The Advisory Committee Met By Teleconference At 1:00 P.M.
Knut Ringen, Chair, Presiding.
Director/center To Protect Workers Rights
111 Massachusetts Avenue, N.w.
Washington, D.c. 20001
Stephen D. Cooper
International Association Of Bridge Structural & Ornamental Iron Workers
1750 New York Avenue, N.w.
Washington, D.c. 20006
William J. Smith
Director/safety & Health International Union Of Operating Engineers
1125 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Vice President And Manager Of Safety And Health Services
9801 Washingtonian Boulevard
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878
Bernice K. Jenkins
Vice President Safety Management/human Resources
P.J. Dick/trumbull Corporation
P.O. Box 98100
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15227-0500
The Ryland Group
11000 Broken Land Parkway
Columbia, Maryland 21044-3562
Anzalone & Associates
12700 Foothill Boulevard
Sylmar, California 91342
Mark O. Brown
Washington Department Of Labor And Industries
General Administration Building
P.O. Box 44000
Olympia, Washington 98504-4000
Washington Department Of Labor And Industries
General Administration Building
P.O. Box 44000
Olympia, Washington 98504-4000
North Carolina Department Of Labor
319 Chapanoke Road
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603
Ana Maria Osorio, MD, MPH
Chief, Occupational Health Branch
California Department Of Health Services
2151 Berkeley Way - Annex 11
Berkeley, California 94704
Judy A. Paul
American Association Of Occupational Health Nurses
1200 Southeast 98th Avenue
Vancouver, Washington 98664
Diane D. Porter
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30333
Wednesday, December 18, 1996
Welcome, Introductions, Call to Order
Knut Ringen, Chair
Residential Construction Project
Knut Ringen, Chair
Unfinished Committee Business
Knut Ringen, Chair
OPERATOR: If you should need any assistance during your call today, just press star and zero and I'll be happy to help you.
MR. RINGEN: For the court reporter, at this point the meeting is in session. You may call the roll.
OPERATOR: Thank you. One moment. I would like to thank everyone for holding and welcome to your conference call with Mr. Ringen. At this time we will begin with just a brief roll call. When I call your name, if you would please acknowledge your presence and any participants you might have there with you on a speaker phone.
MR. COOPER: Here.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Bill Smith.
MR. WILLIAM SMITH: Here.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Stewart Burkhammer.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Here.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Bernice Jenkins.
MS. JENKINS: Here.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Mark Brown.
MR. BROWN: Here, and I have one of my staff members, Ann Footsoyza, with me.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Harry Payne.
MR. PAYNE: I'm here and I have our state OSHA director, Charles Jeffers.
OPERATOR: Ana Maria Osorio.
MS. OSORIO: Here. I have a cold.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Judy Paul.
MS. PAUL: Here.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Diane Porter.
MS. PORTER: Here.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Bruce Swanson.
MR. SWANSON: Here.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Owen Smith.
MR. OWEN SMITH: Here.
OPERATOR: Thank you.
MR. RINGEN: So if I understand correctly the people who are not present are Bill Rhoten, Lauren Sugerman, Steve Cloutier. I believe that's it. Myself and Bob Masterson are both here.
OPERATOR: Were these people scheduled for me to call out today?
MR. RINGEN: No, I don't think so.
OPERATOR: Thank you. I just wanted to verify.
MR. RINGEN: Thank you very much.
OPERATOR: You're welcome.
MR. RINGEN: The purpose of today's meeting... and I want to thank all of you for coming, Bob, and all of you for participating on the phone... is to discuss a special matter of great concern to OSHA that requires immediate attention. And I apologize for the need on short notice to call a meeting like this. I'm told it's the first meeting ever of ACCOSH by conference call.
The only matter before us today is a project of residential construction that was briefly discussed at our last meeting. This project has come about as a result of congressional legislation in the appropriations bill for fiscal year 1997. I'll just read that language to you briefly and what it states. It's under the appropriations for OSHA in the House bill and the report that accompanied that House bill on page five. It says that in the main as part of the appropriations provided to OSHA the final agreement consistent with the House and Senate bills includes $2 million for the purpose of evaluating the practical application of construction regulations under OSHA to residential construction. There is no...
(INTERRUPTION -- PHONE CONNECTION PROBLEMS)
I apologize for the phone system.
What it says is... the language again says the final agreement, which is the agreement between the House and the Senate on the conference on appropriations, the final agreement also includes $2 million for the purpose of evaluating the practical application of construction regulations under OSHA to residential construction. It's my understanding that this project is to be obligated, hopefully completed, in fiscal year 1997, which means by the end of October... of September, I'm sorry, of 1997.
The request from OSHA is that we establish a work group and complete this study under the supervision of the advisory committee. In thinking about this, I have some proposals that I would like to make that we can then have discussion of. My proposal is based on the assumption that this project is going to involve an incredible amount of work on our part, with very, very many meetings here in Washington, D.C. in the course of the next nine months.
For that reason, I've suggested that we establish a working group with the following members from the committee: myself, and I will take on responsibility for being chairman of this simply because I believe it's unreasonable to impose on anybody else the amount of work it's going to take. I also would like to propose two additional members from the committee to serve on the work group. >From the employee side, Bill Rhoten, from the union and from the employers side, Bob Masterson representing the homebuilders.
I suggest that the permanent membership of the work group be limited to the three of us since we are working in the D.C. area and we will be able to participate actively as this study goes on. In addition, I know, Mark Brown, at the last meeting you expressed an interest in this project and in contributing to it and we would like to make use of you as well as other committee members who may be interested as need demands and your availability permits. But I don't think that we could ever expect anybody from the West Coast to participate in meetings as often as perhaps two or three times a month for a nine months period.
The other thing that I want to propose that a charter for this project remains poorly defined at this time. The Congressional language is vague and it's my intent, if we establish this working group, to deal with the working group and with OSHA and to return to the next ACCOSH meeting in March with the specific charge and need for this study as we define it. Finally, the third part of my recommendation is that I've asked Professor John Dunlop at the Harvard... at Harvard University, who has been involved with the homebuilding issue and the Department of Labor for a half century to be a special adviser to us in this project which I believe is going to be very, very difficult for a number of reasons. To serve as a special adviser and assure that we have adequate and balanced industry participation in the working group. If that's... that is the proposal that I have before you and I'm prepared to make that as a motion and I would like to hear discussion of it from the committee as a whole. If you have a point of view to state on this matter, please first identify yourself by name so the court reporter can make a full recording of it.
MR. OWEN SMITH: This is Owen Smith.
MR. RINGEN: Owen Smith, yes.
MR. OWEN SMITH: I agree that I could not make two or three meetings a month but I certainly want to participate at some level because I have great concerns. In looking at the permanent members, I see that you have Bill and I have no problem with Bill and Bob representing the home builders but there're no subcontractors. And, you know, I would... it occurs to me that the bulk of this will fall on subcontractors because we do the work.
MR. RINGEN: Okay, that's fine. We will add you to the list and make sure that you're informed about every meeting and also make sure that you get the reports and that you have the opportunity to participate when you can.
MR. OWEN SMITH: I would appreciate that.
MR. SWANSON: Knut, Bruce Swanson.
MR. RINGEN: Bruce, how are you doing?
MR. SWANSON: Terrific. Just a question in hopes of clarifying things. This committee that is going to meet under your direction will have open meetings I presume and those who are within the Beltway and able to attend and interested in this will be allowed to attend.
MR. RINGEN: That's correct.
MR. SWANSON: Thank you.
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is Stew.
MR. RINGEN: Stew Burkhammer. Yes, Stew.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I guess I have a comment in the form of a question. If we're doing this... I have a feeling there's some people who lobbied pretty heavily to get this $2 million in there for the homebuilders to take a look at the standards and see what applies and what doesn't apply to the homebuilders. What makes them different from having an OSHA review of standards for the painting industry, and an OSHA review of standards for the renovation industry, or an OSHA review of standards for the general construction industry. I mean if you to do it... I guess it's a two part question. One, how did they go about getting this and no one else got it? And two, if the subgroup looks at it from the homebuilders or residential construction perspective, and I'm assuming residential construction is including... that kind of thing also. Maybe it doesn't, but I would think it would.
MR. RINGEN: We just heard a beep there.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I don't know what that is.
MR. RINGEN: I don't know if you were saying something that got beeped out or what.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I guess somebody tried to reach somebody else. From my perspective I think, looking at it just strictly from a homebuilder's perspective, are we missing something in the big picture?
MR. RINGEN: First of all, to correct the impression that this is a committee, it's a working group that we're establishing. The... as to the Congressional background for this, I can't comment on it. Bruce, maybe you would like to comment on how this came about but it's a mandate under law regardless, Stew. And I think, my impression from OSHA is that they would like this incorporated within ACCOSH to make sure that all of the issues that you raise are addressed fully.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Okay. But I'd like to be part of it too.
MR. RINGEN: Bruce, do you have any comments on the background?
MR. SWANSON: No, Dr. Ringen. I don't have any comments. I'm surprised that someone thinks there was a lobbying effort to get this $2 million. I thought it was Congressional help for OSHA.
MS. JENKINS: Knut, this is Bernice Jenkins. If one organization is very special what about these other ones? Are you going to do the same thing for everybody else that these guys are...
MR. RINGEN: Just a minute, Bernice. Tom Hall has a comment.
MR. HALL: Anybody that advises me they would like to attend is free to attend. The people involved requested it. They got it. Anybody can request it and get the same treatment. We're open to the public. No problem.
MS. JENKINS: Okay.
MR. SWANSON: Knut, Bruce Swanson again.
MR. RINGEN: Okay.
MR. SWANSON: I... lest we distracted here, what OSHA needs to consider is a Congressional mandate. We have the $2 million. It is limited to one subject matter. Congress has asked us to do this. They have provided funds only for FY 1997 to do it and because of the press of time we have gone to ACCOSH and asked for assistance. I think the questions that you all ask are germane but they are not really relevant to the assignment that OSHA has.
MR. WILLIAM SMITH: Knut, Bill Smith.
MR. RINGEN: Bill.
MR. WILLIAM SMITH: Since I'm in D.C. too with you guys, it's of interest to us. I'd like to be a part of the work group. We have a lot of people that we work with also that does residential building in the area of excavation and trenches for water lines and sewer lines and everything else. So we'd like to be a part of it. But my next part of my question is about the $2 million appropriated. I guess, Bruce, you might be able to help us. But does that $2 million go to the Home Builders Association for research and pay for their half or does it go to OSHA and then OSHA's pool of funds to use in the research development, looking at the regulations and then coming up with a new regulation, to be spent internally with all of us? Can anybody answer that one?
MR. SWANSON: This is Bruce Swanson again, Bill. The $2 million was an appropriation from Congress to the Department of Labor and the language made it quite clear that it was to be spent by OSHA for the purpose... the purposes as laid out in Congressional language.
MR. WILLIAM SMITH: Okay. Good deal.
MR. RINGEN: Any other comments?
MR. HALL: Tom Hall. Could I interject something?
MR. RINGEN: Yes, Tom.
MR. HALL: The work group is open to members of the committee and advisers also.
MR. RINGEN: The... Tom said that the work group is open to members of the committee and advisers.
MR. HALL: Anybody can be on the work group and participate if they request to be on it. That's all.
MR. RINGEN: Tom said that anybody who requests participation can participate in the work group.
MR. WILLIAM SMITH: This is Bill Smith. When are you looking to have the information to start with for the work group so we can get on this, since we have a short period of time actually.
MR. RINGEN: We are planning to get started in early January.
MR. WILLIAM SMITH: Okay.
MR. RINGEN: We need to know who's going to be on the work group to start with and we need to know who also... and then we have to figure out the schedule. The actual charter of this study will be developed in full at the first meetings of the work group and as I said will be presented to the next meeting of the advisory committee when we meet in March.
Now, I appreciate everybody's willingness to participate. I hadn't expected quite so many volunteers. With this... I think it's very important that we have a core of people who are prepared to try to come to every meeting of this project and they will be the primary participants from the advisory committee on the work group. As I said, I've identified myself and Bob Masterson for that purpose. If the others like you, Bill Smith, and Stew, have the time to come to each of these meetings that would be great. We'd include you in that category as well. And people like Mark Brown and Owen Smith whom we expect will have a hard time coming to everyone of the meetings, we will keep you informed about everything that's going on so you have an opportunity.
MR. BROWN: Knut.
MR. RINGEN: Yes.
MR. BROWN: This is Mark Brown. This is arguably the worst speakerphone conference I've ever had and I think somebody has a system that's providing feedback and I don't know about the rest of you but frankly I'm not able to hear a lot of this discussion. In any event, I did want to ask this one question and this may be for Bruce. I'm not sure. But I understand and fully support the direction you're proposing relative to the makeup of the committee and support roles that some of the rest of us may play. But inasmuch as this is essentially $2 million for a research initiative, what is the research infrastructure that will support the enterprise? Is it anticipated that there will be grants issued to researchers independent of OSHA? Or will there be project research staff hired by OSHA? How will we, if you will, utilize these dollars since most of our time is in kind, except for related travel and how do the dollars really get to a research initiative that ultimately has got value added and who will do that technical data-driven research and analysis?
MR. RINGEN: That's a very good question. Bruce?
MR. SWANSON: Thank you, Knut. Those questions, Mark, are totally valid, the same questions that drive us to ACCOSH and the stakeholders. It is clear to OSHA that we do not have the resources inside OSHA to meet this Congressional directive. One of the first items of business for the work group would be to help formulate a strategy. Where do we go for the data that we need to support any of our conclusions? I, myself, agree with your implication that we are going to have to hire outside consultants. But I think we should wait for the first business meeting, early in January, before we make any of those decisions.
MR. RINGEN: Mark, it's Knut Ringen. I think it's very clear. I've raised this question already and obviously the members of the work group can not do all of the work that's entailed in this. They will have to... OSHA will be responsible for carrying out the legwork on this study in one way or another and that will either be through in-house staff or through contracting out some of it. The problem that OSHA is faced with a Congressional deadline that's very, very short. I'd say unreasonably short and we will have to get back to you after our first meeting of the committee, like Bruce said, to conclude how we're going to be able to carry out this thing in time. I'm not sure it can be done but we'll see.
MR. BROWN: Knut, I...
MR. RINGEN: This is Mark Brown again.
MR. BROWN: Knut, this is Mark Brown again. I won't belabor this except to say that considering the relative short time frames and considering the fact that these dollars go away at the end of the fiscal year, I really think that it's important, almost immediately, either through... I don't know what procurement process would be, Bruce. I mean I think you've got to have a project manager, somebody who is focused on this immediately as the staff person that will drive this in terms of working with the committee on a plan establishing the timetable for the deliverable. But you've got to have somebody immediately. Now whether that broadens out into other ways that research through contracts or other project staff but don't we need a project coordinator immediately to get this thing together?
MR. RINGEN: Mark, we have to stop here for one second because we have to reconnect some people. I understand they have dropped out of this phone system. So hold on a second.
MR. WILLIAM SMITH: That was a voluntary drop out.
(Whereupon, a brief recess was taken.)
MR. RINGEN: We are at the point of having a motion on the table and having heard all of the discussion that's been going on. Are there any other comments or questions about this?
MS. OSORIO: I just have one... just about the nature of I think... I think some of the...
MR. RINGEN: This is Ana Maria Osorio. Yes, Ana Maria.
MS. OSORIO: I just have a comment. I think that it would be almost impossible for either outside researchers or whatever to assess how applicable the standards are to the residential industries without also considering what's going on with the other industries. I think by the nature of what's been seen... it's going to have to affect other industries too if there's a hardship on residential industries... I do think that's going to have to be captured in this...
MR. RINGEN: Would you please speak up... Okay, what Ana Maria said is that she thinks we have to compare residential construction with other kind of construction to see whether there's a valid endpoint, whether there's anything unique, I believe, and different in residential construction from other types of construction. Is that correct?
MS. OSORIO: Yeah, I just think you have to have a point of reference... if it's undue hardship, if it's asking too much or something. I don't think you can single out one industry and I believe... off the top of my head because I haven't really stopped to think about it...
MR. RINGEN: Very... Ana Maria, clearly we have to put together a valid study of this matter and at our March meeting we will review the proposals or plans for that study, for the whole committee to be able to consider whether it is an adequate or valid.
MR. WILLIAM SMITH: Knut, this is Bill Smith. Ana Maria, basically this is... what's happened as we said earlier, there's a $2 million appropriation given to OSHA to study whether the effect of the regulations currently existing on the home building industry is a major burden. And that's what the research is for. To either show that it is or show that it isn't. And it's up to the industry to come in and say that it is and then for all of us to say basically what all of us can live with, both for the industry to survive as well as people. That's the whole issue in a nutshell. And that's what we're going to try to do.
MS. OSORIO: Well, I just think... I don't want to delve too much but I just think that after you see whether the burden is extensive for Industry A, if you don't have some frame of reference to what the effect is on Industries B, C and D...
MR. RINGEN: Ana Maria... Ana Maria...
MS. OSORIO: Yes.
MR. RINGEN: Nobody can hear you. You need to speak later.
MS. OSORIO: Okay. Can you hear me now?
MR. RINGEN: Yes.
MS. OSORIO: Okay. Basically what I'm saying in response to that somebody put forth that somebody has been told that they think the residential industries have been hit too hard with regs and they're too burdened for that particular sector of the construction industry. And I'm saying, the only way you can really say that's undue hardship, if you really want to answer the question, is to see what the burden is on that sector of the construction industry as opposed to other sectors and then you have a point of reference. That's all I'm saying... In the first meeting in January, you guys can discuss this and then I'll just review whatever you guys come up with. So, I don't want to go into the specifics. I just thought I'd toss that out for something you guys can chew on at the first meeting.
MR. RINGEN: Okay. Any other comments?
MR. COOPER: This is Cooper. I have one for Bruce.
MR. RINGEN: Steve Cooper.
MR. COOPER: Bruce, on the $2 million, is that going to be spent at the... of OSHA or is the ACCOSH committee going to have anything to say about that?
MR. SWANSON: The $2 million will, or as much of it as has to be spent will be spent by OSHA but OSHA will, of course, follow the guidance and suggestions of ACCOSH.
MR. SWANSON: Thank you.
MS. JENKINS: We could always have a party.
MR. RINGEN: Any other comments?
MR. COOPER: Steve Cooper one more time. Mark Brown made an excellent suggestion. We've got to have a manger for this. And the manager needs to be determined right away if we're going to do it.
MR. RINGEN: That's right. I've already asked OSHA to consider that. I expect by our first working group meeting that they will have a manager for the project identified. Any other comments or questions? There is a motion on the floor that I have made and that I intend to stay with. And that is, if I can paraphrase it again, that we will have, I recall, three primary members from the committee on this work group, Ringen, Rhoten, and Masterson. And it will be our responsibility to participate fully in every aspect of the project. And I will serve as Chairman of it. We'll have Mark Brown, Owen Smith, Bill Smith, and Stew Burkhammer also participating as they are able to and they'll be kept fully informed about every aspect of the working group's work. We will ask Dr. Dunlop to serve as a special adviser to the working group and make sure that the study is developed, designed and carried out properly and that we have adequate representation from the interests in the industry involved in the working group and its development. Finally, that the plans, the detailed plans for this study will be presented to the full committee for review and consideration at its meeting in March. Is there a second to that motion? Or is there some amendment to it?
MR. OWEN SMITH: I'll second it. Owen Smith.
MR. RINGEN: Owen Smith seconds the motion.
MR. SWANSON: Knut, may I discuss an amendment. This is Bruce Swanson. I would think that you would like to ensure NIOSH participation in the meetings.
MR. RINGEN: That's correct, Bruce. We will expect to get as much help from NIOSH through Diane Porter as we can. I don't know if she's still on hold or not.
MR. COOPER: Knut, Steve Cooper. I would suggest that any appointed member of the ACCOSH committee could attend at any time and voice their concerns.
MR. RINGEN: Absolutely. Absolutely.
MR. HALL: Tom Hall here. I repeat the meeting is open to the public. Anybody can attend at any time. We don't have any closed meetings at ACCOSH or NACCOSH. That's all.
MS. JENKINS: You will notify us of the dates and times of the meetings by fax or...
MR. RINGEN: Bernice, we will do that. That was Bernice Jenkins. Okay, we have a motion on the floor. It's been seconded. Any other comments or discussion of it?
We have a motion here that has been seconded. If there is no further discussion from the committee members on it, I would like to take a vote on this motion and then there are comments here from the public that we will listen to afterwards. All those in favor of the motion, please indicate by saying "Aye".
MR. RINGEN: Any nays?
Hearing no nays, the motion is unanimously adopted. Now we have some additional comments from one member of the public who is here. The public isn't overly large for those of you who are on the phones, so I haven't asked all of them to identify themselves. It's Claudia Harris who's the first commenter.
MS. HARRIS: I'd just like somebody to explain to the public how we can request in writing, to whom, to how to be put on the official list for advisory capacity to the work group, please.
MR. HALL: Tom Hall here. If you want to be... the meeting's open to the public. If you want to be a member of the work group, please get me a letter in writing that you would like to do that and we will submit it. No problem. I don't see any problem with that if you have something to contribute.
STEVEN JONES: I'm Steven Jones, a solicitors' representative here. I just want to make it clear that as Claudia is, I'm sure, aware and in fact requested, that non-members of ACCOSH who serve on this work group serve so in an advisory capacity. Not as members of the work group. That's all.
MR. RINGEN: The sole purpose of the work group is to develop proposals for consideration by the full committee.
MR. HALL: Any questions?
MR. RINGEN: Any other questions or comments from the public here?
Okay, that concludes our discussion of this point of the agenda. The next point of the agenda is unfinished committee business. I don't believe we have any unfinished committee business. I can just inform you that I received, I think yesterday, minutes from our last two meetings that I've had a chance to review and that will be coming to you in the next day or two. They will be reviewed and adopted at our next meeting together with the minutes of this teleconference... teleconference meeting.
MR. COOPER: Hey, Knut.
MR. RINGEN: Steve Cooper.
MR. COOPER: Steve Cooper, I've got to get off this of this phone. I've got to go have some dealings with the steel workers... They're trying to return my call. So I'll get off. I'll you on hold.
MR. RINGEN: Thank you, Steve. I think we have concluded our discussion. Thank you.
Is there any other unfinished committee business that anybody else needs to attend to?
MS. JENKINS: Knut, do you have a definite date for the next meeting?
MR. RINGEN: This is Bernice Jenkins. No, we don't have a definite date. We're trying to do it in the first week of January so we'll have a definite date very soon.
MS. JENKINS: Okay. Thank you.
MR. RINGEN: Any other questions or comments?
MR. BROWN: Happy holidays to everyone. This is Mark Brown.
MR. RINGEN: Mark Brown, happy holidays to you. To everyone else, have a good holiday season and a good New Year's and we will see you after New Year's. This meeting is adjourned. Thank you.
(Whereupon at 1:35 p.m., the meeting was adjourned.)
This is to certify that the attached proceedings before the United States Department of Labor, were held according to the record and that this is the original, complete, true and accurate transcript which has been compared to the reporting or recording accomplished at this hearing.
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