National Safety Conference Report
April 1st-April 8th 2017
Tyndale presentation on Arc and Fire rated clothing
Tyndale put on a presentation showing different UL listed fire rated and arc rated clothings under test. It was surprising to see that some of the lesser known brands don’t hold up well under fire after they’ve been washed. Scott Margolin’s recommendation was to always choose to purchase fire rated clothing that is from a more reputable source. He also talked about how dirty garments were more likely to be flammable and reduce the fire rating. Statistics show how incidents of heat related illness increase with the requirement of arc or fire rated clothing. Also, heat illness is worse on Monday after a weekend of drinking. It’s recommended from the Tyndale representative the guys have their own clothing. Rather than having garments handed out at the beginning of the day, guys are more likely to care more for their clothing if it is theirs. Tests are done laundering garments with soft water.
Construction Safety and Health Meeting
There was a lot of discussion on how to train the employer on the risk of requiring workers to work on energized equipment. If done properly, when the employer signs an energized work permit, it should be made very clear to the employer the risk of unscheduled shutdowns and damage to equipment, not to mention loss of life, and the employer may decide to schedule a shutdown to work on the equipment. There was discussion on whether or not to train apprentices on how to work live. Some JATC’s energize to 48 volts in order to train apprentices how to use their meters.
Promotion of Training and Education in Safety and Health
Dave Mullen-International Safety Director
Dave reported that there will be a national safety stand down May 8th-12th. Dan Garner was hired on with the IO as the International Representative for the Safety and Health Department. The International awarded 16 life saving awards and 3 certificates of recognition for 2016. Dave also introduced a new award that the IO is offering that will be presented to non-IBEW members that saved the life of an IBEW member. Dave discussed the most cited OSHA violations. There was an increase of lockout/tagout violations in 2016. Dave talked in detail about the executive order on regulatory reform. The will require government agencies (including OSHA) to cut 2 existing regulations for every new one issued. The congressional review act will allow congress to rescind Obama’s “fair pay and safe workplaces” executive order. The order required federal contracts over $500,000 to be awarded to safe contractors.
New silica standard comes into affect June of 2017. Temporary agency workers are covered under the contractor they are working for, not the temp agency. There is a concern among Latino workers that OSHA will report the to ICE. Fines have increased across the board.
Construction Silica Standard cut exposures to 50 micrograms. 300A logs are becoming public information. A board of care providers came in front of department of labor and gave a report that certain workmed clinics were being encouraged to decline care to workers that were hurt on the job. They felt it was unethical to choose to deny treatment to workers to keep the contractor’s recordable injury rate low. There is a petition for a workplace violence standard. Donald Trump is trying to pass a law called 1 in 2 out. The law states that if a new regulation is introduced, 2 will need to be removed with a net zero cost overall. This will seriously affect worker safety in that legislators will not be able to introduce new standards to adapt to a changing workplace without removing other standards. The RAA (regulatory accountability act) that has been introduced says that abatement measures have to be economically feasible. This means that contractors will not be required to correct a safety measure if they can prove it’s too expensive. I urge you to contact your senators and tell them to vote against the RAA. There will be a 21% cut in the department of labor. Donald Trump has chosen to postpone the enforcement of the new silica standard which was scheduled to be implemented in June of 2017. Silica is a serious health concern in construction industry. Trump requested cuts in NIOSH research agency by 100 million dollars. This will impact beryllium and radon research. There is talk about federal right to work legislation. Worker memorial day will be commemorated on April 28th. Insurance companies are lobbying hard to be permitted to do genetic tests on people covered under their plan. If this passes, insurance companies will be permitted to deny coverage if a covered recipient has genetic conditions (ie. Heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, etc.) Training is recommended for first responders of orthotic shock. When a worker suffers a fall in a harness, once they’re released, if they stand up too fast, blood flow may be impeded and further injury would ensue.
OSHA inspection process
Stewards should participate in OSHA inspections. Stewards should be present if a worker gets injured or was involved in an incident. If the contractor does investigation and questions employee, steward should be present AND be trained on how to handle this situation.
NEC and safety
New changes to NFPA 70e. Arc Reduction maintenance switch.
Respectfully submitted by,
IBEW 354 Safety Committee Chairman