The Advisory Committee met in the Frances Perkins Building
DOL Academy, Room N-5437
at 9:10 a.m.
Knut Ringen, Chair, presiding.
Stephen D. Cooper
William C. Rhoten
William J. Smith
Lauren J. Sugarman
Bernice K. Jenkins
Ana Maria Osorio, MD
Knut Ringen, Chair
Occupational Illnesses and Injuries
Mortality Study Results of Carpenter Union Members
OSHA's Respirator Standard
Jeff Snyder and Edith Nash
P R O C E E D I N G S 9:10am
MR. RINGEN: Good morning. We will get started.
While our quorum is more modest, we have some presentations that we will hear first thing this morning that will not require any votes. And there will be other members joining shortly, I think.
But rather than wait with this, we'll go ahead first with the NIOSH presentation.
And before we do that, let me thank Mr. Cloutier for his excellent stand-in action yesterday and ask what did you finish up with yesterday?
MR. CLOUTIER: We covered the workers reports on Training, Confined Space, Women in Construction and Data Collection.
MR. RINGEN: And how long did that take?
MR. CLOUTIER: About an additional 30 minutes.
MR. RINGEN: Oh. Very good. I think you should take over as Chairman.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Before we start, could we have introductions?
MR. RINGEN: Yes. Would the people in the audience please introduce themselves with their name and affiliation.
(Audience members introduced themselves off microphone)
MR. RINGEN: Thank you very much. Thank you for the suggestion.
Now we can go ahead with the NIOSH presentation. And Marie Hering Sweeney is going to lead it off.
MS. SWEENEY: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, thank you.
We have two people from NIOSH, Drs. Toni Alterman and Cindi Robinson. Both are from the Surveillance Branch in the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies.
Dr. Alterman, or Toni, will describe her work in progress on a workshop and in focus groups on occupational illnesses and injuries, that was requested of NIOSH by the Carpenters Union.
Cindi Robinson will present the findings from her completed mortality study of Carpenter Union members employed in the construction or wood product industries.
OCCUPATIONAL ILLNESSES AND INJURIES
DR. ALTERMAN: Let me given you a little background for my presentation.
As Marie mentioned, I'm going to (you can turn that on) I'm going to tell you about a workshop that we held in California several weeks prior to the Apprenticeship Conference being held by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.
We received an invitation from one of our external partners, Joe Durst of the Occupational Health and Safety Fund from the National Union. And he told us that he had scheduled two workshops. (That's a little bit out of focus. If you could focus that.) Two workshops, and he'd like us to plan something including a presentation of the mortality study results. So we had to figure out what it was we were going to do. And Joe put us on the schedule and called the workshop What's Killing Carpenters? Injury and Illness Prevention for the Future.
So I'm going to tell you a little bit about what we did in that workshop. We, unfortunately, really only had like two weeks prior notification to pull something together. So this is kind of what we had decided to do.
Okay. Next overhead.
If you can't see the overheads, that's okay. I'm going to say everything really that's on them. I just usually talk from my overheads, so.
Basically what we decided to do is we held two workshops. And we used a focus group format. We had approximately 80 participants. And we divided them up into six focus groups, three focus groups for each of the workshops.
And what we did during the workshops was at first we distributed educational materials, both from NIOSH and that slide by the Carpenters Union. And then we decided to have the carpenters help us identify risks and problems requiring solutions. Suggest preventive strategies. We thought we'd share the study results with them. And this would provide an opportunity to have a dialogue between the researchers and the carpenters.
Okay. Next overhead.
So, we handed out a very brief questionnaire to find out a little bit about who was going to be participating. We had no knowledge ahead of time. Joe wasn't sure who would show up. It was voluntary. It turned out that we had so many people, we had to turn people away. The room just couldn't hold it.
And so from our questionnaire we found out that the participants represented both wood processing and construction workers. They included about 40 percent of them were carpenters. Others were business representatives, health and safety trainers, managers, and other related trades.
Most of them had more than 10 years of experience. Most were in the age group 40 to 49, followed by 50 to 59. Most were full-time workers. And we had participants from 26 different states at the workshops.
Okay. Next overhead.
So we were very pleased with the turnout. And what we did was we had flip charts for each focus group. And a facilitator, which actually on short notice, we served as facilitators.
But what we asked them to do was to think first about injuries and what type of injuries can occur on the job. Think about whether they've ever been injured or watched a co-worker being injured and try to get them to think of the serious injuries first.
Okay. Then we brainstormed a list together of injuries. And then we went back and said: Okay. What can you do to prevent each of these injuries from occurring? And then we tried to brainstorm a list and address each one of the injuries that they had mentioned.
Okay. Next overhead.
MR. RINGEN: Did you give them a definition? How'd you define injury?
DR. ALTERMAN: I didn't really give them a definition. Most people seemed to have a fair idea of what injury meant. Some kind of injury or accident. I can give you an example of the types of things that they came up with.
For example, some of the things were: falls, back strain, blows to the head, chemical burns, vehicle and lift accidents, heat and welding burns. Other things were: lacerations, punctures, crushed hands and feet. Those type of things. Radiation was mentioned. Let's see, toxic exposures.
So there seemed to be a wide variety of things that fell under the injury category. And then there was some questions about: Is this an injury or a disease? But we didn't get into that. We had very little time, so I just tried to get as many responses from them as I could.
And then we talked about the types of things they could do to prevent these, like using guardrails. How important housekeeping was. The use of anti-skid mats. Tie offs. For back strain, ergonomic training using mechanical equipment. Being aware of manpower. Look at the lifting standards. Blows to the head, personal protective equipment. Proper rigging of loads. Guard nets, overhead protection netting. Tie off, restricting access.
These were just some of the things. For chemical burns, you know, looking at the MSDS's cut-off valves, awareness, personal protective equipment again. Vehicle and lift injuries. Important things there were like actually having eye-to-eye contact. Paying attention to what you were doing. Back-up alarms. Using seat belts. Training the qualified drivers. Making sure there was a substance abuse policy. Trying to eliminate that at the work site.
Heat and welding burns. Some of the suggestions were the personal protective equipment, welding shields, safety watch, warning signs, barricades and red flag tape.
These are just some examples of the things that they brainstormed. I have a much longer list.
Okay. Next overhead, please.
Okay. Now diseases actually, we thought they might have a harder time understanding than what we meant by injury. So, here we tried to say: What type of diseases can be caused or made worse by the work that you do? And here we gave them a definition sort of as: What might cause you to lose a day of work or go home feeling ill? It turned out I didn't have to use any examples. So, really the key was, you know, why would you go home? Why would you feel ill?
The next overhead.
Okay. So we had them brainstorm that list. And then we went back over that list and said: Okay. What can you do to prevent each of these or to keep from getting sick?
I just made the graphics to kind of stimulate some thought and get people rolling. But it turned out people were very participative. And I tried to make sure that all ideas were listened to in the group.
Okay. So they gave us some ideas about disease prevention.
Some examples were lung diseases and lung cancer, skin diseases, skin cancer or skin allergies, dermatitis, things like that. Lead poisoning, liver damage, mental illness. Those were some of the things. We had a long list of potential diseases.
And then we asked them to talk about preventive action. And some of the ones, say for lung diseases, personal protective equipment, using engineering controls, education regarding carcinogens.
And I had it in my mind that I was going to bring up smoking cessation but they actually brought that up. Even though several of them left the room to go smoke, that was raised in the group as a preventive action to help prevent lung cancer. So there was some awareness of that.
For skin, personal protective equipment, chemical substitutions, MSDS sheets, and also sunscreens and things like that for skin cancer.
I'm just giving you examples.
Lead poisoning, they mentioned engineering controls, monitoring, limiting exposure.
Liver damage, personal protective equipment, avoiding chemical exposures, using chemical substitutions, and also alcohol awareness.
Mental illness, there was some mention of identifying solvents, using personal protective equipment, and proper labeling chemicals.
Okay. We had a very short time, so I had to move them through each of these exercises pretty quickly.
The next thing we asked them is: What type of stresses are you exposed to that might put you or your co-workers at risk on the job? I did give an example of having to work at a fast pace. And then I asked them to kind of help me make a list of the different types of stresses that they experienced or that they knew co-workers experienced.
Okay. Actually one of the first things that came up. These are not necessarily in order. But the very first thing mentioned was communication problems with the foreman. And I noticed a number of the groups mentioned that.
Interpersonal conflicts, family responsibilities and problems affecting their work at the work site. They mentioned also that some of the men and women had trouble with confined spaces and extreme heights, that there were occasions where -- They used the example of a worker at an extreme height might freeze or freak out and that that was a concern that some of the people could not handle these situations and it put not only that person at risk, but their co-workers at risk.
They said that they found the concerns about sexual harassment to be stressful, that they had to worry about or be concerned that could they be accused of sexual harassment? Or was this going on?
Other stressors included underbidding jobs and scheduling problems or not scheduling enough time to get the jobs done. Other were labor conflicts. Sleep schedules, a lot of them said that one thing that they felt put them at risk was not getting enough sleep, either putting in too many hours or not handling their personal time, too, so that they maximized the necessary amount of sleep.
Travel and transportation time also was listed as a stressor, that it often took quite awhile to get to some of these construction sites. And that by the time they got there, they were more stressed out.
And then other issues that they had to worry about. The economic issues, the layoffs, the firings. So job security was certainly an issue.
Okay. Next overhead.
Okay. With regard to solutions or ways to approach some of these stressors. Some of the things were mentioned dealt with training and interpersonal problem solving. They mentioned sort of sensitivity training for the foreman, that they need to learn how to deal with people better and improve their communications skills.
Training in gender issues and sensitivity, so that issues of sexual harassment don't come up on the work site. And they mentioned that a lot of that is just lack of awareness and lack of education as far as, you know, either what constitutes sexual harassment or how should they be behaving when both genders are working together.
Other things that they thought might help both themselves and their co-workers were having some access to counseling or employee assistance programs or mediation programs to help them deal not only with work site issues but also personal and family stressors that they might have to deal with which they felt affected their work.
They also thought having established grievance procedures would be helpful to them and reduce some of the stress and some of the concern about the firings and the job security. That having a process to go through would make them feel a little more secure.
They recognized that improving their lifestyle factors, exercise, diet and so on, might help reduce the stress. Also getting health check ups on a regular basis. So monitoring their own health or having a physician monitor.
And issues about health insurance, that that was one concern. In some cases people did have insurance. In others they did not. And that that was sort of an economic and a health concern there.
Then we asked them -- We were running out of time. I just scheduled a lot to cover in the short time period that we were given.
We wanted them to tell us what kind of training they needed to stay healthy or prevent injuries. So we got some suggestions for training.
One of the things mentioned by each of the groups was journeyman-upgrade training, staying up to date with current techniques, equipment and so on. Training OSHA regs, MSDS, tie-offs. They felt that first-aid training and CPR were important on the construction site.
They also wanted task-specific training. And these are just some examples of some things that they mentioned.
They mentioned confined spaces, dealing with different chemicals, asbestos, and, in particular, driving certain of the vehicles, use of the vehicles. They thought that they should be trained specifically in that. And that might help prevent some of the accidents that were occurring. And also certification in welding and scaffold. I guess that's erection.
Basically this was our sort of first attempt to use a workshop format to communicate with the workers. Cindi will be presenting the results of her mortality study.
After we went through this exercise, we got them back together as a group and Cindi presented the mortality result. And then we had a question and answer period.
So what we'd like to do in the future is use this kind of format. It was a very enthusiastic audience. There was a lot of participation. As I said, you know, we had to turn people away. And they were really good at thinking of different ideas and problems that they thought needed addressing.
And we thought in the future if we could identify opportunities at conferences, apprenticeship programs and different meetings, to talk with the workers.
NIOSH has done a number of mortality studies. We could communicate the results of these studies to the specific workers or trades and also to the health and safety trainers, apprentice trainers. And it would also provide us with an opportunity to collect some quantitative and qualitative data from the workshop participants. We could collaborate with our external partners and other NIOSH divisions to develop prevention documents.
And what we hope to do now with this workshop is to develop sort of a fact sheet from the mortality study that Cindi's going to report about to tell them what is it we found. What do carpenters die of? And as I say in the future for other trades. And also put together a workshop summary and a prevention document.
So basically this was kind of a new approach for us. Rather than just relying sort of on the scientific literature and that, we went to where the carpenters were and tried to communicate with them and to get some feedback and information from them on what they thought we should be looking at. What kinds of questions. What kind of stressors. And what things they felt put them at risk.
So, I thought it was an exciting opportunity. And people seemed very enthused.
That's about all I have. And then I guess Cindi's going to take it down to a more serious mortality level. And then if you have questions.
(Pause to set up slide projector)
MORTALITY STUDY RESULTS OF CARPENTER UNION MEMBERS
DR. ROBINSON: The study I'm going to talk about is the mortality study where we looked at mortality patterns 1987 through 1990 of carpenters in the construction or wood products industry.
This kind of study takes awhile to conduct. It's labor intensive and I'd like to acknowledge all the assistance I received from the Carpenters Union, my colleagues and co-workers at NIOSH and the Center to Protect Workers' Rights.
Just a little background. The Bureau of the Census in 1992 estimated that there was about 1,057,000 carpenters in the U.S. And the Union represents about 200,000 of them or about 20 percent of all U.S. carpenters.
And probably everyone is aware that this study is part of the larger Health Initiative for Construction Workers conducted by NIOSH and the Center to Protect Workers' Rights.
Most previous studies of carpenters have been limited to the wood industry. Very few have looked at construction site carpenters. The International Brotherhood of Carpenters asked NIOSH to do the study. And the goal of the study was to evaluate the mortality patterns of the union members and to identify preventable causes of death that were associated with occupational exposures in the construction or wood products industry.
In 1972 Sam Milham conducted a mortality study of the Carpenters Union and this study was to follow up on the results of that study.
Sam's study found excess deaths from stomach cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, Hodgkin's disease, lymphatic cancer, and fatalities, and nasal cancer. And nasal cancer has long been associated with furniture making in several of the other studies, mostly British studies, but some U.S. So we wanted to particularly look for those causes of death.
Carpenters may be exposed to noise, solvents, glues, lacquers, wood preservatives, wood dust, asbestos, silica paints, and electric and magnetic fields from tools.
So under the Constitution of the Carpenters, a deceased carpenter's family is entitled to death benefits if he died while he was active or retired. We were able to use the Union death benefit records to identify the eligible members of the study. And, however, we did obtain some death certificates from the state in the case where it was missing, about 2100 of those.
We compared the Union mortality with the U.S. proportional mortality rate and we computed age-adjusted PMRs and PCMRs. A PMR is the proportionate mortality ratio and all you need to know is that if it's over 100 it is elevated.
The local unions have skill classifications because carpenters tend to join locals based on their skills. And so we used those classifications as risk subgroups to do a subanalysis.
We obtained the death certificates. They were coded by a trained nosologist. And we used the NIOSH life table program to calculate age-adjusted PMRs.
We also did a more conservative analysis called proportionate cancer mortality analysis. This was done to adjust for potential bias that can result from PMR analysis.
And the next five or six slides are the results of the study.
Death certificate status showed that we obtained death certificates for about 27,362 carpenters for that four year time period or 99 percent of the deaths. We excluded deaths that occurred in foreign countries because they would not be in our denominator, which was the U.S. mortality rate. And we couldn't locate nine certificates.
This shows the distribution by race and gender. Most of the study was white males, although I did analysis of the other race/sex groups. I'm not going to focus on them today. Just the white males.
I do have some reprints here that have the analysis of the other race/sex groups in the whole study, though, which I guess we'll pass out in a bit.
This slide just shows the distribution by age at death. And as you would expect, you see a greater number of deaths for the age 20 group where fatalities tend to occur, and then in the over-75 group.
This shows the distribution by years in the Union. The blue bar on the right represents all the benefit-eligible carpenters. And there, over 50 percent had greater than 40 years in the Union.
The analysis of the study showed many elevated causes of death. I'm just showing some of selected causes.
For the entire Union, 11 sites of cancer in addition to the other causes of death were significantly elevated. When we ran the proportionate cancer mortality analysis, which is the more conservative analysis, three sites of cancer remained significantly elevated. They were stomach cancer for both white males and non-white males. The PMR is the black number on the left of the red bar. On the bottom of the slide, the numbers represent PMRs and the 100 line represents background. So elevated is anything greater than 100. Stomach cancer. Lung cancer remained significantly elevated. And mesothelioma was the highest PMR in the study. It was a three-fold excess of deaths.
We observed for heart disease a decreased PMR but we did observe an increase in a kind of heart disease called cardiomyopathy.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: How many deaths were there in all from mesothelioma?
DR. ROBINSON: For the total study -- Well, it's kind of tricky because these are only the mesotheliomas that occurred in the lung. For the entire study there were about 120 deaths due to mesothelioma, which is a considerable excess, since they only occur from asbestos exposure.
Okay. For the subanalysis, when we looked at the skill classification codes of the local unions, the two largest subgroups were for the construction industry with 22,758 deceased members and the wood products industry.
So the carpenters in the construction industry had one pattern of death and the PCMRs for lung cancer, mesothelioma and bone cancer were significantly elevated for this group. Asbestosis was elevated, as were falls.
However, when we looked at the carpenters and the wood products industry, a little different pattern occurred. Stomach cancer remained elevated. Male breast cancer had a significantly elevated PMR, but it was based on only four deaths. And injuries due to transportation such as railway or either traffic or non-traffic motor vehicle deaths was also elevated.
Just a few points of discussion. The highest PMRs in the study were for diseases caused by asbestos exposure on construction sites. Exposure to asbestos has been documented even in recent years on construction sites by Nicholson, NIOSH, and others. Our PMR of 301 for mesothelioma was consistent with other studies of construction workers, of carpenters on construction sites. TITA reported in, I believe it's Connecticut, a PMR of 2.2.
Our study observed an excess of stomach cancer. This has been previously associated with Canadian workers with long exposure to sawdust by Semiatecki in 1986. He observed that excess risk for stomach cancer was greatest in Canadian workers with long exposure to sawdust, like carpenters.
We observed elevated bone and breast cancer PMRs. This has not been reported in previous studies except for a study by McGlaughin who looked at Swedish carpenters who worked in the construction industry and reported excess male breast cancer there also.
Heart disease, cardiomyopathy and the healthy worker. The healthy worker effect is defined as selection into employment of healthier individuals and is usually reflected as decreased PMRs for coronary heart disease. We observed elevated risk for a different heart disease risk, cardiomyopathy, which has been associated with occupational exposures and might be looked at further.
Just a word about limitations and strengths of this type of study.
For limitations, there is potential bias because of death certificate underlying causes of death. We have no work histories, no exposure measurements, no smoking data, and no information on members of the Union who quit and there were no records for that.
But the strengths of study is that sometimes Union records are the only way to study occupational groups where there are few large employers who maintain records. And it is based on a financial incentive, which has been shown by Bomont and others to yield accurate estimates of the death rate because of that financial incentive to report the death.
It can identify areas for intervention at the work place and can be used to prioritize analytic studies. It encourages further investigation and improvements in data design and quality, hopefully.
And in conclusion, despite our limitations, our study observed significantly elevated mortality for the diseases caused by asbestos: lung cancer, and malignant mesothelioma, and asbestosis. We observed moderately elevated mortality for fatal injuries. And we observed some unexpected findings of stomach, bone and male breast cancer that might require further evaluation of possible occupational risk factors.
These data suggested that carpentry is a very hazardous trade and that further preventive action against asbestos and other hazards is needed.
Any questions? Thanks.
MR. RINGEN: Thank you very much. Any questions for both presentations? Stew?
MR. BURKHAMMER: When you all undertook this study, what was your goal? I mean, what did you want to get out of it?
DR. ROBINSON: When we undertook the study, the goal was to look at mortality patterns and to identify some preventable causes of death, knowing that some of the deaths occurred from exposures that occurred many years ago, but other things perhaps weren't.
In addition, the idea that maybe prevention can be bettered and might be needed.
MR. BURKHAMMER: But there was no way for you to factor out smokers and non-smokers?
DR. ROBINSON: No, we didn't have smoking data. We would have had to do a questionnaire to get at that I guess.
MR. BURKHAMMER: It's hard to question a dead person.
DR. ROBINSON: Yes. We could have asked the families.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes.
DR. ROBINSON: This has been done. It's not very reliable. So we didn't do it.
MR. RINGEN: Although you can assume that just about all of these workers were either current or former smokers?
DR. ROBINSON: I think that a study looking at the health interview survey data...
MR. RINGEN: Actually, none of them were current smokers.
DR. ROBINSON: Yes. Carpenters and other blue collar workers have increased death rates. But still, it was about 40 percent. So that's a large percentage.
MR. RINGEN: I think the important thing about this -- First of all, this kind of analysis as Cynthia said is flawed in many different ways. But it's a good way to get a rough cut at some information about disease patterns, which we don't have at all. You know, when we look at data here, we only see injury data, because that's all DLS records for a variety of different reasons.
But in this study of carpenters, the risk for traumatic injuries, the kinds of things that we see and we look at here, is fairly small in comparison to the risk for some disease categories that take a very long time and are associated with a lot of different factors to develop.
And if, you know, you're concerned about developing public health programs more broadly for workers, these kinds of data become an important initial step at trying to figure out where we should focus our attention.
MR. BURKHAMMER: In the first report, judging from some of the responses to that, lack of insurance and that kind of things, when you did this study, were most of the carpenters that you surveyed or people that you surveyed out of work?
DR. ALTERMAN: Were they out of work?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes, at the time. I mean...
DR. ALTERMAN: No. Actually the majority of them were working 40 hours or more per week.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Did you say union or non-union?
DR. ALTERMAN: These were all union.
MR. BURKHAMMER: All union. Okay.
DR. ALTERMAN: Because this was at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Apprenticeship Workshop. We went to their conference. Not all the participants were carpenters. Some of them were health and safety training people.
MR. BURKHAMMER: The answer that bothered me I guess was the one about the lack of health insurance because the Carpenters have a health insurance program.
DR. ALTERMAN: Right. I think they were talking in more general terms.
DR. ROBINSON: Some locals do. And I don't think all the locals have the same insurance. It's just up to the particular local.
MR. BURKHAMMER: ...you have insurance... Most unions have it for a six month period when you're out of work and those kind of things. If you get an extensive unemployment, then you're in danger of losing that coverage, even more so now that self-pay for a year. I don't know that if the person's working pretty steadily, there's any problem with it.
MR. RHOTEN: Yes. Unless you're stuck out on this kind of...
MR. BURKHAMMER: If you get into a depressed area where you have high unemployment for a long period of time, then that becomes a real serious issue with all the members.
MS. RHOTEN: Yes. I think you've got to look at the area you're in.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes.
MR. RHOTEN: Because there's a, you know as well as we do, it's ... around construction.
MR. BURKHAMMER: ...there's no money coming in.
MR. RHOTEN: That's true too. Yes.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Self-pay.
MR. RHOTEN: And a lot of them may have lost it and had to self-pay. A lot of our guys have at times.
The other thing that was kind of strange was everything they listed that they wanted in the area of training and needs, is usually offered by the local union or the training fund as journeyman upgrades. In almost every one of the internationals, there's programs for CPR and confined space and hazcom and everything there already. It's just that most of the members either don't know its there or don't want to go back on their own time and get it.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Right. Until we pass that law requiring 10 hours training, then we can them all down there.
MR. SNYDER: Exactly.
MR. RINGEN: All right. Any other questions?
(Several speaking and laughing)
MR. RINGEN: Okay. Thank you very much.
The agenda for this morning -- First of all I'm going to suggest that we skip the break that is in the agenda. We have three more presentations that all are going to take a little more than an hour in total I think. So, and then we have at 11 o'clock, OSHA is bringing somebody over to...
MR. SWANSON: You've got four more presentations on that agenda.
MR. RINGEN: The training presentation.
MR. SWANSON: You've got training presentation. You have a respirator standard presentation which we will make as brief as we can. Right. And then the two: the reinvention and the OSHA one. So that's four.
MR. RINGEN: So we're probably not going to be done at 11 o'clock as I said yesterday, Steve, but we'll do the best we can. What?
MR. CLOUTIER: That's fine.
MR. RINGEN: Okay. Let's go ahead. What we'll do next...
MR. SWANSON: Mr. Chairman?
MR. RINGEN: Yes.
MR. SWANSON: The Committee also asked yesterday that OSHA give a brief presentation on the new recordkeeping proposal. Do you still want to hear that?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes.
MR. SWANSON: Okay.
MR. RINGEN: So I suggest that we take this and keep going until we finish up this morning if that's all right with everybody?
Then what we'll do is we will take the OSHA reinvention presentation and the OSHA link and then the training presentation, if that's all right.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Mr. Chairman?
MR. RINGEN: Yes.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Could we take our cart back?
MR. RINGEN: Sure. Go ahead. Yes. Please. No problem.
They want to set up their stuff in the back there.
(Pause while equipment being set up)
MR. RINGEN: The next presentation is by Bob Kulick who is with the Reinvention Office here at OSHA. And he's going to first tell us what the Reinvention Office is and then tell us what he does.
MR. KULICK: Good morning. Thank you. I'm the Director of the Office of Reinvention.
MR. SWANSON: You need the mike.
MR. KULICK: Okay. Sorry. Okay. I'm the Director of the Reinvention Office for OSHA. I've been so since February of this year. Prior to that I was an Area Director in a field office in New Jersey for about eight years. Parsippany.
The Office of Reinvention evolved out of a lot of the reinvention initiates in OSHA but primarily out of our area office redesign project known as the GRIP Project or getting results and improving performance.
Prior to the formality of the Reinvention Office, we put together a team of representatives from the field, the regional offices, and some national office folk to try to look at changing the way we deliver at the area office level. Redesign the area office.
That design team lasted for two years made up of this field folk. We initially started the redesign roll out and we faded away that formal team and evolved to a smaller group here in the national office which is the Office of Reinvention.
Currently there are five of us that are full time. And what we're primarily responsible for is integrating reinvention initiatives within the agency, with primary responsibility right now for the continuance of the area office redesign.
So we're transferring the responsibility of that out into the regions. And our role is to provide them guidance, training, support. Another role we have is to evaluate any new initiatives within the organization. Look for opportunities for new initiatives within the organization. And bottom line: We're there to try to improve performance for the organization.
Reinvention simply put in its simplest terms is to work smarter and improve performance. That means reducing injury, illness and death for us.
What I want to talk with you about and I've been asked to talk to you about are what are some of these redesign initiatives that are occurring out in the area offices. And of course those that are engaged in construction initiatives. And we have a few going on that are quite unique and are starting to show some results. So I wanted to give you an idea of what that is and give you some examples.
I talked about creating or redesigning the area office, the field area office. And we essentially looked at, when we had this team together, we looked at coming up with that model to redesign. And we came upon four areas, four levels of change that we needed to implement to change the area office implementation.
And these are the four areas of change. We looked at what strategy we're delivering at the area office level. How are we organized. What is the structure of the area office. What are the processes that we're engaged in on a day-to-day basis, both internally and those that impact the community. And how are we measuring our performance and achievements at the area office level. So, four levels of change: strategy, structure, processes, and measurement.
What I wanted to focus on today comes out of, of course, the strategy area. Now the strategy in terms of looking at the strategy at the area office level, we established clearly right up front the cornerstone of this strategy: We continue to be a strong and credible enforcement program. Targeting employers that are irresponsible. Targeting hazards, leading hazards and causes of injury, illness, and death.
But we also said that we would also build on that and we would supplement or compliment that with something that we call problem solving.
So again, the cornerstone: Strong credible enforcement program. Targeting employers who are irresponsible. Focusing on the leading causes of injury, illness, and death. And using the enforcement tool when we need to. But we also wanted to supplement that.
And so we're using a technique for what we call problem solving. It's not complicated really. And it's basically having the area office be able to look at some data and try to identify within their area what are the leading causes of injury, illness, and death.
Not only identify what the problems are, which might be just local to a particular area office, and may not be cross-cutting. So they're focusing on national initiatives, regional initiatives, but also, are there local issues that are local that are causing injury, illness, and death.
Not only identify the problem but identify who the problem affects. Who cares about the problem? Who are the stakeholders engaged? Who are the industry reps? Who are the labor organizations if there are such? Who else in the community is concerned? Are there other federal agency, other local, state agencies that care about the problem or have input into the problem? And try to get everyone together to marshall together to try to pool resources to impact that problem.
Once you've identified the problem, find out who's affected. Get everyone together and talk about: What is the strategy here to impact this problem? What tools do we need to use, which includes enforcement, includes outreach, includes training, includes leveraging. And any other creative mechanism, contract language, et cetera, to try to impact the problem. Measure impact. And that's a big change for us. From opposed to just measuring activity which tends to be numbers of inspections and types of penalties and numbers of training sessions conducted to impact. Did we reduce injury, illness, and death? If falls from scaffolds is the issue, then we want to know how many lives we saved. How many times did we prevent an accident from occurring. And try to now measure that. And that's difficult.
And then, of course, once we achieve impact or we have an innovative strategy, to share that, not only within our area offices across the country, but also to the community at large. So we want to talk about what's working, what's not working, lessons learned and try to continually improve and continually start to focus on these problems.
I want to use as an example a project we've implemented in New Jersey. It started when I was there. Our Parsippany office was one of the first pilot offices. And I also have an example from Atlanta East, which was the second pilot office to start. And give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Put in context this notion of problem solving into real life.
This problem actually evolved out of a major fatality on the New Jersey Turnpike where three laborers were killed. They were related family members. We had a truck essentially come into the work zone and strike these workers.
We did an investigation of that. We initiated citations and penalties. But one thing we found when we did that investigation is our standards are somewhat limited for highway construction work. And so we had a limiting factor there.
We also found out that the New Jersey State Police formed a 25-member unit to not only look at highway and traffic safety on these construction sites but also look at worker safety issues. And so we thought that there might be an opportunity to start leveraging some resource here to make impact.
But here's the problem. Nine laborers killed in New Jersey in the past five years. Twenty-nine workers killed in New York and New Jersey in the past five years. Our standards are limited as I said. The national average for construction is five. The fatality rate for construction laborers is 33.
Construction laborers account for one-third of all deaths among highway construction workers. The fatality rate among highway construction workers was twice that of private industry construction. And in New Jersey, the highest number and the highest rate of fatalities occurred at construction, and most of those were highway work.
One final piece that we looked at in trying to analyze this problem and we came upon what we call the formula for disaster which is looking ahead to the future. We already had unfortunately some fatalities on highway work. But we have $3.5 to $5 billion dollars being pumped into highway and transit work in the next five years. We have a 20 percent increase in vehicular traffic in New Jersey by the year 2007.
If you've driven in New Jersey, it's very densely populated, a lot of traffic, a lot of speeders as well. Nearly 90 percent of drivers exceed the speed limit. And the State Police report that although they have signs posted, although they're doubling the fines, you still have folks speeding in work zones. A formula for disaster.
So now what are we going to do about this? And so what we decided to do is to say: Okay. We identified a problem. Now who's affected by the problem? Of course, we have construction laborers. We have the employers that are doing the contracts, the actual contractors. We have the New Jersey Department of Transportation that's letting out the contracts. We have the State Police who also decided that they wanted to get engaged. We also have the Utility Transportation Contractors Association which employs most of these contractors that are doing this work.
The other issue in terms of the enforcement end of it. If we look at this traditionally, one might say all you need to do is just start targeting inspections. And that's one aspect of this.
But we have a problem with that. One, our resources are limited in doing that. Two, trying to establish exactly where the work is. And three, will we make long-range impact here on that formula for disaster? Is there a better way? Can we build upon that?
What we decided to do -- This may be a little bit tough to see and I'll explain what it is here. But it's a demonstration of all of the folks, as I said, that were affected by this problem. What we decided to do is call a meeting of the affected parties and sit down and talk about this data and talk about this problem and try to come up with a solution. And try to pool our resources to impact this problem in an integrated way in the community.
What we have here is started. This project started with just the State Police, just OSHA and the laborers. We contacted the Local, the laborers Local, as well as the International Safety and Health Fund.
We also then started to contact the other folks involved, which is the State Police, as I said, the 7(c)1 Consultation Program in New Jersey. We talked to individual contractors. We talked to the UTCA, as I said, which represents roughly about 90, 95 percent of these contractors. The New Jersey DOT, OSHA, laborers, and we also now have the Rutgers University. And a big player here is the Federal Highway Administration, who's funding a lot of these projects.
We got together and we said: What can we do here? And one thing we found, we heard from the State Police, was that they don't have the expertise, even though they have now responsibility, to try to make impact in terms of safety and health on these job sites, they didn't have the expertise.
So they weren't sure what was a hazard. They weren't sure when they informed the contractor, would the contractor be up front with them in terms of whether it's corrected, not corrected. So what we decided to do is we decided to train the State Police. And we held a series of training sessions for the State Police, for the New Jersey DOT on-site representatives who are there on the job every day. And we started training them and recognizing hazards.
We also met with the UTCA and started developing training sessions for the contractors on what we're looking for in terms of behavior in safety and health programs and find and fixing hazards, getting hazards corrected.
We also started a reporting mechanism by which the State Police would start reporting to us every time they intervene on the job site with the information of who the contractors were, who the employees were, what the hazard was, and what the employer did to abate. And we started to track that. Take that information, feed it back to the contractors and feed it back to this group, this working group, that's starting to form here, and start to talk about: Are we making progress? And where do we need to go to the next step?
Bottom line here is we're starting to integrate all of the folks in the community sitting around the table and saying: How do we pool our resources? What strategies do we need to do to impact this problem in an integrated way?
And we, OSHA, of course we reserve the right to do referral inspections from the State Police when they don't get any behavior change from a contractor. That hasn't happened yet. We also will continue to do complaint investigations, referral inspections.
The other thing we're doing is also targeting a population of contractors that are not covered by this mix, which tend to be the county and local jobs. And trying to tell them and share what we're learning here and trying to leverage them into this.
The other thing that's spilling from this project is the county and the local police on their own asked the State Police to train them so they can intervene on these other jobs and use the same strategy. That's happening as well.
The key to this strategy: This is initially our short-term impact to try to change behavior. The long-term change is we're working with the New Jersey Department of Transportation to put contract language in their contracts that they let to level the playing field, number one, for contractors bidding. And number two, to establish a level of safety and health behavior in the contract.
We want contractors who work in New Jersey to be good contractors, responsible contractors. If that happens, then we don't have the injuries, illness, and death. There may even not be the need for this enforcement component unless there's a breakdown.
And we reserve the ability to do that. And we're sort of the check and balance in the system as well as targeting other participants who are irresponsible and not covered by this strategy.
Now this doesn't cover all the highway work in the state. It covers stated-funded projects. And this is a start.
Just quickly, some of the results, and these are activity measures. We're in the process of working in actually measuring injury and illness, near misses, et cetera. And we're starting to collect data to report that.
But some of the activity. After training the State Police and after training the DOT folks, the rate of interventions increased tremendously, because they started now recognizing what the issues are. And we've got stories of the State Police getting folks out of a trench. Stopping on the side of a road for a non-funded job and intervening and getting hazards corrected. And that's important. And the bottom line is we're getting employees removed from risk.
To date we have a total, and we started this project roughly about May or June of 1995, we have a total of 2,559 hazards that have been identified by the State Police, conservatively removing about 2800 employees from risk.
And we have the starting to see a level of behavior change of the type of work that's being done on these jobs.
And the other thing we're leveraging here is the more increased use of concrete barrier protection, which bottom line, prevents vehicles from intervening into the work zone, which is one of the leading causes of deaths is trucks intervening into the work zone. Second leading cause of being run over by their own vehicles.
And so in terms of the focus inspection mode, what we're also doing is taking that data of those hazards and looking at them and finding out what hazards are they still identifying and then taking the training and revamping the training and revamping the State Police to be heightened to those hazards, as well as feeding it back to the contractors and trying to continually remove those leading causes until -- and our goal, our vision here, it to have highway construction work in New Jersey the safest in the country. That's one example.
In Atlanta, they took a little bit different approach for one of their first projects. And they decided to focus on one employer, and this was Horizon Steel. You may have heard this story. It's not a new story, but they got amazing results.
And what they did is they focused on fall protection with this company. They provided training and outreach. They brought in the 7(c)1 Consultation Program. And the contractor agreed to go to 100 percent fall protection. What they tried to focus in on is the notion of safety pays.
What they found out is before they initiated this strategy, they were roughly paying $3.39 an hour on safety and health issues. After the intervention, after the behavior change, got that down to 18 cents.
In St. Louis, again one of the earlier roll-out offices, redesign offices. They looked at roofing. And they found out that they had a problem with falls, particularly from scaffolds.
What they decided to do is work with the contractors and start getting them to develop fall protection plans.
They also worked with the unions and worked with the employees in developing hazard recognition techniques and being able to intervene.
What you see here is some of the early results. This represents for a six-month period, various six-month periods, the housing starts. Now I just want to be clear. This represents the injuries after the initiation. This is not a direct correlation. What I'm saying is, this is a subset of this population. So what this chart shows is that the housing starts continued, which is representative of the companies in this population. And the injuries have gone down. But I want to caution, it's not a direct correlation.
Again, finding the problem, identifying the problem, getting who's affected, getting the employees, employers sitting down and saying: How are we going to impact this problem in our community? What strategies do we need to implement to make impact? And what are we going to measure before we start? And let's start measuring it and show impact.
A couple other initiatives that are ongoing. In our Aurora area office in Illinois, they have a project they call safe scaffold for siding contractors. And essentially they got together, the local home building associations, four carpenters union locals, and contractors, to try to form this partnership as you saw here with the New Jersey project. They decided to inspect all sites where siding contractors were working on scaffold above 10 feet, offer training. So again, that same thing. Offer training. Trying to change the level of behavior.
They have a primary goal of seeing more contractors in compliance with the OSHA standard than prior to the project. And a secondary goal to get the siding industry to train employers and workers in the regulation.
They started this in the summer of 1996. Since that time the in-compliance rate for siding inspections has increased from five to 45 percent. The in-compliance rate has increased. So what we're saying here is that prior to the initiation of some inspections, after the training and outreach, after the leveraging component, you see contractors complying and we're seeing less violations for these types of contractors, which is what our goal here is, to make safer work places.
In one case we had a contractor who actually an employee's life was saved after implementing one of these projects by the use of fall protection.
In Wichita, in Kansas, they have a trenching initiative. Again, same strategy. Identify the problem. Find out who the players are. Get together. What strategy are we doing to implement?
From October 1, 1990, through September 30, 1995, they had an average of two excavation fatalities a year in Kansas. Since October 1, 1995, they had no fatalities. Now those are small numbers, but on the other hand, you have no one died from a trenching incident based on this initiative.
In Calumet City they have again what they call a scaf plan initiative. The most common hazards found based on their data search was improperly erecting scaffolds. They found that this tended to be on the smaller jobs. What they decided to do again is to initiate a targeting program. Work with the employer, the contractors. Work with any labor organizations.
And also what they found out was that competency of the lead man and the foreman was one of the critical factors. And so they developed, with the entities, with the stakeholders here, a sort of scoring mechanism to determine the competency of the foreman in terms of erecting scaffolds.
They've done 110 scaffold jobs since the program initiated. They found violations; however, the violations again are going down and as a result 138 employees were prevented from serious exposure which would have occurred. They're finding that the scaffolds are being erected properly. The exposures are being eliminated.
They also have been measuring sort of the scores of the competency of the foreman. And they see an increase from what was an average of 2.3 on their scale of 10, up to 7.5 now is the average score. So your seeing an increase in the competency of the lead men.
In Boise, Idaho they've got a carbon monoxide initiative where they had some problems with heaters on construction sites. They had some fatalities. Again, they worked with the industry. They worked also with the state. And they had sort of a sweep of sites. This was non-inspection sweep. Found 12 sites where carbon monoxide exceeded safe levels and employees were evacuated. And they anticipate that they probably affected about 1200 workers.
Unfortunately on one job, they found someone who was overcome, was near death, but saved his life. Since then that contractor agreed to initiate monitoring systems in every one of his jobs.
Finally, in Idaho, they've got a project that is similar to the CCP program, where they're identifying contractors. Bringing the unions together, Bringing employer groups. Doing training and assessing behavior and improved performance.
Rhode Island also has a project which they're working with lead removal contractors. They're working with the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management in developing a Memorandum of Understanding to identify contractors doing lead removal work. Again, provide training. Provide intervention. And measure impact. And ultimately what they're going to be looking for there is measuring blood lead levels.
That's a sample of some of the initiatives that are occurring. Problem solving is new for us. We're learning. But we see it again as a supplement, as a complement, to our enforcement program, particularly when we're limited in our standards. Particularly when enforcement alone won't have a major impact and we can try to integrate other strategies to complement that.
MR. RINGEN: Thank you very much.
MS. SUGERMAN: Are you monitoring this initiative all over the country? Or are you just picking certain states to do it in?
MR. KULICK: Right now we have 67 federal offices that we need to redesign. As of today we have 21 of these redesigned. There is one in every region. Some regions have more than others. For example the Kansas region is totally redesigned. The least amount of offices right now, our Region 2 has one office. Region 3 has two offices. Region 1 has one office. Region 4 has five of its eight offices. Region 6 has two offices.
And you know what those numbers mean? I'm giving you numbers and you probably don't know what I'm talking about. Right?
I was starting from New England, New York, New Jersey, Atlanta Region. Region 5 is Chicago region, has a lot of offices rolled out. Region 6, which is the Dallas area, has two. Region 7, which is the Kansas area, as I said, all their offices are redesigned. Region 8 has four offices and they're half done, two of the four in the Denver area. Our San Francisco region is state planned, so we're not engaging there. And in our Region 10, which is Seattle, we have one, which is the only federal office, which is rolled out, which is Boise, Idaho.
So we're across the country, but we're not all done yet. Our goal is to get this done by the end of 1999.
MR. BURKHAMMER: In one of your bullets up there in your first or second slide talked about reorganization and the realigning of each. How many construction specialists are in the new realignment in the offices?
MR. KULICK: There's not necessarily been a focus to increase the number of expertise unless -- What we're trying to teach the area offices, if in fact they have a large construction population or there are a large number of hazards in there, then they certainly would want to adjust their schedule.
When we talk about structure in the area office, what we're talking about is getting away from just the safety, health teams that we had to cross-functional teams so that we can get a better sharing of resources and expertise. Maintaining construction experts. I'm not suggesting we're going to make generalists. Maintain construction experts, but as well do some cross-training.
And teach the area office to recognize what problems are affecting them and adjust their structure to that. So that if they need more construction inspectors, then certainly they should be focusing and working on that.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Well your case studies were construction.
MR. KULICK: Yes.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Highway construction. Home building construction another. So judging from your case studies you'd think that there would be a greater focus on construction specialty in the area offices.
MR. KULICK: Right now most of the projects are geared around construction. Those problems are readily there and jumping out and need attention.
There are general industry strategies that are ongoing. I did choose not to report here, but there are some right now. Probably I would say it's about 2 to 1 construction to general industry projects right now.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you.
MR. RINGEN: I don't know if this was the same question essentially that you had, Stew, because I missed some of it while we were talking, but yesterday we heard that the use of focused inspections in construction is going down in relationship to overall inspections. Now that's supposed to be one of the major initiatives in terms of reinvention that OSHA has.
So while you've been increasing the number of offices that have embraced your reinvention strategies, it seems that, in spite of that, at least application of this one strategy is declining.
MR. KULICK: I can't answer to why it's declining because I don't have information about that. But what I can say is that when we get out and train these offices, when we roll them out, part of it is training on the strategy. Clearly not only for the strategy in general but as a tool for local initiatives, we lay out as focused construction to be clearly a tool that should be used, can be used. And we expect that they use that when they need to.
So, all I can say is that it is included in part of the roll out as a tool that they should use and can use and is a helpful tool.
MR. RINGEN: In terms of your agency-wide evaluation of how well the reinvention effort is actually going, that may be one good benchmark for you to look at in evaluating this.
MR. KULICK: That's an excellent point. And as we were starting to roll these out, that's one of the things that we're continuing to focus on is evaluate impact. And that's an excellent point.
MR. RINGEN: Okay. Thank you. Any other questions or comments?
Thanks. Very interesting presentation.
Just to say one thing, the stuff about highway work zones has been very, very effective. And we're seeing this being applied in all states more and more. It's a very good thing. Appreciate it.
MR. KULICK: Thank you.
MR. RINGEN: All right. Before we go on, let me just raise a question with the people here in the audience. We have a presentation on OSHA Link. What is OSHA Link exactly.
MR. SWANSON: Well you don't get a preview. You either get the show..
MR. RINGEN: Right. I understand that.
MR. SWANSON: All right. Mary Ann?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: What it is for those who are...
MR. SWANSON: You're going to have to come up and use a microphone. I don't want to short change it.
MR. RINGEN: No.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: What it is, OSHA Link is our new system that is our electronic retrieval system of our standards, our interpretations, our memorandums, our policies, et cetera. For those of you familiar with our OCA system, this is the upgrade. And it's really a preview. It's expected to be out this fall.
And if you want us to actually give it when it's out or if you want to actually get the heads up on what's coming and what to expect. And if you want to be part of the system of getting on board in terms of training, et cetera, then this is your opportunity to hear it now versus later.
MR. RINGEN: Well my preference would be to hold it off until the October, early October meeting, when you have it just about ready.
The reason for that is that I think we don't have enough time to do a thorough presentation of it today. Because you really need 45 minutes for it, I believe.
And so if there's no objection. And I'll ask people in the audience also. If there's no objection, we will postpone this presentation until our next meeting. Does anybody have any objection to that? Okay.
Thank you and I apologize to you for inconveniencing you in that regard. Our schedule is simply moving behind schedule.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Sure.
MR. RINGEN: The next presentation then will be the ABC Center Training presentation. If you're ready, we'll go ahead with it.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Mr. Chairman, if we could just roll this up in the center there.
MR. RINGEN: Go ahead.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We'll roll it right out.
(Pause to set up projector)
MR. RINGEN: Now everything that we've seen in terms of statistics and so on has indicated that training is one of the critical issues in safety and health. And that was a point that was made in your survey of the carpenters as well. And we hear it all the time. So we're looking forward to seeing what you have.
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, thank you very much for this opportunity to present this morning.
If I could start out by overcoming one misconception is that we are ABC, Associated Builders and Contractors.
MR. RINGEN: I apologize.
MR. WILKINSON: Thank you. We are the National Center for Construction Education and Research, an independent group that has been involved over the last three to four years uniting the construction industry behind a single training standard.
So if you'll bear with me, I'll tell you a little bit about who I am. I'm David Wilkinson. I've been a carpenter. I've owned a construction company. And for the last 10 years, in Arizona, I ran the training program for the first and only ever merger of an AGC chapter and an ABC chapter in the State of Arizona. Kind of unheard of around the country but we figured that training was important enough out in Arizona that we were going to officially merge the two groups together.
Subsequent to that, most recently, I've been hired by the National Center for Construction Education and Research primarily for that reason, because that's what the National Center strives to do is to unite the industry behind a single training standard.
What I'd like to do, because I'm going to give some technology that I think is important for this group to see, is I'm going to zip through these slides because some of this stuff I just don't think that it's going to be lost on you.
And what I'd like to do is end up with a demonstration on interactive CD-ROM, because one of the things that I know is keen to this Committee is delivery systems, affordability, speed, and portability. And that's something that I think we'll take a few minutes to do some then and not waste too much time on these slides.
The National Center I just told you a little bit about it. Right now, although we have a lot of international interests in spreading our standardized training throughout the country, I will tell you that we're just trying to be successful in the United States today, which is a difficult process in and of itself.
This is sort of the mantra of the day for us in Gainesville, Florida, at the National Center. This is an industry-owned, industry-managed, industry-funded organization. We raised approximately $13 million to launch this endeavor, every penny of which came from contractors in the industry that said: We have a huge problem here. We have a huge problem and its got to be solved.
Here are just some of the partners who have signed on to the National Center to use the National Center's training program as their training standard.
The benefits are numerous. A couple that I'll just touch on are standardizing craft training. The benefits to the contractor, obviously that contractor can quantify the individual that's in front of him looking for work. The individual that's in front of him looking for work can say I have a Level 1 carpentry certification from the National Center. That contractor knows what that means.
In addition to that, the National Center maintains a national registry. So that every completor of every module goes into the national registry. So that instantly that employee looking for work in that new town, that new company, that new state, can receive at that contractor's office a faxed copy of their transcript to demonstrate everything that they've completed to date.
Two critical points. Portability for the employee and instant recognition of skills for the employer. Something that's lacking throughout the industry.
The way that we do this. We call in a turn-key training program. We began with curriculum. We've actually been developing this curriculum now actually since the 1970's. We've taken the old curriculum literally restructured it, redesigned it and what we call the standardization process. The standardization process is what we identify nationwide. We'll make a carpenter. We'll make an electrician, et cetera. What is that least common denominator of skills that you need to be successful throughout the country?
Our curriculum is not designed to be the end all, because we know that in each jurisdiction there are special things that you need to know. What we say our curriculum is is the standard, the minimum standard, which it takes to be skillful in that trade area from state to state, town to town, county to county.
On top of curriculum we noticed that we had a lot of problem delivering curriculum. If we had the best curriculum in the world, it was for nought if we did not have an instructor to do what they were doing to deliver.
Our first thought was we'll teach teachers about the construction industry. And it didn't work. We learned that what we had to do was we had to teach journey workers in the trade how to teach.
So our certification process takes that person from a journey worker in the trades, experienced in that trade, and gives them the skills that it takes to deliver our curriculum in the classroom and the laboratory.
Just a little bit about instructor certification. Accreditation process. Now that we had the curriculum and we had the instructor certification, we had to make sure that the overall environment in which this takes place is conducive to good training. Are there acceptable laboratory facilities? Are there the materials and equipment needed to do the performance tests? Do you get the hands-on experience required to be successful in the industry?
Our accreditation process forces a local entity that would like to become accredited to go through this, file with the National Center a request to become accredited. And the National Center accepts their request, reviews their self-assessment document, and sends a team of accreditation site visitors out to that site for a two-day period to interview, inspect and confirm that what they have set up and what they're doing is according to our standards. And you can either get one of three: 0, which means you failed; 3 years of 6 years of accreditation for that training group. ...School-to-career. That made me thirsty.
MR. RINGEN: Too late.
MR. WILKINSON: Thank you. This is important because one of the things that this Committee is looking at is some type of orientation. Where's the choke point to catch all these people coming into the industry to assure that they get some kind of credible safety orientation prior to going onto the job site?
You know the statistics better than I do about how many people are hurt in the first day on the job site, in the first 30 days on the job site.
So we've got to identify that choke point. Where are they entering the industry?
Right now our primary entry level that we're trying to expand is in the high school. And our core curriculum is non-trade specific. In other words, every single solitary trade starts at the same place. And this is of interest to you because this is where we have our first training, safety training. It's designed to be delivered as early as the junior year in high school.
Giving them during between their junior and senior year the opportunity for some job shadowing. Then they deliver the first trade-specific training during their senior year in high school, which would be the equivalent of our Level 1 in whatever trade it may be.
So actually one year or one level. And we say levels in our curriculum because we're competency based, so it may take a year, it may take six months. It depends upon how it's delivered. So one level consists of one-half of its core and the other half of its Level 1. So that a person coming out of high school in this program could actually have completed a full year of training prior to their coming into full-time employment in the construction industry.
We think that's significant, particularly in light of the Construction Industry Institute that said we need 240,000 new applicants per year into the construction industry over the next 10 to meet, just to meet, the existing identified infrastructure construction demand.
So it's very important to have that.
Again, the core program. The core program consists of six modules. Here are the six modules that we teach in core. They're basic in nature. But they're critical to that individual's beginning understanding of the construction industry. We agree that nobody should set foot on that job site prior to having significant safety orientation and training. Those numbers are appalling on first-day injuries and first 30-day injuries.
How do we deliver this? We deliver through the chapter networks. Earlier I showed you our chapter partners. There are 18 total national associations that are partners. We deliver through secondary schools, high schools, and post-secondary schools, community college.
Our model is the program gets delivered in the high school for the first level, and delivered in the community college for the last three levels, or in the case of electrical, the last four levels, because we have five in one. And that you get community college credit for those last levels taken in the post-secondary environment, giving you the opportunity to expand that to an A.S. degree of some sort. That's the model that I worked on and developed in Arizona, where they could actually get an A.S. degree.
And that gives us a lot more accountability and credibility at the high school level when we go in and we try and recruit new students into the industry.
MR. BURKHAMMER: David?
MR. WILKINSON: Yes.
MR. BURKHAMMER: What about adult education for the people that don't complete high school? Is there any mechanism for that?
MR. WILKINSON: Absolutely. In fact one of our greatest partnerships is with community colleges throughout the country. And they have captured the adult education market, which is why we have begun to align with them. In fact the average age of a community college student today is between 28 and 34 years old. And we are finding that that is the age that many new entrants come into the construction industry.
So that is another, if you will, choke point that we've identified for new entrants into the construction industry. So that we can actually put them into the Level 1 in the community college environment, as well as in the high school environment.
Every single one of our curriculum, every single module, has been submitted to the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training and approved for use in related classroom training. The entire program was designed to meet or exceed all of the BAT standards.
However, our certification from the National Center does not require 2,000 hours in OJT. That is where we depart. In fact that's why we'd love the Department of Labor to look at the program on a competency-based level. Every single module that we deliver has a written test at the end of it and a performance test at the end of it. And that's how we prove that they can do the job, as opposed to the 2,000 hours.
The final way that we deliver the training is obviously through the contractors themselves. A contractor can apply to become a certified accredited training sponsor. And they can deliver the training as well.
These are the trades that we've standardized to date. There's an extra diamond up there. We will have heavy equipment operator in the fall. And steel workers, steel erection, in the fall as well.
MR. SMITH: David, when you do heavy equipment operator, because I see you don't have it, and that's where I come from.
MR. WILKINSON: Yes.
MR. SMITH: Currently the BAT structure for the apprenticeship has a standardized set of rules for the hours of classroom and the hands on. And I don't know about the other crafts, but you say you've gotten the recognition already from BAT. But you can't give an apprenticeship certificate because you don't have the hands on under the BAT system. If you go to the equipment operator, like in our case, there's 144 hours a year of classroom for three years plus the 2,000 hours a year, which is 6,000 hours of hands on, before you can even graduate.
So are you going to try and follow the skill standard that's already been set for equipment operators? So you're going to have 144 hours of classroom per for the equipment operator?
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman and Mr. Smith, exactly the intent of our program is to be flexible, to use it as both a BAT training program. In other words, if you decide to use the curriculum to meet the required 144 hours of related classroom training, you then, if you're doing it under the BAT standards, must also have an OJT system set up that is appropriate and approved by BAT as well.
Our curriculum meets or exceeds and is used for the related classroom training requirement portion. The Department of Labor, Bureau of Accreditation and Training, has not yet recognized skill standards, as performance testing, as a way to go beyond the 2,000 hour OJT requirement per year.
And I do believe that the National Skill Standards Board is moving forward in identifying skill standards for the construction industry and will do so over the next two to three years.
So that at some point in time the related classroom training will be competency based or have the opportunity to be as well as the OJT. My guess is that it will be a combination of OJT, perhaps not 2,000 hours, and performance testing, to somehow give that quick learner, that fast learner, the opportunity to go at their own strength and skills speed.
MR. SMITH: Because see we know just by doing now, I mean, we have a bunch of written programs and Bill Smith can pass every one of the tests you give him on the operator and training class for a dozer or a loader and everything else. But when I finish that competency in the classroom and have had no OJT at all, I'm not going to be able to go out there and pass a performance test at all.
I don't care how good you are in the class, if you've never been in the seat of that backhoe and they give you a performance task to perform based on a certain standard that the industry needs, you're not going to be able to function unless you got OJT. You can't do it.
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman and Mr. Smith, I couldn't agree with you more. I would say that is precisely why we injected a mandatory performance test in the program, because just as important as OJT, we've also found out there that OJT is a process many times that isn't adhered to. Where the worker simply submits for signature OJT sheets to his supervisor and they sign off on it. And that person may or may not have actually gotten that OJT time. So when they get at the end of it, they may have a very, very good skill in one particular narrowly defined area or one piece of equipment, but they don't have that well-rounded skill that guarantees them continuity of employment.
And so we are advocates of both the OJT standard and some type of mandatory performance standard so that we can prove that on a given day in front of a certified instructor that they can perform that task.
MR. SMITH: That's what we have.
MR. WILKINSON: Yes. And that...
MR. SMITH: We have TSBs which are performance standards that we use to graduate any apprentice. And prior to them graduating, they have to go out to the field with an instructor and demonstrate the ability based on the standard that was set however many years ago. And the way they did it, they took 500 operators across the country and made them perform that task and then come up with the standard.
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chair and Mr. Smith, I think that particularly in the area of heavy equipment, one of the things that's difficult is you don't have bulldozer lying around all the time. But performance testing is absolutely critical.
If you look at the industry, and you look at a lot of the industries that are happening out there today. You look at the heavy equipment and compare it. And you see that that's where they're occurring. And one of the things is that there is no identified training, transitional stage in the majority of the job sites today.
I was a carpenter and one day the guy that operated the lull did not show up for work that day. And the boss told me get on the lull and start loading scaffold up to the top floor. And I had been doing that about 15 or 20 minutes after I figured out how to run it. And when I got backed into and got hit by bulldozer. Because I didn't know how to operate the equipment.
Quite a setback in my life but that's typical of what happens without a construction training program is that they put these individuals into a piece of equipment and they're not prepared for it.
So, I couldn't agree with you more. Thank you.
If I could now talk about interactive CD-ROM. We've all heard about it. It is a tremendous opportunity for the construction industry, particularly if you are looking at a way to require several competencies, completion of several competencies, in the area of safety prior to their going on the job site.
I'm going to tell you why. We've done research. We've read existing research. And you can ingest the same level of competencies from a conventional classroom 50 percent faster on CD-ROM. You have a 60 percent better retention if you're tested afterwards several times at different time frames, two weeks, four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, and your retention is better. Seventy percent better consistency.
And this is important to this Committee right here, consistency of training. Because one of the problems in safety, one of the problems in safety training is you cannot prove on a given day: Did that instructor teach the same thing that the other instructor taught and was it taught consistently. With interactive CD-ROM, you are guaranteed that consistency of training. An I'm going to show you in a minute why you're also guaranteed the verification of that competency.
It's on demand. We cannot hire people conveniently. We cannot say: Okay. I'm going to have 15 or 20 people hired on this day and then you can simply start classroom and train them and we'll run them all through. Because we hire people as we need them. We train people as we need them. Interactive CD-ROM is on demand. It's there for you whenever you need it.
Affordable. I have two people with me here today. One is our development partner, Williams Learning Network, Don Forlenza. And they've come up with a brilliant little piece of software that makes this very, very expensive interactive CD-ROM program available right down to the Mom and Pop shop. They can have the exact same training that a Bechtel and a Fluor-Daniel can have in their office. It's very affordable. It's called Pay per Use. I'll show you how that works.
And I'm going to go ahead. If you will bear with me for about 30 seconds. I'm going to shift to another computer and show you how CD-ROM works.
MR. BURKHAMMER: And therein lies the fallacy of your network. You're assuming every contractor owns a computer...
MR. FORLENZA: Ah. We've been looking at that ...
MR. BURKHAMMER: At the job site and in the trailer.
MR. FORLENZA; Right.
MR. RINGEN: And in their pick-up truck.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Right.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Something big enough to run it.
MR. WILKINSON: I'm not spending a lot of time going into the detail of our conventional text, because I think everybody understands how we deliver it. I talk about our conventional delivery and our suggestion is, and certainly our operating technique thus far is that we do both. Every single piece of interactive CD-ROM we have, we have both in text-based conventional delivery as well as CD-ROM. And the CD-ROM is built right off the competencies and the text based, so they interchange nicely.
So our goal, in fact the way that we operate is we developed the content first in a conventional delivery process, a text-based process. And then after developing that, we go to our development partners, the interactive CD-ROM, and they write the screenplay if you will from our text base and do the interactive CD-ROM.
I went over that too quickly. I didn't mean to indicate that we would only deliver in interactive CD-ROM. Clearly that may be five years from now we could do that. But today we cannot. We have to be able to deliver in both pieces.
I'm going to demonstrate real quick. And I know there's a volume. Do you see that?
MR. BURKHAMMER: There.
MR. WILKINSON: Okay.
(Portion of audio presentation on CD-ROM)
MR. WILKINSON: If I can, they asked me to use this microphone. I don't know how good I am at these. Is that okay? Is that a good feed?
This is just the introduction. And this is the CD-ROM on rigging. Again, we have it in the conventional text-based delivery and we have it in interactive CD-ROM.
I want to point out the opportunity to take a pre-test up there. Once you get in, when you first log in. I'm logged in as a student right now. And I logged in and I could take the pre-test. And that pre-test, if I get 100 percent on that pre-test, I've done the related classroom training that I need to do, if I an get 100 percent on that pre-test. If not, it's going to require me to go right into and take the various sets of information and then take a post-test.
But once I skip that pre-test, I can never go back to it. In other words, I can't cheat. I can't say: Well, I want to learn a little bit first, then go back and take the pre-test. You can't do that. It's set up so not to do that.
If you'll notice there's buttons up and down the right hand side. The one up there that is active right now is called Menu. I will show you how those work in a minute.
But I'm going to go ahead and jump into a lesson very quickly.
It's reminding me that I didn't take the pre-test. And I have to select Skip It.
(Portion of audio presentation on CD-ROM)
MR. WILKINSON: Now if you'll notice, it gives you the different opportunities. And one of the things that this was designed with the last 10 years of how we learn, the research in how we learn, is built in to this.
It is given to you in bitstreams or sections about the size of which you can easily manage to put into your memory banks. And once having gotten those, at the end of each set of information, there is a brief question and answer practice sets, which helps to codify that if you will into your memory. These are all the types of things that help increase the learning curve and remember the greater retention, because it tests you every so often with practice sets of questions to lock that into your long-term memory. It's a very successful product.
Most of the time when i give this demonstration I bring a whole bunch of rope. But they told me not to do that here. They said it wouldn't be safe to give a whole bunch of rope to this Committee.
I didn't understand it. I didn't ask any questions.
But one of the things that I like to do is to show some of the skeptics out there that you can from interactive CD-ROM learn how to do something. And in every case that I've done it with the nylon ropes I have people tying various types of knots that they've never tied before. So I'm going to go ahead and move into that quickly.
MR. SMITH: Now David, is this your module that you present? I mean, this is not just a demo? This is the module itself?
MR. WILKINSON: That's correct. Mr. Chairman and Mr. Smith, this is the module itself on rigging.
MR. SMITH; And who determined what the standard was to go into this module? As far as the learning information?
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman and Mr. Smith, the way the National Center is assembled is we go out to the industry, the investor companies that have put the money into the organization. We gather subject matter experts together. We meet once a year because we revise them annually for any improvements or new technologies or mistakes. And the subject matter experts, who are journey workers from the field in the various trades, tell us what we need to put in there in order for it to be successful.
Many of you are familiar with VCRs. My children work it better than I do. But the bottom bar if you'll notice just gives you an opportunity to go forward and backward into the various segments at your whim. The bar, the little button to the right, allows you to stop it.
Every single module starts out with the objective, telling the student or the trainee what they should be learning by the end of this. We think that's fair to tell them what we expect them to learn before they take it.
You'll notice now all the buttons on the right-hand side are active. Now I'm going to quickly go into it.
(Portion of audio presentation on CD-ROM)
MR. WILKINSON: Again, as I mentioned, at the end of each short lesson, they give you a practice set of questions. These are not the questions for the post-test to pass. These are the practice set of questions to help retain that in your memory and increase the retention abilities of the training program.
Another thing that we learned in Arizona was very helpful on this. At any point in time, you can push On Text and it'll give you the text of what was just said. You can do this throughout every aspect of the interactive CD-ROM modules.
Now Arizona is a border state. And we have a significant number of workers using English as a second language. This certainly wasn't why we designed this into the program, but we have found that it's very useful and a very valuable tool for those using English as a second language to be able to hear the spoken word and match it up with the printed word continuously as they would like to have. And again, to learn at their own pace, which is a great benefit to all of us.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Does it come in Spanish?
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Burkhammer, the question is: Does it come in Spanish. And the pressures upon us to get it out in English are very good.
I will share with you that just to put a module out costs somewhere between $70,000 and $90,000. The reason for that being you hire actors. You hire film crews. You do a lot of digitizing from analog to digital. It's a tremendous process.
So we would love to put a Spanish version out, but first we've got to get the English version out. And that's what we're in the process of doing.
(Portion of audio presentation on CD-ROM)
MR. WILKINSON: I'm going to show you the buttons on the right-hand side now so you can see how the student can work in and out of this program.
You'll see that I was in Tying Knots and there was a white arrow pointing to Tying Knots. That's the bookmark. That bookmark will be there at all times. So if I don't do it all in one day or one session, I continually come back and I will have a bookmark to tell me where I was.
Had I completed any of the sessions, which means that I've completed all of the information and I took the practice set of questions, there would be an orange checkmark to the right of it. And that would tell me that I'd completed that one. That does not mean that I can't go back in and study it again. But it will tell me that I have completed that particular set of information, allowing me to stay on top of my lesson planning.
Again, this is the most powerful tool of all those buttons. It's the Map. And the Map allows the individual trainee to move in and out of the lesson areas simply by pointing and clicking. And if I go over to Ropes and Chains and I point and click, it will take me into the Ropes and Chains module.
And again, you'll see that it starts out with the objective. And I can go back and the bookmark has shifted.
This allows the trainee to manage the information at the speed at which they'd like take it. And the subject matter area that they'd like to take it.
Moving on the Glossary. Glossary not only gives you a written definition, but it gives you the picture as well. Again, something that we found very useful to the English as a second language students in our tests in Arizona.
Text, I've already mentioned. At any point in time you can go into and get the actual text of what is being delivered. Some of us like to read and not hear. This gives you the opportunity to do that. And throughout it you will find that there are little hypertext. And those are Glossary terms. If I were to click on that, it would take me right back to that Glossary and define it.
And here is what I would like to show you. I talked about verifiables. I talked about 100 percent competency. You will notice that I have the pre-test and the post-test here. And I'm going to go right into post-test. Had I taken the post-test, and I have not, we don't have time to do that this morning. Had I taken the post-test, those little zeros to the left of the subject areas would be, if I got one wrong or two wrong, it would be a one or a two. I could then click right on that area. Now you'll notice up there my post-test score. It says: Not Taken. My post-test score at the end of the post-test, I can't change it. That's the score on my report card. I cannot change it.
But in between post-test and post-test passing score, which is set as 70 for this module, there's a blank area that would say Adjusted Post-Test Score. I can go into every single area that I got wrong. It'll take me right back to that area and ask me if I want to go through the information or simply try the question again. And depending upon what I select, it will respond same and it will give me the opportunity. And this time, instantly will tell me whether I'm right or wrong until I get it right.
We don't want them to get the question on fall protection wrong.
MR. RINGEN: Are they multiple-choice questions?
MR. WILKINSON: They are. They're set up to be -- There's a 40-question database. And the post-test is 20 questions. There's an algorithm that mixes up the questions and mixes up the answers continually so that they can't pass on the information to the next person coming in to take the test or take the interactive CD-ROM program. Pretty well thought out.
MR. FORLENZA: Mr. Chairman. If I may just add one quick comment.
There is also at the post-test a function where it measures, where you're getting your incorrect answers, diagnoses that and remediates that on just that incorrect answer. So the employee or the student has an opportunity to immediately remediate with the material that's in the lesson to correct that deficiency and then move on.
MR. WILKINSON: Thank you. So, that's where we get 100 percent competency. That's where we can have them come in and have a minimum post-test passing score, as we've set it here at 70. And require 100 percent adjusted post-test passing score. And in all of our safety modules today, that's what we require.
As you notice core had a safety module. We require 100 percent competency, adjusted post-test, to get out of that safety module.
Now, when an employer sits in front of an OSHA inspector, one of the things that he has to be able to prove is that they got the content delivered. That the content was accurate. And that they understood it. You don't have a more verifiable opportunity than you do with this interactive training and software program to track that.
And finally -- Whoops, no wonder. I'm on the wrong computer.
I'm going to go back up to the Menu, which brings me back to the beginning.
And what we're suggesting is that the best way that this Committee could meet the needs of some type of an employee orientation program is through standardization, things that the National Center is currently doing. But also a combination or a hybrid of both conventional delivery and interactive CD-ROM.
I'll leave you with a final statistic. Our core program, our core program, all six modules, takes 75 hours of related classroom training to deliver. Seventy-five hours of related classroom training to deliver.
Our core on the interactive CD-ROM is completed in 15 hours, average of 15 hours. Many do it less. Some take more.
The same sets of competencies delivered in 15 hours versus 75, with 50 percent greater learning, 70 percent greater retention, and about a 20 percent higher grade, final grade on the post-test.
That's how effective this can be. That's how you can deliver 10 hours of training in two hours. Something that the employer group can better manage in an orientation system, in an orientation requirement.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for your time. Members of the Committee, thank you very much.
MR. RINGEN: Stew. What's the safety box?
MR. WILKINSON: Oh, I'm sorry. I meant to touch on the safety box. The safety box is right now it's based on 1910. I apologize for that. It gives them the definition and a brief -- If you go to the back protection, or in this case, I'll go to foot protection. And it gives the 1910 site for foot protection and a brief description of some of the high points of foot protection. The module's built in there so that we can add to it.
This is not where we would do the safety orientation. The safety orientation for our purposes would become our core module safety program.
Mr. Chairman, there is a variety of reports, tracking information, that's all available through the course management system. You have indulged me long enough. I would take questions at any other time for people who maybe would like to know how that works.
MR. RINGEN: Thank you. I think we have time for a few questions. Any questions?
I have two questions for you. To what extent do you include worker rights under the OSHA Act in your training?
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman, at this point the worker rights are not included in our conventional text or our interactive CD-ROM.
What we have done is we have built in all of the OSHA documentation that an employee needs to be aware of, not simply in our safety training programs, but throughout every one of our craft training programs.
We think that one of the problems in separating craft training from safety training is that they think that there's two different ways to do things. And what we've done is reinject that into all craft training so that they understand what the rules are and that you have to perform your trade safely.
So it's not simply a two-hour, four-hour orientation program. It's a lifelong learning process where we've injected the OSHA requirements as well as the practicality of safety throughout all of our levels of craft training.
MR. RINGEN: Bill.
MR. RHOTEN: Go on ahead.
MR. RINGEN: Okay.
MR. FORLENZA: If I may, it goes to the Committee, I just would like to have one quick comment. Really it addresses Mr. Smith and Mr. Burkhammer's comment about the availability of computers in the construction industry.
That is a big issue. But with regard to being able to deliver this type of training out to the community, we are currently working with the CLIN. It's the Community Learning and Information Network. It is currently starting out by using the National Guard armories in the communities to be able to deliver this type of training on a pay-per-use basis where it will be a significantly low cost for the student, for the contractor to go to these local armories.
They're starting out with 30. They're going to 300. Eventually they'll be, I believe in 1999, at 2,000 locations around the United States.
This will supplement and complement the delivery system that will include contractors who have a simple off-the-shelf computer that they can keep in their facilities and be able to deliver this as well as having it in the community colleges, in the high schools.
So the strategy is to be able to make it available everywhere as much as possible. Thank you.
MR. RINGEN: Ana Maria.
MS. OSORIO: Thank you for that interesting presentation. And also the prior speaker up.
To me it's like a contrast though. Because if you look at the reorganization of the OSHA field offices and when that gentleman, I've forgotten his name, drew that map and here's the problem. What are all the different groups that impact on that problem and how can we together get people to sit down and think of a solution.
And I guess what struck me about your development of this and perhaps I'm just not understanding it correctly. It seemed like you've gotten a lot of money from different industry groups. And I think you've consulted with them.
But if I were going to do this, and again this is not my area of expertise, I would get the regulators in on this. I would get labor. I would get employers. I would get people who actually teach. You know, a lot of other people have used this technique for other types of training. It's not unique to this. This is a very sophisticated system, no doubt, but there's others too.
And I would try to get a whole spectrum of different groups that could impact on the problem of, which I think is very important, having a core amount of information that goes on in training for these different skills that are needed in the workplace.
I got a sense that that hasn't been done here. Maybe I just haven't understood the development of this.
And the second thing is I think another key part is that I know Bill talks about certification program for the group that he represents, and there's others. And I would say that all the different certification programs also need to be brought in on discussions, too. Because I don't think however good your CD-ROM is, however good your classroom training is, you've got to couple that with on-site stuff.
And I think, you know, looking at the whole package of transfer information from one person to another, it's a whole kind of gestalt. It's not just the CD-ROM. It's not just the classroom text, things.
So, you know, that big picture I didn't get a sense of. And perhaps because you have limited time you haven't been able to talk about that. But maybe you can address some of those issues.
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman, Ms. Osorio. We have a very broad-based subject matter expert group that includes university professors. It includes journey workers from the field. Post-secondary educators. And secondary educators. It's a very broad-based group. The electrical subject matter expert group alone has some 50 people on it. The process of managing that is a very difficult one to come out with a single set of minimum skill standards.
And we are under a huge time crunch. We are already behind. Recall my statistic on needing 240,000 new entrants into the work force per year just to meet the identified building construction infrastructure. We're way behind already.
So we have streamlined this. But what we are trying to do in the process is design it to be task oriented so that we'll have broad appeal. As I mentioned, it is designed to meet or exceed the federal government standards for training, which we recognize as the only consistent standard out there today. So we wanted to meet or exceed that. And we have. That was our goal.
The myriad of certifications out there is one of our greatest problems. A way that we are trying to solve that is through partnering. A good example of that is the American Welding Society has its own welding certification. We have just partnered with the American Welding Society and they are adopting our curriculum to train individuals to meet their certifications. So that's a good example of how we're trying to do it.
We're fast tracking the project. And as we go along and we gain credibility in how we develop the task modules, the skill standards, entities approach us or we find them that have their certifications, and we begin partnering. We begin the process of partnering.
It's a lengthy process but we cannot wait. We have to get the curriculum out there. And we have to make the attempt at standardization.
I don't know if that satisfies where exactly you'd like to have us, but I do know that with the time constraint that we have, we have to move forward.
MR. RINGEN: It's a very interesting presentation but I think we have to stop it here in the interest of time, unless you have something urgent to raise, Bill.
MR. SMITH: The only thing, and I guess this is OSHA as well as us. In all the regs, they call for employers to train employees everywhere. What OSHA doesn't want to see and what we particularly don't like to see is a flat out: I'm going to hire this guy on. I'm going to sit him in front of a TV and I'll pop in this video and 20 minutes later I've got a trained guy. And I've CYA'd my company so that when his guys come in, we're in good shape.
Can I buy that? As a contractor, can I call the Center and just buy the program? If I buy the program, do I need a certified instructor to deliver it?
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Smith. No, you do not. You can buy that..
MR. SMITH: Okay. So if I buy the program. Plug it into my CD and just get it up so that I can sit all my next 10 guys who I hire right in front of it. Let them go through it. And then I've satisfied the training need?
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman and Mr. Smith. You have not satisfied the training need under an accredited guideline. In that case, no. You would not have them in the national registry. We would not...
MR. SMITH: So how many certified instructors do you have now?
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman and Mr. Smith. In the last three years we have added 5,000 certified instructors...
MR. SMITH: So you have 5,000 in the country?
MR. WILKINSON: That is correct.
MR. SMITH: And then you don't know how many employees you've gotten trained?
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Smith. Approximately 30,000 employees were registered in the national registry to date.
MR. RINGEN: There's an opportunity to have more presentations and discussions of this which obviously would stimulate a lot more discussion if we had time.
With the work group that we have that Stew Burkhammer is in charge of that is looking at the issue of standardized safety training and that Bill Rhoten is involved in. That work group will in all likelihood come out, I would think with the recommendation about the need for an OSHA standard addressing basic safety and health training in a standardize and mandatory system. And I assume that based on what you've said in your presentation that your Center would be supportive of that.
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman. Absolutely. Our Center is very supportive of anything that begins to standardize the construction industry around a single set of standards that benefits the employees in the industry. It makes a far more attractive industry to work in.
MR. RINGEN: Including OSHA standard?
MR. WILKINSON: That's correct.
MR. RINGEN: Okay. Great. Thank you. Bernice.
MS. JENKINS: I just wondered. Have any of the unions bought into the program?
MR. WILKINSON: Mr. Chairman, Ms. Sugerman. As far as a union group actually...
MR. RINGEN: That's Bernice Jenkins.
MR. WILKINSON: Oh, I'm sorry. As far as the actual local union or a national union investing into the National Center, no that has not occurred.
However, several unions are using the training program. I personally established several with the United Mine Workers on some of the coal and copper mines in Arizona. And in addition to that, several of the contractors in Colorado have both union and non-union arms and they have adopted this as their standardized curriculum in both.
MS. JENKINS: Okay. Thank you.
MR. RINGEN: Thanks.
MR. SMITH; Do you have a card?
MR. WILKINSON: Yes. I have some cards. I'll have to go back and dig them out.
MR. RINGEN: Thanks a lot David. That was very interesting.
MR. WILKINSON: Thank you.
MR. RINGEN: Let's take the two final presentations, which are from OSHA. The first is on the Respiratory Standard. And Jeff Snyder is going to present that.
MR. SWANSON; Mr. Snyder would represent it.
MR. RINGEN: Mr. Snyder:
OSHA'S RESPIRATORY STANDARD
MR. SNYDER: Okay. Good morning. My name is Jeff Snyder and I'm from Health Standards. Okay. Everybody can hear.
MR. RINGEN: And your colleague?
MR. SNYDER: Oh. Okay. I'm going to get to that. Okay. And I'm from Health Standards. And Edi Nash is here from the Solicitor's Office.
I've been assigned to work on various aspects of the respirator standard. Recently been assigned to work on the respirator standard.
I'd like to make a few general remarks. We are in the final stages of the standard. We hope to get the standard out of our level by the middle of July. After going through a higher level review, the standard will go to OMB, where it will get reviewed.
From my understanding, suggestions from CACOSH have been made in the past. We are considering the suggestions and comments that have been made. They were from my understanding reflected in a proposal and they are to be reflected in the final standard. And we intend to have the standard be performance oriented and flexible.
And that's about as much as I have to say for myself. And Edi is going to continue with the presentation.
MS. NASH: As Jeff indicated, because the standard now is in the final stages of decision making, regulatory changes to the text are being made as we speak right now, we are unable to tell you exactly the content of the final standard.
Of course we are required by law to make sure that the final standard is a logical outgrowth of the proposed standard. And that standard was proposed in 1994.
The Committee last gave us your official comments on the proposal back in 1987. Although there was a substantial time gap between your last report to us and the proposal in '94, the text of the proposal that we issued in '94 is virtually the same as the text that you reviewed after we made the changes to accommodate your review. So, we believe that all legal requirements relating to CACOSH's review have been satisfied.
As Jeff indicated, we did not propose a separate construction industry standard. We proposed one regulatory text to be applied to all covered industries. It has been our intention, and we hope we have succeeded, in making the provisions of the standard sufficiently flexible so the unique characteristics of your industry have been accommodated.
As you may remember, those of you who were there back in '87, and those of you who reviewed the standard, the proposed standard in '94, the significant changes that we were making to the current standard related to one including a section on definitions that was not in the previous standard. We believe this will make the standard to be issued more clear, more easy to comply with, and more easy to enforce. We proposed the requirements for a program to be more inclusive of every element in the standard. This is going to be a clarification of the current program requirements.
A major change that was proposed was to have specific selection criteria for respirators. The current respirator standard has no specific selection criteria and merely references an outdated ASE standard, a 1969 ASE standard. This was a change which was clearly called for.
A major part of the selection criteria that we proposed were including protection factors, assigned protection factors. We have struggled with how to do this. In 1995 we published in The Federal Register a supplemental notice that told the world that we were considering a new statistical approach to analyzing workplace protection factored data. The Agency is still considering how best to derive protection factors. There will not be new protection factors in the regulation that will be published, we hope, this summer.
We intend to continue the interim regulatory process on enforcing conventional protection factors, but we will have continued rulemaking on new protection factors, which we will submit to the Committee and ask for your advice on. That's something to look forward to.
In the new standard we proposed specific medical surveillance procedures. We know you objected before to a proposed exemption from medical surveillance, a time-based exemption. We have taken your concerns very seriously. We hope that you will be pleased with what we have come out with, because we have really listened to your concerns on medical surveillance.
On fit testing, the current standard requires fit testing but does not have in it any specific protocols. There are many protocols. There are qualitative protocols which can be easily performed in the field. There are quantitative protocols. There's portaccount, which is a portable quantitative way of doing fit testing. Its received a lot of very favorable experience, which has been communicated to us. We are including provisions that will accommodate many of the new protocols. And we think, once again, your industry will be pleased with what we've done in that area.
Paragraph G, which relates to use restrictions on respirators. One of the interesting ones is can people who have hair growth, facial hair growth, can they use tight-fitting respirators. We've tried to clarify our position on this so we won't have to -- That's been a subject of litigation and of interpretations. We think we've made that clear. And we think, once again, you will be pleased with the clarity of those provisions.
Training is an area I know that your industry is very concerned with. The current respirator standard does not have any specific training section in it. We have enforced training creatively using other provisions of the standard. We now have specific provisions of the standard relating to training. When it has to be done. Who has to be trained. What the content of the training is. And we've addressed retraining as well.
In other words, we think we have a package of clarified and more flexible, yet more specific requirements which will meet the needs of your industry.
And we wish we could tell you more but, frankly, we don't even know what the final regulatory text is going to look like. It's being decided right now.
So, are there any questions?
MR. RINGEN: Thank you. Any questions about this.
MS. JENKINS: So there's no draft yet? Or what?
MS. NASH: Oh, we are...
MR. RINGEN: Draft was 10 years ago.
MS. NASH: ...aiming now is not for a draft, but for a final draft version to be submitted to OMB in mid-July. So, this will be the Agency's final product barring any concerns during the OMB review. Office of Management and Budget review.
MR. RINGEN: Stew. Were you on the Committee back in 1987?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Heck no. No.
MR. RINGEN: No. No. Nobody...
MS. NASH: I have a transcript with me....
MR. RINGEN: Thanks Steve...
MS. NASH: ...Like I said, if anyone cares to look at it.
MR. RINGEN: Yes. Steve. Our only remaining member is not here right now. So, our institutional memory is weak.
MR. PAYNE: Is there any particular change in the enforcement policy or in the standard on commercial use of respirators? Not in the construction side but on the manufacturing side, where you have a 12-hour shift as opposed to an eight-hour shift. Has there been any discussion about that? In textiles we're particularly challenged by those questions.
MS. NASH: That was not as I recall an issue that figured significantly during the rulemaking. I can't tell you exactly whether there was a discussion of it.
To some degree we are captive of what we consider a very good process but it still is a process of rulemaking. We're aware of issues as they are presented to us during the rulemaking, and based on our enforcement experience.
So, I don't have a specific answer to that. I don't believe there was a discussion of the proposal about it.
MR. RINGEN: Any other questions? Thank you very much.
The final issue for us is an update on recordkeeping.
MR. SWANSON: Correct. Dave. Introduce yourself please.
MR. SCHMIDT: Okay. Good morning. My name is Dave Schmidt. I work in the Recordkeeping Requirements Division of the Office of Statistics. And unfortunately I really don't have too much more to update you on that the respirators.
Where we are right now is we had published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in February of last year. We received about 450 sets of written comments. We held six days of public meetings. And we are still in the process of developing and finalizing this rule.
In the regulatory agenda that was published, the last regulatory agenda that was published, we had hoped to have a final rule to go out this month. But obviously we're not there. We're still within the Agency.
There's a handful of issues that remained unresolved and hopefully we're going to get those done this month or early July and then start circulating it within the Department and then go to OMB. And our current timeline is looking like we'll have something to publish in FAR the end of this year, November, December.
MR. RINGEN: Thank you. Any questions about this?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Issues like what?
MR. SCHMIDT: The main issue right now is what we refer to as the mandatory appendix fee, which is a listing of specific conditions with specific recording criteria.
And this is the one outstanding issue that we're still trying to resolve. And we're getting close to it. And hopefully we'll present an options paper to Mr. Watchman and the decisions will be made from there.
MR. RINGEN: Any other questions or comments? Thank you very much.
I just want to say the respirator standard discussion reminded me of making note that those who think that imminent actions come out of the deliberations of this Committee, they should realize that there's some work that follows it, before any action happens. I think the 10th anniversary is a pretty good one. We're expecting maybe something of a record. I'm not sure.
MR. SWANSON: No, it wasn't. The scaffold standard I think went 19 years. But we are working on modifying the system. And several things that you have been involved in. You're all familiar with negotiated rulemaking. Many of you participated in what we're doing on safety and health program standards.
The system is changing. Hopefully we will not have too many more 19 year processes. Maybe even not 10 year processes. But your comment still stands, Mr. Chairman. It's not quick.
MR. RINGEN: Final issue. We will not schedule another meeting of this Committee until probably early October I would guess.
First of all, OSHA has to go through its processes of getting renominations. Those are due on July 31. Just to remind everybody.
And then it will convene or establish a new Committee. And I guess at that point seek dates for a new meeting of the Committee.
So I don't think we can do anything more on that today.
MR. SWANSON: Correct.
MR. RINGEN: Other than it was suggested here that we try to hold the next meeting on the West Coast again. That may not be convenient if you have a significant changed Committee.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Since we're all no longer on the Committee, what do we do with the work groups?
MR. RINGEN: I guess the work groups are on hold until...
MR. BURKHAMMER: The new Committee's picked?
MR. SWANSON: The way...
MR. RINGEN: That's a good question.
MR. SWANSON: ...the governing regs read, Mr. Burkhammer, this Committee sits. Each of you sit, although your terms have expired, you sit until a replacement is named. Replacements have not been named yet.
And although one, the terms have or about to expire. Half of you have had your terms expire. You expired late last year. And the other half are about to.
But it would be my opinion, we don't have Steve Jones or legal counsel here at the moment, but if a work group of this Committee had need to meet -- We had a couple of meetings scheduled for this afternoon and tomorrow. They were canceled because of conflicts, not because of legal necessity. It would be my opinion, pending correction by the Solicitor's Office, that a work group could meet.
MR. RINGEN: Stew, I think we should just meet. Take our chances. All they could do is cuff us up.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I agree.
VOICE: Draw a sample letter to...
MR. RINGEN: Yes. I asked Bruce to maybe send a letter from OSHA to the Committee members just reaffirming that position.
MR. JENKINS: And we'll get a copy of The Federal Register announcement?
MR. RINGEN: You got it yesterday.
MR. SWANSON: You already got it yesterday.
MR. RINGEN: It was passed around.
MR. SWANSON: We try and give you everything the day before your ask, Bernice.
MR. RHOTEN: Mr. Chairman.
MR. RINGEN: Yes.
MR. RHOTEN: I just had one questions I guess about in Texas it's my understanding that they either passed some legislation or administrative action or considering it to require 10 hours of training in all or part of their industry. Are you familiar with that? I guess to groups. That that's being contemplated?
MR. SWANSON: I am not familiar with that, Mr. Rhoten.
MR. RINGEN: That's be useful information for your work group.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Trying to sneak it again, aren't you?
MR. RHOTEN: No. I was just trying to suggest...
MR. BURKHAMMER: ...I did... officially, but I understand that was under consideration or being in the mill. And what I wanted to do was ask OSHA, if that is in the mill, to find out what impact that might have as to what kind of comments are raised on it. And, you know.
MR. RHOTEN: I concur with that. I think we ought to...
MR. BURKHAMMER: Just information for the Committee.
MR. RHOTEN: I agree. I agree.
MR. BURKHAMMER: We will find out.
MR. RINGEN: It will be know as 10-hour bill after this.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I'm going to be done as obstructionist Stew...
MR. RHOTEN: You're already known as...
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you.
MR. SWANSON: I'd even settle for five, Stew.
MR. RINGEN: Any other questions? Any other comments. If not, we stand adjourned. Thank you all very much.
(Whereupon, the meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.)
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