U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Advisory Committee on Construction Saftey and Health
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Embassy Suites Hotel
5500 North River Road
The meeting was convened, pursuant to notice, at 9:00 a. m. , MR. ROBERT KRUL, Chairman, presiding.
MR. ROBERT KRUL
MR. FRANK L. MIGLIACCIO, JR.
MR. SCOTT SCHNEIDER
MR. WILLIAM C. RHOTEN
MR. DAN MURPHY
MR. GREG STRUDWICK
MR. DAVID M. BUSH
MR. MIKE SOTELO
MR. MICHAEL J. THIBODEAUX
MR. KEVIN BEAUREGARD
MR. KEITH GODDARD
MR. THOMAS A. BRODERICK
MS. JANE F. WILLIAMS
FEDERAL NIOSH REPRESENTATIVE
MS. CHERYL FAIRFIELD ESTILL
DESIGNATED FEDERAL OFFICIAL
MR. BRUCE SWANSON, DIRECTOR
Directorate of Construction
MR. STEWART BURKHAMMER, DIRECTOR
Office of Construction Services
Directorate of Construction
MR. STEVE CLOUTIER
Office of Construction Services
Directorate of Construction
MS. SARAH SHORTALL
Office of the Solicitor
MS. VENETTA CHATMON
ASSISTANT SECRETARY JOHN HENSHAW
MR. STEVE WITT
MS. AMANDA EDENS
MR. ROB MEDLOCK
MR. FELIPE DEVORA
MR. BOB BURT (Via Teleconference)
MS. PAULA WHITE
MR. MICHAEL BUCHET
MR. ZIGMAS SADAUSKAS
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
By Mr. Robert Krul
REMARKS BY ASSISTANT SECRETARY - OSHA
By John Henshaw
HISPANIC WORKFORCE IN CONSTRUCTION
By Felipe Devora
TOWER WORKGROUP REPORT
By Kevin Beauregard
DIRECTORATE OF STANDARDS AND GUIDANCE REPORT ON CHROMIUM
By Steve Witt and Amanda Edens
NEGOTIATED RULEMAKING SUBPART N CRANES AND DERRICKS
By Michael Buchet
P R O C E E D I N G S
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
By Mr. Robert Krul
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Good morning. Welcome to Chicago. To those of you who live here, thank you for having us here.
My name is Bob Krul with the Roofers International Union. I'm the Chairman. We're going to deviate a little bit from our agenda that we have in front of us, for those of you that had it handed out.
There's a sign-in sheet going around for the ACCSH members. If you would, please make sure that your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail is correct. We are also going to ask those of you who are stakeholders and attendees to please sign in.
A couple of things that we have to go over before we go through introductions. One, is the emergency information. There is a phone on the back wall there. 911 is the number to call, obviously, for fire, medical, or police.
The men's and ladies' restrooms are located in the foyer outside this door, this exit door. The exits are out in the hallway. Obviously, if there is an emergency, do not use the elevators.
Unfortunately, it's eight floors down from where we're at, so let's make sure that we don't have an emergency, or hope that we don't. But please take the stairway and do not use the elevators.
Cell phones and pagers, including me. Please put them on "silent" or on "vibrate". It's very disruptive to have telephones going off, especially when we have people making presentations. We would appreciate it if everybody would honor that request.
Let's do self-introductions. First, around the committee table, I know we have some new members. I'd ask you to just give your name and affiliation for right now, and when we get done with going entirely around the room, I'm going to come back and ask the new members of the committee to tell us a little bit about themselves.
So, once again, I'm Bob Krul with the Roofers International Union.
MR. SWANSON: Bruce Swanson. I'm with OSHA, the Directorate of Construction.
MS. ESTILL: Cherie Estill, with NIOSH.
MR. SOTELO: Mike Sotelo, W. G. Clark Construction Agency of America.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Kevin Beauregard, the North Carolina Department of Labor and OSHA State Plan representative.
MR. BRODERICK:: Tom Broderick, Construction Safety Council here in Chicago, public representative.
MR. BUSH: David Bush with Adena Corporation out of Ohio, employer representative.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Frank Migliaccio of the Ironworkers International, labor representative.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Scott Schneider with the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America, labor representative.
MR. THIBODEAUX: Mike Thibodeaux, Lennar Corporation, employer representative.
MR. STRUDWICK: Greg Strudwick, Greg Strudwick and Associates, a utility contractor, member of -- and employer representative.
MR. RHOTEN: Bill Rhoten, United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters.
MS. WILLIAMS: Jane Williams, A-Z Safety Resources, public representative.
MR. MURPHY: Dan Murphy, St. Paul Company, employer representative.
MS. SHORTALL: Sarah Shortall, Office of the Solicitor, counsel for ACCSH.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Felipe, if you will please introduce yourself.
(Whereupon, the members of the audience introduced themselves. )
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Thank you very much.
Now, if I could, Scott, starting with you, if you would take that microphone -- and I ask not only for the new people to introduce yourself once again, but anybody who speaks on the issue, at least for the first time, for the Court Reporter and the transcriber, please give your name and affiliation so, during the course of the meeting today and tomorrow they can make sure they have got everybody's name right.
Scott, please just tell us a little bit about yourself.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay. My name is Scott Schneider and I'm a certified industrial hygienist. I started out, I guess, about 23 years ago, coming to Washington and working for the Carpenters Union. I've worked for a number of unions since. I've been at the Laborers about five and a half years. I've been coming to these meetings probably for about 20 years now, but the first time as a member of the committee.
But I have been active in a lot of the workgroups, particularly the Musculosketal Workgroup, the Hearing Loss Workgroup, and a number of others. I feel very honored and privileged to be on this committee and I appreciate the opportunity.
We've worked on a lot of issues over the years. I remember 20 years ago when we worked on the asbestos standard, and a lot of other issues. So, hopefully I can bring something to the committee of value. I think there is a lot of work to be done. We clearly have a lot of members that are still getting injured, killed, or sick on the job, and we're doing what we can to try to figure out creative solutions to protect them and to improve the workplace. Thanks very much.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thanks, Scott. Welcome.
Mike, please give your name and affiliation.
MR. THIBODEAUX: Mike Thibodeaux. I'm the Director of Risk Management for Lennar Corporation. I'm in Houston. I've been with Lennar for almost 20 years. I'm responsible for their insurance programs, Worker's Compensation, as well as safety and health.
For about the last seven or eight years, I've been on the NAHB Construction Safety and Health Committee, working for better ways to make the job site safe. I'm honored to be here. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Mike. Welcome.
Bill, please grab the mic.
MR. RHOTEN: My name is Bill Rhoten. I'm an international representative for the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters assigned to the general office in Washington, DC since 1992 when I came to the office. I have acted also as a director of their safety and health department.
Prior to that, my background was that I was a business manager of a local union in Sacramento, California. I've had the opportunity to serve on this committee in the past and enjoyed it, and it's nice to be back. I'm looking forward to working with all of you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thanks, Bill. Welcome back.
MS. ESTILL: My name is Cherie Estill. I'm in the U. S. Public Health Service as a commander, and work for NIOSH. My current position is an industrial hygiene section chief. My background is in engineering. I work mainly looking at engineering controls to reduce either chemical hazards or for musculoskeletal disorders.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Cherie. Welcome.
I'm thinking ahead of myself here because I was going to look at the Assistant Secretary next and give him the thumbs up, because I was going to tell him I know he's got a plane to catch.
So, we're going to deviate a little bit from some of the opening remarks and let Assistant Secretary Henshaw give his comments and his remarks to the committee.
So, John, welcome. Good to have you here again.
REMARKS BY ASSISTANT SECRETARY - OSHA
By John Henshaw
By Assistant Secretary John Henshaw
MR. HENSHAW: Thank you very much, everybody on the committee. Thank you for being here. As always, the value this committee brings--and Scott, since you've been observing this for a number of years you also know--is tremendous to the Agency and to worker safety and health across the country.
So, we really appreciate you giving your time and effort to give us advice on what we need to do and how we need to proceed in respect to occupational safety and health.
I want to thank the new members for being here. I really appreciate you being able to come and taking this charge on. You will find that the exchange during the meeting, as well as after the meetings, during the break-outs, and other sessions, will be very valuable for you as professionals, as well as to understand how we can be more effective in providing guidance to the Agency.
I also wanted to thank Tom for the 14th Annual Construction Safety Conference and Exposition. Sixty-eight sessions, I guess, were conducted. That's still going on, right? It takes a while to get 68 done. And providing really valuable information to those who want to advance the ball around safety and health.
I wasn't here for the first one. I've been here for a couple of them since, but I really do appreciate you organizing this. It also gives an excellent venue for having this committee meeting in conjunction with the Chicago conference.
What I would like to do, is to give you a little bit of information as to where we are in the Agency, what we have been doing, and what we intend to do. I would also like to open it up for Q&As, Bob, if that's okay.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Sure.
MR. HENSHAW: I know that there are a number of issues that people would like to raise with us. Unfortunately, there are more issues than we have the answers for, but that's okay. I'm used to people raising the issues. So, we will allow plenty of time for that.
I think Steve Witt is not able to attend. Is that right?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: He will just be delayed, John.
MR. HENSHAW: He'll be delayed. Okay. All right.
So if there are any questions in regard to his conversation or if you have issues that you would like to raise because he is not here and has not presented -- I was intending to be here during his presentation in case you had any questions.
But since that timing has not worked out, if you have a question, I can answer it or I'll refer it to Steve, because I know he has the answer, but I'll do that in the Q&As.
Let me, first, talk about the budget. The President, as you know, put forward the fiscal year 2005 budget proposal. For OSHA, it was $461. 6 million, an increase of $4. 1 million over the appropriated budget for OSHA for 2004, which was $457. 5 million. So, it was a $4. 1 million increase over the appropriated 2004 budget.
This is a budget that we think will enable us to execute the array or the balance of our activity, and execute it in a way that can get the maximum impact in respect to a return on investment.
As you know, we are focused on getting a maximum return of taxpayer dollars in respect to achieving a triple bottom line result, which is reducing injuries and illnesses and fatalities.
We think the best way to do that is a proper balance between strong, fair, and effective enforcement, outreach, education, and compliance assistance, and cooperative and voluntary programs.
We believe just doing one of those alone is not effective. It will not produce the maximum benefit. Now, the question is, what is the right balance? That is what we are working on, to achieve the right balance of exercising all three of those strategies to produce the maximum return, basically, on your taxpayer dollars. That is what we are committed to do.
The fiscal year 2005 budget maintains our strong, fair, and effective enforcement. We have 1,123 COSHOs. That's remained the same over the years. These are compliance officers. We conduct, and we will conduct in 2004 and 2005, 37,700 inspections. This is the federal system, obviously.
The fiscal year 2005 budget also includes a $1. 7 million increase in program grants to fund the consultation services to get more assistance out to those who need the assistance in trying to do the right thing, trying to establish more effective safety and health programs and reducing their risk, reducing costs, reducing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
The budget request for fiscal year 2005 has $4. 4 million for compliance, assistance, and outreach which we will use to develop the new e-tools to increase contract support for our compliance assistance specialists and provide more support for cooperative and voluntary programs, including VPP and VPP Construction.
As you know, we are embarking on a new program on VPP Construction. I don't think I need to tell anybody in this room how important I think that is or how valuable I think VPP is, and partnerships and alliances as well, especially on the construction side. So, we're looking forward to rolling that out in 2004, and obviously in 2005 as it continues to grow.
The President is proposing to revise the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program to focus on the changing workforce and the use of new technologies and methodologies.
Regardless of what the press says, it is not Internet. It is new technologies and methodologies to get more people trained. We are moving from point-to-point, person-to-person training to developing methodologies and techniques that will reach many, many, many more people.
So, we will be looking at more people taking these technologies and methodologies and teaching more and more and more of their constituents, more and more of their people. So, it's not just Internet.
Now, it may be these technologies will be available to those trainers through the Internet or through some other electronic means, but the idea is that training will be able to cover many, many, many more people than the old point-to-point, person-to-person kind of training.
I think the taxpayers require of us to maximize the use of those dollars and reach out and touch as many people as we can with the Susan Harwood grants. That is what the new proposal is all about.
Now, with respect to enforcement, as I mentioned before, the budget maintains that strong, fair, and effective enforcement. That is the underpinning of what we do, and that is what we will do. We will continue to be strong and fair, and even stronger in the future.
For the other two strategies to work, which are non-regulatory, we have to maintain an effective regulatory and enforcement process. We will do that. In fact, we will be announcing soon the details of the Enhanced Enforcement Program which was announced not too long ago.
The details in there, the whole intent behind it is to create change in the workplace, not just rack up penalties, fines, or issue citations and how many inspections we do. Those are activity measures, in my mind. But the result that we are looking for is a changed workplace.
So, the Enhanced Enforcement Program is all about changing the workplace, not racking up penalties. But when we identify a place that needs to be changed, put in the right kind of strategy, the right kind of effort, the right kind of enhanced enforcement to achieve that change. That is our measure of success.
With respect to outreach, OSHA remains committed to our outreach, education, and compliance assistance. They are working with the Hispanic community to get our safety and health message out, so they understand what are acceptable risks in this country, what are the rules, what are the safety obligations of the employer and the employee, what are the roles and responsibilities of the employer, the employee, and federal agencies such as OSHA.
You will hear later today on how the Directorate of Construction is actively involved in focusing on Hispanics on the construction side.
The OTI, and we have a number of members here from the Training Institute here in Chicago, are in the final development phase of a disaster site worker training program that we will be rolling out here very soon.
That training program will be all about preparing people for a potential significant disaster such as the events that may occur as a result of terrorist attacks.
This will be our homeland security responsibility as we continue to train people to make sure that they understand how to protect themselves should we have another incident in this country.
The World Trade Center. We learned a lot from that event, and we were heavily involved. A number of you were involved in that, and a number of your people were involved in it. We have to learn from that and make sure we are prepared for any possible event in the future.
This training technique, training process is intended to get people prepared. It is the old second responder, although we do not use the words "second responder" any more.
It is really construction workers, it is really operating engineers, it is ironworkers, it is laborers, those folks that are involved in a disaster clean-up and recovery process. We want to make sure they are properly trained so that they can deal with these incidents in the future.
Probably sometime in early summer, the National Response Plan will be finalized and I am confident that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be tasked to deal with worker health and safety for the entire incident.
We will be part of the incident command structure and, along with NIOSH, we will be responsible for ensuring that workers, all workers involved in the incident, are properly protected during those events.
Unlike our responsibility at the World Trade Center, we went in there taking that role. Now with the National Response Plan being redrafted, it will be part of the Annex on Worker Safety and Health, we will have the task to do specific jobs and responsibilities during those kinds of events.
On the cooperative and voluntary programs, those participants continue to grow, especially on the construction side. Partnerships and alliances provide a vehicle where OSHA and the construction community can leverage their resources.
That is the key here, is to leverage our resources around worker safety and health as opposed to being adversaries or not in lock-step in regard to protecting people. The whole point is to leverage our resources and share our best practices that all result in a greater impact on health and safety at construction sites.
You will hear more about our new VPP for Construction and the Construction Challenge Program during today's meeting. Those are two new areas. One is a continuation of a demonstration project which is moving VPP from historically fixed sites into mobile sites or short-term sites. They expect to roll that out very soon as a final program.
And they will also be piloting a program around what we call Challenge, and that is to get people into the conversation around safety and health, realizing the value step-by-step, and as they realize it they continue to grow, continue to grow, and ultimately, my hope is that they will be VPP Star and Merit.
But it's not necessary. My point is, they need that delta between where they are today and where they will be tomorrow, is the critical step. That's where we see the reductions in injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
We want to get people into that process and continuously move up, up, up, up, and hopefully ultimately be model programs and be superior in respect to achieving safety and health results.
Now, let me talk a little bit about current trends. The hot topic is obviously -- not obviously. There are all kinds of hot topics. But one recently that appeared in some of the newspapers, I forgot the name of the publication --
MR. HENSHAW: Somewhere up north. On trenching and excavation. During 2003, we saw a dramatic increase, however, in the number of job-related fatalities involving trenching and excavation.
Some of you may remember, when the new standard came out, we had an initial outreach and effort in OSHA and there was a significant drop in fatalities associated with trenching. We have seen a decline after that, but last year we saw an increase in fatalities.
The greatest number of deaths are among the age bracket of 20 to 39 years old, and about three-quarters of those killed were laborers. Nearly 70 percent died in trench collapses. These are all associated with excavation, and most of them were in trench collapses.
It is completely unacceptable in our mind that we still lose people in unprotected trenches and excavation. Frankly, we know how to prevent those. We have an adequate standard to prevent those kinds of fatalities.
So, we will be looking at some initiative on how to rekindle our interest around trenching incidents and reverse that trend that we have seen over the last year or two and continue to reduce the number of fatalities from trenching situations.
Now, another area that you obviously know very much about, and I want to congratulate those who may be in the room who were a part of this, but the Cranes and Derricks Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee, the CDAC.
They're going through the fifth session, now, I guess it was last week in Washington, DC. They've been meeting on a regular basis. Like I said, this was the fifth one.
During this last session, the discussions were centered on structural testing criteria on cranes on barges, overhead and gantry cranes, boom tip attached personnel baskets, and pile driving.
We had a pile driving panel discussion at the last meeting in Washington. We have 23 members, as you probably know, on this committee who are working very hard to provide us with recommendations. We expect those recommendations to come this summer.
One thing I will personally commit to you, is we will take it to the next step. We will not wait several years before we take it to the next step. The 23 members have met seven times so far, and they'll be meeting I don't know how many more times before September, or before the summer, before they provide the recommendation.
That's a lot of energy, a lot of time, a lot of talent going forward to revising this standard. We have the obligation now to take it to the next step. The institutional memory is extremely important as we move forward and we need to take the next step, and we will.
Another issue that is dear to your heart, I am sure, and is probably a subject of some of your questions, are silica and what OSHA is doing in silica. The OSHA Silica Task Force is evaluating the draft proposal, Comprehensive Standard for Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica in general industry, construction, and maritime, all three sectors.
The thing is, silica is silica, and a human is a human. Obviously, the workplaces are different, but nonetheless we ought to be looking at all three and, to the extent we can, deal with all three at the same time.
OSHA is reviewing currently the SBREFA panel, which is an obligation that have to provide. That was not OSHA's proposal. It was possibilities of what OSHA could come forward with. What we want to do is get ideas from the small business communities as to what the impact would be on the array of proposals that the Agency could come forward with.
That's the purpose behind the SBREFA panel. It was not a proposal. It is part of our rulemaking. It is the very early stages of rulemaking. You will be hearing more back after we analyze the results from those panels as to where we are leaning in respect to a proposal.
Proposed rule. We expect a proposed rule will include requirements for employers to install engineering controls, which is typical to most standards.
Appropriate work practices. Provide respirators in situations such as wherever people are exposed to silica and provide, obviously, employee health screening. Those are the subject matter of any kind of proposal we send forward and, in particular, probably something we would go with silica.
Another area of concern is hearing conservation in construction. In August of 2002, OSHA issued the Advanced OSHA Proposed Rulemaking. Comments have been received and are being evaluated as we speak by the Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Steve Witt, who will be here. Contractors have been identified for site visits and we will begin those next month.
We obviously need your help. This is an issue that is difficult, certainly, in the construction industry. Just like lungs, silica exposure in lungs, regardless of where it happens, is a problem. Hearing loss, hearing acuity is a problem in humans whether the insult comes from general industry or construction.
We need to figure out how to deal with that. I do not know how to deal with it. We are going to need your help on helping us do that, because we do need to preserve people's hearing, regardless of whether they come from industry, general industry, manufacturing, or construction.
People are people, ears are ears. Grandfathers who can't hear their grandchildren, no matter where they came from, they worked in construction or in general industry, deserves or expects us to do something about it so that their hearing is preserved for the future.
Another one is hexavalent chromium. As you know, you'll be hearing more about that standard a little bit later. Steve Witt will talk to you a little bit more when he gets here about hexavalent chromium. But we expect to have a proposal out before the end of the year. As you know, we have some court pressure on meeting those timelines.
This, as well as all the items on our regulatory agenda. The reason why we pared it down is because this is an honest representation of what we are really doing. The 50-some items we had on there several years ago was not an honest representation of what we are doing.
So, these are the things we are working on in the next 12 months. We are going to hold ourselves accountable to meeting those timelines in the regulatory agenda.
Now, let me close here with just a few thoughts. The common belief is that the common facts of today are the products of yesterday's research. That is obviously true. We can continue to use the knowledge that we gain every day to apply for future events and use those, and they become facts for the future.
This committee can be very valuable in helping the Agency analyze whatever that research is, whatever that knowledge base is, whatever those best practices are.
How can we apply that tomorrow, or the next year in respect to either enforcement, the regulatory process, outreach, education, and compliance assistance, or cooperative and voluntary programs?
We need your help on all three of those strategies. I know your background. I expect you will give us that kind of advice as you proceed with your deliberations.
I want to also suggest that we find ways, and in particular around the trenching initiative that we are going to be talking about, for us to engage as many people in this process as we possibly can. I followed the various advisory committees in the past, and I am certainly experiencing some of the criticism to the Agency for whatever the issue is.
Well, it is easy to criticize an organization. We want to continue to learn and do things better, and better, and better, and better. But we also have to take the responsibility on ourselves and our organizations to do what we can to ensure the safety and health of our employees. It is not just one person's responsibility, it's just not one Agency's responsibility, it's just not an Agency's responsibility. It's every one of us's responsibility. We have the charge, because we are in this profession, to ensure the safety of all workers, especially on the construction side.
We also know that to do that it's going to take all of our work to make it happen. It's going to take a collaborative effort. We all have different responsibilities, including OSHA, and we will execute those responsibilities. But it is not just an OSHA issue, it is all of ours.
So I hope, as you deliberate and as you look at the issues and as you look at the three strategies that we're talking about, enforcement, compliance assistance, and voluntary programs, how do you deploy those in proper balance?
How do you engage as many people, to leverage as much resources as we have out there? How do you leverage that to get the maximum impact we possibly can?
Frankly, I think we have a long ways to go on leveraging those resources. We have a long way to go for every organization to be as efficient as we can to get the maximum return on our investments. We have a long way to go to working more collaboratively on reducing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
I do believe that zero injuries are possible. I do believe zero fatalities are possible. The measuring of that may not be what we normally think of. It may not be zero over a year.
But I can tell you from my experiences, we have experienced zero injuries in some of our workplaces over a year, over a month, over a few days. We have found that it can be done, and we cannot stop.
All of us cannot stop until we achieve that, until we achieve the ultimate goal of reducing, truly reducing to zero, fatalities, injuries and illnesses. It's a long ways to go. It may be a vision, but it takes one step at a time. I look forward to going with you as we take those steps. Thanks.
I'll open it up for questions.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Scott? Please, just for the first time, Scott, identify yourself again.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Scott Schneider with the Laborers Health and Safety Fund.
Thanks for your presentation, John. I appreciated it.
I did want to pick up on something you said. We've been thinking a lot about trenching issues and trenching fatalities. In terms of expanding our efforts and what we can do cooperatively, we've been talking with NIOSH, for example, and working with them on a campaign on preventing hearing loss with the National Institute on Deafness in their Wise Ears campaign.
I think for trenching, also, we also need to do sort of a public campaign to make it unacceptable for someone to go into a trench that is not properly shored.
So what I was suggesting, is we pick an area of the country where there have been a number of trenching fatalities and really do a public campaign, do billboards, posters, public media around it and tell people to just say no to an unsafe trench. If you see an unsafe trench, you should call the OSHA office, and give the number.
Really make it an issue that the whole public gets involved in. Because a lot of trenches can be seen from the street, you know, through the fence. People can see them and help us prevent someone from getting killed.
In some ways, it's an emergency situation, so there needs to be something to prevent people from going down there. Because it only takes a half a second for a trench to collapse. So, I hope we can have some discussions about doing a public campaign around trench fatalities and really make it an issue.
I had one or two other things I wanted to ask you about. One of them is, I know last year OSHA started an enhanced enforcement policy. I don't know how that is being applied, or if it is being applied in the construction industry.
This whole issue that was raised by the New York Times series on criminal referrals, the relevance to that. So, I don't know if you can comment on the enhanced enforcement policy as it applies to construction.
MR. HENSHAW: Well, there are a number of things we're doing. It doesn't exclude construction. The Enhanced Enforcement Program is not a policy, it's a program. It deals with whatever the enforcement issue is, whether it's in industry, general industry, or manufacturing, or construction. It doesn't matter. So, it includes everything that we are engaged in from the enforcement side.
The details of the Enforcement Program will be described a little bit later, because we haven't really finished all of that. But I think you have the criteria or the elements of the program--that's up on our Web site--of what the Enhanced Enforcement Program is all about, what it is intended to do, and who it is focusing on.
This committee has talked about it, as well as MACOSH, the recalcitrant employer. We tried to use the word "recalcitrant," but a lot of people didn't know what that meant so we had to abandon that. But the idea is to get to the employers' workplaces that haven't gotten the message.
I've had, ever since we announced the Enhanced Enforcement Program, and after the New York Times piece came out, I've had a number of people call me, including AGC. Steve from AGC called me and said, this is not right. We need to do something about it. A number of good companies have come forward and said, this is wrong and we need to do something about it.
So the whole point behind the Enhanced Enforcement Program is to focus our attention on those recalcitrant workplaces. There's not going to be that many in a given year. I wouldn't expect more than 100 or so in a given year. So, it's not going to be covering every place.
But it is going to be covering the places that have a systemic problem within their organization. They have a reasonably bad history with OSHA in respect to violating the standard. High gravity cases. These aren't going to be trivial cases, they are going to be high gravity cases.
And what we want to do, is get to them in the right way. We want to hold them accountable and get them to change their workplace. Now, it is not simple and it is not just raising the penalties. That is not the point. Obviously, you see cases where raising the penalty does not really change the workplace. That is not what we are trying to do.
What we are trying to do is get to the right people, at the right time, talk in the right way to get them to realize there's a change required. We want them to change for their own sake and the sake of their employees.
So, all the detail of how that's going to transpire, we're going to be using 11B more effectively, we're going to do the follow-up inspections more effectively, we're going to communicate to their superiors.
I can't tell you how many times I've seen businesses where we have a significant case, but the CEO does not know that and the corporate headquarters may not know, unless they saw the paper. But we're going to call the CEO. We're going to let them know.
We're going to let the corporation know that there is an organization here, or one of their facilities is not in synch or is not in line with where they should be in respect to compliance. So, we're going to do those sorts of things, trying to get to these recalcitrant workplaces and get them to change.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Has it been implemented in construction yet?
MR. HENSHAW: Well, I can't say specifically for construction. It has been implemented, but I'd have to look back and look at all the cases.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I just have one last thing I wanted to ask you. You didn't mention at all during your presentation ergonomics. I know it's a sore point. I know the National Advisory Committee --
MR. HENSHAW: I mentioned it yesterday.
MR. SCHNEIDER: -- were talking about it. Yes. Well, the National Advisory Committee has been talking about it. One of the things they've been talking about is targeting certain injuries that have high injury rates and developing guidelines. I didn't know if one of their goals was that construction was high on that list, because we do have about 50 percent more ergonomic injuries than other industries.
MR. HENSHAW: As you know, the targeting process we have for general industry is through our SST sites, specific targeting. It is easier to do the targeting in the general industry because we have the data and we know where they are. We go to those facilities.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I meant targeting for the development of guidelines.
MR. HENSHAW: Oh. Okay. NACE has given us 15 industries that they would like us to consider writing guidelines for. I think that was published in the VNA, I think, shortly after the meeting.
We're going to be looking at that and making a determination as to where we go. Two of the ones, we're going to finish this year. We're going to announce two more. Ship building is one we've already announced, and we'll have that draft out by the end of the year. Steve Witt can talk a little bit about that, if you would like.
The other two that we're going to announce this year, we haven't identified who they are yet, so I don't want to preempt that.
I can tell you, which I mentioned yesterday, the AMEC Construction Management, they are voluntarily going to write ergonomic guidelines for construction and implement that. We see that as a good start, and see how we can take that to the next step when we talk about sharing best practices.
They're going to take the lead on this and we welcome that partnership. We welcome them taking the lead, trying to figure out how they are addressed. Now, it may not be all the issues, but at least it will be some. It will be a beginning. I expect a lot of good things from AMEC Construction Management as they go forward with the ergonomics guideline for construction.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Greg Strudwick?
MR. STRUDWICK: My name is Greg Strudwick from the Dallas area. I appreciate your candid implications on how we're going to try and accomplish more of an initiative in trenches and ditches and protecting our employees.
I will be the first one to tell you that I will volunteer to be the poster boy as far as the utility contractors, to tell them what kind of crisis we have, because there is one out there.
Thirty-five years go, June, I started with a shovel in my hand. Thirty-two years ago, July, I was covered up in a trench. So, I know, first-hand experience, what that feels like. So, a lot of it has to do with our Hispanic problem and bilingual issues and that kind of thing as far as training is concerned.
It would be interesting to know, out of those fatalities, how many of those have bilingual surnames. I think there's probably a significant number. But we meet next week as a group in Orlando at our annual convention. We have a Safety Directors Forum.
I will respond to your comment to our safety directors and make sure that they understand what a significant problem it is. So, whatever I can do, however I can do that, I will pledge myself to that.
MR. HENSHAW: I appreciate that. That's what it's going to take, ideas on how to make that happen. We've got a number of them that we need to bounce off of you, and the entire committee, to see whether this is going to work or not, a little bit like what you were talking about as far as a public campaign. It's what I alluded to. It's not just an OSHA issue.
Every plumbing job, every trench, there's an inspector that is going to go through that trench and look at it. Now, that's not an OSHA inspector. But you can tell whether it's shored properly or not. It's easier to see that than it would be an electrical hazard. But you can see that.
We ought to be engaging more of these people at least to ask the right questions to the contractor and suggest to them that they may want to take another look at it, if that's the case, and as a last resort, to make a referral.
But we have more eyes and ears out there that we're taking advantage of and we ought to be using those, not as snitches, but as responsible people asking the right questions. That's what we want to try to do, is how can we roll that out? How can we get more people asking those questions? Not calling OSHA. That's a last resort.
What we want them to do, is just ask the right questions: do you have a competent person? Do you think that's shored up properly? Do you think that guy ought to be in there? If somebody asks those questions, for instance, like a plumbing inspector or some other official walking around doing an inspection, if they ask those questions, I would hope that contractor would think twice.
MR. STRUDWICK: Well, and it's the crew out there. We have a problem individually with behavior. Some of that we have control over and have a handle on with the first trenching initiative way back. Those people actually took it to heart, including myself, after it happened.
The only reason I was covered up was because I wouldn't allow any of my people would go in the ditch. It was too dangerous. So, I'll be the first one to admit that the decision to protect your employees, you take the chance yourself because you're faster than the employees.
But as the Hispanic workforce grows, typically those are the folks that like the construction field, and they are very good in the field, and they are very good with the machines.
They have that macho image that you can come out and tell us what to do, but we're going to pretty much do what we do when we leave how we like to do it. So, we're fighting that right now. I think it's not just OSHA.
We've tried all sorts of strategies, new products, what to do as far as trenches are concerned. It boils down to making a right decision on an individual basis on either entering a dangerous ditch or allowing somebody to enter a dangerous trench.
I have stood on a trench bank with an inspector foreman, and having people ignore a danger, an obvious danger, and me having to be the one to say, everybody out until this is corrected. So, you're right. It's going to take a different strategy.
MR. HENSHAW: We talk about the Hispanics. I didn't mention this, but we've got an Hispanic summit that we're planning for this summer. The idea is to get at some of these issues around Hispanic immigrants.
First of all, the degree of acceptable risk is different because of where they come from. Also, they're willing to please. They want to work, and want to work like they're used to working. So, there are some cultural things that we have to approach.
But the Hispanic summit, which I hope this committee will participate in, will be around, how do you get to those cultural issues? What are those best practices? What other kinds of partners do we need?
The Mexican consulate. The 49 Mexican consulates. We're writing an agreement with them, trying to get to their constituents. The Catholic church, especially for Mexican immigrants.
If the Federal Government says one thing, and when they're coming from Mexico that has a different ring than in the U. S. when you talk about the Federal Government. They need to be comfortable. It's okay. They are writing rules that really do protect them.
We also issued public service announcements. We need to do more of that. We had 650 different radio stations, and I think we got about 15 million people who listened to that public service announcement.
One of them is going to the family members. A lot of people, the immigrants, their families' livelihoods depend on them sending money back, or in this country, being around. Because they don't speak any English and they don't have any income, but yet their husband or spouse has income, getting to them to say, make sure he comes, or she comes, home to the family.
So, we're trying those but it's going to take a lot of work and a multitude of solutions to try to get at this. But, thanks.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mike Sotelo. Please identify yourself for the Reporter.
MR. SOTELO: Sure. Mike Sotelo.
I was, 25 years ago, with a shovel in my hand. I am a Mexican that used to be in the ditch. And you're right on track as far as the cultural aspect of it. We particularly don't care about citations or things that we get guided by. What we look for is employment.
If we don't go in the trench, in many cases we wouldn't have a job. There's more and more employers out there that are looking to protect workers in a trench. However, getting to the church, and getting to our cultural aspect of who we are will make a huge difference. I think they're on track. I understand they're going to make a huge difference for your Agency, and I really applaud your work.
MR. HENSHAW: There already is, but we expect a lot more.
MR. SOTELO: Thank you. I appreciate it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes. Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: Jane Williams.
Mr. Secretary, on the issue of hexavalent chromium, I know Mr. Witt will be here later, but you mentioned you might take a question or two on that. The public representatives are having a great deal of difficulty that we've been talking about for some time, by looking at it from an employer perspective, the economics. The letter that I received said that there were no economic impacts on construction, but the data is not available for -- we had an opportunity to review that.
Having said that, on the other aspects of it, it was pointed out, looking at it from an employee's viewpoint of what expectations they were having and some of the language that I have been reading through here, I was concerned, when you look at welding, cutting, torch burning -- and all the things you would encounter, that someone has assumed that it would not have an economic burden for construction. So, I am very anxious to see that.
MR. HENSHAW: Yes. The other thing you mentioned is concrete.
MS. WILLIAMS: Yes. Absolutely. That was a question. I was delighted to see that they're referring back to 1926. 51 and mandating hand washing that you do not have in construction -- so I guess overall what I would be asking is if you would consider, with the timeframe, if our deliberations should show that we do not have the analytical information to be able to reasonably respond, could there be a session of ACCSH where we would just discuss this issue to be able to support the schedule we know you're under, but know that we've done a good job --
MR. HENSHAW: Let's make sure we bring that to Steve, because he's putting together the stuff for the SBREFA panel. So, we'll need to pick the right time for this. We have an obligation to follow a certain schedule and engage folks in a certain timeframe and not give any special group special attention.
So, we've got to be very careful in how we do that. So what Steve can do is talk about what our timetable is, and what is the right time. I apologize for the blank tape or the blank CD. But ask Steve about that.
Certainly, we want the maximum amount of input we possibly can before going forward. As we go forward, we need to understand what that impact is and address it to the extent we can.
So, it's a given that we've got to get a maximum amount of attention on this, a maximum amount of input on what that outcome may look like and what its impact is going to be, and the impact both on the health side, on the prevention of injuries and illnesses--of illnesses, in this case--as well as the cost implications to construction and general industry.
So, ask that to Steve. He can give you an update of where we are on that and when to expect to get good information that you can look at and comment on.
MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MR. SCHNEIDER: He can respond to --
MR. HENSHAW: He can respond to that. I'm not sure what his answer will be.
MR. HENSHAW: We haven't made any decisions on what exemptions or not. I mean, that's premature to do that. Part of the SBREFA process is to find out what all the implications are of taking whatever step it is we are contemplating taking.
So, we want to leave it out there as a possible step to find out what the impact would be, and then once we get that in, then we'll make a decision as to how to deal with it. So, that decision hasn't been made. We know, at least to some extent, there is exposure.
We know there are some cost implications associated with that. There are some health benefits associated with it, obviously. So, we just need to wrap all that together and make a decision later on. Our goal is to get all this review process done and come up with a proposal before the end of the year.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom Broderick?
MR. BRODERICK: Not trying to belabor the point, but when we were given this material, it certainly does jump out, the exemption for Portland cement. I think a fair question is, why was it included to begin with?
MR. HENSHAW: Well, one of the things that -- and this is probably, to some extent, my doing in the sense that, let's look at the universe when we talk about a compound, whether it's silica, whether it's hexavalent chromium, or whatever it might be.
Let's look at the universe. To the extent we can, the rulemaking process is tough and it takes a lot of time, takes a lot of effort. It's not fast, it's slow. And what we want to do, is try to get the maximum benefit we can on any kind of effort we go forward with.
Now, you go forward with that thinking you can handle that much, but as you figure out there is an issue here or a problem here, you may have to pare it down and then deal with it later at some later date. But right now, we've kept our options open. We want to protect as many people as we possibly can.
But, as we do that and we find out there are complications or it's going to delay the timeframe -- like in hexavalent chromium. You know, the court has mandated a certain timeframe. That hurts us in the sense that, to get that done, we may have to pare it down. That's just the reality of the circumstances. Hopefully not, but that's one of the things we have to decide.
But since we have a court mandate of getting a proposal out, we've got to look at the universe and then see where we go from there. At this point, we don't know what this final product is going to look like.
One of the options is, obviously, we've got Portland cement and the exposure issue, and should it be included or should it not be included, what's the value of going either way from a time standpoint, or a benefit standpoint, or a cost standpoint. It's all got to be factored in.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any other questions for the Assistant Secretary?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Just one comment, Mr. Secretary, regarding the trenching, that hopefully this committee -- I don't want to repeat what everybody said, but I think on what Greg, Scott, and Mike came up with, Dan Murphy had passed around just this gut-wrenching story regarding someone who was buried alive in a trenching accident.
I guess what strikes me is, when you read the OSHA Report and you read the Construction Labor Report, people are being cited and they're being heavily fined. Those that are repeat offenders are given jail terms.
There's a trenching standard, yet we still have this problem. It certainly looks like fines and jail sentences are not the deterrent that the trenching standard and the enforcement of it were intended to prevent.
I've been at this thing for 25 years. I think I picked up the Washington Post at least once a year and see somewhere in Maryland, Virginia or in the District of Columbia where numerous people are buried alive in trenches.
So I think the approach may be, and if this committee could help--and people will be arguing about how many workgroups we have--if there is something that this committee can do in the form of workgroups, perhaps even working with Felipe and his new endeavors to take this multi-faceted approach to look at it from a different standpoint, if we can knock those numbers down.
Clearly, what's in place right now given a contractor's right and privilege to go before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and have a fine reduced, everybody knows what the players can do to obviate enforcement and to knock down fines, and just go right back and do what they were doing before and take their chances that an OSHA inspector won't come on the job.
So, maybe we need another approach with something that is killing as many people as it is. This committee will certainly stand ready to help you on that.
MR. HENSHAW: I think where the ideas are -- and we've got to be careful. We have to think outside the box, outside our normal thinking here. Doing more of the same may cause us to go a little bit berserk. So, we have to do things a little smarter and maybe engage more people.
So, instead of just emphasizing the inspection side, which we want to continue to do, maybe there's other things to be done. Like you say, we still cite people and we still have significant fines, but that's not getting it done.
It's not just trenching. Fall protection. We've still got the same five number-one hazards in construction that are the same. And we've got good standards to do that. So, I mean, aside from putting an inspector in every workplace 24/7, you know, we've got to find something different.
So, we're going to have to think on the public side, on partnering with other plumbing inspectors, or commissioners, county commissioners, the mayors, or city municipal people, the media.
Homeowners. I mean, how many times have you walked outside your house and somebody is putting in a sewer system for you, and you look at it. Most people are not going to be educated enough, but you can tell whether that person can be covered up or not, and just ask them questions.
So, we need to think about how to get this out, and everybody take ownership to protect whoever they see in peril or at possible risk. I do this to some extent, too. I think most of you probably do. If you see something that's not right, you'll make a comment and say, wait a minute, is that right? I did that not too long ago.
They didn't know who I was, but I saw somebody not tied off putting up Christmas tree lights. I just asked the question. And fortunately, they didn't know who I was.
But the point is, the guy said, yes, well, it's not my job, it's the contractor's. This was a hotel. If a person falls, how's it going to look on your hotel? Not only is this person dead. That got the manager to decide, I'm going to go out there and check it out.
They went out and checked it out. As simple a thing as that. But we all need to take this as a personal thing. We ought to take ownership of it. When we see something at risk that is obvious, we ought to see what we can do.
On the trenching side, we need to engage more people to look at those risks. If they see something, question it. Hopefully that will stimulate some sort of response, positive response. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you very much, as always, for coming here, listening to us, taking our questions. Your presentations are always welcome. Thank you, again. Have a safe trip home.
MR. HENSHAW: And I really appreciate all your good work. So, we look forward to continuing the conversations. We're here to help and we're here to listen. On the trenching thing, Bruce and company will be engaging everybody.
MR. SWANSON: Yes. If I can add here, John, while you're still in the room, you didn't accept the offer of the subcommittee. I will. With all the heat you're putting on me, I'd be happy to have this committee help. So, thank you, Bob.
MR. HENSHAW: He responds perfectly.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: He just lays in the weeds until the right time.
Thanks again, John. Thank you very much.
By Felipe Devora
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. We're going to get somewhat back on the agenda here and finish up some of these opening remarks. We'll take a break in about a half an hour. I'll leave this other issue until Bruce comes back and sits down.
Tomorrow's meeting. Many of us -- and I think we can clean a lot of this agenda up. The goal is to be done by 10:30 tomorrow, including public comments, if that's okay with everybody. I think the way the schedule was set up, the original time for the meeting adjournment was 12:00.
But I know a lot of us that came in from out of town have much earlier flights than that, and given all the security you've got to go through, I think if we can wrap everything up by 10:30 tomorrow.
So in that respect, I want to say to the people here in the stakeholder and guest section, that if you would like to a make public comment you are welcome to do so. Please let me know by either giving me a business card or a slip of paper with your name and affiliation on it so that we can recognize you tomorrow at the appropriate time.
Agenda items for presentation at the ACCSH Committee, I'm told, have come up as a topic of discussion. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. Looking at those guidelines, it's kind of a loosey-goosey thing.
And this is for the ACCSH Committee members. It's not really a strict, you can do this, you can't do that. You can go through Bruce or Steve Cloutier at the Directorate, or Stew Burkhammer, and hopefully involve me.
We will be happy to try and accommodate any agenda item that is appropriate. Maybe that is where some difficulty comes. I mean, what the agenda items are going to be, and if they have relevance to this committee and to what our mission is, we'll be happy to accept that.
Any committee member is free, during the course of the meeting, to raise any issue that he or she would like. I don't want anything to be restricted. But if there is a problem with anybody thinking that they cannot get an idea item on, I mean, we're open to criticism, to suggestions, or just recognizing that the Directorate and the Department of Labor has the final say, if they think it's an appropriate agenda item for the ACCSH Committee.
The time of the meeting. I'm going to turn that over to Bruce Swanson. Apparently there was some confusion and he wants to issue an apology.
MR. SWANSON: Yes. In a word, you're absolutely right. My apologies. The meeting was announced in the Federal Register some time ago as starting at 9:00 this morning. We told Tom Broderick's organization that it was 8:30 and he put that information out to the world. The hotel here, Embassy Suites, in trying to help us all out, announced that it would be at 8:00 this morning.
MR. SWANSON: So if anyone is confused, I understand. We will try and be more consistent in the future. With hindsight, everyone being in town anyhow--most people being in town anyhow for Broderick's show and otherwise--probably 8:00 would have been the better time over 9:00. But, anyhow, we're up and going. My apologies for any confusion.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Let me ask. The minutes of the meeting, of the previous meeting. Am I missing something, or is that what was on the Web site as the transcript of the meeting? Are there official minutes in here for us? Have I missed them?
MR. SWANSON: I believe they're in the back. Steve, are you in the room?
MR. CLOUTIER: They're not in there, Bruce.
MR. SWANSON: Okay.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I'm looking at my list of things to do here. Approving minutes was one of them. What I was asking, Steve, is is there something different from the transcript that's available on the Web site?
HAL: That's 200 pages.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And I'm the only one?
HAL: Actually, it's more like 400 pages.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. Let's hold that off. Let's talk about that a little bit later. Okay.
We've got a little time before we break. Let me do one other thing that I heard a little bit of rabble rousing going on, if that is the right word to use. That is the draft hexavalent chromium standard that was given to folks, or not given to folks.
That's part of the issue. Some people didn't receive the draft. The disks that were sent out, most, if not all of them, were blank, the CDs that were received by people. In fairness to OSHA, as I understand it, there is a very, very tight timeframe on the standard.
Now, just given the questions that were posed to the Assistant Secretary, specifically regarding Portland cement and some of the issues that have been raised by contractors, I do not know if this committee is ready to move for a recommendation for something to go in October. I'm not trying to push the issue one way or another, but I'd like to hear from some of the folks around the table what their feelings are.
MS. WILLIAMS: Well, Mr. Chairman, being one that has read it, I have so many questions that I feel I am lacking information. Trying to put on both hats that I wear, I'm very concerned that if we do not get our input in, I think the SBREFA representatives would make life even more miserable at a later point in time. So, that was one of my questions.
Could we look at ACCSH possibly having -- and I don't know the term, emergency meeting, separate meeting, but something where we could really look at this issue with all the information that we would have had more time to review and be able to give them information that possibly would help them through their process and keep them more on track rather than having various stakeholders coming up at some point in time and beating them up on it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: How many committee members received a copy of this prior to this meeting?
(A showing of hands)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So it's like half and half. That's not fair, either. We're trying to look at it, because of the compression of time. Certainly voting on something that you haven't looked at is not something that you want to do.
There are obviously questions regarding the exclusion of Portland cement from me, as well as others. I don't know the why. We'll wait until Steve gets here to do that.
MR. RHOTEN: Yes. I just wanted to say, Bob, this is an important standard for our industry. We've got probably 20,000 welders around the country, and 49 percent of them now -- I think I reported a couple of years ago, at the time, 15 percent of the welders were qualified on stainless steel. That number, I checked the other day with our welding department.
Forty-nine percent of our welders were tested on stainless steel, 12 percent on chrome. The chrome pipe is becoming more commonly used than it used to be -- power houses, and for that matter pipelines -- now using chrome pipe. The rod in that pipe contains 2. 5 percent chromium.
So, our exposure level for our members is going to be there in the future. I would like to make sure that we have the time to make sure we get our input so we know our members are basically protected as well as they can.
Now, I understand construction is a lot different than conditions in general industry. I think they're going to have a standard that is adapted -- that would include construction.
Now, they've got the separate standard, but the first time I saw it was a few days ago, and to be candid, I haven't had time to go through it. But I would like to have that opportunity to see if this committee supports this thing in total.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes. I agree. But I think we need to, first, sit down with Steve and see if he can answer some of the questions we had. It was a little bit misleading in the sense that when they say, as Jane said in their letter, there is no impact on construction.
That does not include any welcome exposures and painting exposures in construction, because those were tallied separately. There are significant impacts in welding and painting operations.
According to them, in their data that they have, there is no impact in the rest of construction. Well, that doesn't include the Portland cement issue. Also, the data that they drew that conclusion from was very, very limited.
So, I think we can discuss it with Steve, and then perhaps have a discussion among ourselves as to how we want to proceed. Maybe he'll give us satisfactory answers, but we need to get more information from them or have them get more information and get back to us on some of these issues.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes. Procedurally, that makes sense. I just knew that there was a disconnect between the materials that went out to some but not to others, the disks were blank.
Anyone else on the issue?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. We'll wait until Steve makes his presentation.
Let me, for the people in the audience who are holding an agenda, there was a canceled flight out of Washington Reagan this morning for whatever reason, so we're going to switch the agenda around.
I think what we can do now is take a 15-minute break. Be back here at 25 after the hour. We'll have Felipe Devora give his presentation on Hispanic Workforce in Construction. Let's take a 15.
(Whereupon, at 10:11 a. m. the meeting was recessed. )
[10:30 a. m. ]
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Could we come back to order and go back on the record, please? Okay.
Felipe Devora is a former member of this committee. I worked with him for two years when he served his two-year term here. He is here to talk to us about the Hispanic workforce in the construction industry.
Felipe, welcome. Welcome back. I'm sure they're glad to have you over at the Directorate. We'll be interested to hear your presentation. It's all yours.
HISPANIC WORKFORCE IN CONSTRUCTION
by Felipe Devora
MR. DEVORA: Okay. Muchos gracias. Buenas dias. Como --
VOICES: Bien. Es tu?
MR. DEVORA: Bien. Maso mano -- mos amigos -- mucho gusto. Well, I'm not going to do it all in Spanish for you.
MR. DEVORA: We can start off that way because I know the translator in the back--I mean, the guy taking the notes--is getting real nervous there.
VOICE: En français.
VOICE: We're in real trouble now.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: That will stop everybody.
(Showing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: Well, again, as Bob pointed out, I am a former member of this committee. Many people in this room, as well as on this committee, I've had the privilege to serve with in one capacity or another, whether in ACCSH or even when I wasn't with ACCSH.
I will tell you that I do come from private industry. I was a trainer. I was in construction for the last 30 years with a general contractor in Houston, Texas.
I worked on many, many committees, probably, for the last 10 years as far as Hispanic outreach and Hispanic training, helping to develop a lot of the programs in the Houston area, and trying to figure out what we were going to do with this growing demographic of Hispanic workers in the construction industry.
I will tell you that this is a new phenomenon in parts of the country, I'm beginning to figure out. But in Texas, I don't think -- it grew on us. I don't think it really snuck up on us, it was really sort of a part of the Texas culture, and the Texas workforce as well.
But I'm seeing that in other countries, and especially now, being based out of Washington in the Office of Construction Services, I see the need more and more in different parts of the country, not only for resources, but for advice and for counsel on what it is that we're trying to do.
One of the things that I learned real quickly in working for Mr. Swanson, is that you've got to think a lot on your feet sometimes and be flexible in the way you do these presentations.
Now, I've got a few slides here, but having the gist of what you folks are interested in, some of the conversation that you've already had, I think we'll use the slides sort of as reference.
Rather than just a presentation where you sit there and I drone away, I think I will present this more in a conversation, because I'm very interested in the advice and the counsel that I can get from this committee in terms of where you think we should go with these programs.
Also, I will tell you what I have seen at OSHA, the good work that they had already started, and some of the things that we hope to do in the future and where we are going with that.
I will start this conversation by saying that I do work for the Directorate of Construction in the Office of Construction Services. I know Mr. Henshaw alluded to thinking outside the box. Well, this is an office now where we have three folks with cumulative on-the-ground field experience of 100-plus years between Steve Cloutier, Stew Burkhammer, and myself. I've been told that that's thinking out of the box, actually having some folks in there that have been out in the field.
My background is training. But we are supported by some great folks from Compliance, as well as IH, as well as folks from the federal system. So, they are a great asset to us to figure out how we can best leverage our efforts and what we're trying to do to improve safety and health for all construction workers.
However, I will tell you that I was given an opportunity to concentrate on the Hispanic workforce in this country, and where I was at, I was concentrating very locally and regionally as well in Texas.
But I thought it was a unique opportunity to leverage my experience, my observations, and hopefully my research in this area on a national basis, again, relying on a lot of the organizations and a lot of the groups that I have worked with in the past, and hoping to be a rallying point for some of the efforts that we are going to do in this area.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: Everything in OSHA, I have come to find out, and I am quickly finding out, is measured with, obviously, statistics. My lesson in statistics has been that we have to frame these statistics correctly, put them in the right perspective, put them in the right universe.
I think it was Bruce that mentioned, maybe we need to look at the low-hanging fruit. Let's look at the big targets. Let's see if we can make some dents in these populations, first. Then we will start refining our efforts and start concentrating a little bit more, and what a bigger target than the Hispanic fatalities, especially in our industry in the construction workforce.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: But framing these statistics, I want to refer to a couple of BLS slides here. Of course, the large picture is the total fatality work injury counts that some of you may or may not be aware of that we glean from the top, kind of putting the universe out there, and then what that means in the smaller universe of the fatalities amongst Hispanics in comparison to the overall look.
Now, this is not just in construction. This is overall. I think it is interesting. One of the things that I gleaned already, and I think it's going to be very interesting in this discussion, is going to be how we look at the Hispanic worker, how we identify the Hispanic worker, if you will, as sort of the first leg of this effort.
The second slide, the lower one, is the one that really caught my attention as far as total fatality work injuries involving Hispanics in 2002. I think we need to identify this population in two ways, with the foreign-born Hispanic worker and the native-born Hispanic worker.
Now I think if you look at that, the native-born worker at the top, the dark blue, you can see has been relatively steady across the board. And as you can see, as Mr. Henshaw alluded to in his speech yesterday, and maybe a little bit this morning, we have made strides. We have made some progress in that area, having reduced the number of Hispanic fatalities overall in the workplace.
But what does that really mean? If you look at the bottom graph, you can see that, amongst the foreign-born or immigrant-born Hispanic worker, what happens there, we continue to go up. Given that this year, 2002, it was not that big of an increase, but we are still going up. We have not seen that immigrant-born Hispanic worker fatality number be reduced yet.
Taking theses overall workplace injuries and putting it in the terms that we are specifically talking about here today, we want to see what part of the foreign-born workers make up construction. All foreign-born workers amongst occupational fatalities. You can see a large part of that pie is in construction.
That just really shines the light on the importance of some of the strategies that we are going to ask you folks to help us with, and some of the strategies that the Agency is going to embark on.
But again, if you take that pie and narrow it down to just the Hispanic or Latino workers, you can see that the fatalities are occurring largely in the construction industry.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: We can back up to these later if you all want to talk about any of those numbers as well. Then I went back, really, for the size of the slide, to '96.
But you can see, this is just construction. Now we are in our universe. Now we're in the construction universe. We look at overall fatalities and then we take out the number of Hispanic fatalities.
We see here that, in 2002, that is 21 percent of reported fatalities amongst Hispanic workers. And I say "reported" because obviously there are folks in this country that are here that are supposed to be here, and there are some that are just here. We do employ them in the construction industry.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: And of the numbers that OSHA can capture and OSHA can report--and I'll talk a little bit about how we're doing that in a minute--we can see that 21 percent of those construction fatalities are amongst Hispanic workers.
But, again, what does that really mean in the overall picture of things? The important question here is, what percent of Hispanic workers make up the construction workforce? What percentage is that so we can compare that 21 percent and see what that really means.
Well, our statistics have shown, given the census statistics that you can see at the bottom in the population survey statistics, that Hispanic workers make up 18 percent of the workforce in construction.
As you saw in the previous slide, our conclusion here is -- and if there's a take-home slide or number if you're going to talk about this with your groups I would say this is the way we need to frame this discussion.
They make up 18 percent of the workforce, but they're responsible for 21 percent of the fatalities in that industry. So our conclusion, obviously, is that there is a disproportionate share of workplace fatalities in construction.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: I've been challenged on this scenario because of regional things. But on a national effort, because of populations like Texas, Florida and California that sort of skew the numbers sometimes, obviously there are more fatalities in those areas.
But, as a national average, this is very much a true statement and we have not been able to frame this discussion in any other way. I think it's a good way to frame the discussion, as well, as we go on.
So what we've talked about, is identifying the worker, the foreign-born and the native-born Hispanic worker. There is a difference. Secondly, is gathering the data.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: This will be our challenge with not only OSHA, but with industry, is we know--and I know better than most--that we're not going to effect any change unless we get those programs out to the stakeholders and they, in turn, get that information out to the guys that you're telling to get out of the trench.
No longer is it going to be enough to tell them just to get out of the trench, but we have got to give them some information about what to do next time. I think you all touched on that this morning.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: Okay. The second part of that. If we identify our information, I know there was a question posed this morning that talked about, how many of those excavation fatalities were Hispanic.
Well, the system that we had in place was a manual system. Whenever there was a fatality reported to OSHA, the information was entered in a way that the only way we could capture whether it was an Hispanic worker or not was that we went by the surname, as you mentioned, I think, this morning. That was really the only information we gleaned.
Now, if you were to have Felipe Devora show up on a fatality report a few years ago, you would list me as an Hispanic worker and you wouldn't know that I was a fourth generation Texan who lost my Spanish for a little while, but found it again, conveniently, according to Bruce.
MR. DEVORA: Anyway, that's another story. But anyway, our mission really is -- and this is the first thing that I looked for when I got to OSHA. Well, what information do we have and what data have we gathered? This takes me back to my data collection workgroup days on the Advisory Committee.
And a lot of the questions that we posed six, eight years ago about what we could and couldn't do when we collected data, I think we crossed a lot of those barriers with some of the things that OSHA is doing.
So, no longer are we just going to look and see if it is Felipe Devora, Hispanic fatality. We have got a system in place that was really because of Congress' questioning and asking about these statistics, and then the Agency and other groups.
DOL found out that the information we were capturing really wasn't that good. We put a program in place. I say "we" People at OSHA. I wasn't there yet. Dr. Rick Rinehart, out of our office, and Joe Dubois out of the Statistics office came up with this program and they called it IMMLANG, Immigrant Language.
What our efforts here are to do, is to identify different components on this IMMLANG questionnaire for our research and to categorize hazards and to identify primary language.
So the data collection mechanism that we now have at OSHA will be referred to IMMLANG, if you hear that. I'll tell you a little bit why it's called that.
Immigrant Language. On the fatality form, is going to glean this. It's going to ask you, whenever here is a fatality, was he an immigrant; was he an Hispanic worker and/or spoke a language other than English at the work site; did he experience potential language -- we hope to glean a lot more information than we were gleaning before.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: It will ask background information, like Hispanic ethnicity, the country of origin, primary language. There were some questions this morning, and I get it at every one of these places when we do a presentation about the dialect issue, where we're going with that, what OSHA is doing with the dialect issue. Potential language barriers.
The questionnaire will also talk about the day laborer status. To me, one of the most important parts that I've seen is what it says about this worker's training. We've got to capture that information and try to figure out what that means, for a variety of reasons.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: The revision in 2003. This was put in in 2002, but again, it was still a manual way that the compliance officer had to fill in some really rudimentary information.
But now this is on the OSHA intranet, that a compliance officer or someone doing a fatality report will be able to use this. It will have drop-down menus and check-boxes where they can capture this information and it won't be such a manual thing that we'll have to do. It will be easier to summarize the data and we'll be able to have a database for this information.
So, I would say a lot of the ideas and a lot of the work that the Data Collection Workgroup kind of tossed around for many years when I was on ACCSH really has shown some significant life through the IMMLANG questionnaire that's going to be attached to the fatality investigations.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: And this is what it looks like, not that anyone here would be doing one of those. But this is for your information. The reason we call it IMMLANG is that first question, "Did the victim speak a language other than English at the work site?" If the answer is no, you're done. You don't have to do any of the other things.
If the answer is yes, it's going to ask you a whole bunch of questions. We're going to be able to glean some good information besides just the surname of whether that person was Hispanic or not, was he native-born or was he foreign-born.
MS. WILLIAMS: Fel, is this in addition to the 170 or has this been made part of it?
MR. DEVORA: It's a stand-alone. It's a stand-alone questionnaire. As it was explained to me, it's not part of the 170. It's a stand-alone form, yes, the IMMLANG questionnaire.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: Some of the initiatives that I want to talk about that OSHA is doing. The most exciting one for me is this IMMLANG fatality questionnaire. We had a Hispanic Task Force meeting last week in New Mexico. Mainly, the task force is made up of regional administrator for OSHA. All the regions were represented.
One of the things that they have done that was in place which was relatively new--it wasn't in place when I got there last September--is that all the regions now have an assigned Hispanic coordinator to that region. I think this is important because it gives us a point of contact.
And let me correct myself. I keep saying Hispanic outreach, but I think the more politically correct thing is English as a Second Language Initiative or Task Force. However, as you well know, the largest part of that is Hispanic. But we do understand that there are other populations out there in construction that were represented as well with a lot of our efforts.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: Another thing that OSHA has done -- and this is more in terms of an update, and then we'll kind of talk a little bit more about some of these things that I hope we can do together. This just got established, the clearinghouse for Hispanic resource materials for the region.
We have an intranet, in-house mechanism now where we can kind of collate all the information and products that the regions had put together, whether it was through associations or whether it was in-house at OSHA. We can go there and we can see what is there. There is a lot of interesting stuff there.
The reason we have to keep it in-house, is because it doesn't have any kind of an official review or anything. It's just a clearinghouse of information where we can direct folks and say, hey, go to so and so, they have that information, if we're asked that.
It seems like this was a shotgun approach, I think, at OSHA originally. There's a lot of product out there. I think now we started with the big universe about, let's all jump on the bandwagon and do something about it.
But now, all of a sudden, we have all these sources and resources all over the place and we need a mechanism by which we can kind of focus these efforts and not so much reinvent the wheel every time, but kind of focus on what we have and where we can go from there, and what we can glean from the data that OSHA is going to begin to gather.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: We've had this for a while, the Spanish hot-line, the OSHA Spanish-speaking capabilities on the national hot-line. I've called this myself from my office and they referred me to myself.
MR. DEVORA: I really did. You might want to talk to this guy in Construction that just came to work for us.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Do we have any statistics on how much people are using this national Web site or this national hot-line?
MR. DEVORA: I'm sure we could. I don't have that information. I haven't asked that question. I will say, back to the IMMLANG, we have, since December, I think they reported last week that we had, like, 139 hits. We don't have enough from COSHOs. A lot of those were tests. It's just getting out there. The memo went out from Davis Lane for everyone to start using this.
So, we're kind of going to give a little bit more time before we start gleaning some standardized reports. That was one of the things that came out. I hope to make this a regular part of this meeting and report our findings from this information and from the data that we've started to gather and see how you can help us with identifying hazards and identifying populations, identifying parts of the country where we could be more effective in our efforts.
As Mr. Henshaw talked about, the public service announcements in Spanish. I think those are great. There's a great one, I'll tell you right now, that I don't think Mr. Henshaw has seen yet that Region II did in New Jersey. I was at their Hispanic Task Force meeting in Hasburg Heights, New Jersey. And they told me I spoke funny!
MR. DEVORA: Anyway, but I am from Texas. But they have a great PSA. It was done in conjunction with the wrestling, WWE, and it was one of the Hispanic wrestlers, Ray Mysterio, and he did a great one-minute -- it didn't cost them anything. They did it in their studios.
They did a great one-minute talk about falls and how he was trained, and obviously a lot of the workers coming from Mexico and other countries to work in this country had rights and responsibilities, and they had a right to be trained in fall protection. It was very effective and it was very, very well done. We hope to hopefully get that out. If anyone's interested, I can tell you how to get a copy of that.
And then I guess the most important one that I've seen and I want to talk a little bit about, and you have, I think, in your handouts there one of the little OSHA folders that is sort of a compilation of things that I kind of went around our Publications Office to see what we had in Spanish. I was surprised to find that we're rather limited, but we're getting there.
But the important thing here is, we have right and responsibility information for employers in Spanish, and we also have these hand-out cards that are maybe a little technical for some of the workers, but they're on silica and they're on heat and cold stress issues. There's also one on UV rays.
These, I found in my training days out in the field, were the most effective. Like I said, we've got to find a way that, instead of writing these folks a ticket and telling them to go about their merry way, they're telling them to get out of the trench because there's a possibility they could die. Training is going to be the key, and we need to hand them something, give them a resource, put some information in their hand.
And all the training I ever did, it was amazing. It's exponential once you get that group and they tell the next group, and they tell the next group. It works, it really does. We need to find a way to leverage that. I think OSHA has a great mechanism with the Susan Harwood grants that are geared toward a lot of the Hispanic information that is out there.
There's some in your folder. I handed out a book from the NAHB on scaffolds. That's fantastic. That's not a Susan Harwood grant product, but that's an example of what homebuilders have done. They do have some Susan Harwood grant products out there that are available and I would encourage you to get with the homebuilders and get some of that information.
It's the four big hazards in construction. Very well-done, very well-written. Again, that's a product that the Susan Harwood grant material that is just starting to hit the ground.
Another one that I'm very excited about, and I'm sure Scott is as well, is the coalition with the Labor Safety and Health. I'm sorry, Scott. I can't remember the name.
MR. SCHNEIDER: -- Pavement Contractors and Operating Engineers.
MR. DEVORA: Right. But they just came out with a roadway safety program. Scott can tell you more about how that program works. But the interesting thing about it is that it is completely in Spanish and it's in modules that you can train Spanish workers. And, then again, I talked a little bit about it, about hiring bilingual OSHA employees for outreach.
Oh. One more Susan Harwood grant that I would be remiss if I did not mention is the great work that Tom's group did with power line training. I know they came to Texas and did some when I was there and facilitated a good group.
But the great thing about it is, all the information, it was a train-the-trainer and it was in Spanish, and it facilitated our training fantastically in that area. I would encourage you, this is one of those areas that they never talk about in their culture, where they come from, or something that they really have to worry about. Here, it is a very big deal. I will tell you, that was a great product from Susan Harwood that you all did on power lines.
And then the -- I keep saying "outside of the box thinking," but maybe they were thinking about it for a long time. But they started hiring bilingual compliance folks and outreach specialists to do some of the enforcement.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: And then the last one that I have there, I can't speak too much about. I think Mr. Henshaw talked on it briefly this morning. Perhaps Paula will be able to give us more information this afternoon on it. But it's the DOL/NIOSH Hispanic Summit that is supposed to take place this summer.
We don't know all the particulars on that, but I would really look to this group for advice and counsel on some of the programs where construction would fit into this program. I think it should fit into this program prominently with some of the issues that are going around the table.
MR. BRODERICK: Do we know dates at all?
MR. DEVORA: This summer.
MR. BRODERICK: Okay.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: And then ACCSH support. To me, I'll tell you, this is a group that is real near and dear to my heart. I know the commitment and the time that it takes away from your work and the activities that you do daily, but I think it's very, very important.
To be honest with you, this is the committee that really got me thinking in a lot bigger terms than I was thinking when I was working there in Houston, Texas. The ideas and the possibilities of working with stakeholders from all over industry, I said, man, this is great. This is where I need to be if I really want to make an impact on this. But I really, really am looking forward to working with you folks on this.
I will tell you also, advice on effective training programs for English-as-a-second-language workers. I say "training programs" very carefully, because I think there is going to come a time when we are going to have to look at what "training programs" means.
I think when the OSHA Act was put together and they said you will train, I don't think, in their wildest dreams, that they ever thought they should have added, "we will train in a language that the worker will understand." Some of the standards do say that, but in construction, generally, they are just training standards that you will train the workers.
We know, and the good players know, that makes sense. It makes sense that you train the workers in a language that they understand. And I will take that a step further, that we train the workers at a level that they understand and that we verify that training.
No longer is it going to be acceptable to put these folks in front of a video, even if it is a Spanish video, for 30 minutes and consider them trained. I don't think we're going to make a difference in these numbers.
Some of the issues are excavation and falls, as the Hispanic community continues to rise and we don't pay some attention to these issues and focus on the type of training and the level of training that we're trying to provide for these workers.
Then, just as another possibility, advise the Agency on possible outreach opportunities. My phone is waiting to ring with these types of opportunities. I would ask you, as stakeholders, to send some of those folks my way. If we can do something with them, we certainly will.
We can identify private sector, faith-based. I think you have seen a lot of partnerships and products from the alliances that we've had that have been very successful and turned out some terrific information.
So I would say, sort of in a short summary, then we'll open it up for some discussion on this area, the key parts of what I want to ask you folks to do is to frame the discussion in the disproportionate number of fatalities amongst Hispanic workers, who make up 18 percent of the workforce but are responsible for 21 percent of fatalities.
Secondly, to delineate between that Hispanic workforce. Let's make an effort to look at the foreign-born immigrant worker that is coming into our industry and that is, quite frankly, filling those difficult, hard, labor-intensive jobs that are never going to go away in our industry in construction. And by the way, I was on the end of a shovel, too, as well, about 30 years ago.
So, I think that's important that we gather the information correctly. I think OSHA is on the right road for that. I think we've framed the discussion. We've identified the worker. Now it's just time to get down to brass tacks and let's get some of these programs implemented.
Let's work together as stakeholders and let's do some good in these areas, and let's turn this thing around and concentrate on getting those immigrant workers, when they come to this country, to understand that everyone has a right to a safe work site, regardless of your immigration status.
(Changing of slides)
MR. DEVORA: This will be my Spanish lesson for today, since we started in Spanish. I want you all to learn this. Listos means ready. Okay? So if anyone every tells you listos, say, yeah, I'm ready.
MR. DEVORA: And help is ayudar. But, more importantly, ready to help you, listos para ayudarle, is what we like to say. I think there's a brochure in OSHA. I thought it was quite clever of them to put it there because this was the first thing an OSHA compliance officer told me about 10 years ago when he came out, or 20 years ago, whatever it was, when he came to inspect.
He said, I'm here and I'm ready to help you. So, we hope we've given that some new meaning with the efforts that we're doing here. Our Office of Construction Services, were listos para ayudarle. I would appreciate any counsel and advice that I can get to help me make a dent in this effort.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So that's not the Spanish version of, I'm from the government and here to help you?
MR. DEVORA: No. That's referred to as --
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Felipe. That really focused the problem. As you know, we had a Diversified Workforce Workgroup here that was dealing with this issue and the statistics, as stark as those are--I mean, we always knew they existed--you put that into greater focus.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes. I just wanted to mention one contact. I don't know if you've been in touch with her, but NIOSH has a woman on staff at their headquarters named Clara Oliya. If you haven't talked with her, you should.
Clara is doing a really interesting project that we're trying to help her with, which is basically to develop radio novellas for the Hispanic workforce on safety and health issues in the workplace, where you have little sort of plays played out talking about safety and health conditions, what can we do about them.
She's used these very effectively in other areas. Like in Peru, she did a project on use of local community health clinics to try to increase their use. She's very good. I think they're doing some really exciting, out-of-the-box work.
MR. DEVORA: And what Scott is talking about, I did a little bit of research on. They're called tele-novellas. It's a cultural thing. In the Hispanic culture, usually the woman stays at home and takes care of the kids, and they watch soap operas quite a bit.
And that may not be unique to the Hispanic culture, but that is a program that they have in Mexican TV, that they play out real-life scenarios. It's called tele-novellas. They're trying to produce one that will talk to the family about their rights and responsibilities.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Jean?
MS. WILLIAMS: Fel, in the Mexico presentations, they would participate, the cultural issues -- as it does in our country. When you talk training and the new things that we're looking at, do you envision at any time that you would be able to come up with a cultural type training for our American superintendents, or English-speaking superintendents, I should say, to help them understand where this bridge is?
MR. DEVORA: Are you saying from an Anglo side, to learn some Spanish?
MS. WILLIAMS: Yes. But the cultural issues.
MR. DEVORA: Cultural issues.
MS. WILLIAMS: Yes.
MR. DEVORA: I will say this. There were three things that we identified when we were doing training. This was based on our Houston program. I always tell folks about this. They're always looking for strategies.
I didn't want to get too far into the way I used to train, but there are three types of leaders that we looked for, especially in the immigrant worker, and that is the social leader, the technical leader, and the language leader.
If you can identify those three leaders in a workgroup or a work crew, I think you can go a long way to leveraging how effective your training is. I think the folks from Texas will tell you that usually the most respected uncle that's been there for the longest, that he doesn't have to say much but just nod his head and it gets done. He may not have all the technical knowledge or have all the language expertise in the world, but he is the social leader.
And then again, there's groups that depend on the language leader of that group that is taking the step and can speak good English, and they look to him in that way. And he's not necessarily the social leader.
So, I always frame it, when we talk about culture, that cultural outlook on what you're trying to achieve in those parameters, try to identify those three leaders in that workgroup.
That's one of the things that I hope to--I haven't gotten any clearance to do this yet--at some point try to work on a cultural model that we could help this training along.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Kevin Beauregard.
MR. BEAUREGARD: I have a couple of things. First, I want to applaud the efforts that you all have undertaken for the clearinghouse, the limited access page. I think you hit the nail right on the head.
Coming from a state plan program, I think a lot of times a lot of different people are working on the same thing, and I think it's helpful if somebody has already invented the wheel, to use that wheel and invent a different wheel. So, we have found it very beneficial, as have the other people that have access to it.
I would encourage OSHA, whenever they can, to make that a public access site, because I think there's a lot of valuable information that could be used from the private sector on that. I understand, because it's not an official site, the difficulties there. But I do think that there's a lot of information that could be used by construction companies and other companies that access that.
I have a couple of questions. One is on the IMMLANG data. I know that prior to shifting over to the Internet form, that information was collected on the NCR, the other form, and it had been collected for about a year, I think, prior to switching over. Do you have any preliminary reports or data on that initial collection?
MR. DEVORA: Joe Dubois from Statistics had volunteered to repopulate it with the previous information. But, again, as I pointed out, that's a manual repopulation of a database. As I understand it, that's a very difficult, time-consuming thing to do.
I know we did glean some information when we went back to the excavation numbers. I don't remember exactly how many. But the only thing that we could find on excavation was that surname and it really didn't tell us much, other than his name is Rodriguez and he died in some sort of trench-related or excavation-related work. But, yes, there is an effort to repopulate with the information we have in here before.
MR. BEAUREGARD: And the final question I have is, North Carolina is one of the states where, Texas may have had a large Hispanic task force for a number of years, but we have certainly seen a large influx in the last five or six years, both in construction and agriculture.
What we have found in construction, is we're having a difficult time reaching the subcontractors of the subcontractors, and that's where a lot of our Hispanic workers seem to be.
MR. DEVORA: Right.
MR. BEAUREGARD: And I was wondering if you have come across a good way of reaching those subcontractor to subcontractors.
MR. DEVORA: No. In a word, no. But I will tell you that if you go in the other direction, you'll find another type of contractor at the top of that pyramid. Layers of contractors is something that I used to deal with in private industry.
I will tell you, it is a difficult, difficult thing, especially when you go out to a job site because there's been a fatality or an injury and you find out that it was a sub of a sub of a sub, or something like that. We find that a lot in this industry.
Quite frankly, on an economic or competitive basis, I think that's where you see a lot of this in the competitive bid market. You know, get the job done and let's not ask any questions about how your price got so low. But there's still a responsibility there and that's really the frustrating part of what we see in terms of safety.
MR. BEAUREGARD: That's where we're seeing many of the injuries and fatalities of Hispanic workers. That's why I'm asking. Certainly we go to the general contractors and the associations, but we're still having a difficult time reaching the subs of the subs, which is where we really need to be.
MR. DEVORA: Well, there's no doubt that they have a responsibility. I think that as they become employers and become more sophisticated in the groups and their business units, whether it's the owner of the company doing the work, I think it is incumbent on businesses to help mentor those companies and say, you know, you want to be the contractor and the subcontractor now, well, you're going to have to understand your responsibilities in that role, and one of those is protecting your workers. That is what I need advice on. I'm still struggling with that as well.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Maybe we can help each other.
MR. DEVORA: I hope so. I do have the statistics that Stew just handed me. What we were able to glean on those excavation statistics, going back to the IMMLANG information, was that data showed that 13 out of 47, 28 percent of the trench-related fatalities there in 2003, were experienced by Hispanic workers. Twelve out of 13 Hispanic workers that were killed in trenches were -- what that doesn't tell you is native-born or foreign-born.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mike Sotelo?
MR. SOTELO: If I called my mother right now, she'd be watching those soap operas. She enjoys them every day. What John mentioned and what you touched upon is crucial. There is no doubt of our love, the Hispanic, or our love of God and our family.
Focusing on our churches and things related relative to the family would probably be much more impactful than a Web site. Frankly, I just got my first computer about a year ago, so we're a little bit behind the eight ball on that.
But if you would focus on that cultural aspect of the Hispanic community, I think that you would be extremely successful. I do thank you for your work so far and look forward to working further with you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I just want to pick up on what Mike just said because our organizing efforts out in the southwest were in large measure successful because of the interfaith groups. The immigrants coming up are distrustful, even of people from the union who say we're here to help you.
But, just what Mike is saying, they believe in their God, they believe in their church, they believe in their family. These groups, more often than not, have bilingual people who assure them of good intentions on the part of somebody coming from the government, a labor representative, whoever it is.
I think that's a natural tendency--I'm obviously not Hispanic--for folks who come here that don't speak the language to become extremely distrustful of the government.
From what I understand, especially in Mexico, from the poorer regions, that people are totally distrustful of anybody that's associated with the government, and the unions included.
MR. DEVORA: Absolutely. Let me speak to that very quickly. We did meet with the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives at DOL and, quite frankly, they're looking for some pilot programs to start.
Now, the issue with construction safety and health is not so much that these faith-based groups don't want to do it. I mean, I think they're very receptive once the concept is explained to them. But they do not have the technical expertise to do an OSHA 10-hour, or to do an OSHA 30-hour, or to do anything that is specific to construction.
So I think there is one more player here. It can't just be OSHA and the faith-based groups. It's going to have to be OSHA and those people distributing and implementing these programs on the local level.
So, that is where we would look to groups, associations, and unions to help us facilitate that. We'll shine all the national light that we can on any of these success stories and pilot programs, but we still need that training component to provide that training.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: I just wanted to mention something else based on what Mike said. We worked a couple of years ago with NIOSH in Texas on developing a publication for Hispanic workers on silicosis. The publication should be published shortly. It does focus a lot on, what is the potential impact on your family, you know, if you get silicosis, can you support them, et cetera.
It is a very good publication. NIOSH also published it in English and Spanish, but they also put it out on a tape so people can listen to it in the car while they're driving, in Spanish. So, it should be out shortly so you can look for it.
MR. DEVORA: It's very good. Actually, we used the pilot, I think, in some of our training in Houston. It's a very gripping story. It's something that, in all my training classes, even just the awareness, the basic awareness classes that were one evening, or whatever it was, to introduce them, they were shocked. They didn't know what silicosis was. These were folks that have been working in the industry for 10, 15 years and didn't know that was a possibility of that happening.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Jane, did you have something?
MS. WILLIAMS: Is the IMMLANG form being used by state plans?
MS. SHORTALL: They have been asked to help us with that.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Jane, there are some state plans that are using it. There are some state plans that are doing their own type of collection. So, it's kind of a mixture of data.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Frank Migliaccio?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: I come from a local in Washington, DC where 33 percent of our manpower is Hispanic. We went to having Hispanic instructors teach the Hispanic class, English-speaking, English class. We find that there are so many different dialects in Spanish, that not everybody understands it.
So the locals came to the international and asked the international to go into the training area of different Hispanic groups.
We found that when we sent out a draft, I guess, proposal of certain safety training or just technical training, we sent it to Florida. Well, Florida has several, but they also have Portuguese. They don't understand any of it.
So our local has finally come out--and we pay for this ourselves. This doesn't cost Hispanic families or anybody else--with mandatory English classes for all Hispanics coming into the local. But we didn't only go to the members, we went to their families.
The kids go to school and they learn it as their second, you know, language. But if it's not spoken at home, the kids would lose a lot of it. But the mother -- and like you said, they're the ones who are going to watch the TV. We're having the mothers come in for the English-speaking classes at the local union held two nights a week. The beginner classes are for the ones like you're saying. They come in, they don't understand hardly any English.
The big problem there is, if you have the Hispanic classes going on, strictly Hispanic classes going on, that's great and they understand their rights and so forth. But if they get out on the job and you've got English and Hispanic, or French, or -- let me see.
What else do we have? Asian, Korean, Polish, German. If you're going to one group, you're going to go to all. If you have one group out there working, it's great.
But if you have any one of the categories, three or four of those groups out there and I see something happening and I'm trying to alert you and I'm speaking German, and you don't understand German, we're in trouble.
MR. DEVORA: I understand that. I tried to touch on that a little bit, that we're interested in all English-as-a-second-language workers. But, having said that, I want to borrow a statistics from Pete Rubicava from Zurich that co-presented with me--I don't know if he's still here or not--here in the session on the Construction Safety Council.
But in terms of the low-hanging fruit and the big targets that we want to go after to change these numbers, he gleaned a statistic that 62 percent of those Hispanic workers that we've identified in construction are from Mexico.
So when you look at the language issue, you know, people always ask me about the dialect when it comes to English as a second language. Certainly, this is a group that we need to get to as quickly as possible.
The most effective across-the-board language that most of these Hispanic workers are going to understand is the language from Mexico. That does cross over to Central America. But I do understand the problem with Portuguese and some of the other languages and some of the other pockets of population in the construction industry.
However, again, going back to the statistical information and looking at the big picture and looking at this low-hanging fruit, that is the Hispanic worker that is 18 percent of the workforce, 21 percent of the fatalities. I don't know what they are for the Portuguese workforce or for the Polish, but they are very important.
We need to look at that, and that is why we need to look at this English-as-a-second-language question in a broader sense as well. That is fantastic when the union is willing to help industry to get into culture.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom Broderick?
MR. BRODERICK: What triggers the use of the IMMLANG questionnaire? Is it used in all inspections now?
MR. DEVORA: It's used when there's a fatality. A fatality triggers it.
MR. BRODERICK: But it is required, just like the 170.
MR. DEVORA: Correct. It's IMMLANG, yes. That's what triggers the questionnaire. If it's IMMLANG, no, as I pointed out, they don't have to go any further. But if it's IMMLANG, yes, it will trigger the questionnaire.
And one of the things that came from the task force, when we start working on Dr. Rinehart and Joe Dubois, we're going to put a task force together to work on standardized reporting to see what some of these issues are, and hopefully report them on a regular basis.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, go ahead, Cherie.
MS. ESTILL: My question is, is the IMMLANG just for construction? I had the impression that it is, since Dr. Rinehart did it.
MR. DEVORA: Good question
MS. ESTILL: It seems to me that all fatalities, this would be a good question to ask. There are many Hispanic workers and other foreign-born workers in, of course, agriculture, but also now much more in general industry. It would be good data to be able to say, well, where are these workers and how can we pinpoint those in outreach.
MR. DEVORA: It's been pointed out to me that it's across the board, all fatalities, not just construction. But my universe is construction, so I'm sorry about if I leaned in that direction.
MS. ESTILL: And can I have a copy of your slides?
MR. DEVORA: No.
MR. DEVORA: Sure you can. Cherie is one of the folks that I've worked in the past with as well. Sure.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Well, Felipe, thank you very, very much for an outstanding presentation. As you probably have already guessed by now, anything and everything that this committee can do for you, just let us know through the Directorate and we'll be sure to help you.
MR. DEVORA: Thank you so much.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mr. Strudwick, are you ready to go, sir?
MR. STRUDWICK: Ready.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thanks.
ON COMMON GROUND - STUDY OF ONE-CALL SYSTEMS
AND DAMAGE PREVENTION BEST PRACTICES
By Greg Strudwick
MR. STRUDWICK: Everyone should have a handout that looks like this. For the sake of the record, I'm going to read my presentation from the handout. So if someone is not here or if somebody steps out, you're not going to miss a whole lot.
At our last meeting of the ACCSH Committee, I was charged by our chairman, Robert Krul, and encouraged by Mr. Swanson to address this committee about a concern relating to existing utilities and damage, specifically gas lines, distribution and/or high-pressure transmission lines.
The National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, contacted the OSHA Construction Directorate to inquire about specific language in the construction standards that would direct or require a contractor to call 911 or the local fire department when, or if, they damaged the gas line that resulted in a significant amount of gas escaping from the pipe.
Mr. Swanson and Noah Connell related to me their concerns and I offered to research the question and respond to you, the committee, with the general industry best practices that relate to damaging gas lines and how emergencies are supposed to be handled by the entity that caused the damage. Not always is it a contractor that causes the damage. Okay.
Subpart P of the 1926 Construction Standards refer to existing utilities and protecting existing utilities in CFR 1926. 651, which is the excavation standard, B, B2, B3, and B4. I've included that in the back of your handout so that you can review it. I don't think we need to read it.
But the two things that you have in the back of your handout relate to what Subpart P refers to as far as protecting and supporting existing utilities when they're encountered and the proper notification, and different things of that nature. Okay. So, you can take a look at that at your leisure.
The requirements for notifications of protection are clear in Subpart P. It leaves very little doubt about what to do when you're getting ready to excavate as far as existing utilities are concerned. There are a number of state laws that actually address that, too.
However, the protocol for what procedures to follow in the event of damage is unclear. Each of you is provided a "Common Ground Study of the One-Call Systems and Damage Prevention Best Practices" dated August, 1999. It's a book that looks just like this. Everybody should have one of these.
I had Steve send one of these to each -- well, actually, he didn't send them to each of you, he sent them here. But I had them sent to his office so that each one could have a copy and go back and review this.
The study was sponsored by the United States Department of Treasury and coordinated through the Office of Pipeline Safety authorized by the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century, TEA21.
The book you possess is a culmination of a year of intensive effort by a multitude of people. That group included all stakeholders who were affected by damage to existing underground utilities, however it was damaged.
The book describes objectives of the study and how to apply the results of the study. There is no mandate or required implementation of any or all of the best practices. The document is meant to be used as a guideline for stakeholders who are interested in how to prevent damages when planning for future installation.
Specific language regarding the damage of a facility is located on page 98, if everybody will turn to page 98, number 24 and 25 of the manual listed under "Best Practices for Excavating Around Existing Utilities. "
The procedure for minimal damage and best practice 24 is an excavator discovering or causing damage to underground facilities notifies the facility owner/operator and the one-call center.
All breaks, leaks, nicks, dents, gouges, grooves, or other damages to facility lines, conduits, coatings, or -- will be reported. Okay. That was agreed on by consensus of all the stakeholders in the program, in the study itself. It was only printed as an agreed-upon consensus. All right.
Then in Number 25, "Best Practice in the Remedy for Fluid or Liquid Escape," it says, "If the protected covering of an electrical line is penetrated or gases or liquids are escaping from a broken line which endangers life, health or property, the excavator immediately contacts local emergency personnel or calls 911 to report the damaged location. "
So, there again is another best practice that is printed, and it's by consensus of the entire group that it got printed. Numbers 24 and 25. Twenty-four addresses damage, 25 addresses damage that would amount to a large, significant release of any kind of fluid or gas.
Typical response as a general industry includes a 911 call, if necessary, and in all instances the owner and locator are notified whenever a utility actually strikes or damages an underground utility.
Mr. Connell, in his briefing last May, posed several questions that this presentation and your recommendations should address. First and foremost, what is the extent of the problem? Two, is it big enough for Congress to mandate a study by the Office of Pipeline Safety, and hence the creation of the Common Ground Alliance. It had to be no less than probably 150 people involved in it from all stakeholders.
How many of the accidental strikes and damages to pipelines do we have? There is a good question. Okay. Enough to justify creation of the CGA, Common Ground Alliance.
I stood on a job site the other morning with a representative from Encore, and in 15 minute he had eight calls on eight different strikes. In 15 minutes! So, it is hard to know how many happen on a daily basis, or even on an annual basis.
How often is there a delay in notifying emergency services, and what is the industry standard for getting emergency services and the pipeline owners notified right away?
Well, typically notification of severe damage is prompt. Cell phones and radios are more common on construction sites than ever before. Typically, there are enough cell towers now, due to the tower folks, that you don't lose your signal in those cases so you can respond quickly. In many cases, following a normal one-call notification, typically 48 hours. And I know that is different in different states.
A site meeting is held prior to excavation. A schedule of excavation is agreed to. An owner's representative is present during all excavation operations. Emergency procedures are established and reviewed prior to even starting the excavation. Initial excavation is by hand until the elevation of the existing line is verified by exposure. In other words, pot-holing, basically.
Only then will the contractor excavate with heavy equipment to facilitate installation of any product line near or under the existing gas line. Now, the reason that I was with the Encore representative on a site, is because they were digging under a high-pressure gas main that was a transmission line, and the transmission line was at 400 psi and had no odor. Okay.
So if the gas main were to be damaged, or a small one -- typically it's not small when you have that much pressure, but you wouldn't be able to smell it. But from a general industry standpoint, the more dangerous the product or fluid in the line or the host line is, the more likely you're going to have an owner's representative there whenever they are excavating around that.
The Common Ground document, which is the entire document, addresses all aspects of dealing with existing underground utilities. My suggestion to you, the committee, is to review the procedures from the initial one-call notification all the way through mapping and planning, because it's all broken down into various groups.
In other words, they have mapping and planning, they have locators, they had excavators. They had every one in different subgroups to the overall group and then, as the subgroups completed their directive, they would submit their consensus to the general group, and from that general group they would go up to the board.
Jim Barron, the president of CGA now, is one of my good friends that has been involved since it was initiated and he's a utility contractor that I will see next week. So, I hope this is what you wanted me to do, from the standpoint of giving you an idea of how many people are actually working on the situation that is near and dear to all of us, and that is existing underground utilities and damage and fatalities that relate to those.
Like I say, there are no less than a couple hundred people working on this at any one time. The path forward is continuous and there will be meetings, in fact, in Orlando next week of the Research and Development Committee and of the Excavation Committee.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: One of those eight phone calls that you're talking about might have been Baltimore-Washington Airport last Monday, because there's all kinds of airport expansion going on. Somebody struck a gas line. They turned planes away. You can imagine what they cost in time, money, inconvenience to passengers. But they shut the whole airport down based on that strike.
MR. STRUDWICK: And it was gas, a gas line.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes.
MR. STRUDWICK: Typically, that's the case. That's the only prudent thing to do, to shut everything down.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Right. Yes.
MR. STRUDWICK: It's not the cigarette or the machine that causes the ignition, it's the friction and the release of the gas, and the static electricity that goes out and creates the ignition. So once you get the right amount of air, fuel and ignition, boom, you've got an exposure.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: There it goes.
MR. STRUDWICK: The St. Cloud, Minnesota explosion, which kind of initiated all of this and the phone calls from the NTSB, the National Transportation Safety Board to Noah, was what are you doing about this as far as OSHA is concerned? I mean, we've pretty much laid out everything that they need to do to protect the utility and the responsibility of what goes on as far as digging around with a utility.
But what are we going to tell them about what to do after the fact? You cut a gas main and you can't shut the gas down. What do they do? Well, believe it or not, utility contractors are relatively intelligent when it comes to that. They will call 911 when it's significant. But a three-quarter inch gas main that they have a tool to pinch it off is not going to create a problem. A high-pressure steel gas main is going to create a significant problem. Typically, those phone calls get made. But in the St. Cloud situation, they had called the gas company. They had notified folks. They did not notify the fire department.
What ultimately happened was, there was a 40-minute delay between the time that the gas main was struck and the time that the fire department was notified to effect an evacuation.
Somewhere around that 40-minute mark there was ignition, which killed a person inside one of the buildings and a lady that was walking on the other side of the street away from the gas place, and the two technicians that were working in the hole to repair the gas break.
So, it is only prudent to say that you should call 911 in the instance where you cannot control the release of the gas to effect an evacuation of the area, at least as far as it needs to be, to protect someone against the possible ignition of that gas.
It wouldn't give anyone any heartburn that I've talked to to recommend that that language be included in Subpart P.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott Schneider?
MR. SCHNEIDER: In fact, we developed a section on emergencies for our road safety program and we do recommend that.
But I had two questions. One of them is, is there a list of all the one-call numbers? Is there one national number that then transfers you to a local number or something that we could get out to our members and say, well, here are the phone numbers that you need to call?
MR. STRUDWICK: There is a national one-call number. I don't have it with me, but I'll make sure that I research that --
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay.
MR. STRUDWICK: -- so you are directed to whoever you need to be directed to.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Right.
And the second question, I guess, is it seems to me that the most important thing that could be done is to mark or make sure that everybody knows the location of their utilities.
I don't know how much that information is publicly available or transmitted. Whenever somebody is getting a building permit or living in a new home, and they say, well, we want to make sure you know, here's where the utilities are.
MR. STRUDWICK: Different states have different requirements as far as notification is concerned. Then once the notification is made, whether that is 48 hours ahead of time, 72 in some cases, I don't think it's as short as 24, but the members of the one-call system then are notified by the one-call entity itself, whichever entity that is, and they are to respond within that time period.
Now, what it does say in Subpart P of the excavation standard, is that 24- or 48-hours, if that response is not done, they don't respond and you have an idea that there might be an existing utility there, then you can proceed, but cautiously and with some other type of system to locate or to identify any utility that you might cross, which is pretty much general industry.
We were taught, back when I started running backhoes, to look for trenches as we cut ditches. Well, the directional drills and some of the trenchless technology have eliminated that ability.
So, we have a significant challenge because those dry utilities that we're talking about--gas is one, electricity is the other--we've coined a phrase, red and yellow will kill a fellow.
It used to be the -- now it's whatever is in the ground. Red means electricity, yellow means gas, and most of those installations now are trenchless, believe it or not, and it's difficult to locate. So there is significant advancement being made in locating equipment and in directional drilling equipment.
There are a number of people involved. The Gas Institute here in Chicago is very heavily involved. So, there is a lot of work being done. It's reflected by this book, believe it or not. It says 1999, but I guarantee you, all of the things here are being addressed multiple times during the years on the path forward.
So, to answer your question, they don't always mark it correctly. But let me tell you, when there is a mark there, there's reason to believe, whether it's marked correctly or not, the contractor will take time in most instances to at least look for that utility.
Homeland security is another problem. Red, yellow, blue and green and marks on the ground are easy to identify, and some of those identification marks could lead somebody with malicious intent to shut down a communication situation.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead. Dan Murphy.
MR. MURPHY: Just something I was thinking about. You recommend 911. You talk about gas leaks. You talk about electrical. You've done some fabulous work here. But when you dial 911, and I was somewhat involved in the St. Cloud deal, who responds and what do they know?
MR. STRUDWICK: Typically, in a situation where there is a gas release or there is a threat of fire, the fire department responds. The protocol for the emergency response is the fire truck shows up.
Whoever is on the truck, the senior member, takes command of the incident and starts to post a periphery, barricades around that, the hot zone, the warm zone, the cold zone, to keep the general public away.
Then anything downwind, as far as gas release is concerned, is usually evacuated, schools, hospitals, buildings, those kinds of things. It really falls back to the fire department. They are actually in command of the incident. They direct the police, redirect traffic, and that kind of thing.
MR. MURPHY: That part, I understand. I guess I'm just making the suggestion that we should extend training to those kinds of folks, or the opportunity to learn more about gas leaks, striking electrical lines.
For example, in the State of Minnesota, most of the fire departments are volunteer fire departments and those guys that respond to those emergencies don't know a lot about gas leaks. So, if there's a way, as you're doing this work, to maybe include those rescue folks that you've called and don't have knowledge, that you train them.
MR. STRUDWICK: I think you'll find out, when you go back and look through here, that there is an education side of this. The CGA is doing a great job. I included in the back of your handout their current newsletter, so you can go through there and see what kind of work is being done.
This is their quarterly member newsletter and it's posted on the Internet. You can see all of the information that is being accumulated and how they are approaching the general public.
A lot of that is being done. We don't see a lot of it. At least, I don't see it publicly in my area. But guess what? Everybody turns on the TV at some point in time and they have the channel directly that rolls. Right on the top bar it says, "Call Before you Dig." It actually makes a statement that somebody is going to look at every time they turn on the television.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Thank you, Greg.
What we'll do, is we'll take this information -- thank you for that report. I mean, you obviously did a lot of work in compiling it. We'll do what was requested, and that is, pass it on through to Mr. Swanson to Noah and look for its incorporation under Subpart P.
MR. STRUDWICK: One more thing.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead.
MR. STRUDWICK: The 800 number.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes.
MR. STRUDWICK: It was listed, I think, as someone else's in the transcript. Maybe Noah. That's my 800 number: 1-800-426-8920. I invite anyone to call that has any information that I can pass along.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Thank you very much.
We passed out minutes. We're going to stall here for a couple of minutes until Brother Buchet gets back with a different computer so Kevin can give us an update on the National Tower Erection Workgroup that he's been working with.
The minutes have been passed out. What I would like to suggest is, rather than have anybody start thumbing through them now in a rapid scan, take them and we'll take action on that at tomorrow morning's meeting. If there are any additions, corrections, deletions, you can make those motions then.
In a further effort to stall for time, let me suggest that we at least begin discussion about the next meeting, looking, I'm sure, sometime in May. I'm looking for Steve Cloutier and Bruce Swanson's help here. Sometime in May. I'm assuming that we will, again, be back in Washington, DC, Steve?
MR. CLOUTIER: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Does anybody have a suggestion for dates?
VOICE: Mr. Chairman, let me remind you, the first week of May is the SEAC meeting.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay.
VOICE: The second week of May is the Industrial Hygiene conference.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So we're into Memorial Day. All right. Do we tentatively want to look at May 17-21? I mean, there's nothing etched in stone about this.
VOICE: The week of the 24th through 28th is also open. That's the week before Memorial Day. Memorial Day is not until the 1st, so we have two weeks, the 17th and the 24th.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. Why don't we give the folks at the Directorate a chance to look at those two dates and see what works out the best, and just keep this tentative.
Certainly you'll be notified in the event of any changes, as we always do. If something comes up and it can't be held that week, it just can't be held and we'll look at other dates. All right.
Kevin, other than doing a tap dance until Mike gets here with the computer, do you want to give us a preface on what we're about to see?
TOWER WORKGROUP REPORT
by Kevin Beauregard
MR. BEAUREGARD: I guess I can. I guess I'll start off, and some of this may be repeated, so I'll just skim through it. But for the new members particularly, probably about, I want to say six years ago, I came to this group.
We had experienced some fatalities in North Carolina, and there had been some other ones across the country. Really, we saw a boom in the tower erection industry, which was what was proliferating this problem.
We made some recommendations at that time that OSHA look at the issue of tower erection and possibly working on some initiatives. OSHA has worked on some initiatives in tower erection. They formed a task force.
They have been working with the National Association of Tower Erectors on some activities. They have some 10-hour training coming up at the end of this month with the National Association of Tower Erectors in conjunction with the conference.
But once we took a look at some of the data regarding the problem in the tower erection industry, what we saw was, whereas most of the private sector experiences 5 deaths in 100,000 employees, the tower erection industry was experiencing significantly more.
Depending on what data you went by, I think NIOSH did a study and I think it ranged anywhere from 60 deaths per 100,000 employees to over 460 deaths per 100,000.
Part of the problems with gathering that information is, there is no SIC code for tower erection or, now, NACS code for tower erection. There's a number of different trades that actually work on towers. There are the ones that erect it, but then there's also electrical workers, there's painters, there's a number of different issues associated with it.
So, given that, we did form a workgroup for tower erection. Last year, we tasked ourselves with coming up with some recommendations to provide to this full workgroup, and then hopefully to forward those recommendations over to OSHA on some outreach activities, some potential targeting activities for both education and training and outreach activities, and possibly compliance activities.
We also looked at the possibility of making a recommendation to promulgate a standard or put a standard on the regulatory agenda. However, we did work on a structured outline of the standard for our workgroup.
We did not go into great detail because we thought it was probably better to focus our resources on getting to the issues at hand associated with tower erection, what is killing people, what is injuring people, and making sure, if OSHA does add that to the regulatory agenda at some time in the future, that they address those important issues within that standard.
I'm going to wait for just a moment so I can run through those recommendations.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Sure. And for the public's benefit, these are the communication towers, cell phone towers, satellite towers that was brought to the attention, and actually came to the Building Trades Safety and Health Committee once upon a time by two former tower erectors who were really concerned about safety.
The more this committee looked into the numbers of fatalities and not only the lack of fall protection, but the absolute jury-rigged fall protection that some people were using, and the horrible fatality cases that we were hearing from places, where fathers and sons were falling hundreds of feet, things that were rigged up with basically bo'suns chairs and little ground winches operating out of the backs of pick-up trucks.
There was absolutely no control. I mean, OSHA had their hands tied. These things go up, I don't know, Kevin, in a matter of days, really. The erection of the towers, they come and they go.
To the credit of the National Association of Tower Erectors, I think they've jumped in on this and they recognize that a problem exists. Before they get any kind of strict looking at by OSHA, as they deserve to do, that they're willing to work not only with this committee, but with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to try and do something to standardize safety, and especially fall protection on these particular types of towers.
Kevin, as he has said, has been working on this. He volunteered. They certainly had the problem, as every state did. But Kevin volunteered to head this workgroup and he's really been working hard at it. He's gotten a lot of people involved in it. I'd be interested to hear his report.
MR. BEAUREGARD: While we're waiting for that to queue up, in your handouts there is some information that was provided by NATE's primary insurer. NATE is the National Association of Tower Erectors. They have a membership, it's my understanding, that ranges between 80 and 120 employers in the tower erection industry. Most of their members, if not all of the members, are actual erectors.
They have a primary insurer, which is Arthur J. Gallagher. Everybody calls them the NATE insurer. But they are part of the workgroup. One of the reasons they were included in the workgroup, is they had some very valuable information, I think, that provide some insight on not only the fatalities that were occurring in the tower erection industry, but also the injuries and illnesses.
There are a significant number of injuries and illnesses that are occurring that don't get the headlines, that you don't see when we see the fatalities.
One of the advantages of being able to get some of that information--minus, of course, the employer name and the employee name; we weren't really interested in that--was that because there's not a single entity or SIC code, it's hard to get statistical information on exactly where the issues are.
In your handouts, I included several different items from the numerous statistical pieces of information they provided. One of the things I think that I wanted to bring this up for, was that there's a chart on there entitled, "2000-2003 NATE Losses. "
What their losses are, their losses are pay-outs. But it gives a break-down of the types of injuries and illnesses that they're paying out on. And if you look at that list, three out of the top four are associated with falls.
I think anybody associated with work on towers would not find that surprising at all because that's what we know severely injures people. That's what we know is leading, ultimately, to the deaths of a lot of people. If you look at the percentage there, certainly the majority of the pay-outs had to do with injuries that were associated with falls.
There are other things that are associated with the towers. You'll see on that list there are some burns. Well, in towers, they can come from a couple different sources. You have welding, you have RF radiation on those towers, you have electrical risk on those towers.
So, there are other things besides falls that the erectors are being associated with. But naturally, when you think of a tower that is over 200 feet, the first thing that's going to come to your mind is, there is a significant fall hazard there.
I think the insurance day is certainly also showing that the majority of the injuries are related to falls. There is another chart in your handouts that talks about the tenure with the company at the time of the loss.
The interesting statistic here, I think, is if you look over this three-year period, approximately -- I'm trying to add up real quick. Over 60 percent, 63 percent of the losses, which are injuries and deaths, are from people that are with the employer for less than a year.
So, I think it is a significant statistic that just jumps right out there, that there's a lot of people getting into tower erection that don't know what they're doing, and the statistics are bearing that out. I think that also goes back to the boom in the industry, whereas, probably 10 years ago, you probably didn't have that many folks in the industry.
With the proliferation of cell phones, everybody has a cell phone now. Everybody has a pager. You've got these PDAs, these Blackberries, HD-TVs coming on-line, and all of those things require tower communications, and all of them require a network.
Everybody wants their cell phone to work in every part of the country that they go to. The only way that's going to happen is you put a cell tower up there so you can get reception. So, what you're seeing is more and more.
I'll go ahead and start in with my report. We'll be able to skip through some of this. We were expecting to do this tomorrow.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: The Chairman exercised his privilege of rearranging the agenda.
MR. BEAUREGARD: I totally concur with that decision.
(Showing of slides)
MR. BEAUREGARD: This is some of the recap I've put together primary for those members that weren't on the board, on ACCSH, at the time we did this. But there are over 300,000 telecommunication towers in existence.
Many of those are registered with the FAA. I handed out in the handout some information on the FAA, and there's actually a regulation process for towers that are over 200 feet.
So, it is a good source of information. You can go there and you can find out how many towers -- I think it's on that site, if you're interested in finding out where all the towers were in North Carolina, for instance, you can go on there and it will show you. There's a schematic of that.
But over 100,000 of them are over 200 feet, so you know certainly that there is a significant number of towers out there that do pose a potential fall risk if you're not working on them with proper protection.
NIOSH did a study, and I think I handed it out to this group a few years back. It's also available on their Web site. At that time, they were saying that there are about 1,000 new towers going up a year.
Well, there's a lot more than 1,000 new towers going up now. There was a lull in the tower industry a couple of years ago when the economy sank. We're seeing a big pick-up of the towers again. Again, we're seeing that more people are involved in that industry. We do know that there are thousands of new towers going up.
As was pointed out earlier, one of the issues with these towers is they go up fairly quickly. You can get up on-site, and once you start doing the actual erection process you can have these up, depending on size, in a few days. The larger towers, of course, take a longer time to put up.
There are three main types of towers: monopole, self-supporting, and guy. I apologize for not having any pretty pictures of these in the presentation. Those that are in the industry are well aware of the three different types.
Each type poses their own issues or problems. The monopole is certainly the toughest one to tie off to because there's not a lot of tie-off points on there, whereas, you have lattice work on the other types of towers to tie off on.
There are probably about 7,000 to 10,000 employees in the industry. There's not a real good -- at least I'm not aware of a real good figure on the employees. One of the reasons, again, is because of the different trades that are in here. It is hard to pinpoint how many are in that business.
There are estimates that are a lot higher than that, there are some estimates that are a lot lower than that. From the folks that I've talked to, I think that's probably a pretty good range of where they are right now.
The NIOSH study that I referenced before had 118 deaths from 1992 to 1998. Although that may not seem like a lot of deaths when you look at how many injuries and deaths we had nationwide on an annual basis, when you look at the very small slice of the pie that the tower industry has, it is a very significant slice of the number of fatalities that are occurring.
Like I had indicated before, the fatality rate ranges, from the best I can understand it, to about 30 times to what the rest of all the other private sector rates are. So, it is still significantly higher. That's why we believe it is an issue.
The National Association of Tower Erectors was established in 1995. All of a sudden, you saw a big increase in towers, and the groups that were putting them together saw a need to form that.
OSHA formed--and I think I have this date right, but if someone with OSHA here has a different date let me know--the Tower Task Force around 1997, a CPL dealing with fall protection on towers, and also riding the line.
For those of you that are not familiar, those towers are pretty high, so a lot of the tower erectors wanted to ride the hoist line up to get up to the location. OSHA had some serious trepidations about that, and I concur with them.
It's not something that we routinely want to see going on. But they did put together a CPL that said, if you follow all these safety precautions and conditions, we will allow that practice on towers.
MR. SWANSON: Kevin, that 1992 to 1998 figure is a little old. Do you, or Rob, or anyone else have an update for the committee on 1998 to 2004?
MR. BEAUREGARD: I do not. I don't know if Rob does. I do know there's a lot of people working on it.
MR. MEDLOCK: We had 16 last year -- very conservative -- between then we had somewhere -- so 16 is not the lowest. Twelve is on here, but 16 is last year.
MR. BEAUREGARD: And one of the difficulties is that we know about the ones we hear about. We don't always hear about all these fatalities. OSHA doesn't always hear about them. The state programs don't always hear about them.
Sometimes they're reported differently so you don't know it's really a tower fatality. It comes in as a painter who was killed, or something like that. Without having one way to track that, it's difficult to measure the numbers.
We do know it's still a significant issue. We know, from dealing with associations like NATE and others that are in industry that there are still fatalities occurring and a significant number of injuries occurring. But I wish I had some better data to give you on that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: What's a CPL, Kevin?
MR. BEAUREGARD: A CPL is a compliance directive. OSHA issues compliance directives for the compliance staff on how they're going to enforce certain standards. I probably will let OSHA speak on their CPL 2-1. 86, if they want to speak on it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes. I'm doing that for the transcriber's benefit. I've been able to define most of them, but that one got by me.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Thank you. I'm pretty bad with acronyms.
Region 5 and NATE did form a partnership. I had an opportunity, and have had an opportunity, to work with some of the people out of Region 5. From the sound of it, the partnership has been very successful. I think that you asked about the fatalities nationwide.
I think the fatalities in Region 5 have seen a significant decrease since the inception of that partnership. If I could, I'll ask Rob real quickly to give the results on that. I hate to put him on the spot.
MR. MEDLOCK: That's okay. Thank you. I'm Rob Medlock and I'm the area director of the Cleveland OSHA office. I've kind of been responsible for the partnership and coordinating that in Region 5.
We signed it in December of 2001. We actually started getting partners to come aboard that year in August. So, it's been roughly, I guess, a year and a half of data since we've had partners on board.
The first year we had 39 partners. This last year we had 53 partners. We have excluded some companies because they've had fatalities or wilful violations, or just not measured up with the agreement.
The data looks pretty good with regards to OSHA data and compliance data. We have had no partner fatalities in the industry so far, so that's really good. We have continually found less violations, not just on partners, but in the industry.
This last year we've reported five inspections of partners. This is other than Region 5. Or this is Region 5 and the rest of the nation. We only found one fall protection violation.
Historically, our first year of our emphasis program, we found that 75 percent of tower inspections we did had fall-related violations. Last year, only 28 percent had them. So, it is coming down.
We used to find, sometimes, the terrible conditions that you referred to. Now we find that most of them have the semblance of a program. What we have to do, is we need to get to those folks who own the towers and make them responsible with regards to some encouragement that they hire contractors that are qualified. I think Mr. Henshaw's letter to the industry helped that quite a bit. I don't want to get into your stuff.
But, anyway, the partnership does seem to be successful. There may be a push to go national with that partnership. It requires them to do the OSHA 10- and 30-hour course. We had 116 folks train in the 30, and 500 and some trained in the 10-hour. So, that's about 10 percent of the industry.
If there are 10,000 in the industry--which is probably an over estimate, there's probably around 7,000, 8,000, 9,000, that's what NATE says--and they had 16 fatalities last year, if the average nationwide is 5 per 100,000 and you have 16, that's 160 per 100,000, so we're talking about 30 times.
So, he's correct, that's about what it is. It's a tough measure by fatalities because it's such an industry that it is a small industry and it's hard to measure, with just a few fatalities here and there, if we're making success.
Eventually I think we will, but I think we are making success within the industry from peer pressure by NATE with our training and outreach and programs we've designed with our partnerships and the folks that have come forward willing to have model safety and health programs mentor others in the industry and the support from the national office, Mr. Henshaw, and Bruce's group with regards to outreach to the industry, which we've done quite a bit. We have a great relationship with NATE.
But there are two different actors. There are people who are really trying to do it in those responsible companies, and there are those who can make a lot of money by not doing it and not having a $30,000 hoist, but having $200 hoists, as you referred to. So, that's the one we need to get to, and they're hard to target.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: I was just wondering. It seems like one possible solution is to have a requirement that before any towers get put up, they have to send a notice to OSHA before they start work so OSHA knows where and when these things are going up.
We've had discussions about this in the past with other types of hazardous operations. At least an e-mail, a notice, or a phone call to OSHA would alert you and you'd have the possibility of being there and making sure it's done right. If they don't do it, then you can find them, obviously, if they're not reporting.
MR. MEDLOCK: That's excellent. There's just nothing in the rulemaking process right now that allows us to do that. We have done some building permits with local authorities, that when they're filed with a tower, please let us know.
We've been successful, somewhat, locally doing that. We've tried to go with the FCC and possibly get some lists. But the dates are real broad as to when they go up. But that is the answer.
I know that's been effective with trenching, even in some states, where if you're going to build a trench or you're going to dig a trench you have to notify the authorities and notify OSHA. You are correct, that is a good way, but it takes the rulemaking process.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead, Jane.
MS. WILLIAMS: From memory, do I remember that NATE required a -- as part of its partnership and in their own -- am I remembering that right?
MR. MEDLOCK: That is a part of the directive, is that you must have 100 percent fall protection for over 25 feet, because we're still under that 105 standard. They're not under Subpart M or they're not under the steel erection standard. That's the reason that they sort of wanted their own standard and directive.
NATE endorses complying with our standards. There was an issue of free-climbing in the past, and they wanted that as a part of the directive. But since we've worked together and we've educated each other on how to provide fall protection all the time with regards to it being feasible, now they endorse our policy.
They did have some early videos on qualified climbing courses that mentioned free climbing that are still out there, so there's some confusion with regard to their policy.
But they do not endorse free climbing. They endorse following our regulations. Indeed, that is a part of the partnership with regards to having personal protective equipment when you climb.
MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom Broderick?
MR. BRODERICK: Looking at the day of week on this graph here that Kevin gave us, I thought it was kind of interesting that close to 40 percent of the losses happened on Saturday and Sunday. In fact, the preponderance of the 22 percent happened on Sunday. That seems kind of curious. It sort of coincides with compliance officers' work weeks.
MR. MEDLOCK: It does. It also coincides with when one has a tendency to party, to be honest with you. I think that's a real problem in this industry. I have hired an expert in the industry, John Pavilian, who works for me who's in the audience and he used to run a tower company.
When he went to a drug-free, alcohol-free workplace and began testing employees, his workforce went from 30 to 2 in one day. And he worked for a great company. They were one of the leaders in the industry.
The industry is getting educated and they are going that way, but it is tremendous strides to make. These folks work isolated in different parts of the country. They're usually younger individuals, mainly male-dominated. That is a practice that has been ongoing. It's something that they're trying to address through the tower erectors themselves, the companies.
But you lose a lot of workers. When there is a boom on, you don't want to lose workers. So, that's a problem and it's one that we haven't been able to address effectively yet.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mike?
MR. SOTELO: Scott, on your statement about notification, I mean, it's a good idea. I just don't know that OSHA has the resources to respond. Would you see that as being a problem, with having as many compliance officers being able to go out and check something like that? It seems to me that we can get to the root of the problem by dealing with the owners of the towers themselves, the MCIs of the world.
There are a lot of owners that we have in Washington State that have criteria for being able to do any kind of constructability on their projects whatsoever.
I think that that is something where we might be able to get to the root of the problem there, is dealing maybe at that higher level versus hoping that there's another compliance officer that is going to show up to check out a tower.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Kevin, didn't you look into that?
MR. BEAUREGARD: I did, a little bit. I do agree that I think it would be difficult to respond to all the calls. Just think about how many excavations and trenches are out there. If OSHA required a call for every excavation and trench, I think OSHA would probably be in the business of looking at excavations and trenches and nothing else. That being said, maybe there is something that can be done as far as reporting.
I don't think that -- and I'm speaking from someone that runs a state program. I don't think the issue is -- we're finding plenty of excavations and trenches. The problem is, there are still excavations and trenches that are not being addressed correctly.
I switched subjects from trenches versus towers because of the trench thing, but I think the tower thing would probably be the same issue. If you're talking about 300,000 towers, I don't know how many -- nor do I know that we want to go out there and inspect 300,000 towers.
What I'd like to do, and I know it sounds like a lot of people have questions, is let me go through the rest of the presentation and try to hold questions until the end, if I can, because I know we've rearranged the schedule a little bit. I think it's close to noontime, now, so I'll go through.
And I appreciate Rob coming up. He'll be around, I think, if you have some questions for him later. He's a wealth of information on the subject of fatalities. Thanks, Rob.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BEAUREGARD: Just one additional item. I went over most of these statistics, but Tom had mentioned the loss on the weekends. If you look at those statistics that NATE insurance gave me, 62 percent of the losses do occur Friday through Monday. I agree with some of the suppositions that were made, there's probably some reason for that.
People have a tendency to go out on the weekends, and there are some other reasons. But I did want to point out that that's not 62 percent of the injuries. That's 62 percent of the pay-outs. What I have seen from the other data is, there are more severe injuries and fatalities that are occurring on the weekends, not necessarily more.
If you look at the chart that we have, under "Frequency" it actually gives the frequency and the occurrence of the actual incident. So if you look, the weekends don't necessarily have more incidents, they have more severe incidents. That is where you're seeing that figure.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BEAUREGARD: Finally, getting into the meat of the presentation, our workgroup had some objectives, and one of them was to make recommendations for targeting for outreach and inspection activities.
When John Henshaw came and talked to our group, I think, in the spring, he wanted to make sure that, as a group, we understood that they wanted ACCSH not only to make recommendations on standards, but also on some compliance assistance, outreach, or other avenues that may be effective in dealing with certain issues.
So, we certainly wanted to make it a primary objective of our workgroup to make some recommendations. We don't have a tower standard right now, so there's got to be some other ways we can get at this issue. Like I said, there are some things that had been occurring and we have come up with some ideas for some additional ideas as well.
For the outreach activities. Now, we did put together a detailed outline of the potential tower standard. That's in your handout. All that is is an outline of topics that the group felt should be covered should a standard be promulgated in the future. There may be things that are in addition to those, but those are our best shot at the items that we thought should be included.
Also, we wanted to identify some industry best practices. We set out as an objective to develop Spanish language materials. As I finish the presentation, I'll let you know what we decided on that as well.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BEAUREGARD: For targeting strategies, this has always been an issue for whether you're talking about compliance or outreach, is how do you get it out to the people that you need to get it out to? The FCC does have a registration process for certain towers, and I think that's a good place to start.
The letter that Secretary Henshaw sent out last year, I think, was also a good place to start. There were two letters that went out, one to tower owners, and I can't remember the group that the other one went out to, but it was also associated with towers. It was a good way to put people on notice that there is an issue in industry and we need some help to address that.
We encourage sending some more letters and outreach information to licensing applicants of towers. If you're going to put up a tower, you're going to have to have a license for that tower. So when somebody registers with the FCC, it might be a good idea to make sure that, if they don't already have that information, to make sure they get the information.
There are also some recommendations about possibly some letters talking about best practices. There is a wealth of information on that. The issue is getting it into the right hands and making sure that they use it.
Communicate with city and county building permits. I can't speak on how all states and jurisdictions work, but many of the states and jurisdictions actually permit through the county or the city.
So if you want to know where a tower is going up and it is in a county, they're going to have to go to the county to get a building permit for the tower. So, it may behoove OSHA to communicate with the municipalities across the country.
Interestingly enough, OSHA does not have jurisdiction over the municipalities, so it actually may be a good outreach effort because there's not really a fear of reprisal on compliance on that side.
Also, communicate with the FAA. Certain towers, not all towers, need to be permitted through the FAA. Any ones that surround an airport or an airfield or something that may get into air traffic is required, but certainly not all of them.
Probably the biggest thing our group worked on was outreach activities. In your packet, you have a group of outreach activities that are recommended that may not have looked exactly like this format, but they're the same issues.
One of them was the development of an OSHA 500 specifically for towers. I will say that it is my understanding that that is already under way. It is being developed. From what I hear, possibly by the fall or the end of the year, there will be an OSHA 500 course dedicated specifically for towers.
I think you'll probably hear more of that at the May conference in a few weeks, but I think it is under way. There are some people from the OSHA Institute that are here that may be able to speak more specifically on the status of that process.
Development of a 30-year supervisor course and a 10-hour field employee course. OSHA is already working on these items as well. So, some of these things, they may sound like, well, why are you recommending these.
Well, some of them are in the process. Some of them, when we started this process, weren't in the process. But we do all feel as a group that they are important things to continue on.
We do think that the implementation of a nationwide tower emphasis program similar to the one that went on in Region 5 would certainly be beneficial. It sounds like Region 5's program had the desired results. Not when you are looking at just strictly the fatality number, as Rob had indicated.
That is a very small number to look at. But I think what is more impressive to me, is from the time they started that program until now, they've seen a dramatic decrease in the number of serious violations that their compliance staff is issuing, particularly on fall protection.
We also feel that OSHA should work on developing a tower e-tool. I heard John Henshaw speak earlier that you're going to get an increase in funding for compliance assistance. I believe he mentioned that some of that was going to be dedicated to the development of e-tools.
I think a tower e-tool would be a real good place to put that in. For those of you that are not familiar with the e-tool, Federal OSHA has a Web site that has tools on it for various trades, practices, or industries.
You simply click on different figures in there and it will tell you what the requirements are. Some of them are interactive. They'll show you a picture of the -- et cetera. We think that would be an excellent tool.
However, that being said, I think Mike Sotelo, when he was talking about the Hispanic issue, said the Web site stuff is great, but I need something I can put my hands on.
In that light, we also think, once some of these things are developed, they should also put together a CD or a disk so that we can ship it out to some people that are in our industry to get it into their hands, because if they have it they are probably more likely to use it.
I do think the Web site is getting a lot of activity, particularly from the safety and health community, but we need to get some more activity with the workers that are out there.
Development of an OSHA hazard alert. I don' think there's one on towers right now. Our group did feel that that was something that should be developed. I know North Carolina developed a hazard alert on towers, but I'm not sure if there's a federal hazard alert on tower erection.
NIOSH workplace solutions dealing with tower upgrades and co-location. One of the big issues that appears in the tower industry right now is, in addition to putting up new towers, there's a lot of co-location and upgrades going on on existing towers.
I know just last year we've seen a couple of tower collapses. I think some of those investigations are still ongoing, but some of the issues may be that the tower is more designed to hold the amount of weight that they are getting ready to put on those towers. So, we think that is another issue that needs to be addressed.
Development of mailing lists for towers, operators, carriers. I sat in on one of the sessions at the Construction Safety Council. Somebody indicated in there that there are several mailing lists available for people in the communication tower industry, and one of them, I believe, was in the broadcast industry, which was 26,000 participants on that e-mail list. So, that may be a good place to get the message out if, in fact, you can get ahold of that list.
Use the OSHA Education Centers that are stationed across the country to put on some of those 30-hour and 10-hour training, or 500-hour training. Interact with the appropriate associations. Continue to work with NATE. But there may be other associations out there that represent other people within industry.
NATE, I believe, has about 25 percent of the workforce in that industry, so there's still a significant number of people that aren't members of NATE.
Safe practice booklets and pamphlets. NATE has developed some. OSHA has developed some. Some other entities have developed some. We think this should be encouraged to get the message out.
Possibility of private training entities and advertising. To the best of my recommendation, what this was about, is if OSHA does not have the staff to do the training to get some private consultants and others under contract to help out with that, I think the Institute generally does that as a practice when they put on different portions.
Also, possibly putting some advertisements and some trade publications, whether they would be specific to towers or to the construction industry. There are many trade publications out there.
Then continue to work with the insurance companies. I think the insurance companies have many great assets. One of them certainly is, they have their hands on the figures. They have their hands on figures that OSHA will never see.
I think, by working and developing additional partnerships with the agencies or the insurance companies that work with towers, I think we can probably get a handle on not only what is out there, but when some of these things are implemented, what kind of impact it is having on the industry to see if it's being successful or not.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BEAUREGARD: The standard topics. I'm not going to go through this. You have it in front of you. But the main topics that are on there are the main issues that the group felt needed to be addressed.
If there are standards promulgated, certainly fall protection is the number-one area. There are some other areas, such as non-ionizing radiation, training, emergency response.
If you have an incident up on a tower, you want to make sure there's a way to get that person down. We've had some serious injuries and fatalities not necessarily related to the initial incident, but in trying to get somebody down off of the tower afterwards.
Best practices is the third thing that we're working on. I don't have anything to present to the group at this time. We do have a list of 18 best practices that are being worked on. We're hoping, once those are complete and reviewed, to present them to the group so we can look at them, and also to disseminate them for additional information.
NATE does have some things on pre-employment screening. The question came up about, why all the accidents on weekends. There's no requirement for pre-employment screening. There's no requirement for a drug test.
I don't think that right now it is probably an area that we want to require a standard on. I may be wrong. But I do think it is a big enough issue that it certainly should be something that is taught in the training and outreach initiatives that go on.
Just the little bit that I have heard about from the industry, it does seem to be an issue within industry and it may cut down on a significant number of these injuries and accidents if folks aren't under the influence while they're climbing towers.
There are numerous publications available. I've got some of them up here with me. There's a tower owner checklist. I will tell you that North Carolina is hopefully close to going forward with a rule on towers.
I have a final draft, what I'm hoping is a final draft, so we're hoping to move forward on that in a couple of weeks. Our initial draft had a section on tower owners in it. The draft, as it stands right now, does not have a section on tower owners. The issue primarily had to do with enforcement.
OSHA enforces issues where there's an employer and employee relationship. If there's an owner relationship but the owner is not on-site and is not controlling the employees, it's a difficult enforcement issue to deal with.
But NATE has put together a tower owner checklist recommendation form that actually gives some recommendations for owners, for a prudent owner, on what they think they should look at before allowing somebody to work on one of their sites. I think that's a good idea.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BEAUREGARD: On the Spanish language material, we had a lot of people on the workgroup from the industry. What I was getting from the industry, is currently as it stands right now, there is not a large Hispanic workforce in the tower erection industry. That may change. But the thought was that, at this point, probably not a lot of time should be dedicated to working on Spanish language materials.
However, as materials become available, it would probably be a good idea to go ahead and start translating them into Spanish as well, because we'll probably see the same thing in that field as we've seen in the other fields. It just seems like right now there's not a large number of Hispanics in that field, from what I get from the meetings that we've had.
That's the presentation in a nutshell. I think, probably later today or tomorrow, I may be asking the full body of ACCSH to vote on a motion on whether or not we make these recommendations to Federal OSHA or not. But in the meantime, I'll be glad to answer any questions that you have.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes. I was just wondering. This is all focused on tower erection. I'm wondering, as we get built out with towers, how much work is necessary to maintain the towers, or repair them? There may be unstable conditions. Maybe it should be a little broader in not just erection, but also erection and maintenance.
MR. BEAUREGARD: It did and I just didn't present it in that manner. But it actually does cover tower erection and maintenance.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay.
And in response to what Mike was saying, the notion is not that if there is some sort of registration or phone call to OSHA, that OSHA would go out and inspect every site.
It's just a question of, if OSHA knows where the sites are, number one, they have the option of inspecting, and two, people who are out there who are on these sites know that there's a potential that OSHA could come.
So, they're not going to get to every one of them, but at least there is an option. Right now, they may not even know where they are and it may cause a problem.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Scott, I wouldn't disagree with you. Certainly, if we knew where more of these sites were we'd probably go to more of these sites, either with outreach activity, standard activity, or compliance activity. Short of having a requirement that required employers to notify OSHA, I'm not sure that you would have success in getting those done.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Kevin, we thank you. I know that Frank Migliaccio and former member Jim Ahern were part of your workgroup. But Kevin has been religious in e-mailing me progress reports. I'm telling you, he dug into this thing and is extremely dedicated.
I appreciate your work on that. I mean, it's been a lot of work for you, I know, in addition to what your normal duties are back in North Carolina. But you've really glommed onto this thing, and we're glad that you did because you've done a great job to this point. You really have.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Thank you. I had a lot of help and a lot of support. I will say, the Directorate of Construction has been very supportive. They've had people involved. The OSHA Institute has had people involved. I think there were probably about six to seven OSHA people at our last meeting. So, it's certainly not me. I'm trying to get it all together, but they did the bulk of the work.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. And we'll hold your request for a motion for later in the day or for first thing tomorrow morning, if you don't mind.
MR. BEAUREGARD: That's okay.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We'll just talk about it and see what the proper procedure is for presenting that and we'll go from there. Okay.
Let's break for lunch and reconvene at 1:30. Thanks again, Kevin.
(Whereupon, at 12:25 p. m. the meeting was recessed. )
[1:40 p. m. ]
CHAIRMAN KRUL: If we could get everybody to come to order, we'll go back in session and on the record.
We have with us Steve Witt and Amanda Edens from the OSHA Standard Setting Division. Why don't you, for the record, both of you, give your title so the transcriber will have it.
DIRECTORATE OF STANDARDS AND GUIDANCE REPORT ON CHROMIUM
By Steve Witt and Amanda Edens
MR. WITT: My name is Steven Witt, W-I-T-T. I'm the Director of Standards and Guidance. With me is Mandy Edens, Office Director, who has responsibility for the hexavalent chromium rulemaking.
Bob, thanks for the opportunity to discuss the status of the rulemaking on chromium today. I understand that you've given us an hour on the schedule, but we'll only need a few minutes. John Henshaw took care of most of the issues this morning. In your dreams.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And there's no questions, either, Steve.
MR. WITT: I'll have to look at the transcript and make sure my answers are consistent with what John said this morning.
As most of you know, we're on a very short schedule to propose, develop, and publish the proposal on chromium. Mandy, today, is going to go through the schedule we're on, the major issues, some of the different parts of the industry that will be impacted, and the information we've collected, go through the different parts of the JF proposal, and Bob Burt is on the phone.
Bob is head of the Office of Regulatory Analysis and he will be available to answer any questions you may have about the economics and the regulatory analysis part of the rulemaking.
I want to clarify for the record that the CD you received came from Bob's office.
MR. WITT: You do have some handouts that I understand Bruce's staff distributed to you last week, and we'll be happy to answer any questions about that or the other comments that Mandy makes.
She handed out a three- or four-page document that Mandy will be using as the basis for her presentation today.
I do want to point out, before I turn the microphone over to Mandy, that the opportunity for the Construction Advisory Committee to review our draft proposal is an important part of the process, mandated by statute. We always make every attempt to comply with that requirement.
We are currently in the SBREFA process part of the rulemaking. We are also convening a peer review of our risk assessment, so we're moving ahead fairly rapidly. We would appreciate any input, any comments you have today and any questions you have, and Mandy will make every attempt to answer them. She will also go over, as I said, the next steps leading up to the proposal that is scheduled to be published in October of this year.
MS. EDENS: Good afternoon. On the first page of the handout that was just passed around, you'll see kind of a thumbnail sketch of where we are and where we're going in the next year and a half or so.
As you may know already, December 24th of 2002 we got a court order to proceed with rulemaking on hexavalent chromium. Then in April of 2003, after that, the court laid out a schedule within which we were to complete that rulemaking.
To meet that deadline which is set up now to have a proposal by October 4, 2004 and a final by January of 2006, in the middle of December--actually, December 23--we initiated the SBREFA process. For those of you who are not familiar with SBREFA, it is the Small Business Regulatory and Enforcement Fairness Act.
Basically what that is, is a panel set up to get input from small entities about the impact that a proposed rule might have on their industries. We have convened that process.
We are in the midst of developing information to give out to the small business representatives and we will be officially convening the panel, which is comprised of OSHA, the SBA, and OMB, and the SERs to look at all of the information we're going to give them. They'll have about a month to look at it.
Then in April, we have to complete that process, at which point OSHA will try to figure out how to address those different recommendations that come out of that process and incorporate them into the proposal so that we can get to OMB by June of this year so that we can give them their 90 days that they're required to get and publish a proposal by October of 2004.
Once we've published in the Federal Register we'll have 90 days for comment. We'll have about 30 days after that to get ready for the hearing, so that puts us at roughly the beginning of February to begin public hearings.
We'll have a couple of weeks of hearings in Washington, DC, after which there's normally a post-hearing comment period. So that probably, roughly guessing right now, that looks like March of 2005. Then we have to get ready to do the final, which is due January the following year.
So, basically what that gives the Agency is about six months to incorporate all the recommendations, do any additional data analysis that we have to do and get it to OMB probably in early October in order to get their review and the department's review to be able to publish in January of 2006.
So, in a long-winded way, the point of this is, we're on a very tight schedule. January may seem like a long time away in 2006, but we have a lot of work that needs to be done.
On page 2, what I've tried to give you are the seven areas where we think, at this point, construction activities are likely to involve exposure to hexavalent chromium. One, is painting and surface preparation. A lot of that is abrasive blasting on structures that have been painted with hexavalent chromium-containing paints.
A second area is welding, thermal cutting on stainless steel. In addition, any welding or thermal cutting on surfaces that have been painted with hexavalent chromium paints.
A third one is woodworking with wood that has been treated with chromium and arsenic. A fourth one is industrial rehabilitation and maintenance. Basically what that is, is repair and maintenance in industry settings that either produce or process hexavalent chromium.
The fifth one is hazardous site waste work. The sixth one would be refractory restoration and maintenance. Finally, we have work with wet cement. The point there is, it's not dry cement that is the problem, it's wet cement in terms of exposure to hexavalent chromium.
The next page, page 3. What I wanted to do, is go through these seven sectors and give you a little bit of a feel for what our preliminary information is showing us about the number of workers exposed in these different categories and some of the exposure information that we have right now.
What I'd like to stress, is that it really is draft information. We're still in the process of refining some of these estimates as we go into the SBREFA process, and as we find things in the SBREFA process we'll probably refine them even more.
As we go into the proposal process we'll probably be making better estimates, but right now this is what our preliminary information is telling us.
With industrial rehabilitation -- and actually, all the ones on this page, the reason I selected them and put them together is because many of these activities have fairly low airborne exposures to hexavalent chromium.
If you look at industrial rehabilitation and maintenance, we have approximately 1,700 workers exposed, but about 100 percent of those are below 1 microgram per cubic meter.
In fact, 100 percent of them are actually below the limit of detection, which is about . 001 micrograms per cubic meter. So, we're talking about fairly low exposure here.
Hazardous waste site work. About 8 percent of hazardous waste sites have chromium there, so workers who have to do sampling or remediation activities have the potential for being exposed to hexavalent chromium.
There's approximately 1,200 workers in that category, with 100 percent of them being below 1 microgram and 75 percent being below the limit of detection.
With refractory restoration and maintenance, these are workers who have to go in, maintain, and repair refractories. About 5 percent of refractories are estimated to have exposure to hexavalent chromium.
A large part of refractories is actually trivalent chromium. Unfortunately, when they have certain conditions occur, either a lot of moisture and the heat that's involved, you get oxidizing conditions, and so what happens is the hexavalent chromium is re-formed. Typically, they try to optimize conditions to prevent this oxidation, but they can't always do that, so there is going to be some exposure there.
About 100 percent of those workers, the 400 that are exposed, are below 1 microgram per cubic meter. Most of them are above the limit of detection, but most of them are below even 0. 25 micrograms per cubic meter.
Finally, the last category on here is wet cement work, where you have a fairly large number of workers to expose, and we're still trying to refine this estimate about the numbers that are actually involved here. But they also have very low airborne exposures.
Part of that is that hexavalent chromium is not a natural constituent of cement. It's nothing that hexavalent chromium conveys to cement that you need it there. It's mainly a by-product of the limestone that they're using to make the cement.
Generally, there are only like 20 parts per million of hexavalent chromium in the cement, so it would take a lot of cement to actually generate high airborne exposures. In fact, 100 percent of them are below 1 microgram, and about 80 percent of those are below 0. 25. The main issue in wet cement is not airborne, it's really allergic contact dermatitis.
On the fourth page, you have some of the more major exposure categories. One of those is painting and surface preparation. In the past, chromate pigments have been used to paint a variety of things like the yellow strip that goes down the highway, and things like that. They don't use it very much any more.
However, when people go to repaint structures like bridges or water towers, they have to either totally remove the paint and put something else on, or at least have to sand it down so that the new paint will adhere.
So, you get the primary exposure probably here more in the removal of chromium-based paints rather than the application of paints, although there are still some chromated paints that are being used.
You'll see here that about 76 percent are below 1 microgram per cubic meter, 18 percent are between 1 and 10, and then just slightly below 10 percent are above 10 micrograms per cubic meter.
With welding and on stainless steel and chromium-painted surfaces, we have about 60,000 workers exposed. This is all different kinds of welding in current construction. I'm sure many of you are familiar with those different types.
What kind of exposure you'll get kind of depends on the type of welding that is being done, the proximity of the worker to the welding, and different factors such as that.
About 52 percent of those are below 1 microgram, 24 percent are between 1 and 10, and then there's an additional 24 percent that we believe to be above 10 micrograms per cubic meter.
The third category on this page is woodworking with chromated-copper arsenated-treated lumber. They call it CCA wood. Basically, this is a preservative that they put on wood to prevent biodegradation of the wood in its environment.
They have banned most residential uses of CCA wood. However, there still are industrial uses such as in highway construction, water towers, pilings, and utility poles. So, there is some of it out there.
We anticipate that a lot of this will start to diminish because of concerns more for the arsenic than for chromium. But, still, we have about 14,000 workers exposed. Sixty-eight percent of those are below 1, 21 percent are between 1 and 10, and then another 11 percent are above 10.
At this point, we have Bob Burt on the phone. I'd like to turn it over to him so that he can give you a little bit of the cost information that we've developed for these seven sectors.
Bob, are you there?
MR. WITT: While Bob is doing that, let me comment. After Bob Burt talks about the economics as it relates to different sectors, Mandy will walk through the different parts of the draft proposal and in some of the issues that we would like input from you on. And, of course, we'll be available to take questions.
MR. BURT: Bob Burt here.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Bob? Bob Krul with the ACCSH Committee in Chicago, Illinois. How are you?
MR. BURT: Fine.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Your colleagues are here. Mandy, do you want to talk to him and see if his volume is adjusted right?
MS. EDENS: Bob, can you hear me okay?
MR. BURT: Let me put you on speaker. Are you still there?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes.
MR. BURT: Hello?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes?
MR. BURT: Can you hear me?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, we can.
MR. BURT: Okay.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay.
MS. EDENS: Okay. Bob, I thought we had you on the phone. But, anyway, I roughly went over the seven sectors and a little bit of the exposure information. I was going to turn it over to you to give them some of the cost information we have.
MR. BURT: I'm sorry. Can you speak up a little? We're having a little trouble hearing you.
MS. EDENS: Okay. What I was trying to say, is I have gone over the seven areas where we believe to have exposure in the construction industry with hexavalent chromium, and gave them a little bit of information about the exposure profile. I was going to turn it over to you for the costs.
MR. BURT: Okay. So would you like me to talk about costs now then?
MS. EDENS: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes.
MR. BURT: Okay. Yell if you're having trouble hearing me.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: No. You're fine.
MR. BURT: Okay.
As Mandy may have covered, we're still looking at a variety of levels for the PEL. The costs vary greatly by the level of the PEL. At a PEL of 10, you're looking at costs for the construction industry as a whole of about $18 million. These climb very rapidly as the PEL goes down: at 1, you're looking at a cost of $70 million per year; at 0. 25, a cost of $291 million per year.
The bulk of these costs are associated with engineering controls and respirators. When you're at 10, they're a relatively small portion of the cost. A lot of the cost of a rule with a PEL of 10 are simply finding initial exposure, and training, and efforts of that kind.
As you get lower, around 1, about 80 percent of the costs are basically concerned with engineering controls and respirators. The welding and painting are the two most affected sectors. They account for over 80 percent of the costs at low levels, with the welding becoming very predominant in that.
In terms of economic impacts, these are most highly concentrated on firms that engage in welding on stainless steel. For those firms that engage in that activity, we're looking at costs that, by the time you get down to 0. 25 -- well, at 1 microgram per cubic meter, we're looking at costs that are about 1 percent of the revenues of such firms, at 0. 25 we're looking at costs that are 4 percent of the revenues of such firms.
These are significant costs. They are going to call for a good deal of further attention on the economic feasibility of the rule at those levels. We're still studying that issue. So, that's a very quick overview of the costs and economic impacts.
I wanted to add a couple of other things, if I may. One, is that the benefits are also quite substantial. We are talking, even at 10, of saving 13 to 45 lives a year. Down at 0. 25, we're talking about saving 25 to 87 lives per year. So, we also are looking at, with this same analysis and profile, some quite substantial benefits.
Finally, if I could take advantage of the opportunity to have two requests. We are still looking very hard for people in the construction industry for our SBREFA panel. If any of you know of small firms who might be interested in participating in our panel, we still have openings and would love to hear from you.
Second, I understood that some of you--and maybe all of you--had trouble using -- if you have any suggestions for SERs, you can call me at 202-693-1952. The second thing was, I understand some of you had trouble using the CD-rom we sent. Because it works for most people here, they weren't blank. If some of you have trouble and could give us a call at 202-693-2262, we would very much appreciate it, not just only to get yours working, but to be sure when we send this to other people they don't have similar problems, because we're having trouble tracking down what the problem might have been. Thanks a lot.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Bob.
MR. WITT: So Bob Burt is going to stay on the phone. Would you like to ask him questions now or wait until the end?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: If there are questions for Mr. Burt -- Scott Schneider, from the Laborers.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Hi, Bob.
MR. BURT: Hi.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I had a question. I was reading over the document on construction where you estimate that 100 percent of the exposures are below 1 or 0. 25, et cetera. It seemed like the estimates were made on very small data sets, in some cases like two data points. Is that all that we have or are there any attempts to go out and look and collect more information so we can have more confidence in the estimates?
MR. BURT: The exposure profiles are all of the data we managed to gather from those industries. Some of these industries are a little hard to look at. Some of them we have pretty extensive data on, but some of them are small activities in which there is limited exposure data.
I don't know if any of them are down to two points. In fact, I don't recall one of that kind. But I'd also ask Mandy, you folks helped put together the exposure profile and checked fees.
MS. EDENS: We had several site visits from NIOSH and from our contractor. And where we did not have information on a specific category, we used categories where they had a close analogy. Like, we couldn't really get to a cement worker in one place, but you might draw an equivalent to something in general industry that's very similar.
So, we tried to use that, plus personal contact with people. But as Bob said, some of these things, like a hazardous waste site, there's only 8 percent of them in the country to have it, so it would be likely if we go that day they're doing some sampling of some kind. Obviously, we always like to have more data than we had.
Part of this process will be to go to these groups that, if we misinterpreted their exposures, then this is their opportunity to tell us that we're way off the mark, that they're much higher or much lower than we've estimated.
I mean, I think as far as chromium goes, we probably have more information on chromium than we have had for a lot of other rulemakings we've done.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any other questions? Kevin Beauregard.
MR. BEAUREGARD: I'm not sure who appropriately to address this to, but seeing that we have him on the phone, there's a work sheet that was handed out to us that has draft preliminary estimates for worker exposure and it includes industrial rehabilitation and maintenance, hazardous waste sites, refractory restoration, and wet cement work. It indicates that 100 percent of all exposures were below 1 microgram per cubic meter.
I'm wondering how many of those are below 0. 5 microgram per cubic meter. The reason why I ask this, is it seems like the costs go up considerably as the number goes down.
The standard exempts Portland cement. I'm wondering why it does not exempt the other four, or other three items that are on there if the exposure levels are the same. So, I guess my question is, how many are below 0. 5 micrograms?
MS. EDENS: Which one do you want to know?
MR. BEAUREGARD: Well, for all four of these they say 100 percent are below the 1 microgram per cubic meter.
MS. EDENS: Well, I do have tables for all of the seven sectors where our contractor has broken it down by below the limit of detection, between the limit of detection and 0. 25, 0. 25 to 5, et cetera, all the way up. So if you wan that handout, I can pass it out. I have enough copies here. I derived this from the information that's on the CD.
MR. BEAUREGARD: And I didn't have a chance to look at the CD because I didn't get it. So, I apologize if it's already answered. But I was just curious, particularly because I think later, as you go through the standard, I think you're probably going to get a number of questions on the wet cement exemption. I'm just curious as to why the other ones weren't exempt as well.
MS. EDENS: I'll get to that question later if you want me to.
VOICE: Well, the route of entry will be different for wet cement, so using air sampling is not a very good metric.
MS. EDENS: If you want this, it's on your CD. I have one today if you'd like to have it now.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Are there any other questions for Bob Burt? Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: In your economic analysis, which I have not seen, but in there, having looked through the document, did you take into consideration, when you mentioned engineering and respiratory as the key issues, did you just take in the respiratory devices or did you include in those analyses the medical testing required for such respirators that may or may not be appropriate at this point in time, and the maintenance that I saw, the periotic maintenance of those medical costs and tests for those employers?
MR. BURT: Yes. We felt an employee needed to be in a respirator. We took the full costs that are appropriate for someone involved in that respirator program, fit testing, respirator-related medical surveillance, maintenance of the respirator, et cetera.
MS. WILLIAMS: Could you tell me if that was based on the respiratory standard of $125 per person, I believe, that was originally estimated, or do you have another revised general number that was used?
MR. BURT: We don't develop a general number.
MS. WILLIAMS: Okay.
MR. BURT: We develop something for each type of respirator according to the use it's going to have and what it is going to need. We don't have a plug-in number for respirators, in general. We regularly update those with new analyses.
MS. WILLIAMS: Is that information contained on the disk?
MR. BURT: Yes. Though if you want to call me for help in finding it, I'll help you find it.
MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you. I will.
MR. BURT: Okay.
MS. WILLIAMS: The second question I have on the same economic analysis type of a pattern, where you're looking for employers to provide protective clothing, storage facilities for removal of clothing, cleaning, repair or replacement of such clothing, and hand washing, where all areas need to have that exposure that you've designated for these painting, welding and things that are non-existent at this time on the construction sites, were you able to -- how did you achieve an economic impact of employers having to potentially create such facilities?
MR. BURT: Basically, we do our best to estimate the costs that such facilities would have, and then, in turn, estimate the expected economic impact. I'm not sure of the question.
We certainly require -- the personal protective equipment will mainly be needed in situations where there is exposure to dust, et cetera, or exposure above the PEL. We don't think everyone needs personal protective equipment.
MS. WILLIAMS: Okay. Then I think where my question would be going, is that I need to review. Do you have a particular PEL that you're looking at or are you still in the range that I saw?
MR. BURT: We examine the whole range and consistently try to do that. But personal protective equipment in construction is largely driven by the dermal exposure, about where there is dermal exposure.
MS. WILLIAMS: I don't know that I agree with that.
MR. BURT: What do you mean?
MS. WILLIAMS: Well, I'm thinking your protective equipment that you are looking at, and the clothing issue certainly would be that level. But exposure to -- and gloving possibly would. I'm looking at the other side of it, but the economics of the handwashing or the preparations that the employer would have to ensure to provide in those areas of exposure.
MR. BURT: The hand washing facilities?
MS. WILLIAMS: Yes, as one. And the maintenance of a change room, or creation of one for such activities if the PEL, when decided, is relevant.
MR. BURT: Yes. In the case of the hand washing, that is much more heavily affected by the PEL and rises as the PEL goes down. We had a range of costs for that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Bill Rhoten, then Scott.
MR. RHOTEN: I have just one question. I would imagine that when you arrive at what you consider is an exposure limit, that same exposure limit is going to apply to general industry and maritime. Is that fair to say?
MS. EDENS: That's the thought process right now, to have one.
MR. RHOTEN: So would there be any reason that wouldn't happen, I guess?
MR. BURT: That's a question more for Mandy, if I understood it correctly.
MR. WITT: Yes. That is our present position. But this is a proposal in progress. We still have the SBREFA process. We'll consider the comments of this committee as we develop a proposal. As John Henshaw said this morning, we're not at the publication place yet. It is subject to input, subject to change. But that is our present position.
MR. RHOTEN: Well, this is a very important position. First, thanks very much for the information in here. But this is a very important issue for our union, the plumbers and the pipe fitters. We've got over 300,000 members, and we've got 20,000 members that are enrolled in our welding certification program.
Besides the ones that are certified, out of those 20,000, there are those beyond that that are certified in some other program. Forty-nine percent of those welders are qualified to weld stainless steel, and 12 percent of them are qualified and tested to weld chrome.
There are new pipes coming out now, the P-91, I think it is, with chrome that is used more in the power houses. In fact, they're using it on pipelines that run across the country now because they found out that it's economically feasible to pay for that extra chrome in the pipe.
I know that we know that the rod that they use on that has got 2. 5 percent chrome in it. So, this whole issue is of fair amount of importance to us. I would hope, when we get to the end of it, that the permissible exposure limit that is going to be used in maritime or in general industry, the same one can be used for construction workers. I wouldn't see any reason it shouldn't be, logically.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott, you had a question?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes. Bob, I had two questions. One of them is, when you're looking at costing out respirator use, which kind of respirators are you proposing that people use, and are you considering the fact that OSHA is now looking at getting filtering face pieces, the same protection factors. So, which cost did you use, the cost of a filtering facepiece or the cost of an elastomeric respirator?
MR. WITT: Bob, before you answer, let me make one comment for the record. Scott is referring to the APF rulemaking. The APF proposal contains the same APF for filtering facepieces and elastomeric. That is currently what OSHA is enforcing, and that is going to occur in policy, 10 and 10. So the proposal, if finalized, would maintain what has been in place since 1992.
MR. SCHNEIDER: All right.
Well, the question for Bob is, which one did he use when he was doing cost estimates for respirators?
MR. BURT: We used elastomeric respirators for this. We assumed that.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay. Which is substantially more in cost than filtering facepieces.
MR. WITT: Scott, that's true of the individual respirators, but not necessarily true when you look at the entire respirator program that the employee would be required to implement.
We had testimony at the hearing two weeks ago from a number of individuals that, yes, filtering facepiece respirators individually are less costly than an elastomeric, but when you look at the overall program and the other requirements, it is not necessarily less expensive to implement.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay.
The second question I had--thank you very much--is what kind of analysis have you done looking at the potential exposures and the costs of technological feasibility and the cost of controls for dermal exposures to wet cement? I didn't see anything on the CD.
Admittedly, I could only look at part of it since I just got it Monday at 4:00 before I came. But what has been done already in terms of looking at the feasibility, technological and economic for dermal exposures?
MR. BURT: Okay. We certainly looked at dermal exposure in the other sectors. Let me just find my notes on this. Okay. Are you asking about dermal exposure in wet cement?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes.
MR. BURT: Okay. We looked at that. Our preliminary findings are that introducing dermal exposure requirements across that sector would pull another 230,000 workers -- probably closer to 300,000. This was maybe a low estimate. We're still working on this.
But a minimum of 230,000 of workers. It would prevent between 460 and 2,300 cases of dermatitis, and would have costs of about $250 million a year. So, that's a quick overview without all the caveats that should accompany it.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Is that all on the CD-rom, too?
MR. BURT: This was covered in the package you got. I'll try to get you a reference to that if you'd like one.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Is that in the economic analysis that's on the CD-rom?
MR. BURT: Right.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay. I didn't see it. Where would I find it, do you know?
MR. BURT: I'm not sure, myself. When I asked, I was told it was in there somewhere. I haven't found out where yet.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Thank you, Bob. We're going to limit discussion on the cost analysis, only because I've just been informed of some drop-dead leave times for making flights.
MR. BURT: Okay.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So, Bob, thank you very much for your participation.
MR. BURT: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. They're telling me to leave you here.
MR. BURT: Okay.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: My reason for saying that is I want you two guys to finish, but I know there are a couple of committee members that have some questions regarding the timing element of this and the content of the standard, and I want to get to that without cutting anybody's presentation short between you and Paula.
MS. EDENS: Well, I'll just kind of cut to the chase. Skip page 5. That's just a listing of the proposal. I assume most people may have had a chance, at least briefly, to look at the different provisions. I just wanted to stress that it is draft. We are still entering the development of the proposal. Things could change, but this draft kind of lays out where we are today.
Some of the areas that I was going to highlight, are, one, the scope. This current draft excludes work with wet cement in construction. What we want to know from you is, is this an appropriate approach? The rationale behind this is not that we think there's no risk to these workers because there's such a low airborne level.
In fact, as Bob pointed out, there's a variety of benefits. Basically, their exposure is from either dermatitis or allergic -- specifically allergic contact dermatitis. We do know that there are prevalent studies that show that this is a particular problem.
The difficulty is, is there are tons of different ways that people can be exposed to wet cement, and trying to figure out the best way, in a regulatory fashion, to cover them in terms of what is appropriate personal protective equipment for a variety of kinds of different uses, because there are tile layers, there's brickworkers, there's cement workers.
It's basically the wet concrete that is a problem. With the changing nature of construction sites, it makes it a little more -- the complexity and the variable nature of construction makes it difficult.
We were thinking that, as an approach that might better address the hazards that these particular workers face, is to use some guidance. We have already developed a document strictly for cement workers, wet cement workers, and construction to go through in more detail about the specific things that they can do to protect themselves from contact dermatitis.
Their main effect is not the risk of lung cancer, as these other groups, because they don't really have hardly any airborne exposure. It's really, as someone mentioned, not the nature of their exposure. It's a dermal exposure that gives them this dermatitis.
So, as a preliminary approach, we thought it would be better for the wet cement in construction, not wet cement in general industry, to cover them in a guidance fashion rather than in a regulatory fashion. It's not that we don't think that dermatitis is not important to protect against. So, that's the wet cement.
The other ones that you may or may not have as much concern about -- exposure assessment. Similar to some other standards we've done for construction, we are going to assume that certain activities result in exposures above the PEL, and that until you do an initial assessment, you have to assume that these activities are greater than the PEL.
If you've looked through a copy of the regulatory text, the three activities we've named are: abrasive blasting, welding, cutting and torch burning on stainless steel, and spray painting of chromium paints.
So, there's kind of a two-fold question here. One, is this an appropriate approach to use for chromium? Two, have we identified the correct activities that would be likely to be above a PEL?
The third one, as someone has kind of already alluded to, we have in the current draft change areas as opposed to change rooms. We have change rooms in general industry. The thinking here at this stage was that it might be hard to have a specific room on a construction site, but perhaps you could have an area.
Then there was some confusion about, well, do people know what you mean when you say an area, because some people use the term interchangeably. When they say "change area," they mean "change room."
We were meaning a change area, not something that has four walls and a door, or something like that, as there might be in, say, a general industry setting. So the question is, is that distinction clear? If it is clear, is it appropriate to do that?
The fourth one here I wanted to highlight was housekeeping. In the general industry standard we have some provisions for housekeeping, which means, you know, basically keeping the surfaces as free as possible of dust.
Well, on a construction site that seems to be a little bit problematic, so we haven't included provisions for housekeeping. The question there is, is that appropriate for construction?
If not, what housekeeping practices would be practical at a construction site in order to keep surfaces free of chromium, because looking at them you may or may not be able to tell it's chromium. Only if you did an analysis, would you be able to. So, you might be trying to sweep the entire construction site because it's all going to look dusty.
So, those are the four I wanted to lay out and open it up for questions.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Committee members? Go ahead, Jane. Somebody's got to start. It might as well be you.
MS. WILLIAMS: Well, I have not had the opportunity to truly read through this document and talk to appropriate people to answer your question on exposure assessment. I would think that there are definitely other tasks. But could I sit here at this time, with the limited information that I have? I could not respond.
Hygiene. I have a very significant concern. I would be more than willing to write those down for you at some point in time. But to have a change area without walls, if I heard you say that, instead of a change room in a mixed work environment, I think it would be terminally impractical. Ladies change differently than the guys and we need to have more access to -- we need to get more women in to do these specific functions.
MR. WITT: Jane, may I ask you a question? Since the construction standard will apply to the different parts of the construction industry for chromium exposure, how would the concept of a change room, similar to general industry, work on construction sites? In other words, all construction sites where there would be airborne chromium exposure?
MS. WILLIAMS: As a woman in construction for 30-some years, I would applaud it. But I think my employer representatives, looking at an economic analysis for feasibility, would certainly have other, different opinions on it.
MR. WITT: And is it feasible?
MR. RHOTEN: Yes. It's practical. There are temporary shacks that are put up on construction sites all the time to store equipment, valves, fitting. They're all locked up every night. It's very inexpensive to put up a change room.
MR. WITT: Is it true with bridge work when you're doing abrasive blasting?
MR. RHOTEN: Well, I would think not on the bridge, but off where you go into the workplace, certainly. All of this is applied with a shack--I call them a shack--that they set up, or trailers. Now they use trailers.
MR. WITT: So you would support a change room. It's the same concept as --
MR. RHOTEN: Well, they have change rooms now on large construction sites where the members can go in, take their overalls off, hang them up on the wall and leave their lunch boxes in them. It's not unusual. They just don't show up on a site, you know.
MR. WITT: We won't distinguish in a proposal --
MR. RHOTEN: Well, I would think it is, myself. And if it isn't, I'm sure there could be exceptions to anything. There are now. But as a practical matter, most construction sites that are doing stainless steel welding on them are not small strip malls. They're substantial sites.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mike Sotelo?
MR. SOTELO: I would agree with you for stainless steel welding. What worries me, is the interpretation of "change room" and how that's going to be looked at through your compliance division.
I live in Seattle. It rains a lot. To have something mandated, it's a little vague. Being so vague as far as a change room -- we have a state plan in Washington, and we have a problem already with the current inspectors over there interpreting the way they want to see things put.
I think the economic impact would be huge to a smaller contractor if there's anything that would apply to the residential arena, apartment builders.
MR. RHOTEN: I would agree with you, except, again, they're not going to do any chromium or stainless steel pipe with a small contractor. You're talking about jobs, industrial-type jobs, pipelines, in some cases, that are using that chrome pipe. I wouldn't think this would have any effect on small contractors at all.
MS. EDENS: Generally, we're not so worried about what the area is, if it's an area that does the job, if it's a room that does the job. The goal that OSHA is looking for, is these workers have maybe overalls that have chromium contaminated dust on them. OSHA's goal is to make sure that they're not having cross-migration or they're not taking these contaminated clothes off and taking them with their normal work clothes to go home. So, this is an area where they can do this in a practical and safe fashion.
So I don't know that we'd necessarily care what it looks like, but the goal for OSHA is to achieve some place, whether it's a room, or area, or it has to have specific dimensions so people know how to do it, and this kind of gets a little bit harder because everybody may have a way that they do it that achieves the same goal.
I just would say, keep in mind, really, what our goal is. It's not necessarily that we love change rooms or change areas. It's that we're trying to do a certain thing to get done.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Let me, in the interest of savings --
MR. RHOTEN: To be candid, this seems like the smallest part of this whole standard to me, whether you can describe a room with a roof on it that's got some privacy where they change clothes. I mean, this is not a big issue. I don't think there's anybody that can make the case that it's going to affect small business.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Hang on, Scott. Let me try and save some time here and cut to the chase, because we could sit here and tear the standard apart top to bottom, and we're going to wind up in the same place anyway.
The majority of the committee feels that this is too expedited for this ACCSH Committee to take this standard and make decisions based on what is in front of them today. I think that's what Jane was alluding to.
I have to concur. Whatever is good and bad about it cannot be looked at sitting at this table, any more than we could take the minutes that were given to us from the May meeting and make a decision on them in five minutes whether they're accepted or not.
I don't mean to be facetious in that analogy. It's a serious standard. It doesn't affect all of construction. Your statistics indicate it only affects a certain portion.
But I think for those, like the ironworkers, the painters, and the plasterers and cement masons, both in the union and in the non-union sector, have a duty and an obligation to check on those statistics, maybe even do some independent industrial hygiene studies of their own just to make sure that when the standard comes out that they feel comfortable with whatever the PEL is going to be.
It's wonderful to have all those assessments, but I think it is a very, very difficult thing for this committee to make any recommendations regarding this hexavalent chromium standard today.
MR. WITT: Bob, would you like me to respond?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Sure.
MR. WITT: We're sympathetic to your concern and we agree that there is a lot of material here to be reviewed and commented on, and we do seek your input. As Mandy pointed out at the outset, we are under very tight time constraints that were mandated by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia and we are bound to meet that timetable.
We had asked the court for more time, in fact, many more months than they allowed us. It is difficult. I agree, it is difficult to review all this material and to provide adequate input in such a short period of time.
There is still more opportunity to provide input to us and comments. As we go through the SBREFA process, there are opportunities to participate in that. You can continue as individuals or as a committee to submit input and comments to us.
Once the proposal is published in October, we'll go through the public rulemaking process, which a number of you have been involved with in the past.
As Mandy mentioned, there will be an opportunity to submit written comments, to provide testimony, and to appear at the public hearing. So, your input and your involvement is not limited to today.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Understood. Understood. The point, I think, is--and I'm speaking strictly from what I have gleaned in the last day and a half and the last few hours especially, is that we understand that OSHA can go forward, that this committee only makes recommendations and suggestions to the Assistant Secretary. But there is a huge concern about, because of the compressed time schedule -- we understand the court order that you folks are under.
But, again, I'm repeating myself, but especially for the people for whom this standard has the most exposure to the people that they represent, be they on the labor or management side, I don't think they feel comfortable giving any kind of a go-ahead at this meeting until there's a whole bunch of research that's done and questions asked. They have superiors that they have to report to, too.
So, I think if we have this little stand-off here, understanding that everybody wants to get to the same place, but it can't be with a recommendation from this committee to proceed with the standard as it currently exists.
Bill, then Scott.
MR. RHOTEN: I appreciate the fact that you're going forward with the standard. Downstream, it will no doubt give additional protection for our members. But in our position, maybe the question is, how long before you think you'll have a number on the permissible exposure limit? You must have an idea. I mean, it's a pretty wide range on there. You've got a document that says that the main part of it is that permissible exposure limit.
MR. WITT: Bob Burt will continue to look at the economic impacts and we will look at technological feasibility and risk assessment. We will go through the SBREFA process. As Mandy said, there will be a SBREFA report and we will respond to and deal with those recommendations when we draft the proposal.
MR. RHOTEN: It's a long ways off before --
MR. WITT: Well, we have to publish, by court order, in October. OMB gets 90 days to review this, which means it has to go to OMB by late June, early July in order to meet the court date. There is probably a two- to four-week review time that takes place outside of OSHA within the Department of Labor.
We will probably have to make that decision, though we may not be able to share it at that time. We'll have to make that decision, I would guess, by middle to late May. Then it will be under the departmental review and we will not be able to discuss that until it's approved by OMB.
MR. RHOTEN: So this committee won't have any idea, I mean, the way it's structured, what that limit will be until after the fact.
MR. WITT: That's correct. That's right. We're not able to share that.
MR. RHOTEN: I understand. Because that is the very essence of this whole standard, is what that number is going to be. Everything else is --
MR. WITT: But as I said, Bill, there's still additional time and opportunity for the committee, as individuals or as a whole, to provide input to us and recommendations before the Agency drafts the proposal that goes through departmental and OMB review, and an opportunity during the rulemaking to publish statements.
MR. RHOTEN: Well, of course, our recommendation would be to have that as low as humanly possible. But that's what's going to be the debate, as I see it. What I would like to have had, is that information, because I don't have the technical expertise myself. I would like to have those numbers so that I can go to somebody that actually had it and get a very clear idea in my mind what it is.
MR. WITT: Yes. Well, we have not delayed in sharing. This is an ongoing process for us. We're moving on a very expedited schedule. We knew that the meeting was taking place this week and we pulled all this together so we could share with the committee and the SBREFA panel.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott, then Jane.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes. My biggest concern is that, for our members, the dermatological problem is the largest problem we have. I was not able to find anything in the economic impact analysis looking at the impact, number of workers, number of cases.
I, frankly, think the number of cases that Bob suggested is way too small. That's like less than one percent of the workers having dermatitis per year. I think it's much larger than that. I haven't seen the guidance document you guys are developing. I would love to look at it.
I would hope that you'd share it with us and get input from us, if nothing else. But I think it's doubtful whether that's going to have the kind of impact that a standard would. I think it's a big mistake to exclude it from the scope of the standard in the proposal.
I think you could certainly raise the question after the regulatory text in the body of the preamble, but I think excluding it from the proposal is almost, de facto, a decision that is not going to be in the final.
Normally, if you look at the relationship between the proposals and the finals, it's rare that things are added in. Things are usually taken out. So, I would encourage you not to exclude it in the proposal.
I personally have to look at whatever data Bob can provide for me on the number of workers exposed, the number of cases expected, the economic costs. It seems very high. So, I haven't had a chance to see that. I did review the CD, but I didn't see it in there.
MS. EDENS: I know that technological feasibility information gives you the exposures and number of workers. I think it's in Chapter 31 of the Technological Feasibility Report. I don't know what chapter it is on the economic report.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I have Chapter 31 here. There's only about one page about dermatological issues, and there's really not very much information here at all.
MS. EDENS: But it should have the number of workers broken down by laborers and stuff like that. Maybe that's not the right chapter. But at any rate, in terms of the cases, you're not going to see it in that report. If you have better information, we would love to have it, because we are trying to do the risk assessment part, too.
As you probably well know, most of the risk information we had is related to lung cancer and a lot of epidemiological studies there. We have a few prevalent studies which look at the prevalence of dermatitis in some construction populations and we've used those, but it's hard to use the prevalence data to try to estimate in the future what the benefits are going to be.
I think we've made effort. There probably should be a benefit chapter in there. If you think there are more benefits, we'd love to know because we'd like to take more claim for them.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Could you share the risk assessments with us also?
MS. EDENS: There should be some summary risk information. Right now it's in the draft stage, the risk assessment. But for the SERs, I would say that even if you don't have everything at this minute, within the next week or two we're going to have the total packages--and Bob can confirm this--that the SERs are going to get.
In that package is a summary of the risk information as we know it now. That will roughly describe the risks we think are involved, why we think particular risk levels are under consideration, and things of that nature.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Mr. Chairman, we really need that information to make any kind of recommendation.
MS. EDENS: I should also say, Scott, that in the docket, at the same time, we're going to be entering the contractors' reports that we're using to make that. So if you want to see our contractors' risk assessments, it lays out all the risks, then you can look at that as well. It will be in the public docket probably within the month, if not within weeks.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Jane, I'm going to give you the last comment.
MS. WILLIAMS: I do want to extend to you my gratitude for providing the information, but I do have to acknowledge the timing. I understand your rulemaking agenda that you have to live with. But my other concern, having heard Mr. Burt state we do not have a construction entity at this point in time on the SBREFA, or would be looking for an additional construction person, I have to look at this committee as having been appointed to represent those construction interests.
So, I would be concerned with the SBREFA panel having the expertise that it might to bring to you the issues that we're trying to vaguely address because we don't have that time. Maybe we could get together as a committee to support you after we've had that time, with a timeframe after SBREFA, before you go to OMB in June, I believe you said.
But that would be something I would ask you to look at, to give us another opportunity to come back with more information in case you do not get it in the manner in which you are approaching it now.
MR. WITT: Well, maybe Bob can comment a little more on the small entity representatives that have been selected so far and what support he's asking for in the nature of construction.
MR. BURT: If I could come in for a minute.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead, Bob.
MR. BURT: Hi. We're not hearing real clearly, so I may not be -- I'll hit the points I want to make and hope they fit some of the things that have been said.
On the SBREFA panel, we definitely will have construction representatives. We are working with a variety of people, including some of you as individuals, to get them. There will be construction representatives on the panel.
However, if any of you can help us for additional construction representatives, that would be a big help. We're having trouble finding them. We're going to find some, and the more we have, the better. But if you can call me within the next week with some suggestions, it would be a big help to us. I just wanted to clarify that.
We're not saying there's going to be a SBREFA panel with no construction input. We're saying that this has been the slowest of the most affected industries to fall into place and find people who are interested. So, I just wanted to clarify that.
The other thing I wanted to clarify is, we will have a fairly substantial package which will be much more accessible than what we sent you, including good summary materials, going into the docket within the next week.
That material, in turn, the docket, we'll put on our Web site. So there will be not just the material we sent you, but some much more accessible versions of the material we sent you available very shortly.
I don't know how that affects things, but I overheard people discussing this. I just wanted to say, the SBREFA package is being finalized. It will be going out in the next week. It will also be made public and you will have materials that I think are a lot easier to use at that point than what we've sent you. That was what I wanted to say. If I didn't quite cover all the questions, please feel free.
MR. RHOTEN: I would assume that you've got large mechanical contractors showing interest in this. Is that correct?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Bob, did you hear that?
MR. BURT: Not quite.
MR. RHOTEN: I'm just assuming that you have large mechanical contractors that have an interest in this that are participating. Would that be fair to assume? I wouldn't see any need for small contractors to particularly get involved, at least on the mechanical side.
MR. BURT: The SBREFA stands for Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. It is a process we need to do which is specifically oriented to bring small businesses in early. Now, in construction, a small business can be -- it depends on what you mean by small. For example, a general contractor who does under $28 million worth of work is defined as a small business.
So the SBREFA process, though, is something that is aimed at small businesses as defined by SBA, which, as I said, for general contractors is less than $28 million a year, for specialty contractors it is, I believe, $13. 5 or $14 million a year in business.
MR. RHOTEN: Okay. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Hang on.
MS. SHORTALL: This is Sarah Shortall, ACCSH counsel. I wear my ACCSH counsel hat here, but back in Washington I'm also a rulemaking attorney. I'm hoping that Amanda, as well as Bob, could explain the amount of time it takes to respond to recommendations and do the analyses that would be necessary before you're even able to go through departmental review so that ACCSH members can understand your own internal deadlines before you go to those other deadlines you were speaking about.
MS. EDENS: Well, obviously, it depends on the nature of the recommendation about how much additional analyses will be required. If somebody told us our whole cost model is off, obviously it would take a lot of time to regroup and redo all the different analyses that have gone into it because you only have a thin disk, but the contractors' report is about five inches high. So, there's lots of information that's in there.
Sarah is probably alluding to it, but it takes a lot of time to one, understand the concern and figure out the best way to incorporate it in, and at a team level you have to figure that in, then you have to go forward to the different people that have to make the decision on it.
So, it's not a simple, just kind of write-it-in-the-reg-text and it's done. There may be some things that are fairly simple that can be addressed either by raising it as an issue and having further discussion on the proposal. It may be something that we feel is important enough that we really did do something in error and we need to go back and correct that.
Quite frankly, some of the things are going to be time dependent. There's not a whole lot we can do about it. We begged the court for more time and they did not want to give it to us. So, we're kind of where we are.
We will make every effort to incorporate any kind of recommendations or additional needs that we need to do. But at some point, if it is too much time, we simply will do our best and hope that that will settle it.
MR. WITT: And if we are not able to consider all the additional information, we will put that into the docket and that will become part of the rulemaking after the proposal is published. It will be given further consideration and will be available in the public docket.
MS. SHORTALL: And for Bob Burt, if you have recommendations come in, what type of timeframe is involved in completing your economic analysis to take into account those recommendations?
MR. BURT: Well, as Mandy suggested, it can vary widely depending on the form of the recommendation and how easy it is to adapt materials we now have, what kind of thing is involved.
One of the things we're looking at, though--I know this is a very simple-minded level--we're looking at a cost economic impact analysis that currently runs to several hundred pages.
To make any change in that, and change is -- that is, someone says, you know, here's something that would make a difference. Oh. Yes. Okay. Let's examine that. Okay. That changes the cost of this provision.
Changing the cost of that provision changes the total cost of the standard, and every table is involved in the total cost of the standard. Changing the total cost of the standard changes every page in the economic impact analysis. So, it's simple things like this that are no problem for something small.
But when you get a project as large as this one and covering as many sectors that is much in-depth analysis, just very simple things, just because of the way things ramify through analysis, can cause a lot of work and a lot of changes.
I'm not trying to make excuses here. We'll do our best to take account of anything that comes in. But there is a certain cut-off date that we have to give just to be able to turn out a document that is internally consistent.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. I'm clock-watching. It's my job. I would suggest this. I want to thank Bob Burt, Mandy, and Steve for making that presentation. Obviously, the committee has something in front of them that is problematic in terms of ACCSH dealing with this. We all know where you guys are going with your schedule and what has to be done.
My suggestion is going to be, in the interest of time, that we table this discussion for now, at least amongst the ACCSH Committee members, we go on with the next presenter, and I may even ask that we table this until tomorrow so we can have little caucuses amongst ourselves, if that seems fair to the rest of the committee.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Thank you very much. Steve, Mandy, thank you very much.
MS. EDENS: Thank you.
MR. WITT: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Bob.
MR. BURT: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Bye-bye.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Paula, is somebody assisting you?
MS. WHITE: Yes. Thank you so much.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay.
MR. SWANSON: Tom and the rest of the committee, I think it's clear from what we heard John Henshaw say this morning, that he wants this committee to be informed, he wants you to be satisfied that you're on top of the subject matter.
If we can do that by some means other than a full committee meeting, we'll do it. If we can't do it without a committee meeting, we'll have an ad hoc committee meeting sometime between now and May. This standard is just too important to the Agency for us not to do that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. There is at least a commitment for an ad hoc committee meeting. Then we have to deal with the issue of, even between now and then, is that enough time for everybody? As Scott had said, the risk assessments are extremely important and there are just things that need to be done. So, let us caucus as a committee and we'll figure that out for tomorrow.
While that is coming up for Paula's presentation, let me pass out this. I will have Kevin Beauregard read this. It's as a result of his presentation.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I take that back. We'll hold that until Paula's presentation is complete. Okay.
We have with us today Paula White, who is here to talk to us about the VPP Construction Pilot Results, the Alliances, Partnerships, and New VPP-Construction Overview.
So, Paula, if you would, if you would identify yourself for the record. Welcome
VPP CONSTRUCTION PILOT RESULTS, ALLIANCES, PARTNERSHIPS
AND NEW VPP-CONSTRUCTION OVERVIEW
By Paula White
MS. WHITE: Great. Thank you very much. My name is Paula White. I'm the Director of Cooperative and State Programs. As such, I have primary responsibility to the Agency for our voluntary and compliance assistance programs, as well as state programs for the Agency.
I very much appreciate the opportunity to be with you today and to update you on many of the new things we're doing in the construction industry and, I would have earlier said, hopefully seek your input. I may just leave you with the questions and have you get back to me.
MS. WHITE: I do think that, hopefully, this will be an easy presentation after the last one.
(Showing of slides)
MS. WHITE: I know that you guys have been hearing all along from Bruce, Stew, and other on Bruce's staff about some of our new initiatives, about VPP for Construction and our new OSHA Challenge program. But I, perhaps, want to give you a little bit more detail today about where we are on those programs.
Certainly you know as well as I, that VPP and construction are not strangers. VPP has been open to the construction industry and there has been construction participation since 1982. Since 1982, we have, however, only had 78 sites in the program, with construction currently having 30 sites in the federal program, about 19 sites in our state plan states' programs.
Given these numbers as compared to the size of the construction industry in this country, we all know that this represents something that is not quite fitting together.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: Really, I think the answer to why a construction-specific VPP -- and I apologize. I think the distance of this thing is such that not all the slides are showing on the screen. But you've got copies of them.
Certainly what we have found, and one of the reasons we launched the pilots that we did, was to look at what was right about our current VPP model in terms of its fit for construction and what needed to be modified or changed.
Certainly we know it's very clear from the numbers I've given you, and we know from experience, that our traditional VPP has not always been an exact fit for the construction industry.
Certainly our experience with our mobile workforce and our short-term construction models demonstrate that these are, in fact, some of the very reasons, because construction does have mobile workforces, it does have short-term sites. The site duration in construction is often too short.
The traditional VPP is designed for sites for which we have 12 months of experience. Also, in a traditional VPP, and in our VPP for construction, if a contractor doesn't have control over the site, they couldn't normally qualify for VPP.
We also know, certainly, given the high participation of construction sites in our partnership program that there is a great deal of interest in this industry to participate in and to be recognized for exemplary safety and health performance.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: So, that's why we launched these three models. As I said, we had three demonstrations, one for short-term construction sites, one for mobile workforces, and then a special construction pilot for subcontractors in Region 5.
As part of the process for redesigning VPP for construction, one of the first things we did, was to do an evaluation of these projects.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: Again, I really am sorry the slide is not showing on the screen. But, all of the data is shown in the handout that you have. Basically what we are finding, the feedback we are getting from our VPP program managers, and from our regional managers who have participated in these pilots is that the data is very, very good.
The data show that VPP does work for construction sites, at construction sites. There are construction sites that are well able and capable of meeting the stringent VPP requirements. Essentially, the status of VPP star is something that can well be upheld in construction sites.
So, based on this information, and certainly based on the interest of all of the stakeholders, we have moved ahead and are proceeding toward redesigning VPP criteria for construction.
I want to walk through a little bit about what that means with you, but let me just say -- yes?
MR. SCHNEIDER: I'm sorry. I didn't understand the data on that slide. Could you go back to that and explain that?
MS. WHITE: I can.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I don't know what these things are. What does this mean, three-year TCIR average 2. 4?
MS. WHITE: The Total Case Incident Rate in the short-term construction pilot showed that the average for these sites below the BLS rate -- they were 76 percent below the BLS average for other sites.
So, if you look, for example, at our typical participant in the general industry VPP, you know, we always talk about our sites being 50 percent or more below the average for their industry, so this is saying they were 76 percent below. Then on a three-year days away rate, they were, on average, 98 percent below the industry average.
MR. SCHNEIDER: But for the mobile workforce it would be --
MS. WHITE: That's right. It was different for the mobile workforce. The Region 5 pilot is still ongoing. It is not complete. This pilot was started more recently, so this data doesn't cover as long a period of time. We were also using -- let me add this. We were using the Total Case Incident Rate purposefully for these pilots.
What our determination is on this data is that the alternative VPP criteria which we've established for these sites met or exceeded the transitional VPP requirements for fixed work sites in general industry. In other words, we believe these data are compelling in terms of demonstrating the ability of construction sites to meet VPP criteria. Does that make sense?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes.
MS. WHITE: Okay.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: I think it important to share with you really a little bit more about what I mean and what we're doing with this re-design. As you know, VPP criteria are established by us in the Federal Register. It's not regulatory in the same sense as a standard is, but it is an established program in the Federal Register.
What we will do as part of this process, the end result of the re-design, is to do a new Federal Register notice describing the requirements for the VPP construction program, which then will lead to a new internal OSHA handbook for construction.
Where we are now, however, so that you know, we had a three-day, four-day meeting in Washington in December. We had 23 attendees. We had representatives from the ABC, the AGC, Black and Veitch, Turner Construction, the Washington Group, Torcon, GE, and LPR. We have another meeting scheduled in a few weeks with the building and construction trades.
Essentially, we shared with them the data that I have shared with you in much more detail, the information from the evaluation of the pilots, certainly information about the way the programs had been designed for the pilots, and really had an open conversation about what the features of a modified VPP for construction should be. I think, not surprisingly, the consensus of the group was that a modified VPP design for construction would look a lot like the pilots that we launched.
That is, that we need to be able to recognize and allow applications for construction at a variety of levels, probably at a corporate level, a business level, and a site level, that we need to be able to address the needs of short-term sites, that is 12-months or fewer. We need to be able to address the needs of construction subcontractors.
All of this, I think, says that, again, many of the criteria that we already established for these models we will carry forth, or these pilots, in a new program design. Certainly the current program that we have in place for site-based projects that last a multitude of years would still be appropriate.
Again, what I'm talking to you about it is a little bit theoretical now. That is we've got a concept paper. I'll be able to share that concept paper with you soon.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: But basically the thought process is this. As I said, the application process would allow an application at probably three separate levels, at a corporate or division business unit level or a site level.
If it were at a corporate or division level, the evaluation process then would be also a two-step process. That is, we would be looking to evaluate the corporate programs that were in place, and how they're used, and what the corporate oversight is of sites.
We would be looking for a corporate process that would be in place that would ensure pre-screening of its sites. We would also be looking then after that to do on-sites at sites.
That is, a corporate application would have to say, these are the sites we're including in our application and identify those sites for us, and then we would be reviewing those sites. So, it would be a two-step evaluation process. Certainly, if we're looking at corporate entities with sites in more than one region, we would probably have multi-regional teams involved in this.
The potential issues and questions and problems -- and problems is probably too strong a word, but there are certainly a number of policy issues that will have to be resolved as we move forward, and we would be seeking input from the groups that I've already identified for you, others that you may suggest, and from you guys as well. A lot of questions immediately come to mind, questions about the scope of improvement.
In our traditional VPP program, we're approving a fixed site. If someone applies at a corporate level and for a variety of sites, there's still a question about, what is the scope of approval?
Our pilot, for example, that we're currently running in Region 5, we have limited the scope of approval to essentially the southern part of the State of Ohio, so that it's really covered by one area office.
Some of the regional administrators seem to me to be maybe comfortable with going with a state-wide project. Certainly, many of the corporate entities that we talked with would like a corporate approval to be corporate and be nationwide at anyplace we are.
Well, as you know, there is not one OSHA, but there is OSHA and all of our state plan partners. I have discussed this with them. Kevin was in a meeting with me last meet when we were meeting with all the state plan states.
But I don't know that any of us initially -- well, I do know that initially none of us would be comfortable in any kind of nationwide approval because all of our programs and our state plan partners are not identical. So, the scope issue is an issue.
The issue of union and/or employee sign-on. Again, the key premise to the VPP program is employee participation. On a site-based program, that means if there is a recognized bargaining unit, those recognized bargaining units sign off on the application and on wanting this VPP program.
If it is then at a corporate level, how do we deal with employee participation? I tell you quite honestly, I don't have the answer for that today, but we know it's a policy issue that we have to resolve very soon.
So, that's just to give you, I think, a flavor of the kinds of issues. But, again, in terms of concepts, we're talking about ability to apply at a variety of levels, an on-site evaluation process that would be multi-level as well if there were a corporate or division-level application.
In terms of approval and recognition, we would be looking probably to design some kind of new VPP flag so that, as the individual sites move around, they get to carry their flag with them if they are at a site they are controlling.
Clearly, from the site, we require of all VPP participants an annual self-evaluation. So, the self-evaluation would need to cover all of the sites that had been involved in the process.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: In terms of a timeline, I will be very honest with you. I think this is a timeline that works if all the stars are aligned and nothing untoward happens. As I said, we've done the evaluation. We've had a series of meetings, with many more scheduled. Briefing you guys here today, we have a meeting scheduled with Building Construction Trades on March 4th.
In John's best-case world, we will publish our Federal Register notice for comment next fall and would be able to roll this program out beginning at the next calendar year. I would like for this to be the timeline, but I do think it's something -- we all are agreed on the direction we want to go.
I do think there are enough nitty-gritty questions to be worked out. It may, in fact, take us a little bit longer in that. But be advised that the Agency's commitment is to re-design the program, and I think we'll be successful in doing that.
Let me just pause here before I go on to see if there are any other questions or thoughts about construction VPP.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: I was wondering, in the application process, part of it is, they have to show a significant track record to get into this. I'm wondering, is it three years of injury rates below the national average? How is that --
MS. WHITE: We have just changed the requirement for fixed sites -- this fixed site program. The problem -- actually, how you raised that is why we re-designed this for construction. If you have a site that is only in place for 60 days, you can't do it.
That's why we bounce it up and look at a corporate level. So, we would be looking at something around the scope of three years, or the best three out of five, or two years out of three. I mean, I don't know what the final answer would be, but it would be -- it is certainly more. It's not a one-year record. It will be more than that. There will be a history to it.
MR. BRODERICK: Would you think that -- and I know I'm kind of jumping ahead to the last part of your presentation. But would you think that, with some of the partnerships that are already in place and have been in place for quite a while, that that would provide some fertile ground for people who would be going into this program?
MS. WHITE: Absolutely. Absolutely.
MR. BRODERICK: And do you see that maybe the structure, the criteria for partnerships ultimately could be modified to lend the partnership to be a preparatory step to getting into the VPP?
MS. WHITE: Interestingly, I think perhaps our thinking is the next thing I'm going to discuss, which is OSHA Challenge. It, in fact, is the road map. At least in talking to representatives from the AGC and ABC, they think this might be overlaid with their partnerships and be just what you said, that it essentially provides that road map and that structure that leads to VPP.
So I think it may be less that we will overall change our partnership program, but that if the AGC and ABC embraced this, that it becomes an additional -- it buttresses, I think, the partnership program, moving sites or corporate entities into VPP for construction.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: I had one other question. In terms of the VPP programs -- I'll just leave it at that for now. What are the benefits, other than recognition? What else do they get out of being a VPP member?
MS. WHITE: It's a little more amorphous than I would like. And it's interesting that you ask the question. We're always working on getting better data and we're trying to develop a business case for VPP. But in point of fact, being in VPP is much like being an OSHA partner. OSHA doesn't offer a lot to those who partner with us.
What we think VPP sites get out of it, and what VPP sites tell us they get out of it, is in addition to an exemption from programmed OSHA inspections--which I think a big hurrah is due to that. Not really--it is recognition.
It is, though, that if you are running an exemplary safety and health program, your employees are more protected, productivity is generally up, absenteeism is generally down.
Essentially, morale, which is something which is very hard to quantify or classify, but we've got some VPP sites working on a site to do this. Morale is better. I don't know if you -- anyone who's ever been to a VPP flag raising ceremony can tell you, the enthusiasm, the commitment is extraordinary.
It is a different way of working. It is a work site on which everybody is working together, that everybody is looking out for one another. It's a better place to work. Every VPP site we have demonstrates that. So, that is why we push this program so much.
We also know we have to work harder and better at being able to quantify that or to show that in a way that is not just my words saying it's a good thing. But it is a good thing. It's a very good thing.
Anything else on VPP?
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: Then let me talk, very briefly, about OSHA Challenge. When John made his announcement, and I didn't hear John, in his speech yesterday nor this morning -- all of us are always very nervous when we come and speak after him when we haven't heard what he said, because there might be a curve ball there someplace.
But when John spoke to the Voluntary Protection Program Participants Association meeting in Washington last September, he announced that we were doing three new programs related to VPP. One, the Challenge Program, one, VPP for Construction, and the other, VPP Corporate Programs. We generally call them the 3 C's.
We're now calling the Challenge Program the OSHA Challenge Program as opposed to VPP, because by calling it a VPP Challenge, the implication was that we were looking for everyone to move into VPP. You can do that, but you don't have to. So, I think we're all a little more comfortable calling it the OSHA Challenge Program.
The notion behind this is something that I think John has endorsed and wrapped his arms around since the first day he was on the job, and that is that he wants every entity in America to be on the ladder to improving safety and health performance in their workplace.
So what the Challenge Program is designed to do, is essentially offer that road map. What we have found over the last several years as we have worked with different entities, is that often employers simply -- it's like you see the whole, but you don't know, how do I break it down into pieces and how do I get from my current performance, wherever it is in the alphabet from A to Z, to an exemplary performance?
So, essentially what we've done, is take our VPP program criteria that worked and have broken them down into three stages so that it's a pretty simple road map for how do you get from point A to point B. There will be, in terms of identifying the criteria, two tracks, one for general industry and one for construction.
The program will be not administered by OSHA, but by outside administrators that have a few OSHA resources involved. But at the end of it at all, if a program or a site wants to get into VPP, they'll be ready. This, I think, speaks, Tom, to your question that you asked before.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: Essentially how this program will work, we're going to run this as a pilot. We hope to launch this pilot in March. It will be run by administrators. For the pilot, it's really people who have indicated they're willing to do it, so they're volunteering.
Downstream, we would see administrators being selected through a Federal Register process similar to the way we select our education centers. There will be a non-financial agreement between us and the administrators.
Right now, an administrator can be a corporate, a federal agency, a private nonprofit. Essentially, the criteria and administrator must possess a demonstrated knowledge about seeking health management systems, the resources to do what they say they're going to do, and really a commitment to improving safety and health.
As I said, for the purposes of the pilot, we have a number of groups identified to us through the VPPPA and through other federal agencies we've been working with, and we're going to select our pilot group from that cadre.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: Essentially the way the program will work--and we have been working and have a package almost completely developed about this program with the construction track lagging a little bit behind--is we have designed packages to give to administrators that tell them what their role is. It lays out what the three stages are.
If I'm company X and I do X, Y and Z, I will have completed step one. At the end of step one, that administrator is going to tell us in OSHA, company X has completed step one. That company will get a letter of support from the area office saying, congratulations. We understand you've done this. We're glad you're working for safety and health.
When they complete stage two, they'll get a letter from the regional administrator. You can see that these are not risky incentives on OSHA's part, but hopefully incentives that will encourage continued work on the part of the participants.
At the end of stage three, that lucky company will get a letter from John or from the Assistant Secretary. We will also have the names of the administrators and the participants on the Web site. If a company chooses at the end of it all to apply for VPP, our hope is that we would have a somewhat expedited on-site process so that it would be helpful for them.
The focus areas that the criteria are built around are the focus areas for a successful safety and health management system, including management commitment, employee involvement, work site analysis, hazard identification and controls, safety and health training.
Then for each of those, we have broken down actions. That is, these are the things you need to do at these different levels: documentation, what you need to do to document that you've done it, and what the desired outcomes are so that they can be tracking safety and health improvement.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: We also hope downstream that we're able to offer some sort of tools to help people, be they e-tools on our Web site or access to compliance assistance material.
MR. SCHNEIDER: What does the administrator do?
MS. WHITE: The administrator is essentially -- we're going to take the program and say, this is what's required. The administrator will be responsible for handing it off to the people in his or her group and in telling us that they've met the requirements. They're getting nothing from us, so our view is, anybody can do this.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Anybody who wants to read this. Yes.
MS. WHITE: Anyone who wants to do this. And let me give you an example. In the pilot, the administrators we were talking about including the VPPPA, the Voluntary Protection Participants Association, because they are already mentoring. They think this actually provides them a better road map for mentoring.
We have a small company called Curtis Lumber Company in upstate New York that was one of our Sharp participants in consultation, and is now a VPP member. This guy is just a gung-ho safety and health guy. He's already voluntarily mentoring a lot of small companies in the upstate New York area. He's going to be an administrator for us.
AGC and ABC have both said they would like to be administrators. Again, they believe that this road map essentially is something they can build into their partnership programs so that they're moving people along in a consistent way, and, again, will lead them into VPP downstream, if that's what the sites want to do.
We had hoped that some corporations might endorse this. That is, they're bringing their sites along anyway. What we're finding now, is that most of the corporate people we're talking to probably will be corporate VPP and will not be Challenge. But one of our alliance partners -- I want to get this right.
I think it's IEC. They said they may be willing to be an administrator. One of our printing industry alliance partners may be an administrator as well. So, it's those kinds of people. So, that's where we are.
With construction, as I said, the group that I described to you before, we went over the different criteria. We have been talking back and forth with them. We will share this information once we've got our paper written with you guys, we get your input.
We're going to get some input from -- obviously we're working with Bruce's staff on all of this. The good thing about pilots, is I think we're fairly flexible about the ability to implement them and then change as we go.
We really would like to get both of these pilots--this pilot and our corporate VPP pilot--out in March so that we can run them for about a year and figure out where to go next.
Any other questions about that?
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: Then we'll talk, just briefly, about partnerships and alliances.
Construction has been really the key to our partnership program. We have had, since the program was initiated in 1998, over 300 total partnerships with 210 currently active, and 145 of those are in the construction industry. So, I think, beyond question, it emphasizes the importance of this program to us and to you as very active partners.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: I was going to tout some very effective partnerships, but in the interest of time, I think I'll just talk about one of them. And I'm doing it because I know Kevin is going to talk about tower erection tomorrow.
This partnership that we have in Region 3, the Philadelphia Telecom Tower Partnership, was started in May of 2000. It has included IBEW Local members, as well as affiliates of Fox and NBC.
Essentially what the partners agreed to was doing up-front work before the first person ever went up a tower. The reason they entered into the partnership in the first place was because of a very high rate of fatalities.
Since this partnership went into place, there have been no fatalities, there have been no injuries, there have been no illnesses. Now, because these are very small work sites, and obviously the number of total covered employees is very small, but Region 3 is so pleased with the success of this that they are very actively reaching out to the entire industry in their region and want to expand this partnership.
We believe that this is one of the reasons our partnership program works, is because it is a partnership dealing with something very specific, and there are very specific steps taken to address the identified problems, and that we can see as we go along what the success is.
So, this has been very successful, as have the other two which I'm not going to tell you about. But call me and I'll tell you about them. We're putting partnership success stories up on the Web as well.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: I know you guys have been hearing about alliances. You know what they are. It offers simply another way for entities to work with OSHA. Primarily we are working with trade associations, but we are also working as well in a couple of instances with individual corporations.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: Again, the benefits, I think getting to Scott's question about VPP. What we are finding about alliances, is it really is an opportunity to build a cooperative trusting relationship. As a result of that, what we're finding is more things happen once you get over the OSHA fear factor.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: It also allows all of us to leverage resources. I think I've got some very good examples. Oh, that's terrible. I've got some very good examples of leveraging, which I'll show you in a minute.
This is a chart that, if you could see the other end, has a very small bar. Essentially, it is simply showing the growth of the alliance program and the Agency.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: We currently have 10 construction alliances that are signed. There are about 10 more in process, or soon to be signed. I will just give you an idea of the soon-to-be-signed.
It includes the Associated General Contractors with a focus on ergonomic, Balfour USA, which will focus on fleet safety and mold removal, also on Hispanic workers. Gilbain Constructors, which will focus on fall hazards, handling wood.
LLC, which will look at issues around Spanish language safety and health and training material. The National Utility Contractors Association, and also one with Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: This is simply a list. You've got the list in your handout, I won't read it, of our current construction alliances. As I said, there are 10 of them. I am, let me add now, only speaking of national alliances, not all of the regional alliances. (Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: But let me just give you an example of what happens through alliances and the whole issue of leveraging.
IEC has been a great alliance for us. This alliance was signed November 12, 2002. Some of the things that we have worked on with the IEC, and, let me add, their initial focus, was working on employee exposure to falls, rear-end automobile collisions, and material handling hazards.
First of all, we worked together to update the IEC's Safety Topics page so that we have links, so anyone in the electrical contracting industry has better and easier access to up-to-date material. NECA, who also is one of our allies, is probably going to join with us in working on these issues.
The IEC was very active in working with us in the development of an ergonomic solution for an electrical contractors e-tool that is up on the Web now.
One of the things that is very clear to me as we have begun these alliance programs is that everyone benefits when we have input from organized labor, from industry helping us develop our e-tool products. We get a product that is much more relevant and much more meaningful than if OSHA does this on our own.
Similarly, participating with us in the support of our safety and health topics pages ensures that better information is made available. IEC also has helped us with our safety and health topic page on electrical safety and health, and are continuing to help us update that page.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: If you go to our Web site under e-tools, this is just a screen shot that shows you and acknowledges that this e-tool was developed along with IEC. This is actually from the IEC alliance. This will take you to the e-tool and to the safety and health topics page that IEC helped us with.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: The Washington Group International. I guess we initially signed this alliance for a year. It was renewed last year. This has been an incredibly productive and useful alliance for OSHA.
One of the things that's interesting, and I won't go through all of the things that have been done under this alliance, is the Washington Group has its own course for supervisors to take which essentially includes the OSHA 10-hour course, but also is a course in which they discuss the economics of safety and health and about the safety culture that they have built in this company.
What the Washington Group has done for us, is they have allowed our staff in Region 10 in our Boise area office to attend this class. They also offered this class in Region 8, the Denver area office, and they brought it to DC and offered it to staff in Washington in December. A lot of my staff took this class.
Again, they're giving us all the material they've built in this course so it gets to that issue of building the case, the business case, for safety and health. They also, for example, in their 8-hour HAZWOPER refresher training offered that training to our staff in Boise.
The OSHA 500 module training they provided in Region 1 for 30 high school technical vocational teachers. So, they are working with us, but we are taking advantage of their resources, which they are very generously sharing with us and with vocational education teachers, for example, which is an incredible opportunity.
I think the last bullet, which you can't really see, they have also worked with the ASSE chapter in Boise and are helping us with a professional certification course that our compliance officers are attending.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: Finally then, just briefly, to tell you some of the new outreach services we are providing. We have recently launched, I think three weeks ago, a My OSHA -- it says My OSHA Web Page, and it really shouldn't. It's a My OSHA icon that allows personalization for anyone who wants to personalize the OSHA Web page.
A new product called an industry sector quick start, which is for general industry, I'm going to tell you a little bit more about that. Then I want to conclude with a few minutes on the Hispanic summit.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: The My OSHA Web page. I think we've had about 2,000 people sign up. If you haven't done it, I encourage you to do so. If you are someone who is active on our Web site, essentially what this allows you to do is personalize your approach to the OSHA Web so that when you open it it can go to the page you want, you can establish favorites.
You can essentially organize the OSHA Web in a way that makes it most useful for you. It is very easy to sign up. Just let me emphasize, obviously we're not allowed to trace cookies.
We know who's on there so someone can technically help you, but it is set up so there's lots of security and we can't go back and see what you're looking at. But we think this is a feature, if you use our Web, that will help you quite a lot.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: Quick Start, as I said, we launched a couple of weeks ago. I think this is going to be very helpful for small employers. We will next do a Quick Start for construction.
It is designed to identify most of the major OSHA requirements and guidance materials that are available. It has a library so that if you're new to business you can go and see, what are all the requirements and where can I find them.
It provides compliance assistance links, other kinds of technical links. As I said, the next one is going to be for construction. We probably will look to you guys to help us with that.
I did not do a slide on the Hispanic summit because it is an ever-changing target. I know it was brought up this morning. I can answer no more questions than have already been answered.
But let me tell you what I know about it. Certainly, John has made a commitment to hold an Hispanic summit. There's been a lot of talk in NACOSH, and I know that NACOSH put a workgroup together.
Someone from this committee--and I apologize for not knowing who -- oh. It's Jane--participated in those early conversations in terms of giving us recommendations.
My staff, primarily Lee Anne Jillings, is responsible for working with NIOSH for the design of this summit. We recently met with John and essentially said to him, you know, we're hearing from everybody.
We're hearing from NACOSH, we're hearing from our internal Hispanic task group, from others, and everybody's wants for this summit are huge, and the budget that I have to support this summit is very, very small. So, let's talk about, you know, scope, and let's talk about outcomes in terms of what you want out of this.
John is going to talk with the Department, with the Secretary's office to see if there is interest in financing this by the Secretary's office. We don't know if that's possible or not.
Also, knowing that if we go to the Department and there is interest, that probably the scope of the summit would expand beyond OSHA. That is, it probably would get them to issues covered by the Employment Standards Administration, and others.
I am hopeful that I will have an answer on this very soon, at which point we will be able to be clearer about how many people we're inviting, how many speakers we need, how many workshops, how many breakout groups.
Certainly, we know we will want you guys to help us identify speakers. I think we've already indicated that to you.
The mission of the summit, certainly, is to bring together representatives from government, from industry, from labor unions, from faith-based organizations to share best practices, to identify where there are gaps for OSHA, and what are things that OSHA is doing that is right, and what are things we could be doing that is better so that we can improve OSHA programs as they relate to non-industry workers.
But, again, what that scope is -- the program design for something like this really depends on how much money we have to fund it. We're looking to do it probably a May, June, July timeframe. I'm pushing July, John's pushing May, so probably June.
But I'll share information with you as soon as we have the answers that will allow us to know what our next steps are. We are very eager to proceed.
(Changing of slides)
MS. WHITE: You've got my contact information here. It's on your handout page. As I said, Lee Anne Jillings is the office director working for me who will have primary responsibility for this. We all have the same--I'm sure you already know this. The e-mail configuration is lastname. firstname@dol. gov.
So, either Lee Anne or I would be happy to talk to you, hear your suggestions, or if you have any comments. If you want to have some group work with us, we would be happy for that as well.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: I have a quick question. There are 10 national construction alliances. I was wondering, is there any plan at some point to get all those folks together in a room to share with each other?
MS. WHITE: Yes. Yes.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes. Because I think that would be very helpful.
MS. WHITE: Yes. We do, too. One of the things we found out, as we work more and more on the alliance program -- we do -- for example, I do a quarterly alliance briefing.
As we bring people together, we find that they have shared common interest. That, downstream, is going to be the effectiveness of this program, is to get that synergy. So, yes, we are planning that.
MR. SCHNEIDER: You're saying, just for the construction folks?
MS. WHITE: Yes. Yes.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes.
And the other question I had is, on the alliance program, what do you see as OSHA's contribution to the alliance? How do you see that working?
MS. WHITE: Well, it depends. It really does depend. For example, on developing these e-tools, we have had alliance program participants bringing the technical expertise for the e-tool. We bring, for the safety and health information, the technical expertise for developing the e-tool.
So, you know, they don't have to worry about the computer expertise, or how we put it together, or getting it up on the Web. We do that part. But they tell us what should be on it.
In terms of training, for example, an alliance we have with the Society of Plastics Industries, some of Hank Payne's staff here in Chicago worked with people from the plastics industries. We jointly developed a course, we jointly delivered it. Then we took that course and turned it over to an OSHA education center that's delivering that course.
So, you know, we try to find, who's got the right resources? You all know how few resources we have, so we try to be the power behind the throne and push, but we definitely have some things we can bring to the table. We bring our area office people in as necessary, regional office people.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Well, I know you have a plane to catch. Thank you.
MS. WHITE: Thank you. I am sorry, too, that I was so rushed. I really apologize.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Well, we apologize, too, because we went a little bit over on a couple of things because of our rescheduling to accommodate people whose planes were captured in Washington, DC.
MS. WHITE: I understand that. But I really would like to hear from you. We appreciate any input you can give us into the design of these new programs. We would like your participation. We want your support. Certainly, as I said, on the Hispanic summit, I'll be getting back to you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay.
MS. WHITE: Okay. Great. Thank you so much.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Paula. Thank you very much.
Mike Buchet is going to take just a couple of minutes to set up his program. In the meantime, I'm going to ask Kevin -- let me just give everybody a quick little timeline thing here on the agenda.
Mike Buchet is going to do the CDAC, Crane and Derrick Advisory Committee, presentation, if anybody wants to take a quick, two-minute break. But as soon as Mike gets set up, we're going to go.
Then when Mike gets done, the new member orientation is going to take place today. We're going to go over just a little bit today to ensure that we can all go catch early planes tomorrow. So if everybody wouldn't mind sacrificing about 30 minutes of our little cocktail hour, when we caucus --
(Whereupon, at 3:30 p. m. the meeting was recessed. )
[3:40 p. m. ]
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Everybody take your seats, please. We'll go back on the record.
I want to repeat for the people in the audience what I had said this morning, if some of you have come late. If there is anybody that would like to participate in the public comment period tomorrow, if you would give me your business card and let me know what you'd like to speak about, and for how long, I'd appreciate it. And for everybody's time schedule, this will be the last presentation by Mike Buchet.
There is another item on the agenda called New Member Orientation, which is off the record. So, this will be the last official piece of business today, and we'll adjourn after Mike's presentation.
Before I introduce Mike, I'd like to call on Kevin Beauregard. He'd like to put something before the committee regarding his presentation this morning on the tower erection.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Mr. Chairman, in light of the Tower Workgroup's activities, the presentation, and also hearing about the Federal Region 5 tower initiative, and a few moments ago Paula White mentioning the alliance up in Philadelphia, I'd like to make the following motion:
ACCSH respectfully requests that OSHA expeditiously move forward in developing and implementing a national emphasis program regarding the construction and maintenance of telecommunication towers.
It is further recommended that these efforts include, 1) outreach activities; 2) targeting activities that would be for outreach and compliance activity in the consideration of adding a tower standard to the regulatory agenda.
Included with this request is a list of specific targeting approaches and outreach activities that should be included in this endeavor by OSHA. I will give you a copy of those.
Additionally, ACCSH also recommends the continuance of a telecommunication workgroup to review activities and topics related to telecommunication towers until such time as this item is placed on the regulatory agenda.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Is there a second to that motion?
MR. BRODERICK: I'll second it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: The motion has been made. You've heard it. It's been regularly moved and seconded. Anybody on the question?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All those in favor, signify by the sign, aye.
(A chorus of ayes)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Opposed, if any?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So moved.
Michael Buchet, with the non-controversial topic of cranes and derricks in the construction industry. Michael, welcome.
Please, for the record, introduce yourself and your affiliation.
NEGOTIATED RULEMAKING SUBPART N
CRANES AND DERRICKS
By Michael Buchet
(Showing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: Michael Buchet, Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance. I will do everything in my power to get you done quickly.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We appreciate that.
MR. BUCHET: I've already chopped out a number of slides in this presentation. What I intend to do is go through the background very, very quickly, go over the membership sort of by categories.
You can read the names. I won't discuss them. Then we'll start talking about what some of the meetings have done and the sort of, not final, but near final list of issues that are before the committee.
I should recognize that we have at least one committee member sitting here who is going to come over and smack me if I get it wrong.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: CDAC. That's the easy way to refer to the Crane and Derrick Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee. I can't say that three times fast, and I won't say it again.
For a number of reasons, the Agency decided to go forward with a negotiated rulemaking on this topic. The industry, ACCSH, all suggested that it was a suitable topic and that we could bring together like-minded individuals who were interested in improving the crane and derrick standard.
We have put forth Federal Register notices telling the world we were going to do that. We've accepted nominations. We got comments on the nominations on the final membership list. There were some anticipated key issues and then we started to conclude some of the meetings.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: Why negotiated rulemaking? Well, all of the above. Congress has shown a preference in certain situations for agencies to use negotiated rulemaking. We met those criteria.
Department of Labor has regulations that help specify how and why we should do a negotiated rulemaking, and we've met those criteria. OSHA has its own criteria. We've met those. We had input from the industry, as I said, from this very committee and from the ACCSH Crane Workgroup.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: I don't need to read all these. It's the history of the Federal Register notices. But there are several things going on in this picture that the committee talked about.
The site. Though it looks like it's a beautiful site, it's not level. This crane here is going to help assemble the boom, a mobile crane down there, so they can put up another tower crane on this particular job site.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: Where did the people come from? We'll go through these lists so you can see they're manufacturers and suppliers, lessors/maintainers, users who are employers, users who are labor organizations, and so on down the line.
The charge is to find a widespread representation of the interested groups of the public to come in, and also to let other interested entities in the public form alliances with people who are actually on the committee.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: As I said, I wasn't going to read all the membership, but if you take a quick look you will see who is there as a manufacturer and supplier. If you have a particular interest in what they have to say, get ahold of them. Lessors/maintainers. I think a number of us recognize this gentleman's name.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: User employers.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: Operators and labor organizations, government entities. Noah Connell, my boss, is the man with the bull's eye. He sits there and does a good job of giving and taking.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: Michael Hyland resigned. He felt that his interests didn't exactly line up with what the committee expected him to represent. Last November, Wallace Vega, III from Energy Corporation was appointed to replace Mr. Hyland's seat. Energy, as you know, has a great deal to do with power line construction, transmission line construction. And our sole insurance representative.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: As I said, we went out of our way to -- not out of our way. We did a great deal to invite interested members of the public to identify their issues and identify and attempt to form coalitions with people on the committee.
There are a number of interested public people and entities who come to meetings and make presentations to the committee and spend a good deal of time talking with some of the committee members.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: All of the preliminaries took place last year. We actually started the first meeting July 30th.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: A couple of things became very apparent very, very quickly. One, everybody knew exactly what they thought a crane was. Two, nobody knew exactly what everybody thought cranes and derricks were.
The scope became an issue that we quickly reached a general consensus of, I know it when I see it. But there are several machines, pieces of equipment that are outside the normal that need to be discussed.
We will come back to this issue in a little bit with another slide. But there is a -- machine made largely in Europe. Some call them dedicated pile driving rigs. Some of them call them -- self-erecting hydraulic pile drivers.
They're distinguished by having a mast that functions largely as the leader for the pile hammer, the vibratory pile hammer. Unfortunately, they're not really dedicated because almost all of them can also support an auger. Some of them support the pile hammer and an auger at the same time. The other is used for drilling a test hole before they start stabbing the pile.
The unique thing about these machines, is this hydraulic mechanism allows the mast, as it were, the leaders, to fold down behind the machine for transportation. They can move somewhat forward. They have load charts, hence the discussion, is this a crane or not.
I should also say that up there at the top on that hammer head, there are anywhere from two to four hoist lines that go back to draw works that look exactly like a modern hydraulic telescoping boom crane.
Derricks. We had issues with what derricks should be included. We are lucky to have Mr. Jourin on the committee, who has a great deal of knowledge in tower cranes.
So, tower cranes are not so much an issue what they look like and whether they're included or not, though you will see, if we go from city to city, sort of traditional hammer head tower cranes. In other cities, you will see the committee is dealing with things that are mounted on pedestals and they have -- booms.
Just recently, we had a question about a type of forklift, and should it be included. That type of forklift has at least four rough-terrain tires. It has a completely rotating superstructure.
It has a telescoping hydraulic boom. With a few quick-disconnect pins, you can replace the fork with a hydraulic hoist that will lift 10,000 pounds or more. These things can reach 60, 70, 80 feet. The committee is still left discussing the idea of scope.
In recent meetings -- I'm going to show you the whole list of issues that they've talked about, and we can sort of go through it quickly. But in recent meetings, one of the things the committee has done is asked panels to come and give presentations to provide resources to the committee.
Operation near power lines. We had a meeting in February devoted largely to that issue, though it also had presentations on derricks. I think we had five power company contractors and representatives come in and talk to us about the dangers and the hazards, and the safest ways of operating cranes near power lines.
It was a useful learning experience. The committee is going to come back to that issue again, and again, and again.
MR. SWANSON: Yes. If I may interrupt there, Michael.
MR. BUCHET: Yes.
MR. SWANSON: Anybody on the committee, if you have strong feelings about this particular subject, the committee itself is going to have a difficult time reaching consensus on exactly what the guidelines or rules should be vis-a-vis cranes operating near power lines.
We have several creative suggestions out there on the table right now, but I just want to encourage you to contact whoever you think is your most appropriate contact on the committee, have a discussion with them, and give them whatever support you can. Thank you.
MR. BUCHET: I might jump on that and I'll talk about it a little bit later, how can you get involved? That is certainly one of the ways. Another way is to come in and do public comment, as Tom Broderick did on this topic. Thank you very much for delivering the materials, because we now have his materials for the record.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: Cranes and derricks on barges. We had, in Washington last week, panels on the self-erecting pile driving augur rigs and cranes or derricks on barges. I think, speaking for everybody there, we learned a great deal.
It was mind-boggling to see how big some of the cranes are that are put on barges to do construction work. The panels from the San Francisco Bay area brought in pictures of two barges that had been cut apart in St. Louis, I believe, trucked across the country, welded back together, and when the two of them were welded together, they were supporting a crane that could lift 500 tons.
They were using it to sneak pilings in underneath an existing bridge, and they needed all that capacity because, the angle of the boom and that crane was such that it couldn't lift 500 tons, but it could lift the 70 or 80 tons these steel pilings weighed and advance the barge on the bridge.
Anyway, that's the sort of thing that the committee is learning about, how they're going to ask employers and workers using that equipment safely they haven't yet discussed.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: The meetings went from the end of July to the beginning of August on a monthly cycle, all the way through the beginning of last month. In March, because there is a crane conference in Germany at the beginning of April, the April meeting was backed up. So, we will have two meetings at the Department of Labor in March.
There are two outstanding items on, as I said, this large issues pick list. They will be introduced in March. They will more than likely not be finalized.
One of them is the discussion that has been touched on in bits and pieces, and that's safety devices and operational aides. I guess there's a discussion there about, what is a safety device versus what is an operational aide.
Then after you've decided if there is a difference, how do you put various pieces of equipment and technology in one category or another, and how do you regulate their safe use?
A couple of examples are failsafe warning devices, secondary braking systems, proximity warning alarms, range-limiting devices, boom stops. A large category. As Bruce invited you, if you have any particular interest in this issue, please come on down and talk to us.
I think the committee is doing its homework, trying to find out what the population of these devices are. The other problem is, technology is advancing relatively quickly in many, many fields and the computerization of cranes is becoming more and more a fact of life.
We don't know where the next generation of these devices will be, but you can rest assured, they will be in place before this standard gets rewritten.
Then at the end of March, we have a category that we're saving, along with definitions, for more or less the back-end of the discussion. It's listed as "Limited requirements for cranes with a rated capacity of 2,000 pounds or less."
The issue may be actually a little bit broader than that. Again, we're not sure how the discussion was going to go. The reason we've saved it to the end, is after you've figured out the size, shape and form of all the other cranes and agreed what a crane is and what a derrick is, and how big the scope is, then we want to go back and visit the idea of a tailored set of requirements for different classifications of cranes.
The 2,000 pounds or less is proxy at the moment. I think the committee has talked about another proxy for classifying them as reach, boom length, a combination of boom length and capacity. We're not sure.
But the idea of somebody being trained to operate this particular truck having to go through an accredited, certified training program followed by a full-blown practical application exam doesn't seem as relevant as somebody running a crane that can lift 100 tons and move it 600 feet. Anyway, loosely, that is one of the upcoming issues.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: Is this a crane? It's another piece of equipment that loosely fits our definition. It's got the capability of lifting, lowering, horizontally moving the load. It rotates around a center point. It is a telescoping and articulating boom, which confuses the issue.
Here is the beginning. There are 28 numbered items, and a couple of sub-items, on what the committee has been talking about. As I said, the only two that have not been introduced at this point and had some preliminary discussion were the two that we're going to hit in March.
Why look at this list? Because, at the rate the discussion goes in the committee, the facilitator or our chair, Susan Podziba, needs a little latitude to maintain momentum.
So, she has agreed that she will hit certain topics at the first March meeting and at the second March meeting, but as the discussions slow, if somebody makes a useful leap from, say, the scope to modifications, or from the safety devices to working next to a power line, then she has the freedom, and the committee has the freedom, to follow the discussion where it goes.
So, we are suggesting that the discussions will now go back to these issues. An attempt is going to be made to take them somewhat in order, but we're definitely not married to taking them in order.
Definitions, I hinted, we were saving again for the last. That's because, as we go down the items, if we find one where everybody says we need a definition, we check-mark it. We try to find a definition in a useful resource, ANSI, loads and riggers --
MR. SWANSON: Most of these are rather esoteric areas and you can trust our CDAC committee. But one that I would like to point out to you that the construction industry as a whole might want to step into and take a bigger piece of, is number five.
We are going to be talking about certification, and that is going to be one that people are going to get very emotional about. So, to the extent you can have input, please do.
MR. BUCHET: Everybody seen enough of the first 13?
MR. BUCHET: There's more of them. There's another one that may cause, and has already caused, some discussion. Bruce, did you want to --
MR. SWANSON: No. The AGC is going to let us decide for them on this.
VOICE: I don't know about that.
MR. SWANSON: No. That, obviously, is another one that people have some strong feelings on.
MR. BUCHET: And as we pointed out earlier, operating near power lines -- there have been some interesting ideas on how to approach that.
We got into a discussion of this issue. I'm not so sure that the term "critical lifts" is going to appear. The general feeling was that the term is a buzz word that's been around for a long time, and everybody, again, like the idea of a crane, had some idea of what a critical lift means to them.
But when it came to a general idea or an absolute understanding of what all critical lifts were, it didn't work. Nobody could absolutely say for certain, so the term may disappear.
We may come up with some criteria for suggesting lifts outside some operating norm for the employer involved that would require more planning, pre-planning. But, again, we'll see what happens as we go through that.
We had an interesting presentation at the last meeting on verification criteria for structural adequacy of crane components and stability testing requirements. We had presentations by a representative from LIBHER, which follows the European standards testing protocol for verifying their design criteria.
We had a presentation by a representative from a company in this country that does testing for the major American crane manufacturers, and told us about the protocol for verifying, I guess, the adequacy of the engineering, but of the prototype as designed by an American manufacturer in the United States for use in the United States.
I think this one, as Bruce said, is esoteric, but a lot of people are going to be interested in how that works out. I don't know that we're particularly sure how it's going to work out.
MR. SWANSON: But most of the people are really interested who make cranes for a living.
MR. BUCHET: Yes. And as you may know, the American manufacturers either own, are owned, or have alliances or partnerships with non-American crane manufacturers. So, it's a muddy discussion.
There is an issue with overhead and gantry cranes. We had trouble deciding what a crane was. We were having a tougher time figuring out where overhead and gantry cranes begin and stop.
I mentioned derricks. One of the components of a derrick, we had stated to the world that this standard will not involve what OSHA calls a hoist, which is a different part of the subpart.
Unfortunately, in the derrick world, a derrick isn't a derrick unless the derrick has its hoist, the hoist being the draw works that power the cables that run the derrick.
We are going to hear more from some of the public representatives who came in and talked about derricks and what we have to consider for their safety, as we have some interest in the overhead and gantry crane discussion on including things that are mostly called jacking beams.
These are devices that largely sit on the ground on a prepared runway or rail system, have extremely powerful hydraulic jacks that go up straight, hopefully, to a carrying beam that goes across whatever is being lifted, and whatever is being lifted is suspended by wire rope from that beam. If you look at them in sort of profile, it could remind you very much of a gantry crane. So, the committee is going to wrestle with that one.
Loading cranes, cranes on barges. We heard a great deal at the last meeting about the choice of and the possible need to have the barge looked at and certified or surveyed, to have the crane looked at and inspected, and possibly certified as a maritime crane, and then having the whole unit looked at as one piece.
The experts who came and talked to us said, you can know your crane and you can know your barge, but put the two together, the crane has all of a sudden a new characteristic that needs a brand-new load chart, and the barge floats entirely differently.
Then, unfortunately, every time you move the crane on the barge, depending on the relative size of the tube, you might have to recalculate the load chart for the crane on every spot on the barge. It sort of boiled down to two sliding scales.
The bigger the crane on the smaller barge, the more impact the crane has on what happens to the barge. The bigger the barge and the smaller the crane, it becomes more like driving around on a hard surface.
There was big discussion and disagreement on the idea of attaching the crane to the barge. Some people, apparently including the manufacturers, OSHA's current standard, and some others said, if you put a crane on a barge, you have to tie that crane down.
The manufacturers brought up the point, if you tie a crane down to the barge, the barge becomes part of the crane's counterweight and you can overload the crane and do structural damage to it very, very easily.
Another point was brought up from a large west coast marine contractor. We put cranes on barges, and they put big cranes on barges. They have a crane mounted on the barge that can lift hundreds, if not thousands, of tons.
Then they put a crane that the rest of us would consider big, if you saw it operating here in Chicago, and it's a service crane. They say it has to be available to move around the barge to service the thing that's doing all the work.
Now, in that company they put down a mats frame. There is no crane contact with the metal barge deck. It's all crane contact with wood. They prescribe a dance floor, and that crane is allowed to operate inside that dance floor, and they've done the calculations and they've adjusted the load chart on the crane. The committee doesn't know where to go with that one. Stay tuned. They'll be coming back to it.
Another one you might be interested in, and maybe not, is cab criteria. Currently in the standard there is a criteria that says you can't route the exhaust gas through the operator's cab. Some of the other things that people have talked about is ropes protection. That drew a large chuckle from several people on the committee.
Certainly, visibility is an issue. Overhead protection for things falling through. We don't know. Possibly visibility in the rear. Unfortunately, there have been more than a few injuries and some fatalities where the rear swing -- the counter weight, because of its swing radius, has caught vehicles and people.
The operator simply can't see back there without something, a mirror. Some people have suggested rear-view TV cameras. Other people are talking about higher tech stuff like a sensor, a back-up sensor or something like that.
Any questions on these topics? Yes?
MR. SCHNEIDER: What about the visibility for blind picks and what the requirements are for that?
MR. BUCHET: Signals.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes. I'm sorry. I was just asking about blind picks. I know that there were some people in Michigan that were experimenting with a camera on the top of the boom so you'd actually see where you're picking as well.
MR. BUCHET: Two things. One, the idea of putting cameras on the headache ball or on the lower load block, or on particularly the boom, has been discussed. Mostly, the response and how the committee has narrowed the discussion of blind picks, is to handle it through the crane operation section and signaling.
The way they've looked at it now, is you will have to have some form of positive communication. Either you use a relay person, swing the operator and the person who is actually signaling the pick or the line, radio communication.
They spent a good deal of time talking about how to maintain radio communication, having a clear channel. The operator does not say anything. If the operator doesn't understand anything, they're suggesting the response of the operator is to stop. At that point, the signal person goes, what's wrong? The discussion about how the signals are to be given have run into some interesting meanderings.
The idea is that, using voice communication, the signaler would say, "Swing left, swing left, swing left, swing left, swing left. We've got 100 feet to go. Slow down. Swing left, swing left, swing left." In the blind, they suggest that's the way it should be done.
Several people pointed out immediately that, on many, many jobs, the blind part of the pick is on the far side of the boom and the operator can see where load is being initially connected and picked up, and the signal person then tells them to take it up and take it away.
There's no need to really start the signaling until he starts getting over the top of the building and having to go down the other side. That hasn't been solved yet. It's been discussed fairly thoroughly.
Any other questions on this one?
(Changing of slides)
MR. BUCHET: The next meetings. May 3, 4, 5, June 2, 3, 4, and July 7, 8, 9. As I pointed out earlier, we were going to continue to negotiate off that list. If the list changes, we publish it in the Federal Register. We will add the new items to the document in the Federal Register.
We have an e-mail list, another way that you can get information about what's happening, of interested parties. If you want to be on that e-mail list, give me your e-mail address or send me your e-mail address.
What we have been sending out are meeting summaries, the agendas of upcoming meetings, the Federal Register notice announcing the upcoming meeting, what we are calling the draft work document which is OSHA's best attempt to capture the regulatory concepts that the committee has voiced so far. The draft working document will be the basis of the rest of the negotiations. Thank you. You know who we are, the Directorate of Construction.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Questions from the committee?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Come on, Frank. I know you want to say something to him.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: I wasn't sure how it was going to work out, but I'll tell you, everybody's got the same interest, and it's safety. That boiled down the very first day. I mean, it really came out as, everybody was looking for safety of the people who were working with the crane.
Not the crane operators, but the people who have to work with them. I was fortunate enough to get a seat on it because the operators and the iron workers work closer than anybody else. They're our closest -- you know, our lives are in their hands.
So, there's a lot that they do for us and there's a lot of things that we want to make sure is just carried on in safety throughout everybody, ABC, the union. There's no difference in anybody's thoughts. So, it's a good committee to work with. There's a lot of good interest there. There have been a few things that were actually deleted, I think, as far as things we were going to have in the standard. A couple of pieces of equipment.
MR. BUCHET: Well, that's true. There were discussions about, as I said, limiting forklifts. But then we had the discussion at the last meeting that there's a new kind of forklift on the market and it's starting to look more and more like a crane.
Other equipment that was included in there that isn't intuitive is side boom tractors. Stay tuned. Every time we work on the scope and the definition moves a little bit, then something else comes in and gets ruled out.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Michael. Thank you for that presentation.
MR. BUCHET: You're welcome.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: What we're going to do, is adjourn for the day. We'll be back here tomorrow at 8:00. I'm told you can leave whatever you would like--not your wallet, obviously--on the top of your desk. This is going to be in the same room tomorrow, so it should all be here. Thank you, everyone, for your patience. New members, stay for the orientation. Eight o'clock tomorrow.
(Whereupon, at 4:17 p. m. the meeting was recessed, to reconvene at 8:00 a. m. on Friday, February 13, 2004. )
C E R T I F I C A T E
This is to certify that the foregoing proceedings of a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, (ACCSH), U. S. Department of Labor, Occupational
Safety and Health Administration, held on Thursday, February 12, 2004, were transcribed as herein appears, and this is the original of transcript thereof.