John L. Henshaw
International Association of
Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and
Reinforcing Iron Workers
San Diego, CA
July 14, 2002
Value of Training
- Delighted to join you for the 18th annual Iron Workers Instructors Training Program. Training is a critical component of OSHA efforts to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the construction industry. My goal ... make America's construction sites the safest in the world!
- I want to express my particular appreciation to President Joe Hunt for his leadership in collaborating on a new and groundbreaking training effort -- unprecedented and innovative joint training for OSHA compliance officers. Continues the spirit of cooperation forged during the steel erection negotiated rulemaking.
- Truly a collaborative process. In January, instructors from various Iron Worker locals participated in steel erection standard training we held for OSHA compliance officers in the Chicago area.
- Then in May, 29 OSHA compliance officers attended first-ever training at your Apprenticeship Training Center in Springfield, New Jersey.
- I've had excellent reports on this training. Your facility was ideal to show our people the real world of steel erection, where the safety hazards are and how the standard applies to the everyday work of an iron worker -- an indoor mock-up of a construction site, complete with hoists, tools -- everything necessary to teach apprentices how to raise, lower and connect structural steel members.
- Many of our compliance officers had never had an opportunity to receive this kind of hands-on, real-life training. Even better ... to learn from the real experts -- those who erect steel for a living.
- The training staff was great. Our people rated this session among the very best in their experience. I am delighted we're planning to send more OSHA staff to a similar session in Boston in August. Look forward to future opportunities to collaborate.
- There is some good news in construction industry -- injuries, illnesses and fatalities down overall. But construction still has highest death toll. To reduce injuries, illness and deaths, we need to make safety not just a priority ... but a core value.
-- In every business, and on every job, safety is everybody's business.
I am a safety and health professional, and these are my priorities for the construction industry:
-- Need a paradigm shift nationwide to make safety a cultural norm.
-- One job in particular where safety was a core value ... World Trade Center
-- NO fatalities, only 35 serious injuries.
-- LWDII rate 2.3 - 1/2 national avg. for demolition, clean-up and debris removal contractors.
OSHA needs to exercise leadership in advancing safety and health for all employees in the American workplace;
Hot Button Issues
-- I want safety and health to define us as a nation. We care about each other.
1. Maintain strong, fair and effective enforcement;
-- With leadership at the helm, OSHA has three strategies to make American workplaces the safest in the world.
2. Expand outreach, education and compliance assistance; and
3. Develop and foster partnerships and voluntary programs.
-- Construction deaths among Hispanic workers rose 24% in 2000 ...77 in construction industry out of a total of 1,154 ... while total worker construction deaths declined 3 %.
-- OSHA has entered into an Alliance with Hispanic Contractors of America ... to promote safety and health training and education in Spanish ... translate, disseminate safety and health materials in Spanish ... focus on community and faith-based groups and events.
-- Toll-free help line ... 1-800-321-OSHA ... in English and Spanish ... Spanish web page ...Hispanic Task Force.
-- New: Collect additional info during fatality/catastrophe investigations
... including language and other information on possible cultural barriers.
-- Still remains 1/3 of our lost time injuries ... 4-pronged approach:
-- Industry-specific and task-specific guidelines -- flexible, can be tailored ... put some in place this year ... first in nursing homes ... next in grocery stores and poultry processing ... welcome partners for additional industries.
-- Repetitive motion injuries are high in construction. OSHA may not be writing guidelines for construction currently. But that doesn't mean you can't move forward and develop realistic and workable ergonomic guidelines, particularly for steel erection ... and I encourage you to do so.
-- Enforcement -- general duty clause ... focus on those who choose to ignore ergo hazards.
-- Outreach and assistance -- wealth of info on website ... training through 12 education centers ... special help for Hispanic/immigrant workers. We will be holding numerous seminars, training sessions, workshops and other assistance to sell the value of guidelines and how repetitive motion injuries can be prevented.
-- Research -- national advisory committee with 15 members ... advise OSHA on guidelines, research, outreach and assistance ... Nominations closed June 17 ... received 200+ ... hope to have committee selected and meet early fall.
Outreach, education and compliance assistance
- Construction Inspections ... 20,276 in 2001 ... we project that overall inspections will be up 1,300 more in 2003 ... about half in construction.
- We will be doing a better job of targeting for construction inspections ... OSHA to begin a new construction data initiative.
-- Collect injury and illness data from about 13,000 larger contractors who control 1/2 dollar value of all construction jobs.
-- Identify the high rate/low rate contractors for enforcement and/or partnership.
- Encouraging OSHA compliance officers and National office staff to become certified as CSP/CIH/ CHP.
- Issues at construction sites ... scaffolding, fall protection, ladders, excavations, PPE, heavy/highway equipment, chemical exposures, and energized equipment.
- DON'T want to come back again and again and cite same things.
- Want to make an impact ... create change ... positive outcome ... hazard reduction ... move from a satisfaction with an inadequate safety and health program to a passion to establish a positive safety and health culture.
- OSHA is willing to expand assistance for those employers who want to do the right thing through partnerships, cooperative training and other compliance assistance efforts and initiatives.
- Working in partnerships ... produce impact greater than the sum of individual efforts. Unique opportunity today to make the biggest impact we have ever had on injury and illness reduction.
-- Construction VPP sites currently total 39 with an additional 90 plus individual construction strategic partnerships (mostly local).
-- Overall strategic partnerships showed a 60% growth last year ... involved 139 with 6,200 sites ... 216,000 workers. Produce significant results ... for example ...
-- Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisc.
400,000 hours worked without significant injury ... 100% subs have safety and health program ... 100% hazard correction following daily audits ... 2 employees saved by fall protection when they fell from 4th and 5th stories.
-- AMEC Construction Management, Inc. ...in Illinois ...
7 high rise sites ... goal to reduce inj/ill rate to 5.8-30% below 2000 rate.
- Special agreements ...
-- Council on Certification of Health Environmental and Safety Technologists (CCHEST) ... OSHA will recognize the certified Safety Trained Supervisor in Construction as an indicator that the site is being operated by individuals with demonstrated knowledge and ability ... and as an indicator of the contractor's commitment to an effective site safety and health program.
-- Our partnership with you ... to assist OSHA compliance officers with training for new steel erection standard.
- We need more partnerships like these. I am open to additional ideas for ways to work with stakeholders. We will do anything and everything we can to help employers and employees establish safety and health as a core value for every business every day. We want to be a catalyst for changing paradigms so that a safety and health culture becomes the norm.
- The possibilities are unlimited -- and the likelihood of success much greater -- when we join forces. I appreciate all you are doing to work with us as partners -- and I look forward to working together in the future.