www.agc.org • June 2017  
         
 

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Efficiency Production, Inc.
On the Inside
McGriff, Seibels & Williams
 
Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP)
Regulatory & Legislative Updates
On July 20, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will hold an Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) meeting to consider a proposed rule to extend the enforcement date for crane operator certification for another year until Nov. 10, 2018.  The proposal would also extend to Nov. 10, 2018, the existing requirements for employers to ensure that crane operators are trained and competent to operate the equipment safely.  In September 2014, OSHA issued a similar rule extending the deadline for crane operator certification requirements and employer requirements for operator training and competency by three years to Nov. 10, 2017.  

The meeting will be held by teleconference only and is open to the public.  The tentative meeting agenda topics include:
  • Presentation on OSHA’s proposed rule to extend the enforcement date for the crane operator certification requirements and the existing employer duty in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standards.
  • ACCSH’s consideration of, and recommendation on, OSHA’s Proposed Rule to extend the enforcement date for the crane operator certification requirements and the existing employer duty in the Cranes and Derricks standards.
  • Public comment period
OSHA has determined that two of the four organizations that offer third-party certifications have programs that do not meet the "type AND capacity" requirements currently contained within the standards. These organizations currently offer certification by type but not by capacity. Operators in possession of this certification would be deemed "noncompliant" according to the agency. To address the potential disruption and uncertainty this interpretation has caused, OSHA has proposed to extend the compliance and enforcement date by another year to Nov. 10, 2018, as well as the current employer obligations to ensure safe operation of cranes through training and qualification.  AGC is a member of ACCSH and supports the proposed extension to allow OSHA to address the "type AND capacity" issue while also addressing operator qualification.  However, we believe the agency should allow contractors the flexibility to qualify operators under a performance standard.  To participate in the meeting, the dial-in number is 1(888) 604-9368 and  the passcode is 8521818.  AGC will continue to monitor the status of any further updates on the rule as they become available. For more information, contact Kevin Cannon at cannonk@agc.org or (703) 837-5410.
 
On May 17, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the agency’s intent to extend the deadline for contractors to submit their injury and illness data. The update does not provide any specifics as to how long the extension will be or when the official proposal will be issued. The revised regulation – Improved Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – initially required contractors to submit information from their Form 300A to OSHA electronically by July 1, 2017, which would then be posted to the OSHA website for public access. The regulation also contained anti-retaliation provisions that will not be impacted by the proposed extension and remain effective. AGC will continue to monitor the status of any further updates on the rule as they become available. For more information, contact Kevin Cannon at cannonk@agc.org or (703) 837-5410.
 
Drexel University Online, LLC
Best Practices
BY CHRIS HOLBERT
SECURATRAC

The construction industry was the number one workplace for fatalities in 2015 according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). There were a total of 4,379 worker fatalities in private industry in 2015 and 21.4 percent of those deaths were workers in the construction industry. These numbers make it evident that construction executives need solutions for monitoring the health and safety of their workers. And, workers need the most efficient means possible to report and react to emergencies.

Excluding highway collisions, the top causes of death in the construction industry were falls, a person being struck by an object, electrocution, and a person being caught-in or between objects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sites that in 2015 these four causes were responsible for 64.2 percent of construction worker deaths.

These causes of death illustrate how difficult it could be for a construction worker to place a 911 call in an emergency. After a fall or being struck by an object, a worker could likely be unconscious. A common scenario for each of these causes is the inability of the construction worker to make use of a cell phone to reach help.

According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 95 percent of Americans now own a cell phone of some type and more than one-third own a smartphone. While these devices provide many conveniences, in emergency situations these devices remain highly limited.

For example, a cell phone is not able to detect if someone slipped off a roof, triggered a staple gun and sent a nail through a hand or foot, or any number of other emergencies that can occur on a jobsite. With a cell phone the user is still required to be conscious and within range of the phone to be able to make a call for help. In the case of mobile workers and lone workers, these devices are not the most reliable or function-rich options for tracking and monitoring employee safety and health. Additionally, in the case where a lone worker is confronted by a hostile third party, the cell phone is the first item often taken so as to prevent a call for help.

A better solution is relying on easily worn devices (i.e., wearables or wearable devices) that automatically report changes that could indicate an emergency. Another option is a device that a worker could easily utilize to express the need for help without having to speak or make much of a movement.

Fueled greatly by consumers rapidly adopting fitness trackers and smart watches, the global wearables market is expected to reach a value of $19 billion in 2018. But, the construction industry could also become an influential customer shaping this evolving space. Already there are products like smart hard harts, smart safety vests, smart eyewear and even stick-on patches that can monitor everything from an employee’s location to body temperature and positioning. These devices eliminate the need for a worker to proactively report an emergency, but like cell phones they have their limitations.

For example, while the devices are able to transmit certain information about a situation to a manager or human resources department, they do not create a direct line of communication between the worker and responder. If verbal communication is possible in the emergency situation, the worker would still need to place a call on a phone.

Potentially a better option for the construction industry would be mPERS devices, similar to those used by seniors for years. Essentially, they are help buttons that can be pressed after a fall to alert emergency responders that assistance is needed. These types of technologies have become more beneficial because they no longer require a base station device to place calls, limiting their range of use.

Like other wearables, mPERS devices are small and lightweight. They provide state-of-the-art location technologies, and also offer built-in fall advisory capabilities. Wearables with this type of functionality are able to detect horizontal and vertical movement, but taking it a step further than simply reporting a fall on the job via a text message or red flag in a software system, mPERS devices can also eliminate the need for the worker to initiate a call for help. Instead, they can trigger one automatically. And, cloud-based technologies can make it possible for central stations to immediately respond to the call for help.

Another benefit of mPERS devices is the long battery life. Unlike phones that sometimes have to be charged multiple times a day, mPERS devices have less functions and do not need to be fully functional at all times. They can be left off or essentially in a hibernation mode until the SOS button on the device is pressed. Once this action occurs, location information can be sent to a central reporting destination and an emergency call can be placed. This enables mPERS devices to have battery lives of up to 30 days on one charge.

Whatever wearable device makes the most sense for a particular construction company, the most important factor is that business owners and managers take advantage of these new technologies that could potentially save lives and improve the safety and health of their employees.

Chris Holbert is CEO of SecuraTrac, an expert in mobile safety solutions.
 
 
         

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