Thursday, November 29, 2012
Frances Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Diversified Reporting Services, Inc.
Committee Members Present:
Erich J. (Pete) Stafford, Chairman
Building And Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO
International Brotherhood Of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers
AFL-CIO, MOST Administrator
Walter A. Jones
Laborers' Health And Safety Fund Of North America
Glenn C. Barber & Associates
Kevin R. Cannon
Associated General Contractors Of America
Zenith Systems, Llc
William E. Hering
Sm Electric Company, Inc.
Donald L. Pratt
Construction Education And Consultation
Services Of Michigan
Kentucky Labor Cabinet, Department Of Workplace Standards
Steven D. Hawkins (telephonic)
Tennessee Occupational Safety And Health Administration
Letitia K. Davis
Massachusetts Department Of Public Health
Arizona Construction Training Alliance
Deputy Director, Office Of Construction Safety & Health, CDC/NIOSH, Office Of The Director
Designated Federal Officials:
OSHA Directorate Of Construction
Deputy Director, DOL-OSHA Directorate Of Construction
Damon S. Bonneau
OSHA, Directorate Of Construction
Sarah Shortall, Dol, Office Of The Solicitor
Opening Remarks/Agenda Overview -
Directorate of Construction Regulatory Update -
Jim Maddux, Director, Directorate of Construction
On-Line Training Issues -
Dr. Henry Payne, Director, Directorate of Training and Education
Dr. Christine Branche, Principal Associate Director, NIOSH
Health Hazards/Emerging Issues/Prevention
Through Prevention Work Group Report
Assistant Secretary's Agency Update and Report -
Dr. David Michaels
OPENING REMARKS/AGENDA OVERVIEW
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We are on the record now. We have a quorum of ACCSH members. Welcome, everyone.
My name is Pete Stafford. I'm an employee representative on ACCSH and chairman of the committee. I would like to welcome my fellow ACCSH members and all of you for being here this morning.
Right out of the gate let me say before I forget and Sarah will probably remind me one or two times again during the day, this is an open public meeting. We have a full agenda, as usual.
If you would like to make any comments to the committee, there will be time at the end of this afternoon between 4:00 and 4:30 for public comments. There is a sign-in sheet in the back for that purpose. We will also carve out the last half hour of tomorrow morning's meeting for another public comment period, from 11:30 to 12:00 tomorrow.
With that, again, welcome everyone. Let's start by doing introductions of ACCSH members.
I would like to remind the ACCSH members and for anyone in the audience who engages in the conversations, please state your name and organization for the benefit of our recorder.
With that, Ben?
MR. BARE: Ben Bare. Deputy Director, Directorate of Construction, DOL-OSHA.
MR. PRATT: Don Pratt, Construction Education and Consultation Services of Michigan. I am here representing employers.
MS. DAVIS: I'm Tish Davis. Director, Occupational Health Surveillance Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and I'm a public representative.
MR. BETHANCOURT: I'm Jeremy Bethancourt. I'm with the Arizona Construction Training Alliance. I am a public representative.
MR. STRIBLING: Good morning. Chuck Stribling, Kentucky Labor Cabinet, Department of Workplace Standards. I represent state government.
MR. MARRERO: Tom Marrero, employee representative, Corporate Safety Manager, Zenith Systems LLC.
MR. GILLEN: Good morning. Matt Gillen, Deputy Director from NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health.
MR. JONES: Walter Jones, Assistant Director of Occupational Safety and Health with the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund, employee rep.
MR. ERICKSON: Roger Erickson, employee representative, Boilermakers AFL-CIO and MOST Program.
MR. CANNON: Kevin Cannon, employer rep. Associated General Contractors of America.
MS. BARBER: Kristi Barber, employee rep, Glenn C. Barber & Associates.
MR. HERING: Bill Hering, employer rep, SM Electric, a large utility contractor in Canada and the United States.
MS. SHORTALL: Good morning. I'm Sarah Shortall, ACCSH counsel.
(Introduction of audience participants.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Ben, do you have any comments?
MR. BARE: Welcome, everybody. We had a really good discussion and information from the work groups. I congratulate all of you and keep up the enthusiasm. It was really great to see the participation. Looking forward to the discussion today and tomorrow.
The Assistant Secretary will be here at 2:00, looking forward to those comments. If you have any questions for him, feel free to participate with him and have an exchange with him.
The last thing is emergency evacuation, always important, in case we get an alarm or something catastrophic happens. Damon will kind of explain the emergency evacuation procedures for the building.
MR. BONNEAU: Good morning. We hope it never happens, but if it does, we want to be prepared, like Ben said.
In the event the alarms go off, we have a very sophisticated PA system in here, and if they start making announcements that we need to leave the building, you need to attach yourself to one of the DOC members, which is Ben, myself, Jim, Paul, or if you happen to be outside of here, in the rest room or some place else, report to the Construction Office, which is here on the third floor, Room 3468.
That way we will hang around and wait for anybody that is not in here, and we will take you to the rally point. The rally point is outside this building, around the corner quite a ways. We don't want to try to tell you how to get there and get lost. Just follow us. We will get you there safely.
Make sure you sign-in. There is a sign-in roster going around. Please make sure you sign-in. That's going to be the only way that we will be able to verify that we have everybody assembled and in the right place.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Damon. Sarah?
MS. SHORTALL: A couple of public participation notes. First, all of the exhibits, reports, the transcript from today's meeting, are going to be put in the public record for ACCSH.
The docket number is OSHA-2012-0011. If you just type in "ACCSH," all the material will come up.
You will notice the microphone for teleconferencing. We will be having at least one member who will be participating in that way. I also want to let people know, if they contact Damon Bonneau, because they can't be here physically but would like to listen in, he can give you the passcodes so you can participate and be with us at this meeting by teleconference.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Sarah. Again, welcome, everyone. Thank you. I'd like to start by ditto'ing what Ben said earlier. We have been meeting for the last couple of days and I would like to thank all of our ACCSH members and the co-leads and a lot of you who have been with us for the last couple of days.
From my perspective, we have had very informative and some productive work group meetings. We will be hearing from several of our work groups today and a few more tomorrow as we wrap up.
First, as usual, we are going to have a report from the Directorate of Construction, to give us a regulatory update on everything that is happening at DOC. With that, Jim, welcome, and thank you for being here.
DIRECTORATE OF CONSTRUCTION REGULATORY UPDATE
MR. MADDUX: Thank you. To add on to that, I think the work group meetings were all great. For the last couple of days, we got a lot of great information. I think we had some really good robust discussions about a lot of the issues that are facing the Agency. I hope you guys learned as much as I did. I thought it was pretty exciting.
I also wanted to make sure to welcome our four new members to the committee. Jeremy, Don, Kristi, and Roger were just recently appointed. This is their first meeting. Welcome. If there is anything we can do to help you out or answer any questions, please just ask me or anybody on the DOC staff. We will be happy to try to give some resources for you.
I'd like to start out by kind of going through some of the recommendations from the last few meetings, kind of giving a little bit of a status on where things are at.
At the last meeting, we had a recommendation to develop model guidelines to help Federal Government assist with their contracting and pre-assessment of construction work. There was a discussion of that in one of the work groups.
We now have a draft, sort of a check list, and we had some folks from the Department who came to help with that. I think that was very productive, and we are moving forward with that.
There was a recommendation that we develop construction sanitation guidelines for separate facilities for men and women. We have a fact sheet, a draft fact sheet and a draft web page that the group is reviewing. I feel that is moving forward pretty well.
A recommendation for injury and illness prevention programs. There were three separate parts of the recommendation, and all that is moving forward. I think the most important one is in the construction sector, that programs be employer specific and site-wide. Things need to be coordinated on a construction site when you have an injury and illness prevention program.
Recommendations on posting some of the Alliance Roundtable fact sheets on prevention through design. On our web page, we are creating a link to them. We have completed them. There is still an outstanding issue of whether or not they should be turned into actually OSHA branded products. We are continuing to take a look at that.
A lot of our publication resources, of course, are busy with the falls prevention campaign and crane issues, but it's on our list to do.
There is a recommendation on a direct final rule for head protection to update the consensus standards. That rule has been published since that meeting and is now completed. That is a completely done activity.
Now we have the most recent consensus standards for head protection reference in our construction standards and our general industry standards.
There was a couple of recommendations on a backing operations' web page, some are specific on content. We have done that. That was posted earlier this week. That is a completed item.
Recommendation on including profit fit of PPE in the SIP IV rulemaking. We are planning to do that.
We included the chimney stack variance in the SIP IV rulemaking. We are continuing to look at that and see if it is a reasonable fit for that project.
A guidance document for mast climbing. We have not started on that yet.
That is some of the recommendations from the last several meetings. I just want to make sure people know that we take these recommendations seriously and we are moving on them with the resources and other priorities that we have.
In terms of just an update, we now have fatality data for 2011, just published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics about a month ago, I think. The preliminary data showed we have a small reduction in fatalities in the construction sector.
This data is preliminary. The final data won't come out until some time next year. The data are likely to go up a little bit. I think it would be pretty surprising if it got back to the 2010 levels.
I think this is very good news. Hopefully, we can continue to keep this pressure going on these rates, as the economy continues to slowly recover, and we have an increase in construction work.
Falls dominate, 250, almost a third of the fatal injuries in construction are due to falls. We also have quite a number of "struck by" cases and electrocutions.
Let's get into a little bit of our rulemaking work. We have the committee chatting quite a bit about the SIP IV process, and we have had several recommendations from the committee for different things we could include in SIP IV.
The purpose, of course, is to remove or revise duplicative, unnecessary, and inconsistent safety and health standards, without reducing worker safety or health or imposing additional economic burdens on employers.
These rulemaking's include a large number of relatively small fixes to the standards that probably would never be big enough to get on the regulatory agenda by themselves.
We are working really hard on this. I think right now we have a total of 80 potential candidates that we have assembled.
We will be ultimately publishing an RFI. That is just approaching its last stages of clearance. I think that RFI could publish maybe in the next two or three weeks.
We also have several final rules we are working on. Three of these are follow up rulemaking activities from the crane standard. We will be talking quite a lot about the crane standard today.
One of them has to do with the application of the cranes and derricks standard, digging and underground construction and demolition. We issued a direct final rule on this a couple of months ago, took comments.
We wound up with really no comment on the underground construction. We are going to move forward with a Federal Register Notice that will announce that is completed and going into effect.
We had one comment on demolition that discussed potential ambiguities in the regulatory text that we used. What we are planning to do there is to re-open the record for 30 days to get additional comments on that ambiguous language, and see if we can actually make it more crystal clear.
Ambiguities in regulatory language are very rarely a good thing. It should be a relatively easy fix. That could publish also probably a little bit after the SIP IV Request For Information, but certainly within the next five or six weeks.
Cranes and derricks. This is a rulemaking to resolve a lawsuit that we had with the Edison Electric Institute. This has to do with digger derricks are used to set up poles, and sometimes they are used to set transformers and that sort of thing.
We have issued a direct final rule for this. I think it was about three weeks ago. The comment period is still open. We are taking comment on this exemption, and that is moving forward very nicely.
We also have a number of corrections that we want to make to the cranes and derricks standard. There were things that were accidently left out of the standard that are discussed in the preamble. There is an error in one of the hand signal charts that we would to get repaired.
That is just doing some clean up on that.
The last one and certainly the most important is the final rule for confined spaces. We have been getting a lot of good work done on that. It is coming together nicely. We are now trying to put the last touches on one last final session. That is approaching getting into the clearance process. That will have a full OMB review. I'm sure that won't be published until some time next year.
Backing operations. We have a backing operations work group, Meghan and Paul briefed the work group on the good work that is going on there. Dr. Teizer, I think, had a great presentation of some of the new technologies that are available to try to help protect workers from back over's.
There are a tremendous number of fatalities. I think last year it was 78 or 79 workers who were fatally injured by being backed over by a vehicle.
There are a lot of things that can be done to prevent these horrible fatalities.
This is one where Paul and Meghan have been doing some leg work, getting out and doing some site visits. We have had some very good contact with several construction companies that have shown a willingness to share some data and their experience with trying to prevent back over injuries.
One, for example, has done some very good experimenting with mounting cameras underneath the dump trucks. This has been one of the really big concerns, if you try to put back-up cameras on construction equipment, it's a very rough environment, will the cameras be able to take that rough environment and survive and do the job they need to do.
This particular company is having some success with that. They have actually created it turns out with the experimentation they have done, the best place to put the camera, directly under the dumper.
You get it underneath the vehicle where the bed is actually protecting the camera, and then they created a welded steel box to mount the camera in, and have a screen inside the cab so the driver can see to the rear. They are having some success with that.
I think we have some really good work going on here. The next step in this project, of course, will be to continue to try to get out and do site visits and collect data, but we also are going to hold two public stakeholder meetings after the first of the year.
These will probably be announced in the next week or two formally through a Federal Register Notice and a press release and so forth.
We will be having one meeting here in Washington, D.C. in January, and then a second meeting in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in Texas in February.
People that are interested in this back over issue or have data/information to contribute, this will provide a really, really nice opportunity to continue to keep the conversation going on back over operations, try to see if this is worth getting into rulemaking and what a rule might look like, and how it would really work.
In the same RFI where we announced the back over project, we also announced and asked for comment on reinforcing and post tension steel construction.
Of course, rebar is in a tremendous amount of the concrete that we use on construction jobs, and concrete is one of the materials of choice for construction.
This is a very, very common problem. It is really everywhere in construction work sites.
We do have standards that set some requirements for dealing with rebar and post tension, but we have been petitioned by the Iron Workers Union to improve those rules and try to do some additional work.
We received about 80 comments in response to the RFI. There were a large number of them that were sort of a form letter type approach. There were really only 15 unique comments. They were from a nice variety of stakeholders, people in both large and small companies, insurance, people who actually were providing concrete, some equipment manufacturers, the Iron Workers, of course, some foundation drillers, a good variety of comments.
We are taking a look at those. That is certainly in the mix as we continue to have our discussions with our political appointees about which standards we are going to move forward on and how we are going to kind of prioritize our agenda.
We also have a number of directives under development. We have been putting a lot of work into the cranes and derricks' directive. We do have a full draft of the directive, and we have been holding regular meetings, so we try to get together two or three times a week with our crane team and walk through that.
We are hopeful some time shortly after the first of the year, we will get that out into our clearance process.
Directives go through a clearance process that involves sending them out to all of our regional administrators and to various directorates here in D.C., to make sure it is making sense and it doesn't interfere with other directives and other policy statements that are out there.
We also are working on one for personal protective equipment. The directive here is really sort of a press forward PPE standard that we put out several years ago.
What it really deals with more than anything are the PPE payment requirements, and of course, some of the court decisions that we have had around PPE and kind of the limitations of the PPE standards that we have.
We are also just getting started on a construction chapter to the Field Operations Manual, and revision of our directive on excavation and trenching, and this is fairly small, just to try to make sure we have collected the correct evidence for a couple of the paragraphs that are a little bit tricky.
We are also working on a directive that deals with communication towers. We have a directive right now that allows people that are doing construction work on communication towers to be hoisted using a drum hoist and a lift system, which is fairly scary business.
Some of these are several hundred feet in the air and they are using a drum hoist. It is important that all the equipment with that drum hoist and personnel lift and so forth match and be properly maintained and so forth.
Of course, what has happened is the big push on building communication towers has kind of ended. What we have now is a lot of communication towers scattered all across the country, and there is a tremendous amount of maintenance work that goes on, and work to put up the new generations of transmitters and receivers that are being used as we go to 3G and now 4G, and whatever the high speed cell phone service of tomorrow is going to have.
The question on this one is whether or not we should expand and include maintenance activities in that directive.
I want to talk a little bit about the crane standard. Of course, we are now two years since we published the crane standard. We are trying to get a little more data on how it works.
I thought the committee might be interested in a little bit of our most frequently cited paragraphs and requirements in the crane standard.
Signal person is the number one problem we have had. Signal person is not qualified. Materials not being rigged by a qualified rigger. Failure to have documentation from the signal person.
Annual inspections by a qualified person are a problem. I think these annual inspections are really, really critical. There are several different types of inspections that are required, shift, monthly, and annual.
The annual inspection is the one that really takes a good hard look at the gear to make sure it's operating properly and there isn't wear and tear that can cause a safety concern.
This is one that I think is fairly troublesome.
Power line safety. No determination that the working radius is within 20 feet.
Operator manuals, load charts and so forth not in the cab. People are operating the cab without even the load chart.
Determination for safety is not made by a competent person after deficiency was noted during an inspection.
The requirement is if you do an inspection and you find a deficiency, you need to determine if it's going to create a safety hazard. If it's going to create a safety hazard, then you need to fix that before you operate the crane.
Requirement for monthly inspection results, same problem.
Missing labels supplied by the manufacturer.
We have enough citations that it is worth taking a look at what the most common problems are. Of course, this is helping us to guide kind of the heaviest focus as we are drafting the directive.
We have also been completing a fair number of letters of interpretation for the crane standard. I think right now we put out somewhere around 20, maybe a few more than that. We are at a point where the letters of interpretation are kind of coming in at the same rate they are going out.
We still have about 20 that we are working on. We are getting to where we are dealing with a lot of the more difficult issues.
Some that we have put out are the hours of equipment operation versus the practical exam, when people go in for a re-certification, operation of cranes that have been de-rated by the manufacturer for one reason or another.
The crane standard also applies to a vertical mast forklift used with hoisting arrangements. This was a very difficult one. It took us quite a while to kind of figure out exactly how to deal with this.
The crane standard can apply to a forklift using mechanical means, move the load vertically up and down or horizontally, either side to side or front to back, then the forklift is covered by the crane standard.
We also had the issue of the mast climbing scaffolds. Those are also covered by the standard.
Several questions for identifying the work zone and working near a power line. This is actually a pretty nice letter, it has several diagrams and walks through the various options that employers have for identifying a safe working zone when they are close to an electric power transmission line.
Apprentice programs used to qualify riggers and signal persons. We had several of those from a couple of the Unions.
We are still continuing to work on future FAQs and interpretations. We put out 25 FAQs earlier this year, which helped to resolve a lot of the issues, and perhaps not resolved one very important one.
We are continuing to work on extended reach forklifts that are being used as a crane, as a hoisting device.
DC voltage, articulating knuckleboom crane questions. The most difficult one we have been dealing with, which is the crane capacity question around operator certification.
The standard includes, in my opinion, very unambiguous language about the fact that certification is required for cranes by type and capacity.
I looked at this photo. It's a very dramatic photo where a crane company has used one crane to lift a smaller crane and then done that several times, so that all three of these cranes are up in the air, each one lifting the next.
It highlights this capacity problem where kind of the basic question is should the person who is certified to operate the smallest crane in this series, should that certification also allow them to operate the largest crane in that series.
This wound up being a very difficult issue. There are four crane certification bodies. Two of them have certifications by both type and capacity and two of them do not.
The two that do not are issuing certifications today that do not have capacity on them.
In 2014, when that requirement kicks in, if there isn't some sort of change or some kind of a solution to the problem, those cards are not going to be valid.
We have had a number of conversations with the crane certification community, with the different groups that are involved in the crane world, the SCRA, the operating engineers, groups like that.
We recently received a letter from the operating engineers encouraging us to go into rulemaking on the issue.
This is going to continue to play out where we haven't found the answer yet but hopefully we will pretty soon. Certainly, we want to make sure we have properly certified crane operators when that requirement goes into place.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: If I can understand this real quick, is it OSHA's position that if you were certified in the largest crane, you would still have to be separately certified in the other capacities as well?
MR. MADDUX: The standard is actually very clear that if you are certified on a large crane, you are also certified to operate any crane with a lower capacity.
For example, with this photo, if the person had been certified on the largest crane in this series, they would have automatically been certified to operate all of the smaller cranes.
This is actually another photograph. This is a crane collapse that happened in Houston, Texas with three fatalities. This is a very large crane, actually took out a second crane as it came down. Tremendous life injury and property damage.
The operator of this crane was not certified or qualified to operate this device. There were a number of root causes that came into play with this accident. That is certainly one of them.
This is before the crane standard came in. We issued a citation to the employer for this problem, and that citation has been upheld through the Review Commission level for not having a qualified crane operator.
I'd like to shift a little bit to the falls prevention campaign. Dr. Michaels will be talking about this this afternoon. It has been a very successful campaign. We have been very, very pleased with it.
We have come out with a number of different products. We came out with a poster in English and Spanish. We came out with a four page fact sheet that focuses on the three areas where the greatest number of fall fatalities take place, ladders, scaffolds and roofs being the three.
That has been translated into several languages now, and we are continuing to work on more translations.
One of the most popular products we have produced has been the toolbox sticker. This was a very nice idea that Eric Harbin came up with, who used to be in the Directorate of Construction and since moved down to work with Region VI as the Deputy Director.
They have been just tremendous. When I go out and do speeches around the country, I'll typically grab a roll of these and throw them in my backpack and take them along. I have yet to bring a sticker back.
I actually brought a roll. Jeremy had asked for some yesterday.
I also want to put out an open invitation to the members of the committee or for that matter, to people who are in the audience today, we do have a lot of these materials available still here in the building, if you need more materials for the falls prevention campaign, which will be re-launching next Spring for the second year, please talk to somebody on the DOC staff and we will connect you up with the right people to make sure you can get the materials that you need. You can either take them with you or we will be happy to ship them to you.
We also have produced a number of products on residential construction falls protection. In late 2010, we issued a directive that brought residential construction under the same falls protection requirements as other types of construction are required to follow.
That has been a long process. We have gone through a number of different phase-in's. We published a very large number of fact sheets, I think nine of them, on different types of residential construction activities, giving people information about how to provide falls protection.
One of the recommendations of this committee was all those fact sheets be translated into Spanish. We have made some good progress on that.
We had this little event up on the East Coast, the storm called "Sandy." We have been putting in a lot of effort into trying to get some guidance materials up to the people that are doing clean up work and demolition removal and construction work up in the New York and New Jersey effort.
Several of those required some translations into Spanish and Portuguese. We sort of shifted our resources to make sure we were getting the materials to those people that are in such need of safety information and other services right at this time.
As soon as that effort starts to kind of slow down a little bit up in the New York and New Jersey area, then we will complete those interpretations and get all of those in Spanish.
We also had several guidance products under development, a roofing document, a couple of video's from the State of Washington that showed some nice techniques. I think the video approach is always a very nice way to try to get guidance out to the public. It's very powerful.
We also are working on a revision of our general falls protection guidance document. That is in its last review with our Solicitor's Office.
One of the things we found and talked about with our training and outreach group was doing a gap analysis of our existing publications and outreach materials.
One of the things we discovered fairly early on in the falls prevention campaign is that we had very few products on ladders and scaffolds. We have been working on six fact sheets, three for each one of those topics.
We have three of them on ladders, one for extension, step ladders and job made ladders. Those are along in the clearance process. We will definitely have those ready probably next month.
Three of them are on scaffolds, they are just getting ready to go into the clearance process.
What we are trying to do here is kind of reload some new materials so that when we re-launch the falls prevention campaign in the Spring, we will have some fresh publications that meet the needs for people to get a little bit more safety information on these important topics.
I put this slide in. This is the web page that houses video tools, what we call V-Tools, that have been produced by our sister Directorate, the Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine.
In late 2010, we published 13 of these video's. One of them is a live video that has to do with trench safety and primarily with doing the soil test, to try to determine the types of trenching safety requirements that would come into play.
Twelve of them were animated video's. Each one of these animated video's is based actually on one or more fatalities that have occurred in the construction industry, and shows what happened, how the fatality occurred, using an animated video clip, and talks about what could have been done to avoid the fatality.
These are extremely powerful training tools. Low literacy. Available in English and Spanish, and a version that does not have any voice over at all, so if people want to download it, they can do their own voice over in whatever language they need.
Those have been enormously popular and we think they have been very helpful.
I just wanted to let you know that the Directorate of Technical Support is working on two new ones.
One of these is going to deal with a scenario where a worker swings an extension ladder into a power line, which is a fairly common fatality scenario that we see in our fatality reports, and I'm sure some of you may have heard some of these.
The second one is going to be on commercial sky lights on a flat roof. This is also a continuous problem. We see several fatalities per year where a worker goes through one of these flat roof sky lights. It is a big problem.
I just wanted to put up the nail gun guidance document. We published this very early this year in English, had a very big roll out effort. This is a joint document with NIOSH and OSHA.
When we rolled out the English language version, Christine Branche and I put together a fairly big outreach program using e-mail blasts and phone calls and so forth.
The document has been enormously popular. I think we are pretty close to half a million downloads now. It is also the only OSHA guidance document that I know of that has been picked up by Amazon and is available for your Kindle reader on Amazon for $1.99. No, I am not getting a cut, unfortunately.
We just recently launched the Spanish language version. This is now available in Spanish as well. Christine and I worked together to do a second sort of roll out for the Spanish language version, to not only announce and try to get more attention to the Spanish language version but also sort of reemphasize the English language version.
We are really looking forward to seeing the injury data come out. I think the emergency room visits for nail guns in the past has been somewhere around 30,000 per year. We will be very interested to see if there are any changes to that number as we go forward. This guidance document may help avoid some of those injuries.
MR. JONES: Walter Jones, employee rep. What do you attribute the popularity of this document to?
MR. MADDUX: I'm not sure we know for sure. We do have some ideas. I think one is it is now just such a common tool in the workplace, everybody that has a nail gun recognize these are a dangerous tool and of course, a very useful tool.
Almost everybody in the construction industry knows somebody that has been hit by a nail using one of these tools.
This is a very dramatic kind of an x-ray of an injured worker that really has drawn attention to it. That is one of the things we are kind of trying to continue to study and take a look at, what was the draw to this document, for lessons learned to use for future guidance documents.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Christine?
DR. BRANCHE: Christine Branche, NIOSH. One of the things we have heard is it doesn't look like most Government documents. We really tried to make it so the document was easy to read, that it is low literacy, has a lot of visuals, a lot of white space, and has information -- it's hard to have a document that has useful information but isn't verbose, and we worked really hard to make sure it is all those things.
We also have reached out in the Spanish version to the medical community. Again, as Jim said, it's an opportunity to reinforce the fact that the English version is available, but in this one, we have deliberately reached out to the medical community in this version.
We are conducting some telephone follow back's with a few of the people that Jim and I have reached out to to get their take on it. We weren't able to do that when we released the English version. We are making a few calls to get the take on the Spanish version.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you.
MR. MADDUX: We also have copies of those available if anybody wants a few of them. We still have several cases here in the building, both English and Spanish.
At least from my viewpoint, and I think Christine would agree with me, I think this and the falls prevention campaign have some wonderful examples of some cooperation and collaboration between OSHA and NIOSH to develop some products, to develop a campaign, to combine the research capability of NIOSH with what I kind of call the brand name of OSHA, and come up with products that are technically sound, written in a way that is helpful to the community, and then to get those out and get them into the hands of the people that can do some good with them.
We are continuing to look at different kinds of things where we can work together and collaborate on different issues like this. I think we will probably have several more projects coming up over the coming years.
That's all I have today. I would be happy to take any questions or talk about any issues people have.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Jim. You sure have been busy. It is always good to see OSHA following up on the recommendations that comes from this group. We appreciate your work and the rest of you.
I would be glad to open it up to the committee if there are any questions or comments.
MR. CANNON: Kevin Cannon, employer rep. Yesterday during the injury and illness prevention program work group, there was quite a bit of discussion on the focused inspection policy. You mentioned you guys had just started working on the construction chapter for the FOM.
Is that something that will be or could be included in there?
MR. MADDUX: It certainly could be, at least reference it. It is very construction specific.
MR. CANNON: Laying out what the specific criteria is. I think it was Tom Shanahan who stood up and kind of read the memo.
MR. MADDUX: I think there was actually a very interesting discussion yesterday, and there was some discussion about whether or not we should sort of go in and take a look at the materials that were produced for the focused inspection policy back in the mid-1990s.
I think there was a memo from James Stanley who sort of announced it at that time, and whether or not we should go in and take a look at the materials and sort of re-launch that focused inspection program and try to raise awareness of it.
MR. CANNON: Yes. That was my thinking, try to raise awareness.
MR. MADDUX: Certainly, our people in the field are aware of it. It is still a very active policy. When construction employers ask for a focused inspection, we have a routine that we go through.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Tish?
MS. DAVIS: I know your staff is aware, is the construction community aware of it, is there a mechanism by which we could --
MR. MADDUX: I think that is the issue Kevin is raising and Tom Shanahan raised yesterday, should we do something to highlight that and make sure the construction community is more aware of that option.
Certainly, one of the goals of that whole policy was to try to encourage people to develop more robust safety and health programs short of having a regulation that required that.
I think re-launching it and re-publicizing it would probably have some value.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I think that is a good idea in the context of our discussion on I2P2. I don't know what the criteria was, and maybe an evaluation that this contractor had a good program. It would be interesting to revisit as a part of this discussion.
MR. MADDUX: We will get together printed copies of the materials that came out in 1994 for the focused inspection policy and make sure that everybody on the committee has that.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: The construction chapter in the Fields Operations Manual, I'm assuming that is kind of internal work within OSHA, as opposed to getting any kind of outside input.
MR. MADDUX: Directives are usually more of an internal thing. I think there is some confusion on this sometimes, on the part of the public.
Our directives are really not designed to try to give guidance to the public. They do serve that function as sort of a secondary function but the real purpose of our directives are to give guidance and direction to our field staff.
They really are sort of internal documents where we are trying to tell our field staff how to enforce a particular standard, or in the case of the Field Operations Manual, the exact sequence of steps they will go through as they do an inspection, as they collect evidence, as they get the information into our computer systems and so forth.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. Don?
MR. PRATT: Jim, I'm concerned about what you had said about -- maybe "concerned" is not the right word -- I'm questioning what you said about the crane and derrick standards being applicable to forklifts and certain kinds of forklifts. I understand not all.
In construction, as you well know, forklifts are being used a lot all the time.
Is it the intention of the standard to have the crane and derrick standard the same for a forklift as it would be for a derrick crane or some other type of commercial type of crane?
MR. MADDUX: Yes.
MR. PRATT: Why?
MR. MADDUX: I'm not sure a large portion of the construction industry really knows this, as we were going through the rulemaking process, that the rulemaking was very clear that it could apply to many, many different types of devices that were being used in lieu of a crane.
MR. PRATT: My mason who has a laborer running a forklift, if it's the right kind of forklift, is going to have to get the crane and derrick certification and card.
MR. MADDUX: That is some of the questions we are working through right now because kind of the problem here is the way the crane standard is written, it does apply to certain types of forklifts, and we hope one day can basically be used to hoist equipment that is being suspended using a rigging or a hook.
We also have requirements in our powered industrial truck standards that have specific requirements to forklifts.
What we are trying to sort out right now kind of in our FAQs and in our enforcement directive guidance to our field staff is how are those two sets of requirements going to mesh, when are the powered industrial truck training requirements going to end and when the training and certification requirements of the crane standard are going to begin.
MR. PRATT: I would like to suggest that OSHA please consult with employers and with labor on the different types of applications for the forklifts in construction, and to see how we can work together to try to make that whole area safer rather than just having a bunch of regulations that nobody is going to follow anyhow.
MR. MADDUX: I think you raise a good point but this is a regulation that is final. It has been published. It is in effect.
What we are trying to deal with right now is trying to do the best job we can of making some reasonable interpretations of what's on the books.
This is one of the most common questions that we have had coming into the Agency as a result of the crane standard.
In the last batch of FAQs we issued, we issued one FAQ on the vertical mast forklift and we have a set of five or six more FAQs that are nearing the end of the clearance process right now that we are going to issue to try to answer some of these follow on questions.
Technically, our field people probably could be issuing citations for forklifts on construction jobs for some of these things now.
It is very important that we get out as much direction as we can about how to deal with this. This is the same problem. The crane standard has a very general definition in its Scope section. It talks about a piece of equipment that can mechanically raise and lower and horizontally move a load.
There are a lot of pieces of equipment that can do that. That's why, for example, on these mast climbing scaffolds, a lot of the mast climbing scaffolds now have a hoist that is attached to them that can raise and lower and move it horizontally so you can land the material on the scaffold.
It winds up technically being covered by the crane standard, and we have to figure out the most rational way to implement that.
MR. PRATT: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any other questions or comments?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I just have one question for you, Jim, before I let you go. You had mentioned you had not yet started working on the mast scaffold guidance document. Are you planning to do that?
MR. MADDUX: It is something I would like to do. I think it would be a worthwhile project. At least right now with some of the other things that are going on, it hasn't gotten a high enough priority level to kind of start applying some resources to it.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I appreciate that.
MR. JONES: You mentioned during your remarks about response to Sandy. What role was your department playing in response to Sandy or do you have a role or was that led by the region?
MR. MADDUX: We haven't had much of a role in the Directorate of Construction, a few technical questions, if certain situations arise that come in from our field staff. That has been kind of the limit of our involvement. Most of that is handled by the folks in the region that are actually on the ground dealing with the day to day issues.
What we do here in D.C. for the most part is we just try to make sure that when they need something, we are getting it to them as quickly and efficiently and of highest quality we can to help support their effort.
A lot of that is actually managed by our Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management. Amanda Edens is the Director there.
If there are issues, for example, issues of trying to coordinate with FEMA at a national level, Mandy will take care of that here in the D.C. area while Bob Kulick, Regional Administrator in New York, is dealing with people at the local level.
We also brought in to try and help with that effort in New York -- regions have sent COSHOs to New York City. We are rotating people through New York City on details that have safety and health experience so we have an additional number of people that actually have boots on the ground to try and get out and make sure people are working safely.
We have all seen the debris piles and so forth out on the street. Now there is an issue that is starting to develop that has to do with mold. A lot of flooding and mold issues.
They are trying to figure out how to deal with that, do we need some additional guidance.
We can't accept, for example, donated PPE and hand it out. What we have done is kind of help coordinate between people who are willing to donate PPE and local organizations that have the capability to distribute it to the workers. We are trying to make those connections where we have the opportunity.
There has been an awful lot of work in Region 2. They are working unbelievably hard right now to try to protect the workers that are trying to do all this work up there.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: What are you seeing, Walter, from the laborers and through the building trades? We are trying to get a handle on some hazardous waste or training needs. We are not getting a lot of feedback.
MR. JONES: I can't speak directly for the laborers but just for the network of occupational safety and health groups, the concern right now is the mold concern and the respiratory requirements, and where we are going to go with that.
There is no PEL or no requirement for respirator use pro se in clean up efforts with mold, but now there is concern that because there isn't, how are we going to handle that whole area.
Folks are looking to you guys for guidance. That's what I'm hearing. I thought maybe you or Dr. Michaels would speak to that.
MR. MADDUX: Dr. Michaels might know more about it. I just heard about the mold concern yesterday. I have seen several news clips where people were using at least like an N-95 respirator while they were doing some of the demolition work and so forth, to try to address the concern.
MR. JONES: The hazards assessment associated with that, like some folks are getting a hazards assessment that says go ahead and wear them. They are being allowed to wear them without the medical testing requirements.
Someone is going to have to jump in and wade through it at some point, I would imagine.
MR. MADDUX: People are working on wading through those issues right now. Issues come up and we get people on top of them, trying to figure out what the right thing is to do.
MR. JONES: I would just suggest getting your message out as well, like all the things you said, all the stuff you guys are doing down there.
MR. MADDUX: There is a tremendous amount of work. The Secretary and Jordan Barab, our Deputy Assistant Secretary, are traveling to Staten Island today. There is a very real concern for worker issues in the area, for worker safety issues, also from our sister agencies on wage and hour issues and things of that sort, the Department of Labor. We have boots on the ground out there.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: It has become very complicated typically in terms of FEMA, some is Davis-Bacon, some is not, those types of issues.
MR. BETHANCOURT: Jim, you had mentioned you are going to be re-launching or re-initiating the falls campaign in the Spring. I was curious what kind of efforts there have been or success in reaching out to the state programs where they may not be fitting under the same jurisdiction as OSHA.
MR. MADDUX: We have reached out to the state programs. Maybe Chuck could talk to us a little bit better than I. I think all of the states are participating.
We made a huge effort. Scott came out and talked to our state plan association and I have talked to our state plan association. We send out regular e-mails/blasts to them when we have new materials or new launches. We include both the state plans and the consultation plans.
We have also done a fair amount to reach out to state Workers' Comp and compensation agencies and to the state and territorial epidemiologists that Christine works with.
We have been doing a lot to try to reach out to a lot of state and local people that we have relationships with and to include them.
MR. BETHANCOURT: Thanks.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Kevin?
MR. CANNON: I have a question regarding the type and capacity issue. You mentioned there were two of the four that OSHA at this point deems not to be compliant with the certification requirements. You also mentioned unless some progress is made, come 2014, some of those certifications will be invalid.
That is going to penalize contractors who thought they were being proactive. How are you considering dealing with that? Grandfathering in folks?
MR. MADDUX: There are probably a number of different things that we can do. I'm not sure what we are going to do right now to resolve it. I'm sure we will resolve it.
It's going to be taken care of but at least for right now, the road to taking care of it is not entirely clear.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any other questions or comments?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: One last thing. Is Kentucky, for instance, doing Focus Four?
MR. STRIBLING: Kentucky does not do a Focus Four inspection program. We found from a resource standpoint when we send a compliance officer to inspect a site, they just go ahead and inspect the site.
MR. MADDUX: Especially on a construction inspection, taking the time to actually evaluate the safety and health program that is in place at the site is a fairly time consuming effort for the inspection staff.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Don?
MR. PRATT: First of all, I can assure you that in Michigan, they are doing as good a job as they possibly can in falls protection. We have had nearly 100 seminars put on by My OSHA over the last year. They are doing a superb job in getting the word out.
The problem is we have to get somebody to listen to us. That is a real challenge.
Secondly, with Focus Four, Jim, I don't think you know this but this year at the International Builder show put on by the National Association of Home Builders, we are actually going to focus on the Focus Four in the display area, and we are actually going to give awards out for people that go around the different stations and learn about the Focus Four program.
I was going to announce this to you when you got there, but I'll do it now. We are looking forward to the impact that may have on our building members.
MR. MADDUX: I think that is a great move.
MR. HERING: Listening to the reports and everything on Hurricane Sandy, our company is a restoration power company, a big utility contractor, so we were called in with the other utilities.
We had about 170 linemen and 70 vehicles. I had a staff of about 20 safety professionals managing to visit every site as we tried to rebuild Seaside Heights, all the way up into Long Island, down to Cape May.
The camaraderie of the line people that came out, and really the different line companies, Mississippi Power, Alabama Power, they were flying line truck bucket trucks in on KC-10s to McGuire Air Force Base from California with crews.
I have to say the safety work and the expertise was phenomenal. I just wanted to mention that. When you get out there and you go into a neighborhood, and the wires are still sparking, it's dark and wet, there is a lot of danger. It was quite an event.
It was really a phenomenal experience for five weeks, three conference calls a day between our safety teams and our management teams, and then we had to interact with all the other power companies. It was absolutely phenomenal. I've never seen anything like it in my 45 years in safety.
MR. MADDUX: I think the OSHA staff that are working up there feel the same way, very, very rewarding work they are doing to try to contribute to worker safety during such a difficult time.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. Chuck?
MR. STRIBLING: Like I said, we don't do Focus Four inspections but an employer has to have a written and documented safety and health program.
Even now, when a compliance officer goes out, they do that. If you go to a site and there is a written safety and health program -- they are letting the subs participate and doing the same thing -- you know it's going to be a good site.
I want to do that inspection. It would make my job pretty easy today. I know I am going to go see a good site. If you take care of those big cranes, everything else seems to fall in line.
When I say we don't do it, we don't formally do the Focus Four program any more, but those are sites that our compliance officers like to be at. Those are the employers that get it.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I look at it in two ways, as opportunities. If you went out to do a Focus Four and your first step is to look at the written programs and they don't have a good one, why not share good information on what we think a good program ought to look like as a starter.
Chuck, back to your point, I thought one of the purposes of it was just contrary to what you said, that if you went out to a site, they obviously knew what they were doing, they had a good program, you targeted on those four things real quick and you got out and went on down the road to inspect the other sites that may not be so good. I thought that was the intent initially.
MR. MADDUX: Yes, I think it had multiple purposes. That was certainly one of them. Just doing a review of somebody's safety and health program creates conversation that's worth having probably at a lot of work sites. What does your program look like, does it really work. Always a good conversation.
I would just like to finish up. I want to thank Ben and Damon and all the DOC staff. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into preparing for one of these meetings and actually making it work. I think everybody is doing a really great job.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Jim, and thank your staff very much.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Our favorite topic, OSHA training. We have Dr. Henry Payne here with us, Director of the OSHA Training Institute. I want to thank you very much for being here.
MS. SHORTALL: I'd like to enter a few exhibits into the record.
Exhibit 1, November 29-30, 2012 ACCSH meeting agenda. Exhibit 2, DOC Regulatory Update PowerPoint presented by Jim Maddux.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Sarah. Dr. Payne, I think we are here to talk about what's going on with on-line training. Thank you very much for being here.
At our meeting last time or maybe two times ago, as you recall, the committee felt it was important to stay tuned in to what OTI is doing, and to the extent that stakeholders can give you some advice or you want to hear from us on what we think about the programs and how we can help you, that's our intent.
Thank you very much for being here today.
ON-LINE TRAINING ISSUES
DR. PAYNE: Thank you for inviting me. The agenda says on-line training issues. I suppose you are not really interested in what OTI is doing. I think you want to know more about the 10 and 30 hour on-line.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Yes, I think that was the intent of the work group; yes.
DR. PAYNE: That's fine. Internally in OSHA, we do a lot of on-line training. We do what we call webcasts, video and audio, out to the field, to the Federal and state compliance people, and then we have audio coming back in where they can ask questions.
Over the last five years, we have done about 60 of those. We average about one per month on various topics. We use them for updates, items of interest for the Assistant Secretary.
We have what I would call traditional on-line learning, where students can interact with computer based learning.
We give primarily a blended format. Students have anywhere from a 3 to a 15 hour up front requirement that they must complete before they come to the Institute to complete the instructor leg portion.
That has been very helpful for us, both in terms of getting all the students kind of on a level playing field before they show up, and it has allowed us to reduce the course length where people are actually in Chicago.
Some courses that used to be a week and a half long, we have been able to shorten them to a week long by adding this on-line piece up front.
That has been very successful for us.
When John Henshaw became the Assistant Secretary, he asked us to do as much as we could on-line, both internally and externally. In the discussion, he asked us to work and try to get the 10 and 30 hour outreach program on-line.
We did that. We did that in a way that we developed requirements and people who were interested in doing the 10 or 30 hour on-line would submit an application. We would go through the review and comment process back and forth.
It took about a year of us working with each applicant before we could get to a point where we were comfortable in approving their training programs.
Most of the issues, quite frankly, were content issues. They just weren't safety people. A lot of the people trying to do the training were good at on-line training but they just didn't have a safety and health background and didn't understand the importance.
The requirement was for them to hire outreach trainers in order to do this, that was part of the year long process and dragging this out.
You don't know what you don't know when you start something like this. We never assumed or expected the people we approved to do the 10 and 30 on-line for construction and general industry and maritime would use resellers to the extent they had.
The use of resellers became a huge customer service problem where you go on-line. You select what you think is a training provider for the 10 hour construction course. You register. You pay with your credit card.
The first time you have a problem, you find out the person you thought you were taking the training from actually isn't the person you are taking the training from, and it may be two or three companies removed before you could actually get to the person providing the training.
It created a lot of frustration, a lot of complaints. We decided in working with the Solicitor's Office, and in particular, a great solicitor there, a guy named John Shortall, who we think does a great job for us, we worked out a way where we were going to compete the ability to be an on-line trainer, similar to the way that we do the OTI education centers.
We drafted a Federal Register Notice. We put it out. We got applications in. We reviewed the applications. We made selections.
Two of the providers who were not selected filed claims in the Federal Court of Claims, which is where people go to file a challenge to a contract.
We argued, "we" being basically John Shortall, Rob Swain -- I argued a lot louder than they did but probably my arguments couldn't be used -- that it wasn't a contract.
We signed a non-financial cooperative agreement. It means we don't give them any money. According to the Justice Department and the solicitors, one of the three requirements of a contract is you exchange money for goods or services, and there was no exchange of money.
The Judge determined that there was an exchange of value rather than money. He determined our solicitation was a contract. It wasn't written like a contract. It wasn't meant to be applied as a contract.
In negotiations back and forth between us with our solicitors and the solicitors with the Justice Department and the Justice Department with the Judge, we agreed we would cancel the solicitation, we would revise it basically into a form that looks like, smells like, tastes like a contract, but we are still not going to call it a contract, and re-announce the solicitation.
We are in the process of doing that now. Hopefully, right after the first of the year, that will be announced. We will again go through the process and make selections. Hopefully, award some time by early Summer. It is a fairly lengthy review process.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: How many of these are there going to be?
DR. PAYNE: I can't really talk about that because we have a series of proposals, and we don't know what is actually going to be in there yet.
Our whole basis for competing this was it's a resource issue from my office. As I said yesterday, I have two people who do the outreach training program. One of them basically only issues cards for the outreach training providers and the other one handles all the program issues.
Ninety percent of Don's time is taken up with on-line training issues, people calling in to complain, people can't figure out who is actually doing the training, et cetera.
What we are trying to do is reduce the number of on-line providers to a select few so we would have fewer issues and higher quality.
There are currently 11 total. It is our hope the number would be fewer than 11, but whether it is one or nine, at this point it's hard to say. We are still trying to figure out what we can do and how we can do it.
Of course, we are getting a lot of help from the Justice Department as well in terms of things they would like to see in this next announcement, to try to avoid going through the same cycle we just went through with the challenge.
It's a very slow, laborious process, but I do believe once we put the announcement out, it will be a very tight, well constructed announcement that if it gets challenged a second time, we will be able to withstand the challenge.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. Tish?
MS. DAVIS: Will this new solicitation have restrictions on the resell? How are you addressing that, which seems to be the driving issue?
DR. PAYNE: We are not allowing resell. We didn't allow it this past time. One of the things we will allow is for people to put links on their website, but we issued very clear guidance on how that would be done so as not to appear that I'm actually the training provider when all I'm really doing is providing the link to the training provider.
You will know what you don't know when you get into this, and we know a whole heck of a lot more now than we did then.
We had very specific language on the linking aspect, but we didn't put it in the Federal Register Notice. This is where we had some issues with the Judge. We didn't put everything in the Federal Register Notice because otherwise, the Federal Register would probably have had to be a separate publication just for this announcement.
We didn't put everything in. He says it has to be in it. The second time, it is going to be a very lengthy and detailed description of everything that is going to go on with the program. We have never done that in the past.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: It was mentioned the fraudulent cards and wives taking the training and complaining they can't get the cards for their husbands and that kind of thing, doing the on-line training.
What are the specific safeguards that you are building in now that are going to resolve those kinds of issues?
DR. PAYNE: With current providers, anybody can call in or go on-line and register for the training. Anybody else can take that training for you. There is no real way of determining who is taking the training. That has become an issue.
As I said yesterday, we know it happens because on at least two occasions, we have had people call our office and complain they had just completed the course for their husband and couldn't get the card.
We know it happens. We had a requirement in there that the providers provide some form of what we referred to as random user verification, which basically means during the training, there is some technological interruption that requires the learner to do some kind of response that only the learner can do.
Some of the things we have seen demonstrated is a very simple voice print, where when they register for the course, they are required to call an 800 number and read a sentence. It gets recorded.
During the training, their training will lock up. The 800 number pops up on the screen, and they have limited time, usually three minutes, to call the number and give the voice print and have it verified, and then it unlocks and they can continue.
A couple of places that we know use it say it's very, very accurate, even for people who have colds, it's very accurate.
There are other systems that are out there. The simplest one is a lot of computers now come with cameras built in, so you can randomly at various times take photo's of the person who is doing the training, and it should match the person who registered.
There are a lot of ways. We didn't want to specify a way. We didn't feel we should tie everybody's hands. We didn't want to create kind of a massive industry for this.
We are going to have to provide more guidelines and information in the request around how and what our expectation is for this.
We were very general in the last announcement. We will add specificity but we will not require a given specific technology to do that.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thanks. Tish?
MS. DAVIS: This is really an observation which you may or may not decide to comment on. It seems given the discussion yesterday and hearing about kind of workload demand today, that the context for the training, at least in training programs since 1970, has changed dramatically, particularly in most recent years with mandatory training, electronic training, issues with re-certification, a huge number of issues.
It would seem to me there is a need for an assessment, I would say, and I would say an external assessment, and then some real strategic planning.
It seems with the nature of the program and the size, that you are basically reactive to developments as they come along, and you really need a proactive program that is taking a look at the needs.
It seems to me this would be an opportune time to do this, and I understand for you it's a resource issue, you can't take this on with two people, but I would lay this out for the group. I think it is a really important thing to address.
DR. PAYNE: As I said yesterday, I would agree with you. Rather than being a headache for me, the pain is a little lower down. It really is somewhat frustrating for us.
It started off as a very simple, straightforward program to provide workers with information about OSHA and give them some general awareness about the hazards they may be exposed to on the job, and because of the success of the program, and quite frankly, I attribute a lot of that success to the adoption of the building trades and the employers in the construction industry, that the program -- when I showed up at OSHA in 1998, 100,000 cards for the first time. Everybody thought that was huge and massive and the program would level off and that would be it.
Well, this past year, we issued over 700,000 cards. We still had the same number of people administering the program.
You are right, Tish. Don really is in a reactive mode. He doesn't have time to do anything but return calls and respond to e-mails and try to help students sort through issues so they can get the cards they need. Usually, they are desperate because they need the cards to start a job.
We are trying to help the workers sort through the issues and get the card. Don spends about 90 percent of his time doing those things.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I think it would be a good idea. It would be a matter of resources, but certainly in terms of this committee trying to guide something like that or working with you on it, we would be more than happy to do that.
I think Tish is right. In the end, as you said yesterday, this has become much more than you had envisioned.
Chuck and I talked yesterday after that particular work group, and it seems to me one thing that this committee could do, instead of reacting to what's happened in a voluntary program that has taken on such popularity, whether you intended that or not, the industry looks at OSHA 10 as the gold standard when it comes to the basic ten hour hazardous awareness.
It's up to 700,000 a year. That is a big number.
DR. PAYNE: Eighty percent of that is construction.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: These are huge numbers of folks in our industry being trained. If we could sit down, ACCSH members and people in the audience here today could say if we could start over fresh, how would we build a program, and how would we make it work now that we know what we know.
DR. PAYNE: As I said yesterday, I would certainly support that in terms of help from ACCSH and the work group.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: That would be great.
MR. ERICKSON: Speaking of the large number of cards that are being issued, out of curiosity, a little over a year ago, a number of the OTIs started charging a fee, $5.00, for the processing of cards.
How is that working? Is that relieving some of the cost that has been associated, and is this something that is going to stay as far as that charge?
DR. PAYNE: To answer your last question first, yes. The fee is something that is here to stay. As most of you may remember, a few years ago there were a series of articles that ran in the New York Daily News that were somewhat unflattering about outreach trainers cutting corners doing outreach training.
As a result of that, you tend to get a lot of help from people. It was suggested that my office should have somebody at every one of the ten hour classes that takes place. There are about 300 of these classes that go on every week.
I know Don likes to travel, but I don't think Don would like to travel that much.
We sat down with the OTI education centers and said to them look, whether we like it or not, this sleepy little program that was under the radar and everybody was happy with is now not only on the radar but front page news.
We have to do something to work with the outreach trainers to start improving the integrity of the program in ways that we can.
One of the things the OTI education centers did, they formed a work group. On their own, they came up with a plan where they would start doing what we call "records audits," where as outreach trainers submit records to the education centers for their cards, people review them.
If something looks odd or out of the norm, it doesn't mean anything is wrong, but what they will do is usually initiate what we call a "records audit," and they will have them send in the back-up information and they review the back-up information.
This past year, they did about 1,000 random records audits of outreach trainers. They are also randomly selecting trainers and they are going out and doing observations of their training.
They will contact the trainer and say let me know, send me the next time and location you are going to be doing a ten hour, and they will send somebody to actually monitor the training. We did about 250 of those last year.
Part of the $5.00 fee is to offset the cost of them doing this monitoring. They have had to hire people to do the monitoring. Quite frankly, there is a cost involved with processing the cards.
The program has roughly 45,000 authorized outreach trainers. Only about a little under 15,000 are what we would call active. We define "active" by at least twice a year they do training and submit for cards.
That means over two-thirds of the people either don't do training they submit for or they do less than two classes per year.
Some of these people, we believe, are internal trainers for companies and don't submit for cards because they don't see a need for the card. They are doing training, they just don't particularly submit for the cards.
It is a huge recordkeeping burden and it's a processing burden. Quite frankly, we got the okay from the solicitors about five years ago for the ed centers to start charging for the cards. They held off as long as they felt they could before they implemented the fee, and then they started it. I think this past Spring they started phasing it in, and I believe they are all doing it now.
We will, too. We just have a longer tail that we have to work through before we can start charging the fee.
For the outreach trainers where we at OTI process the cards, we, too, are going to be charging for them this year.
MR. PRATT: Two questions. Of the nearly 600,000 that were trained in construction, do you know the penetration that has in the entire industry, and the second question is how many of those were on-line trained?
DR. PAYNE: I honestly don't know the penetration.
MR. PRATT: Are we talking about 50 percent or 10 percent?
DR. PAYNE: I don't know, how many construction workers are out there?
MR. PRATT: I thought you would know that.
MR. PRATT: Right now, about nine million, so a very small penetration.
Keep in mind, the outreach card for ten hour does not have an expiration date. If you took the training in 1978 and you managed not to run your card through the wash or have your dog eat it or something else, that card is still valid today.
Some people just say you have to have the card. Some employers say you have to have the card within the last three years, some say the last five years, and some states and municipalities have different time limits for the age of the card.
For a lot of workers, as long as they have a card, it's good.
My reason for asking the question is is this going to continually get larger numbers every year or are you going to reach some kind of plateau where we are going to level off.
That has a lot to do with our discussion about what do we do to get you some help. Is it going to be short term or is this going to be something we are going to have to contend with for the duration.
The other thing was the on-line training, do we have any idea at all about what kind of on-line training penetration we have had with the cards?
DR. PAYNE: In construction, the ten hour numbers have kind of leveled off over the last couple of years, but that is probably due more to kind of the down turn in construction.
We have seen an increase in the 30 hour in construction.
MR. PRATT: Supervisors have more time now.
DR. PAYNE: In terms of on-line, on-line construction is not a big number. The largest on-line provider we have is a company called Career Safe. They are basically providing the ten hour in general industry and construction to public schools.
MR. PRATT: The preference is still face to face.
DR. PAYNE: It appears to be face to face. Construction workers seem to want to go on-line when somebody says to them if you can get a ten hour card today or tomorrow, you can start work. They become kind of desperate looking for a way to get the card quickly.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Kristi?
MS. BARBER: I would just like to say that coming from my area of the nation, which is South Dakota, the on-line training is invaluable to us. Trainers are few and far between in my area. The closest OTI training center is in Denver, which is about 350 miles away from us.
The 10 and 30 hour classes on-line for employees is very valuable, and we are just getting to the point now where in our state, employers and owners are requiring their employees and subcontractor employees to have the training before they get on site.
We are a little bit behind the times, but we are getting there.
I can see the on-line training still having a lot of value in areas such as mine.
Another question is of the 250 training audits that you performed last year, what was the outcome? Was it what you were expecting?
DR. PAYNE: The majority of them, the trainers who went out and did the audits thought the average trainers were doing an acceptable job of presenting the content to the learners in a way that they could learn it.
As we discussed yesterday, there was probably a great deal of discussion around the two hour intro with a lot of the trainers.
The issues that came up, very few were quality issues, they were more process issues, in terms of some trainers not covering the full ten hours as are the requirements.
It wasn't the quality of what they covered, it was the amount of time they kept the people, and some misunderstanding with some of the trainers on what they thought they could do and what they were supposed to do according to the requirements.
That has been a perpetual issue as long as this program has been around in terms of the trainers really understanding the reporting and recordkeeping requirements of the program.
MS. BARBER: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any other questions or comments? Tish?
MS. DAVIS: I just want to go on record to underscore the importance of training. We can talk about it. I think we all recognize the importance of training. It's important to say that.
I can tell you that in Massachusetts we interview injured workers, focusing on kids under 18, and 50 percent of those injured say they had no health and safety training. It is really important.
Several things that we have done, we do issue the OSHA 10 cards, and we were successful in getting required health and safety training, not ten hours because it wouldn't work in this context, but in our youth summer job programs.
That is something I would really like to see more of, any workforce development program include some kind of mandatory health and safety training.
The workforce development folks who get the contracts for the summer jobs program have to provide health and safety orientation.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Chuck?
MR. STRIBLING: Just to say one thing about the on-line component of the training, something to keep in mind is a generation that has grown up on-line is coming into the workforce. They know on-line.
I really think the on-line component will continue to grow. I'm not saying good or bad. I just think that's the way things are going.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD:Any other questions or comments?
MS. SHORTALL: I guess this piggy backs on Mr. Stribling. The question is have you or are you aware of anyone else who has done studies that looked at the effectiveness of training delivered on-line versus in class or any other method, both in terms of immediate understanding as well as retention over a period of time?
DR. PAYNE: Yes. There is a website you can go to. It is called "No Significant Difference." It lists thousands of studies that have been done comparing what I would call instructor leg training with you pick the technology.
It was correspondence courses, and then we came into computer based training, now on-line training.
There are thousands of studies. The overwhelming evidence of all these studies is there is no significance difference in the presentation mode at all.
If you stop and think about it, training should be designed around objectives. If you're teaching the objectives, there is probably not going to be a huge difference in learning outcome.
Some of us may be more visual learners. Some of us may be more tactile learners. We might fare a little better in our preferred learning style. We all adapt.
Most of us go through a public school system. We are not asked when we go in there what is your preferred learning style, how would you like to learn. We are told to sit down, shut up, and pay attention.
We learn to adapt and while we may have a preferred way we would like to learn, we can learn by different modalities, so people can learn from a lot of different modes.
As Chuck said, the people coming in, particularly the people we are seeing coming into OSHA, want more of on-line training. They don't really want to come to Chicago for a week. They would rather stay home and do the training on-line.
MR. STRIBLING: They're bored sitting in a class.
DR. PAYNE: Some people don't want to go on-line, they want to come to Chicago. We are seeing a transition. It's putting pressure on us to develop more on-line training as components of our courses.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Walter?
MR. JONES: I guess I'm the person that would rather go to Chicago. I want to follow up on this idea that if the training is delivered and it's the same, whether it's on-line or not, what about what appears to be the big concern, the fraud and fear of fraud on-line, in terms of incidence or percentages, what is your feeling or do you know exact numbers?
DR. PAYNE: Sarah probably knows this better than me. If somebody is really dead set to commit fraud, they're going to do it. You're not going to stop them. That even includes the face to face class. Not all instructors ask for a photo i.d.
If I go into a class and sign-in as Walter Smith, take the class, they issue me a card as Walter Smith. I just go to Walter and hand him the card.
It can happen in face to face training. If somebody is dead set to do that, they can do it. I don't think we are going to stop all of that.
The kinds of fraud we have been most interested in is the trainers who are just outright selling cards for cash.
We did a lot of work in the State of New York where these articles appeared because they had requirements both in the state and city for workers to work on certain municipal construction projects to have the card.
The New York City Inspector General had been involved in this. He called us because he wanted to go through the ten hour course. He wanted to know what it was about.
There is a trainer's website where a lot of the outreach trainers register, and they list the training, where they are going to do it, the dates and those kinds of things.
We referred him to the site. He contacted a trainer, arranged to take the training on a Saturday morning. When he showed up at the address, it was a vacant lot. The guy was there. The Inspector General handed him $100. The guy handed the Inspector General a card.
The Inspector General went back the next Monday and had three of his people register for the next course with this guy, and they wired them and video taped the guy, and the guy is now in jail.
That's the kind of fraud we think we can have an impact with in the program. on-line, the issue is -- I don't think people think they are committing fraud when I come home from work, I'm tired, I register for this class and I drag my teenage son over who is a heck of a lot more computer literate than I am, and say finish this for me. I don't think people think that's fraud but it is.
The requirement is that the person who registers for the course is required to take the course.
We are going to have to be very specific in the up front information that we provide people who register for these courses and take them.
That is why we want to go to some form of random user verification so people who are doing this and probably not thinking they are de-frauding the system, but they are doing this, can get stopped and straightened out and go ahead and complete it.
This isn't us trying to increase the number of people who go to jail. We just want to convince people this is the way it is supposed to be done and you're not supposed to have other people do the training for you.
MR. JONES: Makes sense.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any other questions or comments?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Dr. Payne, thank you very much for coming. We will hear from our training outreach work group later, but I am going to say we will be recommending to the Secretary per our discussion yesterday that OSHA do away with the two hour requirement for the intro section.
I think when we have this discussion amongst the work group, we may add a recommendation that we do an assessment of what the program looks like and start with a clean slate maybe at some point and build what we would like to see as an industry on how the program would work, now that we are into it.
Thank you very much, Dr. Payne.
DR. PAYNE: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We will go ahead and take a break.
(A brief recess was taken.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Next on our agenda is Dr. Christine Branche, who is Principal Associate Director, NIOSH. Christine, thank you very much for being here. The floor is yours.
DR. BRANCHE: Good morning. I do wear more than one hat. I am the Principal Associate Director of the Institute and have the pleasure of being the Director of our Office of Construction Safety and Health, which will be two years old next month, and we have had quite a productive time.
I am going to divide my time with my colleague, Matt. We will be talking about some developments in the Institute overall, just a few things, as well as our office, give you a few reminders of what our office does, talk a little bit more than my colleague, Jim Maddux, did about the falls prevention campaign, and talk about some efforts we have been doing on our 15 goals for our sector.
Matt will cover the nail gun developments in a little more detail than what Jim Maddux covered. We want to share with you some of the research that is going on that is relevant and of interest to those of you here, and talk about some developments that are underway in our efforts with green construction, our assessment of green construction.
As far as NIOSH-wide, we are certainly anxious to know what our budget is going to be, as are our colleagues at OSHA. We have no information on that.
You have heard me refer to Ms. Pietra Check. She was instrumental in helping us get a lot of information done in our first couple of years here as an office in the Institute.
It was through her sheer talent and brilliance, we have been able to get quite a bit done with the products you are familiar with, not only with the nail gun guide, she worked quite a bit with Matt Gillen, but she also was quite instrumental in our getting the falls prevention campaign underway.
I mention her because she's been squirreled away. She has been promoted. She is now the Deputy Director of our new Office of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing at the Institute.
NIOSH, we now have three offices that deal with the three largest problems in worker safety and health, mining, construction, and ag, forestry and fishing.
I'm giving you two pieces of information. (a) we have established this third office dealing with this third high risk problem and Ms. Check is now the Deputy Director of that new office.
As a reminder, our mission in our construction program overall at NIOSH is to deal with conducting research, gathering information, and then translating as much as we can into products, programs, and solutions and services for the construction trades and for workers and their employers in the construction trades.
Organizationally, the way we have our activities organized in our construction program is we have intramural research, and again, Matt will share with you in a few moments some of the current research that is going on, and then to the far right of the slide, we do support researchers outside of our organization and outside of the Government to conduct research, including in construction.
We fund the National Construction Center and CPWR is funded by NIOSH to function in that capacity. Actually, CPWR has successfully competed for that since the funding was made available first in 1994.
As far as our own office is concerned, I think we have been doing well enough that we now have a third person, Lt. Commander Elizabeth Garza, who is with me this morning. Liz? The person in uniform. She is with the U.S. Public Health Service, Commission Corps.
Liz joined us formally in September. She was working with us on a detail beginning in May. We apparently impressed her enough that she wanted to stay with us. We are very happy to have her aboard.
Turning to the falls prevention campaign, Jim mentioned to you before our evidence based campaign that we launched together on workers Memorial Day. Secretary Solis formally launched the campaign, and we did have a two year span in mind.
Jim Maddux also mentioned a re-launch is planned for the Spring of 2013, inaugurating our second year in the campaign. Our focus, if you don't know or if you have been living under a rock and you have no idea what's going on with this campaign, it's focused on falls from roofs, scaffolds and ladders.
The primary audience of interest is residential construction, contractors, site supervisors, foremen, and then the tertiary audience of interest is the workers themselves.
Stopconstructionfalls.com is the website. I will give you some more information about the web addresses in just a moment.
This has been an effort that has been launched not only by OSHA in partnership with NIOSH but also with our national occupational research agenda for the Construction Sector Council, so those members have been instrumental in not only piecing through it and dealing with the information that helped us shape the campaign but also in helping us get the information out.
We really appreciate those of you here on ACCSH as well as those in the audience who have helped to get that information out as well. It has been a joint effort and we require still your hands in continuing to have this campaign be successful.
When the campaign was launched, our colleagues at CPWR also made available an effort they had underway, which is this fatalities map.
When you go to the website, stopconstructionfalls.com, which is hosted by CPWR, then the map from 2011 is also available to you.
What they did was collect information during the course of 2011 from new sources, people making them aware of the information, but they were trying to get information in real time.
What would be another interesting facet is now that BLS has published their preliminary data, to compare the effort that CPWR had underway with what is the official tally from BLS.
It is certainly nice to be able to get a window into the fatalities in construction across the nation much earlier than what we were able to get from BLS.
Again, this doesn't replace what BLS does. It does give us a sense of the severity of the issues in construction as it concerns fatalities. We really appreciate the effort they had underway.
I made reference to the web addresses. There are three, three ways by which you can get information about the campaign or three sources of information for the campaign.
We are indebted to CPWR for hosting the main website for the campaign. Again that is stopconstructionfalls.com. A lot of supporting information, training announcements, press information, are all captured at that website.
There is also a Facebook page which is maintained by a colleague at the University of Washington at St. Louis, Vicki Kaskutas.
The campaign posters, fact sheets, and anything that is "Free," is from OSHA, and their website is at the OSHA.gov/stopfalls website.
Scientific information, background information about falls in general, some research that we are doing, as well as a science blog that was launched in tandem with the campaign are available through NIOSH.
Also, our colleagues at the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program are part of NIOSH, our FACE program is probably how you best know it. There are data about some FACE investigations that are relevant to falls from construction, fatal falls from construction, that we always think are of interest, and we encourage you to go there as well.
It is still possible to join the campaign, and that could happen either today by raising your hand or sending an e-mail to Falls@cpwr.com.
There are some interesting outcomes I want to share with you. I realize Dr. Michaels will talk about this or is likely to talk about this in his remarks this afternoon, so I do want to give you some information that is not going to be part of what he talks about later on today.
First, in taking a step back and understanding that this has been a coordinated effort, I shared with you the coordinated websites and we do swap out information so that where it is appropriate to duplicate information across the three web sources, we do.
Again, it is also important to understand where there are some differences. If you want to access the free information, as Jim Maddux mentioned this morning, you do need to go through OSHA to get the information. That is not to say we don't have a stash of them at NIOSH, it's for the volumes that most of the people are requesting, OSHA is your best bet.
We know from our review of the way we have gotten information out there, over 300,000 people have been touched at least through OSHA by the campaign.
We know also for NIOSH, our web visits alone are 1.5 million. That is for NIOSH overall. We know CDC is the second most popular Federal Government sites. Only the U.S. Postal Service with their request for stamps has more visits to web information than CDC.
When we tried to spotlight this particular topic, and we will again in 2013, we know that it is a little different, a little oblique to us, but we know we are touching people with our information in ways that are a little difficult to assess.
From OSHA, as our colleagues work with them and being able to really understand what we mean by touching and assessing exactly how many people are visiting the website and being able to take visits from views, we know we have at least 300,000 people who have been touched through the OSHA regional activities.
From my last assessment, it was 39 organizations. Where are we now? 39 organizations have joined the campaign formally. That doesn't mean that people even if they haven't formally joined, they aren't participating and being available, people who are helping disseminate information.
The other thing I want to make sure we appropriately appreciate is the fact that we have created by virtue of this campaign an activity, movement, if you will, where we have labor, state and local government, and then various organizations and professional organizations and employers who supported the campaign.
I think that is not an easy task. All of us who have a hand in construction, we know that doesn't happen often and we should celebrate it when it does. This campaign has been such an effort.
Just to give you an example of some of the outreach that we have solicited, we have encouraged people to talk about the campaign. For example, the National Safety Council has done so.
We know Drs. David Michaels and John Howard were each featured speakers at the National Safety Council meeting in October of this year. Both of them took the time to talk about the campaign, again giving visibility at the levels they are, and we really appreciate the fact that even as we go into the dawn of the winter, this is a campaign still having some resonance with people and we are going to use, as Jim Maddux mentioned earlier, some of the winter months to be able to tweak, re-tool and prepare for re-launch in the spring.
A quote to give you from an ASSE member is from Ron Sokol, where he says "Planning ahead, identifying risks, providing training along with the right equipment will help prevent construction worker falls.
The information from the new falls prevention campaign will be invaluable. We urge everyone to share it with their company, friends, co-workers, communities, schools and more. We are all part of the solution to help prevent falls."
I think this quote is one that really captures what we really want people to walk away with when they see the campaign and when they review the materials.
Another outcome is the campaign has already won an award from a public relations organization here in the National Capital area. The campaign won the 2012 TOTE Award. It was given here in Washington by the Public Relations Society of America.
My colleague, Chris Trahan from CPWR, tells me there are now 48 partners with the campaign.
We have no upper limit for the number of people who can officially join the campaign.
We know people have featured the campaign in their newsletters, on their websites. This is just a quick smattering of five, and we encourage, as we begin to re-launch for the Spring, if people have not had a chance to feature the campaign in any of their newsletters or information they disseminate to their members, this is an opportunity to do so.
For people who have been so kind as to feature the campaign, there is another opportunity come Spring.
Lastly, I am going to talk about that we have 15 goals through our national occupational research agenda, 15 goals as it concerns construction research in the United States.
Again, this is not research just for NIOSH. It is research for the nation as it concerns construction.
Beginning last year, we took a look at those 15 goals and looked at our progress. We expect to be asked formally how we are progressing in our 15 goals.
What we did in our mid-course review was to categorize our progress with the 15 goals with respect to whether or not we were ready for impact.
We have six of the goals that we call ready for impact, which means we have sufficient solutions and know what contractors need to do for impact.
Falls, silica, disparities, struck by, culture, and prevention through design are the six goals that we believe we are in a place where we are ready for impact.
The seven developmental goals are ones for which we have solutions but we know we are not quite ready for impact.
I'm not going to read the full list, but welding fumes, musculoskeletal disorders and disease, and noise are some of the seven goals that fall into that category.
Our last category, which is exploratory, exploratory means it's an important issue, but we are still defining problems and solutions.
Two goals fall in that category. The industry organization issues as well as engaging the media.
This assessment has allowed us to do two things, not only get a sense of where we are with the 15, but also to make certain that we are not inappropriately or just by sheer negligence shoving any goal to the side. All the goals are relevant. We believe all the goals still have merit, all 15 are still important and compelling problems in construction.
As far as our resources, not only at NIOSH, but across the various facets of construction in this country, people who are doing research, it gives us a sense of being able to know how we are going to move forward aggressively and pointing our resources in places where we think it is going to make a difference.
Are there any questions or comments? I'm about to shift to my colleague.
MR. JONES: I have a question on the falls campaign. I think it has been a fantastic job and now you're going to do your second year. I know the concern is how do we expand our effort and drive down to reach every pick-up truck in construction. I don't know how possible that actually is.
Is there any thought of turning the campaign into a public health campaign, more so than just an occupational or construction falls campaign?
If we want to reach like every pick-up truck, we are going to try to reach the kids of these guys who drive the trucks, turn this into a campaign like going to the schools and begin to look at change in behavior besides just touching everybody, but actually trying to reach out to turn it into a campaign so that when we look at the viewers of this falls campaign, we will look at it hopefully as we look at recycling and other efforts, where behaviors change as a result of campaigns.
How we could take this falls campaign out of the silo of occupational safety and health, which is pretty small, and move it to the public health arena, reaching out to public health departments or schools, social society about what it means.
Is there any thought about that?
DR. BRANCHE: Yes, quite a bit of thought. First of all, you mentioned bridging with public health and learning the ways by which -- replicating the ways they have been effective in trying to drive important public health information into the hands of the people who need it, regardless of their age, being inventive about getting information out, even if it is through a back door mechanism, to the people that need it.
I am glad Tish is here. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, I think, has done some things that are worth looking at for a broader application.
We know Tish has been successful in even reaching transit authorities in the Boston metropolitan area.
That is something that we are trying to replicate and we are working with OSHA to do that.
Some other ideas that have come up, we just had our Sector Council meeting earlier in November, and there were some ideas expressed there.
Some of the ideas that came out of that and just before was trying to get to the places where contractors have to get their licenses or get permits to do their work, making the information available to those offices.
We know for Latino outreach for other things that are going on in construction, the projects that we are aware of, and there are some in New Jersey, some in the Chicago metropolitan area, some on the West Coast in California, just to name a few, where they have gotten information, important information that speaks to behavior change through churches, faith based organizations, as well as schools.
Looking at those mechanisms for a broader effort.
I do want Tish to make a comment, but the other thing I would want to say is we are developing a proposal for approaching big box retailers. That is never an easy nut to crack. I think it is important.
Over and over again, we are hearing people say that having the campaign information available at the contractor's desk for a big box retailer would be very important. We agree it would be.
We are working on a proposal now for reaching out to big box retailers.
MR. JONES: Thanks.
DR. BRANCHE: Tish, you have done some interesting things in Massachusetts.
MS. DAVIS: A couple of things. We have a safety contest poster every year, and our youth contest poster goes up in June, which is pretty exciting, in Boston and Springfield.
For this, we have contacted every transit authority in the state. We have five or six of them agreeing to post the posters in the transit systems.
We want to combine this with some OSHA outreach that is happening at the same time in the Springfield area, where one of our big transit systems is willing to do bus routes.
That still could be occupational health. I do think -- NIOSH funds 23 state health departments to do occupational health work. We have our annual meeting next week in Florida. We really should put this on the agenda. I think we can reach out to the injury prevention network, the state highway prevention network.
There are a lot of other injury prevention networks. At least from my perspective in Massachusetts, we could do a better job.
If you share your slides with me, Christine, I'll bring that.
One thing about the big box, I wanted to ask if you had any success because I had a picture sent to me last week from my daughter that the Home Depot in L.A. doesn't have a fall prevention poster but has one posted with the fall prevention display.
We have tried to reach the stores locally.
DR. BRANCHE: We are trying to work with headquarters.
MS. DAVIS: This was sent to me. I couldn't believe they had actually done something. I was wondering if you have had success with Home Depot.
DR. BRANCHE: Not yet. Often we hear that people are able to make a purchase regionally for a particular city. All those efforts should continue. We are trying to get to the headquarters of at least one of the big box retailers, and that is sort of a delicate balance because my experience is you can't approach all three of them at the same time. You have to approach them iteratively.
Anything that is happening in a city or region and they are successful in getting the materials to be displayed in that particular big box retailer, I say go for it.
If there is anything that can be shared about how they were successful in doing it, even if there is one retailer in one city and there is a way to do it in more than one city for that particular chain, I think that should be explored.
One of the things that has been critical for this campaign is no one entity is doing it alone. We really all have to work together to make this successful, to keep it successful.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any other questions or comments on the campaign?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I would just like to add one of the components is the CPWR is doing an evaluation of the campaign to try to see if we can get a handle on the penetration of impact, and depending on the outcome of that, it may drive what we can do in the future with this.
As we talked about in our work group yesterday, not on this issue, but we are trying to reach a very difficult industry to reach, and we are talking about small employers primarily in the residential sectors.
It is something that we have to continue to try to drive but we also have to understand the best ways to do that. Hopefully, this evaluation will shed some light on that.
MS. DAVIS: There is one thing I forgot to mention. We have a stop falls and prevention work group in the state. One of the things we have talked about is some information for home owners. We have some fact sheets for home owners in choosing contractors, how to choose a good contractor.
It places some emphasis on both the Workers' Comp coverage and safety.
DR. BRANCHE: I used to work with the non-occupational injury group at CDC before coming over to NIOSH. Exploring again with my colleagues there how we might work together in getting some additional feed to the campaign makes a lot of sense. Also, we just got way too busy. You are looking at pretty much my staff.
Working with the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, not only for this but also for the nail gun guide, and getting some additional avenues for disseminating the information. We are certainly open to that as well.
Without further ado, I'm going to turn to my colleague, Matt Gillen.
MR. GILLEN: Thanks. Here is a little more detail about the nail gun developments. We did release the Spanish language version in October 2012. You heard Jim Maddux describe what we call the "active dissemination," where we had Christine and Jim push it out there with e-mails to major groups.
We had an original list of folks from residential construction that we felt was useful. We did some research on what are some Hispanic construction groups. There are different contractor associations at the state level, at the regional level.
We added some medical folks as well. We also did the web posting, tweets, Quick-Takes as well.
I think one answer to the question that Walter brought up earlier about the popularity of this, we have to push it out in addition to it being a good publication. We are trying to learn how we reach these audiences.
We have been pretty aggressive trying to get it out there. We think that helps, too.
For example, in addition to groups like the National Hispanic Construction Association, we looked at some of the contact information from OSHA's Hispanic Summit. Here are some examples of other groups, many of them are grassroots groups, local and state level, that work with Hispanic workers, that we sent the Hispanic version to.
We thought about this because these are the folks that see some of the injured workers if they do go to the emergency room or one of the urgent care clinics that you see in a lot of strip malls.
There is an actual Urgent Care Association of America. Also, American Association of Hand Surgery, et cetera.
We felt the materials could help inform them even when they take a history of the worker, what the injury is, perhaps ask better questions about what happened. It gives them a source of information they can give to the worker or give to the employer once they have had an injury, to give them some guidance about gun safety. We thought that was helpful.
Just a little bit about the translation process. We did just get a regular CDC translation. We have a service that does that. We put together a team. We have included Danezza Quintero, Edgar Reyes and Liz Garza from NIOSH, and we reached out to Javier Aruodas with the Hispanic Construction Association of Texas.
They have looked at the translation and helped us with the construction terminology and worker terminology to make sure it was appropriate. We used that final version for the PDF.
One thing I did want to let ACCSH know is we only made one change to the nail gun guide, and we made this in the Spanish language version and we went back and made it in the English version.
I believe I was at the May meeting where it might have been a motion or recommendation that the Acknowledgement section of the guidance, which was pretty short, be expanded to more fully address the roles of the other folks that have participated.
Here's the text as it now reads in both the English version and the Spanish language version.
"NIOSH and OSHA thank the following for their support in developing this guidance."
The first one listed is "Members of OSHA's Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health, who recommended that the guidance be developed."
We also recognized Dr. Hester Lipscomb and her colleagues for her research findings used in the report. Tom Trauger and Winchester Homes for providing access for the photo's, and Javier Aruodas from the Hispanic Contractors Association for helping us with the Spanish language version.
We know have a more complete Acknowledgement section in both versions.
MR. JONES: I'll let Liz know.
MR. GILLEN: We did send it to Liz.
A few other developments. You heard Dr. Branche describe that we are doing a small follow up survey. We are working on that. Liz is working on that with us, to ask about further dissemination, how people used it, what they thought about the document, any ideas they have for lessons learned about how to get this kind of document out.
In addition, NIOSH is using the same content but we are coming up with an awareness piece for workers. It has a lot more illustrations, things of that sort. We should be hearing more about that in 2013 when that comes out.
We want to keep a spotlight on it to really try to make an impact and make those injuries go down.
In addition, the National Construction Center did develop a nice hazard alert card which you can see there as well.
That is it for the nail guns. What we thought we would do next is just describe a portion of the intramural projects that we have underway, some of the ones that might have results coming out fairly soon, for example, and in future meetings, we could describe extramural research, we could do more of this if you find it interesting.
Here's an example of a project. Studies show that 20 to 30 percent of residential construction worker related injuries are related to musculoskeletal disorders, and they really do account for a disproportionate share of total injury costs.
Jim Albers is working with several partners, Assurance, Iowa State. They have developed these two page tip sheets for simple solutions for home building workers. Each describes a specific problem, the solution. How the solution works, employer/worker benefit, and approximate cost.
A lot of drawings. Very user friendly. They want to have simultaneous release in English and Spanish. We think that will be a very helpful publication for the residential construction industry.
Here's an example of an interesting project. Chris Pan is the researcher and he is partnering with FRACO and Klimer, they are the two largest manufacturers of mast scaffold equipment. FRACO is actually loaning Chris a mast scaffold which is being set up in the Pittsburgh NIOSH Lab.
Other partners include CPWR, ANSI, OSHA as well.
They are looking at the scaffold safety margins, worker task and environment interactions.
This is an interesting picture because it's an L shaped mast scaffold but just one mast. You can see how it really needs to have careful bracing and counter weights for it to be stable to do that work.
You can also see in the middle -- it's hard to see -- there is an orange crane. It's one of those cranes that Jim Maddux referred to earlier. That crane is used to hoist up a dumpster for loading the old removed brick.
These are great tools. There are interesting stability issues that the manufacturers are interested in exploring in more detail with our researchers. They are going to be working on this this year.
I think it would be of interest to OSHA and construction stakeholders.
One issue is the optimal places to tie off and how that affects stability.
Here's another one, a ladder safety application for Smart phones. Peter Simeonov developed a Smart phone app that allows the user to place your phone against the ladder and it gives you feedback as to whether the angle is appropriate.
There is surprising interest in the potential ladder slippage when it's not at the proper angle. When they looked at the data there, it really does make quite a difference.
When they compared using this method with methods of trying to use the chart on the ladder or other methods, they found this is not only quicker but more accurate. They developed this app. It also includes other ladder information.
You can see the slide on the right, it will have information about selection, inspecting ladders, proper use, and accessories, things that go on the feet of a ladder that are available to help make them more stable.
This has gone through its final approval. We are not quite sure when it will come out. We will let people know. This is really the first app, I think, that NIOSH has had coming out. There is a lot of interest.
DR. BRANCHE: I just wanted to add, I have mentioned the app to other audiences that included many of you, and it turns out there was another level of review. We expected the app would have come out by now. This additional level of review was unexpected but critical.
This is the first app that the Institute has ever put out. We know so many of you and the organizations you represent or your colleagues are interested in the app.
It is going to be great fanfare, and we will let everyone know the app is available once it is available.
MS. DAVIS: Is there a chance it will be available when we kick off the fall campaign in the Spring? That would be great.
DR. BRANCHE: It would be great but that's not a time table we control. Ask the attorneys.
MR. ERICKSON: Just a comment regarding the phone app. As a boilermaker representing boilermakers, you are not allowed -- the majority of your contractors don't allow you to have the cell phone in the work area. It's pretty common. Of course, you keep it in your lunch box or whatever.
DR. BRANCHE: Like tablet computers, would that be the same?
MR. ERICKSON: A lot of times it's hard enough just to get a radio.
DR. BRANCHE: The reason I asked, I realize a phone could be a distracting device, but a tablet computer may have instructions or manuals. We have already been asked about whether or not the app could be loaded onto a tablet computer, and they are looking at that as well.
That's a good point about the fact there are workers for whom it would have no use at all because of restrictions.
MR. MARRERO: With the tablets, you only see the top foremen or superintendents standing around with a table or IPad. Like Roger said, it's restricted on a lot of job sites. A lot of safety programs states you are not allowed to use your phone during work hours, only during breaks and so forth.
DR. BRANCHE: As we talk about safety and health, as we talk about the fact -- I know this is an issue OSHA has dealt with, but in NIOSH, we don't have the capital to be able to make hard copies available of training materials or the things that would be appropriate to think about for training. We don't have the money to support it.
Everything we do is put out through our website. Increasingly, as I talk to various members now or previously of ACCSH but other folks who do safety and health training, they don't have the capital to do anything other than electronic media.
It will be important just as we all have to adapt, coming past the first decade of the 21st Century, we are all going to have to re-think this.
MR. JONES: Yes.
MR. GILLEN: All right. Phones are both tools and distractions.
MS. DAVIS: Absolutely.
MR. GILLEN: Here is a study, these steel dowels provide load transfer across concrete, people building highways or airport runways, they really transfer the load across the pavement joints.
They drill pin holes and put these steel dowels in there. When you do that, you can see the picture on the left, it creates quite a bit of silica dust. You can have exposures up to 20 times over the NIOSH recommended exposure limits for silica.
Alan Echt and his team formed a partnership with the two manufacturers of the equipment, Easy Drill and Minick, and got others involved. They are looking at this issue and what they are trying to do is explore how to make local exhaust ventilation work well, having that be on the equipment.
On the right, you can see there is the equipment where it has been fitted up with local exhaust ventilation. You can see there is not as much dust there in the workers' breathing zone. They are going to work with their partners to perfect this and promote the use of the equipment with the dust controls and get the word out, develop workplace solutions to help get the word out.
That is an example of a product in the pipeline.
Our engineers and researchers are really good at helping people perfect and develop controls. If people know of other tasks where you feel controls are needed, there are gaps there, please let us know and we will pass that information onto the researchers.
Here's one that is about noise control. The purpose is to make it easier for contractors to find out noise levels associated with tools, especially new tools that they might buy. When it comes time to purchase equipment or even rent equipment, they can easily rent or buy quieter equipment.
Chuck Hayden and his team have taken a Buy Quiet program originally developed by NASA and have adapted it for construction contractors. They are working with Messer Construction Company, which is a firm in the Cincinnati area, to pilot the program.
The top slide shows an example of how people can inventory their current equipment. The bottom slide shows trying to make it easy to search for different types of equipment and what noise level information is out there for the different tools.
What they have done is gone out and taken available information about noise levels throughout the world and tried to put it into these tools.
There are other parts of the program that includes policies, posters, return on investment calculations, for example.
It should be really nice research for contractors to use to give this whole buy quiet approach a try.
That should be ready some time in 2013, for example.
The last one I was going to talk about is the FACE program, fatality assessment and control evaluation project. I just want to make sure everybody is aware of this project. It is really a terrific project and program.
NIOSH does it and we have multiple state partners. They investigate targeted fatalities, different types. They put together reports that often includes photo's.
The valuable thing about it is it includes root cause information. That sometimes is the kind of information they pull out from OSHA inspection data, for example. They spend a lot of time describing that.
What they have been doing is working on how to make this information more searchable. Believe it or not, there is currently 715 FACE cases involving construction.
There are new features they are going to add to make it easy to search so you can search by code, location, by industry, such as construction versus energy production. You can search by cause, such as confined spaces, falls, falls from residential, commercial. You can search by population, such as young workers, Hispanic workers.
We have this nice body of FACE cases and we want people to be able to search them more easily to use them.
They are really helpful for training and for toolbox talks. Again, you can search the ones that are relevant for a topic that is of interest to you.
We want people to know about these and use them. Here are a couple of examples. California house painter, falls through a roof opening. Another one from California, a roofing supervisor dies when he falls through a skylight.
They also include some that involve chemicals, where they involve fatalities. Believe it or not, that chart is hard to see, but it says "Maintenance worker dies from methylene chloride while stripping a baptismal font in a church." It was kind of a confined area and the person was overcome with fumes.
We have heard in previous NIOSH meetings about work done in Michigan, about dust. Here is a Massachusetts alert and fatality involving the same thing.
The partners are also beginning to develop additional materials beyond the case files for people, such as what they call digital story video's. You can see one from California, "Preventing Falls in the Solar Industry." It is really a nice video. It is really a good training tool.
Again, we want people to know about them and try out that FACE page, search and use the materials.
Another program we have that is really kind of under utilized by construction stakeholders is our health hazard evaluation program. Again, when we talked about topics such as the ones we mentioned yesterday, like RF or nano, those are topics for HHEs. Nobody really totally understands the risks or might not what exposures typically are for a task.
A health hazard evaluation can help you get at that. This is an example of a recent one that was done at a shipyard where they did a lot of heavy abrasive blasting, and were interested in what the exposures might be.
In this case, the exposures were so high that the sample methods weren't able to withstand a harsh abrasive gas, and the samples overloaded, and indicated a need to develop perhaps improved methods for sampling those really harsh environments.
There has been increasing interest in health promotions, what NIOSH calls "total worker health." If that is something that is interesting to you, you might be interested in this study.
This report is on the web page that uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics. A lot of this is basic health information about the percentage of construction workers who report a hearing difficulty, about 15 percent.
A good example would be 49.5 percent of construction workers didn't see a primary care health provider in the last year. Construction was top for that. The average for other industries was 30 percent of workers who hadn't seen a primary care provider. It gives you the percentage of smokers, the percentage that didn't get a flu shot in the previous year, for example.
We continue to use Twitter to reach construction audiences that like to get information that way. We are up to over 6,200 followers now. If you do Twitter or know people that do, we are at NIOSH Construct. It has been a pretty good experience and we are glad we did it.
Some details as far as integrating safety and health into green construction. Again, this is an area that our Construction Sector Council selected to focus on.
In NIOSH, we have had some really good meetings with the U.S. Green Building Council. They are the ones that had that LEED rating system, leadership in energy and environmental design. We have also been supporting research in partnership.
We have plans for next year to do additional outreach, additional awareness materials, work on pilot credits, work on guidance development.
A year ago, I think we gave an update about green, but today, just to share a couple of things we have been thinking about that seem to be useful, and one is using this term "life cycle safety" to describe what it is we are interested in. It isn't just construction safety, it's life cycle safety.
Construction and maintenance workers play key roles in the life cycle, and in life cycles, the green folks think about the environmental impacts of buildings, so that is how they are thinking.
It is not only the initial construction of the building, it's operations of maintenance, renovation that goes on that involves construction workers, things such as replacing the roof over the life of the building, and demolition, although somebody told me I should change that word to "de-construction," because there is more involved where they are taking the building apart and reusing part of the building than just demolishing the whole thing.
Again, this whole life cycle view has been an important one.
I thought you would get a kick out of this. This is a photo that we have used. It has been very helpful in helping green construction folks get what we are talking about.
This picture I actually took on the roof deck of OSHA. It was a nice Spring day. I went up there for some fresh air. I saw this worker kind of perched on the edge doing his work. It could be a facility worker, a contractor, servicing that rooftop equipment.
You can see there is no access, the worker has to bring his own ladder. There is no power, he has an extension cord there. There is no set back of the equipment from the edge.
This is really right there on the edge, which really creates a fall hazard for that worker. There is no fall protection being used.
It helps people get how we design a roof is really important, and the responsibilities for fall safety.
They might be able to do it today, but if they are distracted, something happens, you are really set up for a fall, a bad fall there.
DR. BRANCHE: This photograph and the idea of life cycle safety goes very well with our colleagues at the U.S. Green Building Council, because so much of their focus is on the new construction, making certain the people who are going to reside in a building or occupy a building, that is where most of their focus is.
We have been trying to bring up to them the notion of workers who have to maintain the building. It was this photograph that I think really turned a lot of people's minds to what we were talking about, really drive home the message, that we know this particular situation needs to be rectified.
MR. GILLEN: The whole idea of life cycle safety benefits the owners, that this can improve safety and health for the operations by the maintenance workers. It could be a more cost effective operation for maintenance, lower renovation costs.
For example, if the building has built in fall prevention, you don't need to pay for temporary fall prevention when you put on a new roof after 20 years, for example. There could be lower renovation costs.
There was quite a bit of interest in having improved facility operation efficiencies, what building managers talk about. The total cost of ownership.
Most of the costs are when you build something. These studies show that is really five to ten percent of the cost and operating and maintaining the building is as much as 80 percent of the cost of the building over the life cycle of the building.
They have done surveys and shown that in reducing the operating costs is the top reason for people interested in green design. They are interested in new types of features that are going to have lower operating costs. It kind of fits within the kind of thinking we are seeing among our green colleagues.
We do credit for having a vegetative roof or green cool roof that is reflective, for example. Energy production, you can get credit for having a roof top solar, even wind installation.
It is a good safety issue. Falls are easy to grasp. In addition, these fall hazards are amenable to prevention by design. This is something an architect or engineer can be thinking about, and there are solutions on the market, from parapets to guard rail to fall restraint systems.
We think it is a logical place to start and make some real progress for integrating safety and health into green construction.
For vegetative roofs, if you look at the reference guide, it says they need to have semi-annual inspections. People need to go up on the roof to maintain the plants.
On the cool roof, they need to be cleaned to keep them reflective.
There are built in activities, operations and maintenance, life cycle activities related to these green features that will put people up on the roof kind of in harm's way. It helps us communicate these issues.
The roofs have sort of gone to somewhere nobody ever went to to sort of a hot amenity for buildings. More and more people are trying to use the roof, have public access to it, have a green roof there, and also the new high efficiency equipment perhaps needs a little more servicing as well.
It seems like the roof is a good place to focus on.
What we would like to do is develop kind of a safe roof design guide to describe the roof related life cycle safety issues. That is what we are going to do.
A lot of our activities are focused on contractors. What we want to do with this is focus on building owners, focus on architects, focus on accredited professionals, get them to be thinking about hey, we're the ones that design the roof, we need to have a safe roof design guide. Insurance companies are important, where the construction and architecture people talk to each other a bit more.
We would like to come up with a nice 10 to 15 page publication that would help you. It's a good product because we are all interested in falls, we have the falls campaign going.
This is a product we can use to talk to owners and architects and engineers. That is what we are thinking.
Just to let you know there have been several new publications that we can point to about integrating safety and health into green construction.
Talking about safe design suggestions for vegetative roofs, by Mike Bean. He has also done some work in Singapore where they had a lot of green roofs, vegetative roofs.
There has been other various studies. There is another one about LEED credits, how they affect construction worker safety and health.
There is more information that we can point to in talking to your green colleagues about this. We are going to continue to work on it. We wanted to share just a couple of developments.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. Bill?
MR. STRIBLING: I think I spoke with your folks. We did a couple of major roof top solar installations in New Jersey and the New York region. Some of the problems that we ran into were pretty extensive when it comes to fall protection.
Number one, the installation phase, and like we talked yesterday about the towers and phone, radiation and all, these roofs are generally leased to a solar provider, selling the power back to the power company, some of these solar panel projects that we did were upwards of 27,000 pounds. Installation was quite extensive.
One that comes to mind now was in Carteret, New Jersey, White Rose Tea Company, their main warehouse. We had the problem, which we tackled very well as far as the fall protection on the installation, but then you get to the maintenance phase, and other people coming up on the roof that now have to walk along the edge of the roof to get to an HVAC.
We are trying to tell the owner that's leasing it, maybe you ought to put the rails up now while we're doing it. No, because they are only leasing it.
The other problem you run into with the solar installations, and there is a massive amount of them on roofs now, some of them run anywhere from 400 to 600 volts DC in the big installations. This voltage, all these cables, are hot, energized all the time, until they get down to the bottom to the inverters and transformers.
Those cables are laying on a roof in massive bundles. Other workers are up there exposed to the cable that obviously can become damaged.
We are talking about some significant voltage here and they are hot all the time.
You folks are working on this. I would be glad to help you in any way I can.
MR. GILLEN: I was just going to ask if we could include you when we talk about the safe roof design guide.
MR. STRIBLING: Now we are being called back. This is pretty interesting. A lot of these roof top units, a lot of these panels came from China. What we are finding out a year, year and a half and two years in now, three years in on some of them, four years on a couple of COSTCOs we did, now some of the panels are starting to fail.
They fail at all different locations, like on a checker board. Now you have to disconnect those hot circuits with qualified personnel, and get those units that are now failing.
MR. GILLEN: Sounds like a life cycle safety caution.
MR. STRIBLING: It is unbelievable. I could go on for the rest of the day and tell you about all the challenges we face. I'm not even getting into the wind. We built the ones in Atlantic City.
The problem with the solar, the next problem is they are energized all the time, and we had our Commissioner of Fire in New Jersey put a nice program together, and I will see if I can get it for you, on fire fighters and roof top solar units that are energized.
A fight fighter has to vent the roof. This could be anywhere from a commercial to a residential installation where all these panels are energized. If they burn, it is toxic.
It's green, it's great, it's nice. It comes with a whole host of hidden problems that you don't know about.
I will be glad to help you. We have a project manager back in the office, Dave Hagman, that's his line. If there is anything he can do with his line of maintaining these things and telling you about some of the challenges we have, we would be glad to help you.
MR. GILLEN: Thank you.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPANT: Has there been any actual interest in the LEED certification, to incorporating safety standards into green certification?
DR. BRANCHE: That is exactly the relationship we are building with the U.S. Green Building Council and others. It was for that very purpose, we wanted to be able to integrate worker safety and health into LEED.
We talked about the 2009 version, and we are talking to them about the version that is to come out next year.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: They open up the SBGC comments at different times when they go through looking at the LEED ratings, organizations have made comments about how you can incorporate occupational safety and health into the LEED rating systems as well.
MS. SHORTALL: Going back to the nail guns, I couldn't read all the medical organizations, but I know you mentioned hand surgeons. Do you have data on what extremity of the body is most often affected with nail gun injury? Is it the hands?
MR. GILLEN: Yes, it is.
MS. SHORTALL: Are there nail gun injuries where it hits the feet or legs?
MR. GILLEN: Those are listed.
MS. SHORTALL: I don't know if the list there had the General Orthopedic Doctors or Surgeons Association. That may be another one to reach out to.
I don't know if NIOSH is allowed to do this, this could be a qualifier, but I do know a number of hardware stores, big ones, have pretty extensive websites.
Is NIOSH allowed to put like a nail gun or something else on their websites?
DR. BRANCHE: On our website?
MS. SHORTALL: No, on their websites.
DR. BRANCHE: Anybody can post it. They can post our information.
MR. GILLEN: We did some research and we found they have like a buyer's guide on the websites, how to choose a nail gun. When we did this outreach, we sent the guidance to people at the big box stores and other groups. I don't know that they have.
MS. SHORTALL: You mentioned MSDs. Are you only looking at manual handling MSD issues or a broader range?
MR. GILLEN: In that particular document, it's more manual handling.
MS. SHORTALL: Since it's a document that has come out from NIOSH --
MR. GILLEN: It hasn't come out.
MS. SHORTALL: That will be coming out, will it be looking at per metrics at the 95th percentile which your lifting index now does?
MR. GILLEN: No.
DR. BRANCHE: It's always a pleasure to be asked to make a presentation to you. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any other questions or comments?
MS. DAVIS: I just want to compliment you on the amount of work you have done. It's very impressive.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I know in the building trades, we work with NIOSH to try to promote the availability of HHE, and we really have a great one going on now in NIOSH. The under utilization in construction, would you contribute that to the employers just don't know it is available or it's onerous?
Is there any kind of assessment of what needs to be done to improve the program for construction within NIOSH?
MR. GILLEN: I don't know for sure what studies our HHE program has done to look into it. I think in general it looked into that, trying to encourage people to use that and doing more of their own outreach. They have done some of that.
Within construction, I don't know because years ago, there were quite a few, ten or so, and it has kind of dwindled down. I don't really know.
DR. BRANCHE: I don't think people have an understanding about the HHE program, the fact that NIOSH is still doing one. I think people had not been aware of that.
In review of the HHE program in general, one of the basic criticisms was the fact that NIOSH had not continued to make people aware of the fact that the program is available.
We know our colleagues in the HHE program have said they would like to entertain opportunities to do HHEs in construction. Of course, just because someone asks doesn't mean it is going to be done. A new problem has to be uncovered. We would like people to request an HHE. We need someone to submit the request. People have to request that of NIOSH.
MR. CANNON: Is there a company size limit, like an OSHA consultation, where it is small employer only?
DR. BRANCHE: No. The fact that you have asked that question makes me wonder if that is another concern. There are no limits on size.
MR. CANNON: If someone calls in, they expect they have a problem, and if it is identified they do, that information is made public; correct? Could that be a deterrent?
DR. BRANCHE: Yes, we are a public entity so we are in the public domain, and yes, the information is made public.
MR. GILLEN: The owner and employer are identified.
DR. BRANCHE: We are not a regulatory entity.
MR. GILLEN: It is really not any standard they could be in violation of because nobody knows what is going on, some workers are sick, there is a concern. It's a new type of tool and it seems to be putting out a lot of dust. It is that kind of question that it is perfect for.
OSHA people can do a very good inspection but say we don't have any standards for that, so we are going to leave.
MR. BARE: The FACE program, I think that is an excellent program. I think it provides excellent information for the industry.
I know some of the states have dropped the program like Nebraska and a few other states. Is it still a very active program? If it's not being done by some of the states, is there anything that can be done to help rejuvenate that or spark interest from a state so they participate in the program?
MS. DAVIS: Every five years, we compete against each other, just like a bidding process. There are a limited amount of funds. There were less funds available. For two states, we were not funded. It's a funding issue. A number of states competed and were not funded.
It has really been a resource issue rather than a level of state interest.
MR. SCHNEIDER: I just wanted to comment on the HHE question. We recommended, and I believe NIOSH is moving forward on this recommendation, that when HHEs are published, they don't identify the company. The purpose of the HHE is really to learn about potential hazards and it is not to finger a particular company. It is really knowledge the whole industry is going to benefit from.
I believe the program is moving towards doing anonymous reports, and the company and the workers at that company will get the report. The public report will actually not identify the company.
DR. BRANCHE: If there is one large manufacturer X in state Y, there is only one of that type. We are not trying to impugn anyone.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. Christine and Matt, thank you very much.
MS. SHORTALL: At this point, I'd like to enter as Exhibit 3 the NIOSH Update PowerPoint presented by Christine Branche and Matt Gillen.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Sarah.
We are going to try to get one of our work group reports in before our lunch break, and that is the training and outreach work group.
TRAINING AND OUTREACH WORK GROUP REPORT
MR. ERICKSON: Members of our work group are Kevin Cannon, Bill Hering and myself, Roger Erickson.
We called the meeting to order at 8:00 yesterday morning. Following the introductions, the minutes from the May 9, 2012 meeting were reviewed.
The first order of our work group yesterday was the OSHA 10 and 30 hour course introduction, the "Intro to OSHA" part, which drew considerable comments and conversation, of course.
Jim Maddux spoke on a previous motion that Chairman Stafford had made at that May 9 meeting. Hank Payne weighed in as well on the concerns and difficulties the Department has with the issue, basically how to limit, what to limit, that part of the two hour intro.
Questions, comments and concerns ranged from does the curriculum support the objectives of the topic, concern of whether instructors would be able to cover the required information in the set time frame, once one was established, the power to let the instructor have the flexibility to cover the topic as they see fit.
There was also a comment or concern regarding immigrant workers, those workers who might not have the basic background of OSHA from the inception, the basic history, so forth.
The on-line training was the next topic addressed. As Mr. Payne had mentioned earlier today, two issues were the fraud issue and customer service issues.
The Department is in the process of revising the solicitation process and currently, as he stated, there are 11 entities that are providing the on-line training.
There was a question regarding a clarification on the 90 and 180 day rule. Mr. Payne clarified on the on-line training that you had 180 days to complete that training. I believe some people had been told that it was 90 days, but the clarification was 180.
A question was also brought up is there any significant difference between the on-line and hands on, as far as research being done, and Hank Payne basically stated, as he did earlier today, he has seen no significant difference between the two types of training.
The recommendation was made to change the current requirement, getting back to the Intro to OSHA, to a minimum of one hour and allow additional flexibility to the instructor.
The final determination was the committee has a recommendation which needs to be refined before sending on, a recommendation was made to include the rights of injured workers in any revised motion.
In regard to the falls campaign, Jim Maddux reported it was a huge success and will be continued for a second year.
An update on the Harwood Award, discussion on the two different types of grants. Hank Payne discussed the process for awarding grants and slightly more than $11 million has been awarded during this current period.
The new business part of our report dealt with refining the recommendation to the committee on the Intro to OSHA requirement. The concern of the trainer refresher class, the 500 to 502, we heard numerous comments, complaints, about the cost and content of these refresher classes, concerning travel and lodging.
What is the purpose of the course and are we meeting the objective of the course.
Mr. Payne gave a brief history on the actual OSHA 10 and 30 and the trainers going back to originally being an intro to hazardous awareness, and that was the original purpose of the training. Of course, the Department knew as new standards came into being, we would have to do updates.
As we all know, the new standards are farther and further between now than at the inception of the program, so a lot of discussion was centered on that.
A question toward Mr. Payne was is OSHA interested in reviewing the refresher and his response was yes.
Discussion followed in which NSHAW updates was also brought up, but the consensus of the group and the committee was let's look at the update for trainers, consider the quality of and need for the four year requirement, what is the purpose of the refresher and are we meeting that objective.
With that being said, the motion is the outreach and training work group moves that ACCSH recommends that OSHA maintains and enhances the introduction to OSHA learning objectives which should include the rights of workers to report injuries without retaliation.
Furthermore, the set two hour time requirement would be eliminated and left to the discretion of the instructor conducting the class.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. I think as a matter of order, there are probably two things we need to do. If there is any discussion or comment about the work group report?
MR. JONES: So move.
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Second.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have a motion and a second. All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Opposed?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: The work group report has been accepted.
We will move on to the motion that came out of that work group report. If you would read that again for me. I will call for a second.
MR. ERICKSON: The outreach and training work group moves that ACCSH recommends that OSHA maintains and enhances the introduction to OSHA learning objectives, which should include the rights of workers to report injuries without retaliation.
Furthermore, the set two hour time requirement be eliminated and left to the discretion of the instructor conducting the class.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. I think as a matter of order, there are probably two things we need to do. If there is any discussion or comment about the work group report?
MR. JONES: So move.
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Second.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have a motion and a second. All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Opposed?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: The work group report has been accepted.
We will move on to the motion that came out of that work group report. If you would read that again for me. I will call for a second.
MR. ERICKSON: The outreach and training work group moves that ACCSH recommends that OSHA maintains and enhances the introduction to OSHA learning objectives, which should include the rights of workers to report injuries without retaliation.
Furthermore, the set two hour time requirement be eliminated and left to the discretion of the instructor conducting the class.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. The motion has been made. Is there any discussion?
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Second.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any discussion?
MS. SHORTALL: Yes. I think there needs to be some changes in the motion. It is no longer going to be the outreach and training work group recommending it, it is ACCSH recommending that OSHA do something. We need to delete that part.
In the second sentence, it should state "Furthermore, ACCSH recommends," so that is the second recommendation.
The motion technically would be "Roger Erickson moves that ACCSH recommends that OSHA maintains and enhances the introduction to OSHA learning objectives, which should include the rights of workers to report injuries without retaliation.
Furthermore, ACCSH recommends that the set two hour time requirement be eliminated and left to the discretion of the instructor conducting the class." Would you accept those as friendly amendments?
MR. ERICKSON: Yes.
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Second.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: It has been unanimously approved -- the motion has been made and seconded. There is no discussion on the motion.
All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Opposed?
MS. SHORTALL: I would like to enter Exhibit 5, the training and outreach work group report from the November 28, 2012 meeting.
Exhibit 6, the OSHA outreach and training program introduction to OSHA web page handout from the work group meeting.
Exhibit 7, the recommended modifications to the introduction to OSHA's construction outreach program delivered at the work group meeting yesterday.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Sarah.
MS. SHORTALL: As Exhibit 4, ACCSH's work group list, which includes the work groups, co-chairs and OSHA liaisons.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: To follow up on our discussion this morning with Hank, I think it would be appropriate for us to also take action with respect to the review of the overall OSHA OTI program and how it works in our industry.
I will turn it over to Tish who I think has language for that purpose.
MS. DAVIS: Yes. I would like to put on the table for discussion the following recommendation: ACCSH recommends that OSHA with guidance from the ACCSH outreach and training work group, conduct a third party assessment of the OSHA OTI training program in its entirety as it relates to the construction industry, to include detailed recommendations for refining the program to address current needs.
The assessment and development of a recommendation should include stakeholder input to ACCSH and other venues.
MR. JONES: Second.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: The motion has been made and seconded. Any discussion?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Opposed?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Great.
MR. CANNON: I have a question for Sarah. One of the things you and I talked about was the compliance, material gaps analysis. My thinking is between now and whenever the next meeting is scheduled, that we convene by conference call.
Is there a limit and can it include all participants of the work group meeting?
MS. SHORTALL: Yes. We have developed a procedure since FACA, Federal Advisory Committee Act, does not specifically cover subcommittees or work groups.
Our procedure is whether it is held here in conjunction with an ACCSH meeting or at a separate time -- we always ask for telephone numbers and e-mails.
When the work group decides when they would want to hold a teleconference, Damon will send out an e-mail to every person who is on that sigh up sheet so they can participate.
The teleconference company that we use has an unlimited number of lines whereby people can participate. We just have to let them know what we anticipate using.
Anyone who contacts Damon indicating they have an interest will be able to use the telephone and participate.
What we will do at the same time is make sure we have a local room here in the building where the teleconference will be held. If anyone prefers to be here in person, they can do so.
If members of ACCSH wanted to be here in person, they can do so.
I do have to caution you, OSHA does not pay for travel for work group meetings.
By teleconference, you would conduct the meeting in the exact same way. It would be expected for the chairs to prepare a work group report from that teleconference that would be put into the record at the next ACCSH meeting.
We will also distribute probably the draft minutes as soon as they are prepared, so if people have questions, they can contact people.
We announce the teleconference meetings on our web page. We don't put it in the Federal Register. Recently, NIOSH has held a couple of teleconferences, and on the very front page of OSHA's web page, it says NIOSH to hold teleconference. Anyone else broader than our group here who is interested can participate.
Of course, if you haven't signed up, if you didn't attend the work group meeting, and this is an issue of concern to you, you should contact Damon Bonneau, to get yourself added. He is our point person. He is always our point person here at the Department.
MR. PRATT: Being new, we just passed motions. What happens now? When can we expect something from this, from these two motions?
MS. SHORTALL: We indicated on Tuesday that OSHA is not bound to take action on the motions. They do keep a written record of the motions that come in and where they are in terms of status. It could be this is not an OSHA priority at this time.
MR. PRATT: If that happens, then we bring it back-up at the next meeting?
MS. SHORTALL: If you want to. The motions are in the transcripts. They are in the minutes of this meeting. I type up for OSHA all the motions and exhibits. If you ask Damon, I'm certain he can give you a copy of that.
MR. PRATT: Okay.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Sarah. Any other questions or comments before we break?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We'll try to reconvene at 1:00.
(A luncheon recess was taken.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Let's call the meeting back to order, please. As a reminder, anyone who would like to make public comments, right now the public comments period is scheduled at 4:00.
The way we are going through the agenda, it may be earlier. If you signed on to make public comment, be sure you are here at the end of the meeting.
We have only one speaker this afternoon, and of course, that is David Michaels, and the rest of the afternoon is going to be devoted to our work group reports.
We have scheduled half an hour for each report. Some may be a little less, some may be a little more. We will just keep moving on. I hope we can get two reports in before Dr. Michaels is due to arrive at 2:00. We also have to be a little flexible with his schedule as well.
With that, we are going to have the report of the I2P2 work group, and I will turn that over to Tom or Tish, however you two have decided to handle it.
INJURY AND ILLNESS PREVENTION
PROGRAM WORK GROUP REPORT
MR. MARRERO: The meeting was called to order by Tom Marrero and Tish Davis. Following the introductions, Jim Maddux of OSHA gave a brief update on the status of the I2P2 proposed rule.
Tom Marrero gave a brief recap of the minutes from the May 9, 2012 IP2P work group meeting. This was followed by input via telephone from Shannon Lusk, Missouri Valley, Inc., a mechanical contracting firm, with about 65 to 75 employees.
The concern was about the need to hire additional staff to implement the I2P2, and asked for more guidance regarding details on the specifics of what the program entails, what is meant by worker participation and management involvement.
Kristi Barber seconded the concern about potential costs to small employers and the need for more guidance and details.
She emphasized that with the small employers with 20 or less employees, safety is not a primary concern. Their concern is simply trying to survive as a company and it is difficult to create a culture of prevention in a survival atmosphere.
Shannon Lusk also raised a concern about the threshold, number of employees per company, that I2P2 would affect, as smaller contractors would have more difficulty complying with the proposed standard.
Jim Maddux indicated this is yet to be determined.
Kevin Cannon suggested that OSHA should consider taking a look at the 1989 SHMP guidelines and revise them so that they apply to I2P2.
Rob Matuga of the National Association of Home Builders expressed support for the OSHA focused inspection approach. He suggested looking into the 1994 memo on the focused inspections that required a written program to qualify, focusing on the four major hazards. This provides an incentive for employers to develop these programs.
Jim Maddux reported this is still in place.
It was also suggested that the stakeholder meetings are not bringing in sufficient small employers, but Pete Stafford indicated the SBREFA process focuses on this.
It was a concern that the I2P2 program might be another method of citing under the general duty clause in a back door way.
Insurance Services Group reported that NACOSH has recommended that OSHA educate stakeholders about I2P2.
The work group followed up on the recommendation from the May 2012 meeting that OSHA and NIOSH with input from ACCSH develop guidelines to assist Federal, state and local government in performing safety qualification assessments for construction work.
Pete Stafford and others from the building trades provided the work group with an initial draft of a health and safety checklist to start the discussion. The intent was to develop a relatively simple list that could be used.
Work group members were generally supportive of the concept. Staff from the DOL-ETA were present at the meeting and also expressed support. They indicated a checklist would be useful. They also indicated their willingness to work on it.
The issue of accountability was raised, i.e., the need for additional documentation to verify the checklist. It was suggested there is a need for a companion document describing what contractors need to submit. These requirements could be built into the solicitation packet.
The work group agreed to proceed with developing the checklist. Comments on the draft checklist and companion documents should be provided to OSHA within 60 days.
The work group chairs and Pete Stafford will work to develop a second draft at the next meeting. It was suggested we also seek comments from other agencies that already have health and safety pre-qualifications in place.
Jessica Douma gave a brief update on a job hazard analysis tool OSHA is developing to assist in conducting these analyses. The tool is similar to SIMS involving the construction work site and multiple phases of construction. It should be ready for review by the next ACCSH meeting.
It was suggested that safety professionals should have the opportunity to provide input earlier in the process.
ACCSH members and OSHA agree that I2P2 should continue to address the above issues as they are relevant to I2P2.
It was also suggested that OSHA collect best practice examples for the six major components of the I2P2 program on multi-employer sites.
The meeting was adjourned at noon.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Tom. Tish, anything to add?
MS. DAVIS: No.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We need a motion.
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Motion to accept the report as presented.
MR. HERING: Second.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: The motion has been made and seconded. Any discussion?
MS. BARBER: I have some discussion. Where it states "Kristi Barber made the concern about potential costs," the next sentence, I would like to ask that the words "some small employers with 20 or less employees" be put into the notes.
I am an employer with less than 20 employees. I am speaking for every employer who has 20 employees or less.
MR. HERING: I'll have the motion include that.
COMMITTEE MEMBER: I'll accept.
MR. HAWKINS: Mr. Chairman, I just want to let you know I am on the meeting and I can hear fine.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Appreciate that, Steve.
MS. SHORTALL: I think we should adopt this, but I want to make a correction here. The comments that we have on the draft checklist and companion document should be provided to the work group chairs within 60 days and not directly to OSHA.
You can leave it in here, but I just want to tell you you need to give it to the work group chairs and not directly to OSHA. The requirements specify that subcommittees and work groups may not give materials directly to the Agency. It has to filter up through the committee itself, which is the only one that can give something to the Agency.
MS. DAVIS: This is in the minutes. Can we just change the minutes?
MS. SHORTALL: You can change the minutes if you would like to. I just wanted to say to everybody here who has comments, give them to the work group chairs.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I think we should change it.
MS. SHORTALL: Just to be provided to the work group chairs instead of OSHA.
COMMITTEE MEMBER: I'd like to amend the motion to change the language as counsel just stated.
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Second.
MS. SHORTALL: There is a sentence after that, I would cross everything out until you get to "Pete."
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have the motion straightened out and a second. All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Opposed?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. Before we move off this, comments will be collected in the next 60 days. We will move to develop a draft, a next revised draft. I think the discussion we had yesterday in terms of the next ACCSH meeting, as we continue to delve into this issue, we had decided to bring in some procurement folks from other agencies as part of the next work group meeting.
MS. DAVIS: I don't think that was explicit in our discussion. It kind of came up. I think that's a great idea. My question was we talked about getting input from other agencies. It could be at the next meeting. I would like to hear what they do at other agencies.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Okay. In the meantime, we could also talk to different agencies in the interim, get some feedback from some procurement people, talk to folks like at the Army Corps of Engineers and other folks as we continue to try to refine that. I'll take that on myself as an activity to continue to try to get some feedback to ground us in that procurement world.
When we first started talking about this initiative, either at the last meeting or meeting before, we had talked about if we could ever get to the point that we had draft language that OSHA would accept, and we would try to potentially introduce the language through a presidential executive order.
I think that is still on the table and if we could get to that point, it is something I would like for us with OSHA to consider on how we may be able to take that next step and come up with pre qualification language for our Federal Government procurement that would be accompanied by a presidential executive order that would put on record that the Federal Government is serious about taking the lead of protecting construction workers on the job sites that they finance.
I think that is something we should consider as we proceed with our deliberations here.
As far as Jaime's tool, we need to look at that. We will have that at the next ACCSH meeting. Between now and then, based on the comments we have from those folks who have seen the tool, I'm not sure what we should be doing as an activity to provide input for OSHA in the next four or five months before we meet again on the learning tool.
I don't know if the committee has any suggestions, I'm looking to anybody on DOC staff, to see how we could work with you or the group involved with this between now and then to keep refining the tools.
MS. SHORTALL: Since you have some people here who are local, part of you here and the rest of you on the phone. I can work with Damon on doing that. He has set up some work group meetings already.
I do want to say that if you are contacting other agencies, it's important to ensure that in the conversations you have, whenever Jim Maddux thinks it would be appropriate for OSHA to be involved, that you have the OSHA person involved in those conversations.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Did you hear that, Jim?
MR. MADDUX: Yes. I'll follow up with you at some point after the meeting.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Okay. Any other discussion?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We will move to our next work group report, which is backing operations, Chuck Stribling and Steve, who couldn't join us but is on the phone. Steve is the other co-lead with Chuck on the backing operations work group.
MS. SHORTALL: I'd like to enter into the record as Exhibit No. 8 the approved injury and illness prevention program work group report from the November 28, 2012 meeting, and as Exhibit 9, the Federal Agency Procurement Construction Health and Safety Checklist.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Sarah. Chuck?
BACKING OPERATIONS WORK GROUP REPORT
MR. STRIBLING: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I've been sitting in this chair all week and I intentionally left the seat next to me vacant hoping my distinguished colleague from the lesser State of Tennessee would be here.
MR. STRIBLING: Unfortunately, he wasn't able to do that, but I'm really glad he has joined us on the telephone. I really appreciate having Steve around.
I've been told when he and I speak, we sound a little alike. That's good because it doesn't make me sound like the only hick in the room. Speak up and say something, Steve.
MR. HAWKINS: I can hear well. I really can hear well.
MR. STRIBLING: The backing operations work group meet yesterday, November 28, at 1:20 p.m. Dr. Teizer, Ph.D. and Associate Professor from Georgia Institute of Technology, addressed the work group and presented a view of his research into proximity detection systems and emerging technologies.
Dr. Teizer explained that his research shows a lot of promise and most of what his laboratory has developed, such as the hard hat with the warning system and software for building information model is not yet available in the marketplace.
He advised there is no technology available that can eliminate all vehicles struck by incidents but the technology can be a valuable aid in preventing back over incidents.
His presentation was extremely informative and generated positive discussion. Obviously, my summation does not even begin to address the scope, breadth and depth of his presentation.
If I tried to capture that, I don't think I'd be done before Dr. Michaels got here, but I truly enjoyed his presentation and it gave a lot of promising and valuable information.
Following Dr. Teizer's presentation, Meghan Smith from OSHA unveiled OSHA's backing web page. She advised the web page is now live, but unfortunately, a real time demonstration of the web page was not feasible due to remote connectivity issues in this meeting room.
Nevertheless, Ms. Smith provided a brief overview of the primary sections of the web page. She advised it addresses back over's in construction and general industry and includes links to FACE reports, a solutions page, a resources page, a regulations page, and a standards interpretation page.
The chair acknowledged that ACCSH made the recommendation to OSHA only two meetings ago to develop a web page devoted to backing, and thanks to Ms. Smith and Mr. Carl Butler also of OSHA for accomplishing this task in a very timely manner.
Ms. Smith then presented 2011 data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on fatalities from workers being struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment that was backing.
This is the first time BLS has gathered the data specific to backing fatalities. In 2011, there were 79 fatalities reported for all sectors. That is presented in a variety of ways including the state of the incident, birth place and employee status, month of incident, day of week, time of the incident, et cetera. Mr. Chairman, no motions were made and the work group adjourned at 3:10 p.m.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Chuck. Steve, do you have anything to add or any comments?
MR. HAWKINS: I do think the issue is starting to gain some traction. I had the DOT safety representative for Tennessee that had taken up responsibility for our DOT workers bring me some outreach material she received, including a clipboard of a dump truck. On the back of the clipboard was a diagram showing where the blind spots were for a particular dump truck.
I am starting to hear other people talking about it directly. I'm really excited about that.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any other questions or comments?
The main product or output of the work group was the website, I would also like to thank Meghan for doing such a great job of getting the thing up and running so quickly.
This begs the question next depending on what OSHA does in response to the RFI on backing operations, what is left for the work group to do in terms of next steps. I think it is something we don't have to decide here today, but if you have any thoughts about what the work group should be doing in the interim, we would appreciate your input on that.
MS. DAVIS: We talked about the whole signaling issue.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We talked about having a better understanding, if there should be standardized hand signals for backing operations, and that is something we should look at or as a work group activity.
MR. STRIBLING: I'm looking forward to hearing the presentation tomorrow about what OSHA learned from the comments. Certainly would be glad to look more into standardized signals. We did send out a small survey. Maybe we could send out the same survey or another survey geared to a larger group of people, if that would be beneficial. Maybe get some direction from some of the OSHA staff on what might aid them, based upon what we hear from the comments.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: It was either the last meeting or maybe the meeting before, someone on the work group had mentioned that the Army Construction Battalion has standardized signals for backing operations. I don't know if that is something we might want to take a look at or start the process of trying to collect some information on that.
Any other questions or comments?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have heard the work group report. We need a motion to accept the report.
MR. BETHANCOURT: I'll make a motion to accept.
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Second.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any more discussion?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Opposed?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you.
MS. SHORTALL: I would like to enter into the record as Exhibit No. 10, the backing operations work group report from the November 28, 2012 meeting.
I would also like to enter into the record as Exhibit 11, proximity detection system PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Teizer, Construction Industry Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology.
As Exhibit 12, the OSHA back over prevention technology PowerPoint handout.
As Exhibit 13, OSHA backing operations web page. Exhibit 14, fatal injuries, a worker being struck by a vehicle or motor equipment that is backing up, all industries, Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Sarah.
Matt and Walter, are you ready?
MS. DAVIS: Pete, I think it is worth recognizing Dr. Teizer yesterday not only for his passion for this issue but his recognition of his students. I really felt he presented an incredible team.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: He did.
MR. STRIBLING: Here, here.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Walter?
HEALTH HAZARDS/EMERGING ISSUES/PREVENTION
THROUGH DESIGN WORK GROUP REPORT
MR. JONES: I'll just quickly start. The health hazards/emerging issues/prevention through design work group meeting was held yesterday around noon.
We had 42 attendees. The co-chairs for this group are myself, Walter, Matt Gillen, and Donald Pratt.
We discussed three issues yesterday. We did not have enough time to get a sense of the room in terms of motions, but I think there are some motions that will come out from individual ACCSH members.
The first topic we talked about was nano technology in construction. I'm not going to read everything on here. I've got some pretty detailed notes.
The two speakers we scheduled to provide information was Kristen Kulinowski from the Institute of Events Analysis at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, and Bruce Lippy from CPWR.
Kristen began first by giving us basically an overview of the work in nano technology in terms of the scale and different classes of nano particles.
Most of could understand from our association with asbestos fibers.
One of the more interesting things she talked about was how nano particles when at the nano scale normally change, their properties changed. She used an example of gold. Gold which is yellow and conductive, non-magnetic, but at the nano level, gold becomes red. It loses conductivity, it becomes magnetic, and it also becomes explosive and even catalytic.
Nano particles help with cancer therapy, environmental clean up and clean energy. Kristen went through some demonstrations on how titanium dioxide added to glass actually gives glass a self cleaning property.
Researchers are now asking what are environmental and health and safety impacts of engineered nano particles. The big concern is human health concerns from inhalation, the major focus of research.
It has been determined in animal studies that certain nano materials can induce cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, cardiovascular dysfunction, some nano particles can migrate along the olfactory node, straight into the brain.
Because nano particles can translate through the skin or through the body, through ingestion or contact, and induce health effects in animals and cultures, it is believed exposure to nano particles must be controlled.
In terms of regulations, globally, nano particles are loosely regulated with most governments providing just limited guidance on safety assessments.
EPA has PPE requirements for a certain multi-wall carbon nanotubes, and those requirements are gloves and chemical protective clothing, as well as NIOSH approved N-100s, which is fantastic.
Now we are looking at PPE being required as a task based approach instead of the typical industrialized approach to what is the hazard assessment.
EPA is using this new chemical approach. When you are using these particles, you have to use this type of protection. This is a way forward in occupational safety and health.
Bruce Lippy began by pointing out carbon nano particles were found at Ground Zero, and nano particles are pretty commonly found in air.
What he wanted to make sure we focused on was nano particles or nano technology as engineered nano particles, the ones that are created as such.
In construction, there are many promising applications that enhance durability and strength. However, there is limited commercialization due to the very high costs associated with nano particles.
In Europe, there is more activity with nano particles, with 94 products out there, 94 different products with nano particles as part of the material.
In terms of worker exposure to engineered nano particles, human health and human health risks, we still do not know that much. Studies have shown that inhalation of engineered nano materials during coatings, compounding and molding can pose respiratory health risks to workers.
Bruce cited some corroborating sampling's from 2009 where mixing nanocrete and applying titanium oxide onto glass showed some modest exposure.
In terms of industrial hygiene, sampling protocols have not been developed and we are still relying on the age old NIOSH method. One micrometer particle weighs the same as one billion nano particles.
It is difficult to distinguish because they are always influenced or massed by other items that you're sampling.
According to Bruce, surveys indicate the vast majority of workers are unaware they are using this material. Literature reviews and studies, their accuracy is relatively poor, and not really comprehensible. Less of them provide cautionary handling language.
Because of the lack of information, Bruce is working with CPWR, leading a CPWR initiative to identify specific construction related products and create a registry.
They are also identifying applicable control strategies and measuring their effectiveness with nano particles.
We had speakers from the Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management. The speakers informed the work group that the Office of Science and Technology Assessment is investigating worker exposure to thermal decomposition of organic compounds, such as organic coating's, steel and other structures, when extreme heat is applied.
They were indicating that workers may be exposed to these coating's through inhalation when extreme heat and flame from torches are used for cutting and welding.
Much of the initial work has come from unique workplaces, such as oil and gas rigs and in very cold climates. When exposed to flame, these organic coating's or polymers can give off fumes, and it may break down into components and form other by-products that could be harmful when inhaled.
There is a potential concern for the construction industry in welding and cutting up heating pipes during installation and repairs, joint welding and heat flexing of floor covering's, especially in small rooms with limited ventilation, steel framing in building and construction, and the reclamation of scrap metal.
The folks from OSTA believes this area needs a lot more study and research and asked folks on the committee and in the audience for leads to further advance their research.
Our third topic was FCC. We asked them to discuss radio frequency, since this is their area of jurisdiction. Martin Doscad accompanied by Agency colleagues, provided an overview on how the FCC exposure system works. We did get a handout of the presentation. It gives a pretty good description of exactly how the exposures can happen.
The FCC has two exposure limits, exposure limits for the whole body exposure at greater than 20 centimeters in distance, and one for specific absorption rates for localized exposures at less than 20 centimeters.
Each of these has two limits, one for occupational controlled exposures and a lower exposure limit for general population.
What the FCC does is they have PELs for workers and they have PELs for exposures to the general population.
The FCC licenses source such as broadcast antennas, higher power AM, FM, and T.V., radar, wireless base stations. It also licenses portable sources such as two way radio's, cell phones, laptops, et cetera.
The FCC requires a variety of control approaches to limit exposure. It requires the placement of warning signs and signs warning the ranges for exposures between general population and occupational exposures.
Cautions for exposures from one to ten times the occupational limit, warning for exposures ten times over the occupational limit. That is where your signs are.
Exposures fall off with distance, and well defined marking's can be used to help create exclusion zones. However, some antennas are concealed for esthetics reasons behind signs or disguised in trees, flag poles and other structures.
Signs and instructions might be less clear when these antennas are found to be disguised.
The FCC holds its licensees accountable for exposure compliance and not the owner of the building. FCC has technical standards on how to measure, assess and avoid exposures in excess of FCC limits. The FCC does collect complaint information and is not aware of anyone injured from wireless base stations, as they said in the meeting we had, no one is complaining. Again, they are not doing any surveillance as well.
They are aware of injuries related to broadcast antennas. In response to a follow up question, the FCC stated it does not have a system of surveillance to identify over exposures.
ACCSH Member Bill Hering shared his experience in reviewing applications by carriers for placement of cell phone antennas. He stated potential occupational exposures are never mentioned.
He gave an example of antennas inside a billboard structure as an example of where workers might have exposures and never being aware of what they were being exposed to.
Robert Weller from the FCC provided additional detail on how FCC enforcement works. He indicated the FCC authority is limited just to the licensees. The licensees must certify they are in compliance.
In response to questions about how building owners could override access controls, Robert Weller indicated the FCC has had discussions with OSHA Solicitors about how this could be addressed.
In addition, the FCC will use general population uncontrolled limits instead of the occupational control limits for wider areas.
Greg Lutz of NIOSH mentioned the FCC has worked closely with NIOSH and other agencies, and he suggested the limit for potential construction exposures might be dealing with notification and exposure issues beyond -- dealing with these issues might be beyond the direct control of the FCC jurisdiction.
Drew Fountain described inadvertent radio frequency exposures as a hazard in plain sight and suggested the signs can be misplaced and are often ambiguous for workers. He said the time weighted averaging used for the exposure units are great for employers and workers who have knowledge about exposure, but this is not often the case.
In response to a question from ACCSH, Tish Davis, the FCC representatives indicated they do complaint based enforcement. For example, if they find absence of notification or signage.
ACCSH Chair Pete Stafford stated his impression from the discussion was that a regulatory gap might exist, and some type of ACCSH recommendation might be in order.
The co-chairs thanked the speakers for their excellent presentations, and the meeting was adjourned at 2:00 p.m.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Walter. Matt?
MR. GILLEN: Just to congratulate Walter.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: That was great, Walter. You did a fantastic job.
MR. PRATT: I'd like to offer one small change in the minutes. This will be on page three at the top under Section Two, the fourth line down.
"As steel framing and building construction and reclaiming of scrap metal and other work in demolition," I would like to add "and de-construction."
We talked about that earlier today. I think that should be added, "de-construction" also.
MR. JONES: That's fine.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Just for clarification, we don't need to change the minutes, in terms of Bruce's report and what the CPWR wants to do, there is one thing, we know about engineered nano particles in applications in the construction industry, but we don't know very much, and as a practical starting point, our goal is to develop an inventory of nano particle products that are used in the United States construction industry.
Secondly, in my view, as a practical first step, to try to understand, to actually get in the lab setting and start doing some sampling of those products that we know are used.
Those are two things that CPWR is hopeful to do to kind of start taking a look at this emerging issue.
MS. SHORTALL: First of all, this is a point of personal privilege. I just have to say I think this is the best work group report I have ever received. Working as counsel, I would like to compliment whoever put it together. Please accept my compliments.
MR. GILLEN: Thanks for getting us in trouble with all the other work groups.
MS. SHORTALL: In terms of additional information, if the work group wants to continue to look at nano technology, I might suggest a speaker from the National Technology Initiative, which is a central coordinating agency on nano technology. They have quite an extensive website.
For a number of years, nano technology has been dealt with as an inner agency issue, the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy, and also the international bodies.
Having someone from there come to speak might also help the work group understand what is happening on the issue.
MR. GILLEN: Thanks.
MR. JONES: Thanks.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have heard the report. No more discussion. Motion to accept the work group report?
MS. DAVIS: I move.
MR. BETHANCOURT: Second.
MS. DAVIS: One thing I'm interested in is understanding who is responsible for labeling requirements, outside of the MSDS process.
MR. JONES: We are going to try to address that.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have a motion and a second. All those in favor?
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any opposed?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Great. For those of you who are interested in public comments, sign up. We are not going to go until 4:00. It is going to be much earlier than that.
MR. JONES: We do have motions. I'm sorry. Because the committee did not have enough time to get a sense of the room or take a vote amongst ACCSH members that were there, there were two motions that we thought might be worth ACCSH considering.
As an ACCSH member, I'm going to throw the first one out there. Construction, building and maintenance workers can be inadvertently exposed to radio frequency during renovation, maintenance, and related tasks, cell phone and wireless base stations.
Because the FCC has jurisdiction over the licensees that own the equipment but not the employers or building owners, there appears to be an important gap.
I move that ACCSH recommends that OSHA or DOC for that matter and the FCC collaborate to develop the following: simple guidance for building owners on preventing inadvertent radio frequency exposure to construction and maintenance workers.
Two, simple guidance for construction employers and employees on preventing inadvertent radio frequency exposure to construction and maintenance workers, and three, a memorandum of understanding to clarify the roles and ensure availability of meaningful enforcement options for construction and maintenance workers to address inadvertent radio frequency exposures.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have a motion. Do we have a second?
MR. HERING: I will second that.
MS. SHORTALL: Walter, could you please repeat number three?
MR. JONES: I can give it to you.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have a motion and a second. Any further discussion?
MS. SHORTALL: Number three is memorandum of understanding to clarify roles and ensure availability of meaningful enforcement options for construction and maintenance workers to address inadvertent radio frequency exposures.
MR. PRATT: Walter, I didn't catch everything that was said, but was there something in there about who is responsible to do this or you just want to have it studied?
MR. JONES: I think what we are looking at is a memorandum of understanding so it could be clear to the construction worker and the maintenance worker who they are supposed to turn to for help in terms of the Federal agencies, is it FCC protecting them or is OSHA going to protect them, and for OSHA and FCC to figure that out.
Right now, the FCC, based on their testimony, are only regulating the licensees. They are not regulating the building owners or anyone else.
If a worker from a building owner is exposed, they have no recourse to deal with that exposure.
MR. PRATT: Is the intent to get the two agencies together to figure this out? I didn't hear any direction.
MR. JONES: Yes, figure it all out.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I think you are right. That is what a memorandum of understanding would do, lay out how the two agencies would work together to fill this gap.
MS. SHORTALL: A memorandum of understanding is often used where there may be something potential under Section 4(b)(1) of OSHA, to try to figure out who has the authority to take action.
Under Section 4(b)(1), if another agency has authority and exercises that authority to control working conditions, then OSHA is prohibited from taking action. In other words, we are preempted.
What we do in many of our MOUs is to figure out what is the extent of that authority and the extent of our authority.
Sometimes we have had situations in which another agency decides they would like OSHA to take over jurisdiction because they don't have resources or are dealing with something else.
I don't know when Walter says "licensees" are controlled by them, I don't know how far that extends. It could extend to the working conditions in that area, regardless of who was being exposed and their employment status.
I think it would take some effort in my shop.
MR. JONES: They are already in talks on that.
MS. SHORTALL: What they have done is talk. As you heard yesterday, FCC has a process of rulemaking to update their regulations. OSHA has been involved in this, too.
In addition, right now the proposal is before the Commissioners of the FCC. When they agree this proposal is ready to go out, it will be published in the Federal Register, and people will have a chance to comment on it, which means any of you, any of your organizations will be able to do it.
They will be able to see from that where they are planning to go with rules and what affects working conditions.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We had a motion and a second. Any more discussion?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Opposed?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Walter, you have a second motion? Is Dr. Michaels here? Yes, he is. We will let Dr. Michaels come up and we will get back to this. Thank you.
Dr. Michaels, welcome. It is good to see you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S AGENCY UPDATE AND REMARKS
DR. MICHAELS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: It is always a pleasure to have you here before our committee. We have had an excellent meeting and excellent work group meetings for the last couple of days. Our new members are well engaged. We appreciate you joining us. The floor is yours. Thank you.
DR. MICHAELS: Great. Thank you so much. Let me begin first by thanking all of you for your service, and in particular, the new ACCSH members. I hope this has been an enjoyable situation for you.
The work that ACCSH does is very important. We value it highly and we know it has impact. For decades, it has really helped shape OSHA's work. We are grateful you have joined us, especially the new members. Welcome.
I thought what I would do today is spending a little time talking with you about how we think about what we are doing at OSHA and what touches upon the work of the Construction Directorate on the health and safety of construction workers around the country.
I'll take a few questions and really would love to hear some of your thoughts. I get a full report from our staff about all of your deliberations.
The workplace has changed tremendously in the last 40 years, whether it's because of many of you, employers, trade associations, health and safety professionals, and OSHA and NIOSH working together.
There were about 14,000 fatalities a year. That has dropped to 4,000 a year. We have made great progress. It is worth to think for a minute how much safety in the workplace has improved as we think about where we have to go.
We still have about 4,000 fatalities a year, with probably 50,000 illnesses a year, fatal illnesses a year. We don't know how many because it is not well understood and well researched.
Most importantly for all of us what we see is millions of injuries reported every year. This is the estimate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics based on their surveys, more than three million workers are injured every year on the job.
That is a very high number. It is too high. It hurts workers, it hurts their families, it hurts employers and it hurts the economy.
Obviously, tens of billions of dollars a year in waste as a result of those.
We have a ways to go. OSHA exists to help employers. Employers have to provide a safe workplace. It is OSHA's job to figure out how to make sure employers do that.
We have a very broad mandate. We have nail guns to nail salons. When you think about all the types of workers who are covered by the OSHA laws, we have to make sure they have safe workplaces.
There is a wide range of workers in construction and manufacturing, all sorts of service sectors, maritime, everybody except miners, workers in mines.
We have to do it in multiple languages. The members of workplaces are always changing, but an issue that has really faced the United States for centuries is we have immigrants. Our work force is made up of immigrants, many of whom don't speak English. To be able to work safely, you have to be trained in hazardous and safe work.
You have to be trained in a language you understand. OSHA has taken the position that if training is required, training has to be done in a language and vocabulary that workers understand.
We have been out at too many workplaces where workers are injured and won't speak to the foreman, and we will say why wasn't that worker trained properly, and they say well, they don't speak English.
Our inspectors know that is not an acceptable answer. If you hire a worker to do a job, you have to be able to train them.
We try to address that issue by putting out materials in many languages. These are just two examples. The nail salon industry has Vietnamese workers, so we put out materials in Vietnamese. A great deal in Spanish.
The way I think about our challenge is to think about the range of employers. I come from a background in epidemiology and statistics.
When I think about employers and their attitude towards workplace safety, I think there are some that will stay on the right side of the curve, great employers, and I'm sure the employers at this table are there, VPP employers are there, the construction companies that make sure that not just their own workers are safe but who cascade their requirements down through all the levels of subcontractors and enforce those to ensure workers aren't getting hurt, those are the companies that have a great commitment to workplace safety.
We know there are many companies like that. We understand they do it not just for the safety of their workers, but for their own business as well. The companies that manage for health and safety are the profitable companies.
You can talk to Paul O'Neil from Alcoa and Lee Raymond from Exxon. They will tell you. There are VPP companies who tell us they would not be in China if not for the VPP program.
Our approach to them is to say, great you are doing a wonderful job. Give them a star, a flag. We thank them. We don't have that much to offer them.
At the other end of the curve, the far left end of the curve, are companies that have little or no commitment to workplace safety, who often look at their machines as being more valuable because it costs you to replace a machine.
If a worker is injured, there is someone else lined up outside to take their job.
We have situations like that. Recently we had an employer who manufactured those little bottles you get at a hotel, for conditioner and shampoo. A worked burned over 80 percent of his body. The employer didn't even call 911.
They eventually put him in a station wagon and took him to a local physician, who said this person needs to be in the hospital immediately. He died.
Most employers are probably somewhere in between. They want to do the right thing, but they don't have the incentive to do it, don't have the knowledge to do it or have the resources to do it.
For each of those employers, we have different tools. For the employers at the very far end, like the one I described who manufactured those cosmetic things, probably the best tool is a criminal referral to the Justice Department. That is not a safety and health issue, that's a criminal issue.
We have our inspection program. We know some employers do the right thing not because it's the right thing to do but because they are afraid of the OSHA inspection and citation.
We have compliance assistance. We have information through our website, through our compliance assistance specialists, through our state consultation programs, which offer free consultation to small employers.
Those are employers who would like to make sure their workers are protected but may not know how.
Finally, the employers who recognize it is the right thing to do, make the investment, and do a great job.
I am hoping that curve is shaped more like this (indicating) where there are more good employers over at the great end than employers at the bad end. We don't know.
We have tools for each different type of employer and our objective here, and you can't see this on the slides, is to move that curve. Move it all the way over.
That is what you are helping us do, to think about how do we apply all of these tools more effectively, how do we target enforcement activity, how do we do our consultation work more effectively, how do we move that curve.
I'm grateful for your help doing that.
We have tools and strategies, and they are appropriate for different situations. Our job is to figure out how to apply our limited resources to these different strategies in the most effective way.
"Effective" in this case means preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities. That is the challenge. That is what we think about.
How do we think about that, how do we apply different strategies, how we mix them. Obviously, what is very much on our radar screen and we appreciate your help, is figuring out ways to reduce fatalities and injuries from falls.
Let me thank you all for your great work on this. You have pushed us hard. You have helped us change our policies, with NIOSH, with CPWR, with a number of you, we have gotten involved in what I think is a very effective campaign to prevent deaths from falls, and it involves all of our strategies.
Obviously, in terms of our inspections, fall protection violations remain the number one cited standard essentially when we go out.
As you know all too well, a few years ago we changed our enforcement policy on residential construction. Residential construction, we were able to take some protections that we thought were less protective than those required in our fall prevention standards in construction.
We changed that in December 2010. We still have some modifications in terms of how we issue penalties and how we address it.
Right now, all construction is covered by the same standard. What we find when we go out and do inspections is when we see violations of a fall prevention standard, we don't see a lot of employers, home builders, are doing what was allowed under that modification that was in place for 15 years.
We are finding they are not providing any precautions. The vast majority of our citations, when we talk about lack of fall prevention, is really this fundamental no fall protection being given.
It is a shame we still see that. There was an article in the newspaper yesterday, in the Atlantic City newspaper, I can't tell you the name, but it was in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy where we are out there doing inspections, mostly doing compliance assistance when we see situations, getting people off the roof if it's a dangerous situation, if they are fixing a roof damaged by Sandy, but we also saw some new construction, not affected by Hurricane Sandy.
What the employer said is quoted in the paper as I saw the OSHA folks come in, so I told my people put on your hard hats and get off the ladders. I'm only paraphrasing slightly.
Put on your hard hats when you see OSHA coming. That is obviously an attitude that we find very problematic.
Those are the sort of people who were cited.
The falls prevention campaign is really taking off. I think it is doing very well. I don't need to give you the statistics. You have all lived and breathed this issue.
I want to talk about how this campaign really is a joint venture, it's come out of the work of this advisory committee and many of the organizations that you work for.
We are pleased with the materials. We have them now in Spanish, Russian and Polish, and they are coming soon in Portuguese, Vietnamese, Laotian and Tagalog.
It's very impressive. We are just getting going but we have done a lot of outreach activities, a lot of inspection visits, huge number of publications going out. We hope it has impact.
We haven't measured the impact year, but we can see the materials are being distributed. We have a great website with large numbers of downloads and visits, in the hundreds of thousands.
Another thing we are pleased to see, and I don't know that we can go to the bank on this yet, but we have seen a decrease in fatalities from falls in residential construction. This is before the campaign.
We announced the change in our enforcement policy in December 2010. From 2010 to 2011, the number of fatalities in residential construction from falls decreased about 25 percent.
These are preliminary numbers. We are told they are likely to go up a little bit but not that much.
This reduction took place while the number of workers in residential construction was flat.
While we are still looking at this, we think it will have an impact. The point here is for us to be able to save some lives.
We do a tremendous amount of compliance assistance, getting out to those employers who want to do the right thing, telling them how to do it.
We encourage the use of our free consultation program, and anything you can do to get employers into that program.
We far prefer to have employers use the free consultation program than have us go there and issue a citation, often after a worker is hurt. If they can go there before we get there, before a worker is hurt, we are all better off.
One thing we have been very much focused on and I have talked about a little bit to this group is looking at using data to understand exactly how we are doing.
Researchers have taken on the task of looking at OSHA inspections. It's been a little easier for them to look at manufacturing, and much of this comes from manufacturing. We are trying to encourage them to look at construction as well.
We are learning a great deal. One of the reasons we can learn so much is OSHA decides where to go in an inspection, but a lot of our inspections are based on randomly choosing the employer.
That actually gets to a Supreme Court decision that said we can't be arbitrary and capricious, and we have to make sure that all employers in the universe we are interested in inspecting have an equal likelihood of being inspected.
In other words, I can't personally say those guys down the street, let's go inspect them. If we are going to be looking at construction sites, plants, whatever it is, we have to use a system to randomly choose the employer to visit.
It is actually like a clinical trial a drug company could use. We can test whether our inspection had impact.
Recently, an article was published in Science Magazine, which is probably the leading journal, a leading academic journal, a peer review journal. This is a study done by faculty at business schools who were interested in what is the impact of OSHA inspections on businesses.
The authors were from Harvard and University of California Schools of Business.
They looked at inspections that we did in California and matched employers we inspected with ones we didn't, and all the same characteristics. They were randomly chosen, which ones to inspect.
What they found was an inspection led to almost a ten percent drop in injuries over the next five years, the year we inspected and four years after that. It resulted also in a significant savings, lower Workers' Compensation cost to every employer related to those injuries. There was a 26 percent reduction in injury costs per employer.
These professors estimated that every inspection saved employers about $350,000. We should be charging them for our inspections. The taxpayer picks it up. It's a gift to American industry. We do a very good job.
I would note there is some laughter in the room for the transcript.
They looked at this question of what is the impact on the economic health of the employer. There are some accusations thrown around that OSHA kills jobs and inspections are going to run us out of business.
It turns out the OSHA inspections had no effect on the employer's employment situation, how many workers they employed, their earnings, sales, creditworthiness. In other words, we save employers some money and more importantly, we prevent some injuries, and we didn't do anything detrimental to the employer.
That was one story in Science Magazine. There have been two studies that have come out since then, that came out in November. One was done in Washington State and the other done in Pennsylvania, looking at the economic health of the company, but found the same thing, that OSHA inspections reduce injuries.
This isn't that surprising. We have been saying it for a long time. It's nice to have three strong academic studies saying the same thing. It ends the discussion about whether or not OSHA inspections actually are effective.
We know they are limited. We only do a certain number of inspections. We can only look at certain types of hazards.
As a particular tool, we know that works.
The bigger thing we are thinking of is not us going into workplaces and finding violations of particular standards, but changing the culture of workplaces.
I know all of you are involved in that and thinking about that all the time. That is something we know has to do with safety culture, a workplace where the employer, the managers, the foremen, the workers all have a commitment to safety and they work together to identify hazards and to fix them.
If the culture is there, that's important. That's the number one thing to do. We have to encourage that. We have information on our website about injury and illness prevention programs. Our consultation groups, we encourage employers.
We know injuries and fatalities occur where there is no violation of an OSHA standard, but they still need to be prevented. The way to do that is by essentially embracing the injury and illness prevention programs.
A paper program doesn't work. It seems pretty obvious when you say that. A paper program doesn't work. We know that from California. California has an injury and illness prevention program. It's been around for a long time.
They have a very straightforward requirement, they say if an inspector arrives and you don't have an injury and illness prevention program on paper, they say okay, here's a citation. It's a small fine.
What the employer does is they download a file from the Internet and poof, they have a program. That's not really a program. It's a piece of paper, right?
The Rand Corporation looked at this question and they said okay, let's look at employers who have been inspected. They said if you have been cited for not having a written program, what's the impact on your injury rate next year.
Needless to say, there is no impact. Just downloading the piece of paper doesn't change what's going on in terms of safety.
The other thing is if you start in a program but you didn't do the components, and the key ones, did you do training. If they cite you and you say you have the paper, you started the program, but you haven't trained your workers, you get a citation for that, and you have to train them. You have to start that.
It turns out that has a huge effect. Altogether, if there is a 26 percent reduction, and if you didn't train and then you start the training as a result of getting a citation, you reduce injuries by 40 percent.
We know it has an impact if it's done right. That is what we want to encourage employers to do.
What we are very much focused on is this question on incentive programs. I know you all have thought about this a little bit and I would love your thoughts on this as we go on.
I don't think this works in workplaces. The corner store, if you are the person who buys the right ticket, it works for you.
The idea that you get a small incentive for not reporting an injury, we think that is counterproductive.
This is a discussion we are having with all of our stakeholders and we are eager for your input.
We have seen lots of programs where workers were given a bonus, because no one has been injured over a certain period of time. It makes sense. They want a chance to be in the lottery for anything from a nice jacket to a car. Or everybody is going to get like a pizza dinner during the week if no one is injured.
There is actually no evidence that people work more safely as a result of that, that some future game will change the way you behave today.
It also says control of the workplace, preventing the injuries is in the control of workers. If they just act safely, be safe, there is no real incentive to get rid of the hazards. We know hazards have to be gotten rid of.
What this does do and we see plenty of evidence of this, it encourages workers not to report injuries because they want to participate in the incentive. The incentives can be small.
We heard one report where workers were told if no worker is injured, all the contractors and subcontractors, in three months, everybody gets a month's bonus. Let's say you are two and a half months into this, and you cut your hand. Are you going to report that? All of your co-workers are going to lose a month's pay?
You have to essentially be dead for that to be reported as far as I can tell.
DR. MICHAELS: This is a serious problem. We obviously want to encourage employers to incentivize the right behavior and deal with hazards and have training. There are things you can do to incentivize and you can do it well. It involves making the place safe.
It's very important to note that reporting the injury is a protected activity. One of the ways employers learn about the existence of hazards is a worker is injured and the injury gets reported.
If an injury isn't reported, that leads to the inability of the employer to identify hazards.
We don't care about reporting for reporting sake. We get a very small sample of the country's OSHA logs. There are various tools for employers and workers to use.
We feel very strongly employers should investigate injuries, have an incident investigation system involving workers, to learn what's going on in the workplace.
If you have a system where workers are discouraged from reporting injuries, we obviously think that is detrimental to the health and safety of all the workers there, and we think it's a violation of the OSHA Act, and we need to discipline workers no matter what the circumstance is, this sort of activity falls under that.
We have seen employers who do that, they have a system where you are disciplined and often you are brought up on safety rules that are sort of pretext saying you're being brought up on charges of lack of situational awareness. In other words, you weren't paying attention. The only time it ever happens is when someone is injured.
We frown upon that sort of program, offering incentives for not reporting injuries.
We had a situation recently in New Jersey where we received anonymous complaints. We didn't know who actually reported the situation. We went in there. We issued a citation.
Right after we got there, a worker was fired. The employer figured out who called us. We issued a citation on that. The employer essentially ignored us. We said the employer has to pay $7,500 in back wages to this employee, and he refused. The U.S. Marshals then seized the black corvette of the company president to pay those costs. We thought that was appropriate use of your taxpayer money.
Anything that we do, and this is the important thing to remember, we would like to remind everybody of this, we level the playing field. There are many employers who want to do the right thing. We certainly don't want them to be at a financial disadvantage competing with companies that cut corners and put workers at risk.
What we do is important not just to protect workers but to protect the responsible employers in this country.
That is my brief discussion about where we are, and I'm happy to take some questions. I know you discussed some of our operations in the hurricane recovery zone. We can talk about that if you would like.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you very much, Dr. Michaels. Do ACCSH members have any questions or comments for Dr. Michaels?
MR. JONES: I have a couple, but I'll throw you a couple of softballs here first. Could you follow up on Sandy, Hurricane Sandy? We heard great things on going on, but could you tell us what's going on?
This is the whole issue of mold and respirator uses.
DR. MICHAELS: I haven't been following the mold issue. I just heard reports. I can't tell you what we are doing with mold yet. I know I've heard reports.
In general, on Hurricane Sandy, since the moment we were able to get going, once the storm passed, our regional folks, Region 2, have been working non-stop to respond.
What we have done is we deployed OSHA inspectors from around the country. We have staff from the area, New York and New Jersey, 10 or 12 at all times from other areas.
We are out there going to places we think workers are working. We have ties with the Army Corps of Engineers, a lot of the Unions, but we also have very good ties with the day laborer community.
A lot of this work that is being done is being done by workers picked up at Lowe's or Home Depot parking lots.
For the most part, we give advice. We get people out of hazardous situations. We tell them where to get equipment. We have no safety equipment to share. We have been very fortunate that a number of organizations have stepped up to the plate and are providing donations.
I know the National Safety Council and the American Society of Safety Engineers have really taken the lead in soliciting donations from manufacturers, Hunter College, ASSE Chapter in New York, and are distributing them to those who don't have this equipment.
We are doing some enforcement as well, depending on the situation. We try to be everywhere at once. It's difficult to do. At this point, we have learned a lot from the experience, first 9/11 and then Katrina, since this Administration has been here, Deepwater Horizon, dealing with the tornadoes in the Midwest a few years ago, knowing the clean up work is very dangerous and can be.
Workers are often out there trying to do the right thing with no equipment, without even gloves. There have been a number of fatalities already, electrocutions, people falling from roofs.
We are trying to get the word out through public service announcements, English and Spanish.
As you know, the Secretary is up there today touring some of the facilities.
We will have to get back to you on mold.
MR. JONES: I'll ask one more. Matt and I and Don Pratt, we chair the health hazard work group and emerging hazards. The one thing we were noticing is nothing -- it doesn't seem like much can be done with the whole PEL issue, or maybe there is something that can be done, and you are going to let us know now.
I've heard you talk in the past about setting up a website where you line up the PELs with TLVs and maybe RELs. I've heard certain folks from NIOSH talk about adding notations to the PELs in terms of when the original study was done, when it was actually updated, so you can inform folks who are relying on this to protect workers.
Is there any movement on that?
DR. MICHAELS: There is. We are working with ACJ, which is a private organization, to make sure we could use their materials in the way we want to.
We are actively doing that. We hope soon to be able to actually get that out to the public. We think having a place where you could compare PELs and other occupational exposure limits would be very useful.
It doesn't solve the big problem, which is most of our exposure limits are out of date or missing. We are gathering information on that. We are open to comments, suggestions, to think about this.
I'm an optimist. I think there is something we can do. I'm just not sure what that is yet.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any other questions from members? If not, I have a couple.
David, we also have an I2P2 work group that has been working on construction issues. We continue to plug along as the standard is still held up in SBREFA. Do you have any insight for us?
DR. MICHAELS: I have nothing new to report. We are developing materials and doing other things. We hope to start that process again soon. It has sort of been paused.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: In the meantime, we have decided we will continue to regard the deliberations about I2P2 and how to make that work.
DR. MICHAELS: That is great. We should be doing that whether or not there is a standard. It's the right thing to be doing. That's what we are doing.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have also been developing a checklist, some procurement language potentially, that we could use and work with on OSHA hopefully down the road if we get to the point where we have something final to present to the Agency.
In our work group discussion yesterday, in the outreach and training work group and in our main meeting this morning, we had some discussions with Dr. Payne about our views and made some recommendations about how we could take a look at the outreach program for the construction sector.
Those recommendations have been made and we need to follow up with you and your office at some point about how we may go about pursuing some of those recommendations that have came out of this committee.
DR. MICHAELS: I look forward to reading them and meeting with you.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I appreciate that. For me, I would like to personally thank you for OSHA's commitment both in time and resources that you have put into the fatalities campaign. It has been really great. The work that OSHA has done to move this forward, we all appreciate that very much.
DR. MICHAELS: I want to thank you, personally, Peter, and the rest of you, because I think this has really been a tremendous collective effort.
This isn't OSHA's campaign. It is a campaign for all of us.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: One last thing, and we started at the last meeting, David, of putting together -- I'm going to take it over as chair and try to get more involved -- in the surveillance discussion.
We had BLS come in and tomorrow we will hear about the new OSHA data system.
I think you said it earlier in your presentation, I would like to figure out how this work group or ACCSH as a full body and not just our work groups could work with OSHA more on figuring out how to target construction inspections. I'd like to have separate conversations with others around this table.
We hear this all the time. We had a small employer call into our I2P2 work group yesterday. As we had gone through our deliberations, we brought large employers in to talk to us, since they say the components of an I2P2 standard are no big deal to us, we do all these things anyway, and reinforced elements that we all view would be in an I2P2 standard.
In fairness and full disclosure, getting all perspectives, we had a small employer call in yesterday to raise with us what their concerns would be as a mid/small sized employer with a standard.
You hear this all the time. One of the main concerns that Shannon pointed out, a good employer trying to do the right thing, this is just one other layer of stuff that I have to do, and a lot of my competition isn't doing anything.
It just seems to me as you listen to these kinds of conversations about good employers not wanting regulation because it's a burden on them, the whole purpose of these regulations is to get to the bad employers that in some way, even with limitations on how you have to go about satisfying the Dodge data to get to the OSHA inspection -- there seems to be some way we need to figure out how we can do a better job of targeting construction inspections.
DR. MICHAELS: I agree. I think we have to be creative. The world is changing rapidly. There are new data cross sourcing tools and techniques that we could be thinking about that may help us to learn, not from let's say traditional sources like the Dodge reports, but maybe from photographs or places where food trucks are going.
There are lots of things we should be thinking about that might help us get to the place we need to go.
Any advice you can give us on that would be great.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We will continue to work on that. I think it is important for us to do.
Any other questions or comments?
MR. JONES: Can I follow up on that statement? You said data cross sourcing.
Your communications efforts since you have been has been fantastic, right, the website, you are getting a lot of hits.
As an epidemiologist, a man who likes statistics, are you looking at your website hits and these downloads, looking at demographics?
DR. MICHAELS: Not as much as I'd like to. We don't know who is using our websites. We'd like to figure out how we could do that. We know, for example, a sizable portion of website hits come from mobile phones.
If you look at our website, it isn't really amenable to reading on a mobile phone. It works fine on a personal computer. We know we have to think about ways to reach a changing population. The population is getting younger. It speaks different languages. It gets information differently.
My kids use YouTube to learn how to do things. I wouldn't use YouTube as an instruction manual, but they use it all the time.
We have to think differently. We need help doing that. There are limits to what we know, but I think there are some people in this room and some organizations that are probably thinking about it, if you want to share that with us.
Obviously, that is one of our challenges. That is why we have advisory committees.
MS. DAVIS: First of all, I just want to go on record complimenting Region 1 that we have been working with really closely. We meet quarterly now with OSHA, the Attorney General, the Health Department, to coordinate efforts. It has been terrific.
They have done some terrific outreach to workers in the Anover area, and had to turn workers away from training, had to close the doors because of that level of response.
I just really want to compliment them and thank OSHA for their cooperation.
One of the issues we haven't talked about here but in Massachusetts, as you know, we have done a lot of work on young workers under age 18.
The last two years, we have expanded our scope of interest to the 18 to 24 year old's, which is how Canada and other places define young workers, less than 24. If you look at the injury data, they do in fact have the highest injury rate, fatal injury rates. What we are seeing is really dramatically high rates among Hispanic workers in that age group.
I just wanted to put that out. Inexperienced 18 to 24 year old's, the 18 year old's look more like they are 16 to us. There are tremendous efforts, certainly in Massachusetts, in outreach to community colleges, high schools.
DR. MICHAELS: We are certainly aware of that. We have a challenge going on. Challenge.gov. It's a way to involve app developers and others in producing materials for the public good.
We actually have a young worker smart phone app challenge, which actually will close tomorrow. We have a contest, $35,000 in prize money up there.
You can see some, you can actually vote on it. One of the prizes is for the app submission that gets the most public votes. We have a great team of people who are the judges, ranging from John Howard and I to Arne Duncan, who is the Secretary of Education, to the Netbusters. We will see where it goes. We know these are workers we want to reach.
MR. CANNON: I want to follow up on what Pete said as far as how you improve targeting. During our last meeting, we had a presentation, I can't recall the authors or the gentleman, but they were talking about the Dodge report or what is now called the McGraw-Hill construction report.
They said they were going to look into and implement a pilot program where they were looking at smaller scale projects to target small employers.
I guess my question is could you not balance that out or use that same system for your consultation services.
DR. MICHAELS: I'm not sure why we couldn't.
MR. CANNON: There may be small employers that are not aware of your consultation program. This would be a way to get out to those. You said there are some that intentionally disregard or they lack knowledge or resources.
DR. MICHAELS: One thing we do is testing whether or not sending a letter talking about our consultation program and essentially saying we may inspect you, if that has an impact. We are actually going to do random experiments.
We do have a couple of new fact sheets on hurricane response and clean up that we have in the back. I think they are quite good. The number one hazard in previous hurricanes was heat and two were sticks. We were used to dealing with the bayou's and everglades. That is not the issue in New York and New Jersey.
We have new fact sheets out. I think they are very good. There are copies in the back or you can download them and circulate them.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Again, Dr. Michaels, thank you. I just want to acknowledge Jim Maddux and his staff, doing a terrific job.
Just two meetings ago, we had talked about a backing operations website, and yesterday, we saw one, with Paul Bolon and Meg Smith, so quite a turn around in one year that we made a recommendation, and today, we are seeing the website live. We appreciate it as a committee.
DR. MICHAELS: I appreciate that. I think our staff is doing a great job, and I see Dr. Branche is here from NIOSH, and I want to thank you as well. I think the collaboration has been very effective.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. I think Sarah would like to say something off the record.
(Discussion held off the record.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Back on the record. Walter, the other motion, right?
MR. JONES: The other motion, a variety of construction uses have been described for engineered nano materials, current hazard communication practices do not currently require any precautionary labeling or safety datasheet messages for engineered nano materials.
I move that ACCSH recommend that OSHA determine if the GHS rule and labeling of chemicals does address engineered nano materials, if it does, we ask OSHA brief us at a future ACCSH meeting.
If it does not, ACCSH recommends that OSHA pursue guidance and ensure workers and employers can be aware of when they are working with engineered nano materials.
The purpose of the motion is to try to get some awareness of workers who are working around nano materials. It's not really currently required, as we understand it at least, in safety datasheets.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: That's a lot for one motion. Sarah?
MS. SHORTALL: It looks okay.
MS. SHORTALL: I think it's very interesting.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I'm going to ask Sarah to read that again.
MS. SHORTALL: A variety of construction uses have been described for engineered nano materials. Current hazard communication practices do not currently require any precautionary labeling or safety datasheet messages for engineered nano materials.
Therefore, ACCSH recommends that OSHA determine if the GHS, globally harmonized system of classification and labeling of chemicals, addresses engineered nano materials, if it does, ACCSH recommends OSHA brief ACCSH at a future meeting.
If the GHS rule does not, ACCSH further recommends that OSHA pursue guidance and regulatory approaches to ensure workers and employers can be aware of when they are working with engineered nano materials.
MR. JONES: Correct.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Do we have a second?
MR. HERING: Second.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Any discussion?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Opposed?
MS. SHORTALL: Would someone tell me --
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: What you just read?
MS. SHORTALL: Who made the motion?
MR. JONES: I did.
MS. SHORTALL: You seconded it?
MR. HERING: Yes.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Walter, is that it?
MR. JONES: That's it.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you.
MS. SHORTALL: I would like to enter some things into the record. As Exhibit 15, improved health hazards/emerging issues/prevention through design work group report from the November 27, 2012 meeting.
As Exhibit 16, introduction to nano materials and occupational health presented by Kristen Kulinowski, Institute for Defense Analysis, Science and Technology Policy Institute.
As Exhibit 17, engineered nano particle exposure and construction PowerPoint by Bruce Lippy, CPWR.
Exhibit 18, thermo degradation of organic coating's handout from OSHA.
Exhibit 19, radio frequency exposure PowerPoint, Federal Communications Commission.
Exhibit 20, OSHA update PowerPoint by David Michaels, Assistant Secretary.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Sarah. Next is our last work group report for the day, and that is the diversity work group. Kristi and Jeremy, however you want to handle it, it's up to you.
DIVERSITY WORK GROUP REPORT
MR. BETHANCOURT: Mr. Chairman, I recognize you have never had a better overview from a work group before, but we saved the best for last.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: That's right.
MR. BETHANCOURT: That's what you told me to say.
Mr. Chair, we have several co chairs. We have Laurie Shadrick, myself and Kristi Barber. We welcomed the group.
We had a presentation by Kathleen Dobson of Alberici Constructors, for NAWIC, National Association of Women in Construction, and a participant of women in construction.
NAWIC's areas of concern are sanitary facilities, PPE, ergonomics and tools, harassment, hostility in the workplace and training.
They desire some form of alliance with OSHA to help them address these items.
Pete Stafford asked how we could combine the NAWIC goals with OSHA.
Letitia Davis asked if it was possible for OSHA to add a link on their website for people to get answers on sexual harassment during that discussion.
A discussion ensured about how that might be related to safety and health. Several members concluded that it may be a catalyst for workplace violence, and perhaps that would permit OSHA to provide a link as a resource to the EEOC and Office of Federal Compliance Plans.
No consensus or recommendation was made, however, and the discussion ended as we then transitioned into a discussion about the new website and materials. It has been discussed for several years at ACCSH about the need for some sort of information for women in construction.
We were provided a draft fact sheet for review at that meeting. There was really only one issue that the group found as a whole that caused any serious discussion, and that was where it says "ACCSH recommends sanitary facilities," et cetera, that it would be better received if it were actually to say OSHA recommends or ACCSH and OSHA recommends.
There was a considerable amount of discussion and confirmation that was the consensus from the group.
Letitia Davis pointed out that the PPE course under the draft sheets seemed very negative and there was a discussion about whether the document itself was too negative and it should be providing solutions for empowerment for the reader to be able to know there are solutions.
There was discussion about the draft in its current state.
There was consensus that there was not enough time to really put comments together because the group was only just presented the information, and OSHA asked the group to provide comments on the draft sheet and on the draft website.
It was decided that ACCSH members should review the material, including the ability to go on-line, on the computer, and access the website to be able to see all the links on the new proposed site in its draft form.
Then we can compile comments and provide submission of comments to the work group chairs, and then we would provide that information as a whole to the Chairman, Mr. Stafford.
It was also discussed we should think about having a conference call of some sort to be able to have further discussion on the comments that we all have as a group.
Sarah Shortall asked if the NIOSH website addressed hazardous chemicals and reproductive health issues. Matt Gillen said they did not and there was concern if you have something specific towards women, it would seem exclusionary or might be a way to have the wording to where it was excluding women from a certain task.
There was concern about having that in there.
After all the discussion that we had, there is a recommendation that was actually made during the work group. It was a recommendation made by you, Pete, and seconded by Chuck, to have a motion based on changing the language within the document, for the fact sheet to actually add OSHA. Then it is going to be a lot better received by industry if it actually has OSHA on there saying it is a best practice.
As we continued, Danezza Quintero explained the web page is in its draft form, and they are continuing to work on it. They provided several documents that we are going to submit to be entered into the record on what it currently looks like.
Laurie Shadrick asked that ACCSH members be provided the opportunity to see all the links, and as I said, that is something we did discuss, that we want to be able to access the tabs that are inside the web page.
It will be important for all of us to be able to see how the flow of the web page works so we can actually provide good feedback. If we don't feel it is going to flow well, perhaps the public may not feel it flows well.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: This was part of the discussion yesterday, but in terms of flow, are we talking about the work group would see a soft launch of the website?
MR. BETHANCOURT: That is what I think we discussed. I think that was the intent of what Laurie was saying, we want to be able to see what's behind the tabs, not just getting a paper that says that is what it is, actually being able to access it and get a feel for what it is.
I do believe there is a website address that we might be able to access. I know that is a request she had made.
During new business, Scott Schneider talked about the Latino Action Summit and if there was anything similar planned in the future, Director Maddux said there was nothing planned on a national level but there have been other activities and potentially regional offices were conducting similar meetings.
Mr. Schneider asked if there was a strategic plan to help immigrant workers, and he commented that OSHA provided good information to foreign workers for clean up efforts after Hurricane Sandy.
The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
We do have a motion to make based on the work group's consensus. I can make that now or you can ask for approval of the minutes.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Let's approve the minutes and then we can get into the motion.
MR. GILLEN: I have a question. I'm trying to remember exactly what the discussion was yesterday with Sarah. My recollection is she asked if there was a page related to reproductive hazards for women.
MS. SHORTALL: I broadened it. I said reproductive health hazards, including effects on men and women and their ability to conceive children, miscarriage and developmental health effects.
MR. GILLEN: I'm sure there is information such as that on our website somewhere. I'm not sure we have a topic page. I can go back and look.
MR. BETHANCOURT: I can adjust our minutes to reflect that?
MR. GILLEN: Yes, or we can do it next time. I don't want people to be confused by that in the future. It looks like we're saying there is no information whatsoever on hazardous chemicals and reproductive health hazards.
MS. SHORTALL: You said you didn't know at this point what you had.
MR. BETHANCOURT: That would be a better reflection of it. Matt, what would you request we enter in there?
MR. GILLEN: I'm going to say I would get back to the group or something.
MR. BETHANCOURT: I will make that change.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Kristi, do you have anything to add to the report?
MS. BARBER: One thing that Jeremy didn't say is that OSHA requested that we get back to them in a 30 day time frame because they want to get these items out.
What we would like to propose is that if we can get your comments back in a timely fashion, we will try to get a teleconference planned so we can discuss the comments, and then submit that to OSHA.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Just so I understand the clarification. Are we commenting on the hard copy of that website we saw or is OSHA planning on doing a soft launch so the committee can look at it and then comment based on what they actually see on the website?
MS. QUINTERO: To provide a Word document. I already provided the links. It will be a Word document.
MS. SHORTALL: That is the women in construction web page and the women in construction fact sheet; right?
MS. QUINTERO: That's correct.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Is there a commitment on DOC's end on when we will see a soft launch of the website after the 30 days and the comments are received? When could we expect to look at a soft launch website before it goes live?
MR. McKENZIE: (Inaudible.) We are going to continue to develop it. If the committee has additional suggestions, we can take a look at them.
MS. SHORTALL: Laurie is not here today. Laurie has a special interest in holding the teleconference meeting after comments come in so the work group could discuss them.
She was worried that it would be difficult to schedule a teleconference in the middle to end of December because of people's holiday schedules.
I spoke with Dean. Dean says 30 days is the goal, but he understands because of the timing, it may have to spill into the beginning of next year.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thanks, Sarah.
MS. BARBER: I would also like to ask Danezza, I believe Laurie was interested in what was behind each of the tabs on here.
MS. QUINTERO: Yes, I will be sending everybody that.
MS. BARBER: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We are committing to get comments back to OSHA within 30 days more or less. We are independently feeding comments to OSHA or they are going back to the co-chairs who are in turn are giving all the comments collectively to OSHA?
MS. SHORTALL: People who have comments should be giving them to the co chairs.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: They will feed them to me and I'll send them to Danezza.
MS. SHORTALL: Right.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have the work group report. I need a motion to accept.
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Move.
MR. JONES: Second.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Opposed?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. Danezza, I will talk to you later and we will figure it out.
We are a little bit ahead of schedule. Never mind. Jeremy?
MR. BETHANCOURT: The motion is ACCSH suggests to OSHA that the wording in the OSHA fact sheet on women in construction be modified to say to avoid health and safety hazards, OSHA and ACCSH recommends that employers provide and maintain sanitary toilets, et cetera, as it is written.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: The motion has been made. Is there a second?
It's fine if it says ACCSH. Do we want it to say OSHA and ACCSH?
MR. BETHANCOURT: What we gathered from our notes is there was no differentiation on whether or not anybody had come to a consensus that ACCSH be taken off but that OSHA needed to be on there. If we want to have a discussion on the motion -- we didn't do that yesterday.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I think that's right, it needs to say OSHA.
MR. BETHANCOURT: I think just OSHA.
MS. BARBER: I think just OSHA, too.
MR. BETHANCOURT: Kristi and I agree. The discussion did not tell us to take out ACCSH but it was pretty firm we should have OSHA. We thought we should bring it here exactly as it was and let us all decide.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I appreciate that, Jeremy. Unless there is any opposition from any of the ACCSH members or Sarah.
MS. SHORTALL: Where in the fact sheet is that particular --
MR. BETHANCOURT: The fact sheet was a draft, we didn't want to go too far into the language in there.
MS. SHORTALL: Did you want ACCSH and OSHA? This one deals with sanitary toilets, not PPE? The motion just goes to sanitary toilets?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I think they are trying to make the distinction whether it's OSHA/ACCSH, and it sounds like to me -- I would suggest the language just simply be that OSHA recommends and remove ACCSH.
MR. BETHANCOURT: We don't disagree. We thought we should bring it that way.
MS. SHORTALL: When you were talking about this yesterday, you were talking about it up at the front. ACCSH's name was in there but it was too bad that OSHA's name was not in there. The only place it appears is this one. It would only deal with sanitation issues and not PPE.
I just want to clarify that is what you want.
MR. BETHANCOURT: There is no standard getting through right now.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Frame the motion one more time.
MR. BETHANCOURT: This is the new motion. ACCSH suggests to OSHA that the wording in the OSHA fact sheet on women in construction be modified to say at the appropriate location to avoid health and safety hazards, OSHA recommends that employers provide and maintain sanitary toilets, et cetera.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: What is "et cetera?"
MR. BETHANCOURT: The paragraph.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have a new motion and a new second. Any more discussion?
MS. QUINTERO: (Inaudible.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. We have a new motion and a second. If there is no more discussion -- Ben?
MR. BARE: When you put this into the record, we would like to be sure it has the word "Draft" on it.
MS. SHORTALL: Yes. I think we will just have to darken it.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We have a motion and a second. Any more discussion?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Opposed?
MS. SHORTALL: Exhibit 21, the diversity work group report from the November 27, 2012 meeting.
Exhibit 22, issues affecting women in construction, OSHA alliance PowerPoint.
Exhibit 23, proposed agreement establishing the lines between OSHA and NAWIC.
Exhibit 24, OSHA and NAWIC safety and health alliance plan information sheet.
Exhibit 25, OSHA and NAWIC alliance background document.
Exhibit 26, National Association of Women in Construction facts.
Exhibit 27, Women in Construction fact sheet, draft document, developed by the Diversity Work Group.
Exhibit 28, draft Women in Construction web page.
Exhibit 29, OSHA draft Women in Construction fact sheet.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Sarah.
I don't know who signed up but it is time for public comment. Is there a list or an order?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Chip Pocock was the first to sign up.
MR. POCOCK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. My name is Chip Pocock. I'm with Volker Companies. We are based in North Carolina. I am a certified crane operator and certified practical examiner with more than 30 years of crane and rating experience.
I am here today representing the Specialized Carriers and Riggers Association. SCRA has 1,300 members in 42 countries. I think it is important to point out that 75 percent of those numbers are considered small businesses.
Most importantly, I was a member of the Crane and Derrick Advisory Committee and spent 13 months meeting once a week in this very room, usually sitting over there where Kristi does.
I ran into Kristi yesterday afternoon and told her I'm from the Washington, D.C. area originally. I remember coming across the 14th Street Bridge for the first meeting and thinking about the impact of the work I was going to do on the safety and health of employees in this country and what an honor that was. I commend everybody here at this table for that same commitment.
There has been a lot of talk about the intent of CDAC. I can tell you what the intent was because I was there. I lived it. There are minutes from those meetings. What they miss is the interaction, the body language, and the back and forth, both on and off the record that it took to develop that standard in a year's time.
I would point out that the Crane and Derrick Advisory Committee was made up of not only employers, employee representatives, the operating engineers, the iron workers, manufacturers, OSHA, all stakeholders were involved in that process.
What I want to talk about today is the type and capacity issue. Mr. Maddux said this morning very eloquently, it is an issue. It's a big issue.
There is a cost impact to small business that was never anticipated by the SBREFA panel after the CDAC document was signed off on by this committee and by OSHA.
The only accrediting body at that time was the National Commission for Certification of Crane Operators, and I think we literally plucked language from ASAB 30.5 as far as testing the certification requirements, which is basically where the type and capacity language came from.
I don't think there was ever an intent -- in fact, I'm sure there was no intent for it to be taken to the degree the Agency says they are intending to take it, where the operators be tested on every type and capacity crane they operate.
Just to give you an idea, we did an internal study in our company prior to a small business roundtable meeting several months ago.
Currently in our company, we estimate it costs about $2,750 to provide an accurate amount of training and get an employee tested and get him certified both on a written and practical exam.
That is essentially a core exam, four specialty written exam's, and the three mobile crane exam's that our company has to have.
If we take that to the degree where we have the type and capacity testing for all 70 to 80 operators that we employ, those numbers go to about $19,500 per employee for that same testing.
We are talking about around $193,000 to $194,000 annually to somewhere around $1.350 to $1.5 million depending on the number of operators.
I would like to say those numbers do not include the cost for assembly, dis-assembly, or moving machines to and from, whether it is our yard or a site location where testing might have to occur.
Jim's PowerPoint this morning showed a number of crawler cranes, the largest of which is the new 3000 tonner that they rolled out this Spring. Several members of our company were there because we are the largest owner of crawler cranes in the United States and North America.
One of the things you don't see, at the end of the photograph there, the smallest crane you see is actually holding something, and on the pedestal is a model crane, which is really illegible in the photograph.
Jim made the comment about if you could run the biggest one, if you tested on the biggest machine in that photograph, you literally would be certified to run all of them. Factually, that is a slight inaccuracy.
The machine on the left is a telescopic crawler, which is different from the other machines. There is a little bit of a disparity there.
What I would say about testing on capacity, I'm going to paraphrase a scenario that my good friend, Bill Smith, came up with at this SBREFA meeting, and that is if my daughter or son goes and gets a driver's license and I put them in my Ford Focus and it has an automatic transmission, they drive that vehicle for five or six months, and one day they come in and they say daddy, the car broke down this morning, it won't start or it's out of gas, whatever, and I need to take your truck.
My truck is an F-250 diesel with a five speed transmission. It's long, big, heavy. I know full well my daughter has never driven it and I point that out, no, you can't drive the truck. She holds her card up and says but I have a driver's license.
Do we allow our daughter or son to drive the truck because they have the driver's license?
My point is the cranes that you saw in the picture, a 600 ton crawler crane is a $5 million plus investment. Regardless of whether or not a guy passes a written and practical exam, we as a company are not going to put an operator in the seat of that machine unless we are relatively sure he's not going to tear our machine up and more importantly, hurt somebody else.
That is due diligence and it is expected of us morally and legally.
When I talked earlier about costs of testing going almost to $1.5 million, the middle class crane in those pictures of 600 and 750 tons, to set up in that configuration, is about 40 tractor-trailer loads of counterweight, and probably a week's worth of labor for five or six people just to assemble it.
The cost, you can see how that goes. If I said okay, I have 750 ton cranes and I have to set one up and I have to test 80 operators on it, that's a major undertaking, not to mention the costs.
The other thing that I wanted to talk about is if the Agency goes down the road, there are over 80,000 crane operators who are already certified in this country who will be disenfranchised. Their certification will be no good.
I mentioned I was on CDAC. We finished our work almost nine years ago. The intent of everybody who sat at that table with me, probably in 2008 or 2009, we would have operator certification in place in this country to provide a better level of safety in the construction industry, and for a lot of reasons, that didn't happen.
Here we are two years away, and all of a sudden instead of having 80,000 people already certified, we are talking about having 80,000 people to have to go do it all again, and the cost to the employer for those people.
I know the operating engineers have written a letter asking for relief from the interpretation. We certainly support that at SC&RA, and in my company, for a lot of reasons. Number one, it was not the intent of CDAC, and two, it is a tremendous burden for small business.
I'm just going to give some brief history and then I'll conclude. We started certifying our operators through NCCCO back in 1996, and 100 percent of our operators have been NCCCO certified for quite some time.
NCCCO is a non-profit entity that was founded and formed by the industry, not by OSHA, not by the manufacturers, although the manufacturers, OSHA and the industry helped NCCCO develop test questions. We think it is the best program out there.
Certainly, they don't want to see those 80,000 operators currently certified have to be disenfranchised.
In closing, what I would like to see happen is the committee take the opportunity to put this item on the agenda for the next meeting. I don't know when the next meeting is. I suspect it is late Spring or early Summer. I think it is of such importance that if it cannot be resolved between now and then to the satisfaction of the industry and the people who helped write this rule, that this committee needs to hear from the industry, and I would suspect you will hear a lot, if it's not satisfied.
Thank you for the opportunity to address the committee and getting it on the agenda if we can.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I appreciate that. Thank you for your comments.
MR. GILLEN: Before you go, could you clarify what you are asking, is it related to the complexity of the weight of the cranes?
MR. POCOCK: I think the misnomer is there is language in the standard that says operators shall be tested by type and capacity. The problem is there are literally thousands and thousands of configurations, even machines that were in the picture today. You could take that 3,000 ton machine, strip it down, take all the counterweight off it, and make it a 600 ton crane.
It's very complex when you start having to test on capacity. We are much more comfortable in the industry testing by types of cranes versus type and capacity.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: If the intent of the language was type and capacity, what was the intent?
MR. COPOCK: I think the language probably initiated from the ASAB 30 standard. The accrediting agencies, NCCA, at that time, NCCCO, again, they were the only certifying body out there, they looked at job analysis and determined the program NCCCO has in place has aspects of what is in the written examinations testing a person on the different capacities.
He knows I'm not on a 600 ton crane, now I'm on a 750 ton crane. I need to look at the load chart, I need to do some other things and know what my capacity configurations are.
If you step from one of those machines to the other and graduating up the scale, you would notice very little difference in the cab configurations. They are the same, have the same instruments, same gauges. Counterweight configurations and boom sizes are a little bigger as you go.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: All right. Thanks. Rick? Are you still here?
MR. BURNHEIMER: Good afternoon. My name is Rick Burnheimer. I'm the EVP of Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety for RF CHECK.
For the new members, I spoke at the May working group committee meeting.
Just a little background, RF CHECK is a information technology company which has globally patented a multi-layered RF safety system.
I have 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. Before joining RF CHECK, I was with Sprint and Nextel.
Today, our primary forms of communication depends on massive wireless networks which support the demand for all things wireless.
The amount of radiation produced by just one of these router antennas can be several hundred times that of a cell phone, and it is recognized by science and in the Federal Government as being harmful to humans.
By the very ubiquitous nature of RF wireless antennas, workers are routinely compelled to work in front of and in close proximity to the nation's 600,000 Government and commercial antennas, and that number is growing rapidly.
The committee and its working groups have expressed concern about this issue and the harm it represents to its members, employers and their employees and their respective communities.
Radio frequency radiation has been a topic of discussion at both working group meetings in 2012. It has been stated by the committee members want to proactively address RF radiation over exposure to innocent third party workers before it becomes a major problem.
Unfortunately, for too long, it has been a major problem for the thousands of workers being over exposed to RF radiation on a daily basis.
Comments made by members of the working group emphasized the fact that they were never made aware of the health risks from wireless antennas.
One member, Bill, made the comment that in all these years of approving applications for siting, not once, never, has an applicant or FCC licensee disclosed a health or safety issue or discussed safety measures to protect the unknown exposed workers.
If I got this right, he estimated more than 50 percent of the antennas in his community could expose RF radiation to non-FCC licensed individuals.
Another committee member stated their 350,000 members had never been informed of the risk and exposure to RF radiation that occurs on a daily basis.
This sentiment has been expressed by numerous other labor groups including the IBW and CWA, and is considered unacceptable.
At the working group committee meeting on Tuesday, the FCC stated all FCC licensees must certify they are in compliance with the terms of their license, which includes protection for all individuals, not just their own employees, from RF radiation exposure from wireless antennas.
They also commented that their enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance is complaint based. They only look into violations when they receive a complaint.
As one of the committee members pointed out, in most instances, workers are unaware of the risk of radio frequency radiation over exposure and their accompanying symptoms, so how would they ever know to file a complaint.
One of the things we talked about is there is a two tiered safety system. The wireless industry makes sure every one of their technicians goes through RF training, and before they send them to work around an antenna, they power it down. Think of that visual. They have training and they power it down.
Third party workers, no training, no power down, and in a lot of instances, they don't even know the risk is there. They don't even know that antenna is there.
Third party workers are exposed to excessive levels of RF radiation because no effective comprehensive RF radiation safety system is currently in operation.
There are practical challenges that limit or prohibit the protection of workers from RF radiation. There is the impossibility or impracticality of FCC licensees to have continuous 24/7 control of all activities at antenna sites.
Mandated use of stealth antennas that prevent a worker from identifying the existence and location of RF radiation hazardous work sites.
We are aware of a major West Coast city that called us up and said they had 180 applications pending for cell sites. They were all approved in a stealth nature, which means that is 180 more exposure points that a third party worker would never know existed because he can't see them.
Co-location of RF radiation transmitting antennas result in increased RF radiation emissions with no verifiable RF power down/off system.
Restricted access will not protect workers who enter these areas to fulfill a job responsibility.
Warning signs have proven ineffective as they are often missing, mis-labeled, or misunderstood by workers.
I want to add something, they are not required by law, they are recommended. A lot of the antennas don't even have signs.
No national protocol exists to supply workers with real time RF radiation safety information.
Workers who are required to perform their jobs in close proximity to RF radio's and transmitters are no longer trained technicians protected by the latest gear and equipment, rather they are now electricians, carpenters, maintenance personnel, HVAC technicians, pipefitters, painters, first responders and many others.
Ultimately, these unsuspecting workers are regularly exposed to excessive levels of RF radiation because there is no comprehensive radiation safety system currently in operation.
Given the health hazards and potential liability involved, the time for complacency has passed. A viable RF safety program must be implemented. First and foremost, a national standardized RF radiation safety protocol is crucial.
RF site owners, contractors and others should be supplied with a specific FRF safety protocol to ensure true worker safety. The entire system must be monitored for compliance by a mutual third party to avoid any conflict of interest.
For this to occur, those affected such as employers, landlords, public entities, Government agencies, the insurance industry and others, must demand the deployment of meaningful tools to continue to protect first and foremost the exposed worker, as well as their own financial interests.
The risk is here, it's imminent, and unless controls are implemented, it is inevitable that claims will be filed by workers seeking compensation.
I would like to say I like the motion of having OSHA and the FCC work together, but Pete and I talked about the fact that the rules and regulations aren't there. The FCC licensee has the obligation to protect all workers. It's not being done.
There are numerous cell sites that third party workers are being exposed to on a regular basis.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you. Any comments or questions from the committee?
MS. DAVIS: I just have one question. Are you saying these are just recommendations?
MR. BURNHEIMER: Just recommendations, not a requirement.
MR. CANNON: When you mentioned a tool, what are you referring to?
MR. BURNHEIMER: I'd have to go into a commercial for my company. The foundation of our company was our founder was a contractor. He was unable to protect his workers. That is how we got started. Nobody else out there has developed a solution to this problem.
We all know it exists. We all know workers are being harmed every day. Nobody wants to do anything about it.
That is why we are recommending a third party solution, mutual third party, similar to -- the best way to look at this is look at Miss Utility, before you go digging in the yard, you make a phone call.
What we are suggesting is before a worker goes to a rooftop, they access a website that will show them what the danger is, where the antennas are, what the exposure zones are, and what he can do to get those antennas powered down before they do work.
MR. HERING: We talked over lunch. What I said was basically I think, and I'm trying to think in my mind nationwide, I know in New Jersey we had the New Jersey planning officials, which provides the training, I will get this information to them so every zoning and planning board in the State of New Jersey knows about this.
We can regulate on a local basis. When I told my Board members about this, they were dumbfounded. Here we approved 27 sites in the last ten years, back in the 1990s when it started.
They wanted them all camouflaged, like you said, stealth, behind a billboard, a flag pole, whatever.
I think you had some good suggestions. If you can get those groups in the communities across the country -- you mentioned some organizations.
MR. BURNHEIMER: The National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, PRIMA, Public Risk Insurance Management Association.
MR. HERING: I think you mentioned something else about the fact of what is the value of one Worker's Comp claim in this.
MR. BURNHEIMER: ASSE, in their risk management insights newsletter, it was written by Tom Hague from Willis, and he quotes in there that the average claim for a depression, the injury that is caused by this are things like memory loss, slow brain function, depression, headaches, but if you look at a depression type claim, the average Worker's Comp pay out is $485,000.
If these landlords were made aware of this issue, these landlords make between probably $36,000 and $60,000 a year, depending on their locations.
One of the support groups we have is the insurance industry, the International Insurance Society.
It is either the company is self-insured and they are going to bear that cost or their insurance company is going to bear that cost.
MR. HERING: I want to point out, too, in the zoning world, in planning and zoning, these types of installations are what we call inherently beneficial. That is by statute. The reason for that is because in the Telecommunications Act, you can dial 911, you can dial for help, it aides the public.
We really can't turn them away. We can turn them away for some reasons. It had nothing to do with the RF.
Like we talked about, with new technology comes a whole new wave of safety concerns if you think about it. Here is one that I really believe is a pretty serious one.
MR. BURNHEIMER: We want to work in partnership with all the affected parties. We want to be a partner with the wireless industry and the FCC licensees and insurance industry and the landlords.
Wireless is here to stay. It's critical to everything we do. It's going to continue to grow. We just want to make sure the third party worker is protected.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We appreciate that. Matt?
MR. GILLEN: Based on your knowledge of how telecommunications works and the antennas, you talked about powering down, is that a thing people could do, if people know there is radiation at a certain location, and the licensee can be called and that licensee would actually power down? Doesn't it affect the cell phone use nearby? How well does that work?
MR. BURNHEIMER: They do power down for their own employees. If they can do it for their own, they can do it for third party workers.
Depending on the location of the cell site, in the urban areas, in the cities, there are lots of antennas. The reason there are so many is because of the flow of traffic.
If you need to power it down to get some work done and you chose an off peak hour, an evening hour or something like that, you can get away with shutting one end down because the traffic will just flow to another one.
The fact that they do it for their own, they can do it for third party workers.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: As a practical matter, if you are a painting crew with three painters and you see a sign there is an antenna, the painter can call and say power this down for the eight hours I'm working?
MR. BURNHEIMER: They could do that. I thought I heard the FCC make a comment the other day that they are required to power down if asked. I thought I heard him say that.
They can say I can't do it at peak times. If you want to paint, you are going to have to do that work in the evening or early morning or middle of the night.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Therein lies a lot of the issues.
MR. GILLEN: The first level is awareness. I'm just wondering if you know of any materials either created by the insurance industry or others about awareness of this whole third party or inadvertent exposure?
MR. BURNHEIMER: I would say most of the articles -- we have a couple written by the gentleman from Willis. He has done two now on the topic. I have had articles printed in Public Risk Magazine. One in Risk Management Magazine. There are things out there, articles out there you can find. If you send me an e-mail, I can send you some of those articles.
MR. GILLEN: Okay.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I appreciate it. Your statement is on the record. We will continue to try to work on this with the FCC and OSHA. I have a feeling we will be seeing you again. Thanks.
MR. BURNHEIMER: We are always available.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you.
Last but not least, Graham? We should have put you after Chip since I'm sure you are interested in talking about the same issue. Graham Brent is a friend and colleague from NCCCO. Graham?
MR. BRENT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. It is my fault for signing up late. I recognize it is late in the day, so I'll keep my comments brief and hopefully on point.
My name is Graham Brent. I'm Executive Director of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators. As you have already heard today, we are a non-profit organization. We were set up in 1995 by the industry to provide a certification program for crane operators. We have since expanded that significantly.
We were recognized by Federal OSHA in 1999 as providing certification that met the requirements of the standards, and we have been accredited since 1998. Since that time, we have issued 125,000 certifications. We currently provide about 15,000 certifications a year. I provide that data as an introduction to these remarks because there are three other certification programs.
We constitute still 90 percent of the market, so that means some of the issues that we have on the table still in implementing aspects of this certification rule affect NCCCO certificates much more than they might some of the newer organizations that since DCAC met have arisen.
We are a very strong proponent, as you might imagine, of the rule that was developed by CDAC. I think as this committee knows, this whole thing was generated from ACCSH. It was a proposal by ACCSH to OSHA. It was promulgated through negotiated rulemaking.
To the point, I must say over the last several months we have been working very closely with Jim Maddux and his team to try to resolve some of these issues. All credit goes to that team for being prepared to discuss these issues.
On some of these, we have reached -- I don't want to use the word "impasse" -- some of these have been a tricky process, but we have seen progress.
There has been a letter of interpretation, as you heard this morning from Mr. Maddux, on re-certification. We think that was exactly the right decision.
There has been a clarification of the difference between testing on the one hand and certification on the other.
There has also been a clarification that testing by capacity, which is the issue you have heard about, as well as by type, need not necessarily be on the practical exam, but it can be on the written exam. That is an enormous relief in some areas.
Still, and this is the "but," we are still hearing as a certification body and we are a service organization to the industry, that there are still strong concerns. This concern comes not just from one sector of the industry, it is across the board.
This is a labor, management, manufacturer, and insurance issue. Every single one of those groups has protested aspects of this rule and still do.
The residual issues are that despite the relief we have gotten in some areas, this could still result in additional practical exam testing.
We are also very concerned about even written exam testing because any cost impact that might have would be over and above what OSHA originally intended or planned for.
There are concerns not just about the cost of additional practical exam testing but also as you have heard from Chip earlier, the availability of that equipment. In some cases, it simply isn't available. It's cost prohibitive to assemble and use for testing.
Some of the interpretations from the FAQs you have heard about also are problematic. I think it is question 21, and I'm paraphrasing, if an operator is certified on a 100 ton crane, can he run a 150 ton crane. The answer is no. We don't have any data that OSHA is relying on to make that determination.
In fact, the evidence on record is actually quite to the contrary. The Power Crane Association is on record as saying they don't believe capacity itself is a determinant of a change in skill set, but if capacity has to be factored in, then it should be about 700 tons wide, because at those points, that is the break point where the skill set does change.
As you heard from Chip earlier, a 600 ton crane can become a 3,000 ton crane. The actual control system is identical, it doesn't change. The cab is still there. The operator is still sitting in the cab.
Capacity is many ways is a reflection, a consequence of a skill set change, it's not a determinant.
The other area we got strong concerns about is what happens to everyone that was originally certified, certified during the course of the 15 to 18 years we have been in existence.
Particularly those who were certified prior to this rule being published. This rule or the draft was put together in about a year, as you have heard, and it took about another eight years for it to get out and get published.
There is a section of operators who were certified prior to this rule being published in 2010 who would still be certified under the five year certification they have when this portion of the rule is effective in 2014.
Well, now they are disenfranchised because they haven't been tested to the new rule by definition because the new rule wasn't published yet.
That is a problem for a couple of reasons. Those employers who proactively certified their operators during that time, before the rule was published, are in fact being penalized.
At that time there were four certification bodies, all of them had been recognized formally by Federal OSHA as meeting the then requirements.
Now what OSHA is saying is well, that was then and now is now, and now is different.
The other thing that is quite interesting is when OSHA did its impact analysis, it estimated that 60 percent of all the operators involved in construction were already certified. It based its analysis on 40 percent needing to be certified going forward. Now it is saying those 60 percent that were previously certified aren't really certified any more. I think there is a disconnect there. Having said that, we have a couple of possible solutions. I don't want this to be entirely negative.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I was hoping you were going to get to that part.
MR. BRENT: What we would suggest to OSHA is if you let the certification body -- this is not an NCCCO issue, it's a certification body issue -- if you let the certification body and the accrediting body, which is either ANSI or NCCA, and we are certified by both and accredited by both -- if you let the accrediting body and the certification body determine the practical crane size and then let us take care of the capacity issue exclusively on the written exam, then I think we could find a navigatable path.
Secondly, on the disenfranchisement, if you let re-certification do its job, then we can capture all of these existing operators as they go through re-certification.
The rule requires them to be re-certified every five years. That is the standard across the board.
Certification and re-certification in the certification world, the whole certification industry, uses re-certification as a mechanism for doing exactly this, it is designed to capture changes in rules, changes in technology, changes in safety standards, in a progressive fashion.
In other words, just because you have a change in technology or a change in a rule, you don't have to go back and re-certify the entire population tomorrow.
We would say you use re-certification for what it is meant to do, and we can capture these folks going through. That may be there are some that need to be captured after the 2014 date, and I think that is the sticking point with Federal OSHA.
I want to emphasize that re-certification is not grandfathering, and for the record, this is the difference. Re-certification means you capture everybody eventually.
In this case, it is not just eventually, it's by a date certain. The date certain is no more than five years from the moment you were originally certified.
Grandfathering is the existing pool of individuals that never get to test, never get the change, and it is a completely different mechanism. We have never supported grandfathering. No certification body frankly would be able to support it.
In fact, it doesn't even exist now at the state level. Since 2000, in the crane world, when West Virginia brought their rule in, every state license has required existing operators to be tested and certified.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, those are the residual issues, as Mr. Maddux said this morning, we are hoping we can resolve them, but it does exist. The clock is ticking. We are two years into a four year period. We have a lot of people out there in the industry very concerned about this, quite reasonably, and we would like to be able to tell them it has all been taken care of.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I appreciate your comments, Graham. Are there any questions or comments from the committee?
MS. SHORTALL: Could you please just state the name of your organization again?
MR. BRENT: Yes, ma'am. The National Commission of Certification of Crane Operators.
MS. SHORTALL: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: We will have to work with staff. We have not yet decided when the first meeting in 2013 will be. I think typically we are probably looking at the May time frame perhaps. Hopefully, this is resolved by then, but we will work with the staff, and based on Chip's suggestion and your comments about how we should take this up if by then it has not been rectified.
MR. BRENT: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you very much.
MS. SHORTALL: At this time I would like to enter some exhibits into the record.
As Exhibit 30, the OSHA fact sheet titled "Keeping Workers Safe During Hurricane Sandy Clean Up and Recovery."
As Exhibit 31, CPWR update, CPWR launches an on-line resource to identify and control silica dust.
Exhibit 32, comments from Rick Burnheimer, RF CHECK.
I'd like to make one other comment about tomorrow. Persons who have requested to participate telephonically in the meeting, if you are unable to attend tomorrow and would like to listen in on the conversation that ACCSH will be having, just speak with Damon Bonneau, and he will give you the passcode information.
Please be aware you may not speak during the meeting until the point for public comment period.
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: Thank you, Sarah.
Any other questions or comments?
CHAIRMAN STAFFORD: I thank everyone for being here today. I thank the committee. We will adjourn for this afternoon.
(Whereupon, at 4:20 p.m., the meeting was recessed, to reconvene the following day, Friday, November 30, 2012.)
Exhibit 1 - November 29-30, 2012 ACCSH meeting agenda
Exhibit 2 - DOC Regulatory Update PowerPoint presented by Jim Maddux
Exhibit 3 - NIOSH Update PowerPoint presented by Christine Branche and Matt Gillen
Exhibit 4 - ACCSH's work group list, which includes the work groups, co-chairs and OSHA liaisons
Exhibit 5 - Training and outreach work group report from the November 28, 2012 meeting
Exhibit 6 - OSHA outreach and training program introduction to OSHA web page handout from the work group meeting
Exhibit 7 - Recommended modifications to the introduction to OSHA's construction outreach program delivered at the work group meeting yesterday
Exhibit 8 - Approved injury and illness prevention program work group report from the November 28, 2012 meeting
Exhibit 9 - Federal Agency Procurement Construction Health and Safety Checklist
Exhibit 10 - Backing operations work group report from the November 28, 2012 meeting
Exhibit 11 - Proximity detection system, PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Teizer, Construction Industry Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology
Exhibit 12 - OSHA back over prevention technology PowerPoint handout
Exhibit 13 - OSHA backing operations web page
Exhibit 14 - Fatal injuries, a worker being struck by a vehicle or motor equipment that is backing up, all industries, Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011
Exhibit 15 - Improved health hazards/emerging issues/prevention through design work group report from the November 27, 2012 meeting
Exhibit 16 - Introduction to nano materials and occupational health presented by Kristen Kulinowski, Institute for Defense Analysis, Science and Technology Policy Institute
Exhibit 17 - Engineered nano particle exposure and construction PowerPoint by Bruce Lippy, CPWR
Exhibit 18 - Thermo degradation of organic coating's handout from OSHA
Exhibit 19 - Radio frequency exposure PowerPoint, Federal Communications Commission
Exhibit 20 - OSHA update PowerPoint by David Michaels, Assistant Secretary
Exhibit 21 - Diversity work group report from the November 27, 2012 meeting
Exhibit 22 - Issues affecting women in construction, OSHA alliance PowerPoint
Exhibit 23 - Proposed agreement establishing the lines between OSHA and NAWIC
Exhibit 24 - OSHA and NAWIC safety and health alliance plan information sheet
Exhibit 25 - OSHA and NAWIC alliance background document
Exhibit 26 - National Association of Women in Construction fact sheet
Exhibit 27 - Women in Construction fact sheet, draft document, developed by the Diversity Work Group
Exhibit 28 - Draft Women in Construction web page
Exhibit 29 - OSHA draft Women in Construction fact sheet
Exhibit 30 - OSHA fact sheet titled "Keeping Workers Safe During Hurricane Sandy Clean Up and Recovery"
Exhibit 31 - CPWR update, CPWR launches an on-line resource to identify and control silica dust
Exhibit 32 - Comments from Rick Burnheimer, RF CHECK
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