OSHA Issues

Silica Exposure

The construction industry is concerned that OSHA continues to designate its silica regulation as a top agency priority at a time when silica Personal Exposure Limits (PELs) are already in place and OSHA has failed to make the case for new regulations.

The masonry industry urges Congress to ensure that OSHA’s regulatory focus is not swayed by bad science on the matter of workplace exposure to crystalline silica.

Learn more about Crystalline Silica

Ergonomics

When the Bush Administration took office, they, not unlike the Clinton Administration before it, had certain ideas about how to address the issue of ergonomics injuries in the workplace. The Clinton Administration had taken a more stringent stance and pushed forward a standard which was terribly flawed, overly vague and tremendously costly and the standard was ultimately overturned by an Act of Congress. Officials within Bush's Department of Labor decided that instead of attempting to rewrite a new standard, they would target industries with high rates of incidents and recommend "guidelines" to deal with repetitive stress injuries on the job.

The first industry targeted was the nursing home industry, but these so-called "guidelines" have been rigorously enforced under the General Duty Clause and numerous citations issued to nursing homes for failure to adopt an ergonomics policy to prevent or reduce injuries. The poultry processors and retail grocery chains were the next focus of OSHA and guidelines for those industries are in the process of being finalized. After that, the "guidelines" begin hitting a little closer to home in the construction industry - the shipbuilders have asked OSHA to work with them to formulate guidelines for their workers.

The MCAA will be watching developments there very carefully. In Washington State recently, it would appear that the ergonomics tide is turning. Voters there voted overwhelmingly to overturn the State's rules and regulations on ergonomics in the workplace, noting that they were the same overly broad, costly, one size fits all approach adopted by the Clinton Administration. We at MCAA certainly support efforts to reduce workplace injuries; we'd simply prefer that it be done in a technological and economically feasible manner. This is an issue that we are sure won't go away any time soon, so the MCAA will continue to monitor other ergonomics initiatives at both the federal and state levels.

Cranes and Derricks

OSHA is still in negotiated rulemaking for a new standard for various types of hoisting equipment used at construction sites, primarily cranes and derricks. There have been several meetings on this proposal, and the working group has made a lot of progress. The major sticking point seems to be over operator certification. OSHA would prefer that contractors and equipment suppliers obtain operator certification from outside sources. The trade associations representing various construction contractors around the country have argued that their safety personnel should be allowed to get certification and then train their own employees.

Obviously these are dangerous pieces of equipment to operate and those who do should be knowledgeable. The requirement for outside certification will, however, result in increased costs for the contractor, whether they lease or own, and more time off work for the employees to get trained and tested. It will be interesting to see which approach finally prevails.

Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment

OSHA standards generally require that protective equipment (including PPE) be provided and used when necessary to protect employees from hazards that can cause injury, illness or physical harm. OSHA is reopening the record to get input on issues related to PPE considered to be a "tool of the trade."

OSHA Correspondence

Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2015
From: The Coalition for Workplace Safety
To: The Honorable David Michaels
Subject: Re: Comments on OSHA Docket No. OSHA-2015-0006; Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness (80 Fed. Reg. 45116, July 29, 2015)

View this document


Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2010
From: Richard B. Fairfax, Director, Directorate of Enforcement Programs
To: Zach Everett, Safety Committee Chairman, MCAA
Subject: Re: Glove Requirement

View this document


Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2008
From: Steven F. Witt, Director, Directorate of Construction
To: Rashod R. Johnson, Engineering Consultant, MCAA
Subject: Re: Whether the material storage·requirements in 29 CFR 1926.250(a)(I.), (b)(6) and (b)(7) apply to stored and stacked brick and masonry blocks that remain completely secured as shipped (interlocked, banded, shrink-wrapped or similarly bound for shipment)?

View this document


Date: Wednesday, November 5, 2003
From: Russell B. Swanson, Director, Directorate of Construction
To: Rashod R. Johnson, Director of Engineering, MCAA
Subject: Re: Storage on scaffolding of materials left over at the end of a shift. 29 CFR 1926.250(b)(5).

View this document


Date: Thursday, October 30, 2003
From: Russell B. Swanson, Director, Directorate of Construction
To: Barbara McNeil, Walsh Northeast Division
Subject: Re: Storage of materials on scaffolds longer than needed for immediate operations. 29 CFR 1926.250(b)(5).

View this document


Date: Thursday, October 16, 2003
From: Rashod R. Johnson, Director of Engineering, MCAA
To: Russell B. Swanson, Director, Directorate of Construction
CC: Marian Marshall, Director of Legislative Affairs, MCAA
Michael Adelizzi, Executive Director, MCAA
Subject: OSHA interpretation of 03/14/2002 - Non-Stop Scaffolding Inc.'s scaffold towers do not comply with OSHA's integral prefabricated scaffold access frame or ladder/stairway type access requirements.

View this document


Date: Friday, August 22, 2003
From: Rashod R. Johnson, Director of Engineering, MCAA
To: Russell B. Swanson, Director, Directorate of Construction
CC: Marian Marshall, Director of Legislative Affairs, MCAA
Michael Adelizzi, Executive Director, MCAA
Subject: OSHA interpretation of 06/10/2003 - Storage of materials that prevents inspection of scaffolds before workshifts; incidental storage amounts that do not inhibit scaffold inspection.

View this document


Date: Friday, August 1, 2003
From: Rashod R. Johnson, Director of Engineering, MCAA
To: Russell B. Swanson, Director, Directorate of Construction
CC: Marian Marshall, Director of Legislative Affairs, MCAA
Michael Adelizzi, Executive Director, MCAA
Subject: August 12, 2003 Meeting with MCAA

View this document


Date: Tuesday, June 10, 2003
From: Russell B. Swanson, Director, Directorate of Construction
To: Barbara McNeil, Walsh Northeast Division
Subject: 29 CFR 1926.250(b)(5) (prohibition against storing materials on scaffolds longer than needed for immediate operations)

View this document


Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2003
From: Russell B. Swanson, Director, Directorate of Construction
To: Rashod R. Johnson, Director of Engineering, MCAA
CC: Marian Marshall, Director of Legislative Affairs, MCAA
Subject: Re: Requirement in 29 CFR 1926.752 for steel erector to obtain written notification of strength test for mortar in masonry piers/walls prior to steel erection.

View this document


Date: Friday, December 27, 2002
From: Russell B. Swanson, Director, Directorate of Construction
To: Sean Purcell, Safety Director, RPCarbone Company
Subject: Re: What are an employer's obligations under 1926 Subpart R with respect to testing mortar? What OSHA responsibilities does a controlling contractor have under Subpart R when it subcontracts duties placed by Subpart R on the controlling contractor? 1926.752(a)(1); mortar testing requirements; contracting out controlling contractor duties.

View this document


Date: Friday, May 18, 2001
From: Ryan E. Kuehmichel, Area Director, OSHA
To: Ormond Builders, Inc.
Subject: 1926.706 - Requirements for bracing masonry construction walls.

View this document