This document has not been edited and contains many transcription errors.
The Public Hearing convened in Room N3437 A/B/C South, Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001, pursuant to notice at 8:30 a.m., Robert Krul, Chairperson, presiding.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT:
ROBERT KRUL, Chairman, Employee Representative
KEVIN BEAUREGARD, State Representative
THOMAS BRODERICK, Public Representative
MICHAEL HAYSLIP, Public Representative
DOUGLAS KALINOWSKI, State Representative
THOMAS KAVICKY, Employee Representative
FRANK MIGLIACCIO, JR., Employee Representative
DAN MURPHY, Employer Representative
WILLIAM RHOTEN, Employee Representative
SCOTT SCHNEIDER, Employee Representative
LINWOOD SMITH, Employer Representatives
GREG STRUDWICK, Employer Representative
RUSSEL SWANSON, Designated Federal Officer
MICHAEL THIBODEAUX, Employer Representative
STEPHEN WILTSHIRE, Employer Representative
JONATHAN SNARE, Assistant Secretary of Labor
JENNIFER SILK, Directorate of Standards and Guidance
HANK PAYNE, Office of Training and Education
PETER HERNANDEZ, Steel Coalition
ROBERT BALL, Steel Coalition/Steel Decking Institute
KEITH GODDARD, Directorate for Evaluation and Analysis
MATT GILLEN, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
NOAH CONNELL, Office of Construction Safety and Guidelines
Welcome & Introductions
Office of Assistant Secretary -- OSHA Comments
Office of Training and Education Update, OSHA
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We have with us today the Assistant Secretary for OSHA, Jon Snare. Secretary, I know you're on a time schedule, and I hope that microphone is working. Please proceed.
MR. SNARE: Thanks, Bob. And again, for the record and for the purpose of introduction, I'm Jonathan Snare, Assistant Secretary for OSHA. I am happy to be here today.
This is my first appearance before ACCSH, and I want to thank you on behalf of the Agency for your hard work in promoting safety in housing and construction industry.
And I'd like to just give a brief word and introduction about myself, talk a little bit about some of the new leadership in the OSHA front office, and then address a few issues very briefly.
And then I look forward to hear questions from members of the group. I joined OSHA in December as the Deputy Assistant Secretary and was promoted, became the Assistant Secretary.
John Henshaw left in early -- on January 1st of this year. Before that I was Senior Advisor and Solicitor of Labor, working with Howard on a wide range of issues.
I joined the department in June 2003. And before that I was a partner in a large law firm in Dallas Texas engaged in general and private and practice.
As far as our new OSHA leadership, many of you may know our Deputy Assistant Secretary Steve Witt, who has been in the Agency since the early 1980s who's previously in the solicitor's office, and many of you may have dealt with him.
He is the Director of Standards and Guidance at the Agency. But he became the new deputy in January replacing Davis Lening. Kim Laser, who some of you may have worked with, was formerly Jon's Special Assistant.
She's been promoted to Chief of Staff and is one of his repeat policy advisors of the Agency and is heavily involved in a number of issues, including a lot of construction issues, and may have had interactions with a number of you.
We are continuing to build on what I believe is a successful approach, and established by John Henshaw and the other leadership of the Agency and the leadership of the department over the past 40 years.
And we intend to continue that successful approach in the future. One of the key areas that OSHA relies on in terms of promoting its vital issues is working with and relying on the advice of the advisory committees.
And we have a number of them. ACCSH is one in particular. I think it's sort of unique among the advisory committees that we work with in terms of the number of workers that you have and some of the detailed work that you do.
I've had discussions with Bruce over the course of the past month about this. I've been getting some background briefings. I know that you have I believe nine or ten work groups briefs that have been doing a lot of heavy intensive work in the meeting, as I understand, over the past couple of days.
I've known their projects. And I noticed on the agenda that you're going to be reporting out on the results of those discussions later today or tomorrow.
And I do look forward to having some of the briefings, some of the work, and some of the recommendations that you all will be giving the full committee and ultimately to the Agency.
I do know that the trans-working group has already put together some working drafts of some -- on a number of proposals. I look forward to final recommendations.
I'll talk to you more about some of our efforts in that area in a minute. I mentioned a moment ago sort of the Agency successful approach, the legacy that we're building on.
I have talked about this in a number of speeches and public remarks, and most recently before the ASSE in New Orleans on June 13th about OSHA's balanced approach, sort of our three part approach that we're taking in our overall effort to meet and satisfy our mission to promote workplace safety and health.
And the balanced approach, as many of you may know, has three items, three components, you know, one, outreach education compliance assistance, two, cooperative and voluntary programs, and three, an effective enforcement effort.
We believe the balanced approach has been working in every respect. I mean the -- just a brief summary of some of the facts. Injuries and illnesses have been on a downward trend in recent years from 2002 to 2003.
Reportable cases of injuries and illnesses have declined 7.1 percent. Loss workday rates have declined 7.7 percent in the same period. The on the job fatality rate for 2002 and 2003 is the lowest ever recorded.
Total fatalities since 2001 have declined 6 percent. There have been an 8.2 percent reduction of fatalities in the construction industry. We can also report that Hispanic fatalities among Hispanic workers in construction continues to decline.
But obviously you're aware of them. And I'm sure in some of the discussions you had in the last couple of days we still need to do better in our overall effort in the construction industry.
I want to just raise a few statistics that I think illustrate the challenge that we face, that ACCSH faces, and all of us that are working in the area of construction face.
One out of five workers who died on the job in 2003 worked in the construction sector. Twenty percent of all worker fatalities -- in fiscal year 2003 the number of fatalities is 1,131.
In a number of SIC codes -- I'll just sort of give you a little bit of a breakdown. Specialty trade contractor's report -- which is code 238, reported 626 fatalities, 56 percent of the construction total.
Two hundred and twenty six construction workers were fatally injured working in building construction, 128 fatalities in residential construction.
Heavy and civil engineering construction reported 247 fatalities, about 22 percent of the total. Obviously we have been making progress in a number of areas.
We do have quite a bit of work to do in this area. And I believe working together, and a number of the efforts that you all have been working on at this meeting, at prior meetings, and I think in future meetings, we can have a positive impact and work together to try to reduce these numbers.
Let me talk a little bit about each element, just a brief summary of the balanced approach, and focusing in particular on some of our construction related activities.
Then I'll open XX8:55:41 for questions. One on our outreach education and compliance assistance -- I've said this in many public occasions, we're continuing to support all of our efforts in all of these areas, outreach, compliance assistance has been a big priority on John Henshaw's leadership and the Secretary's leadership.
And we're going to continue that. Outreach and training, let me just give you a few examples. Our outreach efforts will -- we're using every resource we have available to try to promote and educate and provide resources to employers in a variety of industries to help them work on health and safety issues.
In construction we obviously have a wide range of resources, both on the internet, we have health and safety topics pages, a variety of resources that are available to the construction industry.
We have e-tools, which there's a number in the construction industry, there's one for -- I just looked at this morning on preventing fatalities.
There's one on scaffolding. Other materials aside from the internet are the quick cards, we've got one out that we're been promoting on heat stress as we're coming into the summer work season which can affect, obviously, the construction industry.
The trenching quick card that most of you may know about has been, I think, a successful effort and was popular. We've actually done, I believe, a second mail out of those cards. We've done a trenching poster based on, I believe, some of the informal recommendations we may have received from you, and a number of other efforts working in this to address some serious challenges we have in construction and the trenching are in particular.
Our training efforts are going to continue and we're supporting those with all the resources we have available within the Agency. Our training institute through our 19 OSHA sanctioned education centers, our outreach training program which is our train the trainer program, the general 10 to 30 hour courses, both in construction and general industry we're taking a wide, a very large number of people for those programs.
In the last four years over one million individuals in both construction and general -- receive training through our outreach training efforts.
And its' also pertinent to, I think, make reference to sort of further publicize the announcement that was in the Federal Registrar, I believe on Monday it was announcing the -- that we're accepting applications for 6.9 million dollars for the Susan Harwood training grants.
A number of the efforts we were seeking are both the target and topic training and the training materials and development pertaining to construction hazards.
We've got -- we're seeing people to submit applications in excavation and trenching, the four top areas of fatalities which included falls and electrocution, highway construction fatalities, steel erection, and a number of others.
And so we're looking forward to receiving those applications and making those selections, which I think will help in our overall effort. Let me turn to standards and guidance briefly.
We're working on a number of priorities in the department's regulatory agenda, including the --completing the draft text in cranes and derricks, and propose a rule, hope to get it out this year in final phases of construction, and a number of areas.
And I know you kind of have an update a little bit later this morning from our staff that will go over it in some more detail. On some of our larger health standards, hexavalent chromium, silica, and others were also engaging in some activities and rollover protection systems, the ROPS effort.
And again, you'll hear more details later from the staff. The other element that I'll talk about on our balanced approach is enforcement. It continues to maintain -- we continue to maintain this as a pillar of our approach.
And we're going to continue to emphasize a strong and effective enforcement program. We're projecting for this fiscal year, 2005, 37,700 inspections, which is the same number we had initially predicted and projected for 2003, 2004.
We've also projected that same number for fiscal year 2006. In particular as of yesterday we've conducted 15,055 inspections of construction with 23 million dollars in proposed penalties.
And that puts us on track to meet our target of 19,900 inspections this fiscal year. And in 2004 some of you may know we exceeded our overall inspection goal, conducting about a little over 39,000 inspections.
And about 22,000 were in the construction industry. We also have a number of strategies to -- for inspection targeting, including emphasis programs both nationally and locally, and site specific targeting in our enhanced enforcement program which is one of the newest enforcement efforts that was introduced by OSHA several years ago.
On our national emphasis program we have five national programs, including amputations, lead, silica, trenching, and it allows us to focus on instances in these areas where we're going to continue to do so.
We have a number, I think it's around 140 local emphasis programs, that are enveloped by our regional administrators, or our area offices. And about 20,000 of our inspections every year come through these emphasis programs.
A number of targeted industries in the construction area coming out of these include residential construction, falls, mobile crane, bridge construction maintenance, road construction work zone safety, and masonry restoration.
Our enhanced enforcement program which I mentioned, we're going to be continuing that. Effort zeros in, as some of you may know, on the employers with the greatest violations who've failed to take their responsibility seriously.
In most cases, or in a large number of these cases, they involve fatalities. In fiscal year 2004 we had 313 inspections, classified as EE cases.
And they are F cases. The Agency does a great deal, a more significant follow-up effort on those particular employers. I think our overall enforcement efforts have been successful.
Again, as I mentioned, we faxed the reductions of injury and illnesses and fatalities a few minutes ago. And I think our enforcement program is combined with our cooperative efforts.
Compliance, assistance, and education have made a difference and will continue to make a difference in OSHA in meeting its mission. I appreciate the opportunity to come down here to talk to you this morning. I look forward to hearing some questions.
And I look forward to hearing the briefing of the ultimate work that you do, and the important work that you're going to be doing as a committee over the course of today and tomorrow.
Thank you very much. I'd be happy to answer any questions.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Mr. Secretary? Any questions from members of the committee? Scott, please identify yourself for the reporter.
MEMBER SCHNEIDER: I'm Scott Schneider with the Laborers' Union. Thanks for -- I appreciate your comments. I particularly appreciated your comments about the workman's view.
They have done quite a bit of work. And we had six working meetings this week. And I share -- agree with them. And we were a little concerned or disappointed that nobody from the office of Director, where I just came from, knew about the proposal.
We did a lot of productive discussions. And we agree it would be beneficial to have somebody. And I'm wondering if there's something we can do to encourage them into -- working or facilitate communication between the standards and guidance and the construction workers.
MR. SNARE: Yes, I mean, you know. I think there's a number of issues there that we, the Agency looks forward to the work that you do and the -- you're vital mission is to provide advice, is to look at issues, discuss issues pertaining to the construction industry, provide advice on how to exchange with the Agency.
I mean, I don't believe that perhaps in every work group that we're going to have a staff of ten whose issues with time and resources and the difficulties on work schedules, but to the extent it's necessarily to have somebody there to answer questions.
And we're having a number of our people come down and talk to you today and address questions and talk about some of the things in detail.
And, as I understand, it's the role of the work groups you're doing some of the meeting for detailed work and discussions before coming and discussing it today.
So, I mean, it really will depend on, you know, the particular situation. If there is a need to have somebody attend to help facilitate the work of a work group, obviously please let me know and we can go make a request to our front office and through our Director.
And we can make a determination, obviously depending on whether is requesting it and their particular scheduling issues and the other things they may be working on because they're obviously quite busy.
But Stephanie can support the workers. We can, I think we can support the team to help facilitate work and do all the important work that you do both in the work group and in your meeting, the full committee meeting.
MEMBER SCHNEIDER: We also, at our meeting it came up that we see people express concern about sort of the pace of -- make sure we keep to the schedule with the silica standard schedule to be proposed next April.
And I know there are some issues. But we've dealt with those to make sure that we stick to that schedule and on issues there's not scientific -- move along to match.
There's a concern to most of us in the meeting on Tuesday. I don't know if there's some way to expedite the process and get these proposals out so that people can discuss them for the record.
MR. SNARE: That's a good point. I mean, as I mentioned in a number of forums I have appeared in and discussions I have had, I mean, we're moving forward as expeditious as we can and on very heavy regulatory agenda.
If you look at our list and some of the other agencies, we have a very significant work load. Some of these are significant rule makings. Silica obviously comes to mind in terms of your question of a number of efforts that we're undergoing and discussions and internal review about the research into the silica we are making, and moving forward as expeditiously as we can.
Hexavalent chromium, which you'll hear about a little bit later this morning, Rob should be offering a report on the deadline. And we are -- I've been informed in a number of discussions on that anticipate -- extensive discussions over the course of the summer on hexavalent chromium and beryllium, and a number of others.
On all of our standard setting activities we are moving forward as quickly as we can under the circumstances. These companies involve very complex issues, complex questions to analyze, a lot of information to review and go through so that we can come up with the best possible policy outcome based upon the facts and based upon the legal parameters and the feasibility and all those types of things that we have to go through.
So we are moving forward as quickly as we can. And I think there will be people to talk -- our staff will be here, I think, to talk about some of those efforts in more detail.
But I'm just letting you know from the leadership standpoint that that is a significant focus of my activities. And we are looking at all of these items in our agenda in an effort to move forward and those are some of the issues and things we have to work.
MEMBER SCHNEIDER: Well, anything we can do to help, let us know.
MR. SNARE: I appreciate that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Greg?
MEMBER STRUDWICK: Thank you for addressing us this morning. And I appreciate all the work groups that --
MR. SNARE: Okay.
MEMBER STRUDWICK: And, it's very well focused on a situation that raised its ugly head a couple years ago, but has always been with us. And I just want to say to you and to the Agency and really the staff in general that they've been very helpful in the process, in the ongoing process.
Even though some of our recommendations are not as formalized as you'd like to have them, we have developed an awful lot of material as an ongoing way of touching the public and touching the employees and the employees -- so, it's just a great opportunity to thank the Agency and Association and your office for allowing us to proceed and using an awful lot of the staff's time to focus and produce products like this that are making a difference, and that will continue to make a difference.
MR. SNARE: Thank you, Greg. And I agree. I mean, it is a very important effort. I mean, like the Trenchgaurd -- I signed the letters early -- coming over to be Assistant Secretary.
And I understand we did a second mail-in. And it's been a very successful effort. The feedback that I have been briefed on has been very, very positive.
And, when you look at the sort of fatality break down, trenching is one of the more significant areas. And you obviously know. And I think anything we can do to promote certainty in this particular component of the construction industry is going to have a positive effect on the bottom line ultimately.
I think the cards are going to have that affect. You said obviously that English and Spanish because there's a large Hispanic work force in this area.
The posters they put together, I think, the efforts have been very successful. And some of the other training materials -- obviously I mentioned on the part of them -- we're seeking some initial applications for the grants this year in the excavation trenching area.
There may be some other information we get out of that effort that also could help us. But, I definitely -- this is an area I follow closely. And it's an area that will be continued to be -- but, thank you for your working on that as well.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else?
MEMBER MIGLIACCIO: Frank Migliaccio. I also appreciate you coming down here and speaking with us today. I was wondering, do you have any update or where the CDAC, the crane and derrick negotiated rulemaking information is right now?
MR. SNARE: We are sort of reviewing the draft and I think looking and trying to make a determination in the near future as to whether it would be good for us to brief a process.
We're not in their statistics -- I believe in the discussions on them we had some additional briefings. But there's some additional -- some staff level work going on right now that will be kind of in the discussions.
I don't have an answer anything more than that. But that's sort of, I think, where we are in terms of we're going to have -- the decision is going to have to be made as soon as it comes down to briefing.
So, it will be the year -- not next week, because I'll be on vacation.
MEMBER MIGLIACCIO: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else? Michael?
MEMBER HAYSLIP: Hello, Mike Hayslip, a public representative. Thank you, sir, for coming down and participating in our group. I'd like to make mention of a fact and perhaps solicit a comment if you will.
One, OSHA's losing a good man next week. H. Berrien, as you know, is retiring. I'd like to formally on the record echo the comments as a public rep that he has served, in our opinion, OSHA and our industry with the highest level of integrity and professionalism.
And, as a member of ACCSH I'd like to say thank you for your dedicated service.
MR. SNARE: Thank you for that comment. I'd like to just echo that point as well. You know, Berrien has done great work for the Agency. And I understand, just from discussions of other who have worked with you directly, I obviously cannot -- all I have gotten to know and to work with him over the last few months, he's done great work and is really made a valuable contribution to the Agency and in this area in particular.
And I want to thank you for your service publicly as well and further conversation next week -- but we will talk again. I want to thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Notice that, as I approach retirement age, I've noticed that they wait all these years to say something nice to us.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else with questions for the Assistant Secretary?
(No verbal response.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I'd like to just echo some of the comments to the Secretary, specifically regarding the work groups, these collaborations of labor management and private sector individuals and with the skills and the knowledge that they bring and the dedication to the safety and health of construction workers in this country.
They are a dedicated group. They work hard, as you said, in looking at these minutes from their work groups and certainly the Chairman appreciates their work.
And we appreciate you taking the time. And I think I cut that one by one minute. We'll get you out of here in time. Thank you very much.
MR. SNARE: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And we appreciate you taking the time to come out here and address us.
MR. SNARE: Thank you all very much. I appreciate it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Hank Payne, are you here?
(No verbal response.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Hank is going to give us an Office of Training and Education update. And, Mike will be leaving.
MR. PAYNE: Thank you very much. The projector seems to be moving at about the same speed I am this morning. So we'll be in good synch here.
MR. PAYNE: My name is Hank Payne. I am the Director of OSHA's Office of Training and Education. And I have with me, most of you know, Zigmas Sadauskis, the Director of the OSHA Training Institute.
He's part of the Office of Training and Education. Today I'm going to give you an overview of the Office of Training and Education. Basically we'll very quickly cover our mission and organizational structure because there seems to be, as I find, a lot of confusion about the sense of our office and everything that we do.
And then we'll talk quite a bit about the technical training their office performs and the number of programs under which we've performed them. And I'll also talk about the training redesign effort that's going on currently within the office.
Basically our mission is to help the Agency fulfill its mission. And we do that by providing skill and knowledge to people -- or improving the skill and knowledge to people who are engaged in work relating to the act.
And we do that by providing policy and implementing programs to provide education and training and the recognition avoidance and the prevention of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions.
This -- as we sit here today, this is our current organizational structure within the Office of Training and Education. We have the Deputy Director.
We also have an individual who performs -- conducts evaluations of all of our programs. We have another individual who overseas our distance learning program efforts across a number of our branches.
We have OETP is our curriculum development division. They develop our outreach materials and, in a lot of cases, they develop the initial forces for all new OTI courses that we develop.
OETP is our plans office. They help develop the training schedule every year. Plus, they don't receive the Susan Harwood training grant program, the OTI education center program, and the outreach training program.
And what kind of a bureaucracy would we be if we didn't have an administration group that kind of oversaw everything that we have to do to schedule and run, not only forces, but -- for those of you who may not know, we are at a stand-alone facility in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
So we don't have the benefit of other Federal agencies contributing or taking care of all of the administration of running the building. So, we do it all ourselves.
Effective July 1st, this organization will change. The impact is on the OSHA Training Institute. We are realigning the Institute to better match the national office.
Currently, if you notice, we have a construction branch, a safety branch, and a health branch. We have 11 people in the safety branch. We have six people in the health branch, and five people in the construction branch.
After re-organization we'll have ten in construction and we'll have 11 in safety and health. We will also be moving some forces that are currently in our safety branch into our construction branch to help better align what we do with the national office.
So, that will happen on July 1st. We have a formal notification process we have to do with our employee union before we can make these kinds of changes.
Our functions, basically we conduct technical training for Federal and state compliance officers, state consultants, employers and employer reps, employees, and employees of other Federal agencies who have a collateral duty of occupational safety and health.
So, we have a very full line of training requirements that we're being asked to provide. And, as you saw, not a lot of resources with which to do that.
So, we do that in a number of programs. One of our probably better known programs is our Susan Harwood training grant program. This is a program whereby we award grants to non-profit organizations to provide training in two areas, either direct training to workers who are targeting tropics grants, or through the development of training materials for employers to download and use with their employees.
These grants are awarded for one year. And some years they are renewed for a second year. And some years they are not. And that's a policy decision that's made at the Assistant Secretary level.
For those of you who are interested, the Federal Register Notice went out Tuesday. So, it is up on our website for you to review. The due date is July 21st.
It's a very short response time. It's only 30 days. So, for those of you who are interested, the grant applications are due to our office in Arlington Heights, Illinois by 4:30 p.m. on July 21st.
The awards, as always, will be announced in mid to late September. And, for those of you who are willing, you can actually download the applications and all the forms from our website.
So, if you're interested, the information is up there. And, as Mr. Snare stated, there -- in both the targeted topic area and in the training materials development area there are construction topics included.
So, there are plenty of opportunities for construction grants to be awarded. We have set aside 2.9 million for the targeted topic grants. Those are the grants that provide direct training for workers and employer reps.
And four million dollars has been set aside for the development of training materials. Over the past few years you can see the increase in the number of people who have been trained directly through Susan Harwood grants.
The drop-off occurred when Mr. Henshaw decided hew anted to start doing training materials grants and that development of materials and the posting on websites, we know more people are being trained.
It's just we don't have a mechanism in place to capture the data on people who are being trained through the use of training materials. So, the numbers that you see there are people who are trained through the direct programs through the targeted topics.
MEMBER STRUDWICK: Just one question. When there's a grant awarded to any association or group, isn't there a vehicle in that award that would allow them to report back the certain amount of individuals that were trained or received information?
MR. PAYNE: In the targeted topic grants, yes. The problem with the materials grants is what they'll do is they'll report back to us the umber of hits that they get where they post the materials.
But there's no way to know who really downloaded it and how really used it, and how many people they actually trained.
MEMBER STRUDWICK: I think even a ballpark figure would be nice, you know, something to the capacity that they have as far as an organization and how much it affects what they get.
MR. PAYNE: Well, we're hoping that we start hearing from some folks. But, the first of the materials are just now getting posted. So we're hoping to hear from people over the next preceding months that they're using them -- either they're using the materials and they like them or they're using the materials and they don't like them and why. But we have no feedback yet.
MEMBER STRUDWICK: I know that we successfully completed about three of those projects, like the contractors association. And I will get you that information.
MR. PAYNE: I will appreciate it.
MEMBER STRUDWICK: I would be more than happy to.
MR. PAYNE: Okay, great. One of our other programs that's fairly well-known is the OSHA Training Institute Education Center Program. This was a program that was started back in 1992 because the demand on OTI to provide training opportunities for employers exceeded OPI's capability to meet that demand.
So, we created a concept called education center whereby through a competitive process we authorize certain non-profit training groups -- these are people who had experience in providing occupational safety and health training -- to teach a certain number of OTI forces.
And currently they have 16 forces that we've authorized them to teach. Plus we've given them ten seminars to also teach. These are areas that really help me, crucial needs of the agencies.
For example, record keeping was one of the courses that we gave to the incidents to help with the roll out of the new record keeping rule. And they continue to offer that course today.
It is pretty surprising the demand that -- courses continue to garner. And, again, through consortiums there are 33 different organizations that are actually providing training, even though the number of ed centers is 19.
Tom is a member of one of those consortiums and provides the training. And, it's been a big success for us. As you can see from the numbers, they have increased exponentially ever year.
And, the number there on the number of people training construction forces is a little mis-leading in that that number comes from how we classify forces.
So, construction people have actually taken other courses that they feel help them in their job. We just don't have them listed in our construction branch.
So we don't count the numbers in that branch. So, you can see they trained a little over 17,000 people last year. They're on track to do over 20,000 this year.
So, their numbers are continuing to increase. One of the other programs that I believe all of you are aware of is our outreach training program.
This is our train the trainer program through which safety and health professionals who meet certain requirements can take either our construction train the trainer course our general industry train the trainer course.
And the become authorized to do ten and 30 hour courses in either general industry or construction, probably best known is Tim Allen program.
And, as you can see, this program is continuing to grow beyond, I think, anybody's expectation when the program started. Last year we gave out over 300,000 cards and almost 250,000 of those were in the construction site.
This workload became so great for us in our office that, when we re-competed the OTI Education Centers, one of the requirements for them is, since they actually train the trainers through the 500 and 501 courses, is that they now process the request for those people who go through the courses.
And that has tremendously sped up the process of students getting cards. We consistently ran the three to five week backlog. We only had one person working on it full-time.
So, moving this requirement to the ed center has greatly increased our response to the trainers and the students. And last year we at Office of Training and Education still processed well over half the cards.
So, we're still in the process of shifting that workload. And, again, one of the other major functions that we perform is the training that we do through the OSHA Training Institute.
Our main focus of the Institute is on Federal and state compliance officers and state consultants. And we have over 100 different courses that we offer.
And, on an annual basis, depending on budget and request, OTI will conduct between 140 and 180 courses. And these range in length from a half day to one day up to two weeks.
So, there is a wide variety of different offerings from the Institute. Last year the Institute trained over 3,400 students. And again, 727 were trained in what we call construction courses.
But again, that's how we have the courses currently clustered. That's not a true representative of construction people being trained. Lastly, one of the things I want to talk about is our effort to re-design our curriculum.
A couple years ago the Agency asked us to develop competencies for compliance officers and go to a competency-based training approach. This is to put us in alignment with the President's management agenda under the Human Cap Bill Initiative.
There's a push for all Federal jobs to be -- to have job-specific competencies developed for them. We decided to step out and start doing this for compliance officers.
So we're working with the Department of Labor and OSHA to make sure what we do is in alignment with what they're doing. But we basically broke the job of a compliance officer down into about eight major functions and 20 different competencies.
And then we developed a whole host of different activities that compliance officers have to successful complete in order to demonstrate that they can achieve that competency.
It's a process that's been going on for about two years no. This year we get a detailed analysis of 30 courses to include all the required basic courses for compliance officers.
And, in this analysis what we've done is we've developed a goal for each course, learning objectives, and enabling learning objectives, which are some objectives which help you get to the terminal learning objectives.
These are the five core courses that you're currently in the process of revising. We just completed the 1410 on inspection techniques and legal aspects.
We just have begun in earnest the 2000 construction standards course. Ziggy was involved deeply with that review. We are involving the Director of Construction in the review of the objectives and the outcomes for that course.
We're -- it's a lot of work for our folks. But, one of the things that is going to allow us to do is track objectives back to competencies. So we'll be able to tell directors, when a student comes through one of our courses, which competencies they've demonstrated mastery on and which competencies they need additional work on back on the job.
So, it's a much more focused training program. And it will provide supervisors more specific information on where they need to put their time in getting employees up to full proficiency.
The most noticeable changes that people are going to see through this process is you'll see more use of web-based training. We currently have about 20 courses right now that we use in a blended approach.
That's where we've taken a number of hours of training and put it up front. The students complete it prior to coming to the Institute. And then they finish the course at the Institute.
That's given us the opportunity to move into more application-based and hands-on training and less time spent on just basic knowledge, cognitive type information.
What we're finding is our courses are going to be longer overall but not necessarily requiring people to be at the institute longer. A lot of the increase will be put in the web-based component.
So, from a research perspective, we're trying not to increase travel demands on the students. And then we'll also be implementing competency testing which, right now we do pre and post tests.
We don't really do testing whereby compliance officers have to demonstrate mastery of competencies. And we'll be moving through that through the end of this year.
And that's a major change for us and kind of a big learning curve on the resources and the processes and the record keeping for everybody that comes through our courses.
That's pretty much the overview I wanted to give that kind of explains the functions from the office and how we try to provide training not only internally but externally at this time. Ziggy is ready to answer your questions.
MEMBER SCHNEIDER: Thanks for coming. I was wondering, I started this 25 years ago under a new directions clearance. And, you know, the OTI has an enormous amount of information developed under training grants that allows 25 more years.
And one of my pet peeves has been whether or not all that information encompasses -- more of it can be made available electronically and viewable outside the agency.
I know you're working to make it available on the OSHA internet and more publicly available. I mean, I'd be willing -- what needs to be done is to take an inventory of what you have and then really do an assessment of where the gaps are, where you really need to go in and fix it.
There's so much out there. I can't tell you how many factions I've written over the last few years, training person or a variety topics. There's a lot of stuff that's already done.
You don't have to bring it into the -- so, I was just wondering how do you progress on the making the archive and inventory available.
MR. PAYNE: We are making progress. In fact, Mr. Henshaw's creation of training material development grant paper was one way of making these materials available -- making grants development materials available on a much wider basis.
We have a number of issues with making a lot of that material available. First, under the -- material developed under the target program, a lot of times, is extremely focused on a very small and very specific segment of the workforce and doesn't have broad applications.
Part of the other issue is, up until recently, we didn't put in the grant application specific language saying that grantees had to make the material available for OSHA views.
So, a lot of grantees have purchased commercial materials to use for their grant that has a copyright by somebody else. So, OSHA can't arbitrarily put this material up on their webpage and make it available for free when somebody else is selling it.
So, we are trying to work through that. And part of the other problem is we don't always get copies of all the material. The grantee is supposed to provide copies to the region, who is supposed to provide copies to us.
Now, they do provide copies to the region. We don't always get all the copies from the region. So, we've become more aggressive in the past couple of years if we don't get them specifically from going back to the region and requesting.
And we're starting to make some of them available through the -- we have a resource lending program that I didn't discuss which supports the outreach training program.
We have thousands of video tapes and other materials that outreach trainers can borrow to help do their programs and that other people can borrow. We're starting to put those materials into the lending program.
And then, of course, the other issue becomes that, if we're making these materials available to the public, we have to clear them. So, they have to go through the clearance process.
And, if something isn't technically correct and the issue becomes who revises, because the grant's already completed and can't go back to the grantee.
And, as you saw, I don't have a lot of resources available to go back and revise this material. So, we agree there's a lot of material there.
But there are a number of issues that we're trying to work through in order to make more of this information available. Targeting grants is one way.
That material is made available from day one -- I'm sorry, the material grant information will be available from day one. The targeted grant material we're trying to work through as best we can and make it available as it's ready.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Greg, then Mike.
MEMBER STRUDWICK: Hand, this is Greg Strudwick. I've worked closely with the Institute in a number of areas and situations and in training for probably now 14 years, actually in front of a student body.
And I just have a suggestion to make from the standpoint of the dedicated trainers that we have out there that are very, very qualified. The outreach centers are -- their best efforts are -- and I just saw that, is how many students that they are training as far as -- not the trainer but actually programs that they are -- students that have no intent of becoming a trainer.
But some of them are out there that are intending to stay as a trainer, however long it takes until they retire. And what we're finding as a group of very well educated and dedicated trainers is that we don't have access to the new information, to the changing things as far as the Institute is concerned.
And I've voiced my opinion to the communications that instead of a 502 or a refresher every four year basis for those type of people that we should develop some type of program through OTI, not through the extension services for the outreach center, but through OTI where those trainers are recognized in a different manner.
And, instead of going and listening to someone that probably has less dedication or in some cases not been in the training business as long, go through the same information that they would with a person that went through the first time.
But I think we have to focus on some of the really good trainers and solicit their efforts to make our training more effective, better, along with being able to access some of the information that I've seen developed through your development process.
It's absolutely wonderful and can be updated and upgraded with the help of that type of a trainer. And so, I think there's a body of people that we're not recognizing.
And that is some of the very dedicated independent trainers that don't have access to you, OTI. OSHA has access, everybody has access. Where these trainers come from -- because head up about 60 or 70 of them -- are the associations.
And I think we're -- I know that we can ask for and receive help by requesting that a trainer from OTI come out and put on a 500 or a 501, whatever we need.
And, in a lot of cases, unless you're legible on -- it can be half. So, I would solicit to you that throughout this process in whatever we can do to help, that you create a focus on these dedicated bodies that could help the training effort no matter what.
We are constantly out there pounding the employer, you need this training, you have to have this training. We're going to mandate that you get this training or we're going to cite you and then go, okay, who's going to give it to him?
And so, the outreach centers -- and I'll be the first to admit that I thought we had enough research as far as how dedicated and how structured they are.
Don can help you with that. But I know that through the OTI work group we worked on yesterday, there's an awful lot of questions that we have.
And we certainly appreciate your efforts to come in and make us more aware of how it's structured and what some of the problems are as far as budget.
I look forward to doing a lot more interaction with you and through our work groups because we're starting to recognize things in our work group that you affect in a huge way.
And of course, from a union non-union situation, what they've done to provide training and teach -- and I'm talking about in a union way -- is different than what happens in an open shop way.
And so, no matter which one it is, they all appreciate really good the notion. And, because of the way that you guys focused on the frequent change in recognizing those efforts, even with the Director, and providing some resource too as far as the affective statement, you guys -- anybody that says where do we get training, we say the OSHA Training Institute or the Office of Training and Education.
You know, that's the first time I heard that. I always think institute because institute is just kind of a way that some of us less than formally educated people think.
So, I applaud the fact that you're here. I do have more questions about structure and stuff. But I think we can save that for later on.
MR. PAYNE: I appreciate your comments. And, like I said, I know Ziggy remains open. We're always open to other ideas and things that we can do to help promote safety and health and provide training to workers out there and to help in educating employers as well.
So, anything we can do, you know, we're willing, you know, within resource constrains, which is always, I guess, a government caveat, we're willing to do what we can.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mike Hayslip?
MEMBER HAYSLIP: Good morning, sir. I'd like to follow-up on the comment made by the gentleman from the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund with respect to the clearance process.
I don't quite understand. It seems as though you might have to -- it seems like you're the boss and if it needs to be cleared, you simply do that. How am I in error in understanding this?
MR. PAYNE: Well, first of all, he's the boss.
MR. PAYNE: And the Agency has a very detailed and a very rigorous clearance process for all information that is put up or made available to the public on its website.
And we have to follow that -- I mean, the last thing we want to do is take some grant material and in good faith put it up hoping that we can train people and then low and behold there's something in there that's incorrect and somebody gets hurt because they follow the information that was in the grantees' material.
Because we -- my office doesn't review the material, regions do. And, let's be honest, they're reviewing a lot of information. And sometimes things do slip through them.
So, that's why you have a clearance process to put things up in a public way.
MEMBER HAYSLIP: Okay, I understand. Thank you. Do you have a time table of when you might project some of this stuff that's going to come out?
And, to that end, if you don't have one now, can you have one readily available for our next meeting?
MR. PAYNE: I don't have one now. What I can do is we can go back and take a look at the volume because it literally is volumes of information.
And, quite frankly, I think Tom might be able to help. But, frankly, it's easier for Tom to put grant material up than it is for me to put grant material up because he is the boss.
And he can clear it and say, I'm putting this up. And he has put up -- he does use a lot of grant development material in construction area that he doesn't have the same constraints that we do.
But we will go back and take a look and see what we have and see what we think is usable, because not all of it is usable. And then, we'll be happy to provide some kind of update at your next meeting.
MEMBER HAYSLIP: Excellent. Thank you, sir. I have one other comment, if I may. With regard to the competency models, is it possible that the subcommittee that exists on OTE can get copies of that, including the goals and objectives?
MR. PAYNE: Yes, that's up on our website. It's currently up on our website. I believe it's up on our public site. But, if it's not, we'll make it available to you.
MEMBER HAYSLIP: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom?
MEMBER KAVICKY: Good morning Hank, thanks for coming down today. I appreciate your comments. I just want to say you guys do a fantastic job over there.
You have master trainers that are second to none. And they've provided me personally with a lot of valuable information that I use on the job site every day to protect not only our members, but our employers as well. Thank you.
In that direction, I'm wondering what the future is for filling the construction branch chief's office at the Institute. Several years ago Manny Ypsilantis, knowing him established a tremendous bond between labor, a good resource.
Any questions that we had we could go to that source with the tight schedules of your instructors. It's very hard to get a hold of somebody at the Institute.
Many of our enhanced training programs came out of that office as well as many of the leads and the protocol of how to do partnerships. Many of the partnerships that we've got in Chicago came right out of that office.
And I find that labor is lacking direction right now as far as health and safety. Do you have plans for that, Hank?
MR. PAYNE: Well, as I showed earlier, when we realign OTI and we increase the size of the construction branch, one of the things we're going to do is we're going to move the current health branch supervisor into that position.
We don't have vacant FTEs to put into supervisory positions. So, what I'm doing is I'm moving Tony Tui, who has been with the agency, has been with OTI for a very long time, into that position.
Those of you who know Tony may know that Tony has had some health problems lately and is still off work. And we're not sure when he's going to come back.
But, even that is a short term move because Tony has told me he's going to retire in the spring. So, Tony will be moving in shortly. And then, when Tony retires, we will then have the position then there to fill.
So, we're working that way. But it's an issue of reducing positions every year that we get. And, you know, when you have a branch of five people and six people it's very difficult to say you need a manager in each of those.
So, that's why we went through re-aligning this. And we have a manager. We have to put him somewhere. For now Tony will go to construction and oversee the administrative running of that branch.
And then Tony will retire in the spring. And then we'll replace him. But it's a function of we continue to lose positions every year. So we're trying to keep as many as we can in the instructor positions and developer positions to keep doing the training and developing materials.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else?
(No verbal response.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Hank. A rhetorical whoosh for the great work that you guys do, especially with the out reaching of 10 and 30 hour programs.
I wish you had the manpower, the money and the personnel so that every construction worker in this country, man and woman, could have ten hours of safety and health instruction before they ever set foot on a job.
It would be wonderful to see what impact that would have on the injury and fatality rates in this country. But, as I said, a rhetorical wish. Thank you very much for your presentation.
MR. PAYNE: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: It's that time on the agenda for a 15 minute break.
(Whereupon, the above-entitled matter went off the record at 9:49 a.m. and went back on the record at 10:09 a.m.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: If we could have the Committee come to order and the public please take their chairs?
Somebody is violating the cell phone rule.
UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: I'm trying to turn it off.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Jennifer Silk is with us from the Health Standards and she has advised me that these next two agenda topics are really one. So it won't be confusing, she'll be rolling through both presentations.
So Jennifer, welcome, and the floor is yours.
MS. SILK: Thank you. Good morning. I'm Jennifer Silk. I'm the Deputy Director of Standards and Guidance and just to let you know, one of the reasons why we're only having one presentation is a couple of years ago when there were two different directorates of standards, one for health standards and one for safety standards, subjects were handled by different people, but we did reorganize so that all standards activities for both health and safety standards, separate from the ones that the directorate of construction handles are handled by one directorate.
What I'd like to do this morning is kind of roll through what we have on our regulatory agenda that might be of interest to you and there are more topics than those that are listed here. But what I'd like to start with, just because we've discovered recently that a lot of people are really not aware of the analytical requirements that we have for rulemaking and we've actually added some requirements recently. So I'd like to just very briefly let you know the kinds of analyses that need to be done before we can actually issue a rule.
The first is a significant risk determination and this, in particular, is a concern for health standards that deal with exposure to chemicals, but we are required to establish, first of all, that there is a significant risk to workers of getting an adverse health effect if they're exposed to the chemical and we also have to show that what we're going to do is significantly reducing that risk. So that involves doing a quantitative risk assessment which is a quite scientific and complicated process.
In addition to that, we have to do economic feasibility or cost effectiveness analysis, so we have to make sure that the requirements that we're thinking about doing are economically feasible for different industries. This is something that we do before we propose a rule, but then we also modify it based on the information that we collect in the record during the rulemaking.
We also have to establish that something is technologically feasible, which basically means capable of being doing. So we have to do a technological feasibility analysis. That often involves doing a lot of site visits, going out and looking at the types of controls that are currently in use in industry and also looking at new control measures that are going to be available in the near future.
We have to examine all of the information collection requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act and do an analysis of the information collection burden. And this is a much broader requirement than you might think by the name of the Paperwork Reduction Act. It goes far beyond what we would normally think of as filling out a form and submitting a piece of paper. For example, if we put into a rule that you have to do exposure assessment, that means that we have to count all of the time to do the exposure assessment in addition to the time that it actually takes to fill out the record of the exposure monitoring as paperwork. So OSHA's rules have significant paperwork implications because of this very broad interpretation of what paperwork is under the Paperwork Reduction Act.
A fairly new requirement happened in the late 1990s is that where we have an impact on significant number of small businesses in something that we're doing in a rule, then the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act which we call SBREFA requires that we convene a panel of small entity representatives and we convene that panel in conjunction with the Small Business Administration and the Office of Management and Budget to collect input from them on how the provisions that we're thinking about would affect these small businesses and then that information is folded into our preparations for the proposed rule.
And last, but not least, we have new, very new, just this month, peer review requirements. OSHA has always done a peer review of the quantitative risk assessment for significant rulemakings, but we now have to peer review any scientifically influential information in our rulemakings and we believe that means that we probably will be peer reviewing not just the risk assessment, but also the discussions of health effects and probably the economic feasibility as well. We're not really sure about technological feasibility.
So much more significant peer review requirements that we will now have to do for these rulemakings and you'll some mention of that as I get into the specific standards that we're working on.
The semi-annual regulatory agenda, I'm sure most of you are familiar with this, provides each agency's plans for regulatory activities over the next year. The current agenda that we're working on now was published on the 16th of May. It can be accessed through our web site or on the web page for the Federal Register.
The occupational health issues that we have on the reg agenda that might be of interest to construction, first of all, sign protection factors which is the rule that we've discussed with you before. Chromium, silica, beryllium, radiation, hearing conservation construction, emergency response and preparedness and hazard communication. I'm going to into each of these in a little bit more detail.
The sign protection factors is an amendment to our general respiratory protection standard. We did a comprehensive revision of that standard in 1998, but we reserved the section on protection factors. Protection factors, basically, give you an idea of what the level of protection that each class of respirator can give you, so that you make sure that you select the appropriate respirator, not only for the contaminant that you have, but the level of contaminant that you have.
We proposed this standard a couple of years ago. We had hearings last year. And we expect to have a final rule published by September 2005. This is really in the final review process within OSHA and will soon be going for a review by the Department and the Office of Management and Budget.
Hexavalent chromium, the current standard for hexavalent chromium dates back to 1971, so it's over 30 years old now and it's based on controlling irritation and damage to nasal tissues. As I'm sure you're all aware, we got a court order in December 2002 that basically established a schedule for completion of the chromium rulemaking. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published on October 4, 2004. It proposed a PEL of one microgram which addresses lung cancer in addition to the irritation and damage to nasal tissue issues. We had public hearings in February and we expect to issue a final rule in January 2006 as was ordered by the court.
Crystalline silica has a long standing and different PELs for general industry and construction. The general industry PEL dates back to 1971 and the construction PEL dates back to 1962. Construction PEL is also based on an obsolete method of particle counting, so it really isn't comparable at all to the PEL that we have for general industry. Both of these PELs were also based on preventing silicosis and not on lung cancer which is a more recently defined health effect.
What we've discovered in collecting the information for this and we've been working on this for several years and have collected a lot of data, is there's a large extent of noncompliance with the existing PELs so even though these PELs have been in existence since basically the beginning of OSHA, people aren't complying with them now.
We have completed a SBREFA process, so as I mentioned, that's a process to get information from small entity representatives and there were construction small entity representatives in that process. This is the first major standard that will be subject to the new peer review requirements, so we are going to have to peer review not only the risk assessment, but also health effects and economic feasibility and the reg agenda currently says that we will be completing those peer reviews by December of 2005. That's the next step.
Beryllium. Beryllium also has a PEL that dates back to the beginning of OSHA. It's based on a 1970 ANSI standard. We're currently preparing documents for the SBREFA panel process and expect to complete that later this year. There are a number of issues that are still being examined, including sampling and analytical concerns. The only place I think we're really aware of right now, where beryllium might be a concern is where black beauty is used in abrasive blasting and there is a potential that there would be beryllium in that. So there is a potential concern here for beryllium. So we will be looking at that and the process if anybody has any information about that, we certainly would be happy to get it.
Ionizing radiation is an area where we also have a very old standard that's not up to date. And we've never really spent much time or effort on radiation because there are a lot of areas where we just don't have jurisdiction. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, for example, regulates a lot of areas and we don't.
The standard is very out of date. It's not consistent with other agencies who more actively regulate ionizing radiation. But what we've discovered in the last few years is that there are a new applications developing on radiation that's being used in places where it wasn't used before and a number of these are areas where we do have responsibility.
In addition to that, there's always the possibility that Congress will give us responsibility for some of the Department of Energy's sites where radiation is basically ubiquitous in some cases.
So we have published a request for information. It was published on the 3rd of May. The comment period closes on the 1st of August. We understand there are some radiation applications in construction and we'd be very interested in getting anybody's input on what those are and how people are protected in those situations.
Hearing conservation and construction, as you all know, I'm sure the construction industry is not currently covered by hearing conservation programs as the people in general industry are. There are a number of difficult issues to deal with here that are related to the transient nature of the work force and other aspects of construction work. We published an ANPR several years ago and we've analyzed the comments that we got.
We've also helped stakeholder meetings to get oral contributions from people in facilitated meetings. We've made a number of site visits. We're still considering our options on this. So this is on the reg agenda, but it's on the reg agenda with an undetermined next step and there are no dates for hearing conservation.
Emergency response and preparedness is another area where in the past we really haven't paid too much attention to this because we didn't think we had very much jurisdiction. But because of the events of September 11th and the things that have happened since then, clearly OSHA has had much more of a role than we thought we did and in particular, what we've discovered is a lot of the people that we don't cover, state and local authorities do actually use our standards as guidance for how they protect people involved in emergency response.
So what we're doing is publishing a request for information to solicit information on whether we need to do a rulemaking on this area and what form it should take and basically what it should cover. Some of the issues we think would be related, PPE training and medical surveillance are obviously a key concern, but this is very much a request for information. We have no specific plan here. We're kind of fishing for what it is we should be doing or if we should be doing anything in this area to improve the utility of our standards for people involved in emergency response.
This should be published probably some time later this summer. It too is in the final stages of review within OSHA, but still has to go through the Department review process.
Hazard communication, we are considering adoption of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This has been added to the new regulatory agenda and the next step is an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking which we expect by the end of August 2005.
The Globally Harmonized System is something that's been worked on internationally for a good many years now, more than 10 years, but it is a specification-oriented standard for classifying and labeling chemicals and for safety data sheets. And what that means is that under the current standard, chemical manufacturers and producers of chemicals have a performance-oriented approach which means that they can choose the format of their labels. They can choose the language they use to convey information and as I'm sure you know, they all have different formats for material safety data sheets, so that the people have to look in different places for the information.
Under the Globally Harmonized System, if we adopt it, we would have standardized labels that have a pictogram and a warning statement that are harmonized so that you would always see for the same chemical, you would see the same symbol and the same warning statement and this would make it easier, we believe, for small business users of chemicals. It would also make it easier for employees to understand the information and it also has a standardized format for data sheets that's very similar to the ANSI standard here in the United States.
So the ANPR will be soliciting input from the public about adoption of the system as well as making more information available about it. We plan to roll out a guidance document at the same time so that people will have more information about the system.
There is an international goal to have as many countries, as possible, adopt it by 2008. I think developed countries such as the United States are going to have a harder time because we all have existing regulatory structures that will have to be changed and one of the things that we'll certainly be looking for input on is how long we should give people to phase this in in terms of compliance.
We'd like to be able to take advantage of the normal cycle of updating labels and data sheets when we do that, so that we kind of amortize the costs of changing labels and data sheets over a longer time period.
Just to let you know in the health area, there are a couple of emerging issues that we're following. One is controlled banning. I don't know whether any of you are aware of this particular issue, but it's an approach that's been developed in the U.K. It is guidance for small to medium sized enterprises to help them do risk assessments in the work place for chemicals. And it leads them to guidance on what controls should be implemented. They've had very good success in doing this without the employer actually having to do exposure monitoring.
The system itself estimates what exposures are based on information that the employer has in the workplace and then it leads them through a decision logic that gives them guidance on specific controls for the type of exposures that they have.
The U.K. has had very great success with this when they've gone back in to do exposure monitoring. They found that 98 percent of the people were either at or below the occupational exposure limit as a result of following the guidance which sounds like an amazing statistic. So this is something that we're looking into in terms of a possible guidance approach. We're working with NIOSH on this.
We co-sponsored an international workshop last year and we participated this year in a national workshop so this is an area where in the future you may see some future activities in terms of OSHA, seeing whether or not controlled banning is something that can be implemented in the U.S. We're talking to NIOSH about perhaps trying it out with some small businesses in the U.S. to see whether or not the guidance really works as well here as it seems to in the U.K.
Another issue that we're following is nanotechnology. I'm not sure at this point whether it has any impact on construction, but just so you know, that we are involved in what's called the National Nanotechnology Initiative and we're also working with NIOSH on this and looking at coming up with best practices to protect people from exposure to nanoparticles in the workplace.
In the area of safety that we deal with as opposed to the Directorate of Construction, there are three issues that have potential impact on construction. The first is employer payment for personal protective equipment. The second is Roll Over Protective Structures or ROPS. And the last is electric power transmission and distribution construction which we refer to as Subpart V.
Employer payment for PPE, some of you may recall that we proposed a rule in 1999 to require employers to pay for personal protective equipment. Right now, our rules are sort of all over the place in terms of whether you just provide it or you pay for it and people felt that there was a need for a rule to have a consistent approach.
There are a lot of very complicated issues here. We reopened the record to collect additional comments on issues related to what we called tools of the trade in 2004, based on some comments that we had from some industries and construction would certainly be one of these for certain kinds of trades where people are hired and they're expected to come with their tools an dhow that relates to the issue of employer and payment for PPE. This is on the reg agenda as a final action expected by October 2005.
In the area of ROPS, in 1996, OSHA issued a technical amendment and in that technical amendment we replaced the ROPS testing requirements that we had at that time with references to what were then the current national consensus standards. A technical amendment is issued without any opportunity for public comment. After we did that, it was pointed out to us by a number of people that it really wasn't something that could have been or should have been done by a technical amendment because it resulted in substantive differences to the rule and people didn't have an opportunity for comment.
So it's now been determined from a legal perspective that we need to reinstate the original provisions and we have prepared a direct final rule to do that. We did send it out to the Committee about a week ago, so you all have had an opportunity to look at it and if you have any comments, we're certainly happy to hear that. But from a legal perspective, we believe this is an action that we do have to take because we think that what we did in 1996 was not legally sufficient.
Subpart V, electric power transmission distribution construction was proposed on the 15th of June. The existing construction standard in this area is over 30 years old and it's also inconsistent with what the updated general industry standard that we issued a few years ago. So affected employers who sometimes operate both in general industry and construction would have to meet two different standards, depending on the nature of work which really wasn't a very good situation.
We've had a 10-year history of consulting ACCSH on proposed Subpart V. This a rulemaking that's been going on for a very long time. We have provided in the past several drafts of the proposed construction rules as well as updates on the status of the rule and just to remind you that last year on May 18th, ACCSH gave formal recommendations on OSHA's proposal by a unanimous vote. So we did consult you prior to completing the proposal.
What Subpart V does is make the construction standard consistent with the standard for the maintenance and operation of these facilities, the general industry standard. It revises both standards to reflect current technology related to protecting workers from hazards associated with work on transmission and distribution installations and it also revises related standards for electrical protective equipment.
Just to give you a time line and we very much would like your input on this, the comment period closes on October 13th. Notices of Intent to Appear at the hearing are due on August 15th. Hearing testimony and documentary evidence, due November 3rd and then the public hearing which will take place here in Washington, D.C. will begin on December 6th. And how long it will last will depend on how many Notices of Intention to Appear are filed.
Just to touch briefly on the other part of our job in the Directorate of Standards Guidance is the preparation of guidance projects. We're developing some substantive guidance on a number of safety and health topics. This guidance is intended to do several things. One is to sometimes assist employers to comply with existing standards or to address an issue where rulemaking is not yet appropriate.
We might have enough information to indicate that there's a hazard and there's a problem, but we don't really have enough to do a rule. And it's also an opportunity to get information out during a rulemaking which often goes on for a number of years, sooner than the rule can be completed.
And these are just some example topics of things that we're working on right now. I believe the last one, controls for silica exposure and construction tasks has actually been discussed here before. That's one where we took information that we've developed during the rulemaking on technological feasibility and we're putting together a document that's nearing completion. It has some very specific control recommendations for silica exposure in certain tasks.
And that's all that I have to say, but I'd be happy to answer any questions or comments.
Just to recap, the new regulatory agenda was published on the 16th of May and provides our goals for completing these projects. There are a number of issues related to construction and that we also now have guidance as an additional tool.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, Michael.
MR. HAYSLIP: Hello, Mike Hayslip. A comment. I thought that was a superior presentation. Nice job.
MS. SILK: Thank you.
MR. HAYSLIP: With a tight ACCSH schedule, it's refreshing to get such a concise, information presentation as you gave us and I'd just like to say thank you, Ms. Silk, that was nice. Good job.
MS. SILK: Thank you.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Scott Schneider with the Laborers'. First, I wanted to thank you for coming and express my regrets that nobody could come to our work meeting because for example, I didn't know about the silica control document. It would have been nice to talk about that at the silica work group. It would have been helpful and I think you would have, your staff would have benefitted from our discussions there.
About five years ago, in March of 2000, we held a national conference on preventing hearing loss in the construction trades. I don't know if you came to that or not, but Charles Jeffers at the time came and what he said at the conference was that "already too much time has passed since OSHA adopted the Hearing Conservation Standard for General Industry in 1983. At that time we pledged to develop a separate, similar requirement for construction, but we have yet to deliver on that promise.
Someone once said you will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it. I want you to know that OSHA is determined to make time to develop a more detailed hearing conservation standard for construction."
So that was a little over five years ago. I guess the question is seeing the regulatory agenda and how hearing conservation has been bumped down to a long-term action with no definite time table or commitment to doing that, I'm wondering if that commitment that Charles Jeffers made to us back in the Year 2000 still stands.
MS. SILK: Well, the regulatory agenda obviously is what our current commitment is and Charles Jeffers, as you know, is no longer Assistant Secretary, so we have to go with what the current commitment is on the regulatory agenda. We are still working on it, but we just have not reached the point where we're ready to do a proposal. There is still additional information that we need to collect and analyze before we would be at that point.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Well, we'd be very interested to know if there are things that you need that we could help provide from the industry side, labor side, whatever, on noise or silica. We would like to know and see what we can do to help because we would like to obviously expedite that as much as possible and not see this situation go on longer than it needs to.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, Kevin.
MR. BEAUREGARD: I just had a question about -- you talk about the peer review being added. Could you just briefly go over what that process is and how much time you expect that to add to the rulemaking process, if any?
MS. SILK: I can tell you what we used to do in the past and I can also tell you that the new process is not really clear to everybody because none of the agencies have had to do this before, so we're sort of working it out.
What we would do in the past with the quantitative risk assessment is that we would normally hire a contractor to select outside peer reviewers who are experts in the area either on the subject -- experts on peer review, but also experts perhaps on quantitative risk assessment and health effects and other kinds of areas related to that.
They would look at what their qualifications are and then they would be selected from that and they would review it as individuals and they would prepare letters that would give us their review and we would factor that in as we prepared the document.
It looks like the new process for at least for things that are considered to be highly influential, scientific information which means that they've got a more significant impact on the environment and right now the only one that we have that we consider to be highly influential is silica. And so silica is probably going to have to have some sort of public process for peer review. And that's -- it's not really clear yet exactly what's going to happen there. There might be a public meeting, for example. We're still looking at what the options are and what it really means to do a public process.
We expect to have all of that done by December, but it's likely that there will be something that would happen several months before that in order to have it all completed by that time and we're already looking at what our options are.
So it's likely to add a number of months to any process and again, it depends in part on how much we have to peer review and it's not quite clear yet exactly what that is. For example, if we have to do a peer review of technological feasibility, that would again add additional months to what we have to do.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else? I have two things. I want to commend you first as did Michael, it was a very comprehensive and well delivered presentation.
On the hearing issue, and there was one bullet point you had up there about the transient nature of construction and making it difficult and I assume that's on the record keeping part? Surely, there's no doubt about the existence of a problem with those who spend X number of years in construction with the decibel levels they're exposed to. I know individual unions have done hearing testing of their members and you can almost plot an identical chart, so many years of service in construction equals the same line of percentage of loss of hearing. It's clearly, and there are studies from places around the world that showed that construction workers are alike in that malady, that you spend X number of years, you're more than likely to be losing a significant portion of your hearing.
I understand the transient nature of construction workers. It makes it difficult for employers to track those employees, but there's no question that they suffered, the men and women who performed for years in construction, suffered significant hearing loss.
MS. SILK: I don't think anybody is questioning that. I mean obviously we do have a permissible exposure limit for noise and people are expected to use hearing protection in construction. I don't think that's the issue.
The issue has to deal with the other parts of a hearing conservation program and how that would be implemented in construction.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I'm not going to get on my horse on PPE, payment for PPE. My colleagues how loudly I've yelled about that over the years. But on the HazCom, how would this GHS be mandated by federal law?
MS. SILK: That's what we're looking at, yes. It would -- actually, what it would be is modifying the hazard communications standard to be consistent with the international system.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: DOL will undoubtedly take criticism because I think that's what the industry was looking for at the time, wasn't it, to not do MSDS, but to have labeling of containers?
MS. SILK: They'll still be doing MSDSs. That's part of the international system. It's just that the labels will be much more specific and will have more specific information and will be consistent from manufacturer to manufacturer.
So it should improve the labels and I think that will be helpful to a lot of people.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: But the HazCom will still require all contractors to provide MSDSs at every jobsite?
MS. SILK: Yes, yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else? Jennifer, thank you very much.
MS. SILK: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Appreciate your coming. It was a very, very well delivered presentation.
MS. SILK: Thanks.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Do you want to just be introduced as -- the ACCSH chair was not at the meeting where this next topic on the agenda was discussed, so I don't know why I was given the Steel Coalition proposal for the slipperiness on metal decking discussion, but I know there was not a lot of us at that Chicago meeting. I did read the summaries and understand the issue, but I am not sure from where it was delivered. I'm going to ask Frank Migliaccio, as well, to comment, but Bruce will update the Committee, hopefully, on where this issue stands.
MR. SWANSON: All right, first, the intent to putting it, assigning it to you on the agenda was to make sure you wouldn't miss any more meetings. I see where it's successful, at least this time around.
We had a presentation at the last ACCSH meeting which was February in Chicago. The Steel Coalition came in and told you folks that they had a report that they had been to OSHA and they had a request of OSHA, actually several requests. The background to what brought them to that meeting, as they explained to you, those of you that were there, was when we promulgated the steel erection standard, we reserved a subpart of that for later promulgation on slip resistance for steel decking and steel roofing. The reason it was reserved and nothing was put in the standard originally is the world has difficulty defining slipperiness and measuring slipperiness.
And because the world could not agree on a workable definition of slipperiness and a methodology for measuring it to everyone's satisfaction, we weren't a whole lot further ahead in 2003, 2004 than we were back in the 1990s when we promulgated the steel erection standard.
A group calling themselves the Steel Coalition, representing about 80 percent of the industry, I'm told, that manufacturers of this material for American industry got together and tried to work out some viable solution to this problem. Everyone knows that there's a hazard with slippery decking. And one of their problems was in this free enterprise system we have, people don't want to spend a lot of money developing a new system if the government is going to come out a month later, a year later, and tell them well, nice try, but that wasn't what we wanted. Here's a new standard that you can abide by.
So their work product essentially had 80 percent of the industry saying that listen, we agree that we will use evaporative oils on our products so that when they hit a construction site the slipperiness is in large part mitigated or we will use nonevaporative coatings, but we will remove them coatings before we send them to a construction site, or we will in those rare instances where we can do neither because of the need for protection against corrosion, we will use signage to give people up to the minute, on-site, specific notice as to the slip hazards.
But we're hesitant to do that with OSHA lurking out there, in effect, threatening to promulgate something -- they don't know us well enough -- threatening daily to promulgate something for a new standard. So what we would like is for you to give approval to our plan. We will, on our 80 percent, and to the extent possible, encourage the other 20 percent to the industry, that we will all follow this three-step methodology as an interim until the world decides what slippery is and in return for that, we would like you to publicly endorse that as a successful interim solution and while you're at it, could you remove the reserved clause in the standard which doesn't prevent OSHA, of course, from promulgating a provision at some later date when the world can agree on how to measure slipperiness.
That was their presentation to us, prior to Chicago. And we had a discussion with the Assistant Secretary and he was looking to my office to give him some assurance. He thought this was a great idea. The Ironworkers had signed on with the Steel Coalition and they seemed to have their bases covered everywhere, but are there any nay sayers out there?
Are there people that our agreement will give heartache to and not being able to give him an ironclad commitment that there wasn't somebody somewhere out there that might have heartache over this, I said why don't we have the group make a presentation to ACCSH which is our window to the construction world and ask ACCSH if it has any heartache or if any of its constituents have heartache and get back to us and let us know. And that was in February and your silence has not surprisingly been deafening, as appropriate. And so OSHA is taking steps to proceed and meet the request of the Steel Coalition and the Ironworkers and that's where we are and that' the update.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Frank, you want to comment?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Frank Migliaccio with the Ironworkers. We have met with the Steel Coalition on numerous occasions through quite a few months. There's two issues that we have come up with here on this whole process. One of them was steel decking. The other was the slipperiness of the paint on the red iron structural steel. We have sent letters in. We agree with the Steel Coalition. If their 80 percent would come on voluntarily and do this and they would try to entice the other 20 percent to follow these three processes or what we might like to call them.
The one thing we also sent letters in was the slipperiness of the paint. We are not going to -- we don't want that to go away. There is not a way like Bruce has said, there's not a way of testing it as someone at the time thought there was a way of testing this and doing it and it turns out it wasn't. It's not there at all. The person thought he knew more or had something that would do more than what it actually would.
We are against the slipperiness of the paint going away. We want to make sure we said that. We'd like it to at least go to hold on for the three years, at least. At that point then OSHA would come back and look at it, but we don't have a problem with the Steel Coalition with the slipperiness of the decking, with the evaporating oils and so forth.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Scott Schneider of the Laborers'. I wouldn't say there was a deafening silence. After the meeting last time, what happened at the meeting last time is I think this was sprung on us and were a little surprised and overwhelmed with all the information at the last minute and didn't -- and what we said was we want a chance to look at this and discuss it again which is why I think we're back here.
I guess I have a bunch of questions about this. One of them is when OSHA puts out a new rule or considers a new rule, they do a risk assessment to look at how many people are getting injured, how many could be prevented from being injured by this new rule and I guess I had requested some information from the directorate in terms of this particular hazard on steel decking which is what do we know? I mean how many people get injured or killed or slip on steel decking? How much of that would be prevented using this voluntary agreement? How is someone who is walking on steel decking to know whether they are in that -- have that 1 in 5 chance of being on a deck that is not part of the voluntary agreement?
I think this -- and as an alternative, OSHA has to consider regulatory alternatives whenever they put out a new rule. One alternative might be to take this voluntary agreement and make it mandatory so that all of the entire industry would have to follow it, so I'm just wondering whether OSHA has considered regulatory alternatives to just endorsing this voluntary agreement. I think it's good as an interim step, but I don't think OSHA should preclude future rulemaking and I don't really see the need for deleting the reserve clause because I think it may be that future rulemaking is necessary, but like I said, I haven't seen the data and I would appreciate doing that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: As I understood the reading, with Bruce's point on how do you define slipperiness, and the only reason it caught my eye is I flunked physics twice trying to decipher what coefficients of friction were.
I mean as I understood it, that was the difficulty is nobody could put their arms around what's the coefficient of friction necessary to define what slippery is and what slippery isn't, and then how do you stop corrosion of the metal decking but yet apply some degree that doesn't -- I mean it's not -- understanding what you're asking for and who slips, who falls, who gets injured, who dies, but trying to address this issue of how you would stop corrosion of the metal, define what slipperiness is and then what would be the solution to stopping whatever coefficient of friction you come up -- nobody can come up with it. Nobody in manufacturing can come up with it and nobody can define it, as I understood reading it.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Well, Scott Schneider of the Laborers'. I think obviously it's not an easy issue, but I understand that people are working on it. And I don't think we should preclude future action. I know, for example, I talked with Dr. Bhattacharya at the University of Cincinnati who has done a lot of work on slipperiness and he's been working on, for example, looking at tests using dynamic loads, instead of just someone standing there and pulling it. When you're actually walking, it's very different than if you're just standing and slipping. Walking is a whole different physics problem.
So I think there are issues, but I don't think we should preclude future action and I think removing this reserve clause is sort of an indication, as I'm sure the industry hopes, that OSHA will not regulate in the future and I don't know that we want to necessarily send that message. And I don't have the data to make a decision one way or the other.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead, Frank.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Can we have the members of the Steel Coalition come up to answer several questions.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Sure. Gentlemen, if you would identify yourself, please.
MR. HERNANDEZ: My name is Peter Hernandez. I represent the Steel Coalition. This is a process -- oh, I'm sorry.
MR. BALL: I'm Robert Ball, I also represent the Steel Coalition and the Steel Deck Institute.
MR. HERNANDEZ: Scott, you asked some very good questions that were -- this process started about 1997 and when OSHA initially proposed the standard.
And the Ironworkers, after we had some initial discussions, it was Frank's predecessors, suggested, because they saw that there was a real dilemma here for metal decking and roofing, both in terms of the quantitative data that OSHA was using regarding the risk of slip, but at the same time the Ironworkers said we see that the decking is getting slipperier. We've got some concern, so let's take a look at this. Maybe we can do it on a joint research basis and come up with recommendations that the industry could live with because the proposal that the Agency initially floated was infeasible, both technologically and economically to accomplish the metal decking and roofing. Now we're separating that, as Frank says, from the structural issue of paint. This is strictly on metal decking and roofing.
And so in 1998, a joint research project began that included a number of Ironworker representatives and an equal number of steel manufacturing and fabricating representatives. And the first step we did was to retain a consultant from -- who has worked with the universities to go out and take a look at construction sites and see if we could get additional data and information about the types of hazards faced by Ironworkers during the construction process.
And this fellow came back and presented a report, Phase 1 report, which was a couple of inches thick, that was reviewed by the Joint Ironworkers and Steel Coalition members and he wrote down a series of recommended research items that needed to be undertaken simultaneously in order to really come up with practical recommendations that the industry could live with and that would protect Ironworkers who are erecting with this material.
Part of that was also looking at testing methods and this joint group which included the Ironworkers looked at existing methodology that OSHA was considering for adopting its standard, looked at new methods both cutting edge, static and dynamic, actual walking methods to try to correlate the slipperiness of product to actual Ironworker experience. It included trips out of the country to take a look at cutting edge technology being developed in England, for example, on the slipperiness issue.
After a lot of work was expended on the testing method, it was concluded that there was no reliable test method that could give you any kind of correlation between real human traction and measured slip resistance of metal decking and roofing. It was compounded by the problems about corrosion resistance, design specifications where certain roofing materials intended to slough off things like snow and rain. And we came back to this issue of the lubricating oil as being the most serious problem and that was with the Ironworkers had said from the beginning was their concern.
And so this joint group said well, what can we do to reduce the slipperiness of the oil that has to be used in the fabrication process? Can we come up with recommendations to use evaporative oils that aren't made reslippery or more slippery when it rains or snows? What can we do in some situations where you can't remove that? And again, working with two generations, basically, of the Ironworkers, over this six-year period, we came up with the final recommendations that were presented.
Now I mentioned the Phase 1 Report which is about two inches thick. There was also a Phase 2 Report on each of the separate additional research that was conducted by this joint group. And I'd say there were about 18 to 24 people equally split between industry and labor who really studied the heck out of this problem and concluded that the best solution was this joint recommendation that was presented to OSHA.
And that's what we did. OSHA came back and said look, we need to have this -- the folks at ACCSH take a look at this and make sure there are no real problems. We realize you folks have jointly done a lot of work together and we want to move forward.
The industry at the same time said we're prepared to, because we did a pilot project to see whether, in fact, these recommendations were practical and would have an impact and part of that project included doing surveys of Ironworkers who actually on the job, asking them now that we started to remove some of this material, what are you finding? Are you finding it to be less slippery? Are you finding that you can work on this?
And Frank was kind enough to shepherd that part of it through the Ironworkers, real people doing real work and the feedback we got was positive and the result was this joint recommendation for adoption of this voluntary lubricant compliance program.
The industry would like to see the reserved section removed because it would put some finality at least for the time being. If the Ironworkers find that it's not working, they're always free or any of the unions are -- or anyone else is free to ask OSHA to do another rulemaking to make some other changes to the standard, if necessary. But this was a joint agreement. It was a negotiated rulemaking, if you will, or alternative to rulemaking, and that's where we are today.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I guess the question I was asking earlier is, I mean if this is a successful experiment and it actually does reduce the risk of injury and why shouldn't OSHA just require this agreement to try to force compliance with 20 percent of the industry that you don't represent.
MR. HERNANDEZ: Well, the 80 percent of the folks who are already on board believe that it would be quicker, that is, more workers would be protected more quickly if this is a voluntary program that's immediately implemented and we're getting the message out to now only 20 percent of the folks.
And of course, there's -- if there's a problem and we're not getting cooperation, OSHA has the ability to use the General Duty Clause to cite that 20 percent of the group that's not doing what has to be done, but at the same time by accepting the voluntary agreement, you've got something in place immediately. You're not waiting to go through additional rulemaking which takes years and my understanding is that on the structural, for example, even though the standard becomes effective this year, it's still up in the air because there is no test method.
And so the difference between the structural and the metal decking and roofing was really a feasibility question. It was simply technologically and economically infeasible.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I appreciate that and I support the voluntary agreement that you have. I think it's wonderful. But I think you know as well as I do how difficult it is to do enforcement of the Joint Duty Clause and there might be some advantage to have an enforceable standard along the lines of your voluntary agreement.
And then the other question I asked is how is someone who goes out on a metal deck or a metal roof to know whether this is part of the voluntary agreement or do you have to wait until they slip on it and figure out whether or not it's part of this voluntary agreement or not.
MR. HERNANDEZ: Bob, do you want to answer that?
MR. BALL: Sure. Bob Ball with the Steel Coalition and the Steel Deck Institute.
First of all, there is a warning label on every -- almost every bundle of deck that goes out now at this point that the Steel Deck Institute is responsible for. It identifies the deck as a potential slipping hazard, even if it was 100 percent dry, a piece of deck is a slipping hazard that someone has to have some training to know how to properly deal with.
I think the key difference between the red iron and the decking is that the paint on the red iron is going to continue to be there. It isn't so much the prime paint, but it is the apoxies, the finish paints, relatively new things that have come out that are going to continue to be used.
What the deck industry has done is looked at this problem and decided well, why don't we just cut it off at the source and we'll stop using the lubricants that don't evaporate. The industry has a commitment to that, regardless of what happens here. It's just good business sense and it's going to happen one way or the other.
The question is how do you make it happen across the board, meaning the 20 percent who are missing, even some of the 80 percent who might be reluctant to come on board. And you have to put an investment into two things here, into the lubricant itself. And in some cases into the equipment that applies it.
What we'd like to do is two things. Use lubricant that evaporates and use it sparingly or possibly not at all. All that has to do with the mechanics of the rule forming, which I'm not an expert on, but it does require an investment in some cases.
I feel that it will be easier to bring everybody in line if the possibility of the test regulation is eliminated by -- not eliminated but at least the reserve clause is taken away. I think it shows a commitment on OSHA's part to say okay, we're going to put the ball in your court. You guys have already done a pretty good job running with it because the majority of this problem has been solved.
Most of the deck that's made and roofing that's made is already made this way. We think that you have the best chance of getting as close to 100 percent as possible of it made that way on your own. And I think the record bears that out. So that's why we would like to have that done. It's a psychological impact of it, that's really what it boils down to.
MR. SCHNEIDER: So you wouldn't have a problem if OSHA required that because you're already doing it?
MR. BALL: Well, it just depends on how fast things can move, okay? There's been a discussion as to how long that would take. I mean I've been going to Steel Coalition meetings and discussing this topic since 1997 and I know they went on for a few years before that. So we could continue to talk about this problem for a long time, but in order to really get the best action across the board, I would like to see the reserve clause eliminated. That was part of our petition to OSHA.
MR. HAYSLIP: Hello, thank you, gentlemen, for showing up again. I appreciate that.
After a thorough reading of the materials and some limited information gathering, personally, I'm prepared to offer support, interim support for this family of highly evaporative lubricants in the VLCP Program.
When I boil it down personally, it all comes down to trust and professionals like Peter and Robert are here before us and I get the feeling and the impression, based upon what I've read and seen, that they've done their due diligence. They understand the issue. They spent the time, the money, the energy and what it takes to get it right, to understand it, and I trust them. So that's one reason I support this.
However, having said that, I have some reservations that I want to state such as coating manufacturers, whether they will have an ability or motivation to develop new products in the future. I like the idea of having chemists be chemists. There is a family that exists, but what if there is a new family 5 years, 10 years down the road? I don't want to keep that from people not getting into that. And I have some concerns which I will not address on some possible unintended consequences of this support that I intend to give.
However, I'd like to urge that there should be continued a movement towards an ASTM or some similar type of standard that ideally does identify reasonable means and methods to measure the coefficient of friction on metal decking and/or roofing also. I wouldn't like that to stop here.
Saying that, I don't have a problem personally voting to remove the reserve section and the support for this program. I would personally be okay if OSHA wishes to pick it up and endorse it. I would not want to vote so strongly to urge OSHA to pick it up and support it, because I'm not a fan of over regulation. It seems this could be a little over-stepping, in my opinion.
However, if OSHA believes it's a good thing, I would not stand in the way and I would support them pushing this forward. A group of many professionals have gotten together. They've done their due diligence. They've got it right. I say we stood in their way long enough. Let them go.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Greg, go ahead.
MR. STRUDWICK: I think the only word that I really picked up on because of my limited educational abilities that Scott -- not only Scott, but that Mike Hayslip said was trust. And I do want to emphasize the fact that we do trust and hopefully will have the ability to trust the industries involved in any type of rulemaking, to give us all the information that they have and that they intend to pursue, to make good solid decisions.
And so I concur with your statements and I concur with the ability that the industry has in recognizing that if there is an adjustment needed to be made in a standard that affects them personally, that they expose that and that OSHA recognizes that and that OSHA concedes to the industry that they're taking care of business. So I support you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead, Bill.
MR. RHOTEN: I've just got a question. I'm into this trust thing myself.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: It's Bill Rhoten, United Association.
MR. RHOTEN: I trust Frank because I think this probably affects more of your members than it does mine, so my question and I know you've been involved in this a long time, so if you could elaborate and tell me that this is the best thing, do you think you could come back with your members?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Frank Migliaccio. Bill, I agree. We've put a lot of time and effort in this. This isn't something we've done in a couple of days. We've met over this over and over. When Peter and Bob said about the study we did, we reached out to non-union and union contractors. It wasn't just one side here. We went to both sides. We made sure that the decking that was being supplied to the jobs was decking being produced with the evaporating oil before we could actually ask the ironworkers what was going on, what they thought of it, stuff like that.
I mean 80 percent, I'm looking at 80 percent voluntary is better than nothing, especially for my members, and I think just like everything else, the other 20 percent is going to have to come on board. If they're going to have access, if they're going to continue to use something that is not up to quality, up to standards, they're going to pay for it dearly, when it comes time for the accident insurance rates.
I really do. I think if we can get the 80 percent on board, I'm for it.
MR. RHOTEN: And I trust Frank.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Well, procedurally, the issue that came before the Committee was after the presentation by management, labor and the industry and after conferring with the Secretary and the necessary parties, this Committee was asked for its opinion and any negative comments regarding this arrangement. And there will be no votes taken because it doesn't seem like once an agreement has been struck that it needs to be voted on. It was just that this Committee was asked to give its input regarding what the settlement had come down to.
MR. RHOTEN: So we're not going to vote on this, Mr. Chairman?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: No, we're not.
MR. RHOTEN: Then why did we have the discussion?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: It was more for the Chairman's viewpoint than anything else because I read what was said in Chicago and since the gentlemen were here from the Coalition and Frank and I know a lot of us that weren't in Chicago, I wanted people to be aware of what was going on, but there won't be any vote taken on this.
Gentlemen, thank you for your participation and your answers. We appreciate it.
Keith Goddard, are you here? Keith is going to do the Look Back Analysis of Lead in Construction and I'm sure most of you have heard that the DOL OSHA is looking at the lead standard and a request from business and Keith, I'll let you fill in the spaces there. Thank you for coming.
MR. GODDARD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Committee Members for the introduction. I'm Keith Goddard, the Director of the Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis. Thank you for getting us on the agenda to address this important topic.
I'd also like to say hello to my friends from OSHSPA. It's good to see you guys again.
What I'd like to do is sort of give you some background, just for your information going back to some of the rulemaking that involved lead in construction. Then I'll give you a little bit of background that we've been trying to formulate procedurally in terms of how we deal with look backs, and then I'll get into the specifics of how the lead in construction look back came up.
So I'll break it up into three sections and if you can bear with me a little bit, most of you know the history of the lead in construction standard going back to 1971. But I thin it's important in terms of how the general industry and construction standard developed on separate paths and how they came together in some congressional action that came up and how the Secretary had to react to that at that time in 1978.
So I'll go back historically a little bit, I won't spend much time with that. And then I'll get into the procedures that we're developing for look backs in the directorate on how we're trying to institutionalize those procedures.
Okay. In 1971, the OSH Act was passed, as you know. And there were two separate standards for lead exposure in general industry and in the construction industry in the 1910.1000 and 1926.55.
These standards in 1971 had a permissible exposure limit of 200 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air and this PEL had to be achieved through engineering and work practice controls.
In 1978, OSHA revised the General Industry standard by lowering the PEL to 50 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air. These revisions also added provisions that included requiring employers to provide medical surveillance, medical removal protection, hygiene facilities, appropriate respirators and air monitoring. That was in 1910.1025 section for General Industry.
Also, in 1978, the standard excluded the construction industry from its coverage because of unresolved issues regarding specific application to the construction industry. Those were feasibility issues that came up in the debate that include providing hygiene facilities for mobile work forces and for small employers in the construction industry. There's court decisions and debate that went on that we have documented as to why construction was separated in the 1978 rulemaking.
In 1990, OSHA announced that it would develop a proposal for comprehensive standards regulating occupational lead exposure in the construction industry. So in 1990, we had some rulemaking that came up that included construction.
In 1992, Congress passed a related act, Section 1031 and 1032 of Title 10 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992. This is important because this drove our rulemaking in construction and Congress demanded or provided that within 120 days after enactment of the HUD Act, of the Housing and Community Development Act, that OSHA would develop an interim final lead standard covering the construction industry. So we had congressional action that forced OSHA to act on the lead standard in construction.
The standard must be as protective as a general industry standard and it also had to be as protective as the Housing and Urban Development standards for lead in that department.
So the interim final standard was to take effect upon issuance except that the standard may include a reasonable delay for effective date so there was some slide, some effective implementation dates that were involved before the Secretary of Labor promulgated a final rule on that.
It's important to understand that Congress also mandated that we coordinate with the EPA in the Top Six Substances Control Act and put other provisions in there which I wouldn't go into all the detail, but furthermore, Congress indicated that OSHA was to include medical surveillance, a preference for engineering controls, housekeeping, air monitoring, record keeping, hazard communication, provisions similar to the guidelines and the general industry lead standard. So a comprehensive comparable construction lead standard was being developed with all the controls of the general industry standard.
So OSHA promulgated as an interim final rule in 1926.62, the Lead in Construction Standard on May 4, 1993 which include the requirements of the general industry standard that I just talked about for medical surveillance, medical removal, hygiene, etcetera.
So that's a history of the lead standard in terms of its differences from the general industry and construction.
In my directorate what as most of you might know I'm new there, but we've been trying to institutionalize the selection process for look backs. We have the Reg. Flex. Act that mandates that the agency, all federal agencies do regulatory look backs and I'll share with you some of the background on the reg. flex. and some of the things that we are doing and then as soon as I'm done with this section, we'll get into lead in construction and how we were selected.
So the directorate conducts look back reviews on final standards in accordance with what we call Section 6 Standard of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The look back reviews are also called 610 reviews. The purpose of these reviews is to determine whether the subject final standard should be maintained without change, rescinded or modified. These reviews are conducted in order to make the subject final standards more effective or less burdensome in achieving their objectives to make them consistent with the objectives of the Reg. Flex. Act or to bring them into better alignment with objectives of Executive Order 12866.
So the Reg. Flex. Act objectives seek to achieve regulatory goals while imposing as few burdens as possible on small business. So there's a definite link or requirement in the Reg. Flex. Act to address small business regulatory burden.
Furthermore, in the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, THE SBREFA Act, Congress reinforced the importance of conducting look back reviews by giving the public certain rights to sue if look back reviews are not completed. So we had congressional action as well as the Reg. Flex. Act dictating that we carry out reviews.
Look back reviews do not necessarily result in changes to the subject standard, for instance, we just completed an ethylene oxide look back study. That has been announced and finalized. The recommendations didn't involve changing anything after much industry input. It's a pretty comprehensive study that I'm quite proud to put out there.
We came to the determination that the standard wouldn't be changed, but we would develop some compliance assistance material as a recommendation. The other recent look back that I had been involved in in my directorate has been the Presence Sensing Device Initiation, the PSDI deals with mechanical power presses. That one we've sent it back to standards and guidance because our look back study discovered some defects, I would say, in the way it was protecting workers.
So we had an issue on how the Presence Sensing Device Initiation would prevent mechanical power presses from being initiated while workers' hands were exposed. That's gone back for review. It's in the standards process.
And then we have as part of the Standards Improvement Projects for consensus standards in the SIPS, we're doing some things with standards and guidance as well. So outside of construction, we have some general industry things in manufacturing that we're doing look backs on.
So the Reg. Flex. Act objectives seek to reduce burden. We have the SBREFA mandates from Congress and what I'd like to do now is just share with you the parameters about which we impose upon our look back and then I'll talk to you strictly about lead in construction and how that came about as our look back study.
So several things, four or five elements or things that we have to achieve when we conduct a look back. We have to look at the standards' potential for small business impact, like I talked about on the SBREFA and congressional mandate. The number of small businesses affected, we take that into consideration, the quality of available data bases. That has to be an element to do a scientific, quantitated look back so we look at that, so we're not just dealing with anecdotal information or where there's no data to come up with some sort of concrete recommendation. So that's a factor that we consider.
How long it's been since the final standard was promulgated, so we're looking at standards that have been around for a while. The severity of the hazard that the standard addresses and the number of workers exposed to the hazard. So those are the parameters that we use and we try to get out of the recommendations of a look back before we determine the choice of which standard we're going to review.
So let's talk about the selection of lead in construction for look back review and that process. In 2002, the Office of Management and Budget solicited suggestions from the public for regulations that should be reviewed to determine if the regulation was still needed or could be revised to mitigate the burden imposed.
OSHA's lead in construction standard was identified by a commenter, the National Association of Homebuilders, as a candidate for review. OMB subsequently requested assistance from the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration in reviewing the regulations recommended in OMB's survey. So they had a list of commenters and a list of regulations. One of them was lead in construction. It came from the Home Builders Association and they small business advocacy group to look at the list, to make a determination of which ones should be selected or get some analysis before the determinations were made.
So under 612A of the Reg. Flex. Act, the chief counsel for the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration is required to monitor compliance by agencies with the Reg. Flex. Act. The SBA Office of Advocacy identified OSHA's lead in construction standard and SLING standard as two priority nominations in terms of impact on small business and made referrals for OSHA evaluation. So the SLING standard is in the SIPS process that I mentioned earlier.
So through standards and guidance, we're looking at SLINGs on our standards improvement and the lead in construction came up on OMB's list per the advice of the small business advocacy group to show up as a look back.
So in addition to the OMB and SBA referral, OSHA selected lead in construction standard based on several factors which made it a good candidate for look back. The standard's extensive data base, the significant number of small entities affected by the standard and the severity of the hazard. The following examples of the extensive data base available for look back review in the lead and construction standard, I won't go into depth too much. I think many of you are familiar with them, but they were major studies conducted by EPA and HUD in the mid-1990s that were available to be part of the study. State Blood Lead Registers provided cumulative data on work blood lead levels. And then the Worker Exposure to Lead Study was done by the University of Iowa, so we had academic, as well as research studies to look at. And then we had the NIOSH Adult Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance System, the ABLES data base which many of you are probably familiar with which has been sort of a common knowledge to researchers doing blood lead level studies.
So virtually all the firms affected by lead in construction standard are small. A large majority are much smaller entities. Bridge workers, the largest group, OSHA estimated that nationwide about 176 firms employing approximately 1700 painters work on bridges and these workers have the highest exposures to lead. Renovation, remodeling and painting are very small firms. Most have less than 10 employees and about half of the painters nationwide are self-employed. So these are some of the confines or things that we were discovering when we started out.
To bring you up to date right now, as has been reflected in the regulatory agenda, in our regulatory agenda, we have some dates for action. We began gathering data for the look back review in lead in construction on June 6th of this year. A Federal Register notice was published, asking for public comment and announcing the look back. The public comment period ends September 6th of 2005. So we have an open situation here where we don't have a public comment period due date yet. It comes up in September and public comments are an extremely important part of what the look back recommendations might look like. So as it stands, the study is inconclusive. We have a contract. We have a work plan and we're waiting on public comments to move ahead and complete this look back study.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I was waiting. Yes, Tom.
MR. BRODERICK: Just so I understand, did you say -- oh, Tom Broderick. There are 176 firms, approximately, that work on --
MR. GODDARD: Bridges.
MR. BRODERICK: Now is that just repainting bridges?
MR. GODDARD: Yes, so it's --
MR. BRODERICK: Lead abatement?
MR. GODDARD: Yes, lead abatement as well. So it would be abrasive blasting as well in preparation for painting.
MR. BRODERICK: And did you separate out ironworking firms that may be cutting and burning and --
MR. GODDARD: Lead contaminated -- no, we did not separate the ironworkers who do burning and cutting. One of the things that we're seeing and I'll share the preliminary draft with you is that the levels of exposure in some of these occupations are not eight-hour time waited averages. They're intermittent for people doing welding. They may not be burning or cutting lead contaminated surfaces for eight hours, so the preliminary data in the research says that they're always eight-hour time waited averages that would meet the permissible exposure limits that we're looking at. So that's just -- that's not final, but as the research goes on, we hope to identify and clear up some of those exposure levels.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Thanks for coming. A couple of questions. Who does these look backs? Is that in your office or is it in Standards and Guidance or do you use some of their resources as well? The same people that do the regulatory analyses on the standards that are being set.
MR. GODDARD: Out of my office. So we would give Standards and Guidance some input. We'll have enforcement. Before it becomes final, we will give input around the whole agency.
MR. SCHNEIDER: When they petitioned or asked for this look back, did the Homebuilders or others submit any evidence of burden or was it just an allegation or a statement that they felt that there was burden that needed to be looked at?
MR. GODDARD: My guess is that would have been done through the SBA Office of Advocacy. I could not --
MR. SCHNEIDER: So you don't have any evidence --
MR. GODDARD: No. I don't have that data that the Homebuilders put in their comment that triggered the concern of OMB to go to SBA Office of Advocacy. That was a separate agency process. That selection between OMB and SBA that brought the recommendation for us to look at it.
MR. SCHNEIDER: And when you're looking at this, you're also looking at the benefits of the rule, right, in terms of the social costs that would exist if this rule changed?
MR. GODDARD: I think ethylene oxide was a good example that a lot of people probably thought that the disinfection capabilities were obsolete and you could use different types of infrared to disinfect instruments in hospitals and in the spice industry. And come to find out, ethylene oxide is still the prevalent, most useful disinfectant done in -- used all over the country. This is what the research revealed for the standard. So to answer your question, yes, we do look at worker protection in terms of how effective it is currently in business today.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else? Yes, Michael?
MR. HAYSLIP: Yes, briefly. With regards to the factors for looking back, as I get it some of them include the small business impact, the number of businesses, the quality of available data, how long since the standard was promulgated, the severity of the risk and the numbers of workers exposed. There may be others, but those are the ones that I caught.
My question is what do you do, if anything, to ensure that the standard is even used? These are small guys. How are you sure that they're actually using it? Sometimes, arguably, less could be more, so my question is how much is it being used and/or enforced for that matter? To have it on the shelf is great and wonderful and it's a great product, but how do we know or is that part of your duties to even be sure that you know what you did is being used?
MR. GODDARD: How we corroborate different data sources with most of our research, so that is why the fifth element that I mentioned, which would be the data sources, the ABLES data base, the blood lead level data base, those would give us not just research papers for us to look at, but we would go to my home state, Maryland, and we would look at blood lead levels going back 5 and 10 years and see whether there were declines. We have access to that data.
So beyond that, we would corroborate that now with our information -- IMS system and look at enforcement statistics to see how many bridge abatement jobs or bridge abatement contractors, lead abatement contractors on bridges look at enforcement statistics to see whether we were having some links between blood lead levels from ABLES, so we're corroborating several sources, the ABLES, the state repositories for data on blood lead. This comes from lab and when people show up in emergency rooms or get medical removal or things like that. So we're corroborating several sources to determine whether or not the effectiveness or whether there's a problem or identifying the scope of the problem.
MR. HAYSLIP: I understand, I got it. Are you comfortable in speaking to the number of employers, being that they might be small guys, quote unquote, the number of employers that know of this standard and then the numbers of those that once they know about it actually do it.
Are you comfortable in speaking to that?
MR. GODDARD: Not quantitatively. You know, there's anecdotal information out there, but I think I would be uncomfortable --
MR. HAYSLIP: If you don't know --
MR. GODDARD: One of the things that we would do is have -- in the research is try to get as hard numbers as possible, small people and how many people -- I don't know how we get how many people are aware of it. That might be a little more difficult.
MR. HAYSLIP: Or perhaps even enforcement. Awareness might exist within OSHA as to the enforcement of this standard.
MR. GODDARD: Yes. IMIS data to see how much enforcement --
MR. HAYSLIP: But my question is you're in the loop some way, some how if the stuff you do is used or enforced.
MR. GODDARD: You know, one of the things that IMIS gives us, too, is compliance cases, not just enforcement violations. So we could pull up an IC case to see how many lead in construction inspections, how many bridge inspections were done that were IC. So it's not necessary all the time you had people in violation of it.
MR. HAYSLIP: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Keith, when you say that -- one of the criteria you said is you're taking a look back to see how many of these small employers, 10 to 12 employees that this has an adverse effect on, 10 to 12 employees is just about the universe of the construction companies in this. There's the Bechtels and Ascansa, but 90 percent, 85 percent of the companies in this country employ probably less than 15 or 20 employees.
MR. GODDARD: Part of the debate that was part of some -- back in the 1990s when there was that separation that I described between the general industry and not having a lead standard was the debate about the feasibility for the guys, for those size employers that you described. One, they're mobile. One, they're not necessarily -- turnover could be high in those, so you might be tracking blood lead levels. So it creates some complications on how you track the exposures by the size, by the transient nature of the work force, by their ability to comply by having wash up and hygiene facilities.
You know, the engineering controls of a guy whose office is his pick up truck and what you would find in a big shop, in general industry, so there was a huge debate of the scalability of the general industry standard into those small pick up truck offices. So it is a complicating factor. And in preliminary discussions with the contractor, it's a big part of what we're looking at in this study.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay, anyone else? Keith, thank you -- oh, I'm sorry, Frank.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Frank Migliaccio. You were saying about the small pick up truck and so forth like that. It's my understanding that prior to going to work on a lead, possible lead job, they have to have a blood test done prior to and if they're there for so long, they have to have the blood test done on exit. Wouldn't that have -- wouldn't that be a way of tracking?
MR. GODDARD: I'm not sure about the level of compliance. I can't commit to a hard number about how many people -- it's not part of the county permit for beginning a construction job, what you have to display before you start the demolition or whatever. It's not a requirement, so the county might know that you're working, but the state, OSHA or federal OSHA or EPA in the state, different states have different EPA requirements for reporting lead abatement jobs. So it's difficult to quantify as to the levels of compliance on people who have an initial -- pre- and post-blood lead level testing. But that's an excellent comment. I'll think about that when we are talking about the research.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else? Greg?
MR. STRUDWICK: Just for my benefit, how involved are the insurance folks, that insure these contractors when they are exposed to lead? I know in our association, there was briefly a comment and a response and there's some information left in there on asbestos pipe that we have to go back and do something with because an awful lot of it was installed and our insurance folks came back and said you touch anything with asbestos in it, we won't insure you.
And so where were we with the other industry, meaning the people that would pay for these exposures, ultimately in the health of the individuals involved or the liability exposure of lead in construction? Is there any information out there that involves that or is that being supplied to you?
MR. GODDARD: I would look forward to public comment on the insurers coming back on that, so that would be a perfect example of what we would look for in a public comment coming back from that group, the insurers to say hey, wait a minute, I want you to look at this aspect of this if you do your look back. So that's what public comment is all about. And I'll be looking for that piece of it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay, Keith, thank you very much.
MR. GODDARD: Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thanks for coming here and updating us on that.
MR. GODDARD: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: This morning I was rushed through. I neglected to do a very important thing and that was to thank Dan Murphy for chairing the meeting in Chicago in my absence. I thank you very much for doing that.
Let's be back here at 1 o'clock. The cafeteria is on the sixth floor. And again, for the public, if there's anyone else that wants to have something to say during the public comment period, please give me your name and affiliation some time between now and the end of the day.
(Whereupon, at 11:40 a.m., the meeting was recessed, to reconvene at 1:00 p.m.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We have with us Matt Gillen from NIOSH, who's going to speak to us on the National Occupational Research Agenda. Matt, welcome, as always. Good to have you here. And just for the record, if you would repeat your name and title.
MR. GILLEN: Sure. It's Matt Gillen with NIOSH, and with the NIOSH Construction Steering Committee. And I'd like to thank Chair, Bob Krul, and Bruce Swanson, and Mike Buchet for putting us on the agenda today. You know, at the February ACCSH meeting, Jeff Kohler reported on NIOSH's developing some construction program goals. And since then, there's been another development that's going to affect the NIOSH Construction Program in a really good way, I think. It relates to NORA, which is the National Occupational Research Agenda, and so I wanted to report on it to ACCSH today. Hopefully, there'll be some activity on this that will have happened by the time you have your next meeting.
Just briefly, I was going to provide a little bit of background on NORA for folks who are unfamiliar with it, and then talk about the next decade, how we're going to take sector-specific approach. And what this means for construction is that there'll be a specific construction sector research council; how it'll be different from the previous NORA and how it's going to work, and how we're hoping everybody will participate.
So again, NORA is we at NIOSH call the National Occupational Research Agenda. And basically, it grew out of meetings in 1996 where we had over 500 stakeholders groups meet, and it really talked about what -- if we're going to focus in on priorities, what should those priorities be. And it was really intended to be like a 10-year effort, and so those 10 years will be up in 2006. And so we've been thinking about what we want to do next. And we view NORA as it's been very successful. It stimulated a lot of partnerships and leveraged funding to address priorities. And it's not just for NIOSH. It's been really a national agenda for other groups, as well, to sort of focus their research.
And again, basically the way this original NORA was set up is it came up with three categories, and under the three categories there are 21 topics, and these were research priority areas. And I provided this partial list that gives you some of the examples of ones that are most relevant for construction; things like hearing loss, traumatic injuries, low-back disorders, special populations at risk, things of that sort.
So where we are now is sort of nine years into NORA. We've been reflecting on it. We're putting together some documents that review the work that's been done over the first decade. And especially looking at where the research has had an impact, and we're preparing for the next decade. And we're going to have a big kick-off meeting on this in April, 2006.
And the NORA approach, we view it as being very successful and effective, but we want to sort of modify it now that it's 10 years in. We've been thinking about what we want to do for the next decade. So what really sprung out of our original discussions was let's really use a sector approach. Let's try that, and so that's what our thinking has been, so far.
And if you ask yourself why sectors, I mean, basically workplaces and sectors are organized by sector. And it sector partner's folks, such as the people on this committee, are really positioned to know what the biggest problems are, and also to sort of get the word out on solutions. And also, sometimes research needs differ quite a bit from sector to sector. And what we like about this is instead of having one set of priorities and things, each sector can develop its own specific research agenda. So what we've come up with is, we're thinking of having eight different sectors, and you can see that construction would be one of the sectors. You can see some of the others there, as well; agriculture, mining, manufacturing, healthcare, things of that sort.
So what we're looking for is to set up sectors, that each sector would have like a research council to develop and implement a research agenda. And what we'd have on each council is we'd have members from employer groups, and labor groups, and academic researchers, and trade and professional associations, and safety and health practitioners in the field, and OSHA folks, and NIOSH folks, as well. So we'd put together a group like that.
And then what that council would do is it would really sort of look at the sector needs and research gaps or barriers, or things that are problems that you still are grappling with. And the idea is to develop one or more separate research agendas. So, for example, in construction, just the way under the NAICS codes there's three different groups under construction, if you wanted to have more than one agenda, that would be a possibility, as well. But also to sort of develop goals, for example, to reduce falls by a certain percentage over a period. And we did talk in February about how our NIOSH program is developing goals, and these would be really more national goals that all the partners would buy into, and we would hope our effort would work with that effort, as well. So anyway, we think the idea of setting goals is an important thing to do to make progress.
As far as what would be different, we're hoping that this Construction Sector Research Council and the whole next decade of NORA, really what we want to do is really get more participation from stakeholders in the process. And we really want to use research to practice as a guiding principle. We really want the research projects that our folks do to have the greatest potential for impact. We really want input on the most relevant research, and we want to involve stakeholders more throughout the whole process, as opposed to just at the beginning you give us an idea. And just at the end, you might read about it or see a NIOSH publication. We want to sort of get feedback through the process.
In addition, the original NORA talked about priorities. And we do want to really go to that next level and talk about having goals. So again, this diagram just shows for us, as researchers, here's how we look at things. We try to review the overall information and get input from stakeholders. What are the top problems, then from there, looking at what the underlying causes are. And then what promising solutions or interventions could address it. But then to evaluate, does it really work. And what we'd like to do is get stakeholder input all along.
If we're working on a solution, we want to make sure it makes sense to you, as construction stakeholders, the solution we're working on, that it's really going to work in the field as we're developing it. And then once our research is done, we'd like to get more feedback from you as to what products you think we should we should develop to get the word out to the construction community, and to sort of maybe do some more evaluation; does this work, are we getting results? If it's really working, it should make the data on injuries and things of that sort go down, so that's why we show this big loop.
Again, what we're thinking is that each council would have sort of co-leaders, a NIOSH person, and an external coordinator, as well. And that we would coordinate really closely with key groups, such as ACCSH. And we think it would really help our relationship, because as ACCSH identifies gaps or things where you'd like more information, you'd have somebody to feed it to in a more systematic basis. You'd have a listing, an agenda where we could fill those gaps. And also, things like trenching, where it's not an issue about having a standard. We already have a standard that's pretty effective. We're all trying to learn more about how we get the word out to small business folks, and how to be effective, how to do that is something I think we all need to learn more about, and is something we could do quite a bit of research on.
We like to use things like working groups, and meetings, and committees to move forward. And then we might link up with the other sectors. For example, there's a sector with utilities in it. They might have electrical problems; we might work with them, or we might work with the agricultural sector on crops and things of that sort, so we'd have like a cross-sector council in NIOSH to help do that.
So again, just to sort of review, you know, each council could develop a research agenda; so here we'd be developing a research agenda for construction, and some goals. And we see this as a way to facilitate partnering, where we can link up our researchers with interested stakeholders, get a lot more research in the field. And also, when we publish our results, to not stop there, but to continue, and to sort of get feedback as to what products can we create with the research? What messages do you think that we need to send to the construction audiences to really have an impact? So, anyway, these are some of our examples of things that we think the research councils could do.
And what we would do is we'd sort of help steward the whole effort, and we'd provide some of the research and surveillance to sort of help identify the agenda there. I put a couple of our publications where we sort of summarize worker deaths from electrocution, or worker deaths by fall. We have quite a bit of surveillance data that we can contribute to the effort, and to support sector research councils. And also, to provide some of the research and training, along with our partners, for actually funding the research on the agenda. But, of course, we would like to partner with others in that area, as well; get more funding for research.
So as far as how you can participate, we're really asking our stakeholders to sort of think about what you think your needs are, and give us input as to what you think the top sector problem area is, and to get others to provide input, and to think about participating with us on the construction sector research council.
The construction sector is going to be one of the first ones put together, so we're doing some thinking over the summer. We'll probably be in touch with folks about it, and we hope to get some activities going in the early fall to sort of really get this construction sector research council off the ground.
We have a variety of ways for input. NIOSH has like an eNews, and we're going to use that as a way to get the word out to folks about what's going on, so if you don't subscribe to that, you may want to do that. We actually have a web page on the NIOSH website where you can actually provide input electronically on construction, if you want to email things of that sort. We're also going to do quite a few meetings. We're going to go out and talk with people, and talk about what you think your issues are, as well. So here's just a short of the site on our web page where you can provide input, even now, on construction, as far as some of your ideas for topic areas, research agenda.
Again, we'll be having a major meeting in April, 2006 to really kick this off, and to share some of the research agendas that have been put together so far, so we're hoping to have some things to report from the construction sector at that time. And again, here's some of the places to email. And again, as far as contacts, Jeff Kohler and myself, we'll probably be contacting folks. And if you want to contact us, or if your organization is having a meeting and you want your members to provide some input to us, by all means, give us a call and we'd be happy to come out.
So, in conclusion, we really wanted ACCSH members to know about this development. We think it's really going to be good for construction, and we think it presents an opportunity to build closer ties to the construction community, and to ACCSH, as well. And again, we're very much interested in your input. I put just the full list of the NORA topics at the end, and we don't really need to go through them. So, anyway, that's kind of what I wanted to report on, and thanks.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Matt. Do you know where in Washington, D.C. that conference will be?
MR. GILLEN: No, I don't yet. It's going to be in the D.C. area though.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Yes. Any questions for Matt? Yes, Linwood.
MR. SMITH: No question. I want to make a comment. Linwood Smith. I wanted to thank Matt for coming, and I like the sector approach. I know over a year ago he came to an AGC Safety and Health Committee, and we thought about how we could better partner together, work together, and how NIOSH could help the construction industry. I think what we're hearing today is a good step, and I appreciate that.
MR. GILLEN: Great. Look forward to working with you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom.
MR. BRODERICK: Tom Broderick. Matt, the five year funding cycle for the construction centers, is there a place on your website or elsewhere where one can find out who essentially got what, what projects were funded?
MR. GILLEN: I think you asked this in the February meeting, and we said we'd look into it. I have to say that our Office of Extramural Programs, OEP, is still working on that. And I don't know what's taking them so long, and I agree that it's an important thing to get.
What we'd like to have is basically, there's a page of information about each of the grantees and what they're doing, what products they created; we think that's an important thing to have. I think they've begun doing it for agriculture, but I think they're still in the process.
MR. BRODERICK: Part Two of that question then would be, did that funding take up the majority or all of the construction research and intervention funding that could be made available through small grants or through RO-1 applications?
MR. GILLEN: No. I mean, basically four times a year you can put in an RO-1 application for research, and those are always open, and there's not a limit there. There's not a construction limit. They're really judged more on the merit of the proposal.
MR. BRODERICK: And are those strictly research, or could they be used to fund intervention work based on prior research.
MR. GILLEN: Intervention evaluation is considered research, so that could be done there. As far as if you have an intervention, and you want to have people using it, it would have to be crafted carefully so that it was a research project. You see what I mean?
MR. BRODERICK: Okay.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else? Matt, as always, thank you.
MR. GILLEN: Okay. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Appreciate it. Good presentation. Noah, are you here?
MR. CONNELL: Yes, sir.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Oh. You looked like you were hiding back there. How are you?
MR. CONNELL: I was hiding.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: (Laugh.)
MR. CONNELL: Good afternoon. My name is Noah Connell. I'm a Director of the Office of Construction Standards and Guidance in the Directorate of Construction.
We thought today that I'd just give a little standards update; first, the Cranes and Derrick's Project. I think as all of you know, we are using a negotiated rule-making process to develop a new crane and derrick standard proposal. And the negotiations concluded successfully just about a year ago. Since then, we are doing the internal work that is necessary to make this thing into a formal proposed rule. That consists of, first of all, doing an economic analysis, also drafting a preamble, which is, in essence, the regulatory history and explanation for the proposed rule.
On both fronts, in the past year -- to do an economic analysis, the first thing that we have to do is create a detailed line-by-line comparison of the existing rule with the CDAC document, and we completed that back in November. That's really the first step in developing an economic analysis, because then the economists use that as a basis for their analysis. So that part of it was completed in November, and now the economic analysis itself is being developed. The preamble we have drafted, probably about three-quarters of the preamble, as a first draft, so we are on schedule with that.
One of the reasons why we do an economic analysis is to determine if under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act we are required to do a small business panel review, so we won't know the answer to that question until we have the economic analysis.
We are targeting, we are scheduling, planning, anticipating, hoping to, if we are required to do a SBREFA review, that that process would begin in September of this year. That's what the semi-annual regulatory agenda calls for. Any questions on CDAC?
MR. SMITH: How do you determine whether you have to do SBREFA review or not?
MR. CONNELL: There are -- I'm not an expert in the thresholds that kick that in. They are described in the SBREFA statute. Basically, if it shows that there would be a significant economic effect, particularly on small businesses, then we would have to do a review. But it's kind of a complicated litany of factors that are considered when making that assessment.
MR. SMITH: Okay.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I would have been shocked if you'd been able to account. Go ahead, Frank.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Frank Migliaccio. Noah, is this taking longer than it was supposed to, this part here? No, the reason I ask, I remember we were given a certain time to have things done. Then we were given pretty much what was going to happen in three months, six months down the road, and I was wondering is it taking longer, and does it have something to do with John Henshaw leaving, Jonathan Snare coming in? What's happening?
MR. CONNELL: I think everything always takes longer than we hope. No, I don't think the schedule has been affected, at all, by the change in Assistant Secretaries. That's not a factor, at all. I think, like I said, we did the initial work on the side-by-side tables in the comparison. That went well, that was on schedule. I think the preamble development is on schedule. Economic analysis is taking a bit longer than we had hoped. It's hard to come up with a very clear schedule that you can adhere to completely in rule-making. It just seems to be the nature of rule-making, so I guess we always hope that things go faster than they turn out to go, but I think we're doing pretty well. I'll put it that way.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Does manpower that you have in your offices have anything to do with it, or is it just you think it's going where it's supposed to go, but not where you want it to go?
MR. CONNELL: Well, I think the committee did a remarkable job in doing the hardest part of a rule-making like this, and that's coming up with a negotiated document. And the committee did that in a little less than a year, and that was remarkable.
We kind of take that as setting a pace that we want to keep up with. We feel at an individual level in our office, we feel like if we can't match the pace of the committee, we're letting down the individuals who committed all their time and effort to get that job done and get it done really pretty quickly. So the real pressure, I think, kind of on an individual level for us is, we don't want to let all those folks down, because we know that there's a high expectation of moving this thing forward as fast as possible.
Now our office, of course, we're one of a number of offices that are now involved in this project, so it's not just us that's involved. It's other folks that are involved, too. I think everybody understands the urgency of this within the agency, and you do hit obstacles and roadblocks that you don't anticipate. You do your best to overcome those and plow forward. I think we're doing pretty well. Do I wish we were going faster? Sure, I always wish we were going faster, but I think we're doing pretty well.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Also, I've had dialogue with the Secretary of Labor's Office, Elaine Chao, and I was wondering, and I had mentioned it to their office, the fact that if the members of the committee could at least get a letter letting them know where it's at. You've just explained to myself, but I think I'm the only member sitting here who was on that committee. And we get a lot of calls, everybody saying what's happening, what's happening? If we could get a letter sent out to the other people who were on the committee, at least they'd have an idea of where it's at. We listened to how it was going to go, and everybody is wondering why it's not going. If a letter went out, I was just wondering if that's possible.
MR. CONNELL: Well, I'll certainly --
MR. SWANSON: Frank, I think what you're referring to; there was a glitch and you've been informed by the Secretary's office that there was a problem last fall in getting a contract let for a economic analyst to be brought in on this. And I do know, my own information, that everybody that was on the CDAC committee was similarly informed.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: After speaking to a couple of committee members last evening, there was a couple of people who weren't informed. That's what I was wondering, because they've called and asked what have I heard, because they knew I sent a letter. So, I mean, all we'd asked for was something in writing, just something so we know -- like I said, we spent a year on it and we just want to make sure our time wasn't wasted.
MR. SWANSON: And the Secretary's office was very sympathetic with the letters that came in. And I was -- we should have a follow-up conversation. I'd be interested in who didn't get a telephone call, because I know I called my share.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And for the recorder's purposes, CDAC is the Crane and Derrick Advisory Committee. I know we drive you guys nuts with acronyms. Anyone else on the Cranes and Derricks? Confined spaces, Noah.
MR. CONNELL: Okay. Confined space - the regulatory agenda calls for us to publish a proposed rule December of this year. We are doing our best to meet that deadline. Right now the document that we're working with is in the process of agency review, both within our own office and some other offices, so we're in the final leg of this. Anything on confined space?
MR. STRUDWICK: Just one question. When they go to public comment, is that going to be in different areas around the country, or is that going to be a specific area, like coming here?
MR. CONNELL: Well, what happens is, we'll publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register. We'll set a comment period. If people ask -- if we get a request for a hearing, then we'll schedule a hearing. And depending on -- we'll look at how many requests for a hearing we get, we'll look at the -- we always look at the question of where geographically is this going to be of interest? And the agency will certainly consider, if we do get hearing requests, where those might be held.
MR. STRUDWICK: But it's by request.
MR. CONNELL: I'm sorry?
MR. STRUDWICK: By request.
MR. CONNELL: Yeah. The first thing that has to happen is, we have to get a request for a hearing. Okay. Last item on our regulatory agenda for construction is the provision in the Steel Erection Standard, 1926.754(c)3. This is the provision that sets a slip-resistance criteria requirement for coated skeletal steel. And just again to clarify, this is a different issue than what was discussed earlier with respect to the slipperiness of metal decking. That issue refers to a reserved section in the standard, so this is different. This is the coated skeletal steel.
Just to give you a little short background, after the standard was published, a lawsuit was filed against the Department with respect to this provision, the (C)3 provision. And in 2003, a settlement agreement was reached with those petitioners and the Department, and part of that settlement agreement was that we agreed to reopen the record on this one issue in the steel erection standard for additional comments.
That comment period was last fall, and so we received, I think, about 16 comments in the reopened record. And we have been analyzing those comments, and reviewing within the agency what ought to be done with respect to this provision. In the settlement agreement, what OSHA agreed to was that we would either affirm, amend, or revoke the provision, and announce that decision by January of 2006. And it will be announced by issuance of a final rule on that provision, so you'll see in the regulatory agenda that we have that deadline in there, January of 2006, for a final rule on this provision. Any questions about that one?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Who was the agreement with?
MR. CONNELL: The agreement was with, I believe it was the Resilient Flooring Institute, and I think the Steel Coalition.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any other questions for Noah? Thank you, Noah, as always.
MR. CONNELL: My pleasure.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you very much.
MR. CONNELL: Thanks.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Kevin, I take it you're doing the communication tower report.
MR. BEAUREGARD: I was asked to --
CHAIRMAN KRUL: If you would give your name and affiliation for the record, please.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Kevin Beauregard with the North Carolina Department of Labor and OSHSPA representative.
I was asked by the Directorate to give an update on the North Carolina Communication Tower standard. For those ACCSH board members that weren't here during the beginning of this, probably around 1999-2000, somewhere around that area, North Carolina started work on looking into whether or not we should promulgate a standard having to do with communication towers. There has been some overlap because ACCSH also had a tower workgroup, and many of the participants that participated on the subcommittee or sub-workgroups, also participated in the North Carolina rule-making process.
What I'm going to do is give a brief background to those that weren't involved earlier, just to let you know why we started working on a communication tower standard, and then just go through the standard briefly. In your packets, you should have a copy of the standard itself. I'm not going to cover it verbatim. You can read through it. If you have questions later, I'll be glad to answer those. And also, there's a copy of the presentation in your packet.
Just a little bit of the facts having to do with communication towers; there's three main types of communication towers. And really, over the last decade, we've seen a lot more towers going up, as a lot more communication devices are needed or desired by users; HDTV, pagers, cellular phones, not to mention the broadcast towers, so all of these items are increasing the need for those type of towers.
The three main types of towers are monopole - generally, these are the towers that are 200 feet or less. You'll just see a cylindrical pole with some type of antenna on the top. A self-supporting, which is structured steel. They look like tower cranes, almost, the basic tower crane. And then guyed towers; those are generally the larger towers over 2,000 feet.
Some industry information - as you can see, there's about 20-50,000 new towers nationwide erected annually, and there's many existing towers that require retrofitting or maintenance activities. There was an estimate that U.S. had over 300,000 towers in use in 2003, and the North Carolina portion of that is we have close to 20,000 towers in North Carolina. And there is over 3,000 registered with the FAA or FCC. And the reason it really became an issue in North Carolina, as well as nationwide, is we started looking at the issue, and by the most conservative estimates, the tower industry is experiencing a fatality rate of around 30 times that of all other industries.
The reason why there is not specific detailed data on this is that there's a lot of disciplines in the construction industry, or the maintenance industry that, although they may be working on a tower, they may be classified as another type of worker. For instance, electrical workers go up there to work on the electrical part of things, painters go up to paint the towers, communication companies go up to put some of the communication devices on there, so they may not all be coded, and there's not a SIC code or a NAICS code for tower erectors to just single those out, and not include the other ones. That's why the data is a little bit sketchy.
From a NIOSH study that occurred, and there's a publication that is available on line, they indicated that at that time, the study looked at tower-related deaths from "92 to "98. And of those, 118 were tower worker deaths. We've had 10 work-related deaths in North Carolina from 1997 to 2004. We've had one this year, earlier in the year, that we're still investigating. So we've had 11 incidents in North Carolina, and that's why we decided to work on the issue.
There are some OSHA standards out there that cover some aspects of communication towers; however, Subpart M and Subpart R, if you look at the scope, they do not apply to the actual erection of the tower, and that's where we were experiencing a lot of the injuries and fatalities. So because of that, and because of the incidents that I referred to earlier in North Carolina, we took a look at trying to decide whether or not we should promulgate a standard. And what we found was, over the 10 fatalities that we had, there was a lot of common traits, there was a lot of common issues, and I'm going to go through some of those.
The list that you see before you, that's also on your slide, is a brief synopsis of the fatalities that we've had in North Carolina dating back to "97, and including the most recent one in February of 2005. One that's of particular note that really got this moving in North Carolina was in December, 1999, we had a multiple fatality where three workers were killed on a site. It was a 2,000 foot tower. It was in Roane County, and as a result of that, there was a lot of attention, both in North Carolina and nationally. We started looking at it a lot closer, and we made a determination that we're going to form some workgroups and study groups to determine whether or not we needed to promulgate any type of standard.
When we started looking over the information and data, what we found were some common traits. Like I said, we found that there was untrained, unqualified employees in many instances, lack of readily accessible comprehensive safety guidelines in one location, personal protective equipment was either being under-utilized or not being utilized in some of the cases. There was a lack of PP, lack of first aid rescue training. And all of these things were coming out, and we were seeing it over and over again as we were looking into the fatalities.
We also found that there are companies that are in the business, and do a very good job, and then there's other companies that got into the business when things were booming that may not have been as knowledgeable about the industry, and as knowledgeable about the safety and health requirements, and we were finding a high number of them were involved in the fatalities, accidents, and injuries.
Some statistics that we got from the ACCSH workgroup, and we've already reported some of these, but I wanted to reiterate it, is Arthur J. Gallagher insures many of those that are in the business of tower erection, and most of the companies are smaller companies, they average about 15 employees or less. But of that three-year statistical reporting period, they indicated there was 428 loss claims, and 46 percent, or over 46 percent were associated with some type of fall; 69 percent resulted in fractures, shock, multiple injuries, and/or death. And we also noted from that statistical information that over 60 percent of those employees were with the company less than one year. And we took a look at a lot of different statistical information, and we helped to use that information to guide us on which areas we needed to work on. And when you find that over 46 percent are associated with falls, naturally you want to make sure that anything you're working on is going to have a fall component to it.
That kind of gives you a little bit of background. I will tell you, we started work on this in 1999 by forming some research groups. We ended up deciding to move forward with rule. We formed some stakeholder groups. We had stakeholder meetings. We got a lot of input from the industry. We met with associations, we met with owners, we met with operators, we met with communication companies, we had some union participation, and the whole purpose of this was to get feedback up front while we're going through the rule-making process, so we didn't put together something that was something that the industry itself could not live with.
All in all, I think the process went really well. We got a lot of good input, and a lot of good feedback from those groups, which resulted in a lot of changes from the initial standard that was initially proposed. The standard has nine sections, and up before you, you see the nine different sections that are in our standard. We separated out the standard in this way due to the North Carolina rule-making process. There's a certain rhyme and reason, and process that you have to go through, and we didn't want - if there was a hang-up on any one of the components, we didn't want it to cause the other ones to be delayed or hung-up, so we actually separated nine different sections. It all went through the rules review process. All the sections were approved by the Rules Review Commission in North Carolina, which is the first step on promulgating the standard. If there's more than ten objections to any one section, then it goes over to the North Carolina legislature.
There were more than ten objections on two parts, the Fall Protection part, and the Gin-Pole part, so those two sections went over to the legislature this legislative session. The section that's highlighted there, Non-Ionizing Radiation, was passed by the Rules Review Commission, but it was not passed until after the start of the legislative session, so that will have to wait until next legislative session to go through, so that's the only section that has not been acted upon as of this date.
The first section deals with the scope and application, and just as a highlight, it covers any tower that's over six foot, and primarily used as an antenna to host one or more antennas. If a tower or structure is affixed to another structure, such as a church, steeple, rooftop, water tower, then the North Carolina Tower Standard does not go into place until they actually reach the tower structure, so anything below the tower structure, any other applicable standard would take precedence once they get up on the tower. Then the Tower Standard itself would kick in.
It is not applicable to vehicle-mounted towers. This is spelled out in the standard. There was a stakeholder comment regarding satellite communication trucks, such as the ones used by television stations. It was never our intent to include those, so we specifically mention that in the standard, to let it be known that those are not covered by the standard.
The second section deals with definitions, and we wanted to define as many things in there as we could so there wasn't any discrepancy about what was meant by 100 percent Fall Protection, and what was meant by a climbing facility. Where possible, we tried to mirror the definitions that are already in the OSHA standard because we didn't want to cause confusion.
As you know, some places in the OSHA standard, the Federal OSHA standards, as well as the North Carolina OSHA standards, there may be several different sections that have different definitions depending on what section you're in. We wanted to make sure that where possible, we were using those definitions that have already been established in the most recent standards. So when you look at the competent person, you're going to see it mirrors very closely those definitions that are already out there for competent person.
The 603 deals with employer responsibilities, and as an overview, basically there is a requirement in there that employers need to adhere to the acceptable conditions for climbing a tower before allowing anybody to get up on the tower. We outlined what those conditions are in the standard.
It also indicates that two employees must be on the site at all times when they're going over a six foot height. I will tell you, this was one of the areas that we got a lot of questions about. It's not something that you'll see too many other standards address, I don't think, about the number of individuals. But one of the reasons for this is, when we looked at the fatalities that we had, as well as some incidences that we had, a lot of these towers are going up in remote areas, remote locations, a lot of the fire departments or volunteer assistants that are out there aren't equipped to handle or deal with certain things; plus, if there's only one person out on the tower, and that person gets into trouble and they can't get in communication with anybody else, it may be a while before someone comes out looking for them, so we wanted to make sure that people are going to be protected.
There's also a provision in there about a competent person. They have to visually inspect the tower from the base for damage, deterioration, safety features, structural deficiencies and anchorage before the climb. And the reason that requirement is in there is that a lot of these towers, although a lot of them are new, there's a lot of towers in use that are fairly old. And a lot of the towers have been subject to weather damage and other damage, and over the years deterioration occurs, and we really don't want people climbing up a tower if they visually see that there's a problem with it.
Now you're not going to be able to see everything from the ground, and we understand that. And then we have other provisions elsewhere in the standard that say as you're climbing the tower, you're also doing an inspection, so if you come up to something, you can go ahead and address it before getting somebody in trouble.
The 604 section dealing with hazard I.D. and assessment talks about doing an initial and a daily hazard assessment. That's to ensure that -- these sites change day-to-day, just like any other construction site. Some of these towers go up fairly quickly. If there's a new hazard introduced, we want to make sure it's assessed so the proper equipment is out there, and the employees are properly trained on the issue prior to going up, prior to being exposed to the hazard.
Those need to be performed by a competent person, and again, we outline what makes a person competent in the standard itself. It does include an evaluation of new equipment, materials, processes, and also an assessment of weather conditions. A lot of tower work is done during undesirable weather conditions. That's one of the reasons why the workers are out there on the tower. If you have a fairly high tower and it's in a flight path and the lights go out on it, you want to get somebody out there to replace the lights because you really want it to be known that the tower is there.
There's other work activities go on, too; and there's certain things that need to be taken into account in different areas of the country where they have different weather climates. We addressed the things that we thought were going to be applicable in North Carolina. Believe it or not, we do have snow, and ice, and inclement weather in North Carolina, as well as other parts of the country. And also, this section deals with PPE needs.
A lot of these photos are of towers in North Carolina, some of them are towers elsewhere. This particular photo, I don't know if you can make it out, but there's a little thin pencil line that's going up into the air there. That's the tower in Roane County where we had three individuals fall and die from. And you can see from looking at that structure, it's a good distance onto that tower. It's over 2,000 feet tall, and so if we have a mistake or an accident and you're in that position, there certainly is room for somebody to be injured or killed.
One of the primary components of our standard has to do with 100 percent Fall Protection. I should mention that this section right here, 0605, is also a section that had more than ten objections. It went over to the legislature. The primary objection on this standard, we worked through a lot of different areas and a lot of different issues, but there were some stakeholders that had some issues having to do with a component that deals with rescue.
We have a requirement in the standard, and I'll get to that in a few minutes, but it requires that there be at least two employees trained in high angle rescue when you're out at the site. Initially, the standard required two employees from the beginning of the site to be trained in high angle rescue. There was a lot of stakeholder input on that. There was a feeling that it was too stringent, particularly with the turnover rate in the industry, and they wanted a probationary period in which to get a new employee trained in high angle rescue.
We compromised on that, and we extended it, and we said that there needs to be one person trained in that area, and there needs to be another person that, if they're within a six-month probationary period, need to be trained in that six-month period of time.
There were still some stakeholders that didn't feel that was sufficient. There was objections. It went over to our legislature. On the last day of the session where the rule would have went into effect, there was a piece of legislation sponsored regarding this. It went to a committee. It did not come out of committee. The crossover date has come and gone. It is still over at the legislature, but the feeling is that when the legislative session ends, the rule will go into effect. So this section right now, the 605, is not into effect, but the expectation is that it will be in effect at the end of the legislative session. The session is supposed to end the first of July, but the budget is always the thing that keeps the session going, so we don't have any indication that the session will actually end July 1st right now.
The other components under the Fall Protection is a pre-climb planning and inspections, which includes all the components of the Fall Protection system. It gives several options for Fall Protection Systems, including positioning devices, ladder safety systems, personal fall arrest systems, and so within our standard we built in several options to the employer, but they all lead to 100 percent Fall Protection. It's not acceptable to have just one lanyard. You would need to have two lanyards to ensure that you were tied in at all times.
One of the issues we had in the recent fatality was the employees were equipped with only one lanyard, so there was no way that they would have been able to have 100 percent Fall Protection as they were moving around the structure with the system they had in place. There were ways to do it.
The Fall Protection section does have a component regarding a Fall Protection Plan. This was put into the standard because it was brought to our attention that there may be isolated incidences where Fall Protection is not feasible. We did put a component into our standard, but a lot of other things have to take place before an employer is able to go this route. And it's only applicable until the employer can establish Fall Protection and then the rest of the standard kicks in. And there needs to be no other feasible way to do it, including doing the work from a lift or some other mechanism. In talking to those in the industry, there's really only a few situations where this may be applicable.
I talked about the issue with emergency rescue. And like I said, this was a contentious issue. It probably garnered the most comments of any other section in the standard, and it is still an issue. And like I said, hopefully we'll have our standard out on that Fall Protection section soon.
Our position on that was, again, that we have a lot of these towers going up in remote locations. We did have an incident in North Carolina where an individual got in trouble up in the tower. There was another person there. They were not trained in high angle rescue. When they reached the elevation, the person still was conscious. By the time rescue personnel got out there and got up to the person, he had passed away, and so we believe there certainly is a need to make sure that if you send somebody, you have the ability to get them down.
There's also a section dealing with first aid, and it also has a provision that two employees must be first aid CPR trained, for the same reasons. If you only have one person trained, and that person happened to the person that was in trouble, they may have difficulty getting first aid themselves.
There is a Non-Ionizing Radiation component. This is the only section that has not either been approved by the legislature, and it will not go to this session. As I said earlier, it did get passed by Rules Review Commission, but there was a delay, and the delay didn't have to do with the standard. The standard mirrors those requirements that are already in existence with the FCC. The question came up as to whether or not OSHA would have jurisdiction in this area, because the FCC has requirements in this area.
We worked with the FCC on the standard, and there was actually some people with the FCC and the stakeholder workgroups, but we did not get a response, a written response, which was requested from the Rules Review Commission in time to get that standard passed to go to this legislative session, so that's why it's delayed until next legislative session. It did get passed by the Rules Review Commission, but it will get forwarded to the legislative session. But the issue had to do with jurisdiction, and not necessarily what was in our standard.
The reason why this section was felt was needed was we had a lot of comments from stakeholders saying the number one hazard was fall hazards. The number two hazard had to do with radiation and microwaves climbing up towers, people being exposed. And not only to the tower that they're on, but sometimes you'll go on a rooftop and you'll be working on one tower, and there's other towers on that rooftop that aren't shut down, and people were being exposed to conditions that they may not necessarily know they were being exposed to.
Hoist and Gin-Poles, 7FO606. This was the latest section that was passed. This did go over to the legislature. It did get passed over at the legislature because there was no additional comments made within the 30-day period. And it basically just indicates that the hoist must meet the 1910.1926 requirements. There are several additional requirements based on current ANSI standards that we felt were necessary to include. Gin-Poles themselves have specific requirements. For certain types of rigging, you use wire ropes, inspections. We are anticipating and we are adopting the current OSHA CPLs having to do with allowing gin-poles and hoists for moving personnel as long as the requirements were met that are in the CPL that's out there. We're rewriting the CPL in North Carolina because we have a standard that deals with communication towers. We felt that we needed to make some changes to that CPL, but the major components of that CPL are going to remain intact, and we will allow people to use hoists and gin-poles, provided that they use the safety precautions that are outlined in the CPL.
The employer training component Section 609 deals with trainer competency, written work procedures, hazardous material training, fall protection training, and it outlines what areas that the fault protection training need to include, having to do with the erection, doing maintenance activities, dismantling, installation and fall protection standards.
I don't think I mentioned this earlier, but there is a provision in our standard that does not require employers to retrofit towers with fall protection devices. There are a lot of towers out there. Any towers going forward need to have provisions for fall protection, but we did not put a provision in that would require owners or employers to retrofit. And one of the reasons is, many times the people that are working on these towers are not the people that own the towers, and there's some difficulties in requiring somebody to retrofit something that they don't own.
There's also requirements for hoist operator training. Before somebody can operate a hoist, RF training, retraining, and training records. That's the standard in a nutshell, and I know I kind of went through this quickly, but we are happy, we are pleased that we have the nation's first communication tower standard. We felt that there was a need in North Carolina. We've had a lot of interest across the country. There are other states, I think, that are considering doing something.
I know Federal OSHA has been watching closely the standard, and seeing whether or not they're going to do something in the future. And that's up to OSHA to decide whether they're going to do something in the future. Last week we had a training session for all of our staff members. We had classroom training, as well as on-site training where we brought them out to some sites to get them familiar with the terminology. Many of our people had not been on tower sites. We have a handful of people that are probably familiar with it, so we wanted to make sure that our staff knew what they were looking at, understood the industry. We've had some people within the industry work with us, and it's been extremely helpful because I think we all want the same thing. We want to make sure that people that are working in this industry have a safe workplace. And we're also doing some outreach efforts, and will continue to do so, because we think it's very important to provide the training out there for employers and employees, to make sure they're aware of what the components of the standard are.
It's one thing to have a standard in place. It's another thing to make sure people are following that standard, and so we're going to try to make as many efforts as we can to get the outreach and education out there for employers and employees in our state. And I'll try to answer any questions you might have.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Before I recognize people for questions, I'd just like to give personal kudos to Kevin, not only for his work with North Carolina OSHA, but with this workgroup here, in drawing attention- there's probably just a handful of people in this room, as Kevin said, when this issue first came to light, they were sheer horror stories, I mean, the types of hoisting they were doing. And I know in a couple of these instances it was just ropes and pulleys pulling people up hundreds of feet with no fall protection or backup systems whatsoever. So again, as Kevin said, the remote locations, this work gets done very quickly. It's hard for even Fed OSHA to look at trying to have inspectors out for every one of these sites. There's not enough people, there's not enough time, but Kevin - I mean, your work on this has been -- you've been a pathfinder on this thing, and you're to be congratulated for tackling a really tough issue. Greg, you had your hand up. Scott.
MR. STRUDWICK: Well, I remember my first meeting here where this was an issue that had come to light, and I think I remember Jim Ahern talking about the type of contractor that erected towers. And, of course, everybody has to start somewhere, but that's only three years ago. And to see this kind of product come in three years period is pretty amazing. Does this mirror also the 10-hour program that was developed through the agency, and presented - I think it was presented in Dallas one time, because I was there amongst the group and never saw the 10-hour program, so the 10-hour program - does this pretty much track the --
MR. BEAUREGARD: Many of the components in our standard are similar. The 10-hour training was done in conjunction with the National Association of Tower Erectors, and that's a group that OSHA has been working with for a long time. They have a partnership or an alliance - I get those two mixed up sometimes - but they've done a lot of work in that area. And as a result of the work in that area, they put together a 10-hour course, and I believe they also put together a 30-hour course for the industry.
Now the course does not go over the North Carolina standard, but many of the components that are in the standard are issues that are covered in the course. The National Association of Tower Erectors is one of the entities that work with us very heavily, and we're involved in stakeholder meetings. And the information that they provided and the insight they provided to the industry was invaluable.
I know that going through this process, really the key was the input that we got from the industry itself. It made it so much easier for us to be able to get into the standard or the rule-making process by getting that input up front.
MR. STRUDWICK: The other observation was that because of my awareness of the process and in watching your involvement, and seeing this come to fruition, is that my questions back to the Directorate, is this something that could be looked at in the same vein that the MUTCD adoption for Subpart G was when the Federal OSHA folks decide, or if they decide to incorporate a tower standard at a future date?
MR. SWANSON: MUTCD, you mean the direct final vehicle?
MR. STRUDWICK: Yes.
MR. SWANSON: Yes. No, this would not be.
MR. STRUDWICK: Oh, okay.
MR. SWANSON: But we have been tracking North Carolina, participating in the workgroups in North Carolina out of my office, and the work that North Carolina has done and the ground they've broken is certainly going to be a useful prototype for anything that Federal OSHA decides to do in the future.
MR. STRUDWICK: Well, that was kind of my point, is that we appreciate the facts that you guys have taken the initiative to save all of us taxpayer groups a ton of money, and the fact that the ground has been broken, it makes a little easier to focus and to come up with a program that would obviously work on a national basis.
MR. BEAUREGARD: We had a lot of input from not only North Carolina companies, but a lot of the companies that participate in the stakeholder workgroups are national companies. They do work throughout the country, and we tried not to -- although this was a North Carolina standard, because that's all we have jurisdiction to, we tried to keep in mind the operations, wherever they would be going on, when we put together the standard.
And I would like to also thank OSHA. OSHA has been a very integral part in our workgroups. As a matter of fact, they had a person that participated in our training last week who is very knowledgeable in the industry. He worked in the industry previously, so it's really helpful to do training, and train those from people that have experience and knowledge in the industry, because we want our people to understand what they're looking at when they go out there and look at it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Stephen.
MR. WILSHIRE: Steve Wilshire with Turner. Kevin, great job. I really enjoyed learning a lot more about something that I will never be a part of as far as climbing. That will not be my retirement party. But my question when I go through this, is that - did you give thought to mandating communications as far as getting that phone call out to 911? I mean, you've mentioned remote locations many times. A guy falls, I'm going to jump in my truck and go get someone, or did you all think about the --
MR. BEAUREGARD: Yeah, we actually -- there was a lot of discussion on that. If you look at the standard, there's actually two options for an employer on the CPR/first aid rescue side. There's options that an employer makes arrangements with a rescue service in the area. There's certain things they have to check to make sure they have the capability and equipment, et cetera, and they make that up front. There's a requirement that they have to make those arrangements up front, and they have that option which alleviates the option of actually having their on-site personnel training in high angle rescue and other things. But because -- I mean, we were hearing this directly from the industry that there are many first responders that are not equipped to be able to carry out those rescue operations.
If you get around the larger municipalities and cities, many of them do have the capability to do high angle rescue. But as you get into more rural areas, they may lack the equipment or the training to do that. We're seeing more and more of the training taking place, and I think in the future you're going to see a lot more of those abilities out there. But it certainly is something that we took a good look at when we were going through the standards.
MR. WILSHIRE: So you feel like the two-person rule will probably slide through and be adopted?
MR. BEAUREGARD: You never know what's going to happen. We're just waiting for the end of the legislative session.
MR. WILSHIRE: Thanks.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Kevin, again, thanks for all the good work you've done. It's been incredible. I had one suggestion for you, and one question. The suggestion was, on the non-ionizing radiation side, I don't know if you've been in touch with Bob Curtis at the OSHA Salt Lake siliac, because this guy, he knows a lot about that. He's the only person I know who's ever climbed the communication towers on top of the Sears building, which must be a scary situation. And second of all, I was wondering in terms of actually enforcing the standard, is there any kind of requirement that you can tap into or use in terms of permitting people that actually -- you know, the permit system and getting information about where these are going up and when, or how are you doing that?
MR. BEAUREGARD: Yes. We're looking at a lot of different things right now. And certainly, one of the things we're looking at is local building permits. North Carolina has a hundred counties, and because we have a hundred counties, there could be a hundred different ways of doing things, there could be a hundred different contacts. But we have a lot of associations and relationships with the larger municipalities, as well as some of the municipality groups that do building permits, et cetera.
One of the issues with the permitting is that a lot of times the permits are issued pretty far in advance, and they don't really have a date where construction is going to start, and construction is going to stop. And some of these towers, particularly if you're looking at a 200-foot tower, it can go up in a few days, from the time they get on-site until the time they're finished, and they go up really quickly. And so even though there's sources out there to get certain information, really the best way to do it is once you get that information, then you've got to follow-up on it, and have people periodically look. And one of the other issues is, again, if you drive down the major corridors and the major roads, you'll see these towers right alongside the road. A lot of the towers that are going up now are in areas that you don't see unless you take some back roads, because no matter where you go, everybody wants their cell phone to work, or their pager to work, or something, so you're seeing more and more towers out in areas that doesn't have a lot of high traffic.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Linwood.
MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm from North Carolina, and I'm real proud of that. I want to thank Kevin and North Carolina OSHA also for their endeavors for taking the lead in this, and also for their willingness to share with the rest of the states and nationally in the country their endeavors. And I don't know what the proper protocol is, but I'd like to see the chairman or someone on behalf of this committee write a letter to North Carolina thanking them for their efforts in this communication statute.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Without objection from the rest of the committee, we could do that. Dan.
MR. MURPHY: Dan Murphy. Kevin, I just have one question. Now that you've been through all this work, and we have figured out ways to protect these individuals that are building the towers and maintaining the towers, are we seeing where the manufacturers of the equipment are building-in safety and health equipment for climbing?
MR. BEAUREGARD: I'm by no means a tower industry expert. From talking to the people that are in the industry, I think it's a mixture right now. I think some of the equipment manufacturers or the component manufacturers are doing that. I certainly know now during the erection stage, previously when they erected a lot of these towers, the fault protection system or ladder safety climbing device or something may not have been put on there. A lot of times now it's being put on as the sections of the tower are being put up. And if the permanent one -- a lot of times the permanent one is not put on until the top of the tower is on, but a lot of times there's temporary ones being put on. They generally do these in components. They use a gin-pole, and in talking to those in the industry also, though, I think there has been a reluctance in the past, and I can't tell you if that continues, to put tile points on some of these, particularly if it's going to add weight to the tower, because in the industry it's my understanding that the more weight you put on a tower for other components, the less weight you can put on the tower to hang an antenna and other things, so I'm not sure where that is from the manufacturers, but I do know in the past it's been pointed out to me that there's been reluctance to put tile points sometimes in the past. But I am fairly assured that most towers you can tile safely to right now. There are available systems that can do it safely.
MR. MURPHY: Thanks, Kevin.
MR. MURPHY: Tom Broderick.
MR. BRODERICK: Kevin, we know that oftentimes the companies that are doing this work are small companies and family-owned. And I think you indicated that the accident on the 2,000-foot tower was particularly tragic. And if you could, to put an exclamation point on this topic for our group, explain briefly how exactly this accident happened. I think it would help us all share that sense of urgency in moving towards having --
MR. BEAUREGARD: In the 1999 accident, and granted, it's been a while since I looked at all the details, but it was a smaller company. That wasn't necessarily a reason why the accident occurred, but it was a company that was contracted to paint the tower. They did not have the proper equipment. They were using a capstan hoist. You saw a picture of it there at the base of the ladder. It's not a hoist that's designed to lift personnel, first of all. It's not approved to lift personnel.
They were utilizing that in conjunction with rope, and you go to 2,000 feet, that's a -- people get tired. One of the reasons that companies or employers want to use the hoisting mechanisms to raise personnel is if you climb 2,000 feet, by the time you get to the 2,000-foot level, you're going to be too tired to do any work, never mind if you have to go up and down. So they want to be able to raise personnel, and there are -- the CPL the Federal OSHA has that we have adopted do have provisions for allowing people on hoists that are approved for lifting personnel, and following certain protocol to go ahead and do that. This hoist was never designed to do that. But what they did was, every 70 feet in the rope, they had a little loop that was a foothold loop, and they were actually raising three people at one time up on the hoist. And it was a father, his son, I think it was a nephew, and then the mother and wife was on the ground. She was actually on the rope itself, and they were raising the personnel. It got caught up and hung up on a component on the tower, and when the rope let go, the only thing keeping the people up in the air was the mother and wife on the ground. And she couldn't hold the load, which you wouldn't be able to hold three people and the materials on there, and they fell. And that's in a nutshell what happened, but there are small companies -- many of the erecting companies that are in the business are small companies. And many of them run very safe operations, and I don't want to give the impression that just because you're a small company, you can't have a safe operation.
I think what has really proliferated and it kind of goes in cycles, is people that get into the business because it really does not take a lot of equipment. To do it right, it takes some equipment; to get in there and actually bid on a job, and perhaps not do it the right way doesn't take a lot of equipment. And those are the individuals that we want to reach with our standard. And again, it's going to come down to, I think someone mentioned before, targeting, getting out there and making sure we have a presence, and that's what we're trying to do.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Michael.
MR. HAYSLIP: Thank you. Mike Hayslip. Kevin, briefly, it seems to me this could be classified almost as an ultra-hazardous activity just by the nature of what it is. Is there any thought with regards to state licensure, or certification of these individuals; that way you can track who they are, or where they are. Is that --
MR. BEAUREGARD: I won't say there's never been any thought, but as far as the North Carolina Department of Labor, we don't ever perceive that, so we don't have any activity going on in that area.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else? Great presentation, great work, Kevin. We're proud of you. Thanks.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Without formal resolution, the Chair would like to suggest foregoing this next break, getting done with these next couple of agenda items, getting out of here a little bit earlier. Five minutes? Okay. Let's take a five-minute break.
(Whereupon, the proceedings in the above-entitled matter went off the record at 2:21:36 p.m. and went back on the record at 2:34:50 p.m.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Before we get to the workgroups, I want to review this current list, and dismiss some committees, a couple of committees. I've been told that Doug Kalinowski is leaving us. Is that true, sir?
MR. KALINOWSKI: It looks like it, yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: You'll be leaving? Well, we want to thank you for your participation on the committee. We hope this is upward mobility. Thanks for coming, and we wish you the best in the future. Thanks for your participation.
MR. KALINOWSKI: And Bruce knows who my expected replacement is; younger, smarter, taller, better looking, and knows more about --
PARTICIPANT: And easier to get along with. (Laughter.)
Mr. KRUL: You know you can't buy our votes like that. (Laughter.) Okay. I'd like to do two things administratively here. One is, the Chromium Group, Hex-Chrome, as you know and heard today under the court order to be promulgated by January, 2006, so a motion would be in order to dismiss the Chromium Workgroup with thanks to Bill Rhoten and all the people that worked with him for a job well done. Motion. Seconded? Motion by Frank, seconded by Mike Thibodeaux. All that in favor signify by -- oh, I'm sorry, on the question? All those in favor, signify by the sign aye. Any nays or abstentions? The ayes have it and so ordered.
(Vote taken - unanimously passes.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Secondly, Homeland Security. I've also been told that that is a group that no longer needs to meet, and has basically nothing else to contribute, so along the same lines, a motion would be in order to dismiss that group of Frank Migliaccio, Bill Rhoten, Greg Strudwick, Mike Thibodeaux, and Tom Broderick.
MR. KAVICKY: I make the motion.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom Kavicky made it, second by Greg Strudwick. On the question? All those in favor signify by the sign aye. Any opposition or abstentions? The ayes have it, and so ordered.
(Vote taken - unanimously passes.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Do we need to form a new workgroup?
MR. SWANSON: Yes, we do, sir. Thank you. All I need to do is ask that we form a new workgroup. You guys decide whether you want to do it or not. But OSHA has in front of it - it's had murmurings for the last several years, and the issue is not going away and growing larger - there are those contractors, those employers in the construction community that feel that our focus inspection policy is not working precisely as it was intended to work, and in fielding suggestions as to how we could best research that, my suggestion, which was accepted by OSHA, was that I ask this committee to set up a workgroup, and then the workgroup deal with the issue exactly the way that you have dealt with so many so successfully in the past. And that is, to invite the industry to come in and deal with the workgroup, and give whatever testimony they wish to give, and you guys gather information for us, and share with us when you're done. And that would be appreciated, and I am asking on behalf of the agency that ACCSH set up such a group.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Without objection from the committee, volunteers? Frank Migliaccio, Stephen Wilshire, Greg Strudwick.
MR. WILSHIRE: Question.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: On the question?
MR. WILSHIRE: Yeah, I had a question. I'm wondering if this could be a broader charge, not just look at focused inspections but just generally look at targeting of enforcement in construction, in general.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Just focused, for now. All right. Kevin, Tom, Mike. Ad hoc committee.
MR. WILSHIRE: My Chairman, I have a question.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Sure.
MR. WILSHIRE: Steve Wilshire. Bruce, just a general comment. What are you hearing from a negative, because I've been championing this very positive move the last 10 years, and what kind of negative comments are you hearing, in general.
MR. SWANSON: Maybe I should be the first witness for your workgroup when next it meets. No, what I have heard from many contractors is they don't believe that the compliance officers that they interface with have any intention of offering them a focused inspection. They arrive at the site with the intent of making it a wall-to-wall inspection, and they will spend two days on a construction site, and get two non-serious violations, which seems to them on its face to be inconsistent with the existence of a focused policy. That's all hearsay to me. I have no first-hand --
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mike.
MR. THIBODEAUX: Bob, I would volunteer.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. I had you down.
MR. THIBODEAUX: Oh.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I thought I saw those hands go up in a row down there, so I saw the committee, the ad hoc committee here. First two volunteers agree to be co-chairs, Steve and Frank? Good? Okay. Doug, you were on the noise committee, and I noticed we got Scott, Mike Hayslip, and there is no management representative on the noise committee listed.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I was going to say, at the meeting we had on Tuesday, we had five ACCSH reps, including Greg, and Dan, and Tom, and Tom Kavicky, so I don't know if those other four are coming, expressed an interest and may be willing to consider --
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We have a couple of exceptions. What we'd like to do as a rule for workgroups, for when the final or any recommendations come out of a committee, is we try to have as much balanced labor management participation, especially in the chair/co-chair. It doesn't mean we can't have public sector member or we can't have somebody else in there, but an appearance, at least, of balance, we like to have a management representative and a labor representative acting as co-chairs. Anyone else who wants to be on those workgroups, can be. So I guess my question is, Greg, would you agree to be the co-chair?
MR. STRUDWICK: I think it would be effective, because we're co-chairs in silica, it's not shown but we are, and it allows us time to visit --
CHAIRMAN KRUL: You are now shown as the co-chair.
MR. STRUDWICK: I do have a comment, though.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead.
MR. STRUDWICK: And it's something that was generated in today's presentations, is there was a comment made that they were looking at emergency response and preparedness type of a rule, and when that starts to really become an issue, I think there could be a workgroup in that vein versus the Homeland Security-type situation.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And I defer to the two representatives from the CPWR. Am I not correct in saying that the CPWR is already heavily involved in the whole disaster preparedness emergency response? Chris Traihan. Am I correct in assuming that --
PARTICIPANT: You are correct.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes. Okay. So, I mean, for the purposes of reinventing the wheel, I mean, the Center could be of immense help. Did I hit you with a double negative?
PARTICIPANT: That's what she thought.
PARTICIPANT: I kept saying he's talking to you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So my point is, is that as we do, when we bring people in for assistance and professional advice, the Center could be of immense help in disaster preparedness.
MR. STRUDWICK: No, and I agree. I'm just saying that there could be a workgroup needed in the effort to take this forward. That's what I understood in the presentation in the future.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: For suggestions for part of their regulatory agenda?
MR. STRUDWICK: Right.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Would there be volunteers willing to --
MR. STRUDWICK: No, you misunderstand me, Mr. Chair. Just when it becomes necessary. I just wanted to voice my opinion at this point in time.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. I'm sorry. I misunderstood. I thought you were looking to --
MR. STRUDWICK: No, I'm not looking to create another workgroup. I think we've got as many as we need. This is not something that is going to happen in --
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Right away. Yeah.
MR. RHOTEN: Mr. Chair.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, Bill.
MR. RHOTEN: First, I apologize for coming back in two minutes late. I assume that you disbanded that hex --
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We wanted to get you a plaque, but you got voted down by the committee.
MR. RHOTEN: Oh.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Your committee has been disbanded with thanks.
MR. RHOTEN: Thank you. And the other thing I was going to suggest is that on this Homeland Security, we've been working with the Center with our trainers, and there's been a lot of effort that's gone into it. At some point in the future, I'd suggest that we ask Chris or somebody from the Center maybe to come over and show us that whole program.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Sure. That'd be good.
MR. RHOTEN: Because it really is a great program, and we've got qualified trainers all over the country. We've got the kits that are all set to go.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I think going along with Greg's suggestion, we could have them do a dual role, do the disaster prep emergency response, and Homeland Security. Tom Broderick.
MR. BRODERICK: Just to amplify that; also, Hank didn't bring it up today, but all of the education centers, all 19 of them, are now ramped up to offer the 7600 Course, which is a 16-hour disaster site worker course, and the 5600 Course, which is the train the trainer for disaster site workers.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. At some point in the future, I think that would be a good agenda item for this committee.
Okay. Let's go on with the workgroup reports, and we're going to go with Trenching first. And, Greg Strudwick, I understand you're going to give that report.
MR. STRUDWICK: I'll give a portion of the report, Greg Strudwick, because I'm the ditch digger, and so it kind of goes along with what happens on a daily basis with me, but we had a very well attended meeting on Tuesday, the 21st. And if anyone wants a copy of the roster, I have one here. But there are 18 names on this roster, and of the 18 names on the roster, most of these folks have been involved with intense scrutiny and offering personal time for the last two and a half years to come up with a product that we're -- it's ongoing. And some of those products I have from our meeting with me, include different types of vendor's quick cards. They include NIOSH information on a disk. This is not the first one. This is actually the second one. It includes the second quick card, that initially we printed 100,000. This is actually the second of the group after we approved and found some problems with the first one prior to the first 100,000, 100,000 of these went out, 100,000 more are on the way. And believe me, that's just a drop in the bucket of what we're going to actually need, or what's being requested.
We had a lot of participation. We went through our agenda items or action items that we established in Chicago, and there were 18 items. And every one of those items were addressed, with the exception of maybe a couple that were still up in the air that we will get to. But I have a copy of the original 18 action items that on behalf of one of my cohorts to my right requested that we put together, and ultimately that worked very effectively in keeping the committee focused and on track. And of those, we developed another 10 action items that will either follow-up or create new avenues of how we can best get the message out and keep the awareness level at a heightened elevation so that we make improvements in Excavation Safety and Trenching. So if you don't have your -- and this is another item that we received this week, is the 2004 Trenching and Excavation Fatality-Related Analysis.
Now I will say this, you'll get a copy, more than likely. There's going to be a presentation, I think, tomorrow on the initiative and where we are from that standpoint, so you'll get one of these. Everyone will have access to this, but it hasn't changed an awful lot from the other. All right. So it pretty much gave everybody the feeling in our workgroup meeting that we're just a short way into this process, and so as we go through the process, we are starting to recognize some of the real beneficial tools that we have access to, and some of those that maybe we might -- we shouldn't pursue that aren't as effective. So my good friend, Tom Broderick, is gathering information like this, and we are disseminating it as we go through. And he has a presentation for you now on his efforts, which is just one of the action items that we put together. Scott was involved in some of those action items. There are people in the audience, Ed Chico, George Kennedy, all had items that they looked at. Jack Pettijohn that's not here, Mike Hayslip was supposed to give us some kind of a sticker design. I haven't seen that one yet, but he's assured me that it's coming.
But let me tell you what, as a form of making sure that there's accountability, that there's participation, that it is there for all of you to review, and that we're going to take the best of those suggestions and move forward. And out of those suggestions, hopefully make really good recommendations that OSHA can use to implement their activities in the field, whether that is assistance, or whether that is compliance. So go ahead, Tom.
MR. BRODERICK: Okay. The workgroup decided that there's an awful lot of information out there from various sources, the private sector, as well as the public sector, and we thought that it would be a good idea to try to have a clearinghouse that would be accessible hopefully from the OSHA website at some point, but the logistics were such that it was most expedient to go ahead and get all of the information that we could gather on a website so that when the approvals come forth, and we can have a link from the OSHA website to this Excavation information page, that the infrastructure will already be in place. So the organization for which I work, the Construction Safety Council, set about to provide that basket, if you will, for putting Trenching Safety-Related information. And I guess this is also a plug for everyone on the committee, and everyone that's here to feel free to forward to my organization at buildsafe.org, documents or videos, or any information that you feel would be relevant and useful for the construction industry that relates to Trenching. And so I'm far from a computer whiz, but I'm just going to try to navigate here a little bit and show you some of the things that we have put up so far.
MR. BRODERICK: Okay. Well, that was a 30-second public service announcement that people can grab and make copies of, and it may be useful for toolbox talks. We have also been successful in the Chicago area working with Comcast and all of the cable companies that Comcast owns, and they own a bunch of cable companies, in having them plug this in free-of-charge in stations ranging from the Food Channel, to the major channels, MSNBC, so it's gotten a great deal of play, and you're welcome to offer that up to your local cable channel. And all of the cable companies are required to have public access channels, and we found that public access channels are very amenable to taking short spots and plugging them into their programming where they can use time-fillers. And then we have a glossary of terms for the excavation competent person. Okay. Common Ground Alliance Best Practices, and just a plethora of things.
ENR did an issue that talked about rescues and some of you may remember that not too long ago, their cover story showed the arm of a person who had been buried in a trench. We have links to the OSHA website, where you could go directly from here to the different parts of OSHA's website that have trenching-related information.
We've gathered up all of the letters of interpretation that relate to excavation, and there are links to those letters of interpretation. We have directives. Also somewhere, I think, buried in here is the NIOSH interactive program that we all got in our packages on CD. And as soon as the three Harwood excavation programs are completed that are going to be web-based or computer-based, as soon as they're completed, we'll be making those available through this site, as well. And I believe that OSHA within the next month is going to have a link from the OSHA home page that will go directly to this part of our website. Without having to go to buildsafe.org, you'll be able to get right into the section that deals exclusively with trenching, so that's just kind of an overview of the concept that we had of making it easier for people to find trenching-related stuff, whether it's just short bits of things that could be used for toolbox talks, to complete training programs.
And again, I implore you, if you have something or you know of something that would be helpful to add to this basket of tools, get it to us and we will literally have it up on this website the same day.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Tom. Scott.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Let me just continue our report. I wanted to mention, I did pass out some draft minutes from our meeting on Tuesday, and I noticed there are some minor corrections that need to be made. I refer to my esteemed colleague across the aisle as Dam Murphy, which probably isn't -- I need to correct that and a bunch of other small typos. But what I intend to do is to correct that tonight, and get a final version to OSHA tomorrow so we can put that in the record.
We also, Greg and Matt Gillen, and Barbara Blog and I did our workshop at the Industrial Hygiene Conference last month in Anaheim, which was very well received. Two hundred people attended, we presented some statistics from OSHA, and talked about some of the recommendations from the workgroup. And there's a number of other issues.
One of the recommendations we made last fall was that we need to improve targeting and enforcement of the Trenching standards. And one pilot project that we're getting going now is, we developed this trench safety card which has pictures of violations on it. And on the back it says basically, if you see this on your job site, immediately get it corrected. If you see it on another job site, here is the phone number of the local area office, and please call them immediately and have them come out. So we're intended to distribute these to some of our folks in the field. We're going to do a pilot project in one area office, and then have them tally the results of our inspections compared with the results of regular program inspections and complaint inspections, and see if this is a better means of targeting and finding those job sites that are really difficult to find, that are very unsafe. So I'll pass this around and you can look at this, but this is called our Photo Enforcement Safety Tip Sheet, and we're doing three of these. This one is on trenching. We're also doing ones on scaffolding and fall protection, so I'm going to give them out.
As I told the OSHA guys, I said you guys have 2,000 inspectors nationwide. We have thousands of members all over the country, maybe we could help you find the really dangerous sites. I'll pass that around.
I don't know if anybody had a chance to look at the draft minutes that were passed out, or if you had any questions about what we did.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any questions for the trenching workgroup? You guys are up again on noise.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay. On the noise workgroup, we had a meeting on Tuesday. We did pass out some draft minutes again, which I'm going to make some minor corrections to and submit the final version tomorrow. We had a good turnout from a lot of people in the industry, and the first thing I did was I passed out handouts. Now most of you, I think, got an email from me that had all the different articles that I had passed out. I also made copies and put them on a CD-ROM, so if anybody wants a CD-ROM, I'll pass these out. So this is just sort of the handouts that we gave out at the meeting, background materials on noise. There's been a lot of new scientific articles published in the last two or three years, and if you didn't get a copy of it, just call me or send me an email and I'll send you a copy. A lot of articles showing very high exposures for construction workers, showing a lot of hearing loss among construction workers, and also a lot of information published on effective controls for noise in construction.
Then we had Walter Jones, who works for me, review the draft ANSI standard, the A1046, which was voted on a few months ago, and we're now making final revisions to that. I'm the chair of that committee, and probably in July at our next meeting, we'll finalize that, and we'll see where -- hopefully that'll be something that will be useful to this committee and to OSHA. And we'll pass along the final version once it's finished. And I think in developing the ANSI standard, we've dealt with a lot of the same issues that OSHA is confronting on this particular standard that they're hopefully going to draft.
We did have somebody here from the Solicitor's Office who was very kind enough to sort of give us some information about what's going on with the standard since we didn't have anybody here from Standards and Guidance. And then we did talk about several specific issues; one of them was audiometry, the question of how do you get hearing tests to the people in rural areas all over the country. And Mark Stevenson from NIOSH was here, and Chuck Cardowse. They came from Cincinnati for this meeting, and Mark assured us that there's a lot of people out there who are ready and willing to step up to the plate to provide hearing tests to construction companies where and when they're needed. There's 27,000 licensed audiologists around the country right now, and it's easy to find them through the web.
We talked quite a bit about the need for more data on exposure, specifically in residential construction. And there has been some work done on that by the National Association of Homebuilders, doing quite a bit of data collection on that, and we discussed that. We talked about the need for more information on controls, and we do have a Best Practice Guide on controls for noise on our website, Health and Safety website for laborers.
We talked about some of the new hearing protectors on the market. Particularly, there's two kinds that are very useful in construction. One is an earmuff that has a feature -- has a button on it called "Push To Talk?, and if someone comes up and you're talking to them, you just push the button and you could hear a lot better temporarily, so it's easier. You don't have to take your earmuffs off. And there's new earplugs that are now being marketed that were developed by the Army called "Combat Arms Earplugs?, and they have two sides. One side is for continuous noise, the other side is for impact noise, so you can turn it around. If you're going to be using a nail gun or something like that, it's much better to use that. Plus a lot of the new training materials available talked about different options for record keeping, for people to keep their hearing test records so they can refer to them. We also discussed some stuff about Worker's Comp and how we deal with those issues.
And lastly, we did have an action item which was, we did a quick check and saw there really wasn't a lot of material from OSHA on noise and hearing loss, and noise control in construction, so we offered to start drafting a quick card on noise and hearing loss prevention in construction. So that was our report, and then we included a list of the references that we gave out. I also included a two-page summary of the draft ANSI standard, and also at the end I included a copy of the presentation that Charles Jeffers made to our National Conference on Hearing Loss Prevention five years ago. Does anybody else who was at the meeting want to add anything to that?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Co-Chair?
MR. STRUDWICK: Nothing other than the fact that a lot of our conversation was precluded by one thing that we're all familiar with, and that is noise can come from anywhere. And one comment that I made to Scott while we were talking about it, is that I've had an occasion to be in the car with my daughters and been able to hear better than they were hearing with their earphones on, so there is some ambient noise problems that are experienced prior to an employer hiring someone. And so that if they're going to be in a situation where they need to be monitored as far as noise is concerned, they need to be tested when they go to work. And that way we could know if the damage was prior to, or after-the-fact. And that would protect the employer from somebody filing a claim that was based on the last rock concert that they attended.
And then the other thing is that I don't know how many of you in here have suffered ear or noise damage, but I can honestly tell you that I'm 54-years old and have suffered that. And it's very difficult in a crowded room to listen or talk to somebody without seeing their lips. And if they turn their head, I'm pretty much in the dark. The right is worse than the left, but both ears are affected, and tinitis is nothing fun to live with, so it's a very important workgroup, it's a very important standard to get out. And hopefully at some point in my life, they'll figure out a way to turn the noise down, but it's there, so I appreciate your efforts. I appreciate the fact that we're all there, and I think we can come up with a great recommendation based on everybody's effort.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Greg. Anyone else? Then we'll proceed to silica.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay. On the silica workgroup, again we had a very good attendance, a lot of participation. We did hand out a lot of articles that have been recently published in the last few years on silica, and I'll pass out copies of these, as well, if people have those. But a number of recent studies have been published in the literature, some very interesting stuff. In particular we were looking at - there's a new article showing silicosis among construction workers that actually gave chest x-rays to 1,300 construction workers, and also did CT scans, and you could actually see even more. They found significant amounts of silicosis.
Also, there have been a number of studies looking at controls for silica showing that a lot of these simple controls like wet methods, local exhaust can reduce exposures by about 90 percent, so we did that. We did talk a little bit about Table One on the silica draft standard that came out two years ago. The draft standard actually included a table that listed a number of high exposure operations or tasks, controls that need to be required for those, and what respirators are required, so we were asked by OSHA to look at that table. And we reviewed it, and we also came up with a number of tasks that aren't on that table that we believe are very high exposure tasks, and we made a commitment to sort of look and do some digging on exposure, what kind of exposure information we have, as to whether that table really is the best recommendations or not.
We talked about two areas where people felt there were outstanding issues; one of them was regulated areas, how do we develop regulated areas for silica in construction. It's not an easy issue, but we all recognize that there are bystander exposure problems. Someone is sandblasting, and everybody else in the area gets exposure. And then we also talked about analytical methods, are there analytical methods that can be used to measure down to those levels, and we sort of left that in NIOSH's ballpark, since they're the experts on that. And we also discussed issues like controls, like can't use wet methods in certain areas of the country during the winter, and what kinds of solutions might be available for that.
Lastly, we talked about how several years ago, I think it was probably eight years ago now, OSHA, NIOSH, EMSA did a joint effort on outreach to really increase public awareness that it's not just dust, and it seems like there hasn't been as much outreach or emphasis on this in the last couple of years. And we decided we should encourage OSHA to really do a renewed effort in this arena. And also, we're hoping that OSHA will keep on track with getting the draft silica standard out next spring. And so I pass that out, I included the list of references that we gave out, as well, with our notes. So I intend to correct these minutes tonight with all the different typos and stuff that we have in here, and a couple of other corrections I got from people that I gave it to this morning, and then submit these notes to the record tomorrow before our meetings.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Are there any questions for the silica workgroup? Let the Chair then ask, I was going to collectively ask for a motion. Would you rather do that tomorrow after the corrected and amended minutes come in, for acceptance into the record? Okay. Let's do it that way. Okay. Thank you to the workgroup for all of that. I know you guys spent some time here the last two days. Thank you for doing that.
We are at the public comment period. I know I have at least one public comment period. Pam, if you would come up to the microphone, please. Identify yourself and who you're with for the record, please.
MS. SUSI: My name is Pam Susi. I'm with the Center to Protect Worker's Rights, which is the research arm of the Building and Construction Trades Department, and I'm here to just speak briefly about the lead rule look-back. And there's written comments, just a one-page statement that I'm going to read on behalf of the Building Trades, but before that, I was going to give a personal look-back on the lead standard because listening to the speaker talk this morning, I was reminded, I came to work in Washington with the Occupational Health Foundation in "91, right before the lead standard, and provided staff support to the Building Trade's Lead Subcommittee. And I was struck then with these stories. Many of you remember John Moran who was with the Laborers Health and Safety Fund at that time, who talked about a local in the midwest. And as I recall, these were laborers who were torch-cutting. They weren't painters. They were going out to a highway job, a bridge project, lead-based paint, and they'd work a week, two weeks, and then they'd wind up so sick, they were being sent to the hospital for chelation. And so the manager for the union started to become suspicious, why are these guys -- why do they keep calling these guys out from the hall, and it's because they were basically turning them over from the hall, to the job, to the hospital to get chelated. And now some 15 years later - I've spent a lot of time on highway projects looking at paint projects in Michigan, in New Jersey, and it's pretty amazing how the painting industry, at least, has really adapted to the way business is done correctly with regard to -- there's still problems, but in terms of providing the handwashing and the vacuum systems and so on. And I know the ironworkers, they're doing things differently, too, so there has been some progress.
As far as the official statement, you've got copies, hopefully. "The Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO and the 15 construction unions affiliated with the Department supports the OSHA Construction Lead Standard. We welcome the opportunity to survey our affiliates regarding current experience with work involving lead exposure, what impact the OSHA Lead Standard has had on reducing exposure risk, and how the standard could be improved. However, we strongly oppose any actions that may serve to weaken the provisions of the Lead Standard.
The construction industry waited 25 years for an OSHA standard that provided comparable protection to that offered workers in general industry through passage of a Lead Standard for that sector in 1978. And while the OSHA Lead Construction Standard has greatly improved occupational health conditions, construction workers are consistently reported as having the highest elevated blood leads of any other occupational group. In addition, studies conducted by NIOSH has shown the potential for take-home lead risk to the families of construction workers is a real concern."
I did bring this for the record. There's a good report, "Blood Lead Levels in California?, that came out in April of 2002 from the California Department of Health. And they document how 33 percent of the serious worker lead poisoning cases were in construction, and they define serious as 60 micrograms per deciliter or over. And this was between "95 and "99, so clearly there's still a problem out there.
"While it's true that lead has been banned for use in residential paint, significant portions of the existing housing stock nationwide still contain lead-based paint. Additionally, lead-based paints may still be used in industrial paint applications and a variety of building materials routinely encountered in construction. In many densely populated regions of the country, such as the northeast, the renovation and demolition of lead-painted housing, commercial buildings, and industrial structures represents a tremendous share of the construction market. Construction trades who work in these environments, as well as their families, continue to be at great risk for elevated lead exposure and associated health effects.
The Building Trades would be working with its affiliates in the coming months to prepare comments for OSHA, which are responsive to the agency's request for information outlined in the Federal Register notice.
We strongly urge OSHA to seek out the input of workers, the representative state and federal health agencies, and community interest in this review process.?
And just one - while I have the opportunity to pose the question, I was -- the speaker this morning was informative, but it opened a lot of other questions in terms of what they're going to be looking at. Maybe this committee can help clarify that, because the scope was not clear. It seemed to me like there is a lot of focus on painting contractors, but we now that say ironworkers, it's a big issue. And there's an article in the BNA here about a mechanical contractor, who's hiring independent or temporary workers, and there was $113,000 willful violation because these guys were getting lead poisoned, who were welding in this case a lead smelter. So I don't know if you can answer it now, or give us some guidance, but --
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Well, I think the public comment period is what they're asking for all this input on. I don't know if this committee is even prepared to take a stab. And we asked a couple of questions today. I mean, I understand even the question that I posed and the answer I got back made me think that perhaps I was one-sided in my assessment by saying that the majority of the people who own construction companies are in the 10 to 15 range of employees, so we are talking about all small business, mostly all small business. But that's exactly the point I think they're trying to address, is that is it completely necessary for every single one of those employers to do it, unless they meet -- if they come under the construction standard where it's shown that the PELs of the lead exposure are above, then I think those action levels take precedence over everything else. I don't have the complete answer for you. I don't think anybody on the committee does.
MS. SUSI: And I don't know if Bruce and the folks from OSHA, the process is such that the office that the gentleman was from today would make recommendations to the standards group, and then the standards group would make amendments, if so recommended. Is that how the process would work?
MR. SWANSON: Pam, that was Keith Goddard, and the assignment belongs to his office. And he said this morning, and I think quite accurately, that they will be talking to people from the Standards Office as part of their evaluation. But it's his office that's putting it together, and then his recommendations will go to the Assistant Secretary from there. This is not going to be my, in my experience, this is not going to be a quick process. I think we were involved for several years on the look-back of the excavation standard. And one of the things I was sorry that Keith missed this morning was we are under a legislative mandate that each and every one of OSHA's standards will be eventually looked at this way in a very routine analysis. And if we live long enough, I'm not sure anyone in the room is young enough, but if we live long enough, all of OSHA's standards are supposedly going to go through this process. And the record is the place to have the input, you can have any input you want with my : And office, and we will communicate with the Center, but it really pays to make sure that it is on the record, and use the formal comment approach.
MS. SUSI: And if there were changes made to the standard, or recommended changes, it would go through that whole 6B Rule Process again where --
MR. SWANSON: Indeed, it would.
MS. SUSI: It would.
MR. SWANSON: Yes. This look-back, which I'm not going to prejudge it, but this look-back will make recommendations and let us hypothesize that the recommendations were that some aspects of the lead standard should be changed. Then it would have to go on a reg agenda. After it made it through whatever administration is in here at the time, a BPB-type review in-house, then go to the reg agenda, then go through the whole rule-making process, so I'm not sure, Pam, even you're young enough to see the end of this.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Pam.
MS. SUSI: All right. Thanks.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Are there any other members of the public who would like to comment? Yes, ma'am. Would you come up and identify yourself and your affiliation, please.
MS. CHILLINGWORTH: My name is Mary Ann Chillingworth, and I'm with Designers and Planners in Arlington, Virginia. I had a couple of questions for Kevin Beauregard with regard to the tower legislation and regulation that North Carolina has put out. It's quite a leader for us all.
Two employers ago, I worked for a company that owned a division that had tower erection, so I was very involved in this issue. What consideration, if any, did you give to the medical qualifications of tower climbers? And related to that is the ergonomic stresses that are involved in climbing these 200 to 1,000 or plus feet towers?
MR. BEAUREGARD: Certainly, it was an issue that we talked about and discussed. I don't know if you know the history of North Carolina, or North Carolina rule-making, but we had an ergonomic standard a few years back, and we no longer have ergonomic standard. We looked at it. We had a standard proposal when it started that was probably 75-pages long, and we felt that in order to get the standard through, and the most critical component was the falls because that's where we were experiencing the fatalities and many of the injuries, that it was better for us to go ahead and concentrate on certain areas to get a standard through, and then perhaps look at a later date at whether or not we needed to address other areas. We did look at that issue, but there is not anything in the standard relating to ergonomics.
MS. CHILLINGWORTH: I was looking for that. Is the standard available today on the North Carolina government website?
MR. BEAUREGARD: It is on the Federal Register. We're posting it to our website. I don't know if it's been posted yet or not. All but two of the components are in effect right now. I can get with you later and give you the website.
MS. CHILLINGWORTH: Thank you. Last question - you exclude towers that are motor vehicles. What about towers that are on ships?
MR. BEAUREGARD: I would probably have to defer that to Federal OSHA because they're going to have jurisdiction. We don't currently have jurisdiction on ships. It's actually a federal issue. I wouldn't be opposed to it, but our rule does not cover that.
MS. CHILLINGWORTH: Thank you very much.
MR. BEAUREGARD: You're welcome.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any other members of the public wishing to comment? If not, I thank the committee and the public for their patients and participation. We'll stand in recess until 8:30 tomorrow morning. Thank you.
(Whereupon, the proceedings in the above-entitled matter went off the record at 3:23 p.m.)Back to Top
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