December 5, 2019 / Veronica Stanley

A Report on the OSHA Alliance Program Construction Roundtable

It’s hard not to enjoy collaboration toward a common good. I highly enjoyed representing AIHA at OSHA’s Alliance Program Construction Roundtable on Sept. 19, where Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Loren Sweatt was among those providing introductory remarks and Scott C. Ketcham, Director of OSHA's Directorate of Construction, presented on OSHA’s Focus Four program.

At the roundtable, participants shared construction-related updates, information, and tools. On behalf of AIHA, I shared the 2019 guidance document "Focus Four for Health: An Initiative to Address Four Major Construction Health Hazards" (PDF). Developed by the AIHA Construction Committee, "Focus Four for Health" is based on OSHA’s Focus Four program, which provides information about prominent safety hazards in construction. The four hazards discussed in AIHA’s document are manual material handling, noise, air contaminants, and high temperatures. Eileen Betit, director of Research to Practice at the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), reported that her organization was promoting this new AIHA guidance document.

Dr. Xiuwen Sue Dong, the data center director for CPWR, shared insightful new statistics indicating that falls remain the leading cause of fatalities, unintentional drug overdoses are increasing, and the risk of musculoskeletal disorders in construction could be underestimated. Highlights from new, unpublished research on the aging workforce explored how the difficulty in activities increases with age and how physical ability was found to decrease by age and vary among occupations. More information is available from the resources on CPWR’s publications page. Data on falls in construction can be found in CPWR’s quarterly data report (PDF) for the second quarter of 2019, and data on musculoskeletal disorders in construction can be found in CPWR’s report (PDF) for the third quarter of 2019.

Announcements from CPWR of interest to IHs and safety professionals included the development of a hazard alert card (PDF) for products containing isocyanates and an associated toolbox talk (PDF).

Lamar Outdoor Advertising, an OSHA Alliance partner, provided a positive account of CPWR’s Foundations for Safety Leadership training program. This program was approved in 2017 as an official elective in OSHA’s 30-hour training course for construction and is reported to have over 60,000 participants as of April 2019.

The American Staffing Association reported working with the NORA Services Sector Council to develop a best-practices document for temporary and contingent workers that is expected to be finalized in early 2020.

I must admit being pleasantly focused on graphics when Ron Pilla, from the Sealant Waterproofing Restoration Institute, presented. He reused in his presentation a powerful image that had originally been provided on stickers intended for hard hats in the Department of Labor’s Campaign to End Silicosis, which was announced in May 1996 and described as outreach to encourage voluntary protection precluding enforcement. At the event and for days afterward, I kept thinking that this old graphic seems to have achieved such clarity at communicating the hazard of silica. Has our industry forgotten it? Perhaps a revival will expand its reach in our digital age and inspire new creativity. His presentation on OSHA’s new silica dust standard for construction will hopefully soon be uploaded to the list of products produced by the Alliance. It has other great graphics IHs and safety professionals will appreciate.

Other news from the roundtable included announcements of deadlines related to two awards:

  • CPWR’s Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award in Construction is a new award that recognizes innovative evidence-based technologies, work practices, and interventions designed to reduce or eliminate construction hazards that lead to injuries and pain in the construction industry. The application deadline is Feb. 29, 2020. Individuals or organizations may apply.
  • The National Safety Council’s “Rising Stars of Safety Award” recognizes individuals who have a current role in safety and have influenced their company’s safety culture and safety leadership. Applications are due March 27, 2020.

For more information about the OSHA Alliance, view notes from past Construction Roundtable meetings. The OSHA website also lists products produced by the Alliance.

Veronica Stanley

Veronica Stanley, MSPH, CIH, CSP, CESC, served as AIHA’s representative at the OSHA Alliance Construction Roundtable meeting on Sept. 19, 2019.


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