<< Back to ACCSH: Meeting Minutes/Transcripts

US Dept of Labor
Frances Perkins Building
Room N - 3427 A,B, & C
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC



The meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) was called to order by the Acting Chair, Stewart Burkhammer, at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 2, 1999. The following members were present for all or part of the meeting:

Stewart Burkhammer
Acting Chair
Mgt. VP & Mgr. Of Safety and Health Services, Bechtel Corporation
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
Harry Payne Jr. State Commissioner, N.C. Dept. of Labor
Larry A. Edginton Labor Dir. of Safety and Health Intl. Union of Op. Engineers
Marie Haring Sweeney Fed. Chief, Doc. Dev. Branch Ed. and Info. Div., NIOSH
Jane F. Williams Public Safety and Health Consultant
Michael Buchet Public Construction Division Manager National Safety Council

Labor Representatives Mark Ayers, and Stephen Cooper were unable to attend, as were employer representatives Robert Masterson, and Stephen Cloutier. Approximately 45 members of the public were in attendance at various times, as were a number of DOL/OSHA representatives, including: Bruce Swanson (DOC); and Sarah Shortall (Office of the Solicitor). One employee representative vacancy on ACCSH remains unfilled.

Stewart Burkhammer, the ACCSH Acting Chair, welcomed all attendees, and asked all present to introduce themselves. He pointed out that the turnout for the ACCSH Work Groups that week was exceptional.

ACCSH voted to accept the draft minutes for the June 1999 ACCSH meeting.

Suzanne Kisner gave an overview of a draft NIOSH report titled "Building Safer Highway Work Zones: Measures to Prevent Worker Injuries from Vehicles and Equipment." The briefing addressed: safety of all workers on foot around traffic vehicles; safe operation of construction vehicles and equipment in highway work zones; planning for safe operations within work zones; and special safety issues associated with night work. One of the report recommendations was for OSHA to consider revising regulations for the construction industry to require adherence to the current (1996 version) of the ANSI standard called MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices), vice the 1971 version that is now referenced. Kisner also explained how comments on the draft report could be forwarded to her.

Michael Buchet and Marie Haring Sweeney, the Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) Work Group chairs presented a draft report titled "9/1/99 Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders in Construction Workers." The chairs emphasized that the Work Group members were adamant that this information should be used as the basis for informational brochures and other outreach material, but specifically should not be used as the blueprint for rule making or enforcement guidelines. [During his report to ACCSH, Assistant Secretary Jeffress stated emphatically that the ACCSH MSD Work Group product would not be used as a pattern for development of a standard.] Referring to the Work Group product, ACCSH passed four motions which are summarized as follows: that OSHA produce informational materials based on the Work Group product, and review these materials with ACCSH prior to issuance; that OSHA follow the other recommendations in the notes of the work group product; that OSHA, in collaboration with the Work Group, complete and disseminate the products in the next calendar year; and that OSHA and the Work Group continue to solicit and collect addition input concerning MSD's.

Michael Buchet and Marie Haring Sweeney presented a report on the Data Collection Work Group. Haring Sweeney explained how the OSHA 170 supplemental data form impacts the quality and consistency of the data collected, and how it might be changed using a variety of methodologies. Another issue raised was the necessity of having the form filled out when a construction accident victim subsequently dies. The Chair recommended that the Data Collection and Form 170 Work Groups work together to address issues common to both at a joint meeting prior to the December ACCSH.

Larry Edington presented a report on the second follow-up meeting of the Subpart N - Cranes Work Group. The Work Group reviewed the results of a survey conducted among the Work Group members concerning the subject matter they need to address. These issues will be more fully explored at the next Work Group meeting. Edington pointed out that OSHA will need to execute a rapid re-charter of ACCSH in order not to lose ground on this very large, complex, and lengthy project.

Jane Williams presented a report on the Construction Certification and Paperwork Reduction Work Group. ACCSH later voted to forward the work product of the Work Group to OSHA and passed six motions concerning this issue. Essentially, the motions were that: OSHA develop and issue an acknowledgement form to be consistent with all standards requirements; OSHA encourage CSHO's to interview employees and employers when unsafe employee acts are observed, without presuming a lack of training or that the training was ineffective (this could effectively reduce unnecessary citations); the proposed certification of record reduction for the transport of explosives and cadmium continue, if the elimination process involves the rule making notification process for stakeholder comment; OSHA evaluate requiring all future or revised standards contain a training acknowledgement form to demonstrate worker awareness and employer compliance with minimum paperwork burden; the certification Work Group co-chairs continue to work with OSHA to offer ACCSH input on policy initiatives; and ACCSH opposes the elimination of certification records at this time.

Jane Williams presented a report on the OSHA Form 170 Work

Group. The Work Group will distribute Working Document #2 at the next ACCSH meeting for consideration. ACCSH decided to keep the current work product a Work Group document. The Work Group concurred that a joint meeting of the Data Collection Work Group and the OSHA Form 170 Work Group should be held prior to the December ACCSH to discuss a number of overlap issues, including: commonly used codes for a number of data fields; causes of accidents; the operation being performed by the victim; and contributing factors. The potential use of intelligent software to assist in ensuring that the data collected is true and accurate (including detection of data entry errors) was also discussed.

ACCSH agreed to recommend to DOC that the final ACCSH meeting for calendar year 1999 be scheduled to take place at DOL on December 9th and 10th. These dates fall on a Thursday and a Friday and, as per current practice, the Work Groups will be planned for the Tuesday and Wednesday of that week (i.e. the 7th and 8th of December). ACCSH also agreed to recommend holding the first ACCSH meeting for calendar year 2000 in Chicago in conjunction with the February 15 - 17 Chicagoland Construction Safety Council Conference. This conference will be held at the Rosemont Convention Center near O'Hare Airport. DOC will coordinate scheduling the exact dates and times of the ACCSH meeting and the Work Group meetings. It was anticipated that the ACCSH meeting will take place on the afternoon of the 17th (Thursday) and the morning of the 18th (Friday), while most of the Work Group meetings will be scheduled for four hour time slots prior to the ACCSH itself (four on Monday the 14th - two in the morning, and two in the afternoon). Having presentations on MSD, ACCSH, and Training, which conferees could attend, was also discussed.

Jane Williams and Larry Edington presented a report on the Diversified Workforce Initiatives Work Group. Williams pointed out that the Work Group held an initial meeting, and began the process of developing its focus. The Health and Safety of Women in Construction (HASWIC) report will be made available on a DOC related web site, and the open items in this report will be reviewed for possible inclusion in future Work Group deliberations. Other topics which will be addressed by the Work Group include: communications; effective language and training issues; PPE physical fit; training; age; displaced mature workers; and health and sanitation.

Felipe Devora presented a report on the Fall Protection Work Group. Devora pointed out that the participation in this Work Group has been excellent, and has included diverse groups within the construction industry. Issues being addressed include the need for alternative fall protection procedures for a number of residential construction activities. He encouraged all interested parties to submit input to the Work Group, using a questionnaire developed by the Work Group. Swanson reiterated that this work is not a substitute for the official record - all interested parties can, and should submit written opinions in accordance with the instructions in the Federal Register.

Marie Haring Sweeney presented a report on the Silica Work Group. This consisted of answers to five questions posed by the Solicitors Office. The questions dealt with the issue of assessment of exposure to silica on construction sites. ACCSH voted to recommend that the Work Group product of the Silica Work Group be provided to OSHA. In addition, ACCSH agreed to continue the Work Group to consider other related issues, as requested by the Solicitors Office.

Camille Villanova gave a presentation on the DOC Construction Advisor. She indicated that a formal report on the Construction Advisor would be submitted to ACCSH at the December meeting. She emphasized that the Construction Advisor will not be a static product, but will change to meet the needs of construction workers. An example of future content might be "tool box talks." ACCSH members will be given passwords to view the Construction Advisor web page while it is under construction, and the site will be opened for public review at a later time. Anyone able to supply good quality photographs of representative construction activities was invited to send them Villanova for use with the Construction Advisor.

Paul Bolson and Bill Perry gave a presentation on Silica, and reported that OSHA is committed to developing a comprehensive standard on crystalline Silica. Perry pointed out that development of comprehensive Silica standard is considered a critical element in meeting one of OSHA's strategic goals. The current schedule calls for issuing a proposed standard in calendar year 2000. The standard is being developed to apply to General Industry, the Construction Industry, and the Maritime Industry. OSHA is also in the midst of deciding whether the current PEL needs to be lowered.

Swanson pointed out that a number of interested organizations have expressed concerns to Assistant Secretary Jeffress that, in the past, their input and views on policies and standards were not recorded. Consequently, DOC will assign a representative to liaison with these groups concerning the Silica issue, keeping ACCSH informed.

Bob Manware gave a presentation on Technical Changes to Existing Standards. He stated that this project involved a clean-up of standards or provisions that are duplicative, unnecessary or contradictory, and that OSHA is currently in phase two of the program. Some of the recent issues being addressed under this program were discussed, including employee exposure notification.

Manny Ypsilantes gave a presentation titled "OSHA Training Institute - Update on Construction Courses." He briefed ACCSH on the construction courses taught at the Institute, and discussed their use of technology, including satellite, and computer based instructional tools. A written exam has been developed for the 500 (Instructor) course taught at the OSHA Training Institute, and students will be given this exam beginning in October 1999. As the Branch Manager for the Construction Branch of the OSHA Training Institute, Ypsilantes acknowledged receiving a standing invitation from ACCSH to send a representative from the Institute to attend future ACCSH meetings.

Noah Connell presented a Construction Standards Update. The General Industry Safety and Health standard has been delayed by approximately six months, and this is delaying the progress on the Construction Safety and Health standard (the plan had been to issue draft regulatory text this summer). In addition, the Confined Space standard will be significantly delayed due to: a finding that stakeholder meetings will be required (a time-consuming process); and changes in the economic impact analysis, which will trigger the requirement for SBREFA (Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act) activities. The Steel Erection standard will also be delayed beyond the original December 1999 target - this issue is currently the highest priority at DOC and consumes the majority of the man-hours budgeted for rule making. The revisions to the FIRM which clarify how to approach MECP issues should be finalized this year.

Frank Frodyma gave an presentation titled "OSHA Strategic Plan Update." He indicated that the OSHA Strategic Plan has been revised to include ergonomics-related goals and performance measures. Frodyma pointed out that the current rising fatality rate in construction will need to be reversed in order to achieve the goal called out in the plan. The "days lost due to accident/injury" rate is falling as required to meet this strategic goal.

Joe Pipkin presented a brief titled "Subpart V - Electrical Standard." DOC plans to have a proposed Subpart V - Electrical standard ready early in 2000 - a copy of the draft standard (dated May 1999) will be provided to ACCSH.

Assistant Secretary Jeffress briefed ACCSH on recent developments concerning OSHA. He informed ACCSH that some of the legislation being developed in Congress would cause at least a 30% reduction in OSHA domestic programs next year, and that the President has indicated he would veto such legislation. He also discussed the recently issued "Future Work Report," which is the Secretary's assessment of the kind of issues and challenges are confronting workers as we enter the 21st Century. Jeffress affirmed OSHA's commitment to addressing the ergonomics issue, even in the face of Congressional opposition ("The Sensible Ergonomics Needs Scientific Evidence Act" (S.1070) delays an ergonomics rule until the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) completes its study on the controversial issue). Jeffress stated that it would be helpful if everyone would start looking at MSD's as the problem, and ergonomics as the solution to this serious health and safety problem. This could redirect the debate in a helpful way. To put the funding issue into perspective, he pointed out that OSHA is funded at about 10% of what European countries fund their government safety and health programs, on a per employee basis, and that the EPA has twenty times the budget that OSHA has. Jeffress reaffirmed his commitment to a strong enforcement program, but stated that the bulk of the President's OSHA request involved resources to increase education and training on occupational safety and health matters.

ACCSH voted to recommend that OSHA continue to use the most current references when evaluating and developing standards.

The acting chair announced that this would be Marie-Haring Sweeney's last ACCSH due to her recent promotion at NIOSH. He commended her for her intelligence, enthusiasm, and work ethic, and thanked her for exceptional service to the committee.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 a.m. on 3 September 1999