United States: An Update From AGC's Winter National Safety Committee Meetings

Folks who follow my writing know that of the many groups to which I speak, the AGC National Safety Committee is my favorite. I love the industry and I value the clients and contacts who have become friends, even Bob Emmerich, Jim Goss, Bo Cooper, Rick Reubelt, Carl Heinlein, Kevin Turner, Tommy Lee, and of course, our AGC leader, Kevin Cannon.

I can say great things about ABC, NUCA, and other construction groups, but the AGC National Safety Committee epitomizes to me the cutting edge of companies inculcating safety into their culture and values. The actions taken by these attendees save lives and prevent employee injuries. And these actions do not interfere with making money. That's my 33+ years' experience speaking. I hate jingoisms, rah-rah motivation speeches, and unsubstantiated claims of a correlation. I've seen these companies make a difference, and contrary to popular opinion, lawyers do have souls. Well, at least on the defense side. Everyone needs on some level to feel that their job matters.

I'd challenge you to find a more down-to-earth group of professionals ... and tough. Eliot Lapidus, Safety Director for the robust Oregon-Columbia AGC Chapter doesn't think that it's a big deal that he survived hitting a 400 pound bear at 60 mph on his Harley after the bear leaped from above onto the road. Eliot literally broke every bone on his right side – every bone – as well as having two arterial bleeds. Of course he's back at work.

Eliot would have died except that a battle-hardened navy corpsman stopped and administered trauma care until Eliot could be medevac'd out.

ACTION POINT: Employers – please consider providing certain employees with trauma training in addition to first aid and CPR training. Spend about $40 and add a military-type trauma pack to your First Aid kits. An estimated 80% of shooting victims might have lived if anyone had possessed even rudimentary trauma response training and gear.

Of course toughness isn't limited to men. Consider Kathi Dobson and her nationwide efforts to get more women active in construction through NAWIC and other groups. The bear would have known better than to jump in front of her.

Sharing Knowledge for the Good of the Industry and its Workers.

Like The Association of Union Contractors (TAUC), another favorite, the AGC National Safety Committee provides an opportunity for even competitors to share safety information and cooperate with one another, and with OSHA. This is a savvy group and we talk about managing OSHA inspections and reducing legal exposure, but the primary purpose of the meetings is to develop and share best practices. Companies like AECOM-Hunt, Haselden, Zurich, Willis Towers Watson, Herzog, HCSS, and many others stood out.

What were some of the hot topics of discussion?

  • Practical strategies to eliminate silica exposure and meet the new OSHA standards.
  • Getting past the talk and improving employee engagement, including in safety.
  • Dealing with employee fatigue, distraction and the challenges associated with an aging less healthy workforce.
  • Worker shortages.
  • More effectively managing the large amounts of construction, demanding schedules, and challenging architects.
  • Recent studies showing that the construction industry worldwide is lagging behind other industries in improving technology to keep up with the increases in worker productivity.
  • Motor vehicle accidents, fleet risk management, struck-bys and workers killed coming and going to work.
  • The NLRB Hy-Brand and Browning Ferris decisions, joint employer liability, and OSHA's multiemployer citation approach.

Shameless Promotion and request for More Management and Owner/Customer Involvement.

Most if not all of these industrywide issues require active involvement by upper management, owners and architects. Trade Associations provide opportunities for different interest groups, and so does the AGC ... finance, executives, HR .... There are good reasons to have affinity groups where fellow CEOs, CFOs or HR professionals can comfortably discuss issues unique to their roles. I'm especially fond of the AGC HR and Labor Lawyer groups.

I respect the time demands on executives and the deluge of data. I'm a practice group leader over attorneys in 32 offices, and yet I still have to bill hours and bring in business. With the endless flow of data and the increasing speed and productivity demanded in every industry, it's tough to be involved versus relying on subordinates.

Nevertheless, the people who can most address the above safety-related challenges are not the safety professional attendees.

  • A genuinely safe workplace won't happen without upper management getting involved.
  • HR and safety may not coordinate closely enough.
  • Owners omay not recognize how they could more effectively manage risks created by their contractors, or how owner policies and lack of coordination can contribute to the problems they seek to avoid.

And yet, few construction executives attend safety meetings. Owner reps would love to be privy to some of the discussions. And it's sad that the few attorneys who generally attend are directly involved in risk management or making a presentation. We're sometimes preaching to the Choir.

Silica – silica – silica.

The December 22, 2017 DC Court of Appeals rejected employer challenges to the silica standard. Regardless of the next legal steps, employers should emphasize figuring out how to make this thing work.

The AGC National Safety committee, various AGC chapters, insurers and the CEA are spending time and money to: (1) gather and analyze existing test data and obtain new results; (2) share information on compliance strategies and technological developments. Other groups, schools and companies are doing good work, such as CPWR .

Silica Issues Discussed.

  • Because of the legal challenges, budget and staff needs and other issues, Fed-OSHA has not been able to provide adequate guidance, and as we work through the new standard, more issues will arise.
  • Attendees reported no consistency in how OSHA Area Offices and State Plans are approaching silica inspections and in providing guidance.
  • We're entering new territory in systematically testing and developing collections of results (objective data) on similar work. In the past, it was more common in OSHA respiratory exposure citations to after the fact try to prove that the employer reasonably relied on past experience. Rarely did a challenged employer rely on studies specifically prepared and relied upon for decisions.
  • What should an employer do when equipment is deemed effective by OSHA in eliminating hazards in one of the 18 categories – if one follows manufacturer's instructions - but out of caution or product liability concerns, the manufacturers' instructions still recommend wearing a respirator?
  • How does one get water to upper levels in multistory structures where there is no water? Manufacturers, such as Huskavarna are starting to develop new equipment to control dust or provide water for portable devices, but the equipment does not yet meet all of the needs.
  • What is the response to the risk of water discoloring stone or other floor surfaces, or cause concrete slabs to curl at edges.
  • How to handle changing filters of devices designed to vacuum up dust when the filter change may release dust.

Silica Legal Issues.

OSHA should expect employers to demand reliable and effective monitoring by OSHA when they come on site. Newer monitoring technologies are coming out and employers will use them. They may be more sophisticated than available to OSHA and its Salt Lake lab.

Employers will likely demand the right to conduct dual monitoring, which may require OSHA IH's to return when the employer has retained outside industrial hygienists.

Employers are not required to recreate an accident, restart work or conduct work solely for OSHA to evaluate the work or conduct tests.

More to come ....

Howard

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions