www.agc.org • August 2015  

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Last month, AGC hosted a safety and health conference in downtown Pittsburgh. Attendees enjoyed a variety of talks from industry experts, the chance to network with other professionals, and even a Pirates game sponsored by Zurich North America. Among the many topics discussed were the confined spaces in construction standard, safety culture, the value of certification, safety analytics, and safety programs in higher education. Overall, it was a great opportunity to promote safety in the industry -  something everyone can appreciate. As Todd Stevens of W.B. Moore, this year's grand winner of the Willis Construction Safety Excellence Awards, said during a panel, "Safety is not a proprietary thing. What we learn, we should share."

When discussing safety regulations and compliance, it’s easy to imagine the development of an "us v. them" mentality. But at the conference, it was clear that this isn’t exactly how the construction industry operates. Eric Kampert, director of OSHA’s Office of Construction Services, noted, "You guys are the ones out there making the changes. We’re just the catalysts." His statement indicates how safety in construction isn’t just important due to government policies, it’s important because companies care about the wellbeing of their workers. 

Eddie Greer, director of business development, Board of Certified Safety Professionals, an AGC of Texas Highway, Heavy, Utilities & Industrial Branch member, gave a presentation on the value of safety certifications in which he displayed the number of annual deaths in the industry in large text on the screen and said, "You should take great exception to that number. The issue is that we can’t put faces to that number. We’ve got to do something about that." Stevens emphasized that when dealing with injured workers, "There’s got to be a human element. Where’s the ‘I care that you’re a father’ element?"

It was also evident that there are significant economic benefits for safety. For example, Dr. Lon Ferguson of Indiana University of Pennsylvania reported that the school has a 75 percent placement rate for graduating safety sciences students, with an average starting salary of $56,000. Howard A. Mavity, a partner at Fisher & Phillips, a member of multiple AGC chapters, also stressed the linkage between morality and success when it comes to safety. He asked, "What is a safety professional’s job?" Some in attendance responded that it was to save lives, while others said that it was to protect one’s assets. Mavity’s follow-up question: "Is there a difference?"
On May 4, 2015, OSHA published its standard on Confined Spaces in Construction. The new standard went into effect on Aug. 3, 2015. Requests for an extension of the effective date have indicated a need for additional time for training and the acquisition of equipment necessary to comply with the new standard. OSHA will not delay the effective date, but instead will postpone full enforcement of the new standard for 60 days from the effective date of Aug. 3, 2015 to Oct. 2, 2015. During this 60-day period, OSHA will not issue citations to an employer making good faith efforts to comply with the new standard, as long as the employer is in compliance with either the training requirements of the new standard or the training requirements of the former, which is stated here: All employees required to enter into confined or enclosed spaces shall be instructed as to the nature of the hazards involved, the necessary precautions to be taken, and in the use of protective and emergency equipment required. The employer shall comply with any specific regulations that apply to work in dangerous or potentially dangerous areas.

For further information, please click here.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that clarifies an employer’s continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness throughout the five-year period during which the employer is required to keep the records.   

"Accurate records are not simply paperwork, but have an important, in fact life-saving purpose," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "They will enable employers, employees, researchers and the government to identify and eliminate the most serious workplace hazards - ones that have already caused injuries and illnesses to occur."

OSHA is issuing this proposed rule in light of the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in AKM LLC v. Secretary of Labor (Volks)*to clarify its long-standing position that the duty to record an injury or illness continues for as long as the employer must keep records of the recordable injury or illness. The proposed amendments add no new compliance obligations; the proposal would not require employers to make records of any injuries or illnesses for which records are not already required.

The proposed rule was published in the July 29, 2015, issue of the Federal Register. Members of the public can submit written comments on the proposed rule at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. See the Federal Register notice for submission details. Comments must be submitted by Sept. 28, 2015. 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
August 11, 2015 
2 - 3 p.m.

The objective of this webinar is to discuss the process of creating a world class safety culture in your company and why it’s important. We will review how a systematic approach to developing a culture can assist you in creating a safety culture in your own organization. We will also discuss the value and importance of using benchmarking to improve practices and performance in safety.  
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.

AGC Safety Management Training Course
October 7-9, 2015 
St. Louis, Missouri
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. The program builds on Focus Four training and prepares attendees to manage key safety issues on the jobsite and provides techniques for delivering basic safety training to field personnel. Participants will 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.
Chapter News
Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania's (CAWP’s) ongoing alliance with the Pittsburgh area-office of OSHA has been a beneficial resource for the industry to share information and to promote safety. At CAWP’s recent Safety Committee meeting, OSHA representative, Robert Carroll, provided important OSHA updates to share with the industry. In addition, he shared the following safety information:

Most Frequently Cited Serious Violations – Construction Industry FY 2014 – PPT 
OSHA publishes this list to alert employers about these commonly cited construction standards so they can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards. Click here for the report.
Construction Fatalities in Pittsburgh Region - 2004 to 2014
This handout summarizes all construction-related fatality inspections conducted out of the Pittsburgh area-office of OSHA between the years 2004 and 2014.
OSHA's Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers
OSHA's nationwide Heat Illness Prevention Campaign aims to raise awareness and teach workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather and provide valuable resources to address these concerns.  There are several fact sheets and training documents accessible on the website under Educational Resources. To access those documents, please click here.
Industrial Scientific Corporation
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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