United States of America
Department Of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
On Construction Safety and Health
Friday, June 24, 2005
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
Emmet Russel, Operating Engineers Union
Stewart Burkhammer, Directorate Of Construction
Paula White, Directorate Of Cooperative And State Programs
Welcome/Remarks, ACCSH Chair
Work Group Reports, Work Group Co-Chairs
Trenching Safety Data and Initiative, OCS - Representative
Partnerships, OSHA Challenge, VPP-C Update, Paula White, DCSP Representative
Alliance Update, Paula White, DCSP Representative
Public Comment, ACCSH Chair
Closing Remarks, ACCSH Chair
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Call the meeting to order and go back on the record. We would like to do this before we start with the regular business of the committee. Berrien, could you please come up here, sir, to the front of the table?
I know we wished you the best yesterday but we would like to put an exclamation point on that. The committee has signed a letter the authorship of which belongs to Mr. Broderick but it is my pleasure and privilege to read it to you and ultimately present it to you.
"Dear Berrien, your contribution to the health and safety of men and women plying the construction trades is inestimable. Although we know that our profession helps protect workers, our individual contributions are hard to quantify. Rest assured that as you walk among people on city sidewalks, in malls, and in grocery stores your legacy will surround you.
You will see it in the smiles on children's faces and hear it in the laughter of kids at play. You will see it as you drive by construction sites and see workers wearing hard hats and harnesses and leaving at the end of the day with their health and well being intact.
At the end of the day know that your years of dedication to our profession has made many of these lives possible by the lifesaving efforts of you, your colleagues at OSHA, and others sharing your passion for worker safety and health.
On behalf of the current Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, and those ACCSH groups that have come before us, we offer our collective heartfelt thanks for all that you have done and our best wishes for the best years of your life yet to come. Sincerely, Members of this Committee." Congratulations and we wish you the best.
MR. ZETTLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This is one of the honors, I think, that I will treasure most as I leave the agency. I thank Mr. Broderick for authoring it and for all of the members for your kind signatures.
Adding those signatures up will, as I say, be a legacy to me, something that I will treasure. My wife is already looking for some frames. This will be the first letter I think that I will frame. Thank you again very much.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Best to you, Berrien.
Okay. There was a little confusion at the end of yesterday as to exactly who's on the focused inspections so let me repeat this and if I've missed anybody, please let me know. We had Frank Migliaccio and Stephen Wiltshire as co-chairs. Greg Strudwick, Michael Hayslip, Kevin Beauregard, Tom Kavicky, Mike Thibodeaux, and Linwood. Okay. Thank you.
Scott has passed out, or at least they are in front of you, three reports amended from yesterday, those being the Noise, Silica, and Trenching Work groups. Do you have anything to say further on those, Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: I guess I would ask they be put in the record.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: That's automatic when the motion is made.
MR. SCHNEIDER: And also I passed out CDs on Silica and Noise with articles that were handouts at the meeting. I guess those will go in the record as well.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes. Okay. Motion would be in order. I would like to do these collectively since they have all been amended.
MR. STRUDWICK: I make the motion.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second?
MR. SMITH: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: On the question? All those in favor signify by the sign aye.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Oppositions or abstentions, if any. The ayes have it and so ordered.
Okay. Work group reports. First one up is Residential Fall Protection. Tom or Mike?
MR. THIBODEAUX: We had a good group. I think 21 people were there at our first meeting. Mr. James Krein, a representative for RCEC gave a PowerPoint presentation on walking the top-plate. We had some good discussion on issues in fall protection mainly from the top-plate and floor openings, etc. But there were some issues that we talked about concerning Subpart M as well as the interim standard and questions like do we still need the interim standard. Does it need to be modified. Do we need to modify or amend Subpart M. Do we need a broader definition of what residential construction is, etc.
All in all it was very good and we agreed to see about meeting again in the latter part of July, first part of August in Chicago if possible. Tom is working on the dates for that so that we can possibly have more information for the committee whenever we meet in either September or October.
The NIOSH has a study that they conducted on residential falls that they are going to furnish to us. They said there is an article in one of the trade magazines that have some statistics. There is no breakout on falls from this top-plate which is one of the issues that is very strong as far as between the workers and the crews and the builders as an issue of what is the best way to do that.
You've got a copy of the report. If you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer any. Otherwise, I would move to have this submitted into the record.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead, Scott.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes, Mike. I know I had sent you some of these standards that are being developed by some states like Kentucky and California. I'm wondering what happened and if you discussed those at all or how their standards may address some of the stuff you were discussing.
MR. THIBODEAUX: The gentleman from Kentucky was there and we discussed what they have as far as they have not adopted the interim fall protection standard and they are having the same kind of issues that we discussed, you know, what is the best way to do this. They were looking for guidance from us. I think we all still have a lot more information we need to gather before we can come up and say, "This may be the better way to do it so how do we get this done?"
One thing that we all did agree on is that the key to all of this, whatever the rules are, or are going to be, is training all of the work force in how to do it correctly. That's the biggest problem that I've seen and that most of the people in the group saw as being an issue is lack of training on how to do it correctly and safely.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any comments from the rest of the work group members? Questions from the committee members? A motion has been made to accept the work group report. Can I have a second to that motion?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second from Frank Migliaccio. Anyone else on the question? All those in favor signify by the sign aye.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Opposed or abstentions, if any? The ayes have it and so ordered. OTI next. Frank.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Yes. We had our meeting day before yesterday. We had 13 participants. I'm just passing out the members that were there and people from the public. Zigmus came in and gave the committee a very informative description of what's going on, prelude to what Hank Payne spoke about yesterday.
We talked about the training, how the training is going on, how training has been basically given with the cards and so forth over to the outreach program. They are handling a lot of it but they still have a lot that they do at OTI. We discussed employees that are no longer there. A lot of questions were asked and Ziggy did a fine job for us.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else from the work group? Greg.
MR. STRUDWICK: We also kind of agreed as a group that should we meet in Chicago for the Trenching Committee meeting and work group meeting and the Fall Protection work group meeting, that we might go ahead and have an OTI because we are all part of that committee, meeting at that point. It would be my suggestion that we discuss or we focus on trying to get that together.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Motion be in order to accept the report of the work group.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: So moved.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Seconded by Scott. On the question? All those in favor signify by the sign aye.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Oppositions or abstentions, if any? Hearing none the ayes have it and so ordered.
Before we get to the ROPS report two things. Of course, any meetings away from town have to come through OSHA for approval. I need to say that. I was going to use it for my final comments but before I forget, for any chairman, co-chairman who want to have meetings.
While I appreciate it that you bring everything through the chair so that he knows what's going on, just in the future so we don't have to get on the telephone and waste each other's time, just e-mail me that you're going to have a work group meeting.
In the unlikely event that it ever comes up that we don't think you should have one, we'll be in touch with you but as long as you let me know via e-mail that you intend to have a work group meeting prior to the ACCSH meeting or away from the ACCSH meeting, as long as I'm aware of it, as far as this chairman is concerned, that's the only information I need. I don't think we have to go back and forth for permission.
MR. SWANSON: Just to clarify, Mr. Chairman, I can't see us ever suggesting that a work group not have a meeting. The issue dealing with OSHA is that we have been operating for years under the concept that we will pay the expenses of the co-chairs who have a work group meeting before the meeting or elsewhere. A necessary part of their function of being co-chairs and it's part and parcel of being on this committee.
That said, this year, and for the last six or nine months, I find myself in the unpleasant situation of having to cancel trips for my own staff to attend meetings elsewhere. We have to make sure that we are going to be able to fund co-chairs going to some meeting that is not being held in conjunction with this one such as a mid-term meeting in the city of Chicago. Just check, look into it, and I don't anticipate any problems but there are always surprises in this world. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Roll-over protection. Greg and Frank.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Yes. We also met day before yesterday. We had 20 participants at this meeting. This was our third work shop meeting. We've had two in Washington and one in Chicago. Greg Strudwick, Emmet Russel and myself also met once here in Washington, when we were all in town for other reasons, and discussed the progress that the work group has been doing.
Emmet Russel along with members of the manufacturing groups have done a great job on the materials we have so far putting different things together cutting and pasting. By the next meeting we'll have a draft for the full committee to review. Everything we went over the day before yesterday was a lot of taking out where it was redundant, removing it, putting it back in. Emmet feels as though he'll have that ready for us.
When the draft is ready we'll send it to everybody that's on the work group including the public. We'll send them a copy of it and let them look it over. Also we'll send a copy -- we would like to send a copy to the Department of Standards and Guidance representatives that were here yesterday for their consideration just to look it over.
With all that said, I would like to introduce Emmet Russel to inform the committee on how things are progressing.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Please state your name and affiliation for the record, Emmet.
MR. RUSSEL: Thank you. Good morning. Emmet Russel. I'm with Operating Engineers International Union. Basically what we're trying to do is instead of reinventing the wheel we have actually taken a number of existing construction standards dealing with other equipment in ROPS.
For instance, other OSHA standards, the European standard, Canadian standard, Corps of Engineers, California, as well as other consensus standards and looking at the best of all of those that might impact roll-over protection on compactors and rollers.
What we're doing is we're actually looking at any relevant information and we're trying to put a document together with the latest thinking from all of these documents. Hopefully by the next meeting we'll at least have some language that we can look at that we think will be a progressive look at how we write something dealing with overhead protection on compactors as well as seat belts on the same issue. Any questions?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any questions for Emmet? Questions for the committee members? Comments from the rest of the committee members? Okay. A motion would be in order to accept the work group's report with the proviso that it also be provided to Standards and Guidance for their purview, if necessary, or permitted. Motion would be in order.
MR. SCHNEIDER: So moved.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second, Mike Thibodeaux?
MR. THIBODEAUX: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else on the question? All those in favor signify by the sign aye.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Oppositions or abstentions, if any? The ayes have it. So ordered. Thank you, Emmet. Appreciate it. Thanks for helping out the work group, too.
I neglected to ask if there was anybody in the public sector who wants to make comment at the end. Is there anyone? Okay. I'll try again towards the end of the meeting.
Trenching Safety Data and Initiative, Stew Burkhammer, former chairman of this committee, former Bechtel employee, former I don't know. Hello, Stew.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Good morning. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. It's a pleasure to be back with you again. I am playing Steve Cloutier today who was going to give this presentation so I hope I can do it justice.
First thing I would like to do is thank Tom Broderick for the very nice article in his magazine on the trench card. We have also gotten an article placed in the NUCA magazine on the trench card so we really appreciate that. It helps get the word out that we do have information and data available.
Every day in the Directorate of Construction, or close to every day, we get articles like I want to go through here with you. Some of you on the Trenching work group have probably already seen these when Steve talked about them.
These headlines as I go through here and you take a look at them, I think you'll get the idea that it's pretty much all the same thing. People dying in trenches every day, or every other day, or every week depending on how you want to count. I'll just let you read these as I slowly go through them. I won't read them to you but I think you'll get the drift.
This one is especially disturbing. Over the three years now that I've been here, the second sentence. The trench box was on site but not in use as is a common occurrence that we see in a lot of these trench fatalities.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Stew, do you know how many of these instances OSHA cited people for wilful violations?
MR. BURKHAMMER: No, I can't tell you, Scott.
MR. BRODERICK: I can tell you that the last one when the 74-year-old worker was killed, that particular subcontractor had been cited multiple times serious and multiple repeat citations. We pulled our training records for that company. I'm sure it's no coincidence that within three or four weeks after they settled the citation they sent a couple of people to our place for training.
MR. SMITH: Stew, I had the opportunity to provide technical support for one in Pikeville that you just listed.
MR. BURKHAMMER: The Pikeville one?
MR. SMITH: Yeah, the one that just happened. Also we sent an operator over in a trench box. I mean, we're talking about the plastic thing and a real small subcontractor from another state who was working without the proper training, proper protection. It's obvious to me in situations like this that these people are taking shortcuts and are taking shortcuts on a regular basis. It's just on this day it caught up with them with a very tragic outcome.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I think that's a good comment. I think you see when fatality finally does occur, for the company it's somewhat like a trend that has been going on for awhile and their luck ran out.
This was an interesting one because we got a follow-up from this particular one that the 37-year-old man was an illegal immigrant. He didn't have any papers and he was over here working illegally.
You can get the drift from the headlines and we have others. We could have went on and on and on but we wanted to give you a snapshot of what we kind of see here on a regular basis.
To give you a little history, as you remember back in December of 2003 the New York Times ran a series of three articles on OSHA and trenching and the cave-ins and the fatalities that have occurred. Due to that, then-Assistant Secretary Henshaw asked Bruce to put together a task force to take a look at this.
About the same time Steve Sandher from AGC sent a letter to Secretary Henshaw saying that he and his association would be more than happy to help and participate. At the same time a call came in from ABC so we formed a task force under Bruce's direction that consisted basically of AGC, ABC, and NIOSH, OSHA, Scott Schneider from Labor, Emmet Russel from the Operating Engineers, and Greg Strudwick, and from the NUCA. They worked on some issues, took a look at some of the fatalities that occurred and came up with some recommendations. Then we rolled that task force into an ACCSH work group which current exit today.
From that we did three things initially in OSHA off the top. We developed the trench card which you have in your packet and I think Greg discussed at the work group meeting. We have given out over 120,000 of these. The NIOSH CD that Matt Gillan and his team produced is also in your packet that I think Greg also talked about.
The newest part of our trenching package that we are now sending out, and I'll talk about that a little more, is our English/Spanish poster which you also have in your packets. All of these have been -- they are in their second and third printings. Matt just sent me another 2,000 CDs. We've got another 5,000 CDs he's printing currently for us. We can't keep them in stock. I mean, they are just going so fast which is great.
Here's a little summary of what I just talked about. You all are looking at -- you know, we've done the study on the trench-related fatalities that I'll go into in a minute, the causal factors and the guidance documents. There you can see 150,000 cards, 10,000 posters, 5,000 English and 5,000 Spanish, and over 1,000 CDs have went out.
We had two large mailings. The first mailing went from Acting Assistant Secretary Snare to over 430 major contractors. We had a second mailing from Bruce that went out to several of the safety directors and other leaders in the industry. We've just completed a third mailing from some of the people that the regional administrators have sent in and asked us to send to.
Also Michael Buchet is building a database for us where we are keeping all these names and addresses of the CEOs and the safety directors. We have another 400 and some that we'll have a fourth mailing to shortly. We've been waiting for the CDs and now that we have those, we'll be doing that mailing.
Also Bruce has asked all the RAs to send us listings in from contractors that they would like us to do mailings to. We've gotten some in from Region I, Region IV, and a couple of the other regions and all the other RAs are working on their list now so when we get these lists we are going to make sure we don't duplicate some that we've already sent. Basically we'll probably have another 800, 900, 1,000 more contractors to send to.
I took 500 of the cards and some posters to the ASSCPD last week. They went immediately. They were just scoffed up unbelievably fast. At the OSHA booth we had some posters and cards. They went immediately. They were the first items taken off the table. It's a very, very hot item.
I know Greg talked the other day in the committee about we could probably give thousands more out on a regular basis. We have an order in currently from one of our RAs who is going to be speaking at a conference this fall and has asked for some to distribute there. As you take a look at our fatality data from '95 to 2004 you can see the increase in three to 53 and then down to 48 in '04.
This is our chart that we made up of our study that we did. It's important to note here that we are studying the federal fatalities so in '03 our data in the '03 line is based on 34 federal cases that we reviewed. The '04 line is based on 29 federal, but one of those cases is under litigation and we did not review it so really the data you see on the '04 line is based on 28 cases even though there were 29 federal cases inspected.
Take a look at the percentages there. The No-Protective System is up a little bit, Competent Person is down, Five to Nine Foot is down a little bit. Hispanic Worker is a pretty good drop. We are pleased with that. The Age 20 to 59 is basically your work life so you can see that's pretty steady. No Safety and Health Program is up a little bit, which I would think is somewhat surprising. No Trenching Training about the same. Then the Non-Union was 85 percent on '03 but 100 percent in '04.
Now, does this mean that there were only 29 trench fatalities in '04? No, I don't think that's the case. I think these are the ones that we reported and we investigated. I don't want you to think that the percentage you see up there is based on all 48 of the cases. It's only the 29 cases in the federal. The rest planned states and we do not study those.
This is a copy of the original letter that went out from Acting Assistant Secretary Snare to the over 430 CEOs and Presidents. These letters have had an effect because we've gotten some follow-up from some of the companies that received these letters. The CEOs have acted. I found out at the ASSE that some of the companies that received this letter have really taken a look at how to upgrade their program. A couple of the companies told me that in the past they had had a trenching fatality and that they have really worked hard at improving their program and they haven't had any since. I think this letter and the mailings and the stakeholder material that we have, the articles that you all are helping us get printed in the magazines where we are distributing this information is really helping a lot.
Again, the poster and the card you'll be able to find on OSHA's webpage. We've got them on there and you can print them off or copy them off and have them printed yourself. And the NIOSH CD is being put on NIOSH webpage and then our construction page will be linking to that and you'll be able to go into the OSHA construction page and you'll be able to link to the CD and then print the poster in English and Spanish and the card. The card is English on one side and Spanish on the other.
One thing I would like to add that doesn't have a lot to do with trenching but in a sense is one of our new construction publications is our worker safety series, our construction pamphlet. I put one of these in your booklet.
I think it's important to look through here. This is different than we've ever done before. It's kind of a four-part booklet in one. We started out with hazards and solutions. Then we have a checklist in here for basically small contractors. We did a little checklist for them kind of based on the hazards and the solutions piece.
We put a resource section in, publications and resources on each of the hazards. We have a cooperative program section that talks about all the construction opportunities and cooperative programs. Then we've added what I think is really neat in the back and that's success stories. It's two stories, the art museum in New York and the Lambeau Field renovation in Wisconsin.
It talks about Turner Construction and AMEC Construction. Turner is a VPP company and AMEC is a partner with us. We had lots more to put in here. We just picked these two. We could have picked several more but we wanted to keep it short and we wanted to keep the space down. I think this is a neat little booklet and if you have any use for this or you would like to pass this on to some of your constituents, we have some copies we can share with you to do that. Any questions? Scott.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Stew, are we going to get more detailed breakdown of the 2004 data like we did with the 2003 where we had, I don't know, 30 pie charts that showed the results specifically on all the questions that were looked at?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes, we've got the pie charts basically done. We haven't reviewed them with Bruce yet but once we do that and he likes them, we'll be able to pass them out to the committee and you guys can use them as you see fit.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay. Good. I appreciate that. On this little booklet, I like the booklet but I was wondering are you going to do a companion to it on construction health issues because I noticed like, for example, on the booklet you talk about PPE but there is nothing about hearing protection.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Right.
MR. SCHNEIDER: There's nothing about lead in construction or Silica. I didn't know if you were going to do a health version of this or not.
MR. BURKHAMMER: We are talking about that now with the publication group. You know it says worker safety series.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Right.
MR. BURKHAMMER: We are thinking about one on worker health series but it would not be only construction in that book. We're talking about expanding it a little bit to some other areas but that's kind of in the future. We don't have it in the current table.
What we're working on now currently in the quick card is the scaffolding series which the first one we're working on currently is patent scaffold. We know we can't get all of the different types of scaffold on one card so we are going to be doing somewhat of a series.
We are also talking about one on fall protection which will probably be late fall or early '06 by the time we get it done. We are running out of the trench cards again and, unfortunately, we are not going to be able to reprint those until '06 fiscal year. We're trying to string out our supply here a little bit.
MR. SCHNEIDER: So do you have a list of all the topics that you are planning on developing quick cards on? Our Noise work group had suggested we will develop a card on noise and construction, a quick card. That was one of our action items. I didn't know if you have something, already sort of scheduled ones that you're working on or you hope to work on.
MR. BURKHAMMER: OSHA has a Compliance Assistance Coordinating group that I serve on for Bruce and that group determines which quick cards go in which series and all the different directorates want quick cards of different types.
We're in that stack and what we've got in that stack right now for the rest of '05 is the scaffolding quick card series and also, which will not now be in '05 but will be in '06, will be the fall protection. Those are the next two sets that we currently have on our plate.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Greg.
MR. STRUDWICK: You answered one of my questions. I know that fall is kind of the season for regional meetings, seminars, symposiums, those kind of things, and I was going to make everyone aware that the other 100,000 cards is probably going to be gone prior to September so we'll make the associations aware that they can download and actually have the cards printed themselves.
The other comment I have is that everyone in this room is aware that this is not nearly as good as we would like to have seen as far as the drop off but it is coming down. The associations that focus like AGC, ABC, NUCA with underground utility contractors have been providing an awful lot of information in their magazines and through the associations that we've collected.
When I went as my action item to the municipalities to ask them to allow us to pass through information, they were starting to suck information away from construction groups and use it internally because what you're looking at is only half the problem. Okay? The municipal workers that die in trenches you don't hear about.
I would be willing to say that probably not in a manner that is speaking out of bounds that they probably eclipse this number up here. We are going to make an effort through the municipal association to see if we can't identify some of that but I can assure you that part of the information that we are developing here is going to stay in-house as it moves through and it's to the benefit of all of us because those workers move back and forth in the field from municipal work to private work back to municipal work so they'll take that with them.
I just want to make everybody aware we're only looking at half the problem so we're only half the solution in this room and make the folks that you know aware of what we're trying to do from a municipal standpoint and see if we can't at least have the impact we would like to have on the industry-wide municipal and private. That was it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Good. Thank you. Mike Hayslip.
MR. HAYSLIP: Good morning, Mr. Burkhammer. Thank you for coming before us. I would like to make a comment, an observation, and perhaps a second comment. First, you had referenced a New York Times article. One of the issues in that article was a plumbing company that is pretty close to home for me.
It happened that the father of the boy that died was in one of my classes. He was now in the Safety and Health, etc. I tell you when you look in the man's eyes and he takes you aside and he tells you about his son, it hits you to core. When he tells you that the last thing he remembers of his son before he put him in the ground in the open casket was that when they looked at his face, they couldn't get all the dirt out of his ears because he had so much dirt when he was covered up.
That's a pretty sobering thought that sticks with me now even though it's been six, eight months since then. On behalf of him I would like to say thank you for the appreciation that OSHA has given this work group some authority, some ability rather, to contribute. I appreciate that and on his behalf I would like to say thank you also.
On page 6 of your report an observation. You list issues, Trench Status Study, etc. One question. Is it likely -- one thing I see that's not there is prior citations. How many companies have had prior citations before they ultimately have a fatality? I'm not asking for numbers. Is it a fair statement to say that number might be significant?
MR. BURKHAMMER: I can't comment one way or another, Mike.
PARTICIPANT: (Off mic.)
MR. HAYSLIP: Okay, good. That number exist. It's 26 percent. It's not here. My comment, my second comment is that I would like to see an emphasis to the degree that OSHA can look closer, take a closer look at people who had prior citations because it does seem that it's hard to correct a bad habit and they are already identified. I would hope that would happen. Other than that, I support and applaud the efforts that OSHA has done and the ability to let others contribute to this meaningful cause. Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you. Greg.
MR. STRUDWICK: My co-chair just reminded me that the possibility exist that these statistics were not entered into the record so I would like to make a motion we enter the current 2004 statistics that we received this week prior to the work group meeting into the record.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Is there a second to that motion?
MR. BURKHAMMER: If I may make a comment, Mr. Chairman, that may not be the latest version that you have. I think Steve and I talked and we've got a revised version. If you wouldn't mind, I would like you to wait until we give you the absolute final version.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Make a motion to withdraw?
MR. STRUDWICK: Yeah, I withdraw that motion. I was under the impression because I think you handed this to me.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Steve and I have a problem so we've got to fix that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Stew, I'm going to interrupt you because this photographer is from the Secretary of Labor's office. He is on a tight schedule so we would like to get the committee members and Berrien to come up here wherever the photographer directs us and don't go away. We'll continue this discussion.
Are you doing the alignments?
MR. BURKHAMMER: No, Paula White.
(Whereupon, at 9:19 a.m. off the record until 9:26 a.m.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Sorry about that. We had to get that done. Listening to all this, I already know the answer to this question but I'm going to ask it anyway. As an enforcement agency what sense of frustration do you have seeing all these repetitive fatalities, trench boxes not being used? Do you feel that it's merely a matter of just long term education? We'll finally start bringing these numbers down as it seems to indicate?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Is that question for Bruce or for me?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: No, it's for you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Frustration, yes, in seeing the same repetitive things over and over, no trench shield, on site but not in use. I know at least three or four in the past in this year alone same scenario. Lack of training. We are not seeing, as I said to you in the slide, as many Hispanic trench fatalities as we've seen in the past.
I know that the area offices and the regional office all have emphasis programs for trenching. They are very much aware of the trenching initiative that is going on in the agency. They are out there looking for these types of problems. When they drive by they have all been directed by the RAs and the area directors to stop at a trench site if they see one and get out and take a look at it. They are doing that.
I get stories back every day from area directors and area offices and regional offices that they have done this. The heightened awareness is certainly there in the agency. There's no question about that. As for the contractors, and we have all been there like Pavlov's dog where you repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, and repeat and finally they get it. The dog goes, the bell rings, and he gets his dinner.We are hoping when the person goes and he gets the trench box he puts it in the trench or he shores the trench or he does something better to protect the work force. If this is a trend, and next year when we do our '05 study, if it continues to come down, then I think the answer to your question is yes, there is an impact and people are finally waking up and getting the story.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, Linwood.
MR. SMITH: I wanted to comment, too, and I think this troubles all of us the number of fatalities in the trenches. AGC and NUCA and everyone else works and strives to provide education and materials and resources. What our subcommittee is doing is excellent.
Back to what Mike Hayslip said, as far as previous citations, I don't think we're talking about the people by in large that OSHA are finding. I don't think we're talking about the companies by in large that AGC, NUCA, and other organizations are having impact on the training. I think overall we're thinking about the real small companies.
In fact, if you noticed, there's maybe some commonality in all of these companies. We're talking about the owner of a company, his son, or his uncle, or his nephew. I mean, we're talking about a lot of very small companies and the main problem is how to reach these people and I think making some of these trench cards and other things we are doing may do that.
We are constantly trying to find these people, too, to help educate them because they give the whole industry a black eye, if you will. I think the size of the company may provide as much information as anything if you look at that. I suspect we're talking about small companies by in large and most of them don't pay their people to go to training.
They don't get involved in training. They are out there bidding jobs, bidding work, but they are certainly not trained in some areas and it's a constant battle to figure out how to provide this training and get this information to them and help them be able to protect their people.
MR. BURKHAMMER: That's an excellent comment that the ASSCPD session where I gave the OSHA update, part of which was this trenching piece that you all just saw. There was a father and son in the audience that came up to me afterwards and they have an 11-person company. All 11 are related.
They are all in this family. Italian family and they are in the trenching business and they have been very fortunate. In the 10 or 12 years they have been in business he told me they haven't had a fatality. But they don't -- he was very admitted about it -- they do all the things they should do. The articles that we put up that you saw today, the trenching posters, I gave him some posters and some cards to take back with him. He assured me that he's going to change and he's going to do that stuff.
If we reach those kind of people and all of us can go out and all of you give talks and all of you give speeches and if you put a little piece in your talks and speeches about the trenching situation and where we are and how we're trying to fix it and we reach those kind of companies like Linwood is talking about and like the fellow that came and talked to me, I think we are going to have an impact because when you reach one of those companies, they've got friends and relatives in other companies that may do the same business that you can touch also. Think about that when you're doing it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Greg.
MR. STRUDWICK: Yeah, I was going to respond to Linwood. When you get a chance, go through and look at the action items. In particular, Cobb County, just outside of Atlanta, had introduced their own ordinance that said that should you work in our area, operators and/or competent people and/or an type of excavation contractor and their folks all the way down to the labor, that they would attend a -- had they not been trained in trench safety through their organizations, they would be required to go through their own in-house training program.
We are chasing an awful lot of that. The statistics show that in one case 70 percent in 2003 and 84 percent -- excuse me, reverse that, 84 percent in 2003 and 70 percent in 2004 in companies with 50 or fewer employees.
Going through the municipalities providing the information they are working in installing the product for someone whether it's plumber or mechanical, those kind of things.Recently in our area we've even had regional folks stop on job sites with some of our regional contractors that are rather large and they weren't compliance people at all but questioned whether or not the trench box is installed correctly and that kind of thing.
Everybody is looking for that little guy including the large general contractors that hire the small boring contractors and those folks but we are all looking for those small folks, typically we do find that they are not in compliance based on either illiteracy or the lack of resources to purchase or to rent or didn't know what to do and possibly they're in an outside area that hadn't been affected.
I think if you all go through and take a look at what we're trying to do from a work group stand point and the different associations and working together, you're going to see that the improvements will come. If we continue to do what we're doing and do the things that we know have impact and eliminate the ones that don't, I think we're going to see a direct improvement.
I explained to our work group that last Saturday I did a class with just excavator operators. Probably one of the first in our area because they create the environment that these folks are actually dying in. It was enlightening. It was very enlightening and they were very responsive. We are going to continue to work and those folks in other regions that find situations that are very effective, hopefully we'll get that information through to that work group and pass it along to those folks that need it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Bruce.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yeah, if I may for a second. One, like I did last year, I would like to caution everybody that on this data don't draw too many conclusions from the data because the sample is so small we are looking at only the federal data from fatalities across the country and we are talking very, very small numbers.
There are tens of thousands of American workers in trenches every week in America and those numbers of fatalities could next year could double and a competent statistician wouldn't say that is a serious aberration. It doesn't indicate anything other than a little change in the breeze, for example.That is particularly in reference to the Spanish numbers. Spanish numbers went down. Lucky accident I think. Spanish numbers in our industry are continuing to go up. I would guess that the fatalities in trenching is going to go up amongst the Spanish, at least on a ratio basis.
Scott mentioned the other day targeting system. We really aren't going to get a handle on this small employer until we figure out an answer to the targeting system other than the traditional targeting system that OSHA uses.
What OSHA is doing now with these local emphasis programs is a very good stop-gap measure and it gives the compliance officer the legal ability to stop and inspect a trench which otherwise he couldn't do without probable cause or it coming out of the Tennessee targeting system. To have an LEP gives him the legal justification to stop and take a look at that.
As to things that have happened since this emphasis program started a year and a half ago, I note that through my office for clearance we see a higher percentage of the SIG, significant proposed citation penalty cases, that come through in the $100,000 plus bracket are trenching cases. That is not an accident that compliance officers when they put their case files together are getting more serious proposals for their citations.
As to coming down hard on people who have had previous citations, the unfortunate thing is, and Linwood touched upon it, some of these people are so small we have a fatality and you go back and take a look at how many previous citations they got for trenching violations and you'll find out they didn't get any citations.
The reason they didn't get any citations is because they haven't been inspected but they have only been in business for 25 years so what do you expect? You know, these people are small enough where they fly under the radar and unless they are on a Lennar Holmes' job or something like that, they are just not going to draw the attention of OSHA.
MR. STRUDWICK: One response on behalf of the agency is that I work with a contractor in the Fort Worth area that was guilty of violating the standards in the past and not doing what they said they would do in their informal agreement. Then they had another citation that did not include any kind of accident, injury, or anything like that, just a walk-on, and the agency came down hard on them.
Guess what? Now I walk on their job sites and they are as compliant as anybody could ever be so they did get the message and it was because they had decided before and didn't live up to their agreement. Let me tell you what, it almost put them out of business. They are doing very well now and every one of their employees knows how serious the situation was and is towing the line so it does work and we know that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Right. Scott.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I want to agree with what has been said. I think the problem is there are so many small companies that are below the radar scope. We have to figure out something different to do because OSHA has so few inspectors and it's just very difficult for them to find them.
I mean, nationwide state and federal there's probably 2,000 inspectors os we are going to do this pilot project to help get our members to identify these really bad job sites. Then I think we have to partner with people with the building inspectors. In Massachusetts they are training 600 building inspectors on construction safety so when they go out to inspect for building permits, they are going to know what to look for.
The fire fighters. We are going to partner with the fire fighters hopefully and get them to help us because they are going to do the rescues if this thing fails. We've got to partner with the one-call systems. They know where all these trenches are being dug.
The only way we are going to solve this problem is if we get a whole lot of people involved in working on this. I think all these avenues have to be pursued because otherwise, like I said, OSHA cannot do it by itself but we did make recommendations initially that OSHA does need to beef up the enforcement effort in terms of the penalties to really go after people that are scofflaws that are violating the law and really don't care and putting people in danger. That was part of our recommendations but I think all of us have to do outreach and to really figure out how we can get everybody involved in figuring out the solution.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Anyone else? Stew, thank you for a very good presentation on obviously a very serious subject. Thanks again.
Our next presenter is here but she needs about five minutes to set up her computer for her presentation so let's take a very, very brief break. I know if I tell you five it's going to stretch to 15 anyway so let's take a five-minute break.
(Whereupon, at 9:40 a.m. off the record until 9:52 a.m.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Could we get the committee members to take their seats. Can I get the committee to come to order, please? Our final presenter is Paula White. I think everybody knows her. She is going to talk to us about VPP Cooperative Programs. And the Alliance as well, Paula?
MS. WHITE: Exactly.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Would you identify yourself and your affiliation for the record?
MS. WHITE: Yes. I am Paula White. I'm the Director of the Directorate of Cooperative State Programs. I'm very pleased to be here today. In case you start throwing things at me, I brought my support staff. I have Kathy Oliver with me who is the Director of the Office of Partnerships and Recognition Programs, and Laura Siemen who is our team leader for the Partnership program. In case the questions get too difficult, I will duck and let them answer.
We are pleased to be here with you and to give you an update about what is going on with our cooperative programs and the construction industry. I think you know, and it goes without saying, that everything we do in the area of construction we work very, very closely with Bruce and his staff.
Stew especially is a member of all of our teams and have worked on program design and helping us answer the tough questions and constructing the new approaches we have. Certainly over the last several years I think we have come a long way in being able to offer new avenues to participate with OSHA for the construction industry. I wanted to talk to you about the three programs, VPP, Partnerships, and Alliances.
First really moving toward a brief conversation about our VPP construction proposal. As you know, in traditional VPP we've had for a very long time participation in the program. Participation in the program was limited by virtue of the program design.
That is, sites that were long-term in nature were able to apply for VPP. We also had for a very long time a resident contractor who used to call them nested contracts, our resident contractor program which allowed resident contractors on the VPP side to be in the program.
Clearly, when you look at these numbers under traditional VPP when out of 1,300 sites 48 construction currently, 93 over the life of the program, and you know how many construction sites there are in this country, it tells you without question the program design was not the right program design for construction.
One of the ways we went about getting data and getting information about how to redesign the program was through the demonstration projects that we have been running since 1993, the first one being the one you mentioned, the resident contractor program. We have done demonstrations for mobile work forces, for short-term sites, for mobile work sites. Now more recently resident contractors at not-VPP sites.
As a result of these demonstrations, we gathered a lot of information that says the VPP works for construction but it just doesn't work in the way the program is designed now. These data, which I've probably shown you before, we pulled together a couple or years ago to assure ourselves that these alternative program designs worked for construction. I think if you look at these numbers in terms of the illness and injury rates and the days away rates, you can see that the companies that were working with us were having an improved safety and health experience in these programs.
So the redesign was really premised on the thought and on the knowledge that our current program did not provide the flexibility that's needed for construction. It didn't recognize the unique aspects of the industry. Certainly the fact that the construction industry operates at so many different levels.
I think you know we published in the Federal Register late last August a proposal for a new VPP program for construction. Essentially the way the proposal is designed we will offer participation in three separate ways. One is continuing our current site-based program. That is, we know there will continue to be long-term construction sites that would qualify under the current program.
Second, we want to maintain our ability to do demonstration projects because this is really how we learn so we want to maintain that flexibility. But, thirdly, the new part of the program is really focused on a new program design that allows application by construction at essentially any level you want to apply. That is, a corporate division or business unit level. We struggled a very long time trying to figure out how to define what those levels are.
Essentially what it means is that all contractors at any level will be eligible to apply for the program whether you're a sub, a general, whether you want to apply at the corporate level, or within the corporation at a lesser level.
The proposal essentially allows for the applicant at this corporate division business unit level to apply what has to be in place is that the applicant has to be contractually responsible for all the work he's applying for. The current proposal limits applications to state boundaries. That is, you can only apply to one state. But with the permission of the regional administrator whose state that is, you could expand the application region-wide.
The notion is much like many of our pilots have run and is, to some extent, similar to how we are running our corporate VPP pilot now. That is, inherent in the proposal is if you are applying at a higher level, we would do a corporate review and a corporate on-site looking at the safety and health programs and evaluating them and then doing on-sites to evaluate how those programs are, in fact, being run at the site level.
The proposal has a tiered approach for evaluations so we would do one corporate on-site and then depending on the number of sites you are applying for, again within this geographic area, we would either do two on-sites if you met up to 25 sites, three if you had up to 99, four if you had 100 or more. Again, as you know, our current VPP program is a site-based program and requires an intensive on-site for every applicant. This is significantly different in that respect that the on-site review would be tiered.
In terms of the proposal and in terms of the comments we got and the issues, I think fairly obviously you could assume that we got a lot of comments about the geographic scope, the number of site visits that would be done, the number of project evaluations that would be required.
The other issue, which is not on the slide and I apologize because it should have been, is the issue of jurisdiction, geographical area in which construction companies would be allowed to apply. Again, we propose state-wide or up to region-wide with the regional administrator's approval.
Also, a lot of comments about the whole issue of union support. That is, both the method, how do you show union support when you apply. And how we evaluate it and how much union support is required. We asked a number of questions in this proposal seeking information about questions around corporate oversight, fall protection, drug programs, subcontractor prequalifications. We gathered a lot of information about, "What do you think? Should these things be required," that were not actually in the proposal.
So this is what we heard. Most people thought that a tiered approach was the right idea. This is what we have done certainly in our Region V pilot. There seemed to be general support for that. Interestingly, some actually told us they thought we should be doing more on-sites. From our perspective, of course, it is a resource issue and that's one of the reasons we are looking at a tiered approach.
The union support issue is very complex as you can well imagine. That is, again, in a fixed site you know what's happening there. You've got a collective bargaining agent or you don't. You've got a union or you don't. We require 100 percent support if you have a union.
Here since you might be applying at a corporate level, let's say, region-wide and you're applying for jobs that will occur over the course of time, you have jobs that haven't been started, that haven't been planned. Some may have unions on-site for all of the time, for part of the time, for a couple of days. There's a lot of uncertainty about who the union representative might be and how long they might be in place and how many unionized employees might be in place.
Essentially what we proposed in terms of the method are the three bullets that are on this slide offering some options. Each union could show support. The president of a local trades council could sign a letter of support. The president of the building construction trades department or a general president could show support.
What we suggested is how we would evaluate that is as part of the on-site. Essentially we would make a case-by-case determination when we did our on-site reviews through our employee interview process. I think one of the things we feel that we have been very successful with in our current VPP program is interviewing employees, understanding whether employees support a project or not.
Even when we have applications in which employee support is demonstrated in the application, we spend a good part of our time interviewing most of the employees on the site. We think we could make that determination on a case-by-case basis.
Obviously we would be making, though, some judgments in this case because if you had employees that said, "No, I don't support it," but perhaps they represented a group that's on-site four or five days. How do you weigh that against employees that might be on site for the duration of the project. Make no mistake we understand this is complex. We are working on this issue and trying to get a better handle on it and figure it out.
In terms of corporate oversight, I think the notion is pretty self-evident. That is, we are looking at a corporate level to make certain that the corporation has in place safety and health management systems as well as a process to ensure that they are able to -- that they are effectively overseeing their various sites in terms of ensuring that the safety and health programs are implemented.
Ensuring that there is adherence to the application in terms of what you say is going on is going on, a system of accountability for your project managers and your on-site people, a process for analyzing and reviewing data, policies and procedures to ensure that employees are protected, and on and on.
So 100 percent said this is the right approach. Clearly we think it's the right approach. It really is the VPP approach. In this case it is corporate responsibility that we are looking for and, again, measuring on the site basis that is being exercised.
So we ask a number of other questions. Should there be 100 percent fall protection, 50 percent said yes. Subcontractor prequal, 44 percent said yes. Drug testing, screening, 66 percent said yes.
We asked these questions in part because in developing this proposal we relied not only on our staff here and the construction staff but we actually talked a lot with our current VPP participants and many of them suggested these questions were important ones for us to consider in the final proposal. Again, we asked the questions and we have the answers and we are now looking at these issues.
Just so you know and, again, none of these are probably a surprise to anybody. Some people thought it was too cumbersome. Some said it's too difficult. There aren't sufficient incentives. They wondered if we did this given our staffing would, in fact, the implementation of this program negatively impact OSHA inspections.
So where we are now, we're working on it and we are working very hard on it. Our staff -- my staff is working along with Bruce's staff. We've had a number of meetings already with Jonathan and we are continuing a discussion with him. We have another meeting scheduled with him when he comes back from vacation week after next.
Certainly once all of the questions are resolved, we have to then write a final proposal and clearly the timing on all of this is dependent on the timing of making the decision. This is a stay tuned but please be assured that we recognize the importance of this proposal and we recognize the interest in the proposal.
Just so that you know, in case you don't know, we have a really good VPP website, webpage. This is just a screen capture of that primary page. This is a good place for you to stay up to date about what's going on in the program. Having said that, not necessarily the internal work that's going on the proposal but certainly what's going on in terms of our ongoing VPP program. It will give you good general information. It will keep you up to date about Challenge, our Challenge Administrators and participants, our VPP sites and the like.
So I really want to now talk about the other programs. That is, I've told you we are trying to design a VPP for construction, as you know, and it's not there so in the interim, you know, what are the other options and programs available for the construction industry.
I could also stop now if you would like if you want to ask questions about the proposal or do you want to hold questions until the end? I'm good either way.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: What's the committee's preference? Roll on.
MS. WHITE: Okay. We'll go on. It's always good to be the last presenter on a Friday. I appreciate that. I know where you all are in the morning.
Our Challenge Program is something we are incredibly excited about. This is a pilot program that we launched looking at ways to essentially offer an opportunity, offer a means for companies to improve safety and health performance, and hoping at the end of it all that what we've done is get companies in a position so that they are ready to apply for VPP.
The work on this program design was done again by us but with a lot of outside input, especially in the construction industry. Representatives from companies that have participated in VPP and many of our demos so we had folks representing both small companies and large. We had union representation. We had some meetings with unions. We think we have a solid program design.
The notion should we have a construction track and a general industry track, essentially the notion is to offer -- we took the VPP requirements in terms of safety and health management systems, broke those out into three stages, and essentially say wherever you are in your safety and health program, you can start at the appropriate point but understand and have tools to understand what should be in place, how you measure success, what you need to do to improve your performance.
We are very pleased with our Challenge Administrators. This is our current list and you can see by looking at this that there are a number of representatives from the construction industry. We had just day before yesterday a meeting with all of our -- many of our Challenge Administrators and some of you were there. It was an exciting meeting, I think, for both the participants and for us.
First of all, you can tell by looking at these numbers that there is more construction participation in this pilot than general industry participation. I don't know what that means but I am pleased by it and I think it's very, very significant.
The first two graduates, that is, the first two people who have gone through all three stages of the program, are in the construction industry. They were here this week. Jonathan was at the meeting and was able to give them their letter of recognition for completing the program.
Probably more importantly than them getting a letter was the fact that representatives from both the Weitz company and Barber Brothers Precision Concrete gave presentations to the group and they talked about their experience with the program. What is significant to us about this program is that we now have -- in our normal VPP program we get data when someone applies which means they're already good. What we're doing in this program at whatever stage companies are when they decide to participate we start collecting data and we know what's happened to them in terms of their safety and health performance. The presentation by Weitz was very significant in terms of them being very clear that what this program offered to them was the ability to make their safety and health program consistent across all of their sites.
This company is actually the oldest general contractor west of the Mississippi. They are the 22nd largest U.S. domestic general building contractors so it's a large company. Yet, they were willing to come in this pilot and they have implemented across their program.
They already can attribute saving one life to the program. They are beginning to negotiate significant savings to their insurance company. We are very excited and very pleased with the offer that the presentation will get taped because it's certainly something I want to share with the regional administrators.
It's one of these things that there's nothing more important than having someone who has done the program demonstrate it as opposed to me saying, "This is really good and it's good for you and good things are going to happen." It was a really significant meeting.
We got a lot of information from the Challenge. Administrators and some of the participants who were there, the reason this is a pilot is we get continual feedback and they told us things we need to do to improve the program, I think, in construction.
There was probably some consensus around the fact that for very small sites, 10 or fewer, we needed to do a little tweaking so we are going to put together a group and do that. Generally, great enthusiasm, good endorsement.
In listening to your conversation before the break when you were talking about what to do about small employers, I personally believe VPP is the answer to everybody's safety and health dilemma. I recognize that perhaps not everyone shares that but I do think this is a model that will work.
What it does require is mentoring by someone. In this case these Challenge Administrators are offering the mentoring. I think even after a year we are beginning to see that this concept works and that there is great enthusiasm for the concept.
We are very, very pleased and very happy and we will be able to offer you more information about this. We will be writing a formal program evaluation. Hopefully I would really like it if at your next meeting you could actually see the tapes of these presentations because I think they were very significant.
In terms of just a brief update about where we are with the Strategic Partnership Program, obviously you know on the data the numbers show this, that most of our partners in this program are in the construction industry. I'm not good at doing math in my head but I think it's around 80 percent of both our current active partners and our overall partners since we have begun have been in construction. What's important about this program, I think, are that overall we are impacting half a million workers and we are improving their safety and health experience.
I want to give you just a couple of good examples about some of the things that are going on with some of our construction partners. We recently signed a new national partnership with AMEC Construction. The goals of this partnership are really significant in terms of maintaining injuries and illnesses 30 percent below. That's a very specific goal that we will track, 30 percent below the national average.
The first site is the construction of the new New York Times building in New York City. We actually just last week on June 15th had the first Partnership Management Team at the Manhattan area office. The Manhattan area office is very involved in this. The construction on this site will start on '07. You can see in terms of the numbers of labor.
The reason we did this partnership is because we had such good experience with AMEC. Previously they had a partnership that was begun in April of 2002 and ended in February of this year. It covered a number of sites in Region V.
Because of the success of their partnership and the working relationships that they established with OSHA in that region, it was their request to essentially extend this concept and this partnership nationwide.
More than 800,000 hours of training and 90 percent below days-away rate, really significant safety and health improvements so we are very pleased to be involved in this partnership with AMEC. And we have up on the web -- if you go there, I'm going to show you a number of websites -- a success story from this partnership that you can find on our partnership page.
Another partnership that we are quite excited about is our partnership with the Electrical Transmission and Distribution Construction Contractors and Trade Associations. Say that fast five times and I'll give you a prize.
This is a partnership that took us, it seems to me, forever but I think about the better part of a year or more to work out. It was signed in August of 2004. The partners represent about 70 percent of the industry which is very significant to us because it means that the partnership is successful. The impact of the partnership is going to be tremendous.
The partners include the Meyer Group, Peoples and McCoy, Pike Electric, Quantas Services, Utility Services, Inc., the IDEW, NICA, Edison Electric. Really all of the big players in this industry. Right now they are working in task teams. We have three task teams looking at data, looking at training, looking at best practices. These task teams are really very focused on looking at data, figuring out what's going on, designing training, looking at competencies.
They are working with my staff at the Training Institute to look at developing a 10-hour course that is more focused on this industry. We really think we've got all the right people at the table and this partnership we believe has potential for very, very significant safety and health impacts.
This is just interesting because I don't think you would know about this. This is not a partnership. We have a partnership with Ford, Visteon, and the UAW which is focused obviously on automobile manufacturing and automobile parts manufacturing. Visteon because of their experience with this Ford partnership between -- I'm sorry Doug has left because Michigan is part of this partnership.
Visteon looked at what they learned, and are learning, as part of the Ford partnership in terms of the importance of safety and health, the importance of improving safety and health management practices and on their own decided to apply those principles to a major construction project. Obviously they are not in the construction business but they were the ones who were contracting it out.
What they did was they applied the principles they had learned through the partnership. They have essentially established requirements for the general contractor, required the general contractor and his full-time safety coordinator to do things like monthly safety inspections which they are participating in, to implement a system of safety observation tracking.
They implemented a Working at Heights program. All of the steel was prerigged with fall rest. You can see the kinds of results they are getting. These are not real good photos but you can sort of see. This is a before. This just gives you an idea of the dimensions of this construction project.
Again, they are doing this without benefit of OSHA. They are doing it on their own but they are doing it based on what they learned out of the partnership experience Ford, the UAW, and OSHA. We are pretty darn excited about this.
HomeSafe II, just some information about another partnership. Again, I won't read you those figures. You can see them but we continued to see significant savings of lives, of injuries, of dollars in our partnership efforts in construction.
We have also a partnership page. I urge you to go look at it. We have information about our partnerships on this page. We have what's new. We also are implementing limited access pages for our national partnership so that there will be a place that our partners can log on, exchange information, and ask questions. We think this is going to help us with communicating in our national partnerships.
Now, briefly to talk about Alliance because there are some important things going on in our Alliance program in the construction industry. I think I've talked to you about Alliances before. I think you know what they are. It offers us another way of working that is not site based. Generally working with the trade association but we can work with an employer, with unions, with Government agencies, with nonprofits, with professional organizations.
Sixteen of our national Alliances do have a construction focus as well as 30 of our regional and area office Alliances. This is a list of our national Alliances that have a construction focus so if everybody looks at that, I will turn it off and we will have a test and see how many you can repeat without cheating.
These are all very active Alliances and they have been very, very good and they are producing great results. Just a couple of examples, the IEC Alliance. This is actually -- I keep meaning to share this with them. I talk about the IEC in almost every presentation I do.
The IEC Alliance has helped us to develop Ergonomic Solutions for Electrical Contractors. It is one of the top 10 most frequently visited e-tools that we have. It's a very good e-tool and we are hoping to do the second two modules of this e-tool next fiscal year. They are also participating in a number of our ed boards for electrical contractors, industry, and OSHA assistance for the electrical industry. The ed boards, I should say, and not use OSHA speak. We have close to 200 safety and health topic pages and we are always looking for outside experts to help us review those pages, make sure the information is current, tell us what we should put up, links we should establish. They are offering their expertise to help us there.
The Washington Group has been another very active Alliance for us. They have very generously provided their 16-hour safety qualified supervisor training class to a number of OSHA area offices. They did it actually up here and a number of my staff and other national office staff were able to go. They have done some safety workshops in Boise working with Region 10. They have also been an active participant in our construction roundtables.
One of the things that became clear to us was because we had so many active national Alliances and they were all figuring out, and we figured out, that obviously their interest overlapped so what we did was put together an opportunity for them to all get together and meet which we did last summer probably in this room. We had representatives for most of the Alliances.
I think actually only 14 of them managed to come to the meeting. The focus of the meeting was to share information on safety and health issues. We talked a lot about fall protection, electrical hazards, ergo, and tried to figure out are there things you want to do together to address areas of common interest.
Everybody left this meeting incredibly enthusiastic and happy about the results of the meeting both as an opportunity to network, but they actually established two subgroups, one on fall protection and one on design for safety and these are the people, by the way, who participated in that meeting. The work groups have met twice since then. They both met in the early winter, one in January and one in February.
They both met again this May and they are going to develop some very specific and significant products. The fall protection group is developing safety tip sheets and their audience for these tips sheets will be both employers and employees. They will be Alliance products. They are looking now at data to essentially identify where they need to target the distribution of these sheets.
We were thinking they should be completed by about mid-summer. They also are currently reviewing an OTI PowerPoint presentation which we are going to use for a fall protection awareness course and they are reviewing this for us to give us input so we appreciate that as well.
The Design for Safety group is looking obviously at trying to identify examples of unsafe practices as well as safe practices which designers and engineers are creating so they will essentially develop a PowerPoint presentation called something like Designing for Safety.
This PowerPoint presentation will be intended to be used to show to those who actually do the building design and to the engineers and they are hoping to complete this by July. These are great products that really are being produced by the people who are participating in these Alliances with some minimal support for us and then they will be able to distribute these products through their network so we are very, very excited and pleased. The Design for Safety group is also helping us develop and OSHA designed a safety module that we can put in our business case page so that will be very, very helpful for us as well.
We do have obviously an Alliance homepage as well. You can go there and get information about all of our Alliances. There are links to each individual Alliance. You can find out who is signing on for Alliances. You can look at success stories. We are getting about 60,000 monthly visits to this page.
We have set up because there are so many construction participants an Alliance page that just lists all of the construction participants so you can go there and get information. You can go there and then you can click on any of these individually to get information about these particular Alliances. I think you can also go to the map and get information about the regional or area office Alliances.
So talking very fast, knowing it's time for everybody to go drink coffee and get on airplanes, that's generally where we are. We would be happy to ask -- answer, not ask. I don't want to ask questions, I want to answer questions. Just in case any of you don't have my business card, that's my contact information in terms of e-mail and phone number.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Paula.
MS. WHITE: You're welcome. I did want to say we passed out our brand new partnership brochure that is hot off the press. We've got a couple of -- some information, one about a construction partnership included in this but if this would be something that would be useful to you to p ass out, ask us and we'll be happy to give you copies.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Questions or comments for Paula? Mike Hayslip.
MR. HAYSLIP: Good morning, Paula. Thank you for appearing before us.
MS. WHITE: Good morning.
MR. HAYSLIP: I would like to ask a question on defining the value of partnerships. First I would like to offer a little bit of observation first. Over the last four days of intensive safety and health discussions that we've had here through either formal ACCSH meetings or informal work group gatherings, it seems to me that a common theme has started to develop.
One of those themes that I see that has developed over the last four days is a concentration on those firms that are other than the large general contractor. Perhaps the small firm or maybe the specialty contractor. I would offer the following. When Mr. Snare comes before us the first day and says that more than 50 percent of the construction fatalities are from specialty firms, I take note of that.
Then you add to it Kevin's presentation on tower erection saying the size of those firms are involved. We had some discussion also on lead and painters and the specificity of issues that are involved around that trade. Also, today we heard from Mr. Burkhammer on the issue of excavation in those size firms.
Also I heard many of my fellow ACCSH members contribute statements to the effect that it's sometimes the "small guy," if you will. My question is this. With regards to partnerships, how might you respond to the question when they say, "What's in it for me? What do I get out of it? Why would I want to entertain contributing with respect to a partnership?"
MS. WHITE: Well, hopefully what's in it for a small specialty, a small sub, is I think the same thing that's in it for a large contractor and that is an improvement in their safety and health experience. One of the things, I think, that is notable and, certainly, Mike, you and I have had been together around the Region V VPP pilot. A number of small companies and small construction companies are participating in that partnership.
In addition I think in all of our large construction partnerships, those that have been around every new stadium for any sport that's been built over about the last five years have had partnerships and those have included usually working first with the general, but all of the subs get included so their employees get trained, their safety and health experience is better. They walk away with improvements in their safety and health performance.
Last week at the ASSE I did two presentations. Paul White from Black and Beech presented with me. Certainly Black and Beech, for example, is very clear that they prequalify their subs. They want their subs -- they judge their subs based on their safety and health experience. Participating in an OSHA contract, an OSHA partnership, offers a small contractor the ability to essentially ensure that his safety and health management system is in place, that he understands how to train, that he understands how to ensure that his employees are working safely.
I think generally I would see what they are getting out of it is not only saying lives and preventing injuries which is immeasurable but also then from a business perspective not only saving money through insurance but also the ability to probably get jobs through large contractors.
MR. HAYSLIP: Thank you. I think ACCSH is well served to take heed of what Paula's office is doing and some of her staff. If there are ways that ACCSH can support those efforts, please don't hesitate to get with us.
MS. WHITE: We would appreciate it.
MR. HAYSLIP: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Thanks, Paula. I do have some concerns about the corporate-wide VPPs and we have expressed them through the building trades, I'm sure you're aware. My experience has been that in many companies that have a good safety program even they may have many sites and it really depends on who the superintendent is on that site as to how that gets implemented and some sites are better than others. It's very difficult to make sure it's good on all sites. If you are only going to a small percentage of the sites to visit, it's hard for OSHA to really judge what that program is like.
The other thing is, as you mentioned, I think, you know, one way to get the small contract is through prequalification of subcontractors. I think that's critical. I wanted to point out, Tom, if you can hold that up, I just worked with the AIJ Construction Committee on a document which includes health and safety in contract documents. It does have an important section on looking at prequalification of subcontractors. I think that's critical.
You raised an interesting question which you didn't answer which is this question of the negative impact on inspections, on enforcement. I'm wondering could you give us information on the amount of resources that it takes to implement and evaluate a VPP program in terms of OSHA resources compared with the amount that it takes for enforcement efforts? What is being spent on --
MS. WHITE: Well, to some extent you're comparing apples and oranges --
MR. SCHNEIDER: Right.
MS. WHITE: -- because an OSHA enforcement inspection can involve one inspector for two hours doing a complaint inspection and it can involve a team of inspectors for six months doing wall to wall in a major company. We actually did probably three or four years ago a cost accounting pilot.
Government as a whole is moving toward a cost accounting system that tie activities and results to dollars but we are -- we're not -- we really have a toe in the water in terms of getting there so any kind of cost data or cost comparison data is very, very general. We don't have a separate budget for VPP.
What we did in this pilot was because there are relatively few resources devoted to VPP in the agency. We sort of manually tracked through our VPP coordinators estimating how many hours it took to review applications and do on-sites.
I think our belief is that the resources to approve a VPP site compared to the resources to probably to a wall-to-wall inspection but, you know, I don't have -- the agency couldn't produce a factual document to give you. I think the concern that we cited is just a general recognition that the agency has limited resources. Anything we do we are trying to -- we are doing within the resources available to us.
One of the things that we focus on very, very much with my staff in dealing with the RAs and regional VPP managers is continual process improvement, looking at ways to work more efficiently, to work more effectively to maximize our resources. Certainly one of the things that has been important to us in our current VPP program is our Special Government Employees Program so that we've got representatives from VPP sites, both hourly workers and managers that we train and who come and are sworn in as Government employees.
When they are working with us on an on-site they are Government employees during that time. In looking toward the future implementation of construction VPP you may be certain that SGEs will be a place we will go to look for assistance. I know I'm not quite answering your question.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Right. Right.
MS. WHITE: But the issue is, Scott, I think, if I may say, and this is a personal opinion of mine, the agency has essentially three strategies for improving safety and health and enforcement is only one of those. In the growth of voluntary programs and cooperative programs is another one of those. Certainly the data we have that talks about the improvement in safety and health through our cooperative programs is compelling that we know these programs work. We know they save lives. We know they reduce injuries. We know they save money. It's not just -- OSHA no longer is just going to look one way.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Right. No, and I'm not saying they should but I'm just asking the question because I know I've read the evaluation reports and they are fairly extensive and it seems like they take quite a bit of time to do. I don't know what the budget is for SGEs but, I mean, I now that OSHA is down now. They only have about 1,000 inspectors federally nationwide.
MS. WHITE: It's probably about the same number we've had for the last five years.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I think at the height it was 1,600 and then it went down to about 800. Now it's about 1,000. Anyway, I had two other questions.
MS. WHITE: Okay.
MR. SCHNEIDER: One of them is in terms of the final Federal Register notice that is going to come out, is there going to be public hearings after that the way there is with a Federal Register notice with a standard setting or just a final --
MS. WHITE: There would not be public hearings, Scott, because this is not a regulation. It's not being done under the APA. What we will obviously have to do is if the changes are significant, there is no question, I think, that the solicitors would advise us to republish for comment but we would not have hearings.
Since right now I can't predict how significant the changes would be, I can't answer the question but I think it's very safe to say if we had a significant revision, we would ask for additional comments.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I would just make to other recommendations. One of them is since so much relies on this whole issue of the actual number of injuries that occur, I think the whole issue of under-reporting and making sure that injuries are not under-reported, there's no discouraging of reporting, people are encouraged to report is really critical.
The other thing I would recommend is, particularly in the construction industry, I think if a construction company has a VPP program and they are not dealing with the ergonomic issues on their job site, then they are not really addressing a huge chunk of the injuries, at least a third of all the injuries on their job site which is very significant. I would encourage you to try to incorporate a requirement that ergonomics has to be addressed in any VPP in the construction industry.
MS. WHITE: The issue is -- I think the issue, if I inflict that, is this. Any VPP site currently goes well beyond OSHA standards. One of the things that we do is a thorough examination of records when we are doing an on-site review. When you look at records and you look at injury and illness data, if there are ergo hazards, they have to be addressed or the site is not going to qualify.
When we do a walk-through we are looking to see that there is a management system in place that addresses all hazards. While there's not an ergonomic standard and we are looking for voluntary approaches to addressing ergonomics, for the VPP site to qualify by definition if there's a ergo hazard, they are going to have to be addressing it.
MR. SCHNEIDER: And I would suggest that there probably are ergo hazards on most, if not all, construction sites. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Greg Strudwick.
MR. STRUDWICK: Report from the field.
MS. WHITE: Okay.
MR. STRUDWICK: Because I'm there all the time. My background typically was underground but it becomes the first phase of large projects typically. I don't know if American Airline Center was one of the VPP projects. It was Austin Industries but it could have been.
I do know that I worked closely with the contractor on a Cabella's, a large Cabella's in Forth Worth, and the model that you are promoting and putting together is being used even though it's not called VPP. On both of those projects, and these were big, big, big projects that lasted, the American Airline Center, probably 18 months and Cabella's was a good nine months.
A lot of those small contractors that we are trying to reach were included because I was there and the emphasis was on cooperation and helping and everybody's eyes whether they were their employer or their responsibility were still there. In both those cases there were probably fewer than 10 recordable incidents during the whole process.
MS. WHITE: Right.
MR. STRUDWICK: Even though you don't think you're getting a wide reception as far as the contractors are concerned, they are paying attention based on large contractors that have a toe in the water here but it's already passing down through so I just wanted to inform you that it's very positive and I've seen great results.
For me to be able to walk out on the site with a contract that's doing infrastructure and walk over and say, "By the way, there's somebody not tied off on the other side of the building," and have that not be a critical situation based on some other contractor but more of a team effort is great.
It's wonderful and that's what is going to improve our industry no matter what is that all of us can work together on these sites but this is a very good model, all of this. As NUCA and the drilling contractors in February, NUCA in December, involved in Alliances it's already promoted working together in a better relationship with the OSHA folks themselves.
MS. WHITE: Good. That's really fundamental to the program design.
MR. STRUDWICK: So it's working.
MS. WHITE: Good. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Linwood Smith.
MR. SMITH: I wanted to follow up on some comments Scott made about corporate-wide or company-wide job sites, companies with multiple job sites in terms of this program. He referenced the fact that all job sites are not alike, even in the same company, which is true. There are going to be minor discrepancies.
I would maintain that even these job sites you still have a program in place. You have procedures. You have a system. You have supervision. You have people not related to that job site that are corporate that are involved in trying to improve that job site over time.
While it may not be perfect, it still looks to me like a better place for OSHA to spend their resources, what limited resources they have. These companies, even a company that's participating in this, all job sites may not be completely equal but those companies are not going to be bad actors.
They are going to be the companies that are really striving, really trying, really spending the money, really trying to implement their program on the side. OSHA would limit the resources and it looks to me like a good use of some of those resources.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom Broderick.
MR. BRODERICK: Paula, first of all, I apologize for not being at that meeting but I was here.
MS. WHITE: That's okay.
MR. BRODERICK: I look forward to getting information from it. Where you have a contractor like Weitz that has gone through stage three, could you describe what the process will be for them?
MS. WHITE: Don't ask that question. Where do they go next? Is that the question?
MR. BRODERICK: Yeah. How is the bridge made from then to --
MS. WHITE: Well, if we had VPP-C approved inherent in our program design, and the reason we designed challenge is the thought when you finish you're VPP ready and we would have an expedited application and on-site.
One of the things we're doing now is trying to work with matrices and figure out as these companies graduate is there some place that we can move them into one of our current demonstration projects because we don't want to lose the momentum and there's enough there. Unlike the general industry part there is not necessarily a place for them to go and we are aware of that and concerned about it and working on it. I was really hoping no one would ask that question.
MR. BRODERICK: I'm sorry.
MS. WHITE: No, I'm teasing. But it is an issue because VPP-C is not ready.
MR. BRODERICK: It would seem like there would be some activities that they could be doing in the transition period.
MS. WHITE: Exactly. And certainly one thing we could do, we want to take advantage of them. They can be used as a poster child. They can become a mentor of their own. Those are possibilities but we would really like to get a VPP demo to get them in so they can get a VPP flag because they've accomplished incredible things and we want to recognize that.
VPP is primarily a recognition program. It's recognizing what you were doing to be exemplary. It's not like OSHA doesn't have a lot to offer in terms of giving you a silver cup or something. "You are doing it because it's the right thing to do and you're improving the lives of your employees and we are going to give you a flag and an exemption from a program inspection. Hopefully you're going to help us get more people in the program." That's important.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Linwood.
MR. SMITH: I would like to make another comment that follows up with what Tom was just saying. It's a little different than where did they go. I'm real proud of the Weitz company and in full disclosure they are a fine AGC contractor. They are also grand prize safety winner from AGC.
I did hear the presentation yesterday. I went over and heard it and I was impressed. I asked them to make a presentation for us to a safety and health meeting we're having in July we're having Charlotte. Also the thing that I was impressed with with the Weitz company and what they said in their presentation was that their desire, and they said this, and I'm just going to use my own words, but they said their desire was to help other companies and to reach out and help improve the industry.
I think that is so important. Lessons learned, best practices, whatever you want to call it, always has a very positive impact on the industry. They are more than willing, I'm sure, to view the tape. They are more than willing to -- they work in half the states. They are more than willing to present to help any contractor they can and help others to understand the value of working safely and having a safe project.
Also the other company that presented, Garber Brothers, is a small company. They've got about 70 people. They are personally aware of a lot more than one half. The owner of their company represents a lot of construction companies out here in the United States.
To hear them they are a typical -- with 70 people they are not small in some terms but they primarily bid the Wal-Marts, those type of operations which is low-profit, low-margin type jobs. Sometimes when we sit in meetings and we talk to contractors and we talk to others and we talk about what we as contractors do, and you are listening to a contractor that all their bids are preferred, negotiated type bids, it's a little harder for that contractor sometimes that is down there bidding the Wal-Marts and the McDonalds and really having a low price on his bid in order to get the work.
I think you've got two companies there, one large and one small both of which are more than glad to help promote. Let's face it, a lot of people in the industry learn from other contractors. We don't mind stealing and we don't mind copying what other people are doing.
We've got opportunity here to use these people to make presentations across the country, to do tapes, to impact on some of these other small companies that we've talked about and maybe, indeed, reach them where we couldn't reach them with traditional means and traditional seminars. That's a good thing and we can use them in a lot of ways. I hope we do that.
MS. WHITE: Right. I very much appreciate you saying that. I was neglectful in not recognizing the AGC for mentoring. They were the challenge administrator in this case but that is exactly what I was saying.
They become a mentor for others. It's very significant. We would just like to give them a little bit more. We will definitely work with you guys to take advantage of that. They were both very powerful presentations. We are just so excited because it means the program designs work.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom Kavicky.
MR. KAVICKY: Paula, Tom Kavicky with the Carpenters out of Chicago. Thank you for coming. I just want to make a comment regarding the partnership since Soldier Field in 2000, I believe, it was. That was one of the first partnerships that came through Chicago. The carpenters and the building trades were very involved in that one.
My comment is it's influencing the contractors, as well as the generals, but where we're seeing a real cultural change in the way you do business is with the employees, the construction workers. The first partnership everybody was kind of looking and scrutinizing OSHA and what we were trying to do.
By the time the second one rolled around with AMEC they already understood what we were looking at. The culture was different from the ironworkers right down to the specialty trades. The safety practices at the job site had just turned 180 degrees so it's wonderful to see it.
Now, with the current one we've got going with McCormick Place what's really interesting on that one is the venture is sitting down with the building trades prior to any critical lifts looking at other ways to do it or ideas and to see ironworkers, I'll tell you, it really does my heart good to see ironworkers working on a stage putting up these steel trusses, these humongous steel trusses, working off of a platform like that instead of up in the iron is just incredible. That job is going really well.
MS. WHITE: That's great.
MR. KAVICKY: I can't say enough about it. We're pushing them.
MS. WHITE: I have to say to all of you since I know this meeting is recorded, I'll probably be coming back to you for permission to use your quotes. Everything that you have said is really testimony to the efficacy of these cooperative approaches and getting everybody, labor and management and Government to work together and change the culture because that's really what it's all about is changing the culture.
MR. KAVICKY: The interesting part about it when we do the audits as the team, all the guys on the job understand what we're there for. They give us a little static every once in a while just to see what we're going to do but it's really been well taken from the crafts and we appreciate it.
MS. WHITE: Good. Thank you so much.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mike.
MR. HAYSLIP: If I may briefly, I would like to pile on just a little bit with what Linwood said because I think it's so critically important also. With regards to one of the other graduates, if you will, Challenge Precision, Shawn Marker. If you have ever met the guy, he's passionate. He's in your face, with hulking guy. I think they are an ABC member for that matter. I would have to check on that.
If we can get access to those people, that's a wonderful thing when those people are out there just to see a tape of him or to get him to show up or someone that will do like that. Like Linwood said, I think it would be an excellent thing.When OSHA --
MS. WHITE: I was just being told you are absolutely right because I couldn't remember where Garber Brothers came from. They are from the Ohio Valley Education Association so they are one of yours.
MR. HAYSLIP: Correct.
MS. WHITE: They are an ABC affiliate.
MR. HAYSLIP: Yeah, Shawn --
MS. WHITE: Maybe you could get that tape for us.
MR. HAYSLIP: I missed that last part.
MS. WHITE: You could maybe get that tape for us.
MR. HAYSLIP: Yeah. Sure. In fact, I'll do trainings and Shawn and I are separated by a division, if you will.
MS. WHITE: Right.
MR. HAYSLIP: The division is not as thick as I would like it. He's very passionate. When OSHA becomes the cheerleader, and I think that's done through your office, that's a powerful place where each of us can teach each other under the OSHA guidance where it's not OSHA teaching us per se.
I think that's very valuable. In addition, the one other thing I would like to add that was not mentioned, is to teach us those things that do not work. Best practices are good but I think there's a value in those lessons learned by what we tried and did not work.
MS. WHITE: Right. I agree.
MR. HAYSLIP: And those companies have failed many times. To know those failures is important, too.
MS. WHITE: Right.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Frank Migliaccio.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Paul, Frank Migliaccio with the Ironworkers International here in Washington, D.C. Thanks for the comments, Tom. We can use them all.
MR. KAVICKY: You're doing a great job.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: With respect to the VPP-C program, the overview and so forth, Scott had brought up and Linwood had addressed some of it about the jobs not being the same. You could have the same corporate there leading the way but you always have different subcontractors, different people running the job so you're always going to have a different mentality on the job.
For the subcontractors are you looking at the corporation that gets the VPP status to oversee them making sure they're doing their job and, if so, what are you looking at for reevaluations? How far down the road would you reevaluate a company?'
MS. SIEMEN: One year after you get in the first time and then three to five years after that. While I have an opportunity to speak, I do want to speak to the point about the job staying consistent across the nation for a particular company or whatever.
One of the cornerstones of doing the corporate business unit type approach to VPP, or even corporate VPP that we're piloting now for general industry, is that particular company has systems in place, and Paula spoke to this in her presentation, systems in place where they do regular oversight and regular on-site reviews and require certain minimum requirements of the supervisors on the jobs and so forth.
When we go out and do an actual corporate review, we look at those systems and make sure those systems are in place. When we do the facility reviews, we make sure that what they said they are doing is actually happening in the work force and that is really key.
MS. WHITE: The other thing is that getting a VPP approval doesn't mean you keep a VPP approval if you don't keep performance up and so we are collecting data and we will collect data because there's an annual self-evaluation required so we will collect data from all of your sites. If performance falls off, you'll get kicked out.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: If it fell from one site or several sites?
MS. WHITE: Well, what we have to do is because we are looking at a corporate program, we will be looking at all of the sites so you have to keep performance up at all of your sites. Not just the ones that we do an on-site on but all but all of the sites that are within that approval, within the scope of that approval, again not knowing what that scope is going to be, whether it's area office or state or region-wide.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: If a fatality did occur on one of the sites, would that expedite their reevaluation?
MS. WHITE: Sure, as it does now.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead, Greg.
MR. STRUDWICK: One more brief question. I would have liked to have listened to the large contractor and then the small contractor. Was there one common awareness of the fact that they are doing these programs making them more efficient and more productive which leads to the fact that they could be more profitable if they focused on that or participated in the program?
MR. SMITH: I can remember one thing that stood out, Greg. It's two companies, it's a mentality, it's a mind set, it's willing to spend the money, it's recognizing up front what the advantages are and how --
I mean, you know, the smaller company, I think, was just flabbergasted the amount of money they'd saved on comp premiums and insurance premiums as a result of this program because the owner was very passionate in saying that if he saved one life, it was well worth this effort and the money spent. I think he was just amazed at how much money the program has actually saved him because he found that as a side benefit.
MS. WHITE: Right. Again, I think the other thing -- I didn't mean to interrupt but the other thing that we certainly have seen in our pilots and in others is from the business end if you improve safety and health performance, especially if you are dealing with someone like Black and Beech that prequalifies you are going to get more business.
But certainly, I think, highlighted in that presentation was the document. They could actually relate saving a life to this program. I don't think any of us would want to put a cost figure on that. But they are negotiating reductions in their insurance premiums and their worker comp costs are going down.
I use this slide a lot in my regular presentations on VPP. The data was developed by International Paper. It was done by their safety and health community. They compared performance. I think this was 2000 to 2002 but it could be 2001 to 2003, of all their IP sites that were VPP compared to their sites that weren't VPP because it's obviously a site-based program.
This comes from an article they published. They estimate that during this two-year time frame had all of their non-VPP sites been VPP they would have saved $16.5 million. That's a big chunk of change, I think, for anybody. There's some good data about this program.
MR. STRUDWICK: Well, that's what we're trying to do. When we're in a field we're selling the culture and so when we can sell the culture and show that it affects the bottom line and it affects the ability of the company to survive, it makes sense to those that are going to survive so it is significant and it gives us the ability to say, hey, this is what it's all about.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Final comment.
MR. SMITH: Very quickly I did want to identify one thing. This was highlighted, I think, in the presentation. I'm fairly new to Challenge here so this is an education for me. They highlighted one of the components of the Challenge program is perception surveys where you've got to actually survey the employees.
Whether you are a small company or big company it works and we do that at a company I work for. Then you've got to give answers. If you do that, it's not what your program is in the corporate office or the headquarters, it's how it's perceived by the people and the perception survey really works. That is highlighted, I think, in this effort and a good component.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: One recommendation at the risk of sounding heretical, but I think my labor brethren will agree with me. Whenever you do a VPP site, in order to ensure success the only way it will happen is if you have the president of the local building trades councils and those local unions involved.
As much as we profess to be unified and brethren, the top-down thing doesn't work coming from the international unions down to the local unions. You can get that if you've got the local support but I think it won't work in reverse.
MS. WHITE: Well, I mean, again, I think our current experience because we do require a local union, 100 percent local union support, and it does work.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. It was a great presentation.
MS. WHITE: Thank you. We appreciate it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We always appreciate you coming up.
Is there anyone in the public who would like to comment? Hearing none, old business.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Old business or new business?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Well, I'm under old business now. It depends on what you got.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I want to pass out this report. We had mentioned or brought this up as a potential action item or discussion item for future meetings. This is a report that David Weil did under with funding from the Center to Protect Worker's Rights on construction targeting and ways that we could improve targeting of construction enforcement efforts.
I wanted to pass this out and ask the committee if the ACCSH was interested in having him come to a future meeting. This was published a year ago but I think it has some interesting innovative ideas on how to improve the targeting of OSHA's limited enforcement resources.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Well, how about in order to be fair to the committee we let them review it and we can bring this up at the next meeting and whatever the wish of the committee is and we'll go from there.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay. The other thing -- this is new business. No, it's old business.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anything else under old business?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yeah, I have one other thing under old business. Previously at the meetings I have raised this question about whether or not we could make the work products of the ACCSH work groups more accessible. Right now ACCSH has a webpage and on the webpage there's a separate page for work products. There are only two work products on that webpage right now. What I did was each ACCSH meeting has a separate docket so a lot of the reports are buried in the dockets. What I did was I went through all of the dockets and pulled out all of the work products. I made a list of them and I also put them all on CD-ROM so that at least the ACCSH members could have them.
What I'm hoping is that these could then be put on the ACCSH webpage so that people can find them more easily. I did include one or two documents that were not in the docket, one of them being this report that I e-mailed to everybody on worker protection programs in construction which I thought was very useful.
This was something that OSHA had actually commissioned Meridian Research to do to look at comprehensive health and safety programs in construction but it had never been published or put in the docket officially. We are passing these out to the committee members along with the list of docket items. I wanted to raise that as a discussion question as to the pleasure of the committee in terms of getting these onto our website and making them more accessible to the public and to us.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I want to defer your question to the Director of the Directorate but I don't think it's our website. It's the website about our committee that belongs to the DOL so I'll defer that question.
MR. SWANSON: Well, you're absolutely right. It's an OSHA website. If the committee would like to put something on the OSHA website which has been identified as an ACCSH subsite, make your request and we'll entertain it.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Well, I'm raising it for discussion. Should I make a motion and then have the motion up for discussion? Okay. I would like to make a motion that these reports be listed and linked to from the ACCSH Work Products webpage. I think there's a lot of valuable work that the committees do and a lot of times it's difficult since we don't really have an ACCSH historian we can return to to ask about what happened years ago in the past.
It's very difficult to find these through the docket system. I thought it would be simpler and easier for people that are interested in what ACCSH has done and for historical purposes and for reference to have them easily accessible on the webpage. I guess I'm proposing that these things be put on the ACCSH Work Products webpage.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Is there a second?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: I'll second it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second. On the question?
MR. SMITH: Are we talking just motions that have been passed or are we talking everything that has been introduced in the record?
MR. SCHNEIDER: What is on the CD is primarily with an exception like this is basically minutes that have been put into the docket, reports from work groups, minutes from work groups. Some of them are draft text like, for example, the sanitation work group developed a draft text on how they wanted to revise the OSHA sanitation standard. It tells you under the description what this document is. There are two or three that I couldn't download or couldn't have access to or were not electronic but by in large it tells you what they were.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Let me make sure that everybody understands the motion. The motion is to recommend that these minutes and work group reports go over to OSHA for consideration to put on the website. I'm sure everybody understands what it cost to do that and this, again, is a recommendation.
Greg, you were on the question.
MR. STRUDWICK: No. It was just a comment. Scott, are all these represented on this disk?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes. And two or three others like this.
MR. STRUDWICK: My only comment was that if Scott has gathered all this information, and you have your own website, don't you? What about a link? Somebody said something about being able to link and saying for historical fact here are some of these listed and he has gathered them all together and they are linked to your website. Then go to your website and look at the old material. It's already there instead of somebody doing a tremendous amount of work originating or implementing a historical --
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I'm trying to think ahead. It could be one of the recommendations that come back from DOL. Anybody else on the question? We have a motion and second.
MR. HAYSLIP: Is it in discussion?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes.
MR. HAYSLIP: I have discussion. Mike Hayslip. It seems that if we decide to go forward on this that we should certainly give OSHA the time to review and look at the documentation for factual inaccuracies, proper classifications, etc. I think the focus, if anything, should be on formal products. I think it can be highly misleading to see drafts out there which may or may not encapsulate the full body's feelings. I don't necessarily have a problem with it, although I would be very cautious on the scope of what ultimately gets put out there.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead, Bruce.
MR. SWANSON: Let me clarify. Everything that I see identified on this sheet here, and I don't know what's on the CD, but everything I see identified on the sheet is a public document. OSHA has it and anybody who wanted to see it, we would have to make it available.
This is not an issue of things that have disappeared, although that one report we did have trouble finding and somebody found it in a bottom drawer of an old cabinet. With that said, these are public records. OSHA has retained them and OSHA would have to make them available for someone that FOIA'd it, for example.
If it was accepted by the ACCSH work group from a subcommittee, for example, subgroup, work group, as a document that ACCSH wanted to adopt and send on to OSHA, we have it as a record.
Now, the other question will be -- and I'm not answering it, I don't have the authority to answer it, but the other issue will be taking that written report from 1980 and formatting it for a website and then running that proposal through the approval process which means every other directorate in OSHA plus the Solicitor's Office, and this is something that we want to put on an OSHA website.
That's an entirely different question as to whether it's available as a public record or not. That is the process that you are asking OSHA to consider doing. When we have that request, we will work on that request.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Let me just respond. On this disk is everything that's listed on this list plus two or three things like the Meridian Report. All the things that are on this list are already accessible through the OSHA website through the docket but they are not collected in a way that makes it easy to find them.
All OSHA would need to do on the ACCSH webpage is to provide a link to the docket office webpage that would go directly to this document so there wouldn't be an issue in terms of a lot of work to put them up there. It's just a question of putting the links up there. For 90 percent of the stuff that's on this disk there shouldn't be an issue in terms of it is already publicly available through the OSHA website.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We --
MR. SCHNEIDER: Now, in terms of putting it up on our website as Greg suggested, we can do that, and maybe we will. We started putting some of this on the LCSH website but I think it's much more effective if people are looking for OSHA information, looking for information about what the ACCSH does or has done, they are going to go to the OSHA webpage and the ACCSH webpage and it's better for them to find it there because it's a work product of things that have come out of this committee. This committee does a lot of work and I think a lot of it is not reflected on the website that we have.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. We understand the motivation. The Chair will repeat. This is a motion for recommendation for OSHA to consider doing what the motion states and what your motivations are. Is there anyone else on the question?
MR. HAYSLIP: Point of clarification. It is my understanding Mr. Schneider is looking to put this documentation, which is in the public domain, in one place. Before we vote, I would like him to restate his motion so I'm clear on what we're voting on.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: As the Chair understands the motion, the motion is to recommend to OSHA to consider placing all the work group reports from the past that have been there, and I would reemphasize a motion to recommend to OSHA to consider so regardless of how important everybody else thinks, the ultimate decision lies with OSHA and the Department of Labor as I understand the motion.
MR. BRODERICK: I think for the record when it comes down to practicality in talking to the people that are actually going to give their opinion about how practical and how much it is going to cost, Scott made a very important point that I think would amend his motion wherein the links would be made.
If someone is able to electronically get into the OSHA website, get to the ACCSH work group page, and just have a link rather than the documents that would take them from the work group or from the work product page to the docket, it's a lot simpler than reloading all of those individual documents into a redundant location. Is that fair to say, Scott?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Would the maker of the motion and the seconder agree to amending the motion to include a recommendation for OSHA to also consider a link?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Frank.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else on the question? All those in favor signify by the sign aye.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Opposition or abstentions, if any? Hearing none, the ayes have it and so ordered.
Anything else under old business? New business. I have one thing under new business. Mike Buchet has asked everybody to check the expiration date on their OSHA badge. Some of you may be getting very close to expiration time.
MR. SMITH: Could you tell us do we have a date for next meeting yet?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We never have the date for the next meeting because it is so fluent and dependent upon OSHA's schedule, this room's availability, the speaker's availability. With all the wonderful technology of e-mail today, we try to keep everybody apprized of what potential dates will be in advance of -- for the committee's purpose in advance of them appearing in the Federal Register.
Anything else under new business? All right. There's a potential meeting date for the 17th of October that has already been proposed. I'm assuming that's here, Michael? Yes. The week of October 17th. Off the top of my head it's probably bad for me but that's okay. Murphy can chair another meeting.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Mike, you'll also just send it out like you usually do saying are these dates good because without looking at a calendar I have no idea.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Is there any other new business? Okay. I would like to express my thanks to all the ACCSH committee members and especially those of you who labored through those work groups. You did a lot of work and a lot of great work. Thank you very much for that.
Doug has already left. We have expressed our wishes for him in his new endeavors. I would also like to thank Tom. I know all your personal problems are over and you are back with us and we enjoy having you here. We welcome you to this first meeting and look forward to working with you again.
I would like to thank the Directorate of Construction, Mike Buchet, Stew Burkhammer. Billy Smith, I think, has left and everybody with the Directorate, Stacy, for their help during the meeting. Thank you all for your participation and we look forward to seeing you in October. Motion to adjourn before you leave?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: I make a motion to adjourn.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And second?
MR. KAVICKY: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We're adjourned.
(Whereupon, at 11:18 a.m. the meeting was adjourned.)Back to Top