an update on Fall Protection. He reported that two sessions had been conducted since the last Committee meeting. The Fall Protection Work Group will have a draft report ready for the May meeting.

Jane Williams presented the final work group summary with a brief update on Sanitation. She reported that the work group met this week and focused discussions on long-term placements. She indicated that the results of these discussions will be forwarded to Mr. Swanson's office for review.

Steve Cooper and Bill Rhoten reported on the ACCSH field trip to the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) on February 16 where they participated in a discussion on future budget and training projections. There was also public comment from several participants. Topics included recommendations on improving accountability of the training centers, particularly with regard to the 10 and 30 hour safety course completion cards. The recommendation entailed creating a less-easily duplicated card that compliance officers and contractors can confirm that workers have completed the course. As a result of this testimony, a new work group was formed to examine OSHA Training Institute (OTI) certification of 10 and 30 hour safety cards. Mr. Rhoten agreed to chair this work group with Mr. Smith serving as co-chair.

Testimony from several participants covered the topic of how to reward contractors when compliance officers find few if any discrepancies. The suggestion was made that OSHA develop an "on-the-spot" citation that recognizes outstanding safety compliance. ACCSH and OSHA participants pointed to several state programs that provide this recognition and that similar programs could be replicated state by state. OSHA highlighted the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) as a successful mechanism to recognize compliant organizations.

A representative from the insurance industry next introduced the issue of work site communication between foremen and non-English speaking workers. The testimony pointed out that in many high-growth areas employ significant numbers of non-English speaking workers with associated low levels of educational achievement. The issue was referred to the Diversified Construction Workforce Initiatives, which has been studying this problem.

A recommendation was made by a representative of organized labor that construction workers should participate in refresher courses covering the 10 hour safety course. It was pointed out that many workers have gone 10 years or more since their last formal safety training. Discussion on this topic included the possibility of employing distance learning sites to allow workers to refresh their training via the Internet.

A final comment was raised concerning the composition of ACCSH. It was noted that there are two organized labor positions currently open on the committee. Bruce Swanson made a comment on the open slots and said the Assistant Secretary was aware of this and that OSHA hoped to appoint (or reappoint) members soon.

The meeting closed with a unanimous motion to recognize the Chicago Land Construction Safety Council, sponsors of the 10th Annual Conference on Construction Safety, for their fine job in hosting ACCSH and OSHA.

The meeting adjourned at 12:00.