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The meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) was called to order by Chairman Erich J. (Pete) Stafford at 8 a.m., Thursday, November 29, 2012. The following members and OSHA staff were present:
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Chairman Stafford welcomed the attendees and provided an overview of the full agenda.
Sarah Shortall, ACCSH Counsel, announced that exhibits put in the public docket for this meeting and the transcript and minutes of the meeting are available for reading and downloading by going to Docket No. OSHA-2012-0011 at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Materials in the meeting docket also are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office.
Directorate of Construction (DOC) Update
Mr. Maddux stated that he thought the work group meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday were all great. He also welcomed the four new members to the committee: Kristi Barber, Jeremy Bethancourt, Roger Erickson, and Donald Pratt.
ACCSH Approved Motions and Action Items - Mr. Maddux provided an update on the status of approved motions and action items from prior ACCSH meetings:
I want to make sure people know that we take these recommendations seriously, and we are moving on them with the resources and other priorities that we have.
Mr. Maddux also provided ACCSH an overview of the cranes type and capacity discussion and other issues facing the construction industry.
Online Training Issues
Dr. Payne briefed the committee that OSHA has conducted about 60 internal online training opportunities over the last 5 years. We’ve transmitted what we call webcasts, video and audio, out to the Federal and state compliance officers. We’ve also held some training that have enabled audio to come back in, where participants can ask questions. We also have traditional online learning, where students can interact with computer-based learning. For some of our OTI courses we use a blended format where students must complete some online training before they come to the Institute for the “live” instructor portion. That has been very helpful for us, both in terms of (1) getting all the students kind of on a level playing field before they show up, and (2) allowing us to reduce the length of time people must spend on coursework in Chicago. Some courses used to be a week and a half long. We have been able to shorten them to a week by adding this online piece up front. This has been very successful for us.
Dr. Branche provided the committee an overview of some developments in the Institute overall, as well as in the NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health. She talked about some of her Office’s efforts to accomplish the 15 NIOSH goals for the construction sector. She indicated that committee member Matt Gillen would cover some of the developments underway in NIOSH’s efforts with green construction. NIOSH’s missions in the construction program overall are to conduct research, gather information, and then translate as much as feasible into products, programs, and solutions and services for the construction industry.
NIOSH and OSHA teamed up and launched the fall prevention campaign on Workers Memorial Day. The primary audience of interest was residential construction contractors, site supervisors, foremen, and then the tertiary audience of interest was the workers themselves. The website is stopconstructionfalls.com. This effort has involved not only OSHA in partnership with NIOSH, but also with our national occupational research agenda for the Construction Sector Council. So those members have been instrumental in not only piecing through it and dealing with the information that helped us shape the campaign, but also in helping us get the information out. We really appreciate those of you here on ACCSH as well as those in the audience who helped to get that information out as well. It has been a joint effort and we still require your hands in continuing to have a successful campaign.
Here are a few ways you can get information about the campaign:
It is still possible to join the campaign, and that could happen either today by raising your hand or sending an email to Falls@cpwr.com. From my last assessment, 39 organizations have joined the campaign formally. That doesn't mean that people, even if they haven't formally joined, that they aren't participating and being available and helping disseminate information.
Dr. Branche briefed on the 15 construction research goals NIOSH has on their national occupational research agenda in the United States. We have six of the goals that we call ready for impact, which means we have sufficient solutions and know what contractors need to do for impact. Falls, silica, disparities, struck by, culture, and prevention through design are the six goals that we believe we are in a place where we are ready for impact. There are seven developmental goals for which we have solutions but we know we are not quite ready for impact. Welding fumes, musculoskeletal disorders and disease, and noise are some of the seven goals that fall into that category. Our last category is exploratory. This means it's an important issue, but we are still defining problems and solutions. Two goals fall in that category, the industry organization issues as well as engaging the media. We believe all 15 goals are relevant.
Mr. Matt Gillen, NIOSH, informed the group that a Spanish language version of the nail gun pamphlet was released in October 2012. We’ve partnered with a number of Hispanic organizations to help us get the widest dissemination possible. We want to keep a spotlight on nail guns and really try to make an impact and make those injuries go down.
Mr. Gillen then talked about portions of the intramural projects that were underway at NIOSH. He reported that studies show 20 to 30 percent of residential construction worker-related injuries are related to musculoskeletal disorders, and they really do account for a disproportionate share of total injury costs. Jim Albers is working with several partners, and they have developed a two-page tip sheet for simple solutions for home building workers. Each describes a specific problem and the solution. How the solution works, employer/worker benefit, and approximate cost. We think that will be a very helpful publication for the residential construction industry. Chris Pan is the researcher, and he is partnering with FRACO and Klimer, and they are looking at the scaffold safety margins, worker task and environment interactions.
Mr. Gillen also shared information about a ladder safety application for Smart phones. It allows users to place their phone against the ladder, and it gives you feedback as to whether the angle is appropriate. Users have found this is not only quicker but more accurate when compared to trying to use the chart on the ladder or other methods.
Mr. Gillen also talked about the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program. It is really a terrific project and program. NIOSH does it, and we have multiple state partners. They investigate targeted fatalities and put together reports that often include photos. The valuable thing about it is, it includes root cause information. What they have been doing is working on how to make this information more searchable. Believe it or not, there are currently 715 FACE cases involving construction. They are really helpful for training and for toolbox talks. Again, you can search the ones that are relevant for a topic that is of interest to you.
Training and Outreach Work Group Report
Roger Erickson reported that the work group had discussions on the following topics:
Introduction segment of the OSHA 10-hour and 30-hour courses: The questions, comments, and concerns centered on whether the mandatory 2-hour segment was being used effectively. The general consensus is that the instructors should be allowed more flexibility in determining what should be covered during that session based on the class composition.
OSHA 10-hour and 30-hour online training courses: Confusion over the time requirement to complete the training was the topic of another discussion. Dr. Henry Payne, Director of OSHA’s Directorate of Training and Education, clarified that participants had to complete the training within 180 days of enrollment.
The Work Group presented the following motions to ACCSH for consideration:
Walter Jones moved that ACCSH approve the Training and Outreach Work Group report from the November28, 2012 meeting. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Roger Erickson moved that ACCSH recommend that OSHA maintain and enhance the “Introduction to OSHA” learning objectives, which should include the rights of workers to report injuries without retaliation. Furthermore, ACCSH recommends that the set two-hour time requirement be eliminated and left to the discretion of the instructor conducting the class. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Letitia Davis moved that ACCSH recommend OSHA, with guidance from the ACCSH Training and Outreach Work Group, conduct a third-party assessment of the OSHA OTI training program in its entirety as it relates to the construction industry, to include detailed recommendations for refining the program to address current needs. The assessment and development of recommendations should include stakeholder input through ACCSH and other venues. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) Work Group Report
Mr. Marrero began by sharing the results of a presentation from Mr. Shannon Lusk, Missouri Valley, Inc., on their understanding of what it took to implement an effective I2P2 program. The company’s biggest concern was the financial burden they would incur as the result of hiring additional staff to implement the program.
The work group also followed up on the recommendation from the May 2012 meeting that OSHA and NIOSH, with input from ACCSH, develop guidelines to assist Federal, state and local government in performing safety qualification assessments for construction contractors bidding on construction work. Mr. Pete Stafford and others from the building trades provided the work group with an initial draft of a health and safety checklist to start the discussion. The intent was to develop a relatively simple list of safety and health considerations that could be used when evaluating potential contractors. Work group members were generally supportive of the concept.
The Work Group presented the following motion to ACCSH for consideration:
William Hering moved that ACCSH approve the Injury and Illness Prevention Program Work Group report from the November 28, 2012 meeting. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Backing Operations Work Group Report
Mr. Stribling provided a summary of the issues and discussions that took place during their work group. Dr. Jochen Teizer, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the RAPIDS Construction Safety & Technology Laboratory, presented a view of his research into proximity detection systems and emerging technologies. Dr. Teizer explained that his research shows a lot of promise, but most of what his laboratory has developed is not yet available in the marketplace. He cautioned that there is no technology available that can eliminate all vehicular struck-by incidents, but the technology can be a valuable aid in preventing backover incidents.
Following Dr. Teizer, Meghan Smith, DOC/OCSG, unveiled OSHA's backing web page. She provided a brief overview of the primary sections of the web page. It addresses backovers in construction and general industry and includes links to FACE reports, a solutions page, a resources page, a regulations page, and a standards interpretation page.
The Work Group presented the following motion to ACCSH for consideration:
Jeremy Bethancourt moved that ACCSH approve the Backing Operations Work Group report from the November 28, 2012 meeting. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Presentation by Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health
Dr. Michaels greeted the committee and thanked them for the service they provide to DOL, OSHA, and the American workforce. He also acknowledged and welcomed the newest members of ACCSH. The work that ACCSH does is very important. We value it highly, and we know it has impact. For decades, ACCSH has really helped shape the work that OSHA does.
Dr. Michaels stated that the workplace has changed tremendously for the better in the last 40 years, primarily because of many of you, employers, trade associations, health and safety professionals, NIOSH and OSHA working together. There used to be about 14,000 fatalities a year in America. That number has dropped to roughly 4,000 a year. That’s still too many. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that more than three million workers are injured every year on the job. That is still a very high number. It hurts workers, it hurts their families, it hurts employers, and it hurts the economy. We have a ways to go. OSHA exists to help employers provide safe workplaces. It is OSHA's job to figure out how to make sure employers do that. One area we are pleased to see a decrease in, is fatalities from falls in residential construction. From 2010 to 2011, the number of fatalities from falls in residential construction decreased about 25 percent. These are preliminary BLS numbers. We are told they are likely to go up a little bit but not that much. The point here for us is lives were saved.
Fall Prevention: Dr. Michaels reminded the committee that OSHA changed our enforcement policy on residential construction fall protection in December 2010 so that all construction is covered by the same standard. However, we still have some modifications in terms of how we issue penalties and how we enforce the standard. Since the change we continue to find a lot of employers not providing any fall protection for their workers. They are not even trying to follow the modification that was in place for 15 years.
Fall Prevention Awareness Campaign: Dr. Michaels declared the campaign a total success. We are pleased with the campaign materials and we now have them in Spanish, Russian, and Polish, and they are coming soon in Portuguese, Vietnamese, Laotian, and Tagalog. We haven't measured the impact yet, but we can see the materials are being distributed. We have a great website with large numbers of downloads and visits, in the hundreds of thousands.
Inspections: Researchers have taken on the task of looking at OSHA inspections. It's been a little easier for them to look at manufacturing, but we are trying to encourage them to look at construction as well. We are learning a great deal. Recently, an article was published in Science Magazine that revealed the results of a study done by faculty at business schools who were interested in what is the impact of OSHA inspections on businesses. The authors were from Harvard and University of California Schools of Business. What they found was, an inspection led to almost a 10 percent drop in injuries over the next 5 years, the year we inspected and 4 years after that. Inspections also resulted in significant savings in workers' compensation costs to every employer related to those injuries. There was a 26 percent reduction in injury costs per employer. These professors estimated that every inspection saved employers about $350,000. We are doing a very good job.
Incentive Programs: Dr. Michaels stated that OSHA wants to encourage employers to incentivize the right behavior, but not to offer incentives that encourage workers not to report injuries. This is a discussion we are having with all of our stakeholders, and we are eager for your input.
Question: Mr. Jones asked what has been OSHA’s role in support of Hurricane Sandy efforts?
Answer: Dr. Michaels responded that once the storm had passed, our Region 2 folks hit the ground and have been working nonstop. We have also deployed to the affected area other OSHA inspectors, from around the country, in support of the recovery effort. For the most part, we’ve been giving advice. We get people out of hazardous situations when we find them, and share with them where they can get safety equipment. We have been very fortunate that a number of organizations have stepped up to the plate and are providing donations.
Question: Mr. Jones asked has there been any movement on the PEL issue?
Answer: Dr. Michaels reported that OSHA has been working with ACJ, which is a private organization, to make sure we could use their materials in the way we want to. We hope soon to be able to actually get that out to the public. We think having a place where you could compare PELs and other occupational exposure limits would be very useful.
Dr. Michaels concluded his presentation and thanked the committee for its support in protecting construction workers around the country.
Health Hazards, Emerging Issues, and Prevention Through Design Work Group Report
Mr. Jones reported that the Work Group discussed the following three topics:
Nano Technologies: Presentations by Kristen Kulinowski, Institute of Events Analysis at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, and Bruce Lippy, CPWR, provided the work group with a working knowledge of nanoparticles and their uses. They also shared the growing concerns over the environmental, health, and safety impacts of engineered nanoparticles. It has been determined in animal studies that certain nanomaterials can induce cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, and cardiovascular dysfunction. Because of the results of these studies, it is believed exposure to nanoparticles must be controlled.
Thermal Degradation: Jonathan Bearr and Opeyemi Farquah, Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management, informed the work group that their Office of Science and Technology Assessment is investigating worker exposure to thermal decomposition of organic compounds, such as organic coatings on steel and other structures, when extreme heat is applied. There is a potential concern for the construction industry during welding and cutting operations. They believed this area needs a lot more study and research and asked folks on the committee and in the audience to help them to further advance their research.
RF Radiation: Mr. Martin Doscad, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), provided an overview on how the FCC exposure system works and a handout that gave a good description of exactly how the exposures can happen. The FCC holds its licensees accountable for exposure control; however, the agency is not doing any surveillance to ensure compliance. The FCC requires a variety of control approaches to limit exposure. It requires the placement of warning signs that provide exposure ranges for the general population and occupational exposures.
The Work Group presented the following motions to ACCSH for consideration:
Letitia Davis moved that ACCSH approve the Health Hazards, Emerging Issues, and Prevention Through Design Work Group report from the November 27, 2012 meeting. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Walter Jones moved that whereas construction and building maintenance workers can be inadvertently exposed to radiofrequency (RF) during renovation, construction, maintenance, and related tasks near cell phone wireless base stations, and whereas the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has jurisdiction over the licensees that own the equipment but not the employers or building owners, there appears to be an important gap; now, therefore, ACCSH recommends that OSHA collaborate with the FCC to develop the following:
1) Simple guidance for building owners on preventing inadvertent RF exposures to construction and maintenance workers;
The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Walter Jones moved that whereas a variety of construction uses have been described for engineered nanomaterials, and whereas current hazard communication practices do not require any precautionary labeling or safety data sheet messages for engineered nanomaterials; now, therefore, ACCSH recommends that OSHA determine whether the new GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals) addresses engineered nanomaterials. If the GHS rule does require precautionary labeling or safety data sheets, ACCSH recommends that OSHA brief ACCSH at a future meeting. If the GHS rule does not include such requirements, ACCSH further recommends that OSHA pursue guidance and regulatory approaches to ensure that workers and employers are aware of when they are working with engineered nanomaterials. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Diversity, Multilingual, and Women in Construction Work Group Report
Mr. Bethancourt summarized the issues and discussions that took place during the Work Group meeting.
National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC): Kathleen Dobson, NAWIC, made a presentation that highlighted the association’s concern on sanitary facilities, PPE, ergonomics and tools, harassment, hostility in the workplace, and training for women construction workers. NAWIC desires an alliance with OSHA to help them address these items.
Women in Construction Fact Sheet: We were provided a draft fact sheet for review that generated a considerable amount of discussion. One discussion point centered around verbiage on the fact sheet that stated that “ACCSH” recommends that employers provide and maintain sanitary toilets with sufficient toilet paper and a locking mechanism that can secure the toilet from the inside, not the outside. The consensus from the group was that it would be better received if it said OSHA recommends or ACCSH and OSHA recommend.
Women in Construction Web page: Danezza Quintero, DOC/OCS, presented a draft web page and asked for feedback from the work group. Laurie Shadrick asked that ACCSH members be provided the opportunity to see all the links before the page is activated. It will be important to see how the flow of the web page works so we can actually provide good feedback.
The Work Group presented the following motions to ACCSH for consideration:
Walter Jones moved that ACCSH approve the Diversity Work Group report from the November 27, 2012 meeting. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Jeremy Bethancourt moved that ACCSH recommend to OSHA that the wording in the OSHA Women in Construction Fact Sheet be modified to read: “To avoid health and safety hazards, OSHA recommends that employers provide and maintain sanitary toilets . . . .” The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Letitia Davis moved ACCSH recommend that OSHA incorporate into the OSHA draft Women in Construction Webpage and Fact Sheet the comments and revisions the Diversity Work Group prepared. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Chip Pocock, Specialized Carriers and Riggers Association
Mr. Pocock made a presentation on the impact he perceived the crane standard type and capacity requirement would have on the industry.
Rick Burnheimer, RF CHECK
Mr. Burnheimer made a presentation on the potential exposure to RF radiation to unsuspecting workers.
Graham Brent, National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators
Mr. Brent made a presentation on the perceived impact the crane standard type and capacity requirement would have on NCCCO crane operator certification and recertification programs and to the industry.
Chairman Stafford adjourned the meeting for the day at 4:20 p.m.
Friday, November 30, 2012
Chairman Stafford reconvened the ACCSH meeting at 8:05 a.m., November 30, 2012.
Request for Information (RFI) Update - Backing Operations
Paul Bolon and Meghan Smith, DOC/OCSG
Paul Bolon and Meghan Smith spoke about what DOC learned from the comments submitted to RFI on Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities. Ms. Smith stated that DOC received comments on backover from 32 different commenters. These comments came from small and large businesses, trade associations, union groups, safety consultants, researchers, companies that manufacture backing safety equipment, state and local government, NIOSH, and other members of the public. Some commenters favored a new regulation and some did not.
OSHA Information System
Cecil Tipton and Gus Georgiades
Mr. Tipton and Mr. Georgiades briefed the committee on some of the capabilities of the recently rolled out OSHA Information System (OIS). The system is a web-based database that enables virtually real-time information availability. Unlike its predecessor IMIS, OIS is updated three times a day for internal OSHA use and nightly for information available to the general public. The system is also equipped with several canned reports for extracting commonly sought after information.
Standards Improvement Project IV (SIP IV) Update
Paul Bolon and Dayton Eckerson, DOC/OCSG
Mr. Bolon informed the committee that a Request for Information (RFI) has been prepared for publication in the Federal Register. It should be published in the next week or two. Once published in the Docket, the public will have 60 days to offer ideas. Besides the formal process (going to www.regulations.gov and submitting ideas), you can always contact us and give us your ideas over the phone or e-mail. We keep them all.
RFI Update - Reinforced Concrete and Post Tensioning
Paul Bolon and Blake Skogland, DOC/OCSG
Mr. Bolon and Mr. Skogland briefed that OSHA received about 13 unique comments from a number of constituents, including home builders, large construction companies, insurance services, concrete providers, equipment manufacturers, iron workers, foundation drillers, post tensioning systems manufacturers, safety professionals, trade unions, and ship builders. Our next step is to see what ANSI is going to propose, and then OSHA will have to review everything and make a decision about going forward.
J. Nigel Ellis, Ellis Fall Safety Solutions
Mr. Ellis gave a presentation on suggested guidelines to address the fall protection issues surrounding re-roofing as a construction activity.
The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 10:50 a.m.