www.agc.org • June 2015  

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On Friday, May 1, 2015, OSHA issued a final rule to increase protections for construction workers in confined spaces, similar in content and organization to the general industry confined spaces standard. The confined spaces in construction standard, however, incorporates several provisions to address construction-specific hazards, accounts for advancements in technology, and incorporates letters of interpretation issued for the general industry standard.

AGC of America is hosting a free, two-part webinar series to explain the key differences between the construction standard and the general industry standard which many in the construction industry implemented to some degree. The first webinar is scheduled for June 23, 2015, 2 - 3 p.m. eastern.

At the completion of the webinar, contractors will be able to:
  • Identify the key differences between the confined spaces in construction standard and the general industry confined spaces standard
  • Understand which requirements are the same between the two standards
Click here to register.

Jessica Douma
Regulatory Analyst, Directorate of Construction

Jessica L. Douma has been a regulatory analyst with OSHA’s Directorate of Construction since 2006, and has worked on several standards and a variety of subjects for the Office of Construction Standards and Guidance during that time. She has contributed to the agency’s work in confined spaces, communication tower safety, cranes and derricks, steel erection, silica exposure, and injury and illness prevention.  She has been the project officer for the confined spaces rulemaking for the past 8 years.  Prior to 2006, she worked for OSHA as a Presidential Management Fellow from 2004 to 2006, including a three-month detail with the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.  She received a Juris Doctor from George Mason University School of Law in 2004, and a Bachelor of Arts with a double concentration in English Literature and Government from the College of William and Mary in 2000. 
Highway Work Zone Safety Training
Construction workers make up approximately 4 percent of the country's workforce but account for an average of 17 percent of all job-related fatalities each year. And, according to a November 2013 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2003-2010, 962 highway construction workers were killed at road construction sites with 87 percent of the deaths being workers who were working onsite at the time of the incident. AGC of America, supported by a Susan Harwood Federal Grant, is pleased to offer Highway Work Zone Safety Training, a one-day program based on OSHA standards and best practices to answer the need for qualified training within the industry. 

Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey
Edison, New Jersey

AGC Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia

Carolinas AGC
Charlotte, North Carolina

Carolinas AGC
Columbia, South Carolina

June 17-19, 2015 
Arlington, Virginia 
The AGC Safety Management Training Course (SMTC) provides attendees three days of training on the basic skills needed to manage a company safety program in the construction industry. Participants receive intensive instruction and training that will allow them to return to their firms with readily applicable new skills to positively impact their company’s safety and health program.

AGC Safety and Health Conference 
July 8-10, 2015 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Construction safety and health is vital for the success of the industry. Join more than 150 industry professionals and participate in the development of regulatory and legislative activity on both a national and local level, assist in the development and creation of new safety training programs and products and hear the latest initiatives from OSHA and other industry experts.
  • Get the latest updates on congressional activity which directly affects construction safety and health.
  • Hear from key OSHA representatives on the latest updates to regulations and OSHA activities.
  • Participate on Subcommittee and Taskforce meetings - Government, Education and Performance.
  • Take an active role in improving safety and health in the construction industry.
The AGC Safety & Health Conference is open to both interested AGC members and non-members.

September 2-3, 2015 
Arlington, Virginia 

Join us Sept. 2-3 for the nation’s foremost management conference for environmental professionals in the construction industry—AGC’s 2015 Contractors Environmental Conference (CEC) in Arlington, Virginia. The CEC offers you the opportunity to learn from and network with experts in the field and share best practices with your peers. With separate tracks on compliance and sustainability, you will find great resources for environmental professionals who work in the building, highway and transportation, federal and heavy, and utility infrastructure markets. Whether your goal is an excellent compliance record or setting your company apart as a green contractor, AGC’s CEC is the conference for you.
Best Practices
As the 2015 hurricane season begins, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has launched a new feature to its mobile app to help you be prepared and stay informed about severe weather. The free feature allows you to receive weather alerts from five locations you select anywhere in the country, even if the phone is not located in the area. This tool makes it easy to follow severe weather that may be threatening your family and friends in other areas.

"Whether this year's hurricane season is mild or wild, it’s important to be prepared," said Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech. "Despite forecasters’ predictions for a below-normal number of storms, fewer storms do not necessarily mean a less destructive season. FEMA is reinforcing preparedness basics and resources to help people be ready whether they live along the coast or farther inland." Visit FEMA’s www.ready.gov/hurricanes for step-by-step information and resources for what to do before, during and after a hurricane.

Cellphones and mobile devices are a major part of our lives and an essential part of how emergency responders and survivors get information during disasters. According to a recent survey by Pew Research, 40 percent of Americans have used their smartphone to look up government services or information. Additionally, a majority of smartphone owners use their devices to keep up to date with breaking news, and to be informed about what is happening in their community.

The new weather alert feature adds to existing features in the app to help Americans through emergencies. In addition to this upgrade, the app also provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and disaster recovery centers, and tips on how to survive natural and man-made disasters. The FEMA app also offers a "Disaster Reporter" feature, where users can upload and share photos of disaster damage. The app defaults to Spanish language content for smartphones that have Spanish set as their default language.

The latest version of the FEMA app is available for free in the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices. Users who already have the app downloaded on their smartphones should download the latest update for the new alerts feature to take effect. To learn more about the FEMA app, visit: The FEMA App: Helping Your Family Weather the Storm

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

In April of this year, Oregon State University's College of Engineering announced that it would be beginning a new project with support from a grant provided by Knife River Corporation, a member of multiple AGC chapters, and MDU Construction Services Group. The goal of the project is to develop one of the world's leading facilities to improve workplace safety conditions for construction workers and the general public. This $1 million grant will be dispersed to the program over the course of three years, during which time the College of Engineering will build a lab with two major components for studying construction safety. 

The first component of the project focuses on a high-definition simulator that creates a virtual interactive work environment. In the simulator, workers and researchers can study real-world workplace situations without risk of injury. The virtual lab is described as looking like a "cave," because it is dark and enclosed. At the front of the room, there's the screen that plays programmable simulations replicating real-world on-the-job scenarios. 

The projection system will also connect to a driving simulator with a replica car in the center. The replica car can be switched out with the cab of a crane, an excavator, work truck or another potential workplace vehicle. This virtual environment places vehicles and workers together in the same work zone. The driving simulator allows researchers to study traffic patterns and the effectiveness of fleet and vehicle safety procedures, as well as transportation safety. 

By simulating workplace operations, researchers can monitor the effects of new safety procedures, new rules and other changes that could affect the safety of workers on the job. In the real world, these studies are conducted in actual workplace environments where workers face a very real risk of injury. By examining workplace changes and conditions in a virtual environment, study participants remain safe. 

The second component of the new lab at OSU is the initiative to study Prevention through Design (PtD). This concept focuses on building safety controls into the actual work environment, reducing the reliance on lower levels of control, like personal protective equipment (PPE). PtD emphasizes implementation of workplace safety beginning with the design of the actual work environment.

The fundamental concept of PtD is that safety-focused, ergonomically enhanced environments, workstations and tools help to eliminate risks at the source. Pairing safely designed facilities and tools with safer methods and procedures provides a framework that can save workers’ lives. 

For example, a building being constructed following PtD principles would take into consideration the chemical storage needs of the future occupants. To ensure the safety of the future chemical handlers, the building design would include a room specifically designated for the safe storage of those chemicals. That same building might also have features like:

Easy access to window exteriors to ensure maintenance personnel would be able to clean them with ease
Safe access to roof-top maintenance areas and built-in fall protection measures
Hazardous waste collection areas to ensure that all used chemicals and other forms of waste are kept in a safe location

PtD also emphasizes safety through the phases of construction of a building, and may even account for the safe demolition of that building. This initiative to study PtD expands upon OSU's previous push for advancement in these concepts. 

"While the original impetus of the lab was to protect roadside workers, I believe it has potential to do so much more than that in the field of commercial construction," says Scott Ashford, the dean and Kearney Professor of Engineering at the OSU College of Engineering. Ultimately, the initiative at OSU may provide the university with the ability to study safety in different industries and could have influence on workplace safety all over the country. 

OSHA reports that 4,585 workers were killed doing their jobs in 2013; more than 12 deaths every day. Twenty percent of the casualties in private industry that year were in the construction sector, and more than half of those casualties were caused by one of the following: falls, electrocutions, caught-in/between and struck by objects. With OSU's new virtual simulator and laboratory, these common workplace accidents can be studied, understood and ultimately designed out of the environment. Improving safety measures not only cuts down on major construction incidents, but also reduces numerous risks that can cost contractors a significant amount of money. 

John "JR" Rexroad is the president of the safety netting company Pucuda Leading Edge. He has been involved with high-level netting implementations for over 25 years including work with organizations such as NASA, Lockheed, G.M., and Universal Studios.

Safety Cabinet
AGC of America now offers a new, dynamic, and cost-effective way for AGC member firms to provide quality health insurance and other employee benefits. AGC’s new private exchange program is available exclusively to AGC member firms with 100+ employees in all states and in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin for firms with 10 or more employees. If you are in one of these states or have over 100 employees, contact us to find out how The AGC Alternative can help your company build a better benefits package – one that benefits you and your employees. To learn more or to get a quote for your company prior to your renewal, visit www.agc.org/exchange or call Willis† at 1-800-210-5290 to discuss your company’s needs with a benefits specialist.

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