US Department of Labor Room N3437
200 Constitution Avenue, Nw
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Volume II of II
Editor's notes for the October 20, 2004, transcript: The following phrases and words in this document should appear as follows: References to council, should be counsel.
The meeting was reconvened pursuant to recess at 8:45 a.m., ROBERT KRUL, Chairman, presiding.
P R E S E N T
Director, Safety & Health
United Union Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers
MR. FRANK MIGLIACCIO, JR.
Executive Director, Safety & Health
International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers
MR. SCOTT SCHNEIDER, CIH
Director, Safety & Health
Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America
MR. WILLIAM C. RHOTEN
Director, Safety & Health
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices Of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry
MR. MICHAEL J. THIBODEAUX
Director, Risk Management
MR. GREG STRUDWICK
Greg Strudwick & Associates, Inc.
MR. LINWOOD O. SMITH
Vice President, Risk Management & Safety
T. A. Loving Company
MR. STEPHEN M. WILTSHIRE
National Safety Director, Sports and Public Assembly Group
Turner Construction Company
EMPLOYER REPRESENTATIVES CONTINUED
MR. DAN MURPHY
Sr. Vice President, Risk Control
St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance
MR. KEVIN D. BEAUREGARD
Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Director
Division of Occupational Safety & Health
North Carolina Department of Labor
MR. DOUGLAS J. KALINOWSKI, CIH
Chair - OSHSPA/Director Michigan
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
MR. THOMAS A. BRODERICK
Construction Safety Council
MR. MICHAEL W. HAYSLIP
National Excavation & Safety Training Institute
MS. CHERYL F. ESTILL, M.S., P.E.
Industrial Hygiene Supervisor, Industry Wide Survey
National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health
DESIGNATED FEDERAL OFFICER
MR. RUSSELL B. SWANSON
Director, Directorate of Construction
U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
MR. STEW BURKHAMMER, P.E., CSP
Director, Office of Construction Service
Directorate of Construction
MR. MICHAEL M.X. BUCHET
Office of Construction Services
Directorate of Construction
MS. SARAH SHORTALL
Office of the Solicitor
U.S. Department of Labor
I N D E X
P R O C E E D I N G S
CALL TO ORDER
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Would everyone please take their seats? We waited a little bit with the weather. And actually, we're not that time constrained on our agenda this morning.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: A couple of things as opening remarks for the committee. Who yet needs to get a new security badge? Everyone else got one yesterday? Yeah, me, okay. I skipped out of here real quick yesterday for good reasons. That's fine. I'll take care of that today if I can.
Public comment. Is there anyone from the general public who would like to make any comment? If they would, again, please provide me with your name and the topic you'd like to speak on. We'll do that later on.
We're going to go right into the workgroups. Trenching and excavation is first.
Greg, do you want to give a report on behalf of your workgroup?
REPORT FROM WORKGROUPS
MR. STRUDWICK: My name is Greg Strudwick. I'm one of the many co-chairs on the trenching initiative. We've met three times officially over the last nine months or so. It has been kind of a progressive type of an effort based on the fact that initially we reviewed some materials that were supplied to us from the Construction Directorate, and made some recommendations early on in the year to address some awareness issues based on publications and things that we could do while we were working through the mountains of information that were supplied.
At the last meeting, we were supplied with a notebook that was kind of a compilation of all of the information that we'd received since January of last year. I was assured that if anybody with the committee wanted a copy of this, that they were welcome to have that. So there were a number of us on the committee as co-chairs. Tom Broderick, Mike Hayslip, myself, Scott Schneider, so very well represented. At the last meeting, Jack Pettyjohn, a gentleman that has been in the shoring and safety business for a long, long, long time, and one of our trusted colleagues and others, Emmett, and a number of different people there.
We have been through this information over and over and over again. There are some very telling statistics here. Each one of you should have received a copy of the last minutes of the last meeting. Of course there is some generalized information.
But on the second page prior to our recommendations, there were three things that jumped out at me. Of course the recommendations that we came up with as a consensus are not in-depth actually. We wanted the depth really to come from the other members of this committee.
Then at the end of our discussion, we will vote to make a recommendation to OSHA as to which way to go, and hammer out some of these issues that are relatively sensitive from a contracting standpoint, from a vending standpoint, from a labor standpoint.
We just need to by golly focus and pay attention. In the last 20 years, we haven't made a lot of progress. We haven't moved backwards, because we have increased the amount of hours worked for men in those situations. But to jump from 33 fatalities in 2002 to 53 in 2003, that's a red flag that says we have to go back and take a hard look at what has been happening.
In 1989, when the standard was revised, we saw a dramatic decrease. Jack Pettyjohn brought in some information that showed when increased enforcement was applied, it dramatically decreased. So we've got to come up with a combination of training, enforcement, and good sense to make an impact and try to reduce these fatalities and exposures. Honestly, I think we can do that.
Three of the things that jumped out at me on the second page just prior to our recommendations are personal to a certain degree, because it has to do with the contractor, it has to do with the person on site. A number of these you'll find are normal type of statistics. Like 66 percent of the trenches were 5 to 9 feet deep. Well, that's just kind of a standard. Sixty-six percent of all ditches are five to nine feet deep, and those don't have a tendency to make anyone very uncomfortable when they look in. Nine feet, maybe yes, but five feet, a lot of people just take that as a non-issue as far as safety is concerned.
But if you move down through, and of course we have the Hispanic, 56 percent of the 34 of the cases that we really drill down into are Hispanic. We all are aware of that, and Tom is going to give us an overview of the Hispanic summit that many of us attended. We're focusing on that, too.
But the ones that just blow me away are the center part of this that 86 percent of the time, the competent person wasn't on site. That meant that supervision had left more than likely, and the accident occurred when there wasn't significant supervision.
Employers with 50 workers or less accounted for 81 percent of the total. When you're getting up into the 80 percentile of anything, it is a significant issue from a statistic standpoint. These are real. Protective systems were not used 76 percent of the time. However, they were available 12 percent of the time, or improperly used 24 percent of the time.
I don't want to be the one to bear all the bad news, but I have been on job sites when the reason that they weren't used is because they weren't available. Machines were undersized, and people were put behind the eightball for productivity reasons, and went ahead and tried to do something that honestly was a hazard, and they knew it was a hazard.
So I'm going to defer the rest of the recommendations to Scott. He is going to start with number one.
Mike, you can jump in there and pipe up a little bit. Tom.
I know they all have deep feelings about what we're going to talk about here. Since I have given you kind of an overview in what we are all together to try and create as far as recommendations and new strategies, then Scott, if you'd take over from here, I'd appreciate that.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Thanks very much. I just wanted to thank everybody that helped out with this. It was a really great meeting. It was very vocal. People were not shy, and there was a lot of good discussion. I think everybody was very constructive about it.
We did come up with six recommendations. I'm just going to briefly go over them. They are not in any specific order of importance, so don't take the order as meaning anything in particular. The first one is that basically all compliance officers and compliance assistance specialists who are dealing with trenching issues should at a minimum have an eight-hour competent person training in excavation hazard and awareness assessment to try to improve the ability to do inspections and to assist people with trench safety.
The second one is really that we need to have tougher and improved enforcement more targeted to those places where we need it. The small employers, and those areas of the country where they are having a lot of problems. Not to reduce penalties as easily. And also we talked about updating the compliance directive for trenching for the special emphasis program.
We also discussed the possibility of trying to get information from non-traditional sources. Like one called Systems Building Permits to help us find those really small jobs where a lot of these fatalities are occurring.
The third recommendation is to improve training through, for example, having a resource center to collect all of these materials. There are a tremendous amount of really good materials out there, like this thing we saw from NIOSH yesterday that we can now use. The question is to make it really widely available and get people to use them.
We also mention here having better tools for communicating. How do you identify a hazardous job site? Make it really simple and easy for people to identify.
The fourth recommendation is to increase the frequency and the quality of training, not just for the workers, but also for competent persons, and for the supervisors in field management.
Number five is basically saying we can't do this alone. OSHA can't do it by themselves. We have to get everybody involved, the municipalities, the police, fire, and rescue people, one call centers, owners, insurance folks, trade journals, everybody, and to get information out there and make it a really coordinated effort on the part of everybody.
Lastly we talk about doing sort of a public health style campaign. This is something that OSHA has never really done, I think, is to make it sort of just the way we sort of have drunk driving campaigns and seatbelt campaigns. We could have a campaign and target a certain area.
Like say we have one area that had a lot of fatalities. Let's do a pilot campaign in that area with billboards or radio announcements or TV announcements. Particularly since Hispanic fatalities are such a big part of this, we talk about increasing communications with Hispanic audiences about some of the unfounded perceptions they have of OSHA, confusing OSHA with the INS.
If we can make sure that they feel comfortable talking to OSHA, filing complaints, that could help tremendously. So in a nutshell, those are our recommendations. I don't know if Tom or Mike want to add anything to that. If not, then we can I guess open the floor for questions and discussions.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom?
MR. BRODERICK: Yesterday it was pointed out I think Greg was complimentary of the Agency for recognizing the spike in fatalities, and utilizing the Susan Harwood training grant mechanism for dissemination of information.
Initially I thought having three overlapping grants when we have lots of other hazards out there was probably overkill. But the more Greg and I talked about it, there are several different cohorts within the excavation world that we need to reach. We need to get to the workers who are literally the ditch diggers.
We need to get to the people who are charged with their safety at the job site. That would be the competent person.
Perhaps most importantly, we need to get to the owners of the companies that are allowing situations. I don't know if the photograph that I started to pass around has made it around, but it was a classic example of a horrendous ditch that made the front page of the newspaper promoting some road work and improvements that were happening in a community.
So I think that one of the initial things that I'd like to do, and we're putting in motion today, is at least two of the recipients, and I believe the Home Builders are represented here today, and they have the third grant. It was my organization, the Construction Safety Council, the National Utility Contractor's Association, and the Home Builders, that got these Harwood grants to get together and see if we can make sure that we create work product that addresses the respective needs that are out there.
I know that in our application, we also included funding for public service announcements. My organization has found the use of PSAs particularly useful. If they are professionally produced and they fit a 30-second or 60-second time slot, cable companies are quick to jump on them because they can fill in where they don't have paid breaks.
We have had a lot of success with our power line hazards 30-second PSA. I know that it is being shown throughout Illinois through the generosity of Comcast at no expense to us. At our February conference, I had people from West Virginia, people from Utah tell me gee, I've seen a PSA that Construction Safety put on on power lines. So Comcast has distributed it apparently throughout their network. So there are some reasonable in terms of financial ways of disseminating information. I think another key that we touched on is no one has a large pot of money to finance a sustained advertising campaign to address the issue of excavation hazards. But there are dozens, if not a few hundred publications, periodicals, that go to safety and health professionals, and go to the construction community.
I believe all of the international unions have magazines that go to their members. I believe all the national trade associations have magazines that go to their contractor members. There are a plethora of safety and health journals out there. Although we can't have a presence for highlighting the hazards of excavation work by purchasing advertising in all of those, and some of them probably wouldn't accept it if we had the money, they would accept well written articles about trench hazards.
That was one of I think the key things that we agreed on is that we would try to reach out to our respective organizations and to as many other organizations as we can with informational articles on trenching safety, and have them written specifically to address the audience of the respective magazine or journal.
So that is a work in progress. But I'm very excited about being on this excavation task force and now workgroup. I think we have an opportunity where we have isolated a single significant hazard, and can make some good headway. But it is going to take rolling up our sleeves and working on it. I think so far this workgroup has been very enthusiastic, and has already produced some work product.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mike?
MR. HAYSLIP: Yes, Mike Hayslip. I believe the document speaks for itself. Everyone has had it, you've had an opportunity to read it. I'd like to entertain a motion to approve the six recommendations.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I'll entertain that motion as soon as we finish with -- if anybody has question or comments? Linwood?
MR. SMITH: One quick comment. I agree with the report, and I certainly support it. I think all of us would, hopefully. We do have a problem, and statistics point that out. Most employer groups, in fact, all employer groups that I'm familiar with provide competent person training on a regular basis.
Somehow we are just not reaching the smaller contractors. That is pointed out in the statistics. But the one question I had about the statistics. Eighty percent of the time, the competent person was not on the job site. Are we in some parts of the country teaching that the competent person does not have to be on the job site?
My theory is you need the competent person on the job site. I think you need several people trained in order to make that happen. No one person, one trained person on a job site would not at all times have a competent person present. But when you have 80 percent of the time he was not on the job site, to me that means he was trained, but he wasn't there. Is that what that means?
MR. STRUDWICK: Well, when we went back and looked at the different cases, there were competent people available at the beginning of the excavation early in the morning. They had gone to Home Depot, or they had gone to do some type of errand, and the accident happened or occurred while they were gone.
Not that they hadn't been there, but it happened while they were gone.
We as NUCA probably trained as many or more than anybody in the country. We have 90 active trainers. Our recommendation to them is that they recommend to the contractor that not only do they train the supervisor as the competent person, but the second in command as a competent person. Typically that's the excavation operator of the backhoe.
I spoke to Emmett a little bit yesterday about the fact that the more that I teach, and the more that I train, the more question that I ask, it is starting to focus on the actual excavator operator himself, the one that is creating the environment that the failures are taking place in.
So I'm going to do a class for 50 up in Baltimore on Saturday, and I'm going to start to pursue a little bit more of whether or not those excavator operators are comfortable with what we're teaching them as a competent person, the recognition. But then are they comfortable with the way that the focus is on sloping, benching, shoring, those kinds of things.
We find, and George can back me up on this, we find that in a lot of cases, technically the shoring and the benching is incorrect. There are some surcharge loads that play a great big part in what happens as far as the failures are concerned. Not everything is horizontal. We find that there is a lot of fault situations that aggravate a shoring or a sloping type of operation.
Those are maybe some of the things that we need to discuss with the backhoe operators themselves. They know if the soil is cohesive, they know if it is sandy, if it is A, B, or C, and they don't have to touch it with their hands. They touch it with the bucket. So we're going to focus a little on that.
But to answer your question, Linwood, it is the group or the supervisor that has taken off, gone to get a bag of cement up at Home Depot, and all of a sudden a collapse occurs, and he's not on site. That's kind of what we saw.
MR. SMITH: Right. And I agree completely that maybe we need to look at how we emphasize our training. We do need to emphasize that operator, and also the workers. There is no reason a worker can't be a competent person also.
MR. STRUDWICK: Right.
MR. SMITH: If they are not. So that may be a shift in emphasis we need to look at.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Are there any other questions for the workgroup? Bruce?
MR. SWANSON: Yeah. I would like to have you guys note that this data is based on 34 fatalities. Eighty-six percent, if 34 comes out, part of a person. But the issue I think, it gets a lot more complicated, and then we have to teach that you have to have a competent person on site.
As far as I know, any person out there doing training already trains that you have to have a competent person on site. But we looked at just 34 fatalities from federal jurisdictions, and we found that in 80 plus percent of those cases, regardless of what is being taught out there, it wasn't happening.
So what is the next step, or what else could we be doing, should we be doing? I'm all for training. I agree with you 100 plus percent, Linwood, that we have to continue training what we're training. But what we're training is bringing about fatalities in trenches.
I agree with Greg that trenches that are only five feet deep are not much of a problem out there. They shouldn't be much of a problem. But we are looking at 34 fatalities, and some of those occurred in trenches that were 5 feet deep. So it shouldn't be a problem, but it is.
As you go through your recommendations, and before you vote on those recommendations, and I'm not a member of this committee, you vote when you feel like voting, but I'd like to encourage you to have some more discussion.
There is a recommendation that all OSHA inspectors and compliance assistants specialists receive a minimum of eight hours before they can go do anything. But do you really mean all? That is what the recommendation says. And do you really mean that you are intending to recommend to OSHA that you stand down your trenching specialists until they receive this training?
Budget problems being what they are, when is that going to be? Now, these are only suggestions. We can go through and take the meat out of your suggestions after we get them. I'd just like to encourage you to maybe take a swack at that yourself once before you recommend these six, and see if they can be tightened or improved upon, or be made somewhat deeper. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott, then Frank.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yeah, I just want to respond. That particular recommendation, you said that those people should have that training before they do inspections or work in this area, in the trenching area, and basically we as partners of OSHA have offered to deliver the training. You said NUCA has offered. We could do it at our training centers to help facilitate it and not perhaps put an expense on the Agency. We're willing to do it. We're stepping up to the plate. So we will help fulfill those recommendations.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Frank?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Bruce, you just said what could the agency do? I think recommendation number two tells us what the Agency can do real quick. Tougher and improved enforcement is recommended.
I mean, you look in the papers and you see where a company that has killed a person years ago, and kills another person years later, and they get either less, or not even a penalty. There is something definitely wrong with the way things are happening.
I mean, one person's life is worth more than what -- you say budget constraints. Sure, there are budget constraints in everything. But there is a lot of people's lives out there at stake in this. So, I mean, there is a good one right there.
But I do agree with what Greg and everybody else has said here. You know what the subpart are. We did the training for your compliance officers, and you helped. I mean, we all did that. There was no real cost, other than your getting your people to the facility. I mean, I think we even picked up the lunch and the breaks, so there is problem there.
I think if these other organizations want to help out, contractors, you know, and everybody else, everybody should get together and get on board with this one.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Greg, and then Tim.
MR. STRUDWICK: We pared down the recommendations. In other words, there are some more body in each one of these recommendations that is not there, that we thought would probably automatically expose themselves when we discussed each one of the recommendations.
I'll give you an example of that. Number two includes greater penalties, or in the alternative, less or no reductions in fines or citation classifications. But we also talked about disciplinary action, and making the competent person, foreman, supervisor, superintendent, whoever is on site, more accountable.
In order to do that, the employers have to be coached in a really good effective disciplinary action program. Whether that is three strikes, you're out, or four, or whatever. But the recognition that if the performance is not adequate on site, that they don't let it continue to be inadequate.
They may take some kind of action, and I know that in the Dallas area office and in the Fort Worth area office, Austin, that is a priority when they come in for their informal conference. You know, how do you handle the discipline on site? What do you do? Do you turn your heads and not respond? Or do you allow it to continue?
If they do, shame on them. Honestly. It has come now to a point where the bar has been raised as far as the person is on site. The competent person, you name it. But we have done ten years of competent, 12, 13 years of competent person training. They all know what A, B, and C soil is supposed to be. Now, they can't respond to the unconfined compressive strength or a thumb penetration test, that kind of thing. But they know what it is supposed to be.
Now, whether or not they actually use the training we're giving them, that's the part that we need to get their attention by. If that is increased enforcement or making it mandatory that whoever comes in on that, or has an accident or a problem on site is brought into that informal conference.
Let me tell you what. I have been there when they haven't been there, and I have been there when they have. When they have been there, there is a whole different attitude when they go back to their job site. So those are some of the kinds of things that we're working on internally as contractors in making recommendations internally. But we can also add to these recommendations and expand upon them.
But we've got to get more creative in the way, and I agree with Bruce, we have done lots and lots and lots of training. The Susan Harwood grants. We're going to focus as NUCA on the orientation side of that. Then Tom and I were talking yesterday about where they were going to focus.
So a coordinated, concentrated effort is going to pay off in the long term. But we cannot allow the accountability to slack off. We have to make the competent person more aware that it is his job that make sure that prior to someone going into a trench, the trench itself is safe.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom Broderick?
MR. BRODERICK: Yes. Bruce, responding to your concern about recommendation number one. I don't think it was the intention of our workgroup to literally prevent those inspectors and CAS people who have not received a minimum of eight hours of competent person training to cease from doing whatever they are doing now.
I think that you're right, that if taken literally, that is what this says. I believe what we meant was that going forward, new people in that role get that training, and whatever we can do using the best vehicle to get it done through the home office here and through the region, and through the area offices -- another thing that I had forgotten to mention is that my organization has had an eight-hour excavation course for the competent person just about ever since Subpart P was revised.
We have submitted that to the OSHA Training Institute. We have been assigned a short course number for it. They have performed their review on the course and made some recommendations. Right now we are in the process of making the modifications. They should be complete within a week or two. Then it will go back to OTI and be disseminated to all 23 of the education centers around the country.
So there will be the ability for anyone, but most especially with relationship to recommendation one, the ability for OSHA folks to go take an eight-hour course. I would be happy to communicate through the ed center network that we have. I believe that all of the ed centers now are pretty much comping courses to OSHA personnel, because it helps us as ed centers to have compliance people in our OSHA 500 and 510, and the other courses that we are able to do from the OSHA training institute.
They very often have a take that private sector instructors don't have. I would be happy to encourage those ed centers, and I would share with them this recommendation. To make this eight-hour course available to compliance assistants and to the construction specialists, so that there is not a geographical or an economic road block that would prevent them from being able to access that training.
MR. SWANSON: I appreciate everything you've said, Tom. That is exactly the type of training that we ought to have for compliance officers. Get out there and do hands-on training.
The training that Frank Migliaccio referenced, the training of compliance officers, and I think we trained somewhere between 150 and 200 compliance officers, and everyone I talked to said that that was the best training they had received in their OSHA career.
We gave the training in the Iron Worker training facilities. Their steel erection contractors participated, the ABC and some others participated in that training, along with my shop. It was really meaningful training for these folks, and they got a real sense of what we're talking about.
It wasn't a blackboard, it wasn't a PowerPoint presentation. It was out there with steel in their hands. I believe that is what should be done with trenching as well. I appreciate the offers that are coming forward to make hands-on training facilities available for OSHA compliance officers.
My only intent, and your first recommendation I use only as an example of all of the recommendations, is if you are going to use the clout of this committee to make a recommendation, think about the words that you use, and the message that that carries. Because that might not have been what you meant when you wrote it, but it now says what it says. It is kind of like an OSHA standard. You can't go back later and say I'm sorry, that's not what we meant, we want you to do this much more. You're stuck with the words you've got on paper.
While I agree with the intent of each of these recommendations, and if you leave them the way they are, I'll fight for the intent of the recommendation. I'm just suggesting that some more conversation perhaps would not hurt.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Bill Rhoten?
MR. RHOTEN: I think you've already addressed part of the question I had. The first question is how many inspectors and compliance assistants approximately do we have that you're talking about training? Do you have a ballpark figure?
MR. SWANSON: Well, you've got 1,000 federal compliance officers out there across the country. Not all of them do construction inspections. Some of them, their expertise lies in --
MR. RHOTEN: When you say "all," you're talking about --
MR. SWANSON: Yeah, you're talking about 1,000 of those people. I know you didn't mean that when you wrote it, but that is what you wrote. Someone other than me is going to be reading this.
MR. RHOTEN: I appreciate your remarks on that Bruce, in what it says. I'd just suggest, if I could, that it be amended in that recommendation that when you get down to before they are permitted to take an active part in compliance and assistance for compliance inspections in this area, just cross all that out, and I think you'll get the intent of the committee, what the committee wants, and not have something written down that basically might not be practical or acceptable in getting it done. If you write it up the way it is worded, you are telling them nobody can inspect the site right now.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Kevin, and then Linwood.
MR. BEAUREGARD: I was just going to add that you heard about the 1,000 inspectors that federal OSHA has, but 26 State Plan States are out there with their own inspectors. In some of the listings that you list, and I'm not sure if this is all federal data or federal and state data, but you mention California, here, and South Carolina. Those are State Plan States.
South Carolina in particular, in the last few years they've had a lot of financial problems. So if the Construction Safety Council or somebody else out there offers to do trenching and excavation training in Chicago, they're not going to send their people, because they can't send their people. They don't have the funding to do it.
In those State Plan States particularly-- and I don't know if the group looked at this--it says Region 4 and Region 6 had the highest number of fatalities. Another thing you may want to consider is recommending in particular regions that are having a particular problem with trenching and excavation that maybe they do a little bit more than some other areas of the country that maybe they are already doing an effective job and need to be working on something else.
We all have competing needs, and competing resources. So we want to make sure that if you're putting a caveat on there that says we want to take your entire staff, or the entire construction staff and send them to this training, that we need to make sure that it is really needed in that area before you do that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Linwood, and then Greg.
MR. SMITH: Thank you, sir. I agree basically with the premise that all OSHA inspectors should be trained competent persons, but I also know that that is not practical, and is probably not going to happen whether we recommend it or not.
I loved the partnering concept of the construction industry and also the labor organizations
participating in this training, and other organizations. I think that's wonderful that we are working back and forth.
But I think if we just took the word "all" out, maybe we need to vote on these recommendations one at a time. But if we just said it is recommended that OSHA inspectors in compliance receive a minimum eight hours of training, it would fulfill the intent.
Because being in a trench, also being in government, to make a comprehensive trench and excavation inspection, you need the training. But to ride by the road and observe a trench straight down eight feet, seven feet or whatever, and to observe an imminent danger hazard, it doesn't take eight hours worth of training.
So anybody that's employed with OSHA, whether it be construction, general industry, or who, in essence can help with this problem and observe trenches that are 5 to 9 foot deep, 20 foot deep, or whatever, that are straight down. Some problems they are going to recognize.
If they recognize some of the problems, then we've gone a ways to help with our situation of preventing fatalities. They might not know the ins and outs of the standard, but it doesn't take eight hours of training to see a trench straight down and observe a problem. Any OSHA inspector should be in charge with that responsibility to observe as they are riding down the road, and should have the authority to stop and stop it.
Maybe you need to get someone out here to get training later. But everybody in OSHA needs that responsibility. I would just recommend we take the word "all" out of the recommendation, and I think it would suffice.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. Greg, before we get to you, and before the Chairman gets lost with motions and recommendations, that's twice I have heard two suggestions for fixing this.
I just re-read that paragraph, if I can stick my two cents in here, with taking the word "all" out. Would the workgroup and the members of this committee agree to that change? Greg?
MR. STRUDWICK: I don't think it was the intent of the workgroup to come back in and say these are finalized recommendations. It was our intent to come in and list some recommendations that would allow us more input from the committee overall.
It may take one more meeting for us to digest those recommendations that you guys feel at this point are personal, and not to go back in and start breaking these down one word at a time, and then ask for assistance from the Directorate as far as word smithing, and those situations, so that we can come back with more formal recommendations.
So what I'd like to see happen is that we get input on each recommendation, add some if we need to, and then take our task force workgroup and go back at it at least once more before we make formal recommendations. That way, there are no slip, trips, or falls as far as wording in each recommendation.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: The Chair will do whatever the workgroup wants to do. Before I get to you, Mike. The only, and I'm just being an observer here. The only comment I heard, or the only trip up I saw or heard from the recommendations that you folks have in a motion that hasn't been seconded yet.
Recommendation one was the only thing I saw tripping up progress with this workgroup's report. Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong. If you guys want to take it back and work on it recommendation by recommendation, that's fine. I'm just trying to observe. Mike?
MR. HAYSLIP: Mike Hayslip. Mr. Chair, I personally have no problem with removal of the word "all" from recommendation number one.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And what is the group's pleasure on what Greg just offered? Scott?
MS. SHORTALL: You have a motion on the floor that hasn't been seconded.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: For a reason, because I wanted to have this discussion first.
MS. SHORTALL: Well, you have to second it.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I'll second the motion.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. He'll second it. On the question.
MR. SCHNEIDER: On the question. I agree with Bob. Let's have another five or ten minutes of discussion on these recommendations. If we can fix recommendation one as has been suggested, and if there isn't a lot of controversy about the other recommendations, maybe we can move this forward now as opposed to delaying it or waiting on it.
If there is a lot of discussion or a lot of disagreements about the other recommendations, maybe we'll have to go back. Let's find out. If, as you suggest, maybe recommendation one is the only one that people have had problems with and we can fix that, maybe we can move forward.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. If there is no problem with that, that's why I have a Parliamentarian here. Wait.
MS. SHORTALL: I do have a quick request. That is the committee has been discussing or referring to various recommendations by number, and not the words of the recommendation. So my request would be that this be placed into the record in lieu of having to read each of the recommendations. So the summary minutes of the transcript would reflect what your recommendations are.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Just keep me straight, here. Now, there is a motion on the floor and a second to accept this workgroup's report.
MS. SHORTALL: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any changes now will require an amendment and the maker of the motion and the seconder will have to go back and approve --
MS. SHORTALL: Unless the maker of the motion, which Mr. Hayslip is, accepts the amendment.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Tom Broderick?
MR. BRODERICK: Well, as I was wandering around the room, I talked to both Scott and Mike. I think it is our intention to put forth these recommendations in a manner which will help the agency to best execute those things that we want to get done.
So if there are problems in wording, or the wording could be strengthened to achieve the desired results, we didn't have the benefit of having someone from the Directorate give us guidance on that. We did have someone from the Directorate present at the meeting.
Our Parliamentarian is out and about. But basically what I'm saying is I don't think we have a problem going through these item by item and making them have as strong a case as we can possibly build for the intention in each item.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: The workgroup can do whatever the workgroup wants. I want to go back to my original comment. The only recommendation that seemed to be a problem as it was read by Scott by Greg's direction, was number one. The Director of the Directorate of Construction thought that that paragraph, while he would defend the wording, the way it was written was not going to fly too well because of budgetary constraints.
Recommendations two, three, four, five and six had no comment. Now, if we want to go back and find comments, we can do that. But if you guys want to go back and rework this thing, that's fine. Mike?
MR. HAYSLIP: Mr. Chairman, I see no reason to rework it. I have already said that it is fine to remove the word "all" from recommendation number one.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Steve?
MR. WILTSHIRE: Steve Wiltshire. I had a couple of comments, Bob. If we're not going to go through it, one was on recommendation number four, we mentioned in number one about eight hours, we had a specific time for the training for the OSHA compliance people.
Scott or Greg, was there a discussion about a specific length of time or retraining parameters for the contractors?
MR. STRUDWICK: No. There was no discussion about a competent person having any type of expiration date on it. There was, and we do want this to be an ongoing situation. I think that the comment about the wording was an example, okay?
I think we do need to go through each one of the recommendations. That was the intent. We withdrew some of the body of each one of these recommendations so that we could get some feedback from you. There are some very personal ones that are out of here, and I know that Scott has got one of them in one of the recommendations. We need to go through each one.
MR. WILTSHIRE: My point about the eight hours is that I know a lot of times, I mean, eight hours is the standard. But I see a lot of companies that come across with four hours, three hours, you know. I'm wondering if we should dictate in here how long it should be.
MR. STRUDWICK: Well, the reason that eight hours is somewhat standard is because that is about all you can force into a day's training. Six and a half hours of lecture in an eight-hour day. After that, 70 percent of the people, their eyes glaze over and they don't get anything else.
So we're trying to make it one day and effective. But I know that continuous training on an annual basis, and we go back and do refresher training and that kind of stuff. We have not put expiration dates on that training. What we have suggested to the contractor is that they judge performance of the individual, and when they start to show signs of misunderstanding or not actually performing correctly, that they get them back and retrain them.
In the case of our classes, if they go back out after taking an eight-hour class and they are not satisfied with their performance, they keep sending them back until they get it right.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mike Hayslip?
MR. HAYSLIP: Mr. Wiltshire, recommendation number four does not discuss a time table. Eight hours, four hours, six hours, regardless. It simply goes to the effect of saying that there is a recommendation for OSHA to increase grants such that effective training could be produced.
That effective training may indeed be two hours, it may indeed be four hours. That we've left to OSHA's discretion. That is the intent. That is clear the intent.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Steve, did you have anything else?
MR. WILTSHIRE: No.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. Is there anyone else that has any questions on the recommendations, other than number one, that will be amended?
MS. SHORTALL: I have a question to ask Mr. Hayslip. That is was your motion simply to have the committee accept and forward on the recommendations contained within this workgroup? Or also to approve the whole workgroup as a whole?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I understood the motion to be the acceptance of the workgroup report, and it wasn't seconded then. Scott seconded that. That was my fault.
MR. HAYSLIP: The Chairman is correct. The recommendation is to review, discuss, and accept these six recommendations with the amendment for recommendation number one where the word "all" is stricken.
MS. SHORTALL: So it is accepting the entire workgroup product, to include the statistics in that that Mr. Strudwick was talking about?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Well, all workgroup reports are accepted that way, Sarah. I mean, whatever is in the workgroup report is accepted. It is understood that the recommendations are --
MR. HAYSLIP: Yes, it is, Ms. Shortall. The numbers on that sheet are numbers that were given to the workgroup from OSHA.
MS. SHORTALL: Thank you.
MR. HAYSLIP: Unless of course they are flawed or wrong, then we would accept changes. But those numbers weren't derived by us, the workgroup.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else have a question? Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yeah. Since Greg bugged me about it, I should raise this issue. One of the few things we sort of left out of these recommendations, but we raised it in sort of an inferential way.
Under recommendation three, we talk about developing and implementing simple tools for communicating hazard recognition. I wanted us to elaborate in the sense to explain what that means.
I had raised this at the last meeting. It would be very useful, I believe, to have some sort of mechanism whereby everybody on the job site can recognize whether or not a trench is safe or not before they go down in it.
Just as we have, for example, for people put tags on scaffolds as to whether a scaffold is safe to go in. They have a permit system before you go in a confined space. I think there needs to be some sort of simple way as I mentioned like on a flag or something that designates whether or not a trench is safe to go down so that everybody, or people going by a site, a compliance officer or whatever, will know, it number one has been inspected by a competent person, and number two, they have decided it is safe to go down.
I think having a mechanism to readily and easily identify that would be very useful in terms of preventing trench fatalities. So that was one of my recommendations. It was mentioned here in less detail than we had discussed earlier, but just as a further explanation for why I had included that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. We have a motion to accept this report of the trenching and excavation workgroup with the amended language to recommendation number one whereby the word "all" is stricken. The motion has been seconded. Is there anybody else on the question? Dan?
MR. MURPHY: Dan Murphy. I was listening to Bruce and I heard him use recommendation one as an example. I'm curious, is there other verbiage in the other recommendations that maybe needs a little word smithing with the Directorate and the ACCSH group working together to make sure that we have the right verbiage in each one of these recommendations.
Maybe one was the only one that Bruce recognized as having the word "all" in it. But I would like him to respond to that, if he would.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Before he does, I just want to issue the caveat of lawyers being paid by the word. And also not necessarily anything to do with an attorney, but the fact that these are recommendations, and we could word smith them to death and we could make them the most perfectly worded document in the world, and OSHA can accept them, and OSHA can reject them. It is going to be based on budgetary requirements, manpower, human resources.
So I caution you about extending workgroups for that reason solely. I think what he told you was a
glaring budgetary problem in that language. The rest of it I think is obvious. I mean, given what Scott wants to do here, OSHA may not have the budgetary resources to look at all six of those recommendations.
If we get three, we may be happy. If we start a campaign throughout the country, as Tom said, in our union publications, our contractor publications, safety and health publications, and get a safety awareness and consciousness program going, I was going to save this comment until the motion passed so that it wouldn't influence the vote, but I don't think it matters now.
This has been a near and dear subject of mine. I shudder every time I pick up the paper and see that there is another fatality in trenching. It is what Greg said. There are contractors who are doing a good job, there is obviously a bunch of them, and a bunch of workers too who aren't paying attention to the trenching hazards and excavation hazards that are out there. Having said that, I'll let Mr. Swanson respond to the question. I know I answered it for you, but I couldn't help myself.
MR. SWANSON: And that's a new phenomenon. You're right, Mr. Murphy, I only intended the all and the stand down to be examples of these six recommendations. I'll attempt to go into some detail to resolve six individual instances where there could be improvement.
If you read recommendation number one as saying OSHA compliance officers ought to get more training, fine. I agree with that. I think the agency will agree with that.
Recommendation number two is that there ought to be tougher, more meaningful enforcement. That's fine. So, you know, this body can forward this subcommittee report to OSHA and OSHA will take something out of it, and it will be useful with or without the "all."
We're probably not going to get down to reading it that specifically. The intent of number one is that there should be more training for compliance officers. The methodology that the workgroup went into might not be the methodology that OSHA will take. But we can certainly take the message from this body that your intent is that compliance officers ought to get more training themselves on trenching enforcement. We would hear that. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else on the question? The vote is in order. All those in favor of the motion to accept the excavation and trenching workgroup report, please signify by the sign aye.
(A chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Opposed, if any?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: The aye's have it. So ordered.
The Chair would like to thank the committee. I think you did an exceptional job with this, regardless of the word smithing part of it. I do think this is something that whether it is OSHA and members of this committee and the people that we represent, doing something besides what is being done today to reduce the number of trenching fatalities, then this committee and this workgroup did a good thing. A real good thing. I thank you all for your work.
Next on the agenda is the tower erection. That will be Kevin, I'm assuming.
MR. BEAUREGARD: You've got it. I keep going through co-chairs like you wouldn't believe.
REPORT FROM WORKGROUPS
MR. BEAUREGARD: What I thought I'd do today is do a real brief summary for those members that weren't here when we put the tower workgroup together, and then give my report. Then I am going to have a couple of motions at the end of the report.
But basically several years ago, we put together a tower workgroup to look at compiling some recommendations to OSHA on issues associated with communication towers and the high number of incidents, fatalities, accidents, and injuries associated with those.
The workgroup was very active. We had a lot of participation from the industry, as well as NIOSH had representatives. OSHA was very supportive. They had a lot of their experts in that area on board with us. We were able to work together fairly well.
I believe it was at our February meeting in Chicago, I gave a workgroup report. Originally we had I believe it was four overall objectives. One of those objectives was to recommend some outreach activities that OSHA may use to help improve safety and health within the communication tower industry.
We did that. We gave some recommended outreach activities. Another item was similar to one of the items I saw on the excavation, which was to improve the targeting of those sites, because there are some challenges associated with where towers are going up and where they are being maintained, because they go up relatively quickly. So we did give some information as well on that.
One of the objectives we originally had was to look at the possibility of developing Spanish language materials. We quickly made a determination that at this point, that probably was not necessary, because there was not a high Hispanic work force in that industry. Now, that may change over time. But we felt that those resources could be used better elsewhere in the construction industry.
We also put together a detailed outline of topics should OSHA put on a regulatory agenda a communication tower-specific standard, because there are no specific standards that address that type of work. We put together an outline of what should be included in any such standard.
North Carolina is working on a standard. It is going through the rulemaking process right. I'm pleased to report we've had our public hearings, and it is scheduled to go before the Rules Review Commission next month. So that may be something, and that will be something that we will also submit to OSHA once that becomes a final rule.
But the one remaining issue that our objective or workgroup had was to put together recommended best practices within the industry. That is what I'm going to be reporting on today, because that was the final objective of our workgroup, was to put together some best practices for the industry.
In a previous motion, ACCSH as a body adopted the motion for OSHA to move forward with developing and implementing a national emphasis program regarding construction and maintenance of telecommunication towers. It is my understanding that OSHA is proceeding with that.
They did have a regional emphasis program. They are working on a national emphasis program. We also made a motion to include the submission of all the previous activities that I just indicated. That motion was passed and forwarded.
What our workgroup has done is we did put together some best practices. I handed out to all the ACCSH members an overview or outline of those best practices. That is not a comprehensive document. That is simply an overview of best practices that we put together.
What our group did was we whittled down probably from about five or six boxes of material, we wanted to put a condensed document together that really took the best practices from within all that documentation, to put it in a working type of document to hand over to OSHA so they can look at those items and hopefully utilize some of those documents in their efforts when they are dealing with issues having to do with communication towers.
The main topic areas that we focused in on, and there were a few others that we discussed. But we decided that they were not the most pressing things within this industry right now. So we ended up selecting, I believe, that there are 11 topics that we compiled best practice information for.
One was job site documentation. If you look at the list in front of you, you'll see that it contained such things as competent person, first aid, emergency data, emergency rescue plans, job hazard analysis, safety signs, material data sheets.
The second overall best practice, and what we did was we combined a lot of information on those individual items. The second one was job site conditions on these tower sites. You can look in front of you and see what is contained in that.
The third one was personal protective equipment, primarily dealing with everything other than fall protection. There is a separate one on fall protection, because as you can imagine, fall protection is the critical issue of communication towers. Most of the fatalities that occur on communication towers are associated with falls, as well as a lot of injuries that occur on there.
So there is a more detailed best practice section on fall protection, the equipment and recommendations, things that are being utilized currently, as well as some recommendations out there from the private sector, and also the public sector.
RF radiation is a section that is included in there, because that is also a hazard consideration dealing with communication towers. Hoists are used for a number of things on the erection of towers, and they are also used in conjunction with personnel lifting in some instances. There is an OSHA directive on that, exactly what would be acceptable.
We did compile a lot of information. Some of it comes from manufacturers of equipment, some of it comes from employers that are utilizing those. There is a lot of different material that is put together in there.
Also rigging and blocks, gin poles, ladders, and the final section is training, which as you can imagine, there are a lot of different areas associated with this type of work. So we put together what we thought were key best practices associated with that.
Having said all of that, we did have just a great volume of material that we went through, so we had several workgroup sessions where we condensed that material. Monday we had a meeting of the workgroup, and we went over for the last time the documents that we wanted to submit to OSHA for consideration in utilizing as they addressed these issues.
I did not make a copy of this for each ACCSH workgroup member, because it is quite comprehensive. That was the purpose of giving you the summary sheet as opposed to the entire thing. I also know that there are ACCSH members that weren't here when we put together this workgroup. It will be asking an awful lot to get people caught up in that area.
So there are a couple of things I want to do. First of all, I'd like to extend my appreciation to all those people that worked with me, and all the agencies and private sector employers. We had a very good cross-section, I think, of industry from tower erectors to also getting input from broadcasters, getting input from different trades that work on it, as well as public agencies. I mentioned before NIOSH, OSHA, and several other agencies.
It could not have been done without the workgroup's dedication to putting together that information. I want to thank them for that.
What I would like to do is first open it up to discussion to see if anybody has any questions for me. Then I do have a couple motions that I'd like to make in regards to this product.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Just as a preface. The new members of the committee, this is an issue that Kevin volunteered to take the lead on because of the work done in the state of North Carolina regarding this issue.
It may sound elementary or repetitive, but there is a huge problem in this country with tower erection fatalities and serious injuries most notably and especially in the fall area. But given the short-term duration of most of these things, a lot of them are mom and pop shops, and there is a lot of difficulties associated, especially in the enforcement end for OSHA.
Kevin's workgroup has struggled to come up with some recommendations for OSHA in this field. Questions for Kevin from anybody on the committee?
MR. BEAUREGARD: I think the conversation on excavations has worn everybody out. One of the things I did want to say before I get into the motion is one of the groups that we worked with quite heavily is the National Association of Tower Erectors. The reason for that is they do represent an awful lot of people that erect the towers.
That organization was started I believe probably six or seven years ago, somewhere when the proliferation of towers started going on. They did compile an awful lot of information, because that is what their members do. The put up these towers.
Well, there are a number of documents in what we're going to submit that were created by NATE, but NATE has granted ACCSH the permission to submit these documents to OSHA for use as reference, or for whatever reason OSHA feels that they should use those documents.
I wanted to go on record saying that they did grant permission. Because you'll see that their logo is on some of these items as well. There is other information that is public product information from certain manufacturers. It is just product specification information. But that does also have the manufacturer's information on there. That is being submitted for illustrative purposes only on various pieces of equipment that are out there.
Mr. Chairman, I'd like to move that the full ACCSH group accept the workgroup product to be provided to the Directorate of Construction for use as they believe is appropriate. This information is submitted to assist OSHA in the development of tower communication best practices, bulletins, directives, and possibly a standard. That is the end of my first motion.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Is there a second?
MS. ESTILL: I would like to second that motion.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second from Cheryl. Anyone on the question?
MR. HAYSLIP: Point of clarification.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead, Mike.
MR. HAYSLIP: The work product is this?
MR. BEAUREGARD: This document, that is correct. This is the best practice document that we compiled. We have already submitted all of our other work for the group. This is the remaining objective. This is being submitted for consideration by OSHA as they develop whatever types of outreach materials they are going to be developing, or training activities they are going to be developing.
The outline that you have before you is an outline of the material that's contained in there. Then there is individual best practice information in there.
MR. HAYSLIP: Question. Why wasn't that made available to us? If we're recommending OSHA gets it, how come we haven't seen it?
MR. BEAUREGARD: That is a good question. I thought I indicated that earlier. The reason why I did not make a copy of this for the entire group is it is simply a compilation of best practices, and it is a very comprehensive document.
It is not a manual, so to speak, it is just a compilation of best practice information through the industry. That is why I didn't make a copy for everybody in the group. I certainly can go back and make copies for every member of the group.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Sarah?
MS. SHORTALL: Mr. Chairman, if Mr. Beauregard's motion includes submitting those materials for the record, that would be placed into the electronic docket for ACCSH.
By doing that, that electronic docket would be available not only to all members here, but as well as the public to be able to go through the documents. That might save having to make 15 copies of all that material. Plus make it very easy for all of you to obtain and look at all of the documents as well.
MR. BEAUREGARD: And that certainly was my intent, to submit it.
MR. HAYSLIP: Mr. Chair, I'd like to request a hard copy. I don't necessarily have a problem with the motion on the floor, but I personally would like a copy of the materials.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Can that be arranged?
MR. BEAUREGARD: Sure. And if you do have any questions when you go through it, I'd be glad to answer those questions for you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. With that understood, it has been regularly moved and seconded to accept the report of the tower erection workgroup. All those in favor, signify by the sign aye.
(A chrous of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Any opposition?
MR. BEAUREGARD: The second motion I'd like to introduce is the tower group has achieved the set out objectives originally assigned. I move that the tower workgroup be disbanded. I believe that is the language we used at our last meeting, until such time as either the Assistant Secretary or ACCSH deems additional data is required on this topic.
MS. ESTILL: I second that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second that motion. Anyone on the question?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All in favor signify by the sign aye.
(A chrous of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Opposed, if any?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: You are now hereby disbanded.
MR. BEAUREGARD: I appreciate that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you for your work, Kevin. It has been a couple of years of hard work, as you've mentioned, changing co-chairs, and changing members on this committee. I know it is tough juggling and getting new people up to speed and trying to get a product out. Thank you for your hard work.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Thank you. It was a good workgroup, and we had a lot of help. It made it that much easier.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you. If the committee doesn't mind, there have been a couple of people who would like to catch earlier flights. If we forego the coffee break, I think we can wrap everything up there where folks can grab those earlier flights. Without objection, we'll do that.
Tom Broderick, are you going to give the report on the Hispanic summit down in Orlando?
MR. BRODERICK: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Please do.
REPORT FROM WORKGROUPS
MR. BRODERICK: On July 22nd down in Orlando, Florida, the Department of Labor, OSHA, NIOSH, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Hispanic Alliance for Progress were among a number of co-sponsors, or sponsors of this event.
It was really -- I go to a lot of conferences in the job that I do. The level of enthusiasm was incredible. As the notes indicate, and in my little report here included both remarks made by Secretary Chao and Assistant Secretary Henshaw.
This was a historic safety and health summit addressing this important topic, and bringing together -- whenever I see the head of OSHA and the head of NIOSH co-presenting, or being on panels together, I think it is a positive thing.
The conference was well planned, well executed. Former Directorate employee Felipe Devora did a very nice job, I think, of both speaking and moderating and talking about issues that are very timely. I guess the overall feeling of the majority of the people I talked to is that this should not be the first and only Hispanic summit, that it should and could be an annual event.
Not only that, it is something that could be replicated on a region by region basis, and even on an area by area basis. There was enthusiasm for going back to other parts of the country and having similar types of events where you bring together people from the public sector and people from the private sector, and discuss how we can better integrate Hispanic workers into our workforce.
So the only recommendation that I am putting forth other than that OSHA, well, I guess two recommendations. That OSHA support additional Hispanic summits, be they regional or making this initial summer July summit an annual event. That's one recommendation.
The other recommendation is that OSHA has a National Hispanic Task Force that has representation from all ten regions. A number of regional administrators are on the task force. I had the pleasure of attending one of their meetings in San Diego, and I found it to be quite productive.
I was amazed at the amount of work product that different area offices have created, an initiative that area offices have undertaken. In some ways, I think it is still one of the better kept secrets to the safety and health community, and particularly the construction safety and health community that OSHA is undertaking.
So my second recommendation is that the Directorate consider supporting a member of this workgroup to participate in these task force meetings and bring reports back from those meetings that could receive more wide distribution so that we could in some cases if there are work products that are brought forth or ideas that are brought forth at these meetings, that we could disseminate them among ourselves, and then from there to our respective constituencies. So with that, I conclude my report.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. Let me take your second motion first, as part of the diversity workgroup, and the Directorate can correct me if I'm wrong.
But I think as Chair, I have the opportunity to appoint people to go to that, if there are any future conferences as members of that diversity workgroup, provided that there is budgetary allowance through OSHA. Is that not correct?
MR. SWANSON: (Nods affirmatively.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: So your second motion really isn't necessary.
MR. BRODERICK: Well, actually I'm asking for a member to go to the OSHA Task Force meetings, which is a separate issue.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. Well, with the caveat, again, of, okay. So let's take them one at a time. If I understand your first motion, it is to recommend to OSHA to support any additional safety and health Hispanic summits held either regionally and/or nationally?
MR. BRODERICK: Correct.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Is there a second to that motion?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second from Scott. Anyone on the question?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All in favor, signify by the sign aye.
(A chrous of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Opposed, if any?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Motion carries. All right. Would you restate your second one, Tom, because I did not write that down.
MR. BRODERICK: The second one is that the Directorate consider supporting a member of this workgroup participating in the task force meetings. The OSHA task force, Hispanic Task Force.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Is there a second to that motion?
MR. BEAUREGARD: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Kevin? Anyone on the question? Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes. I have never been to one of these. I have been interested in them. What I was wondering is as an alternative perhaps is to have them regularly report to this body so that everybody could benefit from their discussions, I guess.
I guess whoever goes from our committee could also do that as well. So that's another alternative, I guess, is to have some of them come to us.
MR. BRODERICK: Well, my feeling on that is that we would have a more candid and more construction focused report from one of our committee members attending that venue.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Okay.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Anyone else on the question? It has been regularly moved and seconded. All those in favor, signify by the sign aye.
(A chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Opposed, if any?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Motion carries. Thank you, Tom.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Bob?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, Kevin?
MR. BEAUREGARD: I had something real quick I wanted to say for Tom, and also the rest of the group.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Sure, go ahead.
MR. BEAUREGARD: North Carolina has scheduled a Hispanic Construction Forum for November 5th. It is going to be done entirely in Spanish. We have joined up with a bunch of partners, a bunch of the Hispanic publications, newspapers, they have been promoting it. They also had been putting weekly articles about safety and health in their papers. The Mexican Consulate is involved in it as well.
We have translated all the materials that are going to be utilized. We are concentrating on the big four topics where the injuries and illnesses are coming from. We're not quite sure what the attendance is going to be, or what to expect. It is targeted for the construction employees, as well as the foremen and superintendents.
One of the publications is providing some equipment for those of us that don't speak Spanish so that we can understand what exactly is being talked about. They've got those headsets, kind of like the U.N., I guess. But if anybody on Mr. Broderick's workgroup is interested in attending, just let me know. It will be November 5th, it will be in Raleigh, North Carolina. I can get you the detailed information. I believe it is also on our website, if you go to our state website.
We're looking towards that, and we'll see how it goes to determine whether or not we'll have additional ones in the future.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Scott?
MR. SCHNEIDER: I didn't go to the Hispanic summit, but I was wondering if this issue came up about educating workers about the difference between OSHA and the INS and workers being afraid to raise issues or file complaints because of concerns about the repercussions.
MR. BRODERICK: Yes. That was certainly a topic that was brought up in more than one session. I think OSHA has been working very diligently in some areas to try to overcome that impression.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Pass those down. Those are the copies of the 1910.1926 that Brian had put on yesterday, and Steve Cloutier's presentation.
MR. STRUDWICK: Before we finish on the diversity discussion, there was, and I'm not sure of whether you're aware of it or not, but there was a NAFTA summit that I was part of in Mexico City that was a real positive meeting that lasted three or four days. Myself, Jane Williams, a number of people attended.
The intent was to look at the different types of training, construction training, not just underground, but a number of different topics, and come up with an overall 10-hour program that would be recognized in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Typically for the Hispanic worker so that when they came across the border, that they would have some accountability as far as their training was concerned, and it would be recognized by some employer here in the United States as a basic type of training program, 10-hour.
Somehow it got somewhat swept under the rug, and maybe we can bring it back to an elevated situation that Tom, you might want to take a look at. I'm not sure, but I think I might be on the diversity subgroup workgroup myself. We have been focused so much on trenching and excavation that we kind of lost sight of where we are.
I don't know, Mr. Chair, are we going to get an overview of the different subgroups and the people that are assigned to the subgroups?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Michael? Do we have an updated sub workgroup? No.
MR. STRUDWICK: Anyway, I'll dig out the information and the contacts, and I'll make that known to the subgroup as far as who is the spearhead at NAFTA.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, Mike? I'm sorry.
MR. THIBODEAUX: Mike Thibodeaux. To add on to what Tom and the others had said, the area OSHA office in Houston contacted me, and I contacted a number of the larger home builders in the Houston area to work on Hispanic training classes for not just our contractors and their supervisors, but to get to the workers who do the framing, the roofing, the trenching, et cetera.
It looks like we've got right now seven of the largest home builders in Houston who have agreed to give our best efforts to get those workers to the community they're working in, and OSHA will come out and do the Hispanic training in Spanish for all of these workers on a periodic basis.
I know it's not very big, but it is a start. We've gotten a number of the builders who I was surprised and pleased that they agreed to join who had not done so in the past. So it is a good start, anyway, and we anticipate this starting up the first of January.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I want to comment on that in a second. Greg raises a good point with the new committee members, even though Tom Kavicky couldn't make it this time because of this personal problem.
The Chair will review, and we now have two workgroups that are basically done with their chores. We will look at the new members and redistribute people around the existing workgroup and any new workgroups that are created now that they've had a chance to attend one meeting and get a little feel of what goes on there, rather than just tell them before they get here that they're on a workgroup.
But on the diversity part of that workgroup's responsibility was to address exactly what you're talking about, Mike. It is just a Pandora's box of problems. As you are well aware, I'm sure, from the Houston area, Greg works with it all the time. The different dialects, the different cultures of Hispanic workers, whether they come from Latin America, Central America, Mexico, or Spain, or other parts of the world where there are Spanish-speaking languages.
Dealing with the literacy factor, a lot of those folks coming from especially Mexico and Central America come here because school wasn't an option for them. They come from the very, very poorest of areas of those regions, and it is a very, very difficult subject to broach, not only for this committee and the workgroups that are trying to address that problem, but from an enforcement standpoint, from OSHA, trying to address all these issues.
I know we go through it in our apprenticeship programs, and so do the rest of the trades. You know, years ago we didn't have a Hispanic workforce. We were always wondering why kids who graduated from high school couldn't read, write, or do good arithmetic. We had to do remedial training. Now it has gone to another level where you have that language barrier. Not only with the Hispanic workforce, there are certain parts of the country that deal with Vietnamese, Cambodians, the Asians.
So it is a very difficult subject to have to deal with on a safety and training issue. That was my intention to eventually do that. But rather than do that today, our next meeting I think we can look at, or I can look at working with that.
Anybody else on a diversity issue? All right. A couple of things. The Chairman screwed up when saying that we're going to do things to get some people out of town. Those that have to leave can leave. I misread the agenda.
Assistant Secretary Henshaw is coming down to speak to us. I thought those remarks said ACCSH Chair. Then Bruce pointed out to me it said Assistant Secretary Henshaw, so I have to do a giant oops here. So let's do this. Let's take a -- whoops, he's on his way?
VOICE: He will be here at 10:30.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Cheryl?
MS. ESTILL: Do you want to approve the minutes?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, we can do that. Has everybody had a chance to look at the minutes? Any suggestions for corrections, additions, deletions? If not, a motion to accept.
Go ahead, Kevin.
MR. BEAUREGARD: I thought the content was fine. I think there may be a typo. I don't know if you need to correct that or not. But on page seven, the fourth paragraph talks about Steven Witt.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes.
MR. BEAUREGARD: I'm not sure that's how he spelled his last name.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: It is W-I-T-T. Actually, you know what? I looked at that. You're right.
MR. BEAUREGARD: It is also on page three.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes, at the bottom. All right. We'll note those two changes. We don't want to misspell Steve's name.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I know at the last meeting, and I think it will be reflected in the transcript, I had raised this issue about putting ACCSH work products on the ACCSH website. Whether or not we could do that.
So I wanted to make sure that's reflected in the minutes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Oh, reflected in the minutes.
MR. SCHNEIDER: And then I'll bring it up under old business also.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. So you would like somewhere in the minutes, you would like them amended that you had made a suggestion to put ACCSH workgroup products on the website?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Right. And I think we had a discussion on it. I don't remember exactly. I'd have to go back and look at the transcript.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All right. That will be noted. Anyone else? With the corrections, can I have a motion to accept the minutes?
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Motion to accept.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Second?
MS. ESTILL: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else on the question? All in favor of accepting the amended minutes, please signify by the sign aye.
(A chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Opposed, if any.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Motion carries.
All right. I passed out the 1910.1926 side by side. There was a request through council to have, because they were not read verbatim to the ACCSH committee members on the PowerPoint presentations to have hard copies presented to the committee members of the presentations by Steve Cloutier, by Stew Burkhammer and by Noah Connell.
Let's see if Mr. Gutenburg can arrange that through the printing office. If we don't get them immediately at this meeting, they will be provided to you.
MS. ESTILL: Mr. Chairman, can you give me the name of the gentleman that presented this confined space? Brian?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Brian's last name? Eagle.
MS. ESTILL: Eagle. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Let's take a coffee break. Try and be back in here in like 15 minutes.
(Whereupon, there was a brief recess.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Having screwed up the agenda and the time, it is now my privilege to introduce to you the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, John Henshaw.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for adjusting your schedule. Thank you for coming down.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: See, I was told I'm late, that I'm the one that screwed things up. So that's why I was rushing around.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Don't believe it.
REMARKS BY ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Well, I know you've been meeting, and I'm sorry I wasn't here yesterday. But I know you guys have been doing good work. So I apologize for not being here, and I look forward to listening to the outcome and some of the stuff that you've been working on in particular.
I know Davis kicked it off yesterday, and congratulated a few new members. Mike, Doug--is Doug here? All right. And Tom and Linwood Smith. I appreciate you joining us like you have, and Stephen I guess, too, right? Where's Steve? Thanks for remaining for another term. Obviously Frank, Kevin, and Greg. So I appreciate you doing that.
Finally I'd like to--some additional faces that I've recognized before who have been part of it. Obviously Tom. He has been a fixture here for awhile. Chery, Dan, Bill, Scott, Mike, I appreciate you being part of that. Of course Bob for being the Chair and doing such a great job.
I don't want to belabor too much of what the Agency has done. You have probably been hearing a lot of that over the last few days, and of course over the last couple of years. But I would like to just emphasize some of the things that I see are very critical. You've heard this before, and this is the end of the meeting, not the beginning of the meeting, so I don't want to belabor too much of this.
As we've said before, the critical thing is that we produce results. We produce results in reducing injuries, illnesses, and the risk of fatalities. Risk of loss of life I think is a better way to put it, in the construction industry.
Everything we do, everything we engage in, every new program, every new effort, whatever it might be, initiative, we've got to be able to measure it is going to produce the biggest impact or the biggest return on the investment that we're making.
We have to be cognizant all the time and find ways to continuously improve on that, to get the maximum return on that investment. The return is only going to be measured in injury illness and the reduction of loss of life in the construction industry.
We are going to need you obviously to help us either evaluate existing programs, existing efforts, or looking at have we been successful. Even though we've been successful or were successful yesterday, today is a new day, and tomorrow had better be a better day. That means we've got to continuously improve and find ways to make that change.
I think we saw in the 2003 statistics that some things have gone down slightly because of maybe some of the work that we've been doing. The Hispanic issue improved maybe because of some of the work we've been doing. You never know, but we have been doing an awful lot, and we need to do more of it. So we need to understand that. What are those factors that are driving some of the numbers down? What are factors now causing some of the other numbers to go up? We need to focus on that, and we're going to need your help.
I know you have been dealing with things like the trenching issue and some others that we're going to need your help on.
I know you have probably already had a review of the BLS statistics for 2003 as it relates to the construction industry, so I don't want to talk about it. You already know those numbers. If you want to know--it is in my remarks here to tell you what they are. I'm sure you know what they are. So I'm not going to belabor that.
We are using, and I'm compelled to sort of explain this a little bit. The seat I'm occupying right now is always under fire to some extent, and there are always people complaining about one thing or another. That's good, and that keeps us all on our toes. Although sometimes it is hot coals that you're walking on, as opposed to solid ground.
But the things that we're deploying, or the techniques we're trying to use, and it is going to be subject to interpretation to some extent, is a balance between the enforcement and the outreach education, and the incentive piece of that. The programs, the recognition, the alliances, the teamwork kinds of things that we've got in place.
The enforcement thing is obviously the critical piece, and the underpinning of what we do. I have said that many times before, but it needs to be absolutely clear to everybody. That's the proverbial get the attention of everybody that this is serious stuff. This is serious action. We mean business, and compliance is an absolute must. We will do an appropriate enforcement to assure that, and we'll get people's attention.
I think our enforcement effort is very solid, and it improved. The statistics, I'm sure you got a report today of fiscal year 2004 results on our enforcement effort, but they've improved as well. We are doing well on our 2004 when the final numbers come in. So you'll be satisfied with that.
The new area, and we used this -- it used to be the recalcitrant employer business. You remember some of the earlier discussions we had a couple of years ago about how to get at that recalcitrant employer, the employer who just doesn't understand, and doesn't choose to understand.
That is what the new enhanced enforcement program is all about. That has been active for about a year now. We have a number of inspections that fall into that category. Frankly, and I'll be honest with you, it is more than I really thought we would have. I didn't think we'd have that many.
I'm glad that we set the criteria, and those sites fall into that criteria. We will deploy all the elements of that enhanced enforcement program to achieve the bottom line, which is a changed workplace. Not just successfully litigating the enforcement action, or collecting the penalties. To me, that's not relevant, or that is not as important a measure. An important measure is has that workplace changed? Is it a different place?
I, for one, don't want to be a part of a process that allows an organization to incorporate in the cost of doing business, unsafe conditions by just paying the penalty. That's not acceptable to me, and shouldn't be acceptable to you. I'm sure it's not.
So we certainly can continue to use your help on how do we get at that employer to turn them around? Once they are turned around, I'll be the first one to shout from the rooftops how good they are if they truly are good based on performance. If they really are good, that's great. You have examples in your industry, and you can give me those.
I've got some myself as well as in other industries where they were that recalcitrant employer, and now they've turned around to be a model employer, a model workplace. We just need to have more of that. We can't stop. We need to employ all the tools we have, including the referrals to DOJ, if necessary, from the criminal side to make sure those workplaces become safe workplaces. That's our goal.
Hopefully in the future we'll be creative and innovative, and try to find new ways to enhance that process to achieve that end result. We're going to need a lot of help on making that happen.
On the regulatory side, and we have had lots of discussions on the regulatory agenda, and the press isn't the proper place to debate that. A regulatory agenda is solid, it is an honest representation of what we're doing. There are a number of things in there that deal with the construction site.
That is the way it ought to be. The construction industry, as you know, has a disproportionate percentage of injuries, illnesses, and loss of life. We need to change that. We need to change that significantly.
I appreciate your help and work on, as well as the committee, on the cranes and derricks, you know, getting that work product done. As I committed to you before, and I'll commit to you again, and Bruce is there to commit to you as well, that we will take it to the next step. We are not going to let it languish.
We had a more recent negotiated rulemaking process that was sitting there too long before we converted it into a proposal and a final standard. There were 23 people that worked very hard and spent less than a year, I think, wasn't it like 11 months or whatever? That good work would go to waste if we don't turn it around as quickly as we can and produce a product. I am committing to you that we'll do that. And we'll do that as quickly as we possibly can, and not let it languish.
In the others, you had the regulatory agenda. There will be another regulatory agenda published probably in December I think is when it comes out again. You will see the continuation of some of the issues.
Hexavalent chromium, I know you probably had some discussions on the hex chrom proposal. I think it is appropriate that as an agency, that as an agency goes and looks at a compound, they look at the industries, all the industries that are engaged in it. Not just general industry, or not just construction, or not just maritime. It certainly is appropriate that we look at all the industries and develop a proposal that covers all of them.
Hexavalent chromium is hexavalent chromium, and a human is a human. The difference may be how they are exposed, and the controls that may be appropriate to reduce those exposures.
On the regulatory agenda side, as we publish the regulatory agenda, it is what we're working on, and what those milestones that will be accomplished in a 12-month period. That is what has to be clear, is that the milestones that are identified in the agenda are the milestones that can be accomplished in the next 12 months. That's the criteria for putting it on the regulatory agenda.
We don't want another circumstance like in hex chrom where it was on our agenda, nothing was done for some time, and then the courts helped us reach a conclusion. We don't need the court's help on that. We ought to be doing that. That's our responsibility. So the agenda is solid, it is what we are really working on, and we are holding our managers, and you can hold us accountable for achieving those milestones.
On the outreach, education, and compliance assistance, this is obviously a major area. We have a lot of people, I think over the years we have seen more and more people engaged in safety and health. They are interested in talking about it. They may not be talking at the same level that we're all talking about, but at least we're getting more and more people interested in workplace safety and health. Understanding the value of safety and health. We've got to reach out to more.
We've got to contact more, we've got to touch more. We've got to get more information in their hands so they can respond appropriately, and so that they can do something with it. Once they begin that conversation and we get more and more information to them and we get better success and better performance out of those who may not have been there in that conversation in the past. We just need to get more and more people engaged in the process.
Our website is a major tool. We have about 11 million visitors on our website each year. I think there is a lot more potential out there besides 11 million. I mean, 50 million, excuse me. I'm not satisfied until we have several hundred million. I think that's needed out there. More people need to be coming to the website, or other sources of information to find out how they can control workplace hazards.
Our training effort, we have about 310,000 people now trained through our training efforts just on the OSHA side through our ed centers, or OTI, or Susan Harwood grants. That's a drop in the bucket, too. There is 111 million workers out there. I don't know exactly how many is in the construction industry, but maybe half.
That means that we've got 50 million people that need to be trained, 50 million people that need to be touched in some way so they know what the safety and health issues are in their respective workplaces. We've got a lot more work to do in that area.
The area that we also need to focus on, and I think we've done a great job certainly on the construction side, is getting our people up to speed. If you look at our strategic management plan, we'll be announcing soon and putting in place about this time next year, our new training program for our employees, especially our compliance officers, increasing the training prerequisite from about eight weeks to about ten to twelve weeks, and establishing 20 competencies that we've identified that our folks need to have to be adequate or competent inspectors and OSHA people out there engaging and producing the result that we're looking for.
Hank Payne out of the OSHA Training Institute is developing this as we speak, and like I say, we'll be implementing that about a year from now on raising the quality of our people. It is not that the quality is not good today. It means tomorrow it has got to be better, and we're in the throws of doing that.
We're also going to be pushing the certification side. As you know, we've about doubled the number of certified people in the Agency. I think there is opportunities doubled again. We doubled that in the last three years, and I think there is an opportunity to double that again in the near future.
I'm not making any predictions, but that is where we're headed. We also need folks who understand the construction industry. I appreciate a lot of the good work that a lot of you have been involved in as far as training our folks.
I know Frank and the Iron Workers and others have been in the construction industry, and the employers have been helping us educate the OSHA folks so that we could be better skilled at the interventions that we undertake, including inspections or outreach, education, or the other things that we're doing. We need more of that, because we need to understand it to be able to influence it, and to change that workplace.
The end result is not just determining whether you're out of compliance in a standard, for example. The end result is to change the workplace, and that requires some more skill than just interpreting what are the conditions of the standard, and are you in compliance or out of compliance.
So I'm going to need your help as we improve the quality of our base, which is our staff and our compliance officers. Most of you know, we have not officially announced, but we have a new training program that's called Disaster Site Worker Training Program. That was set up really in response to now the Agency's role around the National Response Plan. In fact, there will be a safety and health annex of the National Response Plan, and we will have a safety coordinator, and the Incident Command System will have a safety and health role, and OSHA will be a major player in that in helping make decisions and guidance as to how to protect all workers associated in a disaster recovery effort. Whether it is the World Trade Center or a hurricane, or any other kind of natural disaster that the National Response Plan will be invoked.
This training program will cover our 10 and 30-hour courses, as well as in the higher levels, HAZWOPER, and some other requirements. It is a credential, I think, that will be important to a lot of people that will be responding and we'll be calling upon to respond to events such as a terrorist attack, or a natural disaster. We'll be announcing that very shortly. The training will be done through our ed center OSHA training courses, OSHA Training Institute.
I already mentioned a little bit about our Hispanic worker initiative. We need to do more on that. The Hispanic summit, many of you participated in the summit in Orlando in July. We will, and we continue to focus on immigrant populations, especially in the construction side.
I think the summit was a great opportunity to understand some of the issues, but now reducing that to practice and getting it more widely known is more difficult. So we will have to have further discussions and further efforts, and I appreciate your participation in that summit. I look forward to your assessment as to where else we can go to really reach out to the immigrants, and especially the Hispanic immigrants in this country.
One of the things that we need to keep in mind, and the reason why Doug is here and Kevin is to make sure that all the learning that is done on the federal side, whether it is immigrant or other learning, is that we make sure the states understand it and can engage in it to the extent possible, to the extent they need that kind of engagement.
When we talk about the Hispanic, a number of states had their own advisory committees around the Hispanic issue. The state of Illinois, for example, is just pulling together a governor's council, or governor's advisory committee dealing with the rise in workplace deaths among Hispanic workers in that state. Obviously we need to make sure our information gets to them, so they can capitalize on what we've learned, and improve on it, and continue to drive it within their state, or state program in the case of Michigan and North Carolina.
The third piece of our effort, enforcement, the outreach education, and the partnership side, I believe we are embarking on the most significant addition to our repertoire of programs and services, it has the greatest potential for impact in the construction industry is our VPP in Construction.
I have seen the impact in general industry, and obviously general industry and construction are two different issues. The principles of VPP have been very successful in producing some positive change around keeping injuries and illnesses down, and continuously driving them down.
Those in VPP are 50 percent below their industry averages, based on the SIC codes. We suspect if we can take this program that we've just recently announced, and we're looking for comments on this, take that VPP concept and move it into the construction industry, it could be a major driver, a major motivational driver of reducing injuries, illnesses, and the loss of life in the construction industry. We've got to do that in a way that doesn't tarnish the quality of VPP, or we're not going to achieve that 50 percent reduction.
It is all based on getting to that 50 percent reduction. If we don't maintain the quality, we're not going to realize that. So we've got to maintain the quality. So we've got to be very careful on how we do this, we've got to be flexible, it has got to be tailored to the industry. Hopefully we can develop a process that really sees some major gains in the construction industry.
So I hope each and every one of you are either individually or whatever groups you're involved in are helping us fine tune that to make sure that we come up with a process that is going to be successful.
Especially the construction side, our strategic partnerships have always been part of our repertoire, as well as the focus primarily, not exclusively, but primarily on the construction industry.
We have a lot of good partnerships now, and I hope to have more and more as we find ways to really achieve some maximum gains on reducing injuries and illnesses in the construction side. I think in the strategic partnerships, we have 154 in construction. I think we have a total of 230 altogether.
Our Alliance piece. I know the Alliance has been the subject of some discussion. I'm 200 percent in favor of more alliances. If we understand what alliances really are and what they do, everybody would agree. I have no doubt everybody would agree with that.
The Alliance program, and right now we have about 240 of them, only 22 are in the construction industry. The reason why we have alliances, there is an old saying that you have your friends close, but your enemies closer.
There is no enemy here or friends, I'm not implying that at all. But what I'm saying is, if you really want to reach an organization, if you want to really bring somebody in that's not there yet or isn't far enough along, you get them closer to you. You bring it in closer to you so that you can get more work done, and you can find commonality.
All of us are not going to agree on everything. But a lot of us can agree on some things. If you can get those groups together who agree on those some things, especially if it is around safety and health, and working towards safety and health, I don't care what else they do, I'm not concerned about that. I'm only concerned about safety and health. I want to align with those people.
I don't care if they were enemies in the past, or whatever the right term is, or adversaries. I don't care about that. If we can talk about safety and health, and we can drive home and make those improvements, and measure those improvements, that is a win for everybody. More importantly, it is a win for the worker. If we can drive that and get more and more people engaged in the conversation in working towards safety and health, we're all going to be better off including, and more importantly, the worker.
So I think the opportunity for more alliances in the construction industry is out there, and we ought to be reaching out and getting more people aligned.
These aren't partnerships. These are tripartite kind of partnerships. These are two groups, two people saying I'm going to improve this issue, and safety and health is the issue. So whether it is a group of employers or unions or professional societies or some other group, if they want to help us deliver the message and achieve results from worker safety and health, I want it. I'd like to do that. We need to sit down with them. We need to keep them close to us so that they can understand the issues, and improve.
So the Alliance program not only in construction, but in general industry, in maritime, and every other place, the ideal world is that everybody is talking safety and health, everybody is focused on it, everybody is concerned about it. The ideal world also is not everybody is on the same track, or on the same degree. It doesn't matter. If I can get 20, 30, 40, 50 percent more out of them on the safety and health side, that's more than we had if we didn't get engaged.
There is no concessions made on alliances, there is nothing given up. All it is is outreach and education trying to improve based on some membership or some audience. So I'm an extreme advocate of getting people close to you if you really want success. The alliances are a way to do that. I don't care who they are. If you want to talk safety and health, let's talk. And we can align on the safety and health side of it.
The other part is I didn't mentioned the SHARP side. As we talk about our safety and health construction, you know, most of the construction industry, or I don't know what most is, you have the better statistics than I, but there are a lot of small businesses out there that are in the construction side.
The SHARPs are primarily geared towards small businesses. It is small businesses. They are supported by our consultation services. It seems to me there are more opportunities in the construction industry on the SHARPs and using consultation. There are a lot of guys out there trying to make a living, and they need help. Our consultation services are free for those small businesses. We need to get more people using those services.
The other two pieces of our VPP side, as I mentioned before, are the construction, I already mentioned the construction side of it. We have OSHA Challenge, and we have the VPP Corporate. The OSHA Challenge, it is a new pilot, these two are new pilots now. Trying to expand, getting more people engaged in the conversation, producing results.
The OSHA Challenge, as you already know, has two arms, one for general industry, and one for construction. It is a way to get those small employers, or those employers who haven't realized value of their human assets yet, of human capital, and reduce the injuries and the risk of loss of life into the conversation, getting them recognized, get one step at a time, and then grow, and grow, and grow, and then ultimately hopefully they'll be a model program, they'll be the right kind of safety and health performance. So they'll have the right kind of safety and health performance.
This is another area where the construction industry could really capitalize on getting people into the process and moving up the line one step at a time, or in this case, three steps. Getting recognized, and move up, move up, and move up.
As you all know, everybody who has been involved in the safety and health area, you can't do this overnight. If you do, it is a facade. It doesn't exist. You may be in compliance because somebody is there watching you. But is it sustainable? Probably not, unless you know it, unless you understand it as part of your culture, and you have the right systems in place to maintain it and make it sustainable.
The OSHA Challenge effort is to build that sustainability. So one step at a time, move up, move up, it is more sustainable, then you build a foundation, it grows. Then when you reach that level maybe even to VPP, it is self-sustaining. You have the culture, you have the process, you have the systems, you have the people, and at that time, you've got to have the results while making that you have a superior and safe operation.
The VPP Corporate, of course, is streamlining the application process, and not to tarnish at all the VPP, we want to make we don't tarnish it, but we want to reduce the redundancies that don't add value. Every dollar we waste on some things that don't add value is a dollar missed on reducing the injury and illness and risk in the workplace. I firmly believe that. So we've got to find ways to reduce the non-value added dollar costs, and convert those costs, or turn those dollars into something that can produce value and reduce the injuries.
I talked about VPP Corporate. One thing I'd like to just mention, and then I'll close and leave it for questions if you have any questions for me, is the Drugfree Workplace Alliance. That deserves some particular attention. It does involve obviously the construction industry.
I think all of us know, and I know it from my previous life as well as current responsibilities is that you have people impaired, either drug impaired or some other kind of impairment. It could be just being tired. But certainly on the drug side, in the abuse of drugs and alcohol, having people on the job that are impaired in that way is not only a risk to themselves, but a risk to others.
We've got to find ways to make sure, especially in the construction industry, that we're at the top of our game. We spend a lot of money on our training, we spend a lot of money on supervision, we spend a lot of money on the quality of our people that are working the job, and if they are impaired, that quality goes down the tubes, and we run the risk of getting them hurt, as well as somebody else hurt. We can't have that.
We've had four unions now step up, the Iron Workers and Carpenters, and the Boiler Makers and the Operating Engineers have stepped up and said, this is of concern to us, too. And we probably have other unions that are just as concerned, I realize that. But in this case, we decided the four unions and the Department of Labor said, this is an area we can align on. We can focus on, and we can advertise the fact that this is important to both of us. We know this will help us reduce injuries and illnesses and loss of life on the job.
We'd like to have more. I'd like to have more of those kinds of understanding that we can work to achieve a drug free workplace, or any other kind of issue that may result in better performance on safety and health. But this alliance is an effort to really establish that recognition that both of us recognize, this is an impairment, this is a problem, and we're all working towards reducing or establishing an alcohol and drug free workplace.
Let me just close by saying that I think we've done a lot over the years. OSHA has been around a long time, we've done a lot. We can look back on those successes and then try to build those as much as we can to improve on them. Those things that were not successful, we ought to be dropping those. If you've got any ideas of things that aren't successful, let's drop them, and let's move into some other areas. But we need to be innovative and creative every day and find new ways to tackle the problems, because the number is still not zero. We can't stop until we reach, and I firmly believe that number is attainable.
The time frame in which you measure it may vary, but you all know there are workplaces out there that have zero lost time injuries. They haven't had a fatality since who knows when. There are some workplaces out there that have never, or have not had over some period of time, even a recordable injury or illness. So that's attainable, zero is attainable. But we can't stop until we achieve that.
Once we achieve that, obviously to maintain that, you can't stop. You need to continuously improve, continuously improve, and continuously improve. So we need to first recognize that today is good, maybe, and what's not, we change. But tomorrow has got to be better, it has got to be better. And we're going to need everybody's help to make sure we achieve that better workplace, that safer workplace. The only way to measure that safe workplace in my mind is accurate numbers, reliable numbers, and we will be checking to make sure these are reliable numbers.
Just like in the financial industry, when you start focusing on that bottom line, you've got to make sure that bottom line is accurate, and we'll be doing that as well. You've seen some examples of us doing that.
But our goal is we can't stop until we achieve that ultimate zero injuries and loss of life in the construction industry. So that's all I've got to say. That's more than probably you wanted to hear. If there are more things you want to hear, let me know.
Have you got a question? I'd be glad to answer any questions.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Thanks for coming today, John, it is good to see you again. I had a couple quick questions. One is I know you have talked many times about the work of this committee and how much you appreciate it. We just concluded some workgroups. For example, one on trenching that we put a report together.
I'm just wondering, a lot of times the reports that these workgroups and this committee produce are not easily or readily available on the web. We do have a website for the ACCSH, and a website for work products of the ACCSH, but these work products aren't getting up on the website. Is there some way we could get those work products from the various workgroups?
I mean, we've produced a lot of material over the years, and a lot of very useful stuff, I think.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Let me see what we can do, and what we can't do. I really don't know. I'm not sure about the restrictions.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Sure.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Now, obviously all the stuff is in our record, but I'll need to talk to Sarah and Bruce to find out what it is we can do in respect to this.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I mean, if you need to, you can put a disclaimer saying this is not an official OSHA product, it is a product of the workgroup, or of ACCSH. But I'd appreciate it if you could do that.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Sure.
MR. SCHNEIDER: The second thing, to follow up on this question about the Hispanic summit. One of the issues that we've raised, and it was raised in our workgroup, and also at the summit, I guess, is this issue of people being concerned or afraid to complain to OSHA, because they confuse OSHA with the INS. I'm wondering if you could elaborate a little bit on what OSHA is doing to make sure that people understand that OSHA is not the INS, and that by complaining to OSHA, OSHA is not going to go to the INS, and make sure there is a clear distinction or line between the two.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: There are several things we've done. I apologize if you have already heard this. The simple things are we had a booklet out in Spanish that talked about here is OSHA. We gave it to, I forgot who it was, this was a couple of years ago, to read it. It sounded good, it was good Spanish, but it didn't say what it is not.
I mean, it didn't say anything about INS. But it should have said in there that we are not part of the Immigration Service. That is just one example.
The other things that we're doing is as you know, we just signed an alliance with the Foreign Ministry in Mexico that opens up all our consulates, all 47 consulates throughout the United States. The thinking here is that in Mexico, if you're a Mexican worker in the United States and you're not sure who to talk to, or can I trust these people or those people, you know, the degree of trust in governments from their native country may be a little different, and there may be a reason why they may not trust some people.
But they'll trust the Consulate, because it is the only connection they have. Through this agreement with the Consulates, we'll get information to them so they can communicate to that worker, and maybe even help them make the call, or make the referral, or fill out a complaint, or whatever the issue might be.
With the 47 consulates, we've already signed this agreement, and now we're implementing this process, so they have the information, so they can be our go-between, they can be our broker, if you will, certainly for the Mexican workers. We are also talking about other Spanish speaking or Spanish countries, within their consulates, and see if we can't do something similar. They don't have as many consulates as let's say Mexico does. Mexico with 47 is a good number.
The other thing that we're doing, and this is more at the area office level is that a lot of our area officers have a number of Hispanic programs. Whether they be celebrations or festivals, or whatever might be, we've got a number of those. Some of them are listed in Quick Takes, and some of them are not, a lot of them are not. Hopefully they will be on our Hispanic calendar, which we're fleshing out now, so people will know what is happening in various parts of the country.
But part of that effort, the local effort, is also dealing with the Catholic church. Because a lot of Hispanic workers are going to be more aligned with their church than they will with anybody else, or their small community they are working with. Often times from their same country, and maybe even the same region of the country, and get the Catholic church to understand that those people are dealing with the immigrants in this country, to get them to know what OSHA is, who OSHA is, and what number to call, and that they can trust us.
So by trying to find at least some other people who can speak for us, so that we can build this trust. It is going to take some time to build the trust. But those are two examples of some of the stuff we're trying to do.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Thank you. I had one last quick thing I wanted to ask. At our last meeting in May, and I think previously when we saw each other at the AIHA Conference, I had proposed that OSHA undertake sort of a public health style campaign to have a Fatality FREE week sometime next year. Basically to get to your question of zero basically is can we go one week in this country without having a fatality in the construction industry?
Make that a commitment, and make it something we can all work on together. I don't know if you've had any discussions about that since.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Yeah. I've had some discussions and have thought about it. I haven't reached any conclusions at this point. I mean, any idea is worth really looking at very closely and seeing if it will add value. What is the right thing to do under the right circumstances. I haven't reached any conclusion on that one yet.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I'd be happy to talk with you more about it sometime.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Yeah. I'd like to talk some more about it. That would be good.
MR. SCHNEIDER: Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Good, Scott. Thanks.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Does anyone else have questions for the Secretary?
MR. HAYSLIP: Good morning, sir. Mike Hayslip.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: And welcome aboard.
MR. HAYSLIP: Thank you, sir. The gentleman from Labor's Health and Safety Fund makes a comment about work products being put on the website. I don't remember that we discussed that as a committee. We should probably do so before we go ahead. The gentleman speaks for himself, just so you know that.
MR. SCHNEIDER: We did at the last meeting.
MR. HAYSLIP: Then so be it. I stand corrected, whatever the meetings reflect.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: And I'll check with the folks up at the front table there and find out what the conclusion was at the last meeting.
MR. HAYSLIP: It seems the information is in the public domain anyway, is my thought.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Okay.
MR. HAYSLIP: Fatality week may imply that every other week is not non-fatality week. I could see some issues with that. Is this a fatality week or non-fatality week.
One other issue that I'd like to bring forth which seems to be of great concern which wasn't addressed by your comments with the American people, in light of recent events which seems to be very pressing today, is this. Boston or New York?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: I'm a national league guy.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: He's a Cardinal. Are you kidding me? He's a Cardinal.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: I'm from St. Louis. For the record, I did not answer the question.
MR. HAYSLIP: Thank you, sir. That's all I have.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thanks, Mike.
MR. STRUDWICK: Greg Strudwick. I addressed Mr. Davis yesterday, and I wanted to tell you personally that we as an industry, the ditch diggers, appreciate the efforts on behalf of OSHA with the Harwood grants and all of our committee time in that to try and change a situation that concerns all of us.
We have been very successful. This has been probably the most comprehensive year as far as a workgroup is concerned, as far as trenching initiative. There was some comment as to the fact that we had finished, because we had some recommendations that were accepted. But we're not finished. This workgroup is going to stay on top of the performance levels as they change and adapt to assist in new type of initiatives to bring that down to zero.
We have contractors out there that don't have any recordable incidents, just as you said. So we appreciate that, and we appreciate your support and back up. We certainly appreciate Mr. Swanson's shop for allowing people to attend. Steven Cloutier attended our meeting where we addressed over 100 professionals a week ago in Texas. Mr. Devora, we were unhappy with the fact that the left the shop, but there will be others that can come in and do the same thing.
But the support is there, and I just wanted you to know we appreciate it. Thanks.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Well, thank you. I appreciate it. And you're right. We cannot be done until that ultimate zero.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Anyone else with questions for the Secretary? Just a closing comment, Mr. Secretary. I was interested to hear your comments regarding enforced enhancement and outreach and compliance assistance, and bringing the small business into that fold. It sort of mirrors at least two of the workgroups we have, the trenching and excavation, and the noise workgroup that the efforts and the offers were there from both the contractor associations and the unions that we can work together on that much the same way as you did with fall protection in the steel erection industry, and cranes and derricks. Those comments dovetailed nicely with what was being discussed here today.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Good.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: As always, we thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to come address us. We also thank you for allowing Davis to come yesterday and do the same in the morning for the nice welcoming remarks that he gave us. We hope to see you again.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Good. Thanks. I appreciate it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you very much.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: I'm glad I wasn't late.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: No, you were not late. The Chairman admits to that faux pas.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HENSHAW: Good. Thanks everybody.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you. All right. We had public comment, and nobody came up, so I'm assuming that there is nobody in the public that wishes to make any comments for the record.
That being said, we have one more issue, well, two issues. Old business and new business. Anything under old business?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Under old business, I said I was going to do this. We'll pass these out.
What I'd like to do with this is first make a couple of comments, because this list is not complete. Rather than have anybody commit today, because the time is late, just to, as soon as everybody gets a copy, I'll just go over this briefly. The Directorate was nice enough to highlight what needs co-chair assignments. At the bottom, tower erection has been, in the former Chair's words, disbanded. Chromium is not an active committee, and trenching is going to stay where it is.
Trenching has Mike Hayslip and Tom Broderick as part of that workgroup. They are not listed there. You need to put one more on there, which is the rollover protection workgroup. That was Frank Migliaccio and Greg Strudwick as co-chairs, along with Bill Rhoten, Mike Thibodeaux, Dan Murphy, and Steve Wiltshire.
Now, if there are people that I have missed, then again recognizing the changes that have taken place in the committee, what I want everyone to do is to review this list. If you would like to be a co-chair, if you would like to be a member of that committee, and the Chair is directed in trying to keep a balance between labor management and some public members. So recognize that your wish may not be my command. But if you would, either e-mail me, fax me, phone me. Everybody has the list.
If you would like to be on a workgroup, let me know. If we don't have enough volunteers by the next meeting, the Chair will exercise his right to start appointing people. But let's try it the democratic way first.
Questions? No more old business. New business? Before we entertain a motion to adjourn, I'd like to thank Bruce and the entire Directorate and staff for their assistance during this meeting. I know we bugged them a lot. For setting up the agenda, Mike and Stacey. Who am I forgetting? Steve, the presentations. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: A motion to adjourn is in order if there is no other business to come before the committee.
MR. MIGLIACCIO: Moved.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And a second?
MR. SCHNEIDER: Second.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All in favor, signify by the sign aye.
(A chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: All those opposed?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Motion carried. Thank you for your participation and patience. Thank you to the public. Have a safe journey home.
(Whereupon, at 11:35 a.m., the meeting was adjourned.)
C E R T I F I C A T E
This is to certify that the foregoing proceedings of a hearing before the Federal Advisory Council on Construction Safety and Health, held on Tuesday, October 19, 2004, were transcribed as herein appears, and this is the original of transcript thereof.
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