United States Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH)
Volume I of II
Thursday, September 14, 2000
Holiday Inn Capital at the Smithsonian
550 C Street, Southwest
Discovery II Conference Room
P R E S E N T
Advisory Council Members Present:
National Safety Council
Stephen J. Cloutier
Charlotte, North Carolina
Stephen D. Cooper
Intl. Assoc. of Bridge,
Structural & Ornamental Ironworkers
Felipe Devora, Safety Director
Fretz Construction Company
International Union of Operating Engineers
Commissioner of Labor, North Carolina
United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters
Russell B. Swanson
Designated Federal Official
Marie Haring Sweeney
National Institutes of Occupational
Safety and Health
Jane F. Williams
A-Z Safety Resources, Inc.
Owen Smith, President
Anzalone & Associates
Stewart Burkhammer, Acting Chairman
Thursday, September 14, 2000
A G E N D A
- 8:00 to 8:30
- Welcome, Introduction
- Stewart Burkhammer, Acting Chair
- Paperwork Reduction
- Barbara Bielaski; Todd Owen
- Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Marie Haring Sweeney; Michael Buchet
- Special Presentation
- Maritime Advisory Committee
- For Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH)
- Update and Maritime Ergonomics Study
- Larry Reed; Jim Thornton; Chico McGill;
- Steve Hudock; Cherie Fairfield Estill;
- Leslie McDonald, Karl Sigfried
- Data Collection
- Mike Buchet; Marie Haring Sweeney;
- Suzanne Marsh
- Jane Williams; Steve Cooper;
- Cathryn Goedert
- Lunch on your own
- Fall Protection
- Felipe Devora
- Directorate of Construction Standards
- Noah Connell
- Special Presentation
- Communication Tower Erection
- Kevin Beauregard; Harry Payne;
- Thomas Marple
P R O C E E D I N G S
[Time noted: 9:00 a.m.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Welcome to the fall ACCSH meeting. We will start by going around the room and introducing ourselves. Jane, will you start please.
MS. WILLIAMS: Jane Williams, A to Z Safety, Scottsdale, Arizona, public representative.
MR. COOPER: Steve Cooper, Ironworkers.
MR. RHOTEN: Bill Rhoten, Plumbers and Pipe Fitters International.
MR. SMITH: Owen Smith, Paintings Contractor, California.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Stu Burkhammer, ACCSH Chair.
MS. SHERMAN: Susan Sherman, Solicitors Office.
MR. CLOUTIER: Steve Cloutier, Employer's Rep out of Charlotte, North Carolina.
MR. DEVORA: Felipe Devora, Employer Rep out of Houston, Texas.
MR. EDGINTON: Larry Edginton, International Union of Operating Engineers.
MR. BUCHET: Michael Buchet, National Safety Council Public Representative.
MS. SWEENEY: Marie Haring Sweeney, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
MR. BURKHAMMER: All right. We've got a sound problem this morning, so when the Committee wishes to speak please get a microphone in front of you and speak as clearly as possible so the court reporter can take notes. Also, make sure all of you have a name tag handwritten.
Now, we will start in the audience. Why don't we start over here on the right, please.
[The audience was introduced.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: The exits are behind you. There are two exits behind you. There's an exit here on the left. The restrooms are out the door down to the left. And in case of an emergency there is an exit out the glass doors just to the right and it takes you out to the street.
Bruce Swanson isn't with us this morning, so Jim Boom is the designated federal representative for this meeting until Bruce gets here. The bouncer in the back of the room, Bill Smith, he is going to take care of anybody that shows late or tries to leave early.
MR. BURKHAMMER: As some of you may know, one of our ACCSH members, Danny Evans, passed away between the last meeting and now, and, in honor of him I would like to have a moment of silence, please.
[A moment of silence was observed.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you.
If you will get out the minutes from the last meeting. Do you have any comments or concerns about the minutes? Any changes?
MR. BURKHAMMER: If not, I will entertain a motion to approve.
MR. CLOUTIER: So moved.
MR. BURKHAMMER: The motion is seconded. All in favor of approving the minutes from the May 4th and 5th meeting signify by saying aye.
[Chorus of Ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Minutes approved.
If you would get out your agenda we have some things I want to add. At 11:30, OSHA Form 170 is going to have a motion so be prepared for that.
One o'clock-fall protection we have 10 motions to review and discuss so that is going to take a while.
We're also going to have at 4:30 public comment. If any of the people here would like to make a comment, please put it on a card or a sheet of paper, pass it up to me and we will call on you at the public comment period at 4:30.
On Friday, we've got a motion on the ACCSH committee procedures and guidelines and we'll have public comment at 11:55 on Friday. So, again, anybody wishing to comment at that time on Friday please pass a note up to me and we will call on you on that day. If you want to give me a note today for Friday, that's fine. Just mark the day you want to speak.
With that, Barbara and Todd, are you ready to talk to us about paperwork reduction?
This is nice. We don't have the automatic machine running up and down the halls on the outside delivering mail.
MS. BIELASKI: Good morning everyone.
[Chorus of good morning.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Good morning. Yes. Please speak into it and give us your name before you start for the court reporter.
MS. BIELASKI: I am Barbara Bielaski. We come before you this morning to thank you for your past assistance that you have given us in the area of paperwork reduction and to ask for more help.
We have been trying to reduce the paperwork burden in construction rules since somewhere in the mid-80s and I guess we have been before the Advisory Committee three or four times. Most recently, we came down and asked about the revocation of certain certification records and it was with the Committee's recommendation that we not revoke those certification records, but in fact that we add some new ones for the training certification.
Since that time we had a meeting. We had a roundtable discussion over at OMB and some of the Committee members participated in that discussion. And as a result of that discussion --
MR. BURKHAMMER: Excuse me, Barbara. Could you talk more into your mike, please?
THE REPORTER: It's not that, sir. The mike is just not working.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Oh, the mike is not working.
MS. BIELASKI: So, on April 27th, OMB held an information seminar on ways to reduce information, collections of information and OSHA participated by chairing a roundtable discussion on certifying regulatory compliance. And out of that came a number of recommendations. And we put out a report which I think has been sent to all the Committee members. But I did bring some extra ones today just in case.
One of the recommendations and one of the actions -- let me start over here. One of the recommendations is that rather than simply look at revoking record requirements, certification records, or paperwork requirements, that we look at the underlying provisions that in some cases the rules are so old that provisions are out of date. Perhaps we are requiring inspections of equipment or machinery too frequently. Maybe we should look at changing that in some cases.
I know there are a number of inspections associated with cranes. Should we reduce that number? If we reduce that number, that, in turn, reduces the number of records. In the health area there could be some -- I do not know if you can think of some off the top of your head --
MR. OWEN: Yes, there are several. One example would be compliance plans. On certain standards, you have to review them every six months. In other standards you do them annually. There are some other frequencies, requirements in some of the other standards that are in our current paperwork packages that when we review we have to determine if they still have practical utility. So those are some of the other health standards that we might -- or health issues that we might be looking at.
MS. BIELASKI: Power and industrial trucks is another example where there are a number of records required. There's a record required to certify that you have been trained, that you have been retrained, that you have been -- that someone has observed your actions, so there are a number of records in that one. So what we want to do now is to ask the Advisory Committee to designate either an existing workgroup or a new workgroup to work with us, and as we prepare the supporting statements, the justifications to renew our clearance at OMB on these paperwork requirements, these collection of information requirements, that we could work with the workgroup in taking a look at these underlying provisions to see whether or not they are in need of revision.
We did have a workgroup sometime back. I do not know if it is still -- it's Jane and Steve, I think, and maybe Owen.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I think that workgroup was finalized and we bagged it.
MS. BIELASKI: So, basically, that is what we are looking for today. We are asking if you could set up a workgroup that we can work with. We have something like 30 cases that involve construction rules.
MR. OWEN: Mr. Chairman?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Mr. Owen. Or Mr. Cooper I'm sorry.
MR. COOPER: Barbara, would you explain to the Committee and to the audience your mandated requirements under OMB on paperwork reduction? It is not just an idea that it is a good idea, but you have requirements which you did not mention under OMB to get the paperwork reduction done.
MS. BIELASKI: The Paperwork Reduction Act, the first one was passed in 1980, was amended in '86, and we had a new one in 1995, and all of them essentially require a reduction in paperwork that would require that the federal government reduce the burdens imposed on the public. We had a goal of reducing our paperwork by 25 percent and that started in 19 -- it was based on our baseline in 1995. We have actually met our reduction.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, at the conclusion of the ACCSH report that we did prior, we stated, knowing Barbara was going to be progressing into other areas, that the recommendation from the Committee that was adopted concluded the portion that we were doing at that time. However, the Committee stated that they would welcome the opportunity to continue to work with them and the efforts that they had outlined would be forthcoming in the workgroup. Myself and Mr. Cooper did attend the symposium that was held in regard to that workgroup and then provided a report on that to this Committee.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Steve?
MR. COOPER: I'm sure everyone on the Committee supports the efforts towards paperwork reduction, but you have got to keep in mind that a lot of his paperwork that the agency is trying to reduce is self-induced. We have advice coming from this Committee to the various departments and when we get it back it is different than what we said. I realize that the solicitors have to make sense out of it and do -- and put it together, but a large volume of this paperwork does not come from this Committee or standards that we propose. It comes to the backside, your side. I am in favor of anything you promote. And as you're promoting a committee to look into this crane certification and other areas, I think all of us certainly promote that.
But the backside is where all this text comes from. Not this side of the table; it is coming from the Agency.
MS. BIELASKI: I guess I better not argue with you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Larry.
MR. EDGINTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It seems to make sense to follow up with a request and have a workgroup responsible for that. And having said that, as you know, we have a workgroup taking a look at Subpart N now. As Barbara said, there are numerous certification requirements associated with that, and we are reviewing that in its totality. So it would seem to me to make sense that anything associated with cranes ought to go into the work of the subpart N. workgroup in some way rather than having that workgroup charging off on its own in terms of taking a look at certification requirements associated with cranes.
I would suggest that we just defer all of that to the crane work group as part of our deliberations.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Larry, where is your workgroup?
MR. EDGINTON: Where we are at this point in time, we are further along than we have been in the past. We now have a rough outline of what we think proposed new standards should look like in terms of just a wide range of subject matter. We will be meeting again either October 24th or 25th for an all-day meeting where we are now in the process of looking at just keeping certain language, adopting industry consensus language, and/or drafting new language out of whole cloth.
So we are much further along than we were before. That is sort of in summary fashion.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Barbara, do you have a deadline that you would like the workgroup to respond back to you or work with you in getting this accomplish?
MS. BIELASKI: No. Let me just give you a little idea how this works. We have 20 or so cases that involve construction rules and they expire at different times. Whenever we prepare a request to OMB to review and approve the collections they give us anywhere from 18 months to three-year approval. So as these come up for renewal, then we would work with the Committee. So they are spread out over three years. So if we have 20 cases, there might be, you know, 10 cases next year and 15 the year after, or whatever.
The first cases that we actually would like to have the workgroup to help us with is they deal with cranes and they are due in August. They expire August of 2001. And so we would -- normally we start the process about seven months ahead of time, so to involve the Advisory Committee -- and I should mention that we are involving all the Advisory Committees, Maritime for the Maritime Rules, and NACCSH for the general industry rules.
So we would start probably by January. And we would want to give the completed paperwork package to the workgroup. But if the workgroup meets ahead we could do that. We can adjust to fit any schedule that you can provide to us.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, as chair of the workgroup that was originally working with this project, the reason that I started attending the crane workgroup with Larry was one of the first issues we addressed was the certification process. And I have continued in that workgroup repeatedly to see when we get to that part what would happen with that to keep that data information flowing. So I can see, like Larry is saying, that would be one of the first things to tackle.
The second was, we were concerned that we recognized that the forms employers are using, they are self-inducing a lot of their own requirements because they are trying to cover every base they think OSHA wants. So we also suggested that we come up with a unified form possibly that the world knows is what OSHA is looking for. And it would really reduce the 10 to 15 pages of information we're giving on our own as an employer because we think that is what you want.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any other comments or questions?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Okay. Thank you.
I guess it makes sense since Jane and Steve are doing Form 170. Paperwork reduction kind of goes a little bit along with that. So why don't we just make that part of 170?
MS. BIELASKI: Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: And you can work with Larry in cranes and some of the other workgroups that apply to some of the other standards that are working. And work with Barbara and Todd. So it is Jane Williams and Steve Cooper.
MS. BIELASKI: Thank you.
MR. COOPER: Mr. Chairman?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes.
MR. COOPER: We will ensure that Barbara and Todd are invited to our workgroup to assist.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Excellent. Thank you.
Now, we'll get into the Committee reports. Musculoskeletal disorder. Maria and Michael.
ACCSH WORKGROUP REPORT
MS. SWEENEY: Just a second, Mr. Chairman. We are booting up. We do not have a plug, so we have to work on batteries.
Yesterday, we had a very interesting musculoskeletal workgroup meeting. We had approximately 30 attendees in a very warm room and it was amazing everybody stayed awake. We had three different issues we talked about. The first presentation we had described an ergonomic invention intervention research study that is now being conducted collaboratively by NIOSH and the Maritime industry, and a description of a new NIOSH study to be conducted in the construction industry to look at new solutions and existing solutions. Both of these studies will be presented to the full committee after this report.
The second topic was to provide a forum for the authors of two letters, one sent to the Assistant Secretary and the other to Michael Buchet, the co-chair of this committee, in response to the draft brochure that the Committee submitted to OSHA last year. One letter was in response to the letter submitted to the Assistant Secretary to present alternative views. And in response to those, there was rather lengthy discussion about the letters, about the draft brochure. And the resolution of that was that the co-chairs, Michael Buchet and I, we're going to consider revising the document between now and the next workgroup meeting and also bringing that document back to the workgroup in another form, looking at the format, editing the document, et cetera. So that is what we would like to do.
MR. BUCHET: The intent of bringing that back is we have committed the December workgroup meeting to going through the brochure once again with an eye towards possibly making further recommendations as to its contents, style, distribution, audience, et cetera, to the Agency.
MS. SWEENEY: Right. The third issue was a discussion or presentation by Dr. Stephen Grennan from work safe, back safe --
MR. BUCHET: Back at work.
MS. SWEENEY: -- back at work. And Mr. Bob Timmens from Clark Construction. In this presentation Dr. Grennan presented a program that he has introduced to a number of worksites. It is a stretch and strengthening program and they are now doing it on Clark Construction at the FBI training facility. But that is being constructed, I guess.
This program is being conducted ostensibly to reduce musculoskeletal disorders, but, in my opinion, not to change, necessarily change the design of the workplace. And we had some large discussion after that. It was -- the presentation was requested by Dr. Grennan a couple of months ago. We thought that this might be informative as an alternative and more information to the workgroup about musculoskeletal disorders and some of the ways that people are trying to resolve this grave issue. That is the end of my report, Mr. Chairman.
MR. BUCHET: One of the constant things that we have done in the workgroup is to invite the industry to bring forward examples of successful interventions. Now, the definition "successful" is a little loose, but if people believed it helped on their worksites, we asked them to bring it forward. And Dr. Grennan and Bob Tims, from Clark, apparently have seen results that they consider favorable. And we re-expressed that invitation. Please bring that to the workgroup and let us try and provide some form of clearinghouse activity out reach.
The other thing we asked for is absolute flops. If it didn't help the workers, if it cost too much, if it slowed down production, we can make a list of those and pass them out. Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: That's it?
MS. SWEENEY: That's it.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Jane.
MS. WILLIAMS: In your meetings, had you ever gotten to the point where you think you'll be looking at any kind of economic analysis of any of the issues that you've talking about? Or is that way down the road at some point time?
MS. SWEENEY: That is a good suggestion. We have not thought about doing that right now.
MS. WILLIAMS: That is one of the comments that you will hear me make in regards to the other conversation that Mr. Jeffress has asked us to discuss. And I wonder at what point if that's an issue your workgroup would be looking at, the feasibility of it, or would that go to another process is what I would be asking.
MR. BUCHET: The invitation that we have posed and keep posing again includes if you have any kind of financial or economic data that you want to share, please bring it. We have not set out to do an analysis -- to take an intervention and do an analysis on the intervention and see. But what we asked for loosely is, if it works, how can you tell it works? Well my work comp rate went down, my work comp cost went down. And those are things that we will accept anecdotally as saying this is an idea the workgroup could pass on.
MS. WILLIAMS: So, you do envision your workgroup expanding as maybe a process should move or will you culminate your tasks? I think what I'm looking at is, will we have at some point a construction ergo workgroup specific for task oriented construction, economics and tasks, versus it being part of yours? I am wondering if at some point we will leave your work and go to another?
MR. BUCHET: Without a great deal of reflection, it seems a natural extension of what we're doing since we have been asking for that information all along.
MS. WILLIAMS: That's what I wanted.
MR. BUCHET: But when we might get to it, we won't predict.
MS. WILLIAMS: I have a suggestion, Mr. Chairman. We can look outside to see whether or not there are folks that have actually done some studies that looked at costs and cost benefit analysis or done interventions that actually have monetary value or have a monetary analysis to it. And we will project that for the future.
MR. BURKHAMMER: So just to make sure I understand, what you're doing, and the Committee understands, you're going to take the draft in its current form that is on the OSHA web page, bring it back to workgroup, while leaving it on the web page --
MS. WILLIAMS: That's correct.
MR. BURKHAMMER: -- and take a look at various parts of it. Right?
MR. BUCHET: I do not think we're bringing it back in any sense. This is not saying that OSHA cannot work on what it has. If we recall, the original motion was in, I think, four parts. Part of it was that the workgroup continued to refine the information that was in that document with OSHA and the workgroup decided that the document needs some editorial work. It certainly needs graphics. And Lauren Wolf did almost a line-by-line read through of it and has given us some very good points that we need to work on. And this is a continuation of the original motion.
So I don't know what the emphasis is on taking it back, but it is going to stay there.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Okay. So you're just going to continue to work on it?
MR. BUCHET: Just continue working on it.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Very good. Any other discussion? Jane.
MS. WILLIAMS: Is it still my understanding that the original intent of the document was to assist OSHA in developing a brochure of some kind, pamphlet, brochure, whatever word we wish to use. Mr. Swanson, is that still part of your process, that you are utilizing some of this information just for you to create a brochure or information?
MR. SWANSON: It is still the Agency's intention to use this document for a brochure, yes. I do not know if an explanation is necessary or not, but let me give one anyway. We have another ergo issue going on in the department which maybe some of you may have heard about. It has absorbed an awful lot of our resources, so we are not where we would like to be on this brochure for construction, but we will get there.
MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: For the record, Bruce Swanson is back as the designated federal official replacing Jim Boom.
MR. SWANSON: May I say, I apologize, Mr. Chairman, for my tardiness. But both candidates for the U.S. Senate for the State of Virginia have assured me that they are looking into my commute problems so this might not happen again.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Moving right along. Any other comments on the musculoskeletal disorder workgroup report?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you for the report, co-chairs.
We are now at the point of our agenda where we have Mr. Larry Reed from NIOSH and his cast of thousands. He is going to come up and share with us a very interesting presentation which some of us got to hear a little bit of yesterday. So the front table has to leave.
MR. REED: Thank you, Stu. We brought along the cast of thousands because we heard that you had Starbucks coffee. And it is wonderful. I can learn from you how you did that.
Members of the Committee and members of the audience, it is a pleasure and an honor to be here today. I am here as both the chairperson for the Maritime Advisory Committee, MACOSH, sister agency or, excuse me, sister organization similar to ACCSH and also here as head of the engineering ergonomics -- excuse me, engineering and physical hazards branch where we have some ongoing activities in ergonomics.
Two primary tasks I wanted to talk about today. One is MACOSH collaboration with ACCSH. There clearly are some commonalities between the two industries, that is, the Maritime industry, primarily the shipyard industry, as well as the construction industry. We thought we could develop some collaboration between the two committees and take advantage of each other's expertise and develop some synergy where it is possible.
The second aspect of my discussion today -- and this is where the cast of thousands, as Stu mentioned, would come in -- and that is to talk about ergonomics projects, one about the ongoing maritime ergonomics project as well as a new project within NIOSH on ergonomics in the conjunction industry.
Principally, we're going to be hearing from three different sets of speakers after me, and my discussion will be just a few moments. Steve Hudock and Carl Siegfried will talk with you about the maritime ergonomics project that has been ongoing for about two years and is about two-thirds completed.
Jim Thornton and Chico McGill are here from MACOSH to talk about their projects within the Committee as well as their sense of the ergonomic maritime project.
Then, finally, Cheri Estill and Leslie McDonnell are here to talk about the ergonomics project in the construction industry, one that is just beginning in this area.
First about MACOSH, who we are and what we do. We are paralleled in construction -- excuse me, in terms of makeup similar to ACCSH, a mix of labor, management, trade associations, as well as government agencies.
What we do. Our tasks are, again, similar to you. We advise OSHA in the area of regulatory modifications as well as take on tasks that may not lead to any regulatory impact but certainly have impact on worker safety and health in the maritime industry.
Possibilities for collaboration. We have had some ongoing dialogue already with Stu Burkhammer in this area and we would like to establish some kind of liaison. The details of that are yet to be worked out between the two committees. Some possible areas of commonality: fall protection, noise reduction, electrical safety, training in outreach, and Stu mentioned yesterday, confined spaces, obviously is a critical issue in the shipbuilding industry as well as the construction industry.
A little bit about MACOSH products. Over the past couple of years -- by the way, we are -- our charter is two years and I think one of the differences -- I don't see Susan Sherman here anymore -- she's here. She can correct me if I'm wrong, but, we are -- MACOSH is more of a discretionary committee. We are chartered at the discretion of the Director of OSHA, so our survival is contingent upon producing products, and we have been fairly productive of the last few years. So we hope to remain so to keep the charter alive.
Some of the recent products: training and outreach initiatives. And this may affect the construction industry as well. But we have heard in the Committee that there is an issue of the level playing field in terms of enforcement and compliance in the maritime industry, particularly the shipyard industry. So we have developed some training and outreach initiatives that address the issue of training compliance officers to help them understand the maritime industry better.
We also developed a draft standard as well as preamble for the occupational safety and health programs and the issue behind this, as you will here in just a moment regarding ergonomics, the issue behind this safety and health programs standard -- draft standard that we developed, is that we wanted to take charge of our own destiny within the maritime industry and not let a one-size-fits-all standard be in place.
Proposed revisions to maritime standards is a generic issue regarding updating and revising relevant standards in the maritime industry. I presume similar actions take place here within this committee.
And then finally, a maritime ergonomics project that we are providing oversight and guidance to that is a mix, as Marie said, of both NIOSH research scientists, in particular. We have Steve Hudock here as a co-project officer, but also representing the maritime industry and in particular the shipyard industry. Karl Sigfried is here representing that group. They are co-project directors of this project.
Just a little bit about the maritime ergonomics project. Steve and Karl will talk in more detail in just a moment, but I wanted to emphasize the collaborative nature of this. It took us about a year -- a couple of years, and when you see the timeline to get all the players in alignment, all of the planets together, if you will, making sure that everybody was on board with the study, labor, management, government, in this case of NIOSH scientists taking a role in the study and trade associations.
Once there was the level of comfort developed that the product would be a user-friendly cost-effective set of ergonomic solutions, best practices, what have you, then we began the project.
The primary product, as I mentioned a moment ago, is guidelines of the best ergonomic practices for the shipyard industry focusing on engineering solutions. We wanted to hit an area where we would have the most bang for the buck and we thought engineering solutions would be the way to go in terms of hierarchy of controls.
It is also important to emphasize that this project -- the study, the ergonomic study in the maritime industry -- is not leading to a draft standard. It is simply recommendations for the industry. And Steve and Karl attend every MACOSH meeting they had for the past at least year and a half now updating the Committee every time we meet on the status of the project.
A short history of the project. It originated as an industry idea. The acronym NSRP stands for the National Shipbuilding Research Program. And I want to emphasize this because it was not a NIOSH driven idea in the beginning. It was an industry driven idea. And the key here is that the industry, particularly the shipyard industry, wanted to take destiny in its own hands. It wanted to take control of its own destiny. They were unhappy with the first iteration of the OSHA standard in the early '90s and this is the shipyard's industry's way of taking control of their own destiny. It was a small funded project out of NSRP. NSRP is a grouping of shipyard builders that fund projects of interest in the area.
The project was funded and awarded to Bath Ironworks. Karl Sigfried, in fact, who is here this morning, was the ergonomist at the time with Bath Ironworks with 20 years experience at BIW. MACOSH became involved because of members who are on NSRP, including Chico McGill, who is also here this morning, and brought the idea to MACOSH. The NIOSH became interested and involved a year later by way of MACOSH in 1998. Funding is from an external source, primarily it's a DOD funding. It's through a mechanism called Ameritech, ASAE.
And, finally, the last item on the board, NMSA, is an acronym standing for the National Maritime Safety Association. They represent longshoring interests. And, originally I mentioned that it was only a shipyard study. And the full maritime area represents both shipyards and longshoring. They were not -- they did not embrace the study in the beginning, however, last fall Steve and I got them to agree to come on board in terms of a longshoring commitment to the study. So now it is a full maritime study.
Project leadership. I mentioned earlier the next speakers will be Steve Hudock and Karl Sigfried, again, representing both government research agency NIOSH as well as industry interests.
What I want to have today is not only dialogue on discussion about the summary of the maritime ergonomic study, but also a discussion about partnership with ACCSH on the new NIOSH construction and ergonomic study that will be parallel and to some extent, after the ergonomics maritime study that you will here about in just a moment. Cherie Estill and Leslie McDonnell will talk about this new study that will begin in our fiscal year 2001, which starts October 1st.
I will just spend a moment on this issue and paralleled in a sense that the product is going to be a set of -- I'm not sure what we will call it, best ergonomic practices or solutions or another term that I have forgotten from yesterday when I attended the musculoskeletal workgroup. But again, the take-home message is that this is a set of guidelines for the industry. It is not a draft standard.
And the other dialogue that I guess I will have ongoing in the future with Stu Burkhammer's possible collaborations, maybe mutual committees of common interests in other areas, fall protection, electrical safety, confined spaces, and the like. So with that, does the Committee have any questions of me? Yes.
MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you. One question I have. I'm very interested in your comments that it is not a draft standard. And you're looking at guidelines which is where I think a lot of this needs to be personally. Do you see the guidelines being language that you hope someday will be the governing documents that you would or you would not even have the need for standard making?
MR. REED: That is a question that is probably better asked of OSHA. When we finish the product, the guidelines, we we'll pass the product on to OSHA as well as we will probably pass the product on to OSHA through MACOSH since they have been our advisory, you know, in an advisory role to the NIOSH NSRP study all along. What OSHA does with that, I guess, would be up to them. But I guess anything is a possibility. I don't know if anyone from OSHA is here and would be willing to talk or respond to that.
MS. WILLIAMS: Do you believe that MACOSH recommendations would be or could be to have this as guidelines versus a standard? Do you think this is -- this is what I'm hearing you say you are leaning towards.
MR. REED: I would prefer to have the Committee -- it is a bit of a conflict with me because I am here not only as a NIOSH person and overseeing the resources that is actually doing the study from the NIOSH perspective but also here in a MACOSH role. So how the Committee chooses to pass this on with its recommendation I think has yet to be determined. But I would say that is certainly a possibility for consideration.
MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MR. REED: Now, Jim Thornton and Chico McGill who are not shy individuals, are going to follow me in a few moments. I'm sure we will have their strong recommendations that they will want to express. Any other questions of the Committee or of the audience?
MR. REED: Great. Next up, Steve Hudock and Karl Siegfried.
MR. HUDOCK: Good morning. Again, the name of the project is really ergonomic interventions for the domestic maritime industries. As Larry mentioned, we have started originally with a project in the ship construction industry and rapidly found out that the ship repair yards did not concern themselves with the ship construction yards and basically expanded into those areas as well. There are now shipbreaking yards and we have expanded into that, and now also the longshoring side.
As Larry mentioned, Karl Sigfried and myself are the co-project directors. Karl is really the industry rep for the national shipbuilding research program, and I am the NIOSH project officer for the project.
The project objective is really to determine the effectiveness of ergonomic interventions for selective maritime processes. And what we really want to do is to reduce the number and severity of injuries and lower the workers' comp costs while at the same time improving process quality and productivity. We will sort of go into some detail how we have done or at least looked at those aspects of the project.
One may wonder why we want to look at the shipyard industry. In general, besides the fact that it came to us from industry to begin with. Again, there's some justification as to why we want to look at the industry. The top line in blue is the recordable injury and illness rate for the shipbuilding industry over the last 10 years from the Bureau of Labor Statistics information. You will see a nice decline there in the shipyard industry or shipbuilding industry, but you also see that their rates are easily three to five times higher than that of both construction and general industry. So it appears that they were still a good candidate for some intervention work within the shipbuilding industry. That's what that top line is for.
The water transportation services, which is a green line in there with the rest of them, really represents the longshoring side of the house.
Larry alluded to the scope of the project and just how many different partners are involved. There are a number of different divisions within NIOSH that have loaned individuals to us or loaned expertise to us and that is what the acronyms out the top represent. The industry representatives besides the shipyards themselves, that we will detail a little bit later. There's also a number of associations within the industry, Ameritec, which is really the group that took over the national shipbuilding research program, has sort of disappeared in one spirit and has reemerged as Ameritech ASE and that is really the funding mechanism that comes from Navy through them, and basically they are a consortium of, I believe, the 12 large shipbuilding companies in United States.
The Shipbuilder's Council of America represents the smaller shipyards. Again, the National Maritime Safety Association is the longshoring association. Labor has been wonderful to work with on this project. There are probably about 40 more unions that are not listed their because we do not have the space to list them. Again, the boilermakers, electrical workers, metal trades council, and so on, are in the different yards. I mean, there are other yards that have 12 or 13 unions within each yard and that have all bought into it. Again, it is just hard to list them all again. It is just sort of a sample of the major yards that we have run across.
The other two are the longshoring unions, the East Coast and West Coast unions, government involvement is both from the NIOSH side, the OSHA side, and the MACOSH side, as well as the customer side the U.S. Navy in the U.S. Coast Guard as well.
There are really three phases to the project. The first one is really to identify the partners are the processes that we want to look at within each one of the yards. The second step is really to conduct ergonomic interventions implementations, that is really the pointed we are at now. And the final phase is really information and dissemination of getting out the information to everybody in the industry.
The first thing that we wanted to do was to conduct a number of walk-through surveys in a number of different yards. I think we went through somewhere between 15 to 20 yards here in the States sort of soliciting their support for the project and trying to see what kind of problems or the particular processes within the industry, and take a look at really come up with some assessment of what the physical risk factors were in the different processes within the shipyards.
The second set was really to select some candidate facilities that we're interested in actually going that next up into connecting ergonomic interventions at their sites. And we are speeding through this and I want to make sure that we get ample time for everybody else.
This is a list of our partners. Again, it is not meant for you to memorize what they are. It is just a matter of I want to give you an idea sort of the scope of the project. Again, we have construction yards, or repair yards, shipbreaking yards, U.S. Navy yards, large yards, small yards, East Coast, West Coast, South Coast, North Coast, you know. We try to get a cross-section of the industry as much as possible. Again, we are just concentrating at this point on the shipyard side not the longshoring side.
What we have done is really out of those seven yards actually we have eight yards. We have sort of an alternate yard that we have done this at, is really looked at their injury/illness databases, from our standpoint, we can go into their OSHA 200 logs and try and identify where they have had problem areas or problem processes based on the number and types of injuries that are occurring.
Again, we have gotten the information for the past five years, some from 1994, some for 1995 up looking at their OSHA 200 logs and identifying with their worker hour rates that we have. We were able to come up with incident rates for the particular types of injuries within different processes or within different trades or within different departments.
And so we know how many back injuries are occurring to welders that are working on new ship construction in a particular yard. And it helps us again to target areas that we are looking at. That is not the only way we do that, however. We also had the yards, both management and labor, come to us with their sort of hit list of the top five errors that they thought were of concern in the yard as well, and we tried to take a look at those objectively to see if they were again sort of valid points to discuss or where they sort of flash in the pan where they happen to have a large incidence within one year or something like that, to see if it was a sustained problem or if there was just an acute problem they had.
So, again, with input from as much factual information as we had from the OSHA 200 logs plus the input from the management and labor, we decided to really look at about five processes within these shipyards. And, again, by coming up with this data, again, based off of the OSHA 200 information for the most part, we were able to come up with at least a baseline of what kind of injury rates are occurring for that process or that occupation or that department as much as possible. And that helps us to come back after the interventions to assess the effectiveness of those interventions that we have in place.
MR. BUCHET: Did you go to any external sources for information? Did you compare this against State work comp records or CFOI or emergency room admissions or --
MR. HUDOCK: All right. It depended on the yard itself. And again, some of the yards gave us anything from nurses' reports, which are preliminary first aid reports, up to OSHA 200 logs. We have workers' comp data from at least three of the yards that are fairly complete, and so we are able to -- again, the yard is considered a workers comp, more proprietary than a lot of places because of bidding on jobs. And the way they can get bids is basically by undercutting somebody else. And, again, workers' comp is a big issue in that case.
MR. BUCHET: I guess my intent was to ask, was all the information you used voluntary or did you take the voluntarily submitted information and then use a truth-teller to find out where they were? And my sense is, no, that this was all voluntary information and you confined yourself to what the industry provided.
MR. HUDOCK: Right. But again, we went with what the industry provided on the OSHA 200 logs, however volatile they are, and I'm not discussing that --
MR. BUCHET: That's not part of the question. MR. HUDOCK: -- and again, we did get the input from management and labor as well, so we got their personal perspective within the yard itself. And so, I am not sure what other site you get to and public access to basically besides that and that kind of information.
MR. BUCHET: But the work comp data that you got was given to you by the yard and said here, use this to help get a more precise picture?
MR. HUDOCK: Yes.
MR. BUCHET: That's terrific.
MR. HUDOCK: Yes. Again, were able to get that from some of the yards. Some of the yards just were not willing to separate themselves from that data.
Mr. LIBERATOR: Let me add to that. Two things. I'm Larry Liberator. Before they visited the yards, we contacted the longshoremen harbor workers' compensation division, which has compensation data from many of the federal yards. That data was available, but it did not have specific information that would be helpful for this project. So they proceeded without that.
As far as the truth test, I think they spent a lot of time in talking with the workers and if there is ever a truth test that is what it will be.
MR. SIEGFRIED: Carl Siegfried. I guess I would just like to add one more comment. When it came to getting the data it did take some significant effort on the part of MACOSH in order to make sure the shipyards were willing to share this information with the project leaders. And with the construction project I am sure that you folks will hold a very strong influence, at least I hope, with the partners within your project to make sure that the folks realize that this information is not being gathered and is going to be handed directly to OSHA for any siding or for anything else like that.
It basically is purely information that we are using for baseline data. In order for us to get some good ergonomic interventions in place we have to establish a baseline where it is we are coming from to make sure that they are effective, because if they are not effective those are the things that we are going to also put in the report. So we plan on putting in both the good and bad within the reports. So I would stress that we could do that and hopefully your committee could do that too.
MR. HUDOCK: Some of the areas that we looked at within the shipyards and the longshoring side as well came, for example, to the longshoring side the Dockside workers, the crane operators, the tractor operators. We do not have shipboard crew members up there for the longshoring side. Some of the shipyards, again, have identified problems with pulling electric cable through the ship when they are outfitting a ship, particularly a ship for the Navy. A 750-foot, 770-foot destroyer, has literally hundreds of miles of cable anywhere from fiber-optic cable to 400 cable, seven pounds per linear foot. There are runs of cable that are 700 feet long at a time, so there is quite a problem just moving that cable from one place to another within the ship.
Whenever there is steel construction, there's grinding for paint removal, grinding for prior or after welding. Some of the problems were with overhead insulation, and ventilation, both insulation and removal. Actually, one of the interventions that we have going is looking at providing pneumatic shears for cutting the insulation bats to size instead of using hand knives.
Power hand tool use again is rampant within the industry of both new construction repair, shipbreaking. There's actually an instant case of using power hand tools for the U.S. Navy at the Peugeot Sound Naval Shipyard. It is taking nuclear submarines that are being decommissioned and basically cutting apart everything on the inside with Milwaukee saws awls. And so you can imagine how many -- I think throw out 60 saws a month and probably go through millions of blades in a year. Again, just imagine what kind of vibration exposure they have based on that.
One of the inventions that we have that we are looking at it is looking at the vibration signatures of new tools versus tools are coming out of the tool crib or the shops and seeing just what the differences are in what an advertised tool puts out for vibration as opposed to one that is typically handed out within the yard.
We had a project looking at welding in confined spaces. People are in two-by-two-foot by 16-foot deep holes and they are basically welding back in there. And if you are in the two-by-two foot section most people fill up that two-by-two foot area pretty quickly, and there's just no way to get ventilation back to where the person is doing the welding. So we took a look at that as well.
These are sort of typical examples. From each yard there are different examples. We did not want to have 70 examples of electricians. We have electricians, welders, grinders, ship fitters, pipe fitters, what have you. We try to get a broad range of the types of trades within the industry that we're looking at.
MR. BUCHET: By any chance are you looking at shipyard carpenters? Because they do a lot of stuff, would be very comparable to some of the stuff that we do in construction. They are always building temporary structures or blocking in heavy wood.
MR. HUDOCK: Right. Some of that -- again, that just has not appeared as a major area compared to some of the others. Again, some of the outfitting work for the bridges of the houses is at time subcontracted and that is a lot of the internal carpentry work is done there. But a carpenter shop within the yards building jigs for things like that was not a major concern in any the yards we came across.
MR. BUCHET: Well, it depends what yards you're looking at. But certainly something like Electric Boat, the carpenters do a great deal of work that you do not think of as carpentry but looks a lot like construction work; scaffolding, block and timber.
MR. HUDOCK: All right.
MR. SIEGFRIED: When you are talking about bloating out --
MR. BUCHET: Weather protection type, little house.
MR. SIEGFRIED: When they do come up on the hit list we will do that. See, the whole idea here was to get four to five different areas within each shipyard that we're looking at, and, as Steve spoke, try to make sure that we're looking at different things. In the shipyards we have so many different jobs that are very similar to what you folks are faced in construction. We have such a wide range of jobs that there is no way that we can go in and actually fix every single job in every single shipyard, nor is that our intent. But, hopefully, by gathering seven to eight different yards and looking at four to five different problems in each one of those yards we will have something that represents some good best practices for the shipyards. But we certainly make no claim that we're going to fix the entire shipbuilding process because that is more of a task than what we set forth.
MR. HUDOCK: Again, if there's a point where we go through the yards and to the point where you realize that we're missing a particular trade that is a fairly a large trade within the yards, we will try to go back and identify processes within that trade as well to make sure that we cover the whole gamut of things.
MR. BUCHET: I guess in that one example it is not always a trade that is doing the kind of work I'm talking about, depending on what yard you're in.
MR. SIEGFRIED: That is one of the difficulties that we have faced, because a rigger at Bath Ironworks and a rigger at Newport News and a rigger down at Engels are totally different things. So we have looked at that. That is why we are trying to go job specific versus department specific.
MR. HUDOCK: What we have done in each these locations is really to perform a quantitative ergonomic evaluation of each of the processes. It is a matter of taking a lot of videotape, and running that videotape back in Cincinnati and using our exposure assessment tools, a series of up to eight different check lists, that we'll go through and basically comeback with a score for what that process rates as far as risk factors are for that particular process as it currently exists.
MS. SWEENEY: Steve, these checklists, can they be done? Can they be used by people other than ergonomists or with an agronomist or with training?
MR. HUDOCK: They are all fairly simple checklists. It is a matter of knowing how to do the analysis. I think that can be done with a matter of training individuals as well. You do not necessarily have to have a college degree in ergonomics to go out and do these checklists. It is a matter of being trained in their usage.
MR. BUCHET: I guess our question is a couple of parts. One, can somebody use the checklists relatively easily? The second part of the question is, how easy it is, not necessarily that person but somebody else, to do the analysis? So if the supervisor was given a checklist, and was told how to observe a check so that then they go back to the trailer, and you have the general foreman or somebody who is more prepared to do an analysis, we're looking for an efficient system that could be brought over to a construction model.
MR. HUDOCK: Right. Again, one thing you can do is just videotape that same scene, that the person on the scene makes sure it?s repeated for the next person to see it. So it is possible that someone can go through the list again. How each individual goes through the list is going to be different. There will be intra and interpersonal differences on how --
MR. BUCHET: I think even with college degrees there are going to be differences.
MR. HUDOCK: Right.
MR. SIEGFRIED: Ergonomists never disagree.
MR. BUCHET: In public.
MS. WILLIAMS: Do you have examples of the checklist that you might be willing to share with the various groups?
MR. HUDOCK: We have a different checklist that we can give the background literature for and the names we used. I'm sure we can make that available to the Committee.
MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you. I think that would be something to look at.
MR. SIEGFRIED: I would just like to say that some of the checklists that we use are very simple and easy to go through and I am sure could be changed to a point for your industry. I'm sure that Cheryl and Leslie will be all over that to make sure that happens. But some of them are very complicated and some of them will not be able to be done. But part of project also is to try to build up ergonomic expertise within each of the shipyards that we're visiting. So we do have people are working with us and hopefully by working with them we will bring them along.
MR. HUDOCK: Again, the next step that really we're at right now is developing those ergonomic interventions within each of the yards and really coming up with things that are both economically and technically feasible as well as practical. We cannot tell a shipyard to go and tear down their four buildings and rearrange their production line and put it back together the way it should be. That is just not going to happen. Although it is happening in some yards.
So, again, what we are looking at is ergonomic intervention. With the workers' comp data that we have from the yards in general, we're able to combine that into composite information and come up with at least estimates of what it cost for those injuries. And again, putting an intervention in place again that is sort of an estimate of even if we fix 10 percent of these problems we do run a cost benefit analysis on the proposed interventions that we are putting in place.
So we do have at least estimated data of how many injuries occurred in that process, how many it -- again, we were saying 10 percent of that may be fixed by the change. And they are coming up with cost benefit analysis for those interventions. Again, that is at least a way to justify putting those interventions in place.
The next and final phase is really going through and sharing that information with the whole industry in a number of different ways. We have documents for each of the site interventions that we have done. There is actually three document to go with each shipyard site. There be a final sort of compendium of these ergonomic solutions. We have a web site that we're still trying to get out the door past a few people within NIOSH and that will be a public source of information. So, again, a sort of clearinghouse of solutions: what has worked, what has not work, what we have seen in other places besides the project as well, as well as a place hopefully to put documents after they are finalized.
Again, that is something that we'll have based out of the NIOSH home page.
We will be conducting a post-intervention evaluations as well for each of the facilities, just how these things have worked, has it speed up the line, has it improved your quality, has it reduced your workers' comp cost for those particular processes or departments or what have you.
MS. SWEENEY: Steve, is it on the Web yet?
MR. HUDOCK: It is inside our fire wall. So it is inside our Web but not external yet. So it's just at the point of getting it out to the public. And they are some changes that we made and then we will make it public.
MS. SWEENEY: Are you talking about the next quarter?
MR. HUDOCK: Hopefully. You know, probably by the end of the calendar year. That is sort of our moving target date, depending on how many people we talk to.
Again, sort of the ultimate product of these are to come up with best practices or guidelines for shipbuilding or ship repair, shipbreaking industries. Whether that is one document or three documents, we have not figured that out yet. Again, best practices for the longshoring side, cargo handling as well as holding some workshops, highlighting the interventions. And actually we do have the applied ergonomic conference coming up in March that we have a shipyard panel at this year. So, again, it is just a matter of trying to get these interventions out to the public in one format or another.
I guess that is really it.
MS. SWEENEY: Excuse me. How would you promote the type of meetings that you're going to be having? Would you use the Internet or does it just -- where can a public person find that information to possibly come in and listen to what you're doing?
MR. HUDOCK: Within the maritime industries, at least, there are a number of different formats. There are electronic newsletters, there are paper newsletters, there are, again, Internet sites that are within the maritime industry. There is NSNet, which is, again, an Internet site within the industry besides the associations, besides the local unions that we are dealing with and so on. So there are number of mechanisms that we have.
In the shipyard and really longshoring side of the industry we are fortunate enough to have a finite number of employers. I mean, there are only so many shipyards. There are only so many longshoring operations as opposed to construction where there are orders of magnitude of more employers that the shipyards have. So it is a fairly easy task to make sure everybody is aware of that, whether it is a brochure, mailings, what have you. But it is easier to handle within the maritime industries we see than in the construction.
MS. SWEENEY: So a common person could tie right into the net and it would be on there?
MR. HUDOCK: Yes.
MS. SWEENEY: We could go to that web site and see a meeting listing or something?
MR. HUDOCK: Right. They do have meeting listings for other meetings and so on. Again, when we our web site up we'll have more project specific information within that web site.
Again, the OSHA web site. Again, OSHA has a maritime site as well and that information will be sort of co-posted on their site as well.
MR. BUCHET: I would like to revisit the assurance that you can get to everybody. One of the problems in construction is that the industry can get to some of the industry, but then below a certain point there are to be five, ten, three, four, two people, and the maritime industry I think suffers from the same problem. You have people working out of small boats, working out of pickup trucks, working along riverbanks, doing barge work, doing some clean out work. Have you figured out how to get to them or are you saying that you've gotten the population that you can get to that you're getting to?
MR. HUDOCK: There are number of different mechanisms. There are number of different trade associations that are there for the small repair yards. The Shipbuilders Council of America, again, used to be also the National Shipbuilders Association. There were two associations and they merged into one. Again, they handle the smaller side of the house. Again, their membership may not be complete, but, again, it is a way to get a fair percentage of those individuals.
And, again, it is a matter that you can also go through. And again, we only have so many States to deal with, again, either on the coast or near a lake.
MR. BUCHET: We're looking for help trying to figure out how to reach the ones you can't reach through association.
MR. HUDOCK: Right. So, again, we have a finite number of that. We're dealing with -- again, it's a little easier in our case than perhaps in yours.
I would like to turn it back to Larry and turn it over to the rest of our cast of thousands.
MR. REED: Thanks, Steve and Karl. Next on the agenda is a brief overview perspective by Jim Thornton and Chico McGill.
Just to refresh you, they are members of MACOSH, the labor management representation, actually, management labor in that order. Jim is from Newport News and Chico is with the IBEW. Without further ado, Jim and Chico.
MR. McGILL: I brought my prepared speech, by the way.
MR. McGILL: Brother Thornton, if you don't mind, I would like to --
MR. THORNTON: I yield to labor, of course.
MR. McGILL: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
First all, let me go ahead and say that Brother Thornton and I work very well together as you can tell. But one of the things about the study that got us going into this was the fact that when the first ergonomics stand was proposed I think everybody knows how much heat came out of the oven for that.
One of the things we thought about at first was just how that would affect our industry in and industry that really is -- has lost quite a bit of momentum over the past 20, 30 years. There are six major yards now owned by three companies. So, you know, the playing field is narrowed down quite a bit.
But the thing about it is, it is the idea of doing what they were going to do was very cost prohibitive in shipbuilding, and would have really put us in a bind in trying to go out and do this type of study that they want to do. So as was indicated earlier, we decided that we wanted to take control of our own destiny. One of the ways of doing that was, number one, to get ahead of the game and to try to find a study somewhere that would actually give us the information we're looking for.
Several questions have been asked as to how we will use this and what we are going to do, you know, who puts in some of this information and what groups are involve and just in particular in my shipyard this is just to -- this package here is just the first two installments. Okay. From what was done in our shipyard. And at our shipyard representatives from IBEW, which is an independent group, but that Engel Shipbuilding and the Metal Trades Council, Harry Hinkley was the safety and health representative for metal trades which makes up some 13 unions, a total all of Engels, went out and did the walk-through with the NIOSH group, and, in particular, identified areas that we had great concern with in the processes of building ships in the inner bottoms and things like that and, in particular, in my world cable pulling and things about nature. It is very open. It is very honest discussion. The input is very open from labor as well as management, and it is a team product here that is done by both sides of the fence.
One of the things that we learned from our confined space standard for shipbuilding was the fact that if you get buy in from everybody from the very beginning, it is much, much easier and more palatable to get everybody to accept what is going on and to move forward with the processes. And so that was one of the intentions that we had in mind. And that has worked very well together.
One thing that I will say when it comes down to labor management and safety, there should be no barriers. There should always be cooperation on both sides of the fence. That is something that everybody can live with and move forward with.
As a member of MACOSH, the idea of getting this information and what we will do with it as far as the sheets for checklists and things of that nature, I think the MACOSH Committee itself will make a determination once the final product is delivered as to how we will develop checklists and how we will do other things of that nature.
Those things are being used by the Agency right now, for NIOSH to do these studies are in-house things that they have developed in ways that they can go about trying to get down to the core of what some of the problems are. But when that stuff is turned over to MACOSH, MACOSH will certainly sit down with this group and come to a consensus on what it is that we need to develop as far as checklists or anything else are concerned.
Web sites and things like that they are very accessible. The American Shipbuilding Association which my brothers before me were trying to think of the name of, they are the big yards; the Shipbuilders Council of America are the little yards. So that is basically how that breaks down. But there is input from both sides of that fence. So everybody is involved in there. And I can only specifically speak for the shipbuilding side of the fence because I am not a longshoring person. But certainly they have come on board with us in this study and we are moving forward with it. Nobody likes to have something crammed down your throat. And this was our answer to digesting something that is not crammed. Okay? Put it on a plate, serve it to us, but don't make us to eat it.
MR. McGILL: That is the way we look at those kinds of things. I will tell you that the recent letter that we received, August 9th, actually gives us a very good recommendation as to what to do in form with our cable pulling and other situations, and also comes enclosed with a lot of recommendations and how much certain things cost and things of that nature, and cost reduction factors.
In the cable pulling itself, some of the implementation that they asked us to look at doing would be very simple to do and will really reduce a lot of musculoskeletal problems that we have in cable pulling, back injuries, strains, things of that nature. Because as we say, you know, a piece of cable that is a size 400 that is seven pounds a foot, you know, you are getting into some heavy cable. But we have some big guys that can pull that stuff. But we're trying to get out of having big people do it, and just have it done where it is done, engineered where it is supposed to be done. You know, just like a hygienist when he comes into the world such as Brother Thornton here, one of the things you want to do is you get over it.
One of the things that you want to do is engineer those things out. You do not want to have people running around with personal equipment on and other stuff, you want to try and engineer those things out. And that is what they try to do.
The one perspective from labor that I will go ahead and say is he is in doing some of these things it might reduce some of my people on-site and that is something that I have got to think about as far as a labor person goes.
But to reduce injuries, even if it cuts down on some of the manning level that I have, to me, that is the achievement. Is to not have something where it is based upon somebody dying to get something done. And that is what I look at has been the big bonus point for these things.
And with that, I will go ahead and let Brother Thornton throw his management side on you.
MS. WILLIAMS: If I might just ask quickly?
MR. McGILL: Sure.
MS. WILLIAMS: How do the workers seem to be responding to some of these issues in the new ways of some of the things you're doing? Do they seem to be very responsive, proactive? Are you getting some hesitancy from the old way versus these proposals?
MR. McGILL: Well, the IBEW, and especially local 733 at Engels in Avondale, which we represent, workers at both shipyards, and are just about to conclude a contract negotiation in Avondale. But the thing of it is that they are very supportive of the efforts that we make in safety, very much so. We have been very active, proactive in safety since 1987 with the National Safety Council and various other things. But we have also implemented a stretching program for cable pullers. And they have very well received it. It is done during working hours just before they start doing their regular jobs, and it has proven to be quite a good situation as far as getting people conditioned and ready for the job of the day; not just coming in and running out and grabbing things, but actually starting to condition yourself a little bit before you go to work. And I think that has been very well accepted. There has not been any problem with that whatsoever.
And to be very honest with you, an electrician -- a first-class electrician would love a cable puller to pull that cable anyway. They do not want to have to do that.
MR. RHOTEN: If I could I just have one question. In regard to your safety and health training programs, do you document how many hours of training or do you have a curriculum that is established for craft? I am not really familiar with the shipyard industry, but is there a documentation process so that you know that each person working in the shipyard has a certain level of safety and health training?
MR. McGILL: Certainly, each yard has its individual way of doing that. Some are toolbox safety review things and stuff of that nature. You have certain specific training, and things like that, when it comes down to using certain equipment and things of that nature, there are things like that. But it is dependent upon each yard as to what goes on.
MR. RHOTEN: The owner of the facility just puts together that particular program that is necessary?
MR. McGILL: Yes. And we have a joint labor management safety committee and so there is input from both sides of the fence in these areas which comes into play very well. And plus the local union does safety training also. So there is a lot of that that takes place.
MR. THORNTON: Let me piggyback on that. I can speak to our yard. We're one of the few nuclear shipyards in the U.S., so qualifications and keeping track of training and the like is very, very important, and so in our case we have a system that keeps track of not only the skilled qualifications, if you will, but also the safety and health training which is very important. So in our case it becomes part of the personnel record.
MR. RHOTEN: So you have to document that the employees have in fact had training in confined spaces for those kinds of things that you're working in?
MR. McGILL: Absolutely.
MR. THORNTON: And they are also a star shipyard, by the way, let me point that out as long as you asked.
MR. COOPER: I have a question or statement maybe. One of the faults we have in the construction industry, and I'm sure that it is not unlike the maritime industry, is that we may have the best company policy, we may have the best that we can get in regulation, whether it is state, federal, whatever. What we do not have is -- and the IBEW has done some work in this and I believe it was New York and other locales up in that area. Our supervisors, our frontline supervisors, do not have in the construction industry and probably the same in maritime. They direct the workforce. You can have all the good policy. You could have the nicest environment to work in, but the mindset of that person that is working the workforce, that foreman, that is where the breakdown lies across the country as far as I'm concerned.
The IBEW did some work in New York and you could not get dispatched as a foreman unless you had a massive amount in one local and maybe more of safety training. But in construction, normally, you can go be a foreman just because you have been around for a long time. And I'm not speaking to a 40-hour program I am talking about an in-depth program normally done through the union or any other place you want to get it. But before a person comes out and supervises the workforce, and directing the workforce, and telling everyone that works for him or her to do specific activities, unless he has the mindset on safety and health and what it is all about, that is where the downfall is.
MR. THORNTON: I think you have a very good point. You know, your safety begins when the foreman turns his back on the crew. That is when your safety program really starts. One of the things that we -- and we recognized that early -- and one of the things, you know, it occurred to us that the foreman really has been ill-equipped to deal not only with productivity, quality, and personnel issues, but also safety issues, so we initiated a special program, a training program for our foremen, first-line supervision to equip them up with those tools that he or she needs really to address such issues as quality, productivity, and safety. And it has paid huge dividends for us.
MR. COOPER: I can say this. Now you represent management?
MR. THORNTON: Yes.
MR. COOPER: I do not want to get in trouble with the IBEW, but I can tell you what we started doing. In the collective bargaining agreements we have used that as negotiating tools and told management to put -- to negotiate that in the collective bargaining agreements, that individuals on the job site will not be foreman unless particular training has taken place.
In addition to that -- and I am from the Ironworkers International union, their safety director -- we have recently and properly gotten a collective bargaining agreement that no one would be dispatched from the nine-state area that I'm involved with out there. But I am in the international also. No one will be dispatched unless they take 20 hours of safety and health training a year. And that takes care of the old journeymen in our case. It takes care of the guy that is 45 years old that does not think he needs this, he or she needs this training. Everyone has to take 20 hours of training to get the increase that is negotiated at the bargaining table. And that is the real way to do it. And we should have done it years ago and we have not gotten it done yet.
I just want to point that out to you so that you can get on his case when you negotiate with him the next time.
MR. McGILL: Fortunately, Brother Thornton --
MR. THORNTON: I won't wait that long.
MR. McGILL: -- does not have to negotiate with me, otherwise he would be doing a whole lot worse than he is now.
MR. THORNTON: Speak for yourself.
MR. McGILL: But let me go ahead and say that in the shipbuilding world versus the construction world we are creatures that are within the confines of an area. We do not move from job to job and things of that nature as the construction world does. So, therefore, in order to get the word of safety down to management and to make sure people get trained is a lot easier thing to accomplish.
Also, you have to understand that what we really promote real heavy is the fact that safety starts from the CEO of the company and his words are what carries that matter down to the lower echelon. If you do not have that support you do not have a program. If they are not on board you can forget it, because the monies are not going to be spent, things are not going to be down that would emphasize the things that you're speaking of.
Certainly the contracts that we are negotiating right now over at Avondale, one of the things that we have proposed -- and it looks as though it has already been accepted by the big committee -- is to have a joint safety and health oversight committee.
And what we're going to be doing is having oversight of the safety programs at Avondale to make recommendations and changes as to how it affects not only the employees but also the management side of the fence. And that is how we are kind of moving into it.
I am fascinated though that you have tied it to raises. But if I could do that with management in shipbuilding I think I would really be doing well. But I do not believe that they would let me even though I would like to do that. That is very encouraging that you did that.
MR. COOPER: I wanted to remind you that you're on a transcript here and I will have a copy sent back --
MR. McGILL: And let me tell you, I have never had a problem with putting things on a transcript.
MR. McGILL: And I have paid dearly sometimes for some of those comments, but I still let them fly.
MR. BUCHET: Mr. McGill and Mr. Thornton, we don't have to talk about negotiating skills here. We would like to hear more about how the various yards in this study envision getting the ergonomic information out to the front-line supervisors and the workers in the yard.
MR. McGILL: That is already starting to take place in our facility as far as how some of those things have been recommended to the NIOSH study. But, you know, a lot of the stuff that you were talking about, the purpose of this study in its own, was to actually do something to make recommendations back to MACOSH, and then from MACOSH to discern how that was to go out to the general public and to the yards themselves.
MR. BUCHET: In the study, did you collect the information from the yards and how they get information out or is there enough of a practice set in place so that you can sort of take this information and give it to somebody that you know it will be disseminated. As you pointed out --
MR. McGILL: Well, see, it is disseminated to both labor and management. Management got the same documentation that I got. Okay? And then it comes up to myself and to management to make sure that it gets disseminated down to where needs to go. But as far as the study and its purpose, the study's purpose is not to direct the yard on how to do that. That is something that would be done internally through myself and the other individuals. But the study's purpose was to give recommendations to MACOSH. And we must remember that is the intent of the study.
MR. THORNTON: Let me add to that. You know, my experience is, if you build it they will come, and if it is good they will use it. All of this study, you have to put this in perspective. Number one, we are a very small industry, we are less than 100,000 soaking wet. And we are a shrinking industry. We are not expanding. So it is very important that we control costs, reduce costs. Yes, we are concerned about hurting the employee and the worker, but we are also concerned with profits. And if you look at the statistics -- and I don't know, I suspect there is a similar trend in construction -- but we injure one in four workers every year in some way. We're a very intensive and a labor-intensive injury industry. It is a very dangerous industry, it is very hazardous. We are not pleased about that but we are working to make it better.
It was in the '30s -- the TCO was in the '30s just three years. And so we are small industry. Costs are important. And 60 percent of our total injuries are ergonomic in nature and those are the ones that cost the money. And so this is very important to us to play on the best practices and the worst practices out there within our industry.
MR.DEVORA: Let me ask you a question. Do you believe that your interventions or your successes with the educational programs that you have brought to the shipbuilding industry, have you had any indication from the agency that you averted, delayed, or held back on a promulgated regulation in maritime ergonomics specifically for maritime?
MR. THORNTON: Yes. Through the MACOSH I think we have gotten OSHA to agree to suspend, if you will, the agency in here. And I am not speaking for the Agency, but my understanding of it is that the study, because of its importance and its depth and its value to the Agency, will suspend regulatory, if you will, development of a regulation until such time as the study is completed. But I am not speaking for the Agency. That is my understanding.
MR. McGILL: Yeah. One of the things, there is the fact that we also had the chairman of MACOSH, with the assistance of the MACOSH Committee, draft a letter for the record for the general industry standard stating that we wished to be exempted from that. That's one of the things they did in order to make sure that we had a time to get this information in. That way we've taken control of that destiny that we talked about earlier. And so that's one of the things that we did and that has been sent in.
MR. THORNTON: But I think, lets not make too much of that of the standard process. In other words, I think the important part is sharing the practices and interventions as opposed to being overly concerned. I know everybody is concerned about standards, and I am too, but I think that the point of this is -- the real point of this is sharing the best practices and reducing injuries and illnesses out in the workplace.
MR. McGILL: We are the second highest hazard industry in the country, you know. That's the reality we have to face.
MR. THORNTON: And we don't want to be number one.
MR. McGILL: That's right. No. Not unless you go into the meatpacking business. I don't think you are going to do that anyway.
The thing is that with that you would think that we would have more urgency in getting something out there. Well, we do have urgency in getting something out there. We want something out there that everybody can really work with, live with, and really does what it is supposed to do, and that is prevent injuries. And as an intervention program it works.
One thing I like about the studies that's going right now is the fact that you can start implementing and start moving towards these corrections as they are been recommended without having been a standard. And that is something that?s extremely important because you're ahead of the game that way. So when anything really starts to come to play you're already there. And I think that's one of the big significant values of this study.
MR. BURKHAMMER: You mentioned stretching. A lot of us in construction have been implementing stretching programs for about four or five years now with varying success depending on the implementation in the various programs.
You indicated that you found stretching seemed to work with for your particular group of cable pullers in your shipyard. When you find out that there is something that works, do you call around to the other shipyards, like NASCO and Todd and so on, and say, we know we tried this and it works here. Are they picking the things up in implementing or are you waiting until the whole study is done before they are -- --
MR. McGILL: Well, let me give you a little background on how shipbuilding and all is. Brother Thornton jump in whenever you're ready.
MR. THORNTON: I will.
MR. McGILL: With the old NSRP, which is now Meritech KSE, there is both labor and management participants. Also there is a committee that's called the Safety and Health Advisory Committee that is set up through the old NSRP, which is made up of labor management. And you have a very tight-knit community there that meets quite often. And one of the things that we do is we absolutely discuss things that work in our particular jobs for injuries and illnesses. And we tried to share that information and we do so quite effectively I think.
And since I've been involved with this very heavily since the 1987, there's a lot of things that we've done jointly that have really comes to be good. Take for instance the safety and health program situation that we developed through the NSRP, which was several years in the making, but we get together and developed it way before the industry, I mean, before OSHA actually looked at doing something along the standard during that line. We had already prepared some things.
These things have been going on, God, I know ever since the old shipyard employee advisory committee that's out there, the one before us. And that information have all been shared. So really we have done that. We do that continually. And it is an ongoing process, wouldn't you say, Jim?
MR. THORNTON: Yes. You have got to remember really three companies comprise 80 percent of the business. Now, the ASA, who are the smaller yards, might debate that. But you add the numbers up, you know, between General Dynamics, the General Dynamics family, the Litton Family, and the Newport News family, you're representing 80 plus percent of the industry and balance of the smaller yards. So you know best practices are easy to share.
The second point I would make -- and I hate to admit this, but industry and labor in our industry get along pretty well and because -- and because we both are after the same things. Okay. We want to have jobs. We want to have prosperity and we don't want to hurt workers. So it's a win-win situation. So I think that it in itself promotes the cascading that you've been talking about, not only intercompany like intracompany as well.
MR. McGILL: And it also gives us the ability to negotiate better packages because there is more profit.
MR. THORNTON: Any packages.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Well, Larry, we have more presentations, so I guess we had better move on.
MR. RHOTEN: Mr. Chairman, may I ask just a quick question?
MR. BURKHAMMER: One more question.
MR. RHOTEN: Yes. And it pertains to another subject. But would you have an estimate of what percentage of the welding done in the shipyard industry is stainless steel? Just a ballpark.
MR. THORNTON: Do you want me to take that one?
MR. McGILL: You can take that one.
MR. RHOTEN: Actually I have two questions that I want to ask. That one for sure.
MR. THORNTON: The amount of stainless, it depends on the type of yards If you are in a nuclear yard you will see more stainless work because of the reactor, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You will also see stainless, for example, in liquefied natural gas carriers where stainless is used in the containment process. But if you are a non-nuclear, non-LNG constructing yard, you are not going to see as much as you would in the other two cases.
MR. McGILL: Mainly on weather decks and things like that.
MR. RHOTEN: Would it be fair to say that overall it is less than 10 to 15 percent?
MR. THORNTON: Yes.
MR. RHOTEN: And then the next question is, how much of that welding you might consider is in confined spaces of the 10 or 15 percent?
MR. THORNTON: In the case of say LNG work, a lot of it is confined spaces. In the case of the nuclear work, depending on the ship, if it is a submarine a lot of that work is going to be done in confined spaces. I will say the caveat though, Submarine construction has changed such that it is done in modules such that now you can -- you know a submarine is nine modules, so you can do a lot of the work and then put the modules together so that that amount of work in confined spaces is declining.
MR. RHOTEN: Of that welding, are there occasions now where people wear respirators when they are doing that type of welding?
MR. THORNTON: Absolutely.
MR. RHOTEN: To a high percentage?
MR. THORNTON: Yes.
MR. RHOTEN: Half of it maybe? I'm not trying to put you on the spot. I am actually trying to get some information for another subject.
MR. THORNTON: Right.
MR. RHOTEN: I won't hold you to these answers.
MR. THORNTON: A lot of them wear personal protective equipment and maybe at the break or something we can compare some notes or something.
MR. BURKHAMMER: One last question. Jane Williams.
MS. WILLIAMS: Sir, this is totally off the subject, but I hardly ever get access to you. How do you handle the sanitation facilities in your industry?
MR. THORNTON: Very carefully.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you very much.
MR. McGILL: By the way, I'm really upset about the Starbucks coffee. We need that at MACOSH too.
MR. REED: I never know what they are going to say. Thank you.
Next on the agenda is Cheri Estill and Leslie McDonald, who will talk about a new NIOSH project in ergonomics modeled after the maritime study. This is in construction.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Welcome.
MS. ESTILL: I am Cheri Estill. I am an industrial engineer and also an ergonomist. I would like to tell you about our vision for a similar study from the maritime study in the construction industry. We're calling it ergonomic engineering solutions for the construction industry.
I would like to begin by telling you about our project objective. Basically, we would like to determine the effectiveness of ergonomic solutions for the construction industry and then, in turn, disseminate those effective ergonomic solutions to the entire industry.
Our goals for the study, I have them kind of in three parts but there's some overlap here. First is identify and evaluate the existing ergonomic solutions and then secondly would be to develop and evaluate new ergonomic solutions. So I have divided those out. They are somewhat similar.
The existing ergonomic solutions would be things that are already in place, probably in your companies, but that are not widely used in the entire industry. Another new ergonomic solution would be solutions that we would help to develop actually for the workers and with the workers and with the companies to determine what are the best things for problem areas or high risk, physical risk, factors that are for tasks that are high risk, and then we will disseminate these, which we're calling ergonomic best practices to the rest of industry.
You may wonder what exactly we mean by an ergonomic solution. It could be very many things. But the way we're defining it right now is a tool or a process that you have implemented that not only reduces physical risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders but also can increase productivity or quality. And that is not currently in wide use. So everyone is not already really using it, but there are a few people using it and it is a good idea. And there's no reason that the rest of that industry sector or people that do those similar tasks can't also use this tool or process.
The tool or process can consist of material redesign, material handling aids, handtool design or redesign and process changes.
Now process changes, that could really mean very many things. It could include things like changes in architectural design, but also changes in work method or improved work organization and also planning of the work organization.
Next, I would like to tell you about the methods for our project. We have three areas: information gathering, evaluation, and information dissemination. For information gathering, that is really the stage we're at right now. We are hoping to get a number of groups, companies, labor together to talk about this project and where it should go exactly, and also to gather as much history on research that has already been done by speaking with researchers and practitioners, but mainly to gather information from industry and labor. What are the ergonomic solutions that exist now? Where are the areas of high risk factors?
Evaluation is the biggest area of this project and the thing that we will spend the most time on. Like I said earlier, we're going to identify and evaluate existing ergonomic solutions, and then follow that by developing and evaluating new ergonomic solutions, and specifically look for areas with high physical risk factors.
We're going to work with companies in labor to determine what are the areas of high physical factors and especially to develop the ergonomic solutions. We do not think that is something we can develop on our own. We will be looking to them for guidance, for ideas. And then we have some engineering technicians for simple things we would be able to build and bring back to the work site for the workers to test out, and, finally, as information dissemination.
This is a little time line that I put together. Basically this project has not started yet. We have the ideas for this project a little bit envisioned in the minds of the two project officers but there is a lot of room for changes for expanding the scope or narrowing the scope, and a lot of it depends on who would like to help us with this project, who is interested in working together with us. And that will really help us set the stage for what direction we take. But we plan on doing what I have laid out here regardless really of who decides to help us. But our partners will be setting the stage for where we go, what we see, and what we end up putting together at the end of the project.
So we have three years. We start in 2001, which is really October 1st for us, with literature review and attend a conference. And that's the information gathering that I spoke about. Also we're going to start to identify existing solutions. And as you can see, I've put the two starts next to some of the things on the timeline, and those areas that we are really going to need help from groups outside of NIOSH. It's not something that we can do by ourself. We need help from groups such as yours and groups that represent the industry or contractors, labors. What are solutions that you are already using that are good for your company? And there's no reason why they wouldn't be good for other companies that our doing similar tasks and processes.
And then we are going to evaluate the solutions. And that's this first year. And the second year we are going to continue on evaluating more existing solutions with your help of what are those solutions that you are already using. At the same time during the second year we are going to start looking at asking of you all, and similar groups, what are the high risk or jobs with physical risk factors, processes with physical risk factors that really need to be looked at and developed in ergonomic solutions?
We will need your help for both identifying the risk factors and developing the solutions, not only from this group but other groups specific to the trade that this process is in and also the workers that are actually going to be doing these.
From that, we will evaluate those solutions, and each of the solutions will be evaluated and turned into a two-page solution sheet. I call it a tip sheet. Basically, the first page says what is a hazard and why is it a hazard? What is the process and what is the solution that we now know of? And then on the back it will say, what really is the benefit of the solution as far as health and safety? But also we are going to quantify for each of these risk factors what's the cost of the intervention; how does this affect productivity and quality? Is there any change? Is it better? Is it worse? To quantify that so that somebody looking at this tip sheet will be able to determine is that right for them, do they have a -- you know, can they support this type of intervention.
And then we take that a step further, and it's going to say where do you buy this intervention or how do you make it, with plans for how to make it or where to get the plans so that you can make it so that these companies can actually put it into a practice without doing further research or gathering their report from somewhere.
So we will begin with these two page solution sheets during the second year. And then in the third year we're going to finish all of the evaluations and put together these two-page solution sheets into a nice publication and also disseminate on the web site the NIOSH web site like the shipbuilding study. But dissemination is another area where we definitely need help of groups such as yours and other associations, labor unions, and companies, because as you said, it is hard to get the information out to everyone, all the subcontractors and other people that would need this information. So we will need to be gathering what are all of the associations, what are trade journals that we can put our two page solution sheets in that might want to pick those up. So, that would be the third year of the project in 2003.
But as you can see, we will continue along the way. We will need to keep coming back to this group and other groups such yours that we hope you direct us to to determine the host of things identifying the risk factors and the solutions but also dissemination.
Next, I am going to turn it over to my co-project officer, Dr. Leslie McDonald, and she's going to start talking about some products.
DR. McDONALD: Thank you, Cheri.
The information products that will be developed from this construction ergonomics project will include things such as a compendium of ergonomic solutions that tip sheets that Cheri spoke of. A dedicated web site to showcase ergonomic solutions specific for construction trades and different segments within the construction industry. Research articles will be written and targeted for the scientific community. And we also intend to sponsor workshops to bring practitioners together as well as ergonomists who are conducting research looking at ergonomic interventions as a way of sharing information between practitioners and industry representatives.
We envision multiple benefits arising from this project. Our primary focus, of course, is the reduction of musculoskeletal disorders among workers within the construction industry hopefully across all trades.
In addition, we anticipate that as a consequence of reduction in musculoskeletal disorders that there will be economic benefits for the businesses in the form of reduced workers' compensation premiums. Also our focus will be in working with the industry and with labor groups to develop practical cost effective solutions. And so we very much envision that the products -- the solutions that we will be showcasing will be helpful to the industry in increasing productivity as well as quality. And so we expect that there could be some competitive advantage to the companies who would be working with us.
As Cherie mentioned, this construction ergonomic project is in the early formative stages. We believe that assistance from ACCSH is really crucial to the overall success of this project. Cherie and I, combined, have 19 years of experience working at our federal agency doing work in ergonomics within the manufacturing sector and service sector, and we now welcome the opportunity to do work, bring out skills to bear, for some of the challenges that exist within the construction industry and we look forward to working with you on that.
And some specific ideas that we have, areas for which assistance from ACCSH would be desirable, is the identification of existing ergonomic solutions that you know of that are in place at your worksite. They may be trade specific and that's fine. And there may not be a history of referring to some of the solutions as "ergonomic solutions"; they may rather be best practices or tricks of the trade that your senior journeyman may have learned over the years. We could learn a lot from senior journeymen and what it took for them to sort of survive in their trade and to basically adapt to the physical demands inherent within their job. We could learn a lot about work methods and tooling adaptations. And we would like to learn from those experiences and share that information with other trades and with other industry sectors within construction so that they can learn from your experiences.
In addition, we would welcome input from the Committee in identifying particular tasks within trades or particular sectors within the broad construction industry to target our efforts. Certainly we would be interested in identifying those tasks for which risks are especially elevated for which you may be experiencing the greatest number of 200 log injuries, worker compensation injuries. Certainly we want to have an impact and so we would need your input in identifying those areas of greatest need.
Identifying sights for the evaluation of study solutions is another critical area where we could use your assistance.
MR. BUCHET: Could I ask you to compare what you're intending to do with what happened in the maritime industry? And what the question is aimed at, how did you get participation by non-union employers and their workforce? There is an awful lot of construction that is not unionized. And we need to cast a net so that we get information from the big population as well as the union population.
DR. McDONALD: Now that is very true.
MS. ESTILL: We are not planning on just targeting union sites. That is really why we're looking to you to direct us. What we are looking for is the ergonomic solution, regardless of the site, whether it's a union site or a non-union site. So we need people to direct us to where those sites are and so that we can find the solution.
We don't have any method where we are going to target a specific union and try to say, well, a union came up with this and you guys should do it too --
MR. BUCHET: I wasn't suggesting that. But in the presentation from the shipyard experience, the list included so many yards that were union and some that were non-union. And I'm wondering if you can share with us, how they got to the non-union yard and the non-union workforce and if that is something we can try to use in construction.
MS. ESTILL: Sure. Maybe Steve can speak to that point.
MR. HUDOCK: Depending on the yard itself and what kind of labor relations, we had even opposed to the non-union yard. And there was more, depending on that relationship internal to the yard as to how easy it was to get labor involvement.
MR. BUCHET: Were these yards, union or non-union, a part of the associations? The access was outside the association, outside of MACOSH, or was it inside of MACOSH, or inside the association?
MR. HUDOCK: All the yards that we have dealt with, besides the Navy yard, are members of either the ASA or SCA, which includes, again, 95 percent of the yards except the mom-and-pop yards.
MS. ESTILL: So we agree. It will be hard to find those yards that are not in the trade associations.
MR. BUCHET: There are plenty of associations who come up. They are -- not all of them serving on this committee but they are usually in the audience. I'm sure we can try to get you connected to the right people.
MR. RHOTEN: I do not know if you're finished with her presentation yet, --
MS. ESTILL: We are not, but go-ahead.
MR. RHOTEN: Then I will just say this. I think it is a fine presentation. And I like where you're heading with tip cards. And we would like to cooperate with you in any way we can. We are the plumbers and pipe fitters.
In regard to union or non-union where you go, to me, the job sites are the same, you get the same ergonomic problems you've got on a non-union job that you have on a union job so that issue we do not particularly need to steer you to all union jobs. I do not think the results come back any different, whether it's union or non-union. I'm sure if the ABC can get NIOSH on the sites and get some cooperation, the information they get there is going to be the same as they get off of our good union contractors.
In any case, we will be looking forward to working with you on that. I think the first thing that we would probably have to do would be work with our associations to find out if we have contractors that have put together already state-of-the-art ergonomic programs. I think we have. And maybe on the non-union inside the ABC could search out and see if they have contractors to put together state-of-the-art ergonomic programs.
Again, I don't think the union and non-union issue should even be particularly addressed as long as you get the cooperation where you need to get it.
MS. ESTILL: Right. We appreciate that because that is just the type of assistance that we're really asking for today.
DR. McDONALD: Thank you.
The final area that we have identified for which ACCSH would be instrumental in providing assistance is in the area of dissemination. Earlier I had alluded to those areas for which we expect to produce final products, and we would very much encourage input into the process of dissemination. We really want to produce products that are going to be useful for your industry.
Our final slide, we provide contact information. We would welcome you to contact Cheri and myself after this meeting. We will be here in your meeting room through noon today and we welcome the opportunity to talk with you further about our project. We do have cards.
MS. ESTILL: And OSHA is going to copy the slides and hand those out before the end of the day so you should have a copy of those.
I guess what we are actually requesting is if the Committee, or, Mr. Chairman, if you would like to in some ways say that the Committee would like to be formally involved with our study. And that does not put you in any bind financially. We are already financially set on this study, but we were wondering if you wanted to formally say, yes, you would like to participate at least in some way.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes, we would like to participate.
MS. ESTILL: Great.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I think I would like to do it through our MSD workgroup, the existing workgroup we have. Michael and Marie co-chair that group. And by this charge I will ask you to get to with them and that will be the partnership with this committee. They will report to each meeting on how the partnership is going and progressing.
Great. That is a super presentation. Thank you.
MS. ESTILL: Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Committee members, in your packet you should have a copy of their presentation. It's right here, so it should be in your packet. Thank you very much.
MS. ESTILL: Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Larry, thank you. We appreciate you and your cast of thousands coming.
MR. REED: You're welcome. Thank you for the Starbucks.
MR. BURKHAMMER: And we got a lot out off it.
Jim has some handouts of the presentation if the Committee members do not have them. Let us take a 10-minute break, be back by five minutes til and we will move into the next session.
[Brief recesses taken at 10:42 a.m.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: We are now back on the record.
ACCSH WORKGROUP REPORTS
MS. SWEENEY: Mr. Chairman, the data collection workgroup met yesterday. We had a number of issues that we discussed. Don Kochin from F.W. Dodge came and talked to the group. He distributed a report in which they attempted to search the Dodge report databases to locate construction reports or injury reports that matched the projects where incidents of injuries or fatalities were reported on the OSHA 170 forms. So what they were basically trying to do was marry the Dodge reports and the 170 form to see whether or not there were data elements that they could match and see whether or not they could match the projects with the injury/illness reports.
The results were that they found no data elements that actually matched. They found no matches whatsoever. So it may be either we have to amend the 170 form to match the data elements that are in F.W. Dodge if we want to be doing that or change Dodge reports which I don't think are going to happen. So there is still more discussion that needs to be done relative to the 170 and the Dodge reports to see whether or not they could be more useful in identifying contractors and subcontractors that have high illness/injury reports.
Also in the last meeting, F.W. Dodge was asked to determine how OSHA -- to look into the Dodge reports to see how OSHA might glean more information on subcontractors. OSHA wants to inspect subcontractors that have some of the highest injury and illness rates or they would like to be able to go in there and help them reduce their injuries. Typically, on the Dodge report they have GC information but they only get subcontractor data from about 10 or 15 percent of the projects, usually the bid results.
Dodge says that there is a market for this kind of data but they really do not make great efforts to make to get it. If it is there, it is there; if it is not there, they do not put it in their reports. But they will do custom searches on subcontractors if the customer likes it. They said this is a very expensive method. But I think Dodge is willing to work with the Agency to see whether or not they can get more information on subcontractors later on down the road. But that is the next workgroup meeting. We are going to be talking more about that.
Also, there are other things that we talked about. There is a data initiative in construction. Mr. Zettler talked about this. Money has been requested for fiscal year 2001 to get more contractor-specific injury/illness data. I'm not quite sure whether they're waiting for their funding to see whether that has been approved, but I think this data initiative will actually help the Agency and DOC in evaluating contractor injury/illness data.
Our action items for the next meeting -- and there will be a next meeting -- we propose that Dodge take this specific example that they handed out to us, which was a bid on a building in South Florida, to evaluate their subcontractor data and to see whether they can get more information on subcontractors. Hopefully, then we can build on this effort for future action by OSHA.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Marie, based on that handout we got --
MS. SWEENEY: The handout from Dodge?
MR. BURKHAMMER: The handout from Dodge. If you remember, on that first page they had broken out the consultants and engineers.
MS. SWEENEY: Right.
MR. BURKHAMMER: That there was -- the question arose about the contractors. And he said there was a second field or a second tier that was supposed to show up. Is he going to bring that the next time so we can see how they go down to the next layer?
MS. SWEENEY: That was one of the activities he was going to do.
MR. BUCHET: If I may, Mr. Chairman, what we talked about was having a workgroup meeting in November, which would include, hopefully, people from the workgroup, somebody from OSHA, possibly Dr. Schreiber, to talk about a number of things so that we could put together a presentation for the full ACCSH in December, which would track several of these issues. And one I think Mr. Cloutier brought up with the example in Florida was, it would be nice to see that one. But it would also be nice to see several others in case they cannot prove whatever it is there would like to prove that.
There apparently is a great possibility that if we work out the comparison or the identification issue for Dodge to match what it has with information that OSHA collects, and that would give OSHA more information on the type of project, the number of subcontractors, even the history of the bidding of the subcontractors, and eventually they hope to be able to provide who the subcontractors are on-site at the time.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you.
MS. SWEENEY: I was getting to that, yes.
MR. BUCHET: Oh, sorry.
MS. SWEENEY: That's all right.
Also, Mr. Zettler also suggested we have Joe Devora talk to us about the data initiative if in fact it got going and where it was going and what we might input on that. All those things will actually be talked about at the November meeting in preparation for our December workgroup meeting.
We also talked about the worker activity codes that we're proposing go into the Form 170, the revised Form 170. We had a lengthy discussion with the workgroup about the utility of all of the worker activity codes. In our opinion, it is necessary to understand to put the story together on how the injury occurred, what the person was doing at the time, in order to be able to go ahead and do any prevention activities down the road.
Janice Wyndell, who is a representative of BLS, has worked on the ACCSH data systems as well as on worker activity codes, will present in December how BLS developed the worker activity codes. She has actually told us that those codes are not ground in stone yet; that they were developed by BLS and they are willing to make some changes; when all the changes will be made we do not know, but they are in the revision process. We think this is a prime opportunity for ACCSH and those of us who are interested in construction to get some good worker activity codes relative to construction in this coding system. BLS will be around for long time. It is a nationally used database. All 50 States use it, NIOSH uses it, academics use it, as well as other organizations.
So we think that in order to get construction more clearly defined in these worker activity codes, we're going to help them and make more usable for us and for OSHA. We?re going to help them deal with that.
So our recommendation for ACCSH would be to use the current BLS worker activity codes and the Form 170 to expand the activity codes related to construction. And then Dr. Schreiber, we understand, is also developing worker activity codes, and we're going to be talking to him to see how he derives it and where he is going with it. He may use BLS and do some sort of amendment on it. We do not really know. So this is where we are going in our assistance of development of the 170 form.
That is the end of my report. Michael, did you have anymore?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Michael?
MR. BUCHET: Good morning, Mr. Chairman. Probably some introductions are in order. I am Michael Buchet, and the co-chair of the data collection workgroup. And to my right is Suzanne Marsh, from NIOSH, who has done an incredible amount of work in the workgroup to help us sort through the coding issues that we are attempting to tackle.
We have a small presentation that is to help what will come later. And we want to thank right up front the co-chairs of the 170 form workgroup for their help in getting this presentation ready to go. I have my back to the audience so I have no idea if people's eyes are glazing over, but there are two workgroups that were working on the issue of how to collect fatality and catastrophe data summaries. And you will hear the 170 workgroup later on, and they are the ones who own the process and will come up with recommendations.
What we are here to talk about is the data underpinnings that go into the process.
Without further ado we're going to PowerPoint you to death quickly because we gave up time so you could all have a longer break. Applause?
MR. BURKHAMMER: That takes time away from your presentation.
MR. BUCHET: You know all the tricks, don't you?
One of the things that you have to do is fill out paper. We have come up with a block diagram to show what a compliance officer or anybody interested in this summary process would have to go through. And it is arranged this way for the time being because it seemed to be a good flow. You start with investigation information. Why? Because OSHA is going to be doing the investigation not just to fill the form out. In the blocks that are in white. They can largely be automatically filled out because the information will come from some other document that an OSHA person will have filled out. Some of that is not necessarily true.
Site investigation information. We don't need -- site information. You can take a look at the amount of that. Now luckily, a lot of that is going to be pre-filled. What we have been talking about, jumping down to the injured or ill or deceased worker, is what the person was doing at the time they were injured. And there are a series of codes which we're not going to go through which will help answer that question fairly quickly.
What we primarily want to talk about is in the dark green and the lighter green. The dark green material, the nature of illness, part of body, source of injury, secondary source of injury, event or exposure comes from the occupational injury illness and injury classification system, which was designed originally by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was adopted by ANSI, is, I believe, the current ANSI standard though it may be revised is used by at least all the States. And we are not entirely sure how many agencies collect data on occupational illness and injuries.
By OSHA adopting this coding system, it will be able to compare almost everything it collects to this greater body of knowledge. It would also be able to look at the greater body of knowledge for trends and many other purposes which would hopefully help targeting intervention, development, outreach efforts, and that sort of thing.
There are strict definitions. Part of the problem with coding process, it's a new language. One of the things that we have talked about at great length is the training necessary to make it possible for a compliance officer or other OSHA person or anybody else user-friendly with this system. It will take training; there is no doubt about it. I mean, you have to learn the definitions.
These seem to be very simple. Part of the body identifies the part of the body directly affected by the previously identified nature of injury. One of the things this system does not do, it does not do a cause analysis. It paints a picture. It is part of OSHA's greater data gathering effort and it is not intended to produce a cause analysis. It will, however, give a very useful picture.
The secondary source identifies the object, substance, or person that generated the source of injury or illness or that contributed to the event or exposure.
Now, let me go back. One of the things our group did with a great deal of assistance from the 170 group was to say, well, that is not enough. We need some other -- and we were not sure what the word was, so we proposed "multiple additional factors." And we have suggested that this box be allowed to contain maybe five other descriptions that would tell you more about the secondary source or more about the source.
After you've gone through that much of the picture painting for the event, what was the event? This one is troublesome. The event or exposure describes the manner in which the injury was produced or inflicted by the source of injury. It sounds like Greek. It sounds like any language you cannot speak well. It sounds like Martian. It is not, I should say, the cause of the event, it is the event. As we said, the system does not capture cause. That is left to something outside the system.
One of the big issues in construction we all know is falls are killing people. In the event of a fall, simply means gravity generated some movement in a person who came down. And the source in this case is whatever that person hit at the bottom end of the travel. So if they fell from a roof and landed on the ground and died because they hit the ground, the event would be a fall.
One of the issues that our combined workgroups asked, why did that person fall? And we will try to capture some of that in the multiple additional factors. Was it windy? Was it icy?
Not currently captured but what we felt should be captured was in the case of a fall, what was the distance? In the case of falling objects, also what was the distance? And then we have multiple additional factors.
Let's take an example. Ironworker fell 70 feet to ground when steel beams collapsed in a parking structure being built. Now, this comes from the census of fatal occupational injuries. It is a real live -- pardon the -- it is not a real live, it is a real example of a death as recorded. There is other information there in the record, but we're going to work from this. And the other information we will do this way. And this is sort of a schematic for what a computerized system would look like.
Let's start with the nature of the injury or illness and let's see what kind of choices we have. Well, there are your choices at the first level. This person died from traumatic injuries.
At the traumatic injury level here are your choices. Now, because of the other data that is available in the CFOI record and what we're going to generate, we know that it was intracranial, and we know that it was multiple intracranial because it was a skull fracture, and the system would automatically complete that. Whoever is using it would simply read the descriptions. The coding can be filled in automatically. And, in fact, you don't even have to see the coding. You simply need the descriptions or you need a shorter version of the descriptions.
What part of body was hit? Well, that is going to be a good guess. If it is intercranial that it is going to be the head. And here you have cranial region, including skull, and the brain ultimately, and that gets filled in.
What was the source in this case? This one the person fell from a structure and landed on a surface. So we are going to pick structures and surfaces. Did he land on a floor? On a walkway? No. He landed on the ground. In fact, here you have a code for ground. It gets put in. So the source of that fatality was the ground when that poor worker's head hit the ground.
Secondary source. We are now wondering what part of the structure did the person fall from. Building materials, solid elements. You certainly could look for metal materials nonstructural. That is not right. This was a structure, structural metal materials. And you can even drill down to the point where you pick. If it was a beam, pick a beam. That gets filled and automatically.
What was the event in this case? And we have an alternative that we can talk about. He hit the ground, so it is not contact with objects and equipment. We will come back to that. It was the fall. The fall unspecified? No. The record shows that it was a 70-foot fall to a lower level. So we pick fall to lower level.
Here we have fall from building girders or other structural steel. Now, you have a picture of the event that does not tell you the cause, does not tell you why the person was collapsing, which may be why he fell off the beam. It may not be why he fell off the beam. We do not know.
Now, one of the other possibilities in a collapsing structure is that the individual is not injured or killed by contact with the ground but is actually pinned inside the structure. So we did an alternative. Let us suppose that that is this scenario now. This building collapsed, and the worker is killed by being crushed inside the collapsing steel. So here you have contact with objects and equipment. Caught in or crushed in collapsing materials. Caught in or crushed in collapsing structure. And there you have in the amount time it has taken me to talk about what somebody would have to do if they wanted to fill this out on a computer in the field.
Now, we remember the two light-colored boxes? So we have the fall height, which is not entered, so we say, okay, enter 70 feet. One thing that could be done here -- and Ms. Williams has pointed that out -- instead of leaving it up to someone to write a number we could bracket it. We could say fall was 6 to 10, 11 to 15, 15 to 25, 80 to 90, over 100, or something like that. So you would only have to pick one versus filling in what you thought was your best guess.
But let's look at the multiple additional factors. Let's see how that might work. One of the things I am going to suppose about this example is the reason the structure collapsed was wind load.
So we go to other. We pick atmospheric and environmental conditions, and we have talked about all of these. We have weather unspecified; is it collected in the information. Fog, high winds, gusts. And in this case we will pick wind, high wind, gusts, and say that the worker was actually blown of the steel before the structure collapsed or almost as the structure collapsed. But he was killed by hitting the ground, not by being caught inside the collapsing structure.
Now, I have not kept track of how long that took to go through, but a system like this could be put on anybody's computer, and by using it OSHA would not only capture pictures of the incidents, but would be able to compare these pictures beyond just what OSHA is collecting for itself.
Let me show you another view of what this could look like and then Suzanne is going to talk through several other examples using a different graphic. You have in front of you, I guess, close to the entire record that is collected and a little story. So you have the ironworker fell to ground. And then we have identified as you work your way around here you have to look, you have the source, the nature of the fatality, intercranial injuries to the brain, falling from a steel structure, striking the ground, when beams at the parking structure this gentleman was building collapsed.
And, again, it does not take much time to answer the questions necessary to find the information in this coding system after you realize that it is structured and hierarchical. So you have a limited number of initial selections, a limited number of secondary selections, and a limited number of tertiary selections and you are there. And with that are we ready for the next slide?
MS. MARSH: My task today --
MR. BUCHET: We have a question. Let's go back.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I have a problem with he was building. I mean, building is a very big broad issue. I mean was he connecting? Was he bolting up? Was he welding? Was he riveting? Was he laying decking? I mean, everybody on the job builds.
MR. BUCHET: Mr. Chairman, we feel your pain and sympathize, and that is why we have asked BLS to help us work on refining the worker activity codes. Because at the moment it is hard to identify with that level of specificity what a person is doing.
So what we hope to do in the combined workgroups is to figure out a way to build on existing codes and create refinements that follow the same logic, and can be compressed into the grosser descriptions and drilled down to more specific wants as they are needed. But allow us to compare what OSHA collects was the bigger population of data out there that is already collected.
We understand that is vague at the moment, because there is not a code for it.
May we go forward?
MS. MARSH: My task today is going to be to take you through a few examples similar to the one that Michael just went through to show you how the OIC structure can be used to tell a story via codes. I do want to say, as Mike pointed out, these are real cases. They are not collected, however, from somebody that may have a construction background. So there may be missing information. They're not totally necessarily complete. I would just go through the examples and then close with a few conclusions.
The first example was a construction laborer who was working inside an excavation pit. The pit was 23 feet by 29 feet with a 90 degree wall. The wall collapsed causing the dirt to fall on him. As we can see in the bubble on the screen, the nature of the fatal condition was that the person suffocated.
The part of the body affected is a little vague, but it was because his body systems failed. The event that caused the fatality was the trench caving in. The source that directly produced the fatality was the dirt and the worker activity was installing the excavation pit.
The next case is a steel worker who was setting steel when the structure that he was working on gave way.
MR. BUCHET: We realize, but that is the problem, somebody in the field wrote down steel worker, high steel worker. How is that?
MR. BURKHAMMER: No comment.
MR. BUCHET: No comment.
MS. MARSH: Hopefully, your compliance officers would do better as far as recording the information in the narrative.
MR. RHOTEN: Just a question. Are the compliance officers going to fill this out on the accident generally? Is that what they do with a fatality?
MR. BUCHET: We are doing the data part. Questions on how the forms should be -- all form questions we refer to our co-chairs.
MR. RHOTEN: I guess my question is, like you have the cause of death of suffocation for cave in. Who is going to determine that? I do not think the compliance officer can. I mean, maybe he broke his neck.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Jane, you're going to address updating the form? Save the form questions for 170 and let us get that out of the way.
MS. MARSH: The person was killed when he was struck by a steel beam. So based on the codes from the OIC system, you basically can see that a steel worker received intercranial injuries to the brain when he was caught in the collapsing steel structure as he was assembling steel beams.
MR. BUCHET: And, again, we understand that assembling -- that that level is not good enough, and that is part of the ongoing work that has to be done.
MS. MARSH: This next example was an employee who was on scaffolding that was 90 feet high when he entered the materials left to return to the ground. He stepped back onto the scaffold to motion to another employee when the scaffolding collapsed. The employee fell eight stories.
The nature of the fatal condition was internal injuries of the chest. The event that caused the fatality was the person falling from a scaffolding. The ground directly produced the fatality. The additional source here was the scaffolding. And then the worker activity was he was climbing when the fatality occurred.
MR. DEVORA: I think this might be an example of some of the confusion here. As I read this scenario at the top, the scaffold collapsed. Would that not be the event or the exposure? He did not actually fall from the scaffolding.
MR. BUCHET: The way this system is set up requires learning slightly new ways of using the language. The event that produced the injury was gravity taking that person through the air until he hit the ground. Now, the cause of it probably is that the scaffolding collapsed and threw him into the air and then he traveled to the ground. And as we showed earlier if he had come down inside the scaffolding and was crushed in the collapsing structure, that would be a different event altogether. But in this system, if you do a freefall, it is going to be called a fall.
Now, remember, this is only a summary. The citation information and that information is captured on other forms with people who are sitting there using the standards that go, you failed to have fall protection. And if you had fall protection and he was anchored to the building above then he would not have fell into the ground. This does not answer necessarily the cause, it does not do a root cause analysis.
Although in the cases of things like scaffolding that are bolted to the side of the building, you can actually get down to the point where you can say a contributing factor was a bolt, a washer, or a nut. You can also, for erection, there are ties, there are connectors, that that can be used as one of our multiple additional factors. But this system will not tell you that that is the cause, nor does the current system.
As far as we can determine, the reason for collecting this misinformation was not to do a root cause analysis.
MS. MARSH: This next example was a decedent who was backed over by a dump truck while flagging traffic at a construction site. He suffered multiple -- he or she suffered multiple head and abdominal injuries. The nature of the injury was multiple injuries. The part of the body that was affected was the head, chest, and abdomen. The event was that he was struck in the road by a dump truck and his activity was flagging traffic.
MR. BUCHET: Now, in this case the worker activity code is a fairly good one. So there are strengths and weaknesses, particularly in the worker activity codes, that need to be addressed. And this is another one where you could go back and find an additional factor -- it might have been night, it might have been fog -- that could be added to the picture.
MS. MARSH: This example included a construction worker whose backhoe turned over on him. He was preparing the foundation for a new home when he backed into a mound of dirt and the backhoe flipped. He was killed when he was thrown and trapped under the top of the backhoe.
In this case, as in some of the other cases that we have seen, the nature of the fatal condition was an intercranial injury to the brain. The event was the overturn of the backhoe and the worker activity was that he was operating the machinery.
MR. BUCHET: In this one, we have already asked Mr. Edginton if he can help us.
MS. MARSH: I think this is the last one. In this example, a roof collapsed which fell over the decedent after violent winds of 80 miles per hour created a funnel effect. The nature of the injury was traumatic injuries to multiple body parts. The event was the person was caught under a collapsing roof. The roof directly produced the fatality.
The worker activity was that he was carrying materials, and as with the earlier example the additional source contributing to the fatality was the heavy wind gusts.
MR. BUCHET: In this case here, sort of typifies, I think, one end of the problem with worker activity codes. In this case it is a great piece of information. But what does it tell you about anything about how to protect that worker about the event?
But is nice to have and in many cases it could tell you something.
MR. COOPER: As you well know, my concern is worker activity. I think it is the most important part of the analysis. You take something like residential homebuilding. We got into falls a moment ago. As a representative of the company, or the union, and/or on the advisory committee, if that was your area of expertise, you would want to know if the worker fell while installing the gutter, fell while putting the roof on, fell while doing the framing. That way you can direct your workforce and others and OSHA into those areas which are the most dangerous.
In this case here on the decedent, received traumatic injuries to multiple body parts, which I as a safety director am really not overly concerned what killed the person, he is dead. Cranial injuries, you know. I will get the death certificate someday. But that individual was caught under a collapsing roof. And it does not make any difference that he is carrying materials or whatever on worker activity. But you could put in what the person was doing. Was it electrical work? You know, in this case, you say carrying materials. I assume that he is a labor type. But he could have been carrying materials. I just want to know so that I can target --
MR. BUCHET: Let me go back and moment here. Let me go way back. Some of that information is captured somewhere else. What is his usual occupation? And those are other things we have talked about. What is his training history and that stuff? So, yeah, I agree. All of that needs to be captured and would be very beneficial in trying to figure out how to prevent it from happening again.
MR. COOPER: The other thing, on a much earlier slide you had up there, this worker was categorized as falling but the reason the worker fell is because of collapse. I can envision reading the BLS or OSHA publications or the National Safety Council or somewhere else, and saying, all these area falls, we have recorded all of these falls in there, but I want to know more than that. We have 40 percent of these falls were due to collapse. I do not need to direct my workforce into fall protection equipment. I need to direct my workforce and to securing the building --
MR. BUCHET: Without a doubt.
MR. COOPER: -- in our particular case with structural steel. One of our big problems is securing the building. And it incurs all kinds of problems.
MR. BUCHET: Yes, without a doubt. One of the things we have to caution though is that this is not the root cause analysis. So the person's falling because the structure collapsed, may be true and this information may support that, but it also might not be true. And OSHA needs to go maybe a little bit beyond all of what is captured here to make that determination. This will be a much better source and system than what currently exists as you guys are going to discuss later on.
Targeting the intervention, as we heard from the maritime group, after you've collected the information analyzing it, is another thing. And we are offering this as a system. Remember, we're talking primarily about the greens. As a system where OSHA can borrow a considerable depth of knowledge and experience from the States, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from the ANSI Committee that has adopted this and has put together how you make the tough calls, was it a fall? Was it a collapse? Did he die from hitting the ground? Did he die from being caught in the material? Was fog a factor? Was wind a factor? That information is out there. Learning to speak this way is out there. And personally, I see our job as helping OSHA translate it into construction so that construction does not create a system that makes itself more a part from the big body of data than it already is.
I think there's plenty to be learned by comparing our experiences by the general experience as opposed to isolating what we are looking at.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Larry.
MR. EDGINTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am trying to understand what we're trying to get at or how fine we are trying to go with these worker activity codes. And let me give you an example sort of following up on a brief conversation we had had previously on this. We have an excavator or operator clearly saying we can identify that equipment and we can have a task that is being performed by that operator. For example, removing a stump. And we could say but is that as fine as we are trying to get or are we trying to get past that in terms of certain actions of that operator and piece of equipment as it relates to stump removal?
Is he undercutting it. Are we talking about it being done on a slope? I mean, how fine are we trying to get there? One? And then two, I guess the other thing I think about as we go through something is how do you stay current. I just made some notes to myself with the impact of technology in terms of materials that are being used in the work process the methods themselves, the type of equipment. Because the industry is ever-changing. And so what we are trying to do is appears to be to take something that's as dynamic as we can think of today, so to speak, but it may not be the fit for tomorrow. I guess that is my concern.
MR. BUCHET: Let's try and tackle it in reverse order.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Let me say something, first. I think you have to understand -- and it took me a long time to get this. I am a little slow, but it took me long time to get this -- there is a very fine line between Jane and Steve's workgroup of designing the form and what Marie and Michael are doing is extracting the data from the design form. So I think a lot of these questions maybe should wait until after Jane and Steve get their presentations so that we can see the whole picture better rather than trying to pick and choose right now what to ask who. And Michael and Marie will be here, so we can ask either workgroup, Larry.
And I think your question I think would more fit Jane and Steve than it would Marie and Michael. So if we could, please finish and then we will move on.
MS. MARSH: I think our desire in doing this was just to give you an idea of what OICS is and what can be done with the different categories within OICS. I realize that this is a complicated system, but from the examples, hopefully, you at least have an idea of how the categories, the nature of injury or illness, the part of body, the source of injuries, the secondary source, the event or exposure, and then any other multiple additional factors can be used to paint a picture, if you will, of what is contained in the narrative.
A central point we would like you to remember is that we cannot use one single code or a descriptor, one single descriptor to explain the circumstances surrounding the fatality or injury. But you must use these categories and others, say, in the injured or ill deceased worker information together when analyzing the data.
I just wanted to close at this point, but I want to leave you with a few thoughts. We do feel very strongly that OSHA should begin coding information from the 170 form and any other related forms using the OICS coding structure because it does exist and it is a nationally known and nationally used coding structure. OSHA investigators, OSHA, in general, and those using OSHA's data would benefit greatly by having data coded to an existing structure.
I was reading through an article that Scott Richardson did in a paper that was published in Safety and Health in 1997, and he pointed out some reasons that a single existing source for coding occupational injuries would be the best way to go. It would enable OSHA to standardize codes across forms. It would certainly improve the quality of the data that it collects and, it would also allow OSHA to compare their data to other sources to make sure that they are sort of going in the right direction.
Finally, by using an existing structure OSHA would not need to spend time and money by trying to invent their own codes or training systems which would result in cost and efficiency benefits for OSHA.
I truly feel that the 170 workgroup which you will be hearing from in a few moments and the combined workgroup should be commended for all of their efforts. I guess that is really at this point all we have.
MR. BUCHET: I would like to add to that too, and to reiterate something that our Chairman said earlier. The data collection workgroup is terribly interested in the collection of data as well as the extraction and analysis of data. If it is not described succinctly and put into whatever device is used for its input and storage, it will not come out in a useful form. And we have worked hard with our 170 co-chairs and are very thankful for the chance to work with them to come up with the best solution for OSHA in this particular case, the fatality catastrophe summary data collection process. Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you. Next we have -- before lunch, we want to hear the 170 workgroup report from Jane and Steve. And then we will judge what time it is and we will schedule lunch accordingly. Jane, Steve.
MR. COOPER: Mr. Chairman, Larry Edginton of this Committee asked the question a moment ago and as it relates to worker activity. And instead of seeing what we normally see occasionally, even when we see that, equipment malfunction, or equipment operation, to answer your question, you asked about -- we talked about a backhoe and a stump and how much detail was going to go in there. We are simply saying in your expertise, and we are talking about dirt work, we want to tell you and OSHA and everyone else, if it was a backhoe operation, if it was a front-end loader, if it was a CAT, if it was an earthmover, so if you find out that most of the fatalities in your industry, let's say 32 percent were backhoe operation, that's the worker activity as far as we are concerned. Not any details about anything else. Just what type of operation was being performed. And we are talking, we do not care if the backhoe operation was digging a trench. That is going to come in later. But backhoe operation is the most dangerous thing you have possibly. But without finding that worker activity, you are going to come up with equipment operation which tells you absolutely nothing. Well, as far as I'm concerned.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Does that answer your question , Larry?
MS. WILLIAMS: I think when we get done he will see that.
MR. EDGINTON: No. The answer -- I understand that. But what I have been trying to struggle through -- and maybe Jane can get me straight on this stuff -- is I understand what Steve is saying, but my question was more towards what I thought I heard Mike and Marie talking about, is how to capture something that is much more discreet than what you are talking about. For example, again, using my example, there were certain steps that backhoe operator would take in excavating a stump, for example.
So are we trying to capture where that operator was at in that excavation process which is a lot finer. Or let's say he was excavating a tree or knocking down a tree, and the tree fell over the rig and he suffered head or eye injuries or something. I mean, how discreet are we trying to get?
MS. WILLIAMS: I think I can clarify some of this for you as we go through this.
To begin with, first of all, I would like to acknowledge some very important people that have been living with us throughout this entire process, needless to say, our fellow people who you've already met in data collection, but Linda -- and if I say this wrong ? Grabowski ?
MS. GRIEGOZEWSKI: Griegozewski.
MS. WILLIAMS: Oh, I'm close. Anyway, Linda is with the Office of Management Data Systems and has joined our workgroup, she and Cathy, and have been very instrumental in providing input on what is going to happen to the form when it is done to our process of review. And they have come a long way. And they are going to be showing you in just a few minutes an example of what the actual COSHO would in fact be completing.
To begin with, I would like to give you just a brief background of the difference between what 170 in our task and how it mirrors with what data collection is doing, so I think you'll get a good feel for that. But primarily, the need for the 170 form revision, which is a form that is utilized by compliance to capture information regarding fatalities, worker hospitalized and non-hospitalized conditions, it became very evident is a byproduct of SENRAC.
One of the things that came out of that was a review of fatality data that had been recorded. And they were reviewing this steel erection process to see how logical this data was for their purposes. It found out many times on several things that they were looking at that the data was tremendously flawed. Because of that another particular task force was to achieve information, but because the system itself is flawed it became very apparent that this might be a consistent problem that OSHA was realizing.
The findings of SENRAC were confirmed by OSHA's outside independent firm who took and looked at the information using the 1997 data. They actually examined 404: fatality events was the basis of their research. And they took a random 25 fatalities that had been coded to steel erection. By reading through the narrative, not through the collective data, but by the narrative, they discovered of the 25 events 19, or 76 percent, were not steel erection related at all.
So we knew that we had a problem with the form that has in fact been verified. So then it became a point of how do we look at the form to get more realistic data because OSHA knew they had a problem. They know that they cannot retrieve what they need for their efforts of, first of all, is worker protection. How do we change standard language to ensure that we are doing the best job we can to provide safety for our workers? And, second, of course, for targeting.
The other issue that came out of the review by the independent consultant was that this was across the region problem, across federal problem. There was no specific group, and so it is a terrible problem. And, therefore, it was very clear that the form itself in computer language was corrupt. That certainly does not mean that any of the people -- I want to be very clear -- that was using the form -- OSHA people are not corrupt, but the form itself was flawed in what it was doing. And the reason is because if you look at what Michael's initial presentation was showing you, BLS primarily was using three code, three character, three digit coding process. So when they looked at the data what we were finding is that a fall was just that, a fall. It did not tell us anything in regard to the cause, the activity, what could we target.
In looking further, we would find out that the data collection group itself truly looks at accidents in a data method for comparison and analyses. We were more concerned with getting some detailed logic into the system so that OSHA could really take a look at what was in fact causing this so they have something to work with. That became our charge, to assist OSHA more so than data collection and the statistical analysis of the after fact of how can we come up with the document that would in fact make sense.
I'm going to pass around a motion that will be coming to the Committee when I conclude all this, but the second page of this shows the flowchart. This flowchart, what we have done with this is to go back to the logic sheets that accompanied the original Form 170. It was 60 pages of text with questions, if you will. And what we found out was many of these questions were completely erroneous and did not offer sound information at all to OSHA. Most of the good information that they need was in a narrative, but you cannot plug a narrative into any retrievable method. You have to sit and look at each one.
We also found the most of the information coming in regard to the deaths, to answer Phil's question, was being taken from BLS by looking primarily at death certificates. So, again, we have data that is being structured by a physician or someone who is making a subjective call that, yes, the death was by asphyxiation. That goes into a code of asphyxiation. But it does not tell you how it occurred. Was it a chemical relation? Was it an excavation? What was the actual cause that we are looking at? So we started keeping a mindset of three key facts at this point.
One, the compliance people are being burdened with a great deal of information that they were not taking the time to fill out correctly, primarily because the information that they were referring to did not truly relate to the document that they were working with. So they would bypass several of the fields, we are assuming, to get to the bottom of the form and that has proved itself by the analysis on the independent people.
The other issue that was very, very clear to us was that we had to get this form very reduced. It has got to be simple, easy for a compliance person to do because we also have been told, and we believe very strongly, that in many cases the COSHO would go so far in completing the form and then turn it over to someone else, an administrator, to complete it who was not involved in the fatality issues themselves, and more importantly, more than likely, were not involved in actual field construction knowledge to make legitimate decisions as to what should be into the form.
So to keep it short and simple, the best we could do, we took the original logic data, the 60 some pages that I told you about, and we first began our task in looking at what was being asked, striking out the things that we knew were totally subjective information. If a worker is deceased, it is hard to say how much training have you had all your life, nor is any employer going to be able to have that information on file.
So again, as Steve has pointed out, we decided that it would be best to concentrate totally on the activity of what the worker was doing.
In the current system with BLS codes of three digits they have other codes that could be brought into it. But again, they are minimum identifications. The other issue was very clear, that we want the worker activities to be defined by the construction people who have the expertise in the field to understand what is the key four or five activities that are killing workers within your specific trade or work activity, as you will.
And one of our charges will be we are very near done getting information to these various workgroups that we are calling basically will be our trade unions as well as our non-union shops, to have them identified for us, the four or five activities that they see are having a primary effect on their trades.
We will work them into the coding system. But the key to understanding that process is that by going to a five- or six-digit information it would always collapse back to the BLS code so that we do not interfere in any way with their abilities to collect statistical analysis, but where OSHA itself would have more of a handle on the secondary source of what truly is causing the fatality in the workplace.
Just briefly to give you a prime example because SENRAC was so involved in the steel erection, Subpart R, they started laying out this information, so this was the first one that we utilized in our review to see if our theories were in fact correct. We will be doing the same, as I said, for all trades. But if you're going to look at involving construction, assembling, dismantling, which is the BLS three digit code, 312 means installing and that is where all of these things were going. If the worker is killed installing, what is that telling OSHA? Absolutely nothing. That is as far as a data would go unless someone read a narrative.
By adding one digit you go 3121 and you make it steel. Decking and landing. You would look at the next items and add one more digit. So what we're talking about doing here, and you would have decking, final attachment, decking, flashing of decking, decking, hoisting bundles, ornamental, architectural, other installation, you could keep right on going down your list; connecting, folding up, welding, burning, plumbing, moving point-to-point. So you can see by adding a couple of digits and refining the activity of the worker, OSHA would not have to be wondering, well, what are we doing with 70 fatalities in installation? If they looked, and they saw that they had of the 70, 10 in steel erection during the connecting process, that means something to them, that we can start looking at language to change and that we certainly can look at targeting.
This would follow the same process through each of the disciplines, the trades, whatever we wish to call it. It would help them really do a much better job in defining where they need to put their resources and certainly where safety training can be emphasized to protect the fatality and the worker, excuse me, from occurring to begin with, which is what we are not doing at all in the current system in the current way it is working.
If you see that flowchart that is attached to the motion you will see -- I am sorry we do not have extra ones, but anyone can come and review this.
We took the data into health OMDS who is going to be the computer people who make this work for the COSHO. They are going to show you briefly a couple of how we are beginning. We're not going to interfere. It is not the charge of 170 to tell OMDS how to do the logistics of computer language for OSHA. They are the wizards at this and they will do what they need to do. But they were most anxious to get good clean information to them so that they could in fact achieve their task.
So, to help them understand it, knowing that they are computer people, we went and put all the questions of this multiple page form into a very clear simplistic box orientation, if you will. Each one of these questions have a response of identifier in this form. Then they will have a drop down to allow the COSHO to select data without having to stop and go to another two- to three-inch document to find a code or to find another means to answer his tes, thereby allowing him to actually complete his task -- excuse me -- and allow him to complete a document.
The key to all that is we had to have OSHA's commitment, which we received from Mr. Jeffress on the record, that a training module for the COSHO on how to utilize the computer drop-down systems, and how we could, in fact, tie certain fields so that they were mandatory to be filled in. But we did not think that was really going to achieve the total goal, so they have gone as far as to say that this will be a mandatory form for all fatalities that would have to be completed by a COSHO. And it is their desire that the region would be evaluated upon its completion and the data that is in the form upon its completion.
We realize that it would more than likely take a year of review of various COSHOs to see that the form is being, in fact, completed properly, and they are prepared to do that. So they are very anxious to work with all the people that they have asked to assist them. And Mr. Jeffress has been most helpful in allowing us to proceed in getting OMDS already on the target area that is refining some of this language.
This all blends back into what Michael was presenting to you. Our emphasis was on what can be factually obtained about the incident and the fatality that would allow OSHA to have more of a response to the data, that we have good data, and that others can be analyzing that data after the OSHA begins looking at.
Finally, the key also to it is another major point: we want this form very quickly. OMDS is already certainly supporting this need. We will target our efforts to be completed by the end of December, which will support their target date, and this will allow OSHA to start tracking their own internal data now while we have other codes being refined, other systems of coding being refined, they would be able to start utilizing this information very quickly.
So, you see on the form, you have got the investigation information. A lot of this too is geared to allow information to feed from one form directly into the 170 form, so it is not a repetitive insert continually by a COSHO having to put the same thing in over and over and over. One will allow it to feed the other, which is, of course, the beauty of technology.
The site incident information, we took a lot of stuff out of that. It was very subjective, but we really concentrated on how and why we needed to see what could be relevant to the fatality.
Injured/deceased worker info, we have added some information into that. We do want to know the sex. Of course, you have already seen on Larry's presentation the key that BLS looks for as far as nature, body, and those type of issues. We want them to look more at the project site. Hours. We wanted to be more specific, up to eight hours, whether a fatality is occurring at the beginning of the work shift versus the end of the work shift versus overtime.
The tasks, of course, I have already elaborated on that. The parts of the body, Michael had, source, injury, secondary, then exposure. And then we just have an example of a fall versus falling objects, so we can look much closer at what is really going on in the activity.
I will now have Linda just show you quickly how this form would appear to the COSHO in filling in the data to support it.
MS. GRIEGOZEWSKI: Right now what I'm going to show you is the existing form. It is not remodeled for the drill down coding, and that is what we are anticipating receiving, is that for right now we have near lists. You put the victim in and you can put several victims in. You tell us the sex, the gender, come down, and there's a list of codes here and you select from it. But it does not drill down once you make a selection. And here is where the data validity is of a concern, is that I can use -- you see, I do not know what I'm doing here and I am not paying much attention. It is easy to fill out. It is quick, and you can select codes just like the other software was demonstrating to you, you can select values. But what the committee is helping us with is selecting the correct values, things that go with back, bring up just those codes, did not give me a long laundry list of codes which I now have for them to select. They are going to help give us relationships that are more accurate and that is what we're looking forward to.
It will not take the compliance officer a long time to fill out, as was previously stated, but the accuracy would improve greatly from the random entry that is currently going on.
There's hazardous substance codes that we relate to, there are occupational codes. And again, there has been the discussion today of interest of refining these codes and using standardized codes for these instances.
This is currently on the COSHO application. These screens can be multiple entry and they can also be directed right from the inspection. There is a button on the inspection form that says, now let's do the 170. And it flips right into doing the 170 from the inspection and prefills quite a bit of the data.
Another screen that was put up to assist in understanding construction projects greater was a list, again, of information that told me a little bit about the costs, and the building and the structures that were involved.
This information is readily -- as you can see, it is easy enough to complete, but the compliance officer's can pretty randomly make selections among these categories.
MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you, Linda. So you can see by providing them the information and the accuracy of the information what the byproduct will end up being for OSHA is a very strong tool that makes credible information available to them for all the purposes that I've said before. The activity we feel is the key to making it work, to all safety professionals in preventing injury as well as everybody; the key to all of these issues is finding out what caused the fatality to the best of our ability.
In response to one of your questions, Larry, we realize that we cannot take those down and continue to refine it and refine it and refine it so we have determined in working with and talking with people from BLS as well as other people, that by going to the six-digit structure if we need to, we think we will probably stay at four or five. But as steel erection demonstrated, the five-digit really captured the level of where the bulk of their fatalities were occurring.
So we are hopeful that we would be able to have the same level from all trades and all activities that would really feedback up to the logic tree and allow the other activities that is needed for collection and for other comparative statistical analyses to be able to be accomplished from their viewpoint while we still have our means of looking at the actual targeting and safety enhancement efforts that we would definitely be required to, or certainly help us and help every safety director, as well OSHA, achieve all the tasks that we want.
We will take any questions. Mr. Cooper has a motion that he will be making. Our workgroup, as I said, we look for this to come down approximately we think December. We have got to refine the 22 pages down a little bit more if we can. We are going to be reviewing a couple of items on training information. OSHA will be writing its own training information, but we will assist them as best we can to understand the form that we have gone by working with OMDS, who is also going to be working with the COSHOs, to be sure we have a true understanding of the form, the sequencing, its drop-down fields, and the simplicity of it, so that we have complete collectible data.
And we will work definitely with the directorate. They have been so supportive of this workgroup with Camille and all of Bruce's people. Mr. Franklin and all of them have been really great to work with to help boss and line up working with OMDS as well, as there are a couple of other consultants that we are working with two be sure that the data is in fact what we're hoping to achieve.
And our new charge that we added on from this morning will be that we will work with the paperwork reduction people within the construction facility so that we can pull into our effort how we can reduce paper based on looking at some of these fatality issues. I think that is certainly an achievable goal for us in working within them and working with the other workgroups. So we have added that on our remaining list of items that we need to do. The key emphasis I think will be working with the COSHO with the final applications that they understand it and that we have the banking enforcement of the agency to ensure everybody is utilizing it.
I think at this time we can enter the motion and then we can take any questions. If you would like to have your questions now. I see some fingers going up.
MR. BURKHAMMER: No, enter the motion.
MR. COOPER: Stu, are usually this grumpy?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Please enter your motion.
MR. COOPER: Motion: To harmonize OSHA databases the workgroup recommends the attached flowchart and OSHA begin coding all information required on the revised OSHA 170, which is the investigation summary and construction accident information forms, using the systems of the American National Standard Z16.2-1995 information management for occupational safety and health.
The rationale behind this is, this standard, national standard Z16.2-1995, information management for occupational safety and health was developed as a consensus standard and was based upon the Bureau of Labor Statistics coding methods OIC codes. The current standard is still the basis of the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics coding. It makes sense to have everyone within the Department of Labor using the same coding systems.
Universal coding will make database comparisons easier and will provide recognize categories of information about the major part of the body source event and worker activity.
Nature, part of body, source, event, and worker activity capture a wide range of information that currently exists in the OSHA database, but is not coded and therefore cannot be analyzed. Some of the BLS codes may need to be expanded beyond their current three- and four-digit use to address the level of detail needed by OSHA. This can be achieved by adding two digits to the exiting ANSI/BLS codes. The information within these groups would not be compromised because these records will merely be a finer definition of the event.
Because of the advances in computer technology of the entry of this information into the OSHA 170, investigation summary and construction accident information forms can be done by drop-down screens. The logic of the drop-down screens can be designed to follow the natural line of questions asked during any incident investigation by the COSHO.
Nature, part of body, source, event, or worker activity are five simple concepts to capture. The ANSI Bureau of Labor Statistics code can put this information into a form that can be readily sorted for patterns. It is these patterns that will assist OSHA in developing standards and outreach programs to reach its strategic planned goals.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I propose this motion.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you, Mr. Cooper. It comes from a standing workgroup, so it does not need a second. Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none --
MR. RHOTEN: Second.
MR. BURKHAMMER: It does not need a second. It is from a standing workgroup.
MR. RHOTEN: Okay. I will take back.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you. Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, all in favor of the motion signify by saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Motion carried. Thank you very much.
One thing I would challenge you to do. You stated that at the end of December you would be wrapping up. I would challenge you to be wrapped up by the next Committee meeting, which is the first of December. If you can make an effort to do that I think it would be appreciated by all. Plus you have your new charge of working with Barbara and Todd on the Paperwork Reduction Act. So the workgroup will continue as is now constituted.
With that, it is now 12:15. We will have a 45-minute lunch break. Please be back at 1:00.
[Whereupon, at 12:15 p.m., the meeting was recessed to be reconvened this same day at 1:00 p.m.]
A F T E R N O O N S E S S I O N
MR. BURKHAMMER: All right. We are reconvening. No labor, we do not have a quorum yet.
Our next agenda item is fall protection. Those committee members of you will remember this was Filipe and Bob Masterson were the co-chairs of this, however, Bob resigned from ACCSH due to his job being relocated and Filipe has carried on. The motions that are being presented today were the ones at the last meeting that we kind of struggled getting out.
So, Filipe has worked very hard on modifying and taking these motions and streamlining them to what you'll see today.
So we are going to be voting on them in sequence. We are starting with No. 2. Filipe.
[Time noted: 1:08 p.m.]
MR. DEVORA: Committee members, on July 14th 1999, OSHA published part two of the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on safety standards for fall protection in the construction industry, requesting comments and information on fall protection for workers engaged in certain construction activities currently covered by OSHA standards for fall protection. The Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health Standing Committee on Fall Protection, chaired by Bob Masterson and myself, began a series the workgroup meetings in the last year, three in Washington D.C., one in Chicago, and one in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This ANPR proposed 10 issues by the Agency that came about as a result of numerous communications requesting interpretations and claiming that compliance with the rule was sometimes infeasible and in certain construction activities.
Each of the 10 issues were broken down into several subissues. Our goal for this workgroup was, one, to invite public comment and debate from experts in these areas considered by each issue. Secondly, to formulate an opinion or a pro/con scenario of that topic, and, thirdly, to provide the entire committee documentation and comments to advise the Agency of future actions on these subjects.
In my preface to the presentation of these 10 motions, there was a common theme in all of these discussions, and that was that the use of fall protection in many different construction tasks can create a greater hazard situation. The workgroup believed that this is possible and in some cases very true.
However, the workgroup strongly advises that the Agency on this issue believes that the worker is not always the best one to make the decision of greater hazard or not. This should be a thoughtful management decision to prevent the possibility of misuse of this rationale for workers not signed off.
So with that, we will begin. I will be posting the motions up on the overhead screen, and then we will let the Chairman do the parliamentary procedure, however, you want to take care that, Steve.
MR. BURKHAMMER: In your packet you have a list all of the motions, one through 10. We are going to start with two. I will have Filipe read the motion. It comes from a standing workgroup. It needs no second. And then we will go into discussion.
MR.DEVORA: Okay. We will come back to number one. We are beginning with number two. The ACCSH workgroup on fall protection recommends to OSHA that at this time there's no need for alternative procedures for precast concrete erection if current standards are applied correctly and the greater hazard argument is not misused. That's what I referred to in my comments.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, all in favor of Motion number 2 signify by saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Approved.
MR.DEVORA: Motion number 3. The ACCSH workgroup on fall protection recommends to OSHA that there's no need for alternative procedures for post frame construction at this time.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, all in favor of Motion number 3 signify by saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Approved.
MR. DEVORA: Motion number 4. The ACCSH workgroup on fall protection recommends to OSHA that there is no need for alternative procedures for vendors delivering construction materials to a site, emphasizing that OSHA Subpart M interpretations M-1, M-2 clarify when vendors are engaged in construction.
"Whenever vendor employees are delivering materials to a construction site and exposed to fall hazards of six feet they are covered by subpart M."
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, all in favor of the Motion Number 4 signify by saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Approved.
MR. DEVORA: Motion number 5, the ACCSH workgroup on fall protection recommends to OSHA that they should consider the use of alternative methods of protecting workers climbing and installing rebar walls and curtains, such as retractable lanyards, vertical lifelines with rope grabs, and double lanyard systems with a harness. A cradle device could be attached to the climber to hold the rebar but it is most effective to use mechanically lifting devices such as forklifts, and cranes.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, all in favor of Motion number 5 signify by saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Approved.
MR. DEVORA: Motion number 6. The ACCSH workgroup on fall protection recommends to OSHA that it should not adopt a separate requirement for fall restraint systems, and should meet the same standards as those for personal fall arrest systems to avoid accidental interchange of parts.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, all in favor of Motion number 6 signify by saying aye.
Wait a minute. All in favor of Motion number 6 signify you saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Approved. All right, we have a change in number 7.
MR. DEVORA: Okay. Change to motion number 7. Disregard this. It should read, number 7. The ACCSH workgroup on fall protection recommends to OSHA that it should change positioning device Anchorage requirements from 3000 pounds or twice the potential impact to 5000 pounds or two times the potential impact whichever is greater.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion?
MS. WILLIAMS: Would you read that again.
MR. DEVORA: Okay. Recommends to OSHA that it should change positioning device Anchorage requirements from 3000 pounds or twice the potential impact to 5000 pounds or two times the potential impact whichever is greater.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion? Mr. Swanson.
MR. SWANSON: Actually, I believe to be absolutely correct the way 502 E-2 presently reads the clause "which every greater" is in that as well. So, it should read 3000 or twice the impact, whichever is greater, to your recommended change, 5000 or twice the impact whichever is greater. It's the clause "whichever is greater" that belongs with both.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Does everyone understand the revised motion? Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, all in favor of amended Motion number 7, as stated, signify by saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Approved. Eight.
MR. DEVORA: Motion number 8. The ACCSH workgroup on fall protection recommends to OSHA that a prompt rescue plan must be formulated whenever a worker is exposed to a fall situation and is using fall arrest equipment. Component should include one a second party to sound alarm when possible, availability of a communication device when working alone or in remote locations, or, three, the rescue plan should address promptness of a rescue.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, all in favor of Motion 8 signify by saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Approved. Nine.
MR. DEVORA: Nine. The ACCSH workgroup on fall protection recommends to OSHA that unfilled shafts over 30 inches in diameter require guardrail old barricade systems and that rescue equipment be immediately available in such cases.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, all in favor of Motion number 9 signify by saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Approved. Ten.
MR. DEVORA: Number 10. The ACCSH workgroup on fall protection recommends to OSHA that it should disallow any design that permits a body belt to be used as an integral part of a personal fall arrest system. We believe it allows for confusion of where the lanyard is to be attached to the harness.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, all in favor of Motion number 10 signify by saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Approved.
Now we will go back to number 1. In your packet you have a copy of 3-0.1(a) STD, 3-0.1(a), which is pertinent to Motion number 1.
Felipe, would you like to comment anything about the document before we present the motion?
MR. DEVORA: Commenting on Motion number 1, with respect to my colleague, Bob Masterson, who is not on the ACCSH committee anymore. He was I guess the champion of this motion, and we are going to make the motion the way. Quite frankly, he took the initiative on this one as he represented homebuilders as well. And the motion is, that the ACCSH workgroup on fall protection recommends to OSHA that STD 3.01(a) as currently written is reasonably necessary and appropriate to protect employees from the significant risk of fall hazards.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Mr. Cloutier.
MR. CLOUTIER: If this motion does not pass, are we then telling the Agency to rewrite the STD or to approve upon the document, et cetera?
MR. BURKHAMMER: If the motion does not pass we are basically saying to the agency STD 3.-0.1 (a) is not acceptable.
MR. CLOUTIER: Thank you for your clarity.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Mr. Rhoten.
MR. RHOTEN: Mr. Chairman, I was just briefly going through this document, and in general, over all I don't see a necessity for the residential construction industry to have a separate fall protection regulations than anybody else. In fact, in here it goes further than just residential. It said, if another building is part of a commercial project that is similar in construction that's also covered. It says in here they list four areas where they can have an alternate procedure. They say that this alternate procedure or plan doesn't have to be written down. They further say, well, the employee is going to be trained in this plan, and that they are not even going to take the trouble to write down, just overall. I think it's a bad area to get into, to have separate conditions for residential construction. Beyond that, the people I represent -- and they've got plumbers noted in here that can work on a roof on these houses under this alternate plan that's not written down.
They don't just work in residential construction. Our guys work in light commercial, heavy commercial and might occasionally work on a residential house that I don't think having different standards, fall protection standards, would be appropriate. And I think he would be confusing and I don't really see a need for. So, that is my comment at this time.
MR. BURKHAMMER: And I assume you'll vote accordingly.
MR. RHOTEN: Yeah. I thought I would, yeah.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you. Any other discussion? Mr. Buchet.
MR. BUCHET: A point of clarification. If we vote this motion down, we are sending a message. Or do we need an affirmative motion saying, we think the Agency needs to rewrite the STD? I see this in --
MR. BURKHAMMER: If Motion 1 fails as written, I would think a second motion of what to do would be appropriate. Mr. Edginton.
MR. EDGINTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First, I'd like to thank Felipe and Bob for an awful lot of work. It's probably more detailed than most anything else I've seen come out since I've been on ACCSH, and they are to be congratulated for that. Also for taking on a very difficult and sometimes controversial subject.
I really enjoyed the formatting of the binder that you provided us, and I spent some fair amount of time looking at the rationale that was provided for Motion 1. As you all know, sometimes I am the first to admit that I'm not always the smartest guy, but usually give me enough time looking at something I can figure out whether or not something is right or wrong. And simply put, I fail to see a true rationale for this motion based upon the information that that's provided.
As Mr. Rhoten has indicated, each of us have members that work in all segments of the construction industry. We have figured out how to provide safe workplaces within the existing requirements. It doesn't make good sense to me when we talk about residential construction to add differing requirements. And I am not supportive of the motion.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you, Mr. Edginton. Marie, did you have a comment?
MS. SWEENEY: I have to agree with Mr. Edginton. I don't see any reason why we have to take residential construction and put it into a separate class, although it is a different type of construction. Not to have written programs to me really fails the worker, but it also fails the employer, because if they don't have written programs sometimes just like default, yeah, we have a program but it is only in my head. And it doesn't mean that is being communicated to the employer, its foremen and subcontractors, et cetera. I would not a vote against them.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you, Marie. Mr. Williams.
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, I agree with most of the comments that have been made here. My other concern is, I can tell you from experience, it causes confusion with the employers as well as with the workers, because we take drywallers from commercial and put them in a residential building or one that is classified for certain periods, and they're not sure what standards they're going by and they crossover when the laxity starts residential in fact doing versus what we need them to be doing more stringently by our defiance to these programs and things.
So, in confusion of that, that there's no way that supports this system.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Owen, to you. You have no comments. Okay.
MS. SWEENEY: Mr. Chairman, I have one more comment. It would seem to me that Mr. Masterson had a rationale for doing this, and somehow, I guess Felipe probably will have to articulate that. He felt there was a need for some sort of standard for residential construction. And if in fact this Motion number 1 fails, we really need to think about what the Agency needs to do. Is there a special need in residential construction that has to be addressed relative to fall protection?
And over and above what is currently in the law, maybe it needs to be articulated better. There needs to be more plain language of the existing standards that goes to residential construction. Maybe it is the issues of getting down to the smaller contractors that work in residential construction and articulate the fall protection standards as it currently exists.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I think depending on how the vote on Motion 1 comes out, Felipe might want to enter another motion based on the current OSHA directive, and some recommendation to the Agency of how to deal with the current STD 3-0.1(a) document. That is a current document that is used for residential construction.
I agree that Mr. Masterson certainly had a lot of rationale for making this motion the way it was made. And I am not sure whether we can address your question based on his knowledge of the meetings and discussions, but, if you can respond to Marie, go ahead.
MR. DEVORA: Unfortunately, the one that was the one meeting that was strictly and 100 percent on this one topic was in Nevada, and one that I didn't attend. But, let me go back to the question that the Federal Register asks, and that's that first issue that says, whether there is a need for alternative procedures for residential construction. And I'll just read here a little bit--
MR. BURKHAMMER: Alternative from this document that's currently existing.
MR. DEVORA: No. Not necessarily from that document, just in general as I understood it. But that's what was existing. It says, when promulgating this standard OSHA acknowledged that some employers in the residential construction industry might have difficulty providing conventional fall protection for certain operations; difficulties were expected doing the erection of roof trusses, and the installation of roof sheathing, exterior wall panels, floor joists and floor sheeting. Accordingly, the final rule will allow some flexibility for the residential construction employer.
The rule states that conventional fall protection in residential construction is presumed to be feasible. However, where the employer can show that conventional fall protection is infeasible at a particular worksite the employer may implement a written alternative fall protection plan. The plan must be in writing designed for a particular worksite and specify alternative measures that are as protective as possible.
So, what I take to mean is that the Agency acknowledged that there are some considerations, and that there is a criteria for residential folks to implement a plan.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Mr. Rhoten.
MR. RHOTEN: Mr. Chairman. And I appreciate your remarks and I think they probably go further than just residential. I think if you go to any kind of a job, and a contractor has unusual circumstances and he can provide a safe work atmosphere with some other method, it's generally always accepted. And I guess we are on the second question first.
I presume -- it looks like to me this is going to get voted down and then we're on to the next question of whether we should go further. And I think the language that you just relayed actually covers whatever problem they have. If they have a specific problem in residential that they think they need to address, they can address it with a written program.
Where they are coming from with this is, well, we're not going to write down a program. Just let us do what we want and we'll train our members in this unwritten program. Everything will be just fine.
What I really believe is, the issue is cost. Okay. Just being candid about it, I think you're dealing in some cases with a lot of small people, small contractors, in business that probably don't have any business in business if they can't provide decent protection on the job sites that they're in charge of. But anyway that's my remarks on it. I think there's enough coverage out there now.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Bruce.
MR. SWANSON: Yes. May I put this in context perhaps? I believe what was done here, and the reason there are 10 motions, is it was an attempt by the subcommittee to address the 10 questions that OSHA came out with way last August, and on subpart M. And the first of those was whether or not the community, the construction community, saw a need to continue STD 3.1(a). And that is the question that Bob addressed. And we stated his opinion quite clearly that 3.1(a) is a fine document, STD 3.1.
And since the rest of this Committee might not agree with that, but all we need from the Committee on the issue of 1 is, does ACCSH believe we should continue with a separate policy or policy to M for fall protection in residential housing or is there not a need for a separate residential housing instruction and could M itself cover that? That really is the question before the Committee, I believe.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you. Based on that comment, I think if Motion 1 passes we are agreeing with STD 3.01A in saying that the residential construction does indeed need a separate document. If Motion 1 fails, we're saying what Bruce just said, that we do not agree that the residential construction should have a separate set of guidelines for residential construction.
MR. RHOTEN: Mr. Chairman, if I could, I would suggest it is going to take two motions to clean it up.
MR. BURKHAMMER: And it possibly could, sure.
MR. RHOTEN: Because if you -- you can vote this down and somebody could make the case --
MR. BURKHAMMER: That's correct.
MR. RHOTEN: There is another one we will come up with. So I think that suggest it should be a two-motions, one, if we are going to vote this down, and another motion that everything is fine just like it is and that's the end of it.
MR. BURKHAMMER: And I think that was my earlier comment about a follow-up motion that we would need to clarify why, if indeed, one failed. Mr. Buchet.
MR. BUCHET: No. That was my point and question also.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Further discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: All right. Does everybody understand what yes means and what no means? Read the question again, Filipe, please?
MR. DEVORA: ACCSH workgroup on fall protection recommends to OSHA that STD 3.01A as currently written is reasonably necessary and appropriate to protect employees from the significant risks of fall hazards.
MR. BURKHAMMER: We're going to vote by a show of hands. All in favor of Motion 1 raise your right hand.
[Showing of hands.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: One, two.
All opposed to Motion 1 raise your right hand?
[Showing of hands.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: One, two, three, four, five, six against; two for. The motion fails.
MR. BUCHET: Could you rephrase that count for the record?
MR. BURKHAMMER: For the record, all those who wish to approve Motion 1 as written raise your right hand.
[Showing of hands.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: One, two.
MR. RHOTEN: Are we going to vote twice on this?
MR. BUCHET: No, no.
MR. RHOTEN: We will really kill it.
MR. BUCHET: We are from Chicago. We vote often and early.
MR. BUCHET: In your reading of those responses you said the motion failed six to four. It sounded like we ended up with four. The vote was six against two.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Six against two for the motion. Therefore, the motion fails.
MR. RHOTEN: You know, this could be like a union meeting. We just keep voting until we get it right.
MR. BURKHAMMER: For the record, the motion did not pass as written. Does that clarify a little better?
Filipe, would you like to make an alternate motion regarding STD 3-0.1A?
MS. WILLIAMS: Could I ask our solicitor or Bruce, whomever, once OSHA issues something like that, what is the proper word you would use to rescind it, to deleted, to withdraw it?
MR. BIERSNER: You can say rescind or withdraw, delete. Typically we say delete the provision or delete the instruction.
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, I would move that ACCSH recommend STD 3.1 being deleted.
MR. BURKHAMMER: We have a motion and a second. Discussion?
MR. CLOUTIER: Let me make an amendment to that motion.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Let me get the motion down first, please, before you amend. Please repeat the motion.
MS. WILLIAMS: ACCSH recommends STD 3.1 be deleted.
MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Just a minute.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Mr. Cloutier and then Mr. --
MR. CLOUTIER: Mr. Chairman, I think the word should be "rescinded" instead of deleted. I would make that amendment.
MR. RHOTEN: I think the counsel just suggested to her delete it.
MS. WILLIAMS: Delete it. That is why I used it.
MR. CLOUTIER: He said rescind it or delete it.
MR. BIERSNER: Yes. I would say use both. And the idea, since this is an entire instruction, I would say rescind or withdraw. Normally we would delete like a provision of a larger document but rescind or withdraw is fine.
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, may I clarify?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes, you may.
MS. WILLIAMS: That the standard is 3-0.1(a) and I wish it to be rescinded.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Owen.
MR. SMITH: I just have a question. Does that mean that OSHA would no longer recognize that there are some special circumstances in residential housing?
MR. BURKHAMMER: No. I think what it means is that this committee is recommending to OSHA that 3-0.1(a) be rescinded if approved, and then it would be up to OSHA to decide what to do with our recommendation.
MR. DEVORA: I think what the crux of the matter is whether or not subpart M, as it currently reads, can handle the issues of residential, and I think the consensus here of many of you is that, yes, it can, if applied under those circumstances. And I am sure there is a whole scenario as to why this even came about. And I do not know if OSHA is in a position at this point to rescind that or if they would be willing to or can. So I think that goes beyond the scope of what we are discussing here today.
MR. BURKHAMMER: We have a motion and we have a second. We have an amendment to the motion that has been agreed to by the motioner. Do we have any further discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, the motion reads, ACCSH recommends to OSHA that the OSHA directive 3-0.1(a) be rescinded. All in favor of the motion signify by saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed.
MR. BURKHAMMER: All right. We have to do it by hands. Please raise your right hand if you approve the motion as read. One, two, three, four, five, six for the motion as read.
How many oppose the motion as read? One, two. Motion passes six for the motion as read; two against the motion as read. Motion passes.
Felipe, anything else?
MR. DEVORA: No, sir.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Mr. Buchet?
MR. BUCHET: Just a stickler for details.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Please proceed.
MR. BUCHET: The motions that we have read, with the exception of the last one, all say that the ACCSH workgroup makes the recommendation, not that the full Committee makes the recommendation. We have approved them.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Once they are approved, they are the Committee approval not the workgroup approval.
MR. BUCHET: As I remember, we discussed that when we were talking about changing the language.
MR. BURKHAMMER: So when it goes to OSHA, the full Committee has approved it to go. The workgroup motion was made to the Committee. Once it passes the Committee it moves to OSHA. Thank you.
MR. BUCHET: It seemed to read more forcefully outside of that explanation if we've changed so that it is said ACCSH recommends.
MR. BURKHAMMER: When we give the document to OSHA that's what it will say. Any other discussion on Felipe?s report?
MR. BURKHAMMER: I wanted thank Bob and Felipe for all their work. I agree with Larry and others they put a tremendous amount time and effort into this. They had several hearings in various places to get input to this, and I think they've done an outstanding job and I commend both of you for your efforts.
MR. DEVORA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Felipe, you're going to take the sheets, read, write them and give them to Bruce.
MR. DEVORA: I will send him the originals then.
MR. BURKHAMMER: We are a little ahead which is good. Noah is here good. We will now start the Directorate of Construction Standards Update. Noah Connell.
DIRECTORATE OF CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS UPDATE
MR. CONNELL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'll go through our standard projects in no particular order, but I'll start with sanitation.
MR. CONNELL: Our reg agenda calls for us to issue and ANPR, advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, December of this year. We have a team in place that is working on drafting that document, Julie Jones, of our office is the project officer. The team is making good progress and things seems to be going along well.
Confined spaces. Our reg agenda calls for us to issue a proposed rule by July 2001. We are about to convene three stakeholder meetings. The first one will be in Washington, on October 4th. The next will be in Houston, on October 11th. And the third will be in Boston, on October 24.
These are going to be open to the public. And we're asking the public for a help in several areas where we are going to hand out some notices on this that are going to list -- that will list five issues. And very briefly let me just describe them for you. The first issue is information on the typical characteristics of confined spaces in construction and how we would describe them. The second is whether there is a need for early warning systems to monitor nonisolated engulfment hazards, such as in sewers, where there are situations where you cannot block off the engulfment hazards. Third is the issue of periodic versus continuous monitoring of atmospheric hazards.
There has been some technological advances in the last several years, as we understand it, with respect to the cost of continuous monitors, and we'd like some information on whether it's feasible and appropriate to substitute "to require continuous monitoring" instead "of periodic monitoring."
The fourth issue, what are the ways that we might be able to accommodate small business concerns for a new confined space standard? And the fifth issue, this goes to the role of attendance, and by attendance, I mean if you look at the general industry standard for confined space it requires that individual workers be designated to attend a permit required confined space they have specified duties with respect to the people who go into those spaces, monitoring their safety. This is an issue as to how many spaces can an attendant monitor and how many different responsibilities can you safety place on a single attendant.
The next project, signing, signals and barricades, also known as highway works zone safety, also known as the manual on uniform traffic control devices for streets and highways, also known as MUTCAD.
Right now the OSHA standard -- our OSHA standard incorporates by reference a 1971 manual on uniform traffic control devices. Not too surprisingly, since 1971 there have been a member of advances and we have been asked by stakeholders to update our 1971 reference.
Since 1971, the Department of Transportation has issued a new manual, and the Department of Transportation has through its statutory and regulatory authority required that its new manual -- and this is the manual that was in place as of 1993 -- that this manual be followed on all federal highway projects where that is highway projects where federal money is involved.
It also requires all States to have a plan that plan must include following the 1993 manual, the bottom-line, therefore, it is that on most roads in the United States, because of the Department of Transportation rule, an employer would have to follow the Department of Transportation 1993 version of the manual.
Of course, also under the OSHA standard we technically have to follow the 1971 standard in the 1971 manual.
Now, we did issue a letter where we said that OSHA would accept compliance. Anyone who is in compliance with the 1993 manual if they are in technical violation of the 1971 manual that is considered a de minimus violation. But we recognized that we have a need to update our manual and we want to use a procedure called a direct final rule to correct this problem.
So, let me say something about the direct final rule process. This is a process that has been used by other agencies for non-controversial rule making. It works like this. OSHA's first official step is it publishes a final rule and it provides a comment period. If there are no significant adverse comments submitted during the comment period, then the final rule goes into affect. If significant adverse comments are received then we will publish a proposed rule and we can either try to address those comments in the proposal and modify the final rule as appropriate. But, basically, if significant adverse comments are sent in, unless we can modify the direct final rule to deal with them, we withdraw the direct final rule and we go through the proposal process.
So, that is why obviously it's used where we expected. It's going to be a noncontroversial issue and we don't expect to get significant adverse comments. Just to give you an idea of what we're dealing with, we've done a comparison of the 1971 ANSI manual and the 1993 manual. Let me just give you some illustrative examples of the differences and how DOT updated the manual.
First of all, the new one provides a more -- calls for or requires a more comprehensive package of temporary traffic control components. It adds turn off cellular phones to turn off two-way radios. It adopts international symbols for stop ahead, yield ahead, and other signs. The 1971 versions allowed steel drums. The 1993 version requires that they be made up of lightweight flexible deformable materials.
Flagger colors. The 1971 manual required orange. In the new version there are daytime and nighttime choices of colors that go beyond orange. Our view is that these are pretty straightforward common-sense-type changes and we are optimistic that the public will view this as a noncontroversial change.
And I will also hand out a more detailed description to you of the differences we see them between the old and new manual.
Subpart M, the ANPR --
MR. BURKHAMMER: Noah, did you say that if an employer was -- had adopted the 1993 manual versus the 1971 manual, you would cite them as a de minimus citation?
MR. CONNELL: We don't cite de minimus citations. It would be considered a de minimus citation, and no citation would be issued.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Considered.
MR. CONNELL: Subpart M, ANPR. We received a little over 2,500 comments. We are still in the process of reviewing these comments, and then we will consider whether we need to propose any changes to subpart M.
The ANPR for scaffolds, as you know, is in the concurrence process. We are going to -- by the way, we've got about six issues to be raised in that ANPR on scaffolds. It anyone has any questions about that I can give you more detail.
MS. WILLIAMS: Could you read those off again?
MR. CONNELL: Well, I can, because this is still -- first of all, let me say that this document is still in the concurrence process, so, of course, the document can change. So, I guess I can tell you what I anticipate will be the issues generally. Right, Bruce?
The standard currently permits planking to extend up to 18 inches beyond the scaffold frame. The question is, should we modify that standard to prohibit planking from extending more than six inches where the employees can go up and go down the scaffold, because it is sticking out and it is in their way?
Second issue, our standard requires that roof bracket scaffolds must be at least 12 inches wide. Should we permit the use of roof bracket scaffolds that are less than 12 inches specifically down to eight inches? And that was raised because it was pointed out to us after the rule that there are very few manufacturers of roof bracket scaffolds that will accommodate a 12 inch plank -- 12 inch planking.
Third, suspended scaffolds under our rule must be grounded during welding operations. Some folks have questioned the safety of that. And so the question is, do we need to change or eliminate that requirement?
Fourth, under the current definition of competent person, the individual must be capable of recognizing hazard. Should we amend the definition to require specific training and/or experience in scaffolds safety?
Fifth, each employee on a ladder jack scaffold right now must be protected by a personal fall arrest system. Should we allow a guard rail to take the place of a fall arrest system that's on the ladder jack scaffolds.
And the last one so far, the standard does not provide separate rules for tank builder scaffolds. We do have a nonmandatory appendix that has guidelines that are specifically designed to address tank builders scaffolds. The question is, should we have -- well, the standard right now classifies these tank builder scaffolds as supported scaffolds. So, the question is, do we need to change that definition and, therefore, create another category for them?
So, are our guidelines in the appendix appropriate for those scaffolds?
Steel erection. Steel erection is -- continues to be in the concurrence process. Anybody have any questions?
MS. WILLIAMS: Can you share if there is any stumbling blocks as you would see them now in any of the language from the draft that we have? Is it safe to assume that most of the conditions in the draft that were circulated which show how people undermining the directives that allow them to utilize that? Do you see any major differences coming out of the final from that which was proposed? Is there any way you could identify anything such as that?
MR. CONNELL: You're referring to the -- I take it you are referring to be subpart R proposed rule.
MS. WILLIAMS: Right.
MR. CONNELL: I would expect that there will be some differences in the final. I think on most of the major issues that the construction industry has been focusing on, I don't think there's going to be -- I would not anticipate there will be any great surprises. But, I don't think you are going to see an identical document, but I don't think there will be lots of surprises.
MR. DEVORA: Will there be anything that didn't go through the negotiated rulemaking process that was commented upon? Do you think there will be any changes? I mean, major changes that perhaps someone feels that should have gone through the process that has been commented on?
MR. CONNELL: Any changes that neither went through the proposal process, I'm not sure what the question is.
MR. DEVORA: I guess there are --
MR. CONNELL: Do you mean, did we just make some stuff up and throw it in?
MR. DEVORA: Did you make anything up that we do not know about? And if so what is it?
MS. WILLIAMS: Controlling contractor, and all of the issues and discussions, it really hasn't come up. It did not come up in the December 16 SENRAC meeting. And other than some comments in the comment periods, I am wondering if the draft language that we have seemed will primarily, for the most part, stay as written for the controlling contractors?
MR. CONNELL: Let me first answer his question. We did not make any stuff up, any things up all by ourselves I don't think. We did take the comments that were submitted by the public very seriously. We made some changes in response to those comments. We made a number of changes which were reflected in the draft final that we submitted to SENRAC on December 16th of last year, and many of those we are not going to be going forward with, or will be, I think, are going to be modified to a great extent. So it is a lot closer to the proposal. Controlling contractor was certainly an issue that received a lot of attention in the comments. We believe we are addressing those. We are certainly addressing the comments. Again, I don't think you're going to see a dramatically different document in that respect than the proposal.
Of course, I am mindful of the fact what's dramatic to one person is minor to another and vice versa. And since we still are in the concurrence process I don't think it is appropriate for me to be a lot more specific than that. But any changes that we make, any substantive changes we made, certainly arose out of the rulemaking is one way or another.
MS. WILLIAMS: Will we see it by the end of the year?
MR. CONNELL: I'm sorry. I did not hear you.
MS. WILLIAMS: Will we see this by the end of the year?
PARTICIPANT: He still didn't hear you.
MR. SWANSON: I think, in all fairness to Noah, Subpart R is out of Noah?s possession. He has nothing to do with the speed with which it advances from this point forward. Assistant Secretary Jeffress will be here tomorrow. You can ask him that same question, although I think it is past his gate too. But, it is a more fair question for a political appointee than for Noah.
MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any other discussion with Noah on the standards.
MR. SWANSON: Yeah. Let's go back to MUDCAD for a minute. This body has a statutory obligation to or right to see all of our proposed standards, and to comment upon them before we take that proposal forward. The bottom line on why we are coming up with this direct final is to get around that practice. No. It's a joke.
MR. SWANSON: We do have -- we are going to a direct final, however, that will not be a proposal. And so what we are doing and what Noah just did and will share with you later in writing is a better feel for where we are going with this direct final, and to look for some feedback from this body as to whether you approve or disapprove of what it is that we are trying to do here with the direct final and move from '71 to '93.
Should the unreasonable happen and we fail for some reason, technical reason, on the direct final, we are going to be back to you with a proposal and we'll have to do it the slow way.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Jane.
MS. WILLIAMS: Noah, could you briefly, if you know, give me the status of safety and health programs, which I know hasn't really moved anywhere, and PPEs, where we would be on those issues?
MR. CONNELL: I really don't know a lot about that, although I believe those are in line behind some other projects at the moment
MR. SWANSON: Also known as ergo victims.
MS. WILLIAMS: That would be true for lockout/tagout?
MR. CONNELL: We are not actively working on lockout/tagout right now.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Michael, you don't have anything. On the -- I guess the recordkeeping one was supposed to come out in 2001, in January 2001. And my understanding now is that -- Bruce or Noah correct me if I am wrong -- we are looking at a big question mark for January of 2002.
MR. SWANSON: I can't help you with that. You know, there is a necessity I am told that recordkeeping and the general industry ergo standard be aware of each other and one must be consistent with the other. You need recordkeeping for the ergo standard as it is presently contemplated to be, but exactly what that date will be on recordkeeping I cannot tell this body, and neither can Noah. It's not in our shop.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Okay. Thank you, Noah. Appreciate it. Next on the agenda is a 315 Tower Erection special presentation. And I know one of the people are here. I think a phone call was made to a second and the third did not make it today.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPANT: It will be at least 15 minutes or longer before Mr. Marple gets here, so I would suggest maybe taking an extended break.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Okay. Why don't we take a 20 minute break and reconvene at 2:30.
[Brief recess at 2:11 p.m.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is the Communication Tower Erection presentation. Harry Payne, who is a member of ACCSH, Thomas Marple, from Fed OSHA, and Kevin Beauregard, are here to make the presentation. So, with that, Harry, do you want to start?
COMMUNICATION TOWER ERECTION
MR. PAYNE: I would just say in regards to -- I guess my first personal contact with the issue of communications towers was the parent of a young man who called me who fell in Onslow County, North Carolina, 120 feet, and he called me to tell me, in the wake of his boy's death, that he just wanted to tell me to tell somebody that his boy was a very careful, very responsible person. And he did not know what else to say but he just wanted to tell somebody that.
And I think over the years since then we've seen this tragedy grow, we have adopted some fall protection standards that are still challenged in the communication tower area. I think we've lost now five people -- now six people this year -- in hazards of the construction maintenance of the communication towers.
I am very honored today that we have our number 2 person in OSHA, Kevin Beauregard, who comes to us with a safety and health background. And he has worked with us a little less now than 10 years, I believe, about nine. And he is also OSHAPA's nominee to the Secretary to fill the slot on this Committee that I presently occupy.
So, it works out nicely for us that this is a chance for not only for us to hear a more about what the State is doing in the way of dealing with the hazards of communication towers, but also for Kevin to get the chance to get to know the role in the function of ACCSH. Kevin.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Thank you all. I'll try to wake everybody up and I promise not to introduce any motions.
MR. BEAUREGARD: This is a homecoming for me. A lot of people don't like to come to Washington, but I was born and raised in this area. I lived in Laurel, and I have a lot of relatives up there, so I don't mind coming home to this area.
We started experiencing problems in communication towers probably about five years ago, in North Carolina. And we looked at it then and said we think this is going to be an up and coming area that we need to do something in. And we had talked to some people with Federal OSHA and some other areas and we were under the impression that there may be a standard coming down the way, so we didn't actively pursue a standard at that time.
The reason I am here is I understand that Commissioner Payne has filled the group in a little on a accident that we had in Roane County, North Carolina, last December, and the group had requested to get some additional information on that accident. So, I am going to be going over that accident with our findings, and then I am also going to tell you a little bit about some proposed rulemaking that we have going on in North Carolina on communication towers.
This is the first time I've used this computer, so be patient with me. The fatality that we had in Roane County, the name of the company is Quality Tower Company. It was a painting contractor. And basically what they were contracted to do was to paint a radio tower, and replace the beacon at the top of the tower, install 13 rest platforms, remove cable, replace transmission cable, and replace some antenna elements.
The qualifications these people had is somewhat limited, but that is what they were contracted to do. After they started the work, the owner of the tower that hired them had some trepidation because they were handling some very expensive cable in a manner that they did not think was necessarily a good way to go with that expensive cable; had nothing to do with the safety or health issue.
So, they terminated that part of their contract and hired another contractor to actually run the cable up the tower. And so that's what occurred.
After that occurred -- I'm sorry, this is a picture. It is kind of a far off picture to get the whole communication tower, and we had to climb a mountain. But this is a 1,500 foot tower. It kind of gives you some idea of how far up these people were. And they actually went up to the top of that tower. The beacon is at the very top of the tower. It's a 1,420-foot tower with an antenna that is 80 feet on top of that, and the beacon is on top of the antenna. And the only way to get up on top of the antenna, there is a ladder up to that 80-foot point and then you've got to climb it manually. There is nothing to tie off to. And we know that they did get on top because they did replace the beacon. And the contractor, to prove he replaced the beacon, took a picture between his legs with no fall protection looking down with the beacon. So you can see the beacon in the photo. I don't have that picture. We do know he did it.
Here's a synopsis of the accident itself. It's a small company. There was a 40-year owner of the company and primarily they were a painting contractor. He had a 16-year-old son with him, a 19-year-old friend of the family, and then the wife was on the ground.
They began painting the tower around the end of October after the cable that I mentioned previously was installed by other contractor. Takes about four hours to ascend this tower if they climb it by hand, and it takes about 15 minutes to ascend it via capstan hoist.
So, as you can probably surmise, they opted to go with the capstan hoist because it only took 15 minutes to go up.
They equipped the capstan hoist. And I will show you what a picture of it looks like for those that are not familiar with it. But it's a hoist that you can attach to the bottom frame of the tower and raise equipment up. They had equipment with about 3,000 feet of nylon rope. It was three-quarter inch. In order to get that length they spliced five pieces of rope together and then they taped over the spices.
The hoist that they used was designed to lift only material. They did, in fact, use the lift material and three employees all at the same time.
They had it attached to a pulley up around a 1,420 foot area. That's what the rope was going through. And what the owner did was, again to keep from having to climb up four hours every time they wanted to go up, they decided they were going to hoist themselves up on this. And the owner tied three loops into the rope for a foothold. Each person would put one foot in the loop and then they would hook off if they could and then raise up.
In order to do that, the employees had to climb up about 20 feet up the tower because you can't start on the ground level. So the three employees went up the tower in succession and they all got into the footholds. And they hooked to the loops with their position devices and they were doing what they call "riding the line." And they were directly adjacent. This tower is a seven-foot triangular structure and that's what they were doing to get up.
The quick review of our findings was the hoist that was used wasn't designed to lift employees, but it was used to lift employees. The rope did come off the hoist drum; unfortunately, the wife was on the ground when that occurred. She tried in vain to keep it from coming down. She had rope burns all over her hands. There's no way somebody's going to keep three people and equipment falling 3,000 feet on the ground. So she watched her husband and son and friend of the family land right next to her.
The employees used either a body belt or a full body harness as positioning devices instead of fall protection equipment. They did not have the lanyards hooked up properly. They were using them as positioning devices. I'll show you some pictures in a few minutes.
The employees were not attached to a separate lifeline. They were all attached to a hoisting line. There is a requirement, of course, in the standards that you have a separate lifeline. They didn't. They were all hooked onto the same line, so as the line fell they fell.
This is the warning that actually came off the capstan hoist that they were using. And I don't know if you can read this in the back, but it has a bunch of do's and do not's. And about three or four down there it says, "do not lift people or loads over people." They were lifting three people and a load and they were lifting three people and a load over people.
And you can see down at the bottom a little illustration on what the hoist looks like, and that's how the rope wraps around the hoist. I am not so sure they even had the rope on the hoist correctly, to begin with. This is the actual capstan hoist that is located on one of the legs of the tower. You can see it over towards the center of the photograph. That rope off to the left is the rope that slipped that?s hanging from pulley up top. But that is what everything was hooked into.
It is an ABC Chance capstan hoist. We did not find anything wrong with the hoist. The hoist was as designed, but it wasn't designed to lift people. This is the brother of the victim. He is demonstrating to our compliance officer how he, because he sometimes worked with his brother, how they hooked up and used the fall protection equipment. I don't know if you can tell it from this photo, but they didn't -- one or two of the individuals didn't fasten the harness around his legs. And we've had accidents where people just fall right through the harness if they don't have it.
Also, you can see the lanyards he's using there and that lanyard is not hooked off to the back. And this is what they were using for a positioning device; it's hooked off to his waist. And that's how the individuals were using these. This is the actual positioning device of one of the individuals that fell. What we've found was that the lock was taped shut. It had a locking positioning device, but they taped it shut so the employees could have quick access to it. They wouldn't have to worry about it being locked out. It was attached to D rings near the waist of the employee. And that is what he has in his left hand over there. This is just a close-up of the previous picture. It was used strictly as a positioning device. Again, they were not using it as fall protection. They were using it as positioning device as they were working. Even when they were riding up on the line they weren't locked in, in any way.
This is just the pulley. It's a standard pulley that was used at the top. And this is what the rope was over. It's just a standard. I think the Makissick is the brand name. Again, we did not find anything wrong with the pulley. It just happened to be a piece of equipment that was in use. Mckissock does not want their stuff used to lift people. And this particular pulley, again, it wasn't designed to do that. It was designed to lift material.
This shows you one of the loops. This is the bottom of the rope they were using, the nylon rope. That loop on the right-hand side was what the third person down had their foot in. So that is pretty much when I say they were in a loop. That's all they were in. They were riding this thing up 1500 feet in that with one with one foot. And on the bottom of that you see a chain in over to the left, to see a platform, and that was attached to the bottom of the rope and that's what they were using to haul up their equipment. It was on the very bottom and three people in succession over top of one another.
This is a close-up area in the tower where they were, the area they were around when the accident occurred. It's hard to distinguish because the nylon rope is white. But it is running down near the center of that tower. There it is on the backside of the tower. And the reason I show you the picture is here is the other side coming on the other side of the tower. And when I get into a few more slides I will tell you why we think that is probably significant in this case.
We know that the rope came off of the hoist. What we didn't know was why. We had it narrowed down to a few things. One of it was these splices were all covered with tape. And what happened when they went around the hoist, it was very slick, and as they went around the hoist it slipped a little. So, that may have called a jerking motion that began the whole thing. It's just they were just guessing, to be quite frank with you. The wife told us that had occurred before. We don't know if that's the actual cause.
What we also learned was that work platform that you saw in the previous picture had caught up on the tower previously and kind of like, I guess, if you've ever been fishing and you throw a fishing rod in there, and you snag on something in the bottom, and you can't get it loose, and you can't get it loose, and all of a sudden it breaks, and the line goes flying back, well that had happened a couple of times when they were raising the people before. And it hadn't resulted in a fall, but what happened was it put slack in the line. And we think that may be an indication of what happened because of the way that the rope was wrapped around tower.
And the other option is that it may not have been wrapped correctly on the hoist, to begin with. If you recall from the earlier placard that was on the hoist itself, it indicated how it should have been wrapped on the hoist.
The wife was the sole surviving employee of the company. She wasn't a co-owner of Quality Tower so we did not issue citations because there was nobody left to issue citations to. However, we found so many things wrong in this case, we didn't want to leave it just at that. So we did review the findings with the wife in case she were to go into business or take over the business. We certainly wanted to make sure they did things correctly, and we did issue an industry alert.
I handed out some packages. And there is a yellow -- the Committee members have a yellow flier. And that is an industry alert that we put out. And we did do a mailing in North Carolina of various owners and other entities to get this message out. And for those folks that don't have a yellow one in your packet, there is a copy of the industry alert. It's just on eight and a half by 11 paper. But we wanted to get the word out as to what we found.
The findings were that there wasn't any training. None of the people had been trained in any manner, which is a little bit scary when you think that someone's going up a 1500-foot tower and they hadn't received any type of training in working on a 1500-foot tower in regards to safety and health.
They did not have the appropriate PPE. They didn't use locking snap hooks. Lifelines weren't secured over the employees' heads. Lanyards were not of sufficient strength. And if you noticed these, these are all 1926 references. They were doing painting at one point, which is considered construction activity. They were also doing some activities that would be considered maintenance under the telecommunication standard. So, depending on what they were actually doing at the time may depend on what, if anything, they would have been cited for if there was actually an employer left to cite.
Lack of separate lifelines. They did not have. They were all tied on the same line. They didn't really have a lifeline. Anchorages used for fall arrest were also used for raising the platform. They didn't have any separate entity or item. They did use body belts. One of them did have a body belt as opposed to a full body harness. And they also suspended things off of their belts as well as the platform at the bottom. They had buckets of paint and other things hanging off of their belts as they were going up.
The fall arrest system was attached to a hoist, which is, again, prohibited by 502. And the employer did not comply with the hoist manufacturer's specifications. You could see from the tag that they said, don't use this to lift people and/or loads over people.
We also had some areas of the general duty clause that we thought were pertinent. I don't know if this body is aware of the NATE guidelines, National Association Tower Erectors guidelines, but they do have guidelines, and even within those guidelines they weren't following those guidelines.
There is a reason why I am addressing this group on this issue. That gets into my next couple of slides. That is a synopsis on the fatality itself. And at the end of the presentation if anybody has any questions I'll be glad to answer them.
Like I said before, about four or five years ago we experienced probably our first tower fatality. Within the last several years -- and I gave Harry some incorrect information a few minutes ago -- but we have had a number of fatalities within the last few years.
This is kind of a synopsis. In '98, we had one individual fall during construction of a tower. In '99 we had a 40-year-old fall from a tower. In 2000, in December, we had those three painters die in Roane County. That is the accident I just reviewed with you. In June of this year, we had a 32-year-old laborer fall during construction activities of a tower. And just last week on the 6th, in Charlotte, we had an employee fall 60 feet from a communication tower. He was seriously hurt but he was also very lucky because on the way down his harness got caught on a foot peg and that's what saved his life. So he didn't hit the ground. He got caught on a foot peg about 20 feet from the ground. But we came very close to having another fatality just last week. And we are still investigating that. That appears like it may have been a case where there was some equipment that was faulty.
MS. SWEENEY: Excuse me. These are only in North Carolina?
MR. BEAUREGARD: These are only North Carolina.
MS. SWEENEY: And we have 50 states.
MR. BEAUREGARD: And I am going to go over that too. In North Carolina, we decided we need to do something. We do think it is a national issue and we think it's a national problem.
In your report you will see some face reports which are fatality assessment reports done by NIOSH. I'm told that information should be available on the Web site fairly soon. If you look in there most of them are North Carolina reports, but I don't want to mislead this group in thinking that it is only a North Carolina problem.
We participated in the face study with NIOSH. We are one of four other States that do. So that is why they have the North Carolina data, because every time we have an incident we report it to them. And then they send out investigator and they generally work with our investigator either after or during the fact to get that information. But North Carolina, has participated in that since 1984. So, don't think it's not a problem elsewhere.
It used to bother me because I did not know that we were one of five participants of that program. And every time I saw one of those, you know, North Carolina was on two-thirds of them. And I said, boy 45 other States your doing a great job.
That's the reason why you don't see any other States on that. But this is a booming industry. Probably most of the people in this room have a cellphone or a pager that probably wasn't the case even five years ago. About five years ago there was only about 50,000 towers in the country; now they're building about 20 to 50,000 towers a year in the country.
There's 49 to 468 deaths per 100,000 employees versus five deaths per 100,000 in all other U.S. industries. The reason such a range up top is because there is no direct way to peg down how many deaths there actually are that were attributed to towers, because there are so many different SIC codes that work on towers. And that's the problem we run into within OSHA in trying to target and pinpoint who do we get the alerts out to, who do we talk to.
In the Roane County case it was a painter. You wouldn't associate generally painters as being the people that climb up towers. But there is also erectors. NATE says there is about 6-9,000 companies that do you erection that are their members, and they feel that those are the main people that do the erections. I think there are other people that are into the business now. It's a very lucrative business. There is a lot of what we're finding: untrained or unqualified employees in the business.
And another issue we have is towers go up quick. You can get a tower up once you had the footers poured in about three days, depending on what size the towers is.
So, we don't have a real good way of targeting the sites. So, unfortunately, we find out about them either through an accident or we're driving down the road and you see one being erected. So there is in issue there.
There were 118 deaths that we know of from '92 to '98 that were directly attributed to falls, from towers and 93 of those were falls. The 468 figure is probably more correct. The 118 are only the ones associated that we know from that SIC code that would be a tower erector.
All of these are figures coming from NIOSH. They are not my figures, they are NIOSH figures. The figures from North Carolina I have. But I don't have State figures so we use NIOSH.
NIOSH did do a study as a result of those face reports, and Vergil Casini, I believe is his name -- if there is someone from NIOSH they might be able to confirm that -- was the project coordinator. And he was in North Carolina yesterday actually giving us a presentation on some new projects that they're doing. And he had indicated that either a letter had gone to Charles Jeffress or was going to Charles Jeffress shortly with the findings of their investigation, or their project, and with recommendations.
And, just briefly, the recommendations were: there is a 100 percent tie off when you are doing towers.
We felt, in North Carolina, that we just don't have sufficient standards to monitor the industry. Subpart M does not apply to tower erecting or dismantling, and that's where the construction tie-in comes in. It does cover you if you are painting, or doing something after it's already erected, but it is not covered by Subpart M.
The whole thing about these steel erections -- and we are still working on the steel erection standard -- there is some ties in there. There is also a couple of memos out there and a couple of directives that say towers aren't covered by the construction standards.
So, those are some of the problems we're having, in that we don't have construction standards for the construction end of it. Now, there are some standards, but they are like 105 having to do with the PPE or the steel erection standard, which is very limited in scope as written as applicable to towers, and there are some ladder standards and some other things, but there's no direct standard such as Subpart M.
CPL 2-1.29 and OPN 122, which you have a copy in you packets, established a guidance currently in North Carolina for these type of activities. And we are limited to, like I said, the standards that you see listed there. And the general duty clause which we do site, we have cited in North Carolina and fatalities.
In general industry, we do have the telecommunications standards. It is applicable to maintenance and rearrangement or removal of communication equipment. Some of the activities that these people in Roane County were engaged in would certainly fall under that category. It's not applicable to construction, however. We think that there are some problems with the 1910 standards as well. It does allow the use of a body belt as opposed to a full body harness, safety belts or straps. It does have a four-foot rule requirement for use of PPE unless you are working from a platform that is guarded. And, again, there is a couple of directives and interpretations out on that.
It does not have a locking snap hook requirement, so a device that was used like the one you saw could be used in telecommunications. So, what we have done in North Carolina is we have started the rulemaking process. We have announced a proposed anticipation of a proposed rulemaking. We had a meeting in July. We did have a representative from NATE there, most of the other representatives were in-house North Carolina representatives. We have another stakeholder meeting scheduled for December 8 at 9:00 in the North Carolina Museum of History in downtown Raleigh, if any of you have an interest in this. I would encourage you to come and participate, or if you know people we have invited the owners, MCI, Sprint, AT & T, to people that own these towers.
Our goal is to have a standard in place by 2002. There is a timeline in your packet as well. These are proposed standards. And I have to stress that they are just proposed. At this time we do not have a standard written. We do not have a proposed standard written. We have some ideas of some of the elements we want to see in a standard, and these are the elements that we are looking at right now. A competent person element, training element that talks about content documentation and performance; a fall protection element that talks about the specifications of equipment in hoisting equipment. That would probably include some of the information from NATE, et cetera.
But, again, this is a very early stage in our rulemaking process. And we are thinking about a tower owner involvement responsibility somewhere in the confined space.
We do think that tower owners are critical in this process, as well as manufacturers of tower components. We have not met a person erecting a tower yet that has told us if they had tie-off points they would tie off to them. The fact of the matter is, many of them don't have a place to tie off to when they are erecting these. The manufacturers don't really want to put tie offs on there because it adds weight to the structure, and any weight they add to the structure is weight that they can't hang something else on. And everything they can hang on one of those towers is money and these things pay for themselves in a couple months.
We do think speaking on that just for another moment what is going to even accelerate the tower problem. And I think the falls from towers is high-definition TV, HDTV is common; they are getting ready for it right now. They've started equipping some of the towers and these towers go up quite a bit. And it is my understanding at least some of these to prevent interference from the signal. They have erected these HDTV arms about 20 feet out from the tower. There is nothing to tie off to when they are out there.
So, again, I think we are going to see another problem if we don't get into talking to the manufacturers and the owners about providing some type of place or mechanism for people to tie off. We have had some employers in North Carolina come up with some very good systems that do prevent people from falling. And, unfortunately, most of these companies that did this did this after they had an employee fall and die.
And then there is a section for other things that perhaps we haven't thought about yet that I am sure some of the groups are going to bring up that are going to be in there. If you do have any information that you have or others want to contribute, Jack Forshey, and Evette McGovernor are leading this effort in North Carolina. His phone number is up there. You can also call our 1-800 number and get him or you can call me. All of our members on our web site as well. But we would appreciate any input anybody has on this subject. I do think it's going to be a matter that every State is going to have to address at one point on another. And I think this body is going to be addressing it probably at some point.
That's my presentations in a nutshell. I just wanted to fill everybody in on what's going on, what we are doing, and give an opportunity for anybody who has input or if anybody has any questions at this time I will be glad to answer them.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you, Kevin. We've all heard about that tragic incident that happened with the family. A lot of us in the business are getting in more and more into tower erection, and holes and poles and cells and ditches, and it's a unique part of the construction that is not addressed currently by OSHA or other standards. Jane.
MS. WILLIAMS: Sir, have you seen any change in the owners' attitudes because of the numbers of fatalities by them taking initiatives to write in safety training and/or safety requirements into their language to these people who are performing such work functions?
MR. BEAUREGARD: I won't say we haven't seen any activity towards that, but I will say that I haven't seen a lot. And, again, I don't want to guess to the reason, but I do know it is a huge industry. And what I keep hearing time and time again is, we have a hard time enough finding bodies to put these things up, never mind putting stipulations on them and how they've got to do it.
I think if they keep experiencing the fatalities at the rate they're doing it they are going to have to do something. I don't know what the workers' comp rate is for someone who does this type of work but I can't imagine it can be low, it they know the people doing it.
I bet you the painter -- the people who insured that painter didn't know what those people were doing.
MR. BURKHAMMER: There is a phrase in the business that a lot of these owners are using called "time to market." It is crucial. The time to market issue is a crucial issue, because there are so many of these owners, so to speak, forming these corporations based on mergers and acquisitions in the communications industry. You have the AT & T's and the Sprints and the ones who have been out there a while, of course, doing their thing, but you've got a lot of the now, Winn and Nextel and Tomorrowtel and somewhere tell, that they combine these things. And they hire a contractor and they send him out there a three or four billion dollar contract and they hire 250, 300, 500 subs, depending on how many States they need to erect this stuff in, and they throw these things up in 5 to 8 to 10 days, and they are done. And they are erecting barely daylight until a little bit after dark. They have a lighting problem; they can't see. You saw examples of the fall protection nonexistent. They get material out there any way they can. And they build the towers from the ground up and the higher you get the more difficult it is.
So it's a very difficult situation, even the contractors we hire to do this. It's finding someone that really understands and knows tower erection is difficult because there are not a lot of companies out there that know how to do it. They can do electrical transmission towers very well, but when they come to these heights it's a new ballgame.
MR. BEAUREGARD: And there's many different types and configurations of towers. And some of them -- right now there are feasible ways to provide fall protection, some of them, to be honest with you. I don't know. There are some towers that are cylindrical in design that are smooth, kind of like a telephone pole, and those are the types that again, if the manufacturers put something to tie off on you have something to tie off to, otherwise, there is not even anything you can physically tie off on.
MR. BURKHAMMER: That's right. Marie.
MS. SWEENEY: I have a couple of questions. First, would you put the last slide back on with the phone number? Thank you.
MR. BEAUREGARD: We also have a 1-800 labor NC number that we will be glad to take calls in on.
MS. SWEENEY: I have two other questions. One is, have you had any resistance by the industry to this regulation, and what are they contributing to this effort? And the other thing is, if you have a regulation how are you going to enforce it if you don't have enough bodies deal with it? And, you know, your State of North Carolina. I'm thinking about 50 States.
MR. BEAUREGARD: I guess I'll take those one any time. We haven't had a lot of negative feedback from the industry. But I will say we are just starting into this process, and really the December 8th stakeholders meeting is going to be the first time that we have a lot of these people together in a room. We had not met with them separately. We met with some people individually before.
We had met with NATE. They had a representative at our July meeting. I was not able to be at that meeting so I am not sure what kind of feedback. I don't think we got any native feedback at that meeting. But I will tell you some of the things in NATE's proposal. We don't have a problem with NATE's guidelines that came out if people were actually doing it according to those guidelines.
The problem we have is people aren't, if you look at those guidelines -- like if these people on this tower were following those guidelines they would have stood a lot better chance, but they weren't following that.
But, it will be interesting to see. I'm sure we're going to get feedback with ways on this. The secondary part of it is, North Carolina is probably fortunate in that our staffing levels in North Carolina are significantly different than compliance staffing levels in other States. We have 110 safety and health compliance officers to cover the State of North Carolina, although it's like 210. We are probably better equipped to enforce this in North Carolina than maybe in some of the other areas.
Again, the issue that we'll have is targeting sites. You have to know where these things are going to be in order to be there. And they are going up all over the place. And it is not just limited to towers. If you go by a water tower you'll see some communication device hanging off of the water tower, or you see a big billboard up. You'll see them there as well.
Certainly we're trying to find out. We're having a difficult time right now even targeting the audience. Like I said, there are so many different people in trades in this business that it is difficult to track exactly how bad the problem is, but we know, firsthand, there is a problem.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Steve.
MR. CLOUTIER: As a fellow North Carolinian, I am just appalled at the carnage that is going on in recent years there. I was in Charlotte at the time this incident happened in Roane County, and I guess what bothers me, if we established new regulations or rules and guidelines and directives, are we still going to be able to get out to be mom and pop operations? That's what we had there? We had a husband and wife, their son, and a friend of theirs, and that bothers me.
I applaud you for having this December meeting. But I encourage you. As we see in Carolina, we get all the bad PR all the time when there is an incident. But we need to get the news media there to champion what you guys are doing and trying to do the right things and move forward.
Sprint, Nextel, Alltell, Verizon and AT & T, all those guys have gotten diagrams/drawing of where their next tower is going in. I think we need to tap into those resources.
I sit on a town council south of Charlotte and they've come to us to put more towers in. And they know where they're going. They can sit there and tell you they are going to put 200 towers in in the next year and they know exactly where it's at. And I think it is up to the Agency to twist their arms so you guys can focus some manpower to assist them in erecting them.
MR. BEAUREGARD: We may have better success getting them from Charlotte and the municipalities than from the owners, but we would love to have that information.
MR. CLOUTIER: And I think we may need to bring the FAA and the FCC in, because this particular tower was erected. And it was a maintenance-type operation. They're going up to replace an FAA light. And there are some other folks we could probably tap into to assist you there. I know for a fact there's 6-700 towers going up in North Carolina in the next year or so, and if Carolina is like anywhere else its nationwide it's a plaque, and we are concerned. And I know the manpower shortage that's going on. MR. BEAUREGARD: One carrier told us they were planning on erecting 6,000, just one carrier.
MR. CLOUTIER: And those guys will come and they will ride the seat every time because they would rather ride the seat than climb.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Jane.
MS. WILLIAMS: Nothing.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Bruce.
MR. SWANSON: Yeah. Harry, maybe you are in the best position to answer this. But with what is happening in North Carolina would there be any hope to ride this wave and look for State legislation? We can't get it through Congress, but State legislation in North Carolina, that would require the owners to notify some governmental agency. Labor Department might be a good one, as to where these towers are going to be erected and approximately when for a year out front, I mean, municipalities know.
MR. PAYNE: I think in that limited approach I think we'd like to know housing starts too, but in a limited situation where the hazard is conspicuous I think there is probability of that. I don't think it would go without objection. I don't think it would pass by an overwhelming amount, but I believe it would pass. You would have a lot of noise, but I think it would be if we could demonstrate, particularly if we led first with education.
Our history is with the industry and with other industries that they don't mind compliance if you will lead first with education. So, that they tell us a year ahead of time tell us who you're going to use, we will start contacting them and working with them. I think we could do that and then could follow up by knowing that we could get on the compliance side too.
Now, our history is that if we can industry it's like, not unlike harvesting trees in North Carolina. It is a small enough industry. It's high hazard. They all know the hazards. And as long as it makes sense, the approach then they are very approachable to both education in compliance.
Our problem is forever the three guys in a pickup truck. Whether that be in this kind of construction we can't find them. They're not licensed. I mean, it's just wild.
MR. SWANSON: That is why the owner or someone has to tell you when they will be and where.
MR. PAYNE: I think that is the way. And you can attach that to some other licensure.
MR. SWANSON: And you've got the stack of bodies right now too. I mean, your state has the advantage of having all these problems.
MR. PAYNE: It is a real honest problem that we're seeing everywhere and this is one that the owners acknowledge. We have not gotten any resistance.
MR. SWANSON: Kevin, when you say that you are going to involve the owners, do you in South Carolina have what we don't have at the federal level? I'm not familiar with your law. Can you regulate the owners?
MR. BEAUREGARD: No. Not as it currently stands we can't. But we want to get participation, so I don't anticipate seeing anything in the standard.
MR. SWANSON: So this will be an educational outreach type program to the owners.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Right. We're going to try to show them that it will be in their better interest to work with us in this matter. I was thinking maybe Harry could put in an amendment to the ergonomics rule in North Carolina.
MR. PAYNE: We are going to get to that too. But my thinking is that there is, this is the kind of area where we could make some progress legislatively, ergonomics not so, but this is one where there's no discussion over the scope of the problem. And the solutions are not always clear, but I think if we come up with the best core solutions and drive them forward and maybe require notice without regulation. I don't know.
MR. SWANSON: We do have some solutions, I mean the directive that the Federal Government and NATE worked out, and presumably the direction your standard is going, has some answer in there that if people operated that way, we could do so far more safely than we aren't doing now. The problem -- and we all recognize it -- is we don't know where ma and pa are going to be. And you can have the best directive in the world. If nobody is reading it or following it, it does you no good.
MR. PAYNE: In that way it is not unlike harvesting trees. They are in the woods. We can't find them. They are here today; they are gone tomorrow. And some kind of closer connection is critical in terms of progress.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Steve.
MR. CLOUTIER: They had done a good job in North Carolina with the other end of the communications market of all the buried underground conduits, fiber optics. And when you go by those job sites the guys are using the flow molds and putting in the manholes. They've got their personal protective equipment on. And they are using trench boxes and appropriate barricades. So if you tackle that end of the business and have at a fairly decent record there. But we've got to get these owners involve. And I can say that AT & T, Sprint, and Verizon then know where they are putting the towers in. They know exactly where the market demand -- when your cellphone goes. And you're Po'ed, and you call them up and say what's going on. The heat is on and they're ready to hit the market. It is a critical move to market.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you, Kevin. Tom.
MR. MARPLE: Thank you, Mr. Burkhammer. I feel kind of guilty following Kevin up here with all the information he has shared. I was asked to come today to give you all a briefing on where the OSHA is with our negotiations with the tower erections industry and with the status of CPL 2-1.29, which is the interim procedures for tower erection and activity.
As you all know, OSHA has been working with NIOSH, and with the tower erection industry for several years now trying to address many of the hazards that affect the tower erection industry. About 21 months ago, in January 1999, we came out with the CPL on the interim procedures for tower erection, and those procedures contained specific requirements that would allow employers to ride the line above the 200-foot level on communication towers, but they had to follow very specific procedures.
I won't go into detail on all of those procedures, but among them was a face mounted drum hoist would not be permitted to use capstan hoist. You would be using a wire rope line, fall protection for employees riding the line, no more than two employees on the line, and a number of other specific requirements.
NATE had wanted OSHA to agree to permit them to ride the line at any height. And as the time that we entered into this agreement we were not prepared to do that, so we advised NATE that we would be willing to issue this compliance directive, and after a period of time we would evaluate statistics on the impact of this directive and whether or not the employers following this directive were suffering injuries due to following these procedures.
NATE agreed to have their members complete a questionnaire that would provide this data to OSHA so we could make a determination on whether or not we should change the directive on whether or not we should allow employers to ride the line at lower levels.
We developed a questionnaire that was sent out last year to NATE members and it didn't get a very good response. Part of that was because, in NATE's opinion, the questions were not specific enough or direct enough to the information that OSHA was seeking.
We worked for several months to try to come up with a new questionnaire. And we just met with NATE and NIOSH in August of this year to discuss the questionnaire and we came to the conclusion, NATE, NIOSH and OSHA, that really the only way that they were going to get an effective response to the questionnaires was to do an individual survey. And NATE agreed that they would do a telephone survey of their members to determine which members were following the OSHA directive, whether or not there had been any incidents related to riding the line or other compliance procedures according to the directive, and that they would get at a firm count of those incidents for the Agency to be able to make a determination whether or not this directive is providing effective safety and health to the employees.
Another issue that was addressed was the genpoles on the towers. As you all know, there are no regulations that address genpoles. NATE had agreed to work with OSHA and with some industry groups to come up with specific standards for the construction, installation, maintenance, and use of the genpoles on towers. They believe that they are going to have a recommendation for ANSI ready for submitting to ANSI by February of 2001.
We discussed the potential of partnerships between OSHA, NIOSH, NATE, and in some cases communication tower owners. We have some regions that already have partnerships with NATE and with tower owners in the industry addressing the hazards that employees face when working on these towers.
We have a partnership that we are currently working on at the national level that should be ready within a few weeks for us to send out to our regional administrators for comment and to try to get back and get an effective partnership going with NATE. And essentially what NATE wants from a partnership, is it wants our agreement that if they're all following the guidelines that have been established between NATE and OSHA they simply want an agreement that we would treat that as a focused inspection when we come on their job site, and that we'll take the time that we saved by doing that focused inspection and go to those job sites, the towers where employees are not following the guidelines.
NATE has also informed us that they would like to have the Assistant Secretary send a letter to tower owners asking the owners to take an interest in the safety and health of the employers who are doing the work on the communication towers, and asking the owners to provide information such as the CPL 2-1.29, to the tower owners, and asking them to put in their contracts that the contractors must comply with these procedures when working on the towers.
I agree with Kevin when he talks about the problems with targeting. All of our offices have told us pretty much that there is difficulties even where they have local emphasis programs and targeting the towers for inspection. Virtually all of our inspections that are not related to an incident are conducted based on a compliance officer spotting a tower under construction and stopping to conduct an inspection at that time of the tower procedures.
Federal OSHA currently does not have a list of employers that are engaged in tower construction and the worksites that they are on and we have similar problems at the State level.
MR. BEAUREGARD: I was hoping you had a list.
MR. MARPLE: We could probably get a list of companies engaged in tower erection, but that still wouldn't tell us where they are and when. And there is a quick turnaround on a tower once they start the erection.
I would be happy to answer any of your questions regarding what the directorate of construction is doing right now with regard to the tower industry.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I guess it's interesting that NATE is sending out a survey to its members asking if they are in compliance. That's just like asking the fox after he raids the henhouse how many hens were left.
MR. MARPLE: It's not quite that simple. It's not simply are you in compliance? They start out with, have you had any injuries in the past year? And they ask for a description of the injuries, how the injuries occurred. And then they go back to relate to, are you riding the hoist line? If you are riding the hoist line, are you -- then they ask questions with regard to what the procedures require.
Part of the problem was originally they wanted to do that. Are you in compliance? And that really wouldn't get --
MR. BURKHAMMER: Mr. Buchet.
MR. BUCHET: In our data collections workgroup yesterday we were talking with the Dodge people about how much more information they can get for us. Have you asked them at all to see how quickly they can find tower erection sites or if they can find them?
MR. MARPLE: We have not.
MR. BUCHET: Theoretically, they keep telling us that every day they are sending 1000 reporters out there scouring around picking up building permits and all that sort of stuff, now finding out where it's supposed to be and actually finding when it's on the ground is a different thing, but at least if we had some idea of where to look.
MR. MARPLE: Well, I have been told that the FAA does have the list of sites where towers will go up because most of these have the potential to create a hazard to air traffic. There has been some difficulty in getting that list from FAA. And the other issue, of course is, here is a site where a tower is going to go up in a metropolitan area and they are going to start building. That is what really creates the major problem with targeting.
MR. HUDOCK: If I may, Mr. Chairman, one thing I thought of in this discussion that I am going to try before the meeting in a couple of months is to write to owners that we have access to in North Carolina and ask them would you either tell us or show up at the meeting where your planned sites are. We are hoping to avoid the necessity of going through a legislative action, and see what kind of response we get. Either way, I think it helps us because it gives us ammo to say, look, we tried.
MR. BURKHAMMER: And it may scare some of them into responding.
MR. HUDOCK: Yeah. And I think that might be a possibility.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Any other discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you, Tom. Thank you, Kevin. Thank you, Harry. We appreciate it.
MR. CLOUTIER: Mr. Chairman, before Mr. Noah Connell leaves, he bought up an item as he was sharing with his DOC legislative update, and I think this committee would be remiss if we failed to entertain a motion this afternoon. And I'd like to make a motion that ACCSH support the inserts of the direct final rule, incorporating the 1993 DOT manual, uniform manual on traffic control devices regarding their sign, signals, and barricades standards. And before I end the motion, I am also aware that DOT has a 1999 edition out, and why are we not adopting that? And, Noah, maybe you can address that before I end my motion, if you would, sir?
MR. CONNELL: DOT is working on amending the 1993 version. They are working on a proposal. The problem is that we face choices of do we wait for that rulemaking to move through its many stages to conclusion? And in the meantime we're sitting on our 1971 manual. Or do we go ahead and use the already in-place 1993 rule? And the Agency made the judgment that the 1993 manual is so much better than what we have and the incremental improvement between the 93 one and what they're proposing for 2000. It's not the entire ballgame but, you know, we would be so much better off that we felt, let's do it now. Let's get it in place and let's worry about improving it later.
MR. CLOUTIER: Thank you for that clarification. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I make a motion that the ACCSH support the issuance of a final rule incorporating the 1993 DOT UMTCD manual regarding signs, signals and barricades. This will help accelerate the revision, and it will certainly assist employers and workers who are working on our highways.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you, Mr. Cloutier. Do I hear a second?
MR. RHOTEN: Second.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Seconded by Mr. Rhoten. Discussion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Hearing none, all in favor of the motion as read signify about saying aye.
[Chorus of ayes.]
MR. BURKHAMMER: Opposed.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Approved. Thank you, Mr. Cloutier. If you would pass that motion over to either Noah or Bruce or Jim. We have nobody that has passed me a note for public comment today, so based on that, the meeting is adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9:00 in this room.
[Whereupon, at 3:34 p.m., the meeting was recessed to be reconvened on September 15, 2000, at 9:00 a.m.]
C E R T I F I C A T E
This is to certify that the foregoing hearing of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, as reported by the undersigned, held on Thursday, September 14, 2000, was transcribed as herein appears, and this is the original transcript thereof.
GERALD BROOKS, SR.
Notary Public for the State of Maryland
My Commission expires: August 15th, 2001Back to Top