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National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety & Health
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20210
Chair Pete DeLuca opened the meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) at 8:40 a.m. on Wednesday, July 9, 2003. Approximately 30 members of the public were in attendance.
Mr. Henshaw opened the meeting by thanking the Committee members for participating on the NACOSH. Mr. Henshaw expressed his appreciation for Mr. Pete Deluca's willingness to chair the Committee. He also thanked Judy Freyman for acting as Chairman at the last meeting. Mr. Henshaw expressed excitement about the meeting and indicated that he looked forward to receiving the work products from the three workgroups. He gave special thanks to the workgroup Chairmen, Dr. James Blessman for Information Dissemination, Don Carson for Hispanic and Immigrant Workers, and Dr. Julia Faucett for Evaluation and Targeting. Mr. DeLuca expressed his happiness to serve as the Chair and acknowledged the challenge. Mr. DeLuca covered his background and work experience, and had the Committee members introduce themselves. He subsequently asked to get the minutes approved. Mr. Stanley made the motion and it was seconded. Mr. Hayes made an objection because there was no mention of the MSDS or whistleblowers that he brought up. Mr. DeLuca those issues would be put in the record and approved tomorrow.
The next segment of the agenda included agency updates by both agency heads. Mr. Henshaw spent some time talking about the Agency Strategic Management Plan. He indicated that the Strategic Management Plan was going to be the management tool used to assure the Agency impacts in the most effective way to maintain focus and attention on improving injury and illness prevention and preventing fatalities in the workplace. Mr. Henshaw indicated that one of the focus areas is the Spanish-speaking worker and that the Agency needs to do much more around addressing new workers in the workplace today. Mr. Henshaw told the Committee that OSHA has created a Spanish web page where hits had increased from 2,500 in February of 2002 to 28,500 hits in February of 2003. He informed the Committee that OSHA intends to meet the Presidential management objectives and the DOL goals that are specific areas which the Strategic Management Plan also addresses. He further informed the Committee that the Strategic Management Plan has three goals. The first goal is to reduce occupational hazards through direct intervention. The second goal is to promote a safety and health culture through compliance assistance, cooperative programs, and strong leadership. The third goal is to maximize OSHA's effectiveness and efficiency by strengthening its capabililties and infrastructure. Further, Mr. Henshaw informed the Committee that to accomplish these goals, OSHA was to use a balanced approach in the three strategies; enforcement, compliance assistance, and cooperative programs to impact in the most significant way, fewer injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the workplace. Mr. Henshaw indicated that the five-year Strategic Management Plan calls for a reduction of the rate of workplace fatalities by 15 percent in 2003 and 2004, reduction of overall fatalities by 2 percent, in construction 3 percent, and general industry 1 percent. He also indicated that the Agency five-year target for injuries and illnesses is a 20 percent reduction in the rates. He further indicated that in the 2003-2004 goal, the Agency wants to reduce injuries by 4 percent in general industry and specific industries. Mr. Henshaw indicated that for 2003-2004, the Agency was going to focus on the following seven specific industries: landscape and horticultural services, fruit and vegetable processing, concrete and concrete products, blast furnace and basic steel products, ship and boat building and repair, and public warehousing and storage.
He informed the Committee that the Agency was going to focus on reducing amputations, ergonomic-related injuries, blood lead levels, and silica-related disease. Mr. Henshaw told the Committee that OSHA has been discussing how to improve the accuracies of MSDS. He indicated that Secretary Chao has asked OSHA to review this issue and look at the requirements and determine if changes can be made to improve the accuracy of the MSDS. Mr. Henshaw further indicated that OSHA is developing guidance and training documents for employers to complete MSDS soon to be put on the web site for 30 days for public comment. He told the Committee that the Agency is exploring the possibility of other alliances and partnerships around the global harmonization system, standardizing the format of MSDS.
Mr. Henshaw told the Committee that in response to the recalcitrant employer issue, OSHA put in place the new enhanced enforcement program. He informed the Committee that some of the enhanced enforcement concepts deals with follow-up inspections, programmed inspections, improvement of case settlement process, corporate notification of significant enforcement process, and incorporation of the federal court enforcement process allowed under the OSH Act of 1970.
In concluding his remarks, Mr. Henshaw talked about how the Strategic Management Plan dealt with cooperative programs. He told the Committee that a goal of the Strategic Management Plan in the next two years is to produce 125 new recognition programs, 100 new strategic partnerships and/or alliances, and a 10 percent increase in the outreach and education training each year, 2003 and 2004. Mr. Henshaw indicated that the Strategic Management Plan deals with emergency preparedness, homeland security workplace emergencies as it deals with our new environment around terrorism in this country. Mr. Henshaw told the Committee that the Agency was going to be exercising more and more strong safety and health leadership to drive organizations and the nation around a culture that values safety and health. He further indicated that the Agency was going to be strengthening its internal capabilities, not only the staff, but also the systems used to make sure that the systems are deployed for the long haul to produce the biggest bang for the buck in reducing injuries and illnesses.
Dr. Howard's began his remarks with a discussion of the NIOSH budget. He indicated that in past years the Agency experienced an expansion type budget, but didn't see that trend continuing. He indicated that he hoped those that care about NIOSH would speak up relative to the budget. He told the Committee that fiscal pressures puts a responsibility on the Agency to look spending and to do a programmatic review that emphasizes relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, to concentrate the programs for the most impact. Dr. Howard mentioned the new corona virus that has been discovered in southern China that is now believed to be the causative agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. He indicated that NIOSH is a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Howard told the Committee that Dr. Gerberding, Director, CDC, is very supportive of NIOSH and makes sure that safety and health issues are brought into the picture. He indicated that NIOSH has a web site with links to the CDC web site containing specific information that relates to worker safety and health around SARS prevention. Dr. Howard told the Committee that the attack rate of SARS among health care workers and first responders is significant. He indicated that there are issues related to the basic public health measures of quarantine and contact tracing. Dr. Howard informed the Committee that NIOSH has had a role in these issues because respiratory protection is an essential issue here. He told the Committee that NIOSH has worked with the World Health Organization to educate them with regard to fit testing issues, leakage issues, and acceptance of respirators by the health care community. Dr. Howard indicated that NIOSH has dispatched industrial hygienists to Toronto and Taiwan. Dr. Howard told the Committee that Taiwan is not a member of the World Health Organization; therefore CDC signed a memorandum to assist them. He informed the Committee that NIOSH's interface with the greater CDC organization has really improved significantly with regard to the SARS issue. Dr. Howard told the Committee that communicable diseases, as a workplace safety and health issue, are upon us and are also an economic issue for countries involving multi-billion dollar losses in income to countries. Dr. Howard told the Committee that NIOSH and OSHA are interacting on a regular basis with regard to emergency preparedness. He indicated that these interactions are extremely important because the agencies are trying to put on an effective, united worker safety and health front to the Department of Homeland Security to emphasize the workplace issues that they're going to be emphasizing in terms of general population emergency preparedness. He told the Committee that NIOSH launched a business preparedness page with regard to emergency response in response to requests from Dr. Gerberding through the CDC advisory committee. Dr. Howard acknowledged the help of ORC and other employer associations and labor unions in helping to prepare businesses for emergency response.
Dr. Howard mentioned NORA in regard to research accomplishments in 2003. He indicated that NORA represents a significant taxpayer investment and the impact of NORA research has been effective and relevant. Dr. Howard invited everyone who is interested in NIOSH's efficiency, effectiveness, and relevance to comment on the NORA process. Dr. Howard indicated NIOSH needs to do a little more work on the safety side. He told the Committee that NIOSH's portfolio is a little imbalanced, and indicated that people who die from machinery safety accidents are now becoming a focus for NIOSH research. Dr. Howard told the Committee that NIOSH had entered into an agreement to evaluate the effectiveness of an American National Standards Institute, or ANSI, voluntary guideline with regard to machine safety. He told the Committee that with regard to partnerships, NIOSH signed, on April 29th, a Memorandum of Understanding between NIOSH and the American Chemistry Council. He indicated that this involves the collection and review of data from occupational medical surveillance and industrial hygiene monitoring programs in companies that manufacture toluene di-isocynate, which is a significant constituent of polyurethanes. Dr. Howard mentioned a publication, "Asphalt Fume Exposures During the Application of Hot Asphalt to Roofs," which represents continued work that NIOSH is doing with its asphalt partnership. He also mentioned a publication, "Compendium of NIOSH Construction Research," which contains all current NIOSH projects. Dr. Howard mentioned a publication, "Work-Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report - 2002," which contains surveillance and injury data information. He also mentioned that NIOSH has a number of Spanish versions of publications that are available.
Dr. Howard concluded his remarks by mentioning the upcoming National Occupational Injury Research conference to be held in Pittsburg on October 28-30, and the National Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease conference to be held here in Arlington on November 13-15.
Q and A's
Mr. Hayes made some supportive remarks regarding OSHA's Strategic Management Plan. He raised his concern about mobilizing some help for families of victims and believes that OSHA should address issue. Mr. Hayes indicated that NIOSH does a fabulous job with families in accident investigation.
Dr. Davis addressed two issues. First, with regard to quantitative objectives for reduction in fatalities and injuries, Dr. Davis wondered whether the numbers are on the downward trend line that we're seeing already or if these numbers exceed the existing downward trend. Secondly, she indicated that when the high-priority industries are considered, the rationale for choosing those industries should be incorporated in the document for clarity. She further indicated that it would be useful for the public to have a stronger rationale for choosing it so that all can comment on, and then anticipate, future targets.
Dr. Faucett complimented Mr. Henshaw on the Strategic Management Plan and indicated that there were a couple of plans that were yet to be completed such as: a plan to promote systematic approaches to safety and health in American workplaces; and developing a business plan for improving intelligence capabilities. Dr. Faucett wondered if the material would be made available when completed.
Mr. Stanley indicated that reducing fatalities by 15 percent in America was an admirable goal. He commented that the majority of American workers are killed in automobile accidents. He asked Mr. Henshaw if OSHA was using the total number or using the number of fatalities that occur in an area where OSHA has some enforcement capability. Mr. Stanley found it interesting that blast furnaces and basic steel was one of the industries in the Strategic Management Plan. He indicated that the workday injury and illness rate is under the national average in that industry and their programs are unbelievable and they're doing a great job.
Ms. Freyman asked Mr. Henshaw if OSHA has specific activities earmarked for the request of additional funds for Hispanic outreach activities.
Mr. Medina indicated that the Strategic Management Plan sets five-year goals. He mentioned that health and safety practitioners keep a close look at numbers on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to take remedial action and direct resources to ensure that they have a handle on the situation. Mr. Medina asked Mr. Henshaw how he was going to manage this to make sure you can take appropriate action at the end of the year to redirect some of those efforts.
Mr. Duffy pointed out that since the smallpox issue has come about; there has been concern about infectious diseases in the workplace. Mr. Duffy indicated that the SARS issue to something that needs to be addressed because it is not just a public health issue, but a safety and health issue for workers. He indicated that he hoped NIOSH and OSHA would be involved in this issue. Mr. Duffy mentioned to Mr. Henshaw that we owe a better explanation about where the determination was made and what was the basis for OSHA's determination to withdraw from the TB rule, which not only would protect workers from TB, but also educate them on that disease, as well as other diseases, and provide the proper protection, which we are missing, especially from the SARS and smallpox issue. Mr. Duffy asked Mr. Henshaw to respond to the current payment policy on PPE.
Dr. Davis asked Dr. Howard what is the overall CDC budget.
Dr. Blessman asked Dr. Howard and Mr. Henshaw to give some attention to shift work and sleep deprivation because it probably has an impact on many of the things that we are trying to address in terms of communicable diseases, accidents and injuries, and workplace violence.
Ms. Freyman thanked Dr. Howard for the e-newsletter.
Mr. Duffy gave his appreciation for NIOSH's involvement in the overall WMD type responses for all workers and asked for specific training and information that will help workers.
Chair DeLuca informed the Committee that the next presentation was going to be from NIOSH on PPE. Mr. DeLuca told the Committee that in the afternoon they would break up into the three workgroups and try to complete the work of the workgroups and report back to the Committee tomorrow. He told the Committee that the Committee had a request from Linda Chaff with respect to some concerns. Mr. DeLuca told the Committee that some time would be made available in the afternoon for her presentation in the appropriate workgroup.
Mr. Metzler, Director, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, provided the Committee with a presentation of NIOSH's program established at the direction of Congress to provide world leadership for the prevention and reduction of occupational disease, injury, and death, for protecting workers who rely upon personal protective technologies. Mr. Duffy commended Mr. Metzler and Dr. Howard for making the presentation and indicated that hoped that we continue to focus as a nation on the need to have a laboratory that specifically addresses the protection of workers.
Workgroup Agency Staff Presentations
Mr. David Schmidt made a presentation covering OSHA's Evaluation and Targeting information. Mr. Schmidt covered the status quo of the data sources that OSHA is using right now to focus its resources. He provided the Committee with details of OSHA's major data sources and what OSHA does with the data that is collected. Committee members raised questions about the use of hours worked in the calculation of rates, availability of inspection history to State Plans, and OSHA's determination during the audit of how many workers have been injured.
Mr. Joe Reina, OSHA, Mr. Francis Yebesi, OSHA, Ms. Elaine Papp, OSHA, and Ms. Melody Kawamoto, NIOSH, made a presentation addressing OSHA and NIOSH Hispanic and Immigrant Worker outreach information and activities. Mr. Reina also requested input from NACOSH regarding what additional groups and organization OSHA should work with, whether a Hispanic summit was a useful vehicle to highlight Hispanic worker issues, and how can OSHA and NIOSH collaborate and work together better. Committee members raised questions concerning literacy differences and cultural competency.
Ms. Bonnie Friedman, OSHA, and Mr. Paul Schulte, NIOSH, made presentations addressing their agency Information Dissemination activities and projects. Committee members raised concerns that neither presenter acknowledged the substantial information dissemination contributions made by funded partners.
At the conclusion of the presentations, the minutes of the meeting were approved.
The three Committee workgroups held simultaneous workgroup meetings.
Dr. Julia Faucett, Chairman, Evaluation and Targeting Workgroup, provided the Committee with the following recommendations:
During the Committee discussion a motion was made to put the workgroups on hold and wait until a response regarding the recommendations from NIOSH and OSHA. Ms. Davis requested clarification on the longevity of the Committee member appointments. Dr. Davis also raised concern about the declining NIOSH budget in face of the increased demands on the Agency to address bioterrorism and emergency response in the workplace and emerging infectious diseases in the workplace. Dr. Davis recommended that NACOSH go on record, and possibly in a letter, calling Dr. Julie Gerberding, the head of CDC, recognizing NIOSH's role, both past and future, in dealing with bioterrorism and emergency response in the workplace and emerging response in the workplace and emerging infectious diseases as occupational hazards and call on the Agency to fund the Agency commensurate with the increased demands. The Committee approved a motion to send Dr. Gerberding a letter expressing concerns regarding Agency funding commensurate with the increased demands. Ms. Eckerly expressed some discomfort with the motion and indicated that she agreed with some of what was being said regarding the issue, but didn't have enough knowledge to agree with all of it.
The Committee chair recommended that Committee members send him agenda items in writing for the next NACOSH meeting.
Remarks - Dr. John Howard, NIOSH, Mr. John Henshaw, OSHA, Mr. Pete DeLuca, NACOSH Chair
The heads of NIOSH and OSHA thanked the Committee workgroups for their work products and recommendations and welcomed the collaboration of the two agencies. Mr. Henshaw indicated that the Committee will get a response from the Agencies regarding what we're doing, what we plan to do, and what we fell feel we can't do or shouldn't do at this time. Dr. Howard also discussed his support for the theme of interagency collaboration and indicated that is something that can be actualized on the regular basis.
Mr. DeLuca thanked the Committee for their hard work.
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