www.agc.org • July 2017  

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The purpose of the Construction Safety Excellence Awards (CSEA) is to recognize those construction companies who excel at safety performance. The CSEA closely examines each candidate's commitment to safety and occupational health management and risk control. Unlike other safety award programs that limit the criteria to frequency rates, the CSEA selection process is considerably more comprehensive. Each application is reviewed for evidence of company management commitment, active employee participation, safety training, work site hazard identification and control, and safety program innovation. Over the past five years, the finalist judges have produced the CSEA Safety Management Showcase to share the best practices noted during the competition with the construction industry and any organization that places a high value on safety leadership.  Please take the time to read through the Showcase. It is chocked full of ideas that the best of the best contractors are using to make sure all of their employees go home every night to their families.  And feel free to share the 2017 Showcase document with everyone.
The summer heat is on, so OSHA is reminding employers and workers about heat illness hazards and to take the necessary precautions when working outdoors. Those steps include gradually increasing shift lengths so workers can adapt to hot environments, providing frequent water breaks, allowing ample time to rest, and providing shade.

OSHA’s Heat Safety Campaign website raises awareness of heat illness and its prevention and offers links to educational and training resources. It also links to a free smartphone app that allows users to calculate the heat index for their location and provides reminders about what to do to prevent heat illness. Employers and safety professionals are encouraged to use the website to share examples of how they are keeping workers safe in the heat. Stories can be emailed to HeatSafetyTips@dol.gov for possible inclusion on the site. Heat tips and photos also can be shared on Twitter using the hashtags #WaterRestShade and #ProTips.
Regulatory & Legislative Updates
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced a new enforcement policy that excludes monorail hoists from the requirements of Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction, as long as employers meet other OSHA requirements.  

The policy change was made in response to comments from stakeholders and in recognition that a monorail hoist – which is attached to a fixed monorail mounted on equipment such as trucks, trailers, or scaffolding systems – is significantly different from other cranes and derricks in construction.

Some monorail hoists can be extended and contracted in only a fixed horizontal direction. They do not rotate, swing on a hinge, or boom out much farther than the equipment on which they are mounted. They are often used in construction to hoist precast concrete components, storage tanks, and mechanical equipment. 

Under the new policy, the agency will not cite employers for failing to meet the requirements of Subpart CC if they meet the requirements of the overhead hoists and general training standards. The general industry requirements for monorail hoists remain intact. 

"This enforcement policy is a commonsense approach to addressing industry concerns while also ensuring workers are protected," said Dean McKenzie, director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction.

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.
OSHA is proposing to delay the 2017 compliance date for electronic submissions of injury and illness logs from July 1 to Dec. 1. The five-month delay will allow the agency to further review the final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. Read the news release for information on submitting comments on the proposed deadline extension. Comments are due July 13.
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.
Drexel University Online, LLC
July 13, 2017
WebEd: Fatigue Management in Your Workplace
2 - 3 p.m.
Fatigue is an all-too-common occurrence in our fast-paced society. Most anyone can be susceptible to fatigue. Fatigue can be a breeding ground for mishaps, incidents and accidents, with tragic or near-tragic outcomes. Worker fatigue has been the main factor in major public disasters such as Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez. Don’t overlook this common hazard in your workplace!

October 2-4, 2017

AGC Advanced Safety Management Training Course
Arlington, Virginia
This unique three–day course provides construction safety and health professionals with the next–level knowledge required to successfully manage a company–wide safety program. Moving beyond the basics of Focus Four training, AGC’s Advanced Safety Management Training Program will give participants a more holistic view of safety’s role in project and company success, as well as advanced tactics and best practices for managing all aspects of a corporate safety program. Participants will also focus on the importance of "selling" safety throughout the organization and methods to generate buy–in from different audiences.
Chapter News
Workers building a baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves under a partnership with OSHA experienced dramatically lower injury rates than the national average. The two-year Strategic Partnership with Georgia Tech Research Institute, American Builders and the Associated General Contractors of Georgia was created to ensure the highest level of worker safety and health during construction. The partnership focused on reducing injuries and illnesses among the 6,000 workers, increasing safety and health training, sharing best practices, and ensuring employers used safety and health programs to find and fix hazards. Workers logged 5.7 million hours, resulting in only four lost-time injuries and one incident that resulted in restricted work. There would have been 52 more such injuries during a comparable number of work hours according to the national industry average calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Best Practices

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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