200 Constitution Avenue, NW
No editorial corrections were received from the participants for this meeting.
The meeting was convened, pursuant to recess, at 8:37 a.m., MR. ROBERT KRUL, Chairman, presiding.
Mr. Robert Krul
Mr. Frank L. Migliaccio, JR.
Mr. Scott Schneider
Mr. William C. Rhoten
Mr. Greg Strudwick
Mr. Michael J. Thibodeaux
Mr. Mike Sotelo
Mr. Kevin Beauregard
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
Sarah Shortall, Esq.
Office Of The Solicitor
Claudia Thurber, Esq.
Counsel For Health Standards
Mr. Davis Lane
On Behalf Of Assistant Secretary Henshaw
Ms. Amanda Edens
Mr. Bob Burt
Mr. Noah Connell
Ms. Kim Lazor
Mr. Felipe Devora
P R O C E E D I N G S
Opening Remarks By ACCSH Chair - Robert Krul
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Good morning, everybody. I would call this committee back into order.
We ran a little bit over the opening remarks, but that's good, because all I really wanted to say to this committee, which I didn't get a chance to do yesterday because we were all rushing out of here, but I want to thank you for your work yesterday in what was a difficult, and could have become a really, really contentious issue -- and it was complicated, there's no question about it. But I want to thank you for -- even though there was disagreement, that that disagreement was civil and it was understood.
That advice and recommendations sent to OSHA, as we said several times yesterday. It's okay for committees to disagree, as long as they disagree and still shake hands and smile at one another. That's the important thing. So, I want to thank you for your work yesterday.
Workgroup Charge/Measurable Outcomes
CHAIRMAN KRUL: On this workgroup charge, measurable outcomes, you have an ACCSH workgroup chart that was provided to you. I don't want to get into the discussion we had the last time we tried to pare this down. I think everybody understood where I was coming from, although, again, there was some disagreement.
But understanding that we only have so many people to work on this -- and I don't want to gore anybody's ox. If someone thinks that a topic for a workgroup is important, we will put it on the agenda and keep it there.
But I would like everybody to remember that last discussion. When you come to town, you only have so much time to work in these workgroups. If we have 15 or 20 of them, it's going to be difficult to put man- and womanpower on all those committees and to keep them divided amongst the employer, employee, and public sector, as OSHA wants to see anything that comes out of those groups.
You can't have a workgroup lopsided one way or the other and expect OSHA to seriously consider the advice and recommendations that come out of them, I think, for obvious reasons.
So, let's open this thing up to discussion, looking at that chart. I know there's also some--and I asked Bruce yesterday if he would be kind enough to comment on that and he said that he would--issues out there about who can come to these workgroups when they're scheduled, and who goes on the OSHA payroll for those and who doesn't. We'll get that all cleared up today, hopefully.
So, who would like to go first? Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, on silica, I have spoken in conversation with the co-chair, Cheryl. We both feel that, as this is now in a process, that most of our charges are eliminated at this point until such time as they review the SBREFA information and may come back to ask us to do tasking for them in any particular area.
There is a document in your folder, a very thick document. That was the last charge of the Silica Workgroup of a year and a half ago, where we were asked to come up with multiple types of wet-cutting methods that we could share with the committee just to help you be more informed when those discussions on silica came back to the committee.
So, having completed that, and with that being circulated to the committee, all of our actual charges have been completed. So, therefore, I would recommend that that go into a -- I don't know that it would be proper for it to be dispersed at this time, but certainly it could be inactive, unless we were to be recharged. Or we could disperse the committee and reform it, should we be given a new charge, at the Chair's pleasure.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Let me ask the pleasure of the committee. The last time we got into this active/inactive workgroup discussion there were a lot of feelings about not listing workgroups and having the word "inactive" stamped next to them. I understand, but is it -- I mean, I don't have a preference. I mean, I'm -- yes?
MR. SWANSON: My recommendation to this committee is, if you believe that a committee, subcommittee, workgroup need not be active, what I would do is disband the committee.
My recommendation is based on where this administration has come from in the last three and a half years. On the regulatory agenda, if there is not a standard that is being actively worked on, they have taken it off the regulatory agenda.
They do not want things on the regulatory agenda that are promises that, we'll get to it someday, and it resides there for six or eight years with no work being done.
Their preference is that, if you have an active subject and an active committee, make it active. If it's not active, get rid of it. If there's a need for it next fall, start another committee. Easily done. Anyhow, that's my recommendation and my thought process.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott, go ahead.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Well, I mean, silica is a perfect example. There is an active regulatory process under way. I think the question is, if we disband the Silica Subcommittee, and say something happens, say OSHA puts out a proposal in the next, say, couple of months before our next meeting, we may want to call a Silica Subcommittee meeting, say, prior to, like the day before our next ACCSH meeting, whenever that's going to be. So, we wouldn't be able to reconstitute the committee without this committee meeting. So, I don't know. It seems like -- I don't see it's a big deal to leave at least the Silica Subcommittee, the noise one, things where there's active regulatory process under way, leave those as standing committees right now, as existing committees, and then they will become active by having a meeting when something occurs in the regulatory process that they need to respond to.
So, like for example, noise. There is going to be a noise proposal sometime, hopefully in the next year. So we're going to have to get together as a workgroup and discuss it, discuss what the propose standard says, maybe make a recommendation to this committee.
So, we don't know when that's going to happen, whether it's before our next meeting or after our next meeting. So, I would leave that as an open committee, and active or inactive is irrelevant. It's just a question of whether or not they meet. If they don't meet, they are, de facto, inactive, but they can meet at any time.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. I'm going to need some clarification and help here from someone. If the scenario you're posing develops, what input does this committee have at that point? I thought the input was prior to the regulatory process, not post. Is that correct? Is that not correct?
Jane? Go ahead.
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, when we discussed the silica charge, its mission, if you will, it was to support Mr. Perry and others to help recognize construction activities that they could use in their language as examples, if they cared to do so, which they did.
At this point, we do not have an additional charge. It's my understanding--and I may be wrong. Mr. Swanson might correct me--that should silica, at this point, have clarification needed, it would come back to the entire committee for their consideration, and at that time the committee Chair may say, well, do we want a workgroup to figure this one out, or is going to be another hexavalent chromium where we all get involved? That's how it was explained to me would occur once it got through the SBREFA process, which this one has.
So, I don't know what more, as construction lay people, that we could offer to them, because they are along their merry way, except to do what we did in the process, the hexavalent chromium, to say, well, we don't understand, or maybe look at economics. But I think that would be more of a joint effort than the meat, nitty-gritty of a workgroup, as it was explained to me.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And I understand what you're saying, Scott. It's just hard for me to envision what these workgroups -- say the workgroup recommended a PEL of blank, and it came back twice that or five times that, and the committee -- I mean, what input do we have at that point?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Let me just suggest something. Like, for example, OSHA had some stakeholder meetings on hearing conservation and construction in Chicago recently. I mean, if OSHA puts out a report, a summary--which they're going to do.
They haven't done it yet--of what the results of that meeting would be, that's something that I would think could go to the Noise Workgroup and we could look at it and somehow respond to it as to whether or not we, you know, agreed with it, disagreed with it, or had additional information to add.
Like, for example, I just got this article on the number of silicosis cases in the United States, an estimate that was made by some researchers in Michigan. I was going to provide this to the subcommittee and they could review it, or -- I don't know. Make copies available to the committee. I don't know the best way to bring this to people's attention.
I did want to add, on this one-third issue, which is the Trenching Workgroup, I'm very unclear as to what the status of that is, given this trenching initiative that was set up, and there's a trenching sort of task force that OSHA set up.
There was a lot of confusion about what the relationship of that is to our workgroup, whether it's the same or different. We're meeting this afternoon, I guess, but I don't know whether that's an ACCSH meeting or a separate meeting.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: What makes you think it's not an ACCSH workgroup meeting?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Because we were told it's not.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: This was set up separate and -- go ahead, Greg.
MR. STRUDWICK: The Trenching Task Force was set up to address the initiative that we were involved in, Scott, so this was more of an informal situation this afternoon. But with Felipe, with all of us here, basically, it was easier to get the entire group that met a month ago together today, this afternoon. We will resolve some of those issues this afternoon, I'm sure.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: David, go ahead, then Tom.
MR. BUSH: Mr. Chairman or Mr. Swanson, is there a time certain when input from this committee no longer helps the OSHA staff? I mean, is that something we could look at and say, okay, at this point -- because I agree with the Chairman.
At some point -- I mean, our job is to simply advise and to share our thoughts. If there is some time certain, then that would certainly put a stop to any workgroup, committee, or -- and I don't know whether there is or not. That's my question.
MR. SWANSON: Well, this committee really wears several hats. What was done yesterday and what has been done often in the past, the committee came to -- or OSHA came to this committee yesterday, under the old Construction Safety Act that has language in there -- predates OSHA.
It has language in there indicating that the Secretary, on construction matters, should seek the advice, before she takes action, of her Construction Advisory Committee. It predates OSHA. Giving a nod to that language -- pardon?
MS. SHORTALL: Mr. Swanson is correct that the original theory or the original idea of having this committee consult with the Department of Labor and OSHA whenever a safety and health standard is going to be published that addresses construction activities is in the Construction Safety Act. But OSHA also codified that in Section 1912.3 of our own regulations covering hearings and committees.
So, it also is specifically stated in 1912.3(a) that prior to publication of proposed rules, whenever OSHA is publishing or proposing a standard on safety and health, directed to construction activities or affecting them, that they shall consult with this advisory committee.
MR. SWANSON: I think the language -- and there will be a test on this for all of you later. I think the language is "seek the advice of" as opposed to "consult." The statute says, "seek the advice of."
Anyhow, what happened yesterday, they came to this committee formally seeking the advice of this committee. That is over. That's done. You've said what you have to say on Subpart V and on hexavalent chromium.
This committee, nonetheless, is a continuing committee. What OSHA has done over the past 30 years, is allowed this committee, when it meets, to discuss items that are of interest to the construction community.
So if there was an item out there OSHA has already been to you with its proposed standard, it has received your advice, possibly even consulted with you on the issue, and OSHA has now published its proposal, OSHA does not need you any longer on that issue.
OSHA has, however, never told this committee that you can't deal with that subject any longer, we don't want to hear you talking about it. Perhaps that day will come, but it hasn't in the first 30 years. So, you can continue to share your opinions with OSHA regarding a particular subject.
Let me use the crane and derrick issue where a committee, a workgroup, was set up several year ago. The workgroup -- workgroups really -- they are a basis for us to bring in public comment on a more formalized basis and continuing basis than the one-shot interest group things like we did out in Chicago and we've done several other times around the country on various standards.
The cranes and derrick workgroup met for years, literally years. And I don't know. What, four, six, eight times a year, they came in here under the auspices of an OSHA workgroup.
Twenty, 30 people from the construction community who had an interest in cranes and derricks spent hours and tens of thousands of dollars of their own money coming to Washington and helping us walk through what they thought would be a very good new Subpart N, if OSHA ever got around to doing one.
A couple of years back, OSHA got around to that and selected it for a negotiated rulemaking. The negreg committee took the regulatory text that had been put together by this committee over several years and it made a very, very effective working paper to start from as to, what were the hot issues in the crane and derrick world, in the opinions of the people who worked with it. It was very, very effective.
Once we set up C-DAC, however, it was the judgment of this committee at that time that they had no further need to work as a workgroup on crane and derricks.
I don't think we would have stopped them, but it might have been counterproductive, Dave, to have the two committees and the confusion going. A number of people who had spent several years and their own wealth coming in for that workgroup ended up on the C-DAC committee.
It was a very, very effective exercise that we applied. But there's an example of, once we took formal action the workgroup disappeared, because it was the judgment of this committee that it should.
MS. SHORTALL: I'm going to put my hat on for a minute as a rulemaking attorney in the Office of the Solicitor. As part of the record that is considered in rulemakings, the Agency will often look at not only its own docket, but also whatever other dockets are in its own rulemaking.
If the Agency is particularly smart, in its own preamble to its proposed and final rules it will incorporate by reference other dockets that have information that would be relevant to this rulemaking, which would then give them the ability to look at anything that is in ACCSH's docket, which would include the transcripts of every meeting, our summary minutes, and any other information that is placed into it.
So, that is one avenue after this point at which your opinions will, in a normal way, be able to be considered in the rulemaking process.
Number two, the rulemaking process is open to any person who is an interested party. I think every person on ACCSH is very interested in any issue dealing with construction safety and health, so you have the ability to participate directly in the rulemaking as an individual.
Then the last thing, talking about workgroups itself, I'm sitting here looking at the regulations, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and your own procedures and guidelines.
From those, it's pretty clear that the type of subcommittees or workgroups that you have in here would be considered informal subgroups that haven't been established formally in your charter, which I think gives the Chair and the committee great latitude at any moment to create a workgroup if something were to arise that it would be needed.
I don't think there's anything within your guidelines or the regulations itself that would prohibit the Chair, independent of the meeting here, to establish a workgroup to start working on something at some point.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Sarah. That was going to be another question. Tom?
MR. BRODERICK: Well, I think the scope of what each of the workgroups does is something that maybe we should take a look at. Most of the things that we have addressed in this forum have been supporting regulatory activities.
But I see a huge hole out there in our industry in terms of dispersion of information. In other words, we get lots of information here, and on this floor in the Department of Labor there's an awful lot of knowledge about construction safety.
But within the last couple of weeks, I was driving around Chicago and this (indicating) was being used as a respirator for people who were jackhammering on concrete in a huge cloud of dust. Now, that takes me back to when I was a driller in the early '70s. That's basically what we got for a respirator.
So, I know that on the ACCSH website there's a page that says "Work Products." I don't know that it wouldn't be a legitimate role for each of these workgroups to try to do a little better at mining information.
I know, looking at our NIOSH representative, I know that there's a lot of stuff down in Morgantown that would be very helpful to our industry. T.J. Lentz just did an article in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly.
Now, I don't think that gets widely circulated in the construction industry, but it was an excellent piece on excavations with two very current trenching fatalities that are relevant to trenching activities all over the country.
So, I think that a legitimate role for workgroups would be to try to find information that would be helpful for our industry, and figure out ways to get it to the industry.
I may be all wet, and that may not be part of the charter of ACCSH. But seeing the web page that says "Work Product," and it's not real full of ACCSH work product, that would be a place to start.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott, then Jane.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Two things. One, I wanted to follow up on what Tom just mentioned. I was going to bring this up under New Business. Maybe that's more appropriate, is to try to see if some of the work products of the workgroups of ACCSH over the years that are now buried in the docket could be put on the ACCSH website.
There's a lot stuff this committee has done. They've done a tremendous amount of work on a number of issues, on health and safety program standards, lockout/tagout, confined space, musculoskeletal disorders, all sorts of issues that have developed work products that this ACCSH has approved, or that the workgroups have approved.
Right now, I think all that work, in some sense, has gone to waste, in the sense that it is not publicly available. The sanitation standard, the safety and health program standard. This group developed drafts on all of these and voted on them.
I think, particularly as a new ACCSH member, we may not be aware of -- we should get copies of those, at least, to see what's gone on before so we don't have to reinvent the wheel. I mean, the years of work that's gone into those -- So, I was going to make a proposal at some point today that we gather those work products, put them on the website, make them available to committee members.
But I wanted to follow up on another thing. We talk about workgroups. I think one of the problems is, before I became an ACCSH member I participated in a lot of workgroups of this committee. I think it's really the only way that the public can really have effective input into the ACCSH.
I mean, they can get up and speak in the public comment period for a few minutes, but in terms of actually participating and working with ACCSH, I think the workgroups is really the way that they have the most effective input.
Like, for example, the Trenching Workgroup. I mean, I really value some of the input from people like George Kennedy, who has a lot of experience, a lot of great ideas.
It's much easier to have a workgroup meeting and have them come to the meeting and have them participate effectively that way. So, I think they do play an important role, even if there isn't a regulatory driver.
And there are a lot of things the workgroups could do. I mean, like the Noise Workgroup. OSHA does have certain issues that they're concerned about with regard to hearing conservation in construction.
These are things that the workgroup could discuss and could come up with recommendations, quite apart from the stakeholder meetings that have been held, or that will be held in July. So, I think there is work for the workgroups to do, and I would encourage us to not dismantle them all or drop them.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Hang on a second. Since they're interrelated, I'm losing the focus here.
David Bush asked Bruce a question. The question was, is there a time certain when the work of this committee stops? As Sarah had pointed out, nowhere in here do workgroups formally appear within any of this. It comes back to this full committee and it makes a decision.
The answer to David's question was, once OSHA comes here and takes the work of the workgroup and takes the recommendations of this full committee, as they did yesterday, the workgroup charge is finished. There is no more input for the workgroups.
Now, did I understand that right? Was that the answer to the question?
MS. SHORTALL: Yes.
MR. SWANSON: I wasn't that clear.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So my question is, if we keep this stuff going ad infinitum just for the sake of health and safety, then I'm going back to my original point, which is, this committee has a charge, and the charge is to work.
Now, we may not like it when OSHA doesn't accept our advice or doesn't accept our consultation, but that's just the way it is. So, I'm trying to understand why it would be necessary to continue all these workgroups, in the unlikely event that after the whole rulemaking process, when OSHA understands that we're not happy with the way they did the rulemaking, they're going to come back and ask us to do it again. I don't see that happening. It's just an opinion.
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, I might be able to give some light on this. When we developed our guidelines and we reviewed 1912 and the FACA requirements, we were discouraged -- not by OSHA. The committee itself recognized that we could come up with 10 papers on excavations.
Well, if we were to put those on our website, it could be a conflict with issues that are being pursued by OSHA. We are here to give advice to them.
So, it would be very difficult in many cases, like with the crane epistle that we worked on for four years, that could represent to public people as their advice to help stop injury, when in fact we do not have that authority under any requirements that created us.
So, our vehicle has been to have workgroups, do our job, turn that product by total committee vote over to the Agency for it to do with as it pleases. It may wish to put a special emphasis on it because of the work that was done and the issue at hand.
It may just wish to put it in the pot to go into the years of work that is ahead of them. But we have, in fact, completed our charge once we turn that over.
The committee truly, until it's given another charge specifically -- if someone said, I want you to really look at economic analyses and all the SBREFA comments on silica, we would have a whole new charge to then provide that information back to Mr. Swanson's office.
But, again, these are collective, volunteer, independent, non-governing workgroups that I think we have to be very cautious what work product goes out on the website so that we do not confuse our stakeholders into thinking that this is a blessed document from the administration.
So, again, understanding what all of you are saying, I truly think that the Silica Workgroup, at this point, as no one is here to represent a new charge, is the perfect example of one that should be disbanded, under all of our guidelines and the background that I just presented from its initiation.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And in conjunction with that, Jane, counsel's information to us is, if necessary, the Chair -- I don't want to sound like the supreme leader in "Attack of the Clones" in Star Wars. You bestow on the Chairman the ability to call an emergency meeting, if necessary.
MS. SHORTALL: Let me give a little bit more. I'm not taking a position one way or the other on whether you should keep this, but these are the two things I would say.
You have, as the Agency has been formulating their proposed rule on silica, been giving them input. Now, under the regulation, 1912.3(a), prior to their publication of it, they will come back and ask you for a final consultation.
Now, you could keep your workgroup going for that in anticipation, or you could, because in the regulations it fairly well indicates that all workgroups here to ACCSH are informal, not created in the charter and gives you a lot more leeway, allowed the Chair, if at some point they feel a workgroup is necessary, to consider the proposal, do additional work in order for this committee to finish their final consultation with the Department prior to its publication, develop a report, maybe read it a little bit more thoroughly than other people on the committee might have a chance to, get into the 300 pages of economic analysis that not everyone might have a chance to do. The Chair would have a right to do that.
Now, in both our regulations as well as your own procedure and guidelines, especially in your procedures and guidelines, you make it very clear that material from a workgroup is not to go to the Agency directly.
The only relevance or value it has, is it's something that then returns to this body, this committee, and it would be this committee that would have to recommend, address it, and make recommendations back to the Department.
So, all I'm trying to let you know is, you can do either way, but you still have probably one more step involved in the consultation process with silica prior to the rule being published.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Two issues. One, being--and we'll take a vote on it, or somebody can make a motion--the issue of disbanding workgroups, with the understanding that, if need be, they could be reconstituted at any member's request of the committee, for whatever reason, more than likely because something unhappy happening at OSHA.
Two, since Scott raised the issue, instead of under New Business, and it has to do with the actions of the workgroup, Jane gave me a copy of our ACCSH committee procedures and guidelines and I'd just like to quote two paragraphs in there.
It says, "Final reports," and I'm assuming this comes out of the regulations, "shall be available for public inspection and copying in the Office of Standards, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, documents which were made available to or prepared for or by each advisory committee."
Then the next paragraph says--and this is probably more important--"final reports may be placed on the ACCSH website if requested by the workgroup co-chairs and if DOC can accommodate the request." So, I think it's pretty clear in our guidelines already what's there on that portion of the request.
MR. SCHNEIDER: So in other words, if this committee makes a formal request to the DOC to post those work products on the web site, then if they can accommodate that request, they will?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: A small correction. Not this committee, the workgroup co-chairs make the request to put it on the ACCSH website, and if they can accommodate the request, it can be placed on it.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I assume that the full committee could also make that request in addition to the workgroup co-chairs.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I'm sure they could. But it lies within the DOC. Obviously, putting it on the website involves some work and money, I would assume, which may or may not be there.
I will let Bruce answer that question. Or did I just answer it for you?
MR. SWANSON: You just answered it for me.
MS. SHORTALL: I would also add that I think the way you might interpret that paragraph, is if requested to ACCSH by the workgroup, because your overriding aspect is, nothing can be directly done by the workgroup itself, except to report back to this committee.
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: Counsel is absolutely correct. That paragraph that you read was to be amended, and you do not have that copy, and I apologize. I didn't print it out.
But at our last meeting, we were inserting exactly that language, that the request of the workgroup chairs would be a recommendation to this committee that their product be on the website, because the committee as a whole may have a problem with that workgroup.
And if the committee then agreed, then it would be provided to Mr. Swanson's office to put on as staff permitted, and they may have to tweak it, or whatever the case.
So, that does need to be amended to say Jane Williams, Silica Workgroup co-chair, would not just say, here, Mr. Swanson, I want you to put this on there. The committee would have to be aware. The whole committee owns that report at that point in time.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Right. And there's no problem with that. I'm just stating that this is something that isn't new. The process exists and it's contingent upon financial and human resources in the DOC for getting it on the website.
MS. WILLIAMS: Right.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Other than that, it's always available, like all federal documents, for the public to copy, come in and get copies of.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Well, I mean, like I requested a copy years ago. There was a workgroup that developed an appendix to Subpart L on fall protection during scaffold erection. I couldn't find it in the docket office, and DOC had a difficult time finding that, too.
I think we need to make these reports and these recommendations more publicly available, easier to get, particularly for ACCSH members, for new members, but also for the general public.
So, we should at least make a list or have the DOC make a list of all the workgroup products that exist. I mean, those committees don't exist anymore, so it's difficult for the chairs of those committees to make recommendations. So, we should at least see what exists, what's out there that is or is not on the web and make a recommendation.
MS. SHORTALL: I do want to add one thing. I mean, Mr. Schneider, you may be correct, it's difficult to find the specific workgroup report. But now all ACCSH dockets have been loaded onto the e-docket system that is available to any person who can log on to OSHA's web page.
So there is direct and very open access to the workgroups' reports. I don't know about a list of them, you know. That may be one issue, what they are. But they are on our electronic docket, as we speak, and anyone can log on and get to them.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I mean, I'm sorry to say, but the e-docket system is very difficult to use. I mean, like Tom, when you get to the ACCSH website, there is a button there for work products and there's basically -- I think there's only two work products there.
If there is a section for work products on the ACCSH website, that's where work products ought to go and make it easier for people to find them. I think to make them go to the Docket Office and search the docket -- I mean, I had a difficult time and I'm pretty computer savvy.
MS. SHORTALL: The docket--and Bruce, you're going to have to correct me if I'm wrong--for ACCSH is either set up as a separate docket number for every meeting or it's set up as a separate docket number for every year. So, that's how you get into it. That's a decision that's made in forums much greater than ours on how a docket would be set up.
It was decided that it would be ACCSH and we would try to freeze it in time as to what would be in each docket number. I just don't recall, Bruce. Is it per meeting or per year? I just can't recall. But that's how you would end up looking through the electronic docket.
You can, of course, also browse all 763 OSHA dockets at one time, or you can browse all ACCSH dockets at one time if you're using the "browse" function.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. We're going to juggle the schedule a little bit, Felipe. I'm just giving you a heads up. When Kim comes back in the room, we'll have you go.
We're going to stop at a certain point. The point I want to stop at, and I have to have someone make the motion, and someone has to form it somehow to the effect that once the input of workgroups has been given to OSHA, that those workgroups will be disbanded, with the understanding that the Chairman could always reconstitute a workgroup, if necessary.
I know I just about made the motion, but I need somebody to make it for me.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I'll make that motion.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second?
MR. BUSH: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All those in favor, signify by the sign "aye."
(Chorus of Ayes)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any opposition?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any abstentions?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So moved. Okay.
Kim is back in the room. We're going to move you guys up because I know you have a time constraint. So, Felipe and Kim, if you would, come up to the microphones and state your name, title, and who you're with.
Hispanic Task Force And Summit
MS. LAZOR: My name is Kim Lazor and I'm a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary.
MR. DEVORA: And I'm Felipe Devora with the Directorate of Construction.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Welcome. I'm sure you were in the room yesterday when we gave the "atta boy" to Davis. I know you have been working only briefly on this entire Hispanic language barrier safety and health problem, but it was good news to hear that those numbers were coming down because they were extremely high. I'm glad to see progress is being made. I know you have other initiatives that you're pursuing, and we're going to hear about this morning.
MR. DEVORA: Right. Right. And the main one, and Davis talked on it yesterday, and that was the Hispanic Summit that's coming up in July, pretty quickly here, the 22nd, in Orlando, Florida. Kim is putting that together, so I'll just let Kim talk to you all about what it is, and what we hope it will be.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay.
MS. LAZOR: Thank you. And I didn't hear Davis' remarks yesterday, so I hope I don't repeat a whole lot of what he said. But I'll just be very brief and then open it up to questions. That way, hopefully we don't duplicate much information.
It is going to be a one-day event, Thursday, July 22nd, in Orlando, Florida. We are still in the process of nailing down the location within Orlando, Florida, but we should have that shortly. We will have a website that will have information on it, and we'll be sending e-mails.
The Secretary of Labor is planning to give the keynote luncheon address. We will have an address on the social and cultural issues affecting the Hispanic community.
We'll have a number of breakout sessions, including two general industry topic sessions, a construction breakout session, maritime, immigration issues, agriculture, small business, youth workers, and Florida regional issues.
So, there will be a number of breakout sessions through the day. The agenda is still being developed, but we will have a number of other speakers addressing this general session. That is a very brief rundown of the event.
The goal of the event is to raise awareness about the safety and health issues impacting the Hispanic community, and we hope that the attendees of this event will take away information that will help them better understand the Hispanic community and some of the issues that the workers are facing, and some solutions, some best practices that they might take away to better deal with the problem in their particular organization.
We expect the attendees to be a wide range of people, I think, everyone from employers that employ a lot Hispanic workers, maybe even Hispanic companies themselves. We expect labor unions to attend that represent a large number of Hispanic workers.
We expect people from the government, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, trade associations. So, we're really not limiting who can attend this event. We hope that there's a large cross-section of representation there.
With that, I can open it up to questions.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Kim, when those terrible construction numbers for fatalities came out a couple of years ago, Florida had the dubious distinction of having a disparate number of those. Is this coincidental that it's being held in Florida? Are there some success stories down there? Are we seeing some reductions?
MS. LAZOR: We do believe that this is a location -- there's a number of reasons why we've selected Florida as a location. There are a number of Hispanic employers and workers in the Florida regional area that we can draw from. It is a location that Orlando has that time of year. It's easy to get in and out of Orlando, so that's important.
Yes. We do hope to find some good Florida representation that can describe some of the issues specific to Florida. That's why we do have one breakout session. This is a national conference, but we do want to draw from the region, so we will have a Florida regional panel.
One of the items that we have been discussing is on those Florida regional issues, discussing construction within that, because, like you said, it's a big issue in Florida.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Is this going to be online? How would people register? Are there brochures that are going to be out?
MS. LAZOR: There's going to be a letter of invitation sent out within the next couple of weeks, and there will be online registration. It probably will be an e-mail letter of invitation. We do plan to extend an invitation to all of the ACCSH members, and hope that you would be able to attend. So, yes, that's the procedure.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And for the people that we represent, would there be, like, a link on the OSHA website?
MS. LAZOR: Yes. We will be doing -- it is a Department of Labor event, so there will definitely be a link to either Department of Labor's home page, OSHA's home page, or probably even both. I would imagine both. So, there will be a link and we'll make sure that we get all of your e-mail addresses, and make sure you get a copy of the letter.
Also, I mean, I think the success of this conference is having broad representations. So to the extent that you could pass the invitation on to other groups that you think might be interested, we'd very much appreciate that as well.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: I'm just a little confused. I mean, how many people are you planning for? Is this something that's open to the public, or is it by invitation only, or -- I mean, first I heard it was only going to be about 50 people. I mean, if you don't know where it is, it would be kind of hard to plan for how big the event would be.
MS. LAZOR: No. We've narrowed it down to two hotels and we just need to do the final details on one of the two hotels. We hoped to have anywhere in the range of 300 to 500 people, and it is open to anyone.
We will have registration just so we can plan for the event, so we will have a registration period and probably some sort of cut-off period a week or so before the event so we can plan accordingly. But we hope to have it as open to as many people that would like to attend that can.
MR. DEVORA: I think, as ACCSH members, if there are groups that you all impact that would be interested in attending, I think we'd be using you as the messengers as well for this summit.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, Cherie?
MS. ESTILL: Will it be entirely in English or will it also be translated? So if you were to try to get some workers to attend --
MS. LAZOR: Yes. I believe at this point in time we're expecting it to all be in English. We aren't limiting -- to the extent that workers would like to attend, they're welcome to attend.
We are trying to get the focus more on maybe a little bit of a higher level of the employers that will be getting the information out to their workers. So, it probably will be all in English. We will have some information in Spanish as well, though.
MS. ESTILL: Written?
MS. LAZOR: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay.
MR. DEVORA: If there's something you'd like for me to do in Spanish, I'd be glad to work on that for you.
MS. LAZOR: Yes. And we have a lot of fantastic staff that will be down there supporting the event, so that will be great, too.
VOICE: I have a question. Will there be any exhibits or displays or anything of that sort?
MS. LAZOR: Yes. We are planning to have exhibit space. When the letter of invitation goes out, there will be information on where you can contact us regarding exhibit space. Just in case I don't have your name, I will give people my e-mail address right now, and phone number.
My last name, again, is Lazor, L-A-Z-O-R, dot Kim, is my e-mail address, email@example.com. My phone number is 202-693-2519. So if you'd like to make sure that you get an invitation -- I have a very large list, but if you want to make sure, please drop me a line or give me a call and I'd be happy to make sure you get an invitation.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, Cherie?
MS. ESTILL: Will you be producing a proceedings or some sort of thing when you're done of what happened and what the final recommendations are, anything like that?
MS. LAZOR: I think the goal of the event is to have a dialogue and take information away. We haven't determined at this point whether it will warrant some sort of follow-up document. I think we are keeping that an open question, and as the agenda develops a little bit more, I think we'll consider that. So, yes, it's an open question right now.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Thank you, Kim.
MS. LAZOR: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Felipe, are you going to do the task force presentation now?
MR. DEVORA: Yes. Yes. I'll do a couple of presentations. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Kim.
MS. LAZOR: Thank you.
MR. DEVORA: Quickly, first of all, I want to follow up on some Hispanic issues that we've been working on that I've been listening to, and some feedback since the last time I spoke to you.
The number-one thing that I think I'm seeing as I get further and further into this issue is the level of training. Obviously training has always been an issue, but when I say "the level of training," what I'm talking about there is, more and more there seems to be a division on where we should be with the training and where we should be with translations.
I think it's important that groups like yourselves, like the advisory committee, advise OSHA and maybe even do some research into this area about the type of material that needs to be translated, since you guys are the ones out there in the field.
Do we need to translate more of this information literally? What would be the impact, in your estimation, of translating the 1926? Is that a priority, or is our priority on smaller, on a little bit below the bar, and is the information we need to get out there more pictorial information, and make this distinction in this level of training that we're doing?
That's the number-one issue that I'm seeing. I really don't have a presentation this morning, other than to get your feedback on how we would do that and how you could advise the Agency on the best way to do that. Because right now, what I see, we've got a lot of stuff being translated, and it's good. It's good information.
But, again, from my experience--and I'm sure from your experience, it seems like sometimes we're missing the mark. I would like to see your workgroup, English-as-a-Second-Language Workgroup--I think you still have that--look and see and target, and see what our target really is when we're talking about construction work.
Are we talking about the immigrant Hispanic worker? Are we talking about the Train the Trainer Hispanic worker? And where are we going to go with this training in the future? That's what I'm seeing right now, that we're all over the place on this. I would appreciate your comment.
I do have, if you're interested, this publication. I don't know if I gave this to you all last time, "All About OSHA," in English and in Spanish. It's a pretty good guide. So, I have found that one of the most important things that I've seen out there in terms of training material and how they're presenting it, is that side-by-side is very important.
The side-by-side presentation-- I think, Greg, I gave you that one from Oregon OSHA that seemed to work very well, and I've also give it to a few other folks. But the side-by-side presentation, because of the limited bilingual resources that we have right now doing the training, I think are very important as well. Anyway, I'd welcome your comments on that issue.
MR. STRUDWICK: Felipe and I did make a presentation to the AGC Safety and Health Committee of Texas, and trying to get some ideas out of them from the standpoint of what was effective as far as the Hispanic training was concerned there. So we had a lot of discussion, really good feedback.
The Oregon OSHA website that has "Peso" on it was very good and very useful in a presentation that we put together as a five-hour, comprehensive orientation we did for the labor force.
We already started working, after our trenching initiative meeting, on some focus on where we could do it and make improvements in the labor force. We have competent person training in excavation.
We have an awful lot of material already out there for the supervisors and above, but we don't have as much material out there for the labor force itself and below, and comprehensive orientation types of material.
The side-by-side layouts and the side-by-side presentations where one is English and one is Spanish is very effective, okay, because an awful lot of the folks in the rooms that we do the training with are bilingual, but they're like me.
I speak a certain amount of Spanish, but I'm not going to embarrass myself in front of this group by making any tremendous statement in Spanish, other than "seguridad es muy importante" (security is very important). But I'm not comfortable enough to do that, and a lot of the people in our training classes are not comfortable to do that.
But when they see that in English and in Spanish, they have the ability to go, all right, you know. I've had people with Hispanic surnames come up and say, could you give me something in English? I can't read Spanish, but I can speak it, you know.
So some of the things that Felipe is working on and some of the things we talked about with that subcommittee or that safety and health committee in Texas are things that we have tried that are effective. I'm looking forward to more of this information getting out, and the fewer words, the better.
You know, the bullet points and creating discussion off of a few words on a slide is much better that a lot of text, because people then have a tendency to read. If there's a bullet point that creates a topic, a conversational topic, then we get a lot of feedback from the room.
And once the room starts to loosen up a little bit, then people don't mind embarrassing themselves if they do misquote or use the wrong word, intending to use the correct word. Okay.
So the whole idea is to make things more comfortable for the person that they're trying to get to. If we do that and we accomplish that, then it's very successful. We've had a great time.
There are people that would argue that we need to separate the Spanish and the English, one class Spanish only, one class English only. I don't agree with that. It takes a little more time when you're all together, but you're all together on the job site.
So when we're together in the training room and we're together on the job site, we start to appreciate each other's abilities and some of the embarrassing -- or the things that we feel like are less than perfect start to go away and we become very comfortable. So, we have a lot of material out there right now that is available.
I can't wait to get into one of these workgroups that actually is starting to produce material that we need right now. In the case of Jane, if we don't need to concentrate on silica, we certainly need to concentrate on what Mr. Devora is representing to us now. We need to concentrate on trenching.
The things that we have pressed out of this committee that have been most enlightening to me are the ones where the need is now, and we get it done and we move on to the next one. So, I sure like the fact that Mr. Devora is on board with the Construction Directorate.
It showed up in spades when we came down and addressed the AGC committee. There were reservations. Who's coming here? Why are you bringing him down? And once he got there and explained himself, well, we just can't wait to get you back. And they said that to him. In other words, he's just a regular guy, you know.
MR. DEVORA: Thank you. I didn't pay you that much.
MR. STRUDWICK: But anyway, it was a good thing and it was a good way to start. And we're certainly happy to have you here, and we'll do whatever we can--or I will--to help you.
MR. DEVORA: And I think it's incumbent on this group to keep moving.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mike Thibodeaux?
MR. THIBODEAUX: I know NAHB and OSHA have worked on a couple of publications in both English and Spanish, and as you say, Greg, it makes all the difference in the world with English on one side, Spanish on the other, with pictures and, as you said, not a lot of text.
We can do so much more. We have a construction safety handbook and a scaffold safety handbook that has helped us all over the country, "us" being my company.
Some of the other folks that work for us, our contractors, we teach this to them as well as hand it out to them, so they can go back to their workers to know how to do it right.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and it really is, especially if you have some of the bullet text below it that helps. We should try and do -- I guess improve on what we've done, maybe make less words, more bullet points, more photographs, and have more dual classes together, English/Spanish. Anything that we can do to help, we will.
MR. DEVORA: Great.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Jane Williams?
MS. WILLIAMS: Felipe, one of the comments you made was on the cultural issues, which was also a key from the Mexico City venture that we were on. The workgroup, Diversity and Multilingual, we had decided whenever that that was going to be the first task that we started with that workgroup.
But we had begun to lay out where we were going to go with that, working on the cultural issues. Would that be the type of thing that you would be looking for that would assist you, and participate with us in that workgroup?
MR. DEVORA: Absolutely. Yes. That was prior to me coming here. I don't know what all the pieces of that puzzle were.
MS. WILLIAMS: We were putting it all together.
MR. DEVORA: Yes.
MS. WILLIAMS: So with your input, that might help streamline the information that we feel is really relevant as to what our task was going to be on that.
MR. DEVORA: Okay. Sure.
MS. WILLIAMS: Okay.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I have asked the Director of the Directorate, if possible, if he's going to look at the transportation budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, but if possible, to get that Diversity and Multilingual Workgroup to attend this July 22nd meeting and then report back to this committee, if possible. No promises.
MS. WILLIAMS: Okay.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else?
MR. SWANSON: Ask Kim if she heard that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Kim heard that. Kim heard that. She was smiling when I said that.
MR. DEVORA: One other thing, quickly, on another subject, the Hispanic Trenching Task Force. The Trenching Task Force is going to meet after this meeting at 1:30. The room number is 4437 and 4437-C. So, like, one of the small conference rooms.
The idea of the Trenching Task Force meeting, is we're going to put some of the items back on the table that you all threw out last time in terms of possible interventions and kind of talk a little bit more.
We want to hear from you guys about how we're going to put the meat on the bones of the ideas that you all threw out there on what the next step is, and how to proceed with making an impact on the trenching fatalities that we're seeing today. Then we can talk more about that in the task force, unless you have any questions about what we're doing in the task force.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: Greg, would you or Felipe put the summary of your next workgroup meeting, like you did the last one, on e-mail?
MR. STRUDWICK: Sure. Yes.
MR. DEVORA: And let me be real clear, that it is not a workgroup. It is not an ACCSH workgroup. It is a separate task force. Okay? Just so we don't have any confusion. I know there's a little confusion about that.
MR. STRUDWICK: Well, and I have created a group on my computer base to go out with that information. There were a number of people at the meeting that we had in Texas that requested the same information and continue to come to them, so whoever. Whoever.
MR. SWANSON: At risk of beating this to death, let me follow up on what Felipe just said. I know there was confusion earlier. This committee has a workgroup on trenching. The meeting that we had some time ago was a meeting that we called under Felipe's direction.
The Assistant Secretary asked DOC to set up a task force on trenching for his purposes that had nothing to do with ACCSH. We put that committee together. It's not closed. It's open ended. But we, by special invitation, get 10, 12, 15 people to attend that meeting. They are the same 15 that probably would have been the room had an ACCSH workgroup called a meeting.
So, they weren't sure what hat they had on. I know both Scott and yourself, Greg, were probably confused for a little bit, and Tom, as to what kind of a meeting this was. But it was Felipe's task force. That's what's meeting, again, this afternoon. We can, you know, review the issue.
I will review the issue with the Assistant Secretary, if you would like, as to, why doesn't he bag his task force and use an ACCSH workgroup? There are some advantages to using an ACCSH workgroup that have to do with FACA. So, we can revisit that.
There are other problems, perhaps, however, with people that we wanted to cover their pay to come to a task force meeting--it didn't get done anyhow--that we would have been unable to do if it were ACCSH. As long as it's not being done in any case, it may as well be ACCSH. I will revisit that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Thanks.
Anything else, Felipe?
MR. DEVORA: That's it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. I don't know how many of you know, Felipe is a former member of this committee and we're happy to have him here. We're happy to hear he's doing such a good job in his new position here. So, you're always welcome, Felipe. Thank you.
Stew, are you ready to go? That way we'll reserve the rest of the time for our discussion on the workgroups.
MR. SWANSON: While Stew is coming up, let me point out that Stew also is an ex-member, an ex-chair of ACCSH. Steve Cloutier, who works with Stew, is an ex-member of ACCSH. Felipe is, whom you just met. Michael Buchet, who is the Project Officer for ACCSH, is an ex-ACCSH member. So, there's life after ACCSH!
MR. RHOTEN: That means there's hope for us then to get on board later?
MR. SWANSON: Well, there's hope for some, Bill.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: No applications being passed out?
MR. SWANSON: One member who missed the ACCSH meeting yesterday and today is the state representative from Maryland, Keith Goddard. The reason Keith Goddard is not attending the meeting and will not attend any future meetings, is Monday was his first day working for OSHA.
MR. SWANSON: That's the way it goes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mr. Former Chairman, welcome.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you, Mr. Current Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: The floor is yours.
By Stewart Burkhammer
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Could you identify yourself for the Court Reporter, please?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Stew Burkhammer, Office of Construction Services within the Directorate of Construction.
At our last meeting, I had a question asked about partnerships in the various regions, and I'm prepared to answer that for you today.
Also, I'm going to touch on a couple of new items for you. One, is the OSHA Challenge for Construction program, and the other one will be the VPP for construction program that we've all waited anxiously for, I'm sure, for years.
Some of you remember, when I had Mr. Krul's position, we talked about a VPP program for construction. In the early '90s, in fact, we almost had one when we had the Construction Safety Excellence Program, which we had five participating companies. I like to think--and hopefully Bruce likes to think--that that kind of somewhat fathered what we were developing today.
We have a new partnership logo, which, if you'll look on the handout, you'll see it. We also have a new alliance logo that has been approved and that will be the standard bearer for partnerships and alliances that you'll see in the various documents that will be published throughout time.
Currently, we have 145 regional construction partnerships and two ongoing national ones, and one national one in process of rewriting. I'll touch on those, also.
The two national ones currently in effect are ABC, which is on an extension while we're writing their new one, and the AMEC national partnership. The AGC national partnership is in rewrite and renegotiation.
Felipe is handling the negotiations for the AGC partnership and Steve Cloutier is handling the negotiations for the ABC partnership, along with DCSP, the Directorate of Compliance and State Programs.
As for construction, Region 1 has four current construction partnerships, Region 2, 35, Region 3, 25, Region 4, 4, Region 5, 32, Region 6, 28, Region 7, 9, Region 8, 3, Region 9, 2, and Region 10, 2. Those are currently all in effect and are working on projects.
All the region partnerships are project-specific. The national projects are template-specific that the AGC and ABC uses to develop chapter partnerships, which are many in each of those.
The AMEC national partnership is a single company partnership and it's for work in various regions. We're in the process of ironing out some issues with that one.
We've pretty well got them all solved. We'll be amending the AMEC partnership, and the president of AMEC and John will re-sign the changes in the national partnership.
Currently, there's more than 559,000 employees covered under our partnerships, and 13,000 contractors have participated in partnerships since 1998 when the partnership program first began.
We've had 17 new partnerships sign since our last meeting, and 64 percent of those are construction partnerships. Again, construction tends to lead the way in the development and signing of partnerships.
One thing to note, is in the majority of the partnerships where we have data to show -- and that has been a problem that we're currently working on, is getting better data and more realistic data, and in some cases getting data to show improvement factors, but all the data we do have of all the reporting partnerships, the majority of them have shown a decline in injuries, illnesses and fatalities, which I think speaks highly of the partnership program and the effect it has on the workforce and the employers.
The partnership web page. Hopefully some of you have visited the partnership web page. If not, I encourage you to do so. It lists all the new signings and it lists some interactive stuff for the user. I think it's a pretty decent web site. I'd like you to check it out and then give us some feedback as to what you think of the web page.
The alliance, again, covers the three major issues: training and education, outreach and communication, and promotion of the national dialogue on worker safety and health.
We have had some very good success with our alliances, and we're working on new ones every day. Currently, we have 180 alliances nationwide, 19 national, and 11 of those are in construction.
We have 21 current construction ones in process somewhere along the food chain. Probably within the next 30 days -- I'm told today we do have a date for the NUCA signing, which will be June 9 at 2:00, and we're hoping to make that.
Steve Cloutier has been in North Carolina the last week finalizing the North Carolina AGC partnership, which is, I think, going to be an excellent training tool that we're going to get some training materials at the AGC of North Carolina and South Carolina kind of as a combined deal, has developed on cranes and other items to share some best practices with the world. And the Gilbain/Jack O'Donovan partnership is hopefully ready to sign within the next 30 days.
We recently signed the Mason Contractors Association of America on March 17, and we are going to be having their implementation meeting June 2 at 2:00. We have just renewed the independent electrical contractors, which was the first construction alliance signed. Their two-year tenure is up and we have just re-signed that one.
We have developed some e-tools which are on the alliance web page. Again, it's worth visiting and taking a look at to see what we've done there. And you can just click on "ergonomics e-tools" and there's one that says "solutions for electrical contractors" that is a pretty decent tool. Please go in and check it out and take a look at it.
The two new programs we've been working on, OSHA Challenge for Construction, we're going to be rolling out here at the Department of Labor on May 26 at about 11:00 to 1:30, I think is the time span.
The OSHA Challenge program has three phases to it. It's a step program where a contractor who, A) doesn't have a program at all; B) has some kind of a program but not near what they want it to be; or C) is looking for improvements in their program, can go in and be put in a category, 1, 2 or 3, depending on what they have, where they're at, or where they want to go.
As they progress and build their steps, there's pieces of the program that they're building each step of way. When they finish the three phases, they're darned close to being ready to apply for merit.
They have a choice of applying for VPP merit status or they can stay right where they are as a Challenge completion contractor. Eventually if they go into merit and they continue to improve and finalize various aspects of that, they can move into Star, VPP Star.
So, it's an excellent opportunity for a small- or medium-sized contractor who has kind of been left out, in a way, over the years to get in the game and to be a player.
We hope that we get some of those players, ABC, AGC, and the NEA, the union for union contractors, is all signed up to be an administrator. What an administrator does, is mentor companies through the three phases to help them achieve their goal.
We have spent time over at the building trades talking about this program with the unions. Bob was nice enough to get us on the agenda, and Steve Cloutier and Kathy Oliver went over and made a presentation to the building trades. We got some of their input and we've included some of that input in the final program. So, we're anxious for this one to come out. Any of you are welcome to come to the May 26 dog and pony show. We'd love to have you.
The VPP for construction is in process of development. The Assistant Secretary has charged us with trying to have that thing done by October. We've got a lot of it finished.
Steve Cloutier has worked very, very hard with Kathy Oliver and her team, Jim Boom, who all of you remember from his days with construction, on finalizing the VPP for construction programs.
It's different than the normal VPP in that it streamlines the process. It cuts down on some of the paperwork. It decreases the time span to get people involved in the program. So, we're anxious to get that one out. We're currently working on some administrative documents that go with that before we can release it.
We are all collectively hopeful that, by the October time frame that the Assistant Secretary has charged us with, we can have a product. But you never know. There is currently 1,036 participants in VPP, 17 of them are in construction. Most of those are large project-type programs.
One of the things that the VPP for construction does, is it takes care of these two-year projects that before would not fit in the timeline of regular VPP, but now we've shrunk the process and hopefully that will speed that up and we can get more contractors involved that have short-term projects.
Plus, we can also issue a corporate VPP for construction program for corporations to use nationally rather than just on one specific project. So, we're excited about that piece of the pie.
Again, I'll keep you posted as the meetings progress of how we're doing on that. I hope every time we come together I can share with you that we're closer to ringing the bell of getting that out.
The last thing I'll touch on -- two last things. One, a couple of the partnerships that the regions have signed since our last meeting. The Lexington Avenue construction project in New York is going to be a big projection Region 2. The AGC/Chase partnership of Colorado Building Chapter is finally finalized and out. The New York Power Authority's 500-megawatt power plant project is now covered under our project agreement in 2.
A couple of unusual ones is a Route 78 truck weighing inspection station partnership in Region 2, and the Cincinnati Convention Center expansion project is another one where we've now got a partnership.
So, some of these are really, really good things that the regions have worked hard on achieving and they've gotten to the point where they're signed and out there and working and we're excited about that.
The last thing is, those of you interested in a Susan Harwood grant, they're training program grants. There was a news release on the 17th talking about the new Susan Harwood grant program for this coming year.
There are $5.3 million available in new safety and health grants. I know a lot of you on this committee in the past have applied, either singularly or with a cooperative group, to work on some grants. I would encourage you to continue to do so.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Stew. Scott? Jane?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes. I just want to add one thing. On July 8, there is going to be a meeting of all the alliances dealing with construction. We are going to get together and hopefully share our experiences and information as to what we are doing, and perhaps work together.
MR. BURKHAMMER: All 11 of the alliance groups have been invited to come. It will be here in the Frances Perkins Building. It will be from about 9:00 to 2:00 or 3:00.
As Scott said, it's to share best practices and hopefully maybe bring some coalitions together to work on some new ideas and new best practices as a group rather than singularly.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Jane Williams?
MS. WILLIAMS: Stew, on the OSHA Challenge program, what is required for an administrator? Is it an association, individual, company? What do you mean?
MR. BURKHAMMER: We have both. We have AGC, ABC, and NEA as an association, and Black & Beach is a company has also signed up to be an administrator. So, it can be either one.
The goal of an administrator is basically the paperwork and to mentor companies, if you will, employers who want to be in the program, guide them along the way, watch as they meet the different phases, make sure they complete the phase, have a process, however that process is to make sure they do that, and then when they complete each phase, to let us know and the Assistant Secretary will be sending a letter at the end of each phase to contractors who complete each of the three phases.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Cherie?
MS. ESTILL: For the voluntary protection program, you mentioned a number of projects that are in that. Do you sign those up through the owners or the general contractor? Are all the contractors part of the VPP? How does that work?
MR. BURKHAMMER: All of the above, I guess. The majority of the VPPs currently are on major customer or client sites, refineries, large facilities where the owner holds the VPP.
Then they, through their contracts' language and the various people they hire to work on their projects, in a lot of the cases, they require that contractor to participate in the overall umbrella VPP program that occurs on the project.
However, in the construction phase, Turner, for example, the Cincinnati division of Turner, they have a VPP and it is for their large major projects, plus their subcontractors who participate on that project. So, it's somewhat a trickle-down effect. One company, in most cases, holds it, and then several other companies who participate with that company may fall under that umbrella.
MS. ESTILL: So do all of those subcontractors then sign up for the VPP through you, or they just put those things in place that are required, say, through Turner and their contract?
MR. BURKHAMMER: They participate through the holder of the VPP or the owner, or the major player on the project that holds the VPP. So, it's kind of like, they're signing up as a subset to the owner or the holder. They don't have their own. When they're done with that project or finish their work there and leave, they fall right out.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Greg?
MR. STRUDWICK: Well, just to follow up a little bit, some of the larger sites are owner-controlled insurance programs that love the VPP program because it holds everybody to a certain level of safety that typically they might not be held to. So, the owner-controlled insurance programs, or OCIPs, that are on these large sites are what typically creates a wonderful VPP program.
MR. BURKHAMMER: In response to both Greg and Cherie, Bruce has been working on a partnership with Zurich Insurance and we've gotten a document now on Bruce's desk. And this is kind of an interesting one, where if, indeed, we finalize it with Zurich, it will be all their insureds.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, sir?
MR. WALKER: Good morning. I'm Joe Walker with the International Safety Equipment Association, and we are one of the organizations that has an alliance with OSHA to improve construction safety.
I know it was mentioned yesterday, but I just want to call your attention to one of the cornerstones of our program, which is Protection Update. It's a quarterly newsletter that is intended to increase awareness and use of personal protective equipment in construction. It's free. There's copies on the table, along with my cards. Anybody who's interested in a subscription, all they have to do is send me an e-mail. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you.
Stew, you walked away too soon. I wanted to congratulate you. I mean, you know, in your former days at Bechtel, how important safety is to any owner on practically any site, and that has become even more critical over the years.
I think what OSHA lends through the alliance, partnership and VPP is a whole huge dose of credibility that our individual -- and I mean that speaking from the building trades, and even what we used to do individually with contractor associations, that safety was important.
But I think what you're doing is a bigger umbrella. It casts a bigger shadow of safety. It puts a focal point for safety, as you said, either through the owner, through the construction manager, and then everybody else has to follow suit on that site.
I think that's why it's working and why it's catching on. Hopefully the numbers for safety and reduction of fatalities follow along with that.
I know that one of the main reasons for getting away from the confrontative standpoint, we're just coming in here to cite you, has become more appealing to contractors who just send compliance officers in and give them the recitation of what was wrong on their job site. It's a cooperative effort and I think it's working very well for you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you. We appreciate that. We try to improve them every day. And every one of these programs I mentioned have a labor piece. Part of the key of this is labor participation in all these programs. So I think that intermingling of labor and management has come a lot closer together over the years than you and I can remember in the old days.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We do remember the Hatfield and McCoy days. Thank you, Stew.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We appreciate your time.
Why don't we take a 10-, 15-minute break. (Whereupon, at 10:11 a.m. the meeting was recessed.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: The Task Force on Trenching will now meet at 1:00 p.m. instead of 1:30 p.m., in the same room. They should be able to get that room a little bit earlier. All right.
Let's finish up. I had one thing to ask Bruce when he comes back into the room, but let's finish up our work on these workgroups.
In light of the motion that carried regarding disbanding what can now be called non-functioning workgroups, can we review this list and have a motion to do that with whatever workgroups have finished their charge? I know silica is one. Scott, does noise fall in the same, or is that --
MR. SCHNEIDER: Well, I mean, I think -- you know, the noise group can meet, I think, once OSHA has information to present to us. They're putting a draft standard together. They're going to have to give us some information and then we can get together at that time.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So we'll still be making recommendations.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I mean, that will still be an active group.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Certainly. Certainly.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay.
So is silica, then, the only workgroup that we're looking at? Bill, go ahead.
MR. RHOTEN: Mr. Chairman, I don't know if it's necessary to keep the Chromium Workgroup at this point. It seems like we got more done yesterday than 10 or 12 of those workgroup meetings would have accomplished anyway.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. That's two, silica and chromium. And I'm assuming the rest are all active. Okay.
Can someone make a motion then? Mike Thibodeaux?
MR. THIBODEAUX: I move that we -- do we want to delete, or just -- delete the Silica and Chromium Workgroups.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: As no longer active, no longer necessary.
MR. THIBODEAUX: No longer necessary.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Is there a second to that motion?
MR. BRODERICK: I second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second.
MR. RHOTEN: If it becomes necessary, we could request for it to be reinstated.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: With the understanding that the Chairman can reconstitute those committees if necessary, yes. That's the understanding.
Anyone else on the question?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All those in favor, signify by the sign "aye."
(Chorus of Ayes)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Nays, if any?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Abstentions, if any?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So moved. Okay.
I'll leave the -- there's a question that came from a couple of committee members regarding these workgroups announcements, attempting to get them. We're going to have Bruce address that, but I'll just hold that in abeyance until he comes back in the room so we can move on here a little bit.
I was confused by one thing in here, measurable outcomes. Is that something that we're supposed to be -- does that relate to the work scope of the subgroups? I thought that was left to the workgroups. Okay. So then it's not something we have to address. Okay.
MR. SWANSON: I'm here.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Would you address the issue of when workgroups meet, who gets funded? Of course, we've always said that they're ad hoc committees and everyone's welcome to attend. But if they're going to be out-of-town meetings, there is a budget.
MR. SWANSON: Okay. We'll take it from there. Yes.
But before I get to that, Stew inadvertently skipped the independent electrical contractors when he was making his list of folks who were going to be Challenge administrators, and we apologize for that.
Back to the workgroups. Let me back up. This time around, for this meeting, because we had, for everyone else's schedule, to know when the meeting was going to be, the day and a half ACCSH meeting and we'd work the workgroups around that, and we sent out a survey or who'd be available for a meeting on Monday afternoon, this meeting -- Monday afternoon, to start, Tuesday morning, to start, Tuesday afternoon, how do you want to do it?
And we came up with, we could get more people here for the all-day Tuesday, half-day Wednesday ACCSH meeting, and then we've got workgroups. Okay. Who indicated they'd be available for what kind of workgroups on what day?
All of this is just preparatory to the reason that we're not -- we didn't schedule more than the several workgroup meetings that we've got scheduled, is folks were not interested in staying over, for instance, on Thursday for a workgroup meeting--those from out of town--nor were folks interested in coming in Monday morning for a workgroup meeting before we started the Tuesday ACCSH meeting.
So, the reason that we don't have more workgroups meeting has more to do with the schedule this time around. Okay.
In the future, as in the past, what we will do with workgroups, is we will try and schedule the joint chairs' wishes to have a meeting the day before the ACCSH meeting, or, less usual, to have a workgroup meeting subsequent to the workgroup.
The advantage of doing that is, people are coming to town anyhow. It might mean one extra night's hotel bill for us to have that done that way, but that works.
To have meetings as frequently as the Crane and Derrick Workgroup met, OSHA really gets pressed and gets into a policy -- I get into a policy discussion with others in the building as to how important is it for us to have this workgroup produce a product, because even bringing in the co-chairs as frequently as we were bringing them in starts to get a little expensive.
Obviously, we are not budgeted to have ACCSH as a whole meet twice a month throughout the year, and you work backwards from that. We are budgeted for ACCSH to meet as a group four times a year, plus or minus, is the way we've been doing it over the years, because your budgets are prepared a couple of years in advance. That's the loose rule of thumb that we use.
We have, in the past, at the request of the Chair and the workgroup co-chairs, approved workgroups meeting other than in Washington, DC, and we pick up the cost of the co-chairs going to that meeting.
If someone other than one of the co-chairs -- it came up this morning, as a matter of fact. If the question is, yes, but what about the other three or four ACCSH members that indicated they would like to attend workgroup meetings and they're not going to be in Washington, DC, they're going to be in, to pick a site, let's say Orlando and it's going to go on for -- it's a one-day meeting, but that means, you know, two hotel nights, travel down, travel back from wherever.
The short answer that I gave to your Chair in a whispered conversation, is I can't afford it. We will review sending the Chairs down there and I will try and make that happen.
My very public plea to a Special Assistant for Assistant Secretary was, did she hear the request, and is there budget help someplace else sending other workgroup members down there?
As I said then, and I am now repeating, we will visit that issue and see if someplace else in OSHA there is travel money for that other than out of -- everything else gets paid out of DOC's travel budget and it's not getting any bigger as the years go on.
So, the rule that I would like to see us use, is we have workgroup meetings coinciding as often as possible with the ACCSH meeting on an exceptional basis, and we all talk about it.
If a workgroup needs to meet other than in Washington, DC, let's talk about it and let's see what time of year it is--or to interpret that, let's see what time of budget that is--and whether we can afford it.
Then if someone who is not one of the co-chairs wishes to attend that meeting, that also calls for a special discussion, through Bob, of course. That's the way I'd like to continue using it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Thank you, Bruce. All right.
Are there any workgroup reports anybody would like to make?
MR. BEAUREGARD: Bob, I just wanted to mention that we're also having a Tower Workgroup meeting at 1:00.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: One o'clock this afternoon?
MR. BEAUREGARD: Yes. And I believe it's in this room.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: In this room. So noted. Thank you, Kevin.
Are there any new workgroups that need to be formulated or appointed?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Let's go to New Business. I know Scott had one thing to be addressed under New Business.
Anything else, Scott, under New Business?
MR. SCHNEIDER: New Business. You want to talk about the hexavalent chromium thing now or should we go -- you don't want to talk about the hexavalent chromium?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: You could put it under New Business.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes. Okay.
I passed out earlier to all of you -- I think everybody got a copy. Maybe not everybody. I'll pass out a couple of more copies. This is sort of a summary.
We had an ad hoc meeting last night after our full committee meeting to talk among ourselves, a number of us--labor, management, and public representatives--about how we would apply the hexavalent chromium draft standard in a situation where you're just talking about wet Portland cement, where, as Cherie mentioned earlier, you really don't have a lot of airborne exposures. It's really not an issue. You just have the dermal issue.
So we looked at the standard and said, okay, section by section, which parts would apply? It was fairly obvious pretty quickly that most of the sections of the standard would not really apply to, if you only had exposures to wet Portland cement.
Primarily, the sections that would apply would be the sections on protective clothing, on hygiene, and, to a limited extent, medical surveillance, certainly the training provisions and recordkeeping, to the extent that you had training in medical records.
But the sections on the permissible exposure limit, really, there's no -- it's very unlikely that you'd be over that. Exposure assessment wouldn't apply because that's strictly related to airborne exposures.
Regulated areas most likely would not apply. There may be some limited posting of signs. Methods of compliance really wouldn't apply, since that's really focused on engineering controls and work practices. Respiratory protection wouldn't apply.
So what we did, was we put together this sort of summary of how we thought this standard might apply if you're only dealing with wet Portland cement, and wanted to present this to the ACCSH as sort of a consensus that we reached, in hopes that maybe this would be something that the ACCSH could vote on and pass on to OSHA as a recommendation as to how we saw that this standard could be feasibly applied in our industry in cases of where you only have wet Portland cement exposures.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And it needs to be put in the form of a motion, Scott. But as I understand it, this is, as you say, a recommendation or information provided for OSHA's purposes to look at wet Portland cement in this vein, only to point out that wet Portland cement would not be covered under every specific portion of the hexavalent chromium standard. You're merely pointing out where the exceptions would be, dermal versus respirable exposure. Is that correct?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Well, I think what we're saying is -- they asked us for additional input by noon today as to how they could put out a feasible standard, protective standard in the construction industry.
What we're saying is, where there is just exposure to wet Portland cement, you know, this is how we see the standard applying in those circumstances. I guess what I wanted to do, is to have a general discussion among all the ACCSH members.
Does this make sense? Is this something that everybody can live with, everybody feels more comfortable? I know there were several people that said that the standard shouldn't apply to wet Portland cement at all.
I think some of those members, upon seeing this, felt a lot more comfortable in supporting its application to wet Portland cement if we had a general understanding that this was how it would apply.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. Why don't you put that in the form of a motion so we can get a second, then have a discussion, and possibly a vote.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay.
I would like to make a motion that the proposal I just passed out be an ACCSH recommendation to the Agency as to how to apply this standard in cases where the only exposures are to wet Portland cement.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Is there a second to that motion?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: I second it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: On the question. Time to discuss, now.
MR. THIBODEAUX: A lot of the things that are in this document that you handed out that you guys worked with yesterday, I think, really point to the fact of, why do we need this in the hexavalent chromium standard?
If there's an issue with wet Portland cement, why can't OSHA, someone -- I just looked at one of these Trench Safety Quick-Cards. Say you're working with wet Portland cement. You wear personal protective equipment. Wash your hands if you come in contact with it. Obviously, if you have a rash, seek medical attention.
I mean, it would seem that this could get out a lot faster and make more sense than putting all of this in a standard where--and again, it's my opinion--that hexavalent chromium in the cement is not the problem, it's the alkalinity and the abrasiveness, et cetera of the cement that causes the biggest problem.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes. David Bush?
MR. BUSH: I would speak in favor of this, simply because I think it does what Mandie and Mr. Witt asked us to do yesterday, and that was, get back to them by noon with our thoughts on how we might see it better fitting within the standard. And, again, all we're doing, is we're giving them our recommendations.
I think, since I got to speak for the nay voters yesterday, this summarizes pretty much what I said, which I think is an excellent way to present it to them. So, I would speak very much in favor of this motion and the work that was done by Scott to put it together.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Greg?
MR. STRUDWICK: Based on being one of the nay voters, the first nay voter --
MR. STRUDWICK: I concur with Scott, and I appreciate your efforts.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Bill?
MR. RHOTEN: I think it pretty well outlines what our position is. If it's going to be a recommendation, OSHA will do what they like anyway. But I think it does outline our position that we had yesterday.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay.
MS. ESTILL: I think Scott's recommendation here basically just delineates a method to put wet cement into the standard, just to say, you know, OSHA, there is a way you could do this without putting all of those workers under an airborne standard, which would require a lot of exposure assessment. So, I think it just delineates a way that it could be done, and I think that's helpful.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: That's what I was trying to say the first time. Thanks. You said it a lot better than I, so thank you for that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. All in favor of the motion, signify by the sign "aye."
(Chorus of Ayes)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any opposition?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any abstentions?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So moved. Thank you, Scott. Okay.
Where are we? Any more new business? Go ahead, Scott.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I had some discussions last month with folks over at the DOC and talked with a number of people about this, and I've had a pretty positive response.
I was thinking about, you know, the problem of construction safety and health, in general, and I think one of the biggest issues is that there is very little public perception about how serious this problem is. Not many people in the general public, I think, understand that 100 construction workers are killed every month in the United States.
So what we've done, is I've put together a one-page proposal, which I'll pass out, which basically proposes that we begin to start or plan for a public health type campaign for a fatality-free week in construction, where we set aside one week--and I would propose it would be, like, Worker Memorial Day Week next April--where we declare, we are going to figure out, and strategize, and have meetings, and public media campaigns to try to figure out how we could try to prevent or have that week be a week where there are no construction workers killed on the job that week. That would be about 25 fatalities prevented.
I think the question would then be to each of us, to each of our associations, each of our organizations, how do we do that? How do we accomplish that to OSHA? How do they accomplish that? Are we going to get every construction contractor to walk their job site twice a day that week?
Are we going to get them to do a toolbox talk every morning that week with materials that OSHA has prepared for them? Are we going to get every church, synagogue, and mosque, or whatever to do a sermon that week, saying this is an important issue, we want you to pay attention to this? If you have any friends or relatives that are in the construction industry, please have them work on this.
We could do a public media campaign through the newspapers, through billboards, public service announcements on the radio. I think it would be a challenge. It's not going to be easy to do. It'll take a lot of time, effort and resources.
I'm not saying it's easy. But I think if we did accomplish that -- I think it's doable. If we did accomplish it, it would be a major accomplishment and people could really point to that.
I think what it does, if nothing else, it would raise the level of awareness in this country about construction safety and health being an important problem. I think that also would be beneficial in the long run.
So, it's just a proposal I wanted to throw out on the table for discussion, see what people thought of this, maybe make a recommendation. We could make a motion to recommend that OSHA consider this.
I'm not sure where we go from here, but I think, clearly, if we're going to do something like this, OSHA would have to be the lead agency, the lead organization. I mean, certainly we could all -- we would all have to take an active role in this.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Why don't you -- I'm going to let Bruce respond, but just to keep it under Roberts Rules of Order, why don't you put it in the form of a motion so we can get a second, then discussion on the question, and then we can take a vote, understanding that it's a proposal or a recommendation to OSHA. But I need Bruce to respond to it.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I guess my proposal would be that we recommend to OSHA that they consider developing a campaign like this for next April.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Is there a second to that motion?
MR. THIBODEAUX: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. We'll go on to questions.
MS. SHORTALL: Mr. Chairman, just as two quick housekeeping items, I would request that the Chair have attached to the minutes and transcripts the motion that was passed regarding hexavalent chromium and this motion as well.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Just for the record.
MS. SHORTALL: Attached to the transcript and attached to the summary minutes of the meeting.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We'll do that.
MR. SWANSON: I really don't see an action item here, Scott. As I understand the motion, you asked that OSHA review this and see if it's possible at some unnamed date in the future, and would OSHA like to be a lead agency, or the lead agency in this effort.
I'm not in a position to answer that. That's a pay grade or two above me. But I'll be happy to take this motion downstairs and see what they want to do it with and get back to you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And I think you understand, Scott, that it's within the constraints of budgetary proprietary as far as the DOL is concerned. I don't think anybody's against the idea. Going along with the trenching initiative, it's just trying to raise consciousness about what happens out there in the construction industry.
Through all of the years and all the efforts, we've still managed to maintain a high level of fatalities and serious injuries. It's just the way it goes. And any initiative that would help reduce that, I don't know how anybody could be against it.
Anybody else on the question? Yes, Tom?
MR. BRODERICK: I have more of a comment. It is an awfully daunting task to do that, but the National Safety Council set about creating a coalition to focus on vehicle safety during National Safety Week, and, boy, a whole bunch of other trade associations and labor unions got involved with that initiative.
I don't know how much of a role OSHA, if any, had with that initiative. But it seems like if you have a year to reach out to groups like ASSE, the National Safety Council, and other entities that have constituents that are interested in construction -- of course, NSC has a construction division that is of decent size.
ASSE has a fairly rapidly growing group of construction safety professionals that are a discrete entity within ASSE. I really think that this is something that could be done.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead.
MR. SWANSON: Clearly, OSHA can't make this happen, but there's a whole alphabet out there. We start with Ed Sullivan and the AGC, the ABC, NUCA, if they're still here, NEHB, and everybody is going to have to buy into this and make it happen.
The best that we could hope to do is to be a choir director for this, if they buy into it downstairs. But this would have to be nationwide. NSC would have to buy into it, and the Construction Safety Council, and whoever else.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, Frank?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: I'm going to be the devil's advocate on this one. It's a great initiative and everybody can buy into it. It's doomed to fail. The only way this works, is every job shuts down for the whole week.
I mean, I don't want to see OSHA putting a lot of time where they could be putting it somewhere else, and a lot of these other groups putting it somewhere else. It's a great initiative, but accidents happen. That's just known. We have 20. If we could reduce it to 10, I'd say that's great. We're never going to reduce it to none.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: I gave a copy of this to John Henshaw last week when I saw him in Atlanta. What he said to me was -- he said, well, to me this is just like the zero injury initiatives that a lot of companies have.
They say, our goal is zero. That's what we're going to get. By saying that, what we're saying is, accidents just don't happen, that there are ways to prevent essentially every fatality that happens in this country. And it's a challenge. I mean, it's not going to be easy. I'm not saying it's going to be easy. But I think we have to get creative and we have to challenge everybody. Okay.
For example, if we look at the fatalities and we find that, say, a significant number of them occur in, I don't know, people that are working overhead on scaffolding, or whatever, then we need to go out and figure out what the message is, how do we reach those people.
If they're all small contractors that have five or less employees, how do we reach those people? I mean, it's going to be very difficult. But I think it would focus our energies and our efforts on figuring out exactly where we need to -- which buttons we need to push, who we need to get to, what message we need to give them, what's the most effective message.
Each area office would have to do something, every local union. We would try to get every business agent out on the job sites that week. We would have to have an OSHA enforcement effort, enhanced effort that week.
I think there's a lot of things that could be done if we really think and focus ourselves on, well, how are we going to accomplish this goal? It may not be possible the first year or the second year. I don't know. I think we could do it. I think it's possible to have one week without any fatalities in this country. I do.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, go ahead. Bill Rhoten?
MR. RHOTEN: I think this is a good idea, Scott. It has to be. I agree what Bruce said. Maybe OSHA can join in with some assistance, or be the choir leader. But I think we're going to have to look to ourselves to really get this done.
The last two years in building trades, we didn't put a lot of emphasis even on Memorial Worker Day, to just be candid about it. A few years back we did. Those things come and go. We're all busy. We didn't put, maybe, the time on that.
I think, while I'm for this, we shouldn't be trying to put this over on OSHA's desk, because their desk is full, too. They can maybe help us, but I think we're going to have to go back where we did with the building trades, the other international unions, the contractor associations, and try to enlist their help. If we can't get them motivated in our own backyard, then I don't think we can expect OSHA to get the thing done.
I think it's going to take some funding, and maybe that's something that we need to go back to our building trades and our contractor associations and see if we could get some interest there and get it motivated there, and come back to OSHA and ask them to buy onto it after we did some leg work. I mean, I've love to put this right on Bruce's desk.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I have a tendency to agree with you. OSHA can become a great cheerleader, but there would be a necessity for a huge coordination of efforts with ASSE, ANSI, and AGC, and ABC. Everybody. I mean, everybody would have to have the --
MR. RHOTEN: To get this going properly, you'd almost have to have a full-time person working on it. It won't happen by just sending somebody an e-mail. You're going to have to have somebody selling this program to the contractor associations. You're going to have to have somebody in the building trades making sure the general presidents buy on. No, I'm not taking it. No, no.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: You don't want that job?
MR. RHOTEN: I want to go to work for OSHA.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom Broderick?
MR. BRODERICK: Well, I just wanted to respond to Frank's comment. I understand that if the metric is actually achieving a zero fatality week and anything less than that would be considered a failure, then I would probably have to agree with Frank.
But for the maybe 3, 5, 8, 10 lives that would be saved, for the families of those people, we would have made a very significant contribution. We would have also validated the principle that Scott brought up, and I think, you know, those of us in the safety profession agree with, that when we look at this fatality data and we look at the NIOSH FACE studies that really dissect a fatality in construction, we can see multiple opportunities that led up to the fatality for interventions to have obviated the ultimate failure of the safety system.
I don't think when AGC or whomever came up with the zero injury concept that they literally thought that all their contractors would all of a sudden have zero injuries. But if you don't set your expectations high, you certainly aren't going to get there.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Well, there's evidence that raising the consciousness of workers, employers, and everyone associated with the safety and health works. I remember many, many moons ago, we had a roofing contractor out in San Jose that was just having a terrible, terrible time with fatalities. They were just coming one right after the other. His Worker's Comp skyrocketed, and injuries, to boot.
He called a consultant in and they completely restructured the safety program within the company and the consultant recommended using the carrot and stick approach.
They instituted an S&H Green Stamp program for safety on the job site, and the fatalities dropped to zero. They did have zero fatalities. The injury rate came down. People started paying attention to what they were doing.
This was not a bad contractor. This was a contractor who had a terrific safety program. There were just some holes that were in the program. There was some laxness on the part of the foremen and superintendents on the job site. And it all changed. It all changed.
Now, there was criticism about, well, if you offer those types of incentives, financial or other, under reporting is going to happen. But the fact of the matter was, the fatalities ceased. They did create an awareness and a consciousness regarding safety and health.
So we're talking a grander scale here. But I do think incentives work. When you put people's minds to it, you know, maybe drawing attention to it, this is multifaceted across the nation.
I think Bill is right, we need to start in our own backyard, through the Safety and Health Committee at the building trades, as far as we're concerned, as far as labor is concerned. But the other associations, safety and contractor associations, would have to dove-tail efforts. It's worth a try.
MR. RHOTEN: But you'd have to have the cooperation of the Mechanical Contractors Association, in our instance, for anything to work anyway. You'd have to have that to make it work.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: The bottom line is that you save in human terms, you save in money terms from a contractor's perspective when the AMR comes down. It may be a flash in the pan, but one time, one shot because it became too expensive, but you would have proved a point, I think.
The bottom line is, you would have proved a very, very good point, that once you get everybody pulling in the same direction, you can have reductions in injuries and fatalities.
MR. STRUDWICK: It's always good to keep it in front of people.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: I had no problem with that. I said it was good even if you brought it down to 10. But I've got four iron workers that are dead out in Toledo right now that have nothing to do with anything they were doing wrong, and nobody knows what happened.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Right. But the fact is --
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Accidents do happen.
MR. SCHNEIDER: -- in order to pursue a situation like this or to all come together, we'd probably create some kind of a sponsorship program and get some of this information like Felipe has come up with, and that kind of thing out during that week.
In other words, it would provide a vehicle for us to make everyone aware from every association's standpoint of the type of materials that we have, and kind of filter down through the ranks as far as the workers are concerned. It can't hurt, and it's going to obviously help. This may be a little more comprehensive than you could actually do in a day, but it's all in here.
I think it's worth a try. I think it's worth a try to have OSHA be the cheerleader or the organizer, and then ask for sponsorship as far as dollars are concerned from the different associations, because we all have money for this.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Frank?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Like I said at the beginning, it's a great idea. Let's look at the other side. A lot of people are gunning for OSHA right now. We average 20 a week. The week we pick, we have 22 people killed on the job. What's it look like? The gunners are going to have ammunition.
That's why I'm saying -- I mean, it's a great idea. I don't see it working. The question is, is it doable? Zero fatalities. Is it doable? Does everybody in this room from this table believe it's doable?
MR. SCHNEIDER: For one week.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: For one week. It's like I just told Scott. It's like asking the military to not have a soldier killed in Iraq for one day, or one week. I mean, it's -- you're after the Maker now. He tells you when you're going to die.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: The numerical goal, to me, is not the important thing. The important thing is raising consciousness and awareness around safety and health.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: That's the good part.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes. Yes.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: -- rather than going for zero deaths.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Every company that instituted those failed policies you're talking about, every company that instituted a zero injury policy within their company wasn't going to say, well, it's a zero injury policy, but we'll accept 10 to 15 because that's less than the 25 we had. They don't want to say that. It's classier and easier to say that.
Hang on, Scott.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: I'd like to make a motion that you set up a subcommittee with Scott as the chairman to examine this.
MR. SCHNEIDER: A task force. A task force.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: No, I'm serious.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I understand. But wait a minute. Wait a minute. Let's take one motion at a time. The first motion is an exploratory thing. We're not going to set up anything in concrete until the cheerleader -- the cheerleader has to come back.
There's a motion and a second on the table. Go ahead, Scott.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I understand what Frank's concerns are. I mean, we may not -- I think it is possible to do this. It is possible to go one week without anything else. It was not easy. I'm not saying it's easy.
I'm just saying, if everybody's attention is focused on, well, okay, we know there are going to be these problems, well, what can we do to avoid them, you may end up with -- say you have eight fatalities that year instead of 20, instead of 25.
Well, you've accomplished something. But I think there's going to be a lot of attention paid on those eight fatalities. Well, could they have been prevented?
I think a lot of media attention, as well. I mean, normally what happens is, you have one construction fatality here, one fatality in another city, and then it gets two or three lines in the press and it gets forgotten.
I think what this is going to do, is it's going to put a lot of attention and a lot of pressure on the people that are planning this to say, well, let's plan.
Where do we anticipate there are going to be problems, and how are we going to address those ahead of time? I don't know. I just think it would be a really important way to focus our attention.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. Let's not measure outcomes until we can get feasibility put up there. We've gone back and forth across on this. There's a motion and second on the floor.
As I understand the motion, it's a proposal for feasibility to OSHA to take this back and look at it, and if nothing else, we've generated the conversation to keep this thing alive.
All those in favor of the motion, signify by the sign "aye."
(Chorus of Ayes)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any in opposition?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any abstentions?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So moved. Okay. Any other new business? Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, just a suggestion. With the ACCSH workgroup listing being revised, I know a lot of e-mail systems have been crashing and a lot of e-mail addresses have been lost. Some of our workgroups are two to three years old.
I'm wondering if it would be possible request DOC that maybe we could put the new ACCSH workgroup listing on the website with a call for anybody who wishes to participate to send in their e-mail address to the site. That would help Michael reestablish, and I think all of us, to have current e-mails to contact people.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: There was a request to the DOC to put that on the website, the workgroup e-mails on the website.
MR. SWANSON: For clarification, you're just looking for an update on the e-mails? This is a correct breakdown on workgroups, is it not?
MS. WILLIAMS: Well, we took off silica and chromium.
MR. SWANSON: Okay.
MS. WILLIAMS: And I know we've all been having --
MR. SWANSON: But there were no errors in this when it was handed out yesterday.
MS. WILLIAMS: No, sir.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Yes, there was an error. OTI. Mike is the co-chair.
MR. SWANSON: That's what I had listed in the minutes in February.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Yes. There is an error there.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So Mike Thibodeaux is the co-chair of the OTI?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Yes.
MR. SWANSON: Okay. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any other new business?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Under Old Business, I know it was passed out to you late and you only had a chance to give it a cursory look, but we need a motion for the approval of the minutes of February 12-13, our meeting in Chicago.
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, I move the adoption of the minutes, as circulated.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second by Frank. Okay.
Does anybody else have a question?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All those in favor, signify by the sign "aye."
(Chorus of Ayes)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any in opposition or abstentions?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So moved. Yes?
MR. SCHNEIDER: I was just wondering. I was reading over the minutes and there's a couple of things that were action items here that I was wondering if we, or the DOC, could follow up on.
We had an action item to arrange a report from the OSHA Targeting Task Force. We had an action item to have a report on the enhanced enforcement effort in construction, and also one on what the Agency is doing on ergonomics in construction from the variety of programs that they have established alliances.
MR. SWANSON: Yes. We have none of those reports prepared for this meeting, which centered around hexavalent chromium, as far as we were concerned.
On the Targeting Task Force, I would recommend that all of those action items simply be deferred to the next ACCSH meeting. Between now and then, the OSHA Targeting Task Force to give a report -- we can give you a report as to where we are on that Targeting Task Force. I have a strong feeling that that is out in the throes of crashing, as we're losing Dr. Reinhart. We'll see what we are able to do.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Is there anything else under Old Business? Hang on, Jane. There was one thing in there, Scott, that I noticed just now on work zone safety that we're talking about. And maybe not for this meeting, but you might want to consider that for the next meeting because I know how important it is to your organization. You may even want to look at workgroups or something in the future. But I know how important that topic is to you and to your group.
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, it was suggested, under our procedures and guidelines, that there would be a couple of documents that we should add as handouts with that to help new members coming on the committee, such as committee charter, the Construction Safety Act, the OSH Act, CFR Part 1911, and the FACA Act. I can add those in there for the next meeting if the Chair feels that's appropriate.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: To the guidelines?
MS. WILLIAMS: Yes. They would become attachments to.
MS. SHORTALL: Excuse me. Are you suggesting for them to be attachments to the guidelines or are you suggesting them to be in the packets for the new members?
MS. WILLIAMS: They would be referenced in the guidelines, but be in the packet for new members. That's what we've done before. Was that the intent?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Wouldn't that be easier than trying to amend guidelines that have already been approved?
MS. SHORTALL: If I'm interpreting either her motion or request correctly, are you suggesting that those be -- references to those be included in your procedures and guidelines under the list of items that will be provided to new members?
MS. WILLIAMS: Yes.
MS. SHORTALL: So amending the guidelines just for the purpose of adding those other references?
MS. WILLIAMS: That's what it would be. Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: No problem.
MR. BRODERICK: I forgot about this under New Business, so we'll try to sneak it in under Old Business, because we have a Homeland Security Workgroup.
But this is just a piece of information for this committee, that the OSHA Training Institute has been working with a number of constituencies to develop a 16-hour program for disaster site response people from construction that will be administered through the Education Centers around the country.
It will be a three-part program, in that, to get into the course, one will need an OSHA 10-hour instruction card, then the 16-hour program, and then for those people who are responding to scenes that have hazardous materials, they would also have to have a current HAZWOPER card.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: You raised -- and perhaps this issue should come before your workgroup sometime. But since September 11, 2001, a lot of these places are adopting strict background checks, specifically refineries, pharmaceutical plants, any place that manufactures explosives. Background checks have to be conducted. They're very, very expensive.
I know that they were looking at it through Tom Ridge's office. But there needs to be some type of coordination between construction user groups and homeland security to standardizing those background checks.
I mean, it's ridiculous that somebody has to go through the expense of a background check for this plant, and then goes across the street and at that plant they have another background check that has maybe a one- or two-year difference, or they're looking at a different class of felonies.
The reason I'm bringing that up, is there's one initiative that's out there right now with the Smart Card technology, that if that standardization could take place, then any worker who went through a background check, that went through that standardized background check, would have that information on his or her card, and if it was accepted, they wouldn't have to be going through this retesting, this constant retesting for access to plants.
But, like I said, that may be something that your workgroup may want to consider, and we can get you some folks that are much more versed in it than I am.
But I do know that it is creating problems for contractors, it creates problems for unions to have people constantly retested on these things, and have owners actually absorbing those costs on a repetitive basis. It really doesn't make any sense. They're very, very expensive, those background checks, especially.
Any other old or new business?
MS. SHORTALL: Mr. Chair, I apologize for bringing you back to the issue that Ms. Williams just raised about the additions to the ACCSH procedures and guidelines. The ACCSH procedures and guidelines has been adopted by ACCSH as a whole. The only way they can be revised is if ACCSH, as a whole, agrees to those revisions. So, that would have to be in the form of a motion.
MS. WILLIAMS: Okay. Sarah, do you feel that it's important that they be in there as a reference to new members?
MS. SHORTALL: It's whether you want them in there for your new members or not. It's your guidelines. I'm just saying, one person can't change the guidelines now that they've been adopted by ACCSH as a whole.
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chair, I move that the documents I referenced be referenced in the procedures and guidelines and presented to the committee at its next meeting.
MR. RHOTEN: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: A second to that. Bill?
MR. RHOTEN: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else on the question?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All those in favor, signify by the sign "aye."
(Chorus of Ayes)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Opposition or abstentions, if any?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So moved. Okay.
There's still a public comment period. I know Mr. Walker got his pitch in. Is there anyone else in the public who would like to make any comments?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: If not, a motion for adjournment would be in order.
MR. RHOTEN: So moved.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second from Frank.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I have a question. Are we going to set a date for another meeting?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We can discuss a date. But, as we all know, Sarah just pushed that question past me, we know how volatile that is. We're looking somewhere in the fall time, I would assume.
MR. SWANSON: I would think in the month of September. But any comments, thoughts?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Staying away from Labor Day weekend, without a doubt.
MR. BRODERICK: And the Safety Congress is in September.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: What are those dates, Tom?
MR. BRODERICK: I don't know. Jane has them.
MR. SWANSON: As you folks are digging for calendars and looking to see what's open, I'm sure that everyone -- or at least I'm sure that seven of you are aware that your terms are up in July. Those that are here and are seeking reappointment, I'm sure you've done something about that.
This committee, when next it meets, will not look exactly the same as it does now. I know that one of the present members, Mr. Bush, has indicated that when his term is up in July, that was enough of a run for him.
We have appreciated your participation and your strength and your endeavors on this committee. I cannot address anyone else whose term is lapsing, because I have no idea whether this is your last meeting or not. That, again, is one of the pay grades above me.
But as we look to set dates, just keep in mind that potentially, 50 percent of the faces around here are going to be new. So, maybe we should wait until after July and do this by e-mail to see what is a good date for September/October.
MR. RHOTEN: The good part is, Bruce, if they fire you, they hire you back.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: No. The good part is, you get a job with OSHA.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: If you stay on the committee long enough you get a job.
MS. WILLIAMS: The Congress is September 10-17.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: September 10 through 17. So, that takes care of the first couple of weeks of September.
David, I join -- I wasn't aware of that. I join Bruce in thanking you for your service to the committee. You've been very middle-of-the-road in contributing to the committee. We appreciate your work on the workgroups.
I know how difficult it is, especially in a management position, when you leave a business and have to devote time away. So, we thank you for that and we wish you the best in the future.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay.
MR. BUSH: Mr. Chairman, I would just say thank you in return. It's been a great experience, and it's a good group to work with.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you very much.
MR. BUSH: And being middle-of-the-road just meant that there was good consensus on the right issues.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And I will second that, that's for sure. I've enjoyed working with this group right along, even with the change--sometimes the sea change--that comes with members. Stew has left. I'm sure he'd echo those comments. It's always nice working with this group. I think the goals are noble, the mission is noble. Nobody can question the motives of the people that sit around this table. Okay.
I think we're adjourned. Thank you very much. I appreciate your work.
(Whereupon, at 11:28 a.m. the meeting was concluded.)
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), held on Wednesday, May 19, 2004, were transcribed as herein appears, and this is the original of transcript thereof.
Official Court Reporter
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