Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health
U.S. Department of Labor
Thursday, December 6, 2001
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Editor's Note: The References To Amec Should Be AMEC (Construction Management Services)
The meeting was convened, pursuant to notice, at 8:20 a.m., Mr. Robert Krul, Chairman, presiding.
Mr. Robert Krul
Mr. Stephen D. Cooper
Mr. Larry A. Edginton
Mr. Manuel Mederos
Mr. James Ahern
Mr. Stewart Burkhammer
Mr. Felipe Devora
Mr. Dan Murphy
Mr. Kevin Beauregard
Mr. John P. O'connor
Mr. Thomas A. Broderick
Ms. Jane F. Williams
Marie Haring Sweeney, Ph.d.
Designated Federal Official
Mr. Bruce Swanson
Mr. Jim Boom
Mr. Carl Sall
Ms. Nancy Ford
Mr. Noah Connell
Ms. Patricia Clark
Mr. Robert Biersner
Mr. John L. Henshaw
Mr. Matthew Gillen
Mr. Zigmas Sadauskas
Mr. Chris Trahan
Mr. Scott Schneider
Ms. Carolyn Guglielmo
I N D E X
By Mr. Robert Krul
ACCSH Workgroup Reports
OSHA Form 170
By Jane Williams
Multilingual Issues In Construction
By Felipe Devora
By Marie Haring Sweeney
World Trade Center - Update
By Mr. Stewart Burkhammer and Ms. Patricia Clark
By John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
World Trade Center - Update (continued)
By Mr. Stewart Burkhammer and Ms. Patricia Clark
Distance Learning - OSHA Training Institute
By Mr. Zigmas Sadauskas
National Institute For Occupational Safety And Health (NIOSH) - NIOSH Research Programs In Construction
By Mr. Matthew Gillen
Tower Erection - Update On NC Initiatives
By Mr. Kevin Beauregard
Directorate Of Construction Update
By Mr. Russell B. Swanson And
Mr. Noah Connell
Recordkeeping - Effects On Construction
By Mr. Carl Sall
Manual For Uniform Traffic Control Devices
By Ms. Nancy Ford
Public Comment Period
Comments By Ms. Chris Trahan
Center To Protect Workers' Rights
Comments By Ms. Carolyn Guglielmo
Director Of Safety And Health Associated
Comments By Scott Schneider
Laborers' Health And Safety Fund 290
P R O C E E D I N G S
WELCOME and INTRODUCTIONS
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Good morning. Welcome to the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health meeting. My name is Bob Krul. I am the Chairman.
Just for going over, bathrooms are across the hallway, through the back doors behind the elevator bank, next to phone banks.
There's a sign-in sheet out on the table outside the doors. Those of you who have not signed --we don't have to worry about committee members, we have that. But those of you from the public who have not signed, if you would, please sign that sign-in sheet.
It's a little warm in here. We're going to have the air conditioning turned up. For some reason, Washington has been blessed with 75-degree weather over the last few days and it's a little steamy in here. A lot of these hotels have shut down their AC systems. I hope this one didn't.
For those of you in the public who want to make some comments later at the end of this session, if you would, please, write your name down and who you representative on a piece of paper and give it to myself or someone here from the staff so that we can accommodate you at the end of the meeting.
These are normally day and a half meetings. Our agenda is a one-day meeting today, which is the reason for the 8:15 start. I know a lot of you, especially on the committee, have some flights, with the security concerns.
I am told that everything on the agenda that is lined out within time is not exact. It was just put down to be an 8:15 to 5:00 session. So, hopefully we'll have you out of here in time to get to the airport, clear security, and catch your flights.
I'd like to begin with introductions, and I'm going to start at the end of the table with the gentleman who was appointed to the committee, but unfortunately could not make our last meeting. We're glad that he's here.
He's a colleague of ours from the building and construction trades. He is the current Secretary of Labor in Parris Glendening's office in the State of Maryland. I'd like you to welcome John O'Connor. John, welcome.
MR. O'CONNOR: Thank you, Bob.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Jim, you want to introduce yourself?
MR. AHERN: Jim Ahern, road contractor, Charleston, West Virginia.
MR. MURPHY: Dan Murphy, St. Paul Company, St. Paul, Minnesota.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Please use the microphones, guys. It's easier for the transcriber.
MR. BRODERICK: Tom Broderick, Construction Safety Council, Chicago.
MR. EDGINTON: Larry Edginton, International Union of Operating Engineers.
MR. BOOM: Jim Boom, Director of Construction, OSHA.
MR. BIERSNER: I'm Bob Biersner. I'm the advising attorney to the committee. I'm with the Solicitor's Office with the Department of Labor.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Bob Krul, Roofers International Union.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Stu Burkhammer, Bechtel.
MS. WILLIAMS: Jane Williams, A to Z Safety.
MS. SWEENEY: Marie Haring Sweeney, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
MR. DEVORA: Felipe Devora, Fretz Construction Company, Houston, Texas.
MR. BEAUREGARD: Kevin Beauregard, Assistant Deputy Commission, North Carolina Department of Labor.
MR. MEDEROS: Manny Mederos, representing the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you.
What we're going to do, is go through some workshop reports. Stu Burkhammer and Patricia Clark, from Region II up in the New York City area, have a very, very interesting, and I think you'll find, as everyone has told me who has gone down to ground zero, it is an extremely moving experience to witness the destruction that took place, and the deaths of our fellow citizens after the terrorist attack on September 11th.
It's a whole new set of problems down there. I'm not going to steal any of Stu's thunder in his presentation, but it's a very, very dangerous place, with all the demolition and attempts at clean-up down there, and the different groups. There are over 1,000 people.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Initially, when we first got there, we had probably 5,00 to 6,000 people, volunteers, Army, police, fire, construction workers, Salvation Army, Red Cross, CIA, FBI, Secret Service. Anybody with a badge. That's about it.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And the pictures on TV, from what I'm told--I have not personally been down there--just don't do justice to the massiveness of the destruction down there.
When you think about that many thousands of people all trying to be helpful, yet in an extremely, extremely dangerous situation with the attempts to pull debris out and find survivors in the beginning, we're just very fortunate, I think, that we haven't had any further loss of life down there. Of course, that was one of the reasons for OSHA wanting to go down there.
But we'll see Stu's presentation. I know I'm looking forward to it. So, let us begin with some workshop workgroup reports.
Larry, if you would begin with cranes.
ACCSH WORKGROUP REPORTS
CRANES - SUBPART N
By Mr. Lary Edginton
MR. EDGINTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
What I thought I would do this morning is sort of summarize where we've been and where we think we're going.
For roughly, I suppose, the last 18 months or so, at the direction of this committee, the Subpart N workgroup has been giving consideration to the adequacies of the existing subpart, or in some instances inadequacies.
The process that we've utilized -- first, let me talk about who we've had working on this. We've had a pretty good cross-section of individuals and organizations that are impacted by the regulation.
We have got crane manufacturers, we've got the users of cranes, we've got worker representatives of crane operators, we've got union contractors, we've got open shop contractors. We've got everybody in the room, or pretty much everybody in the room, we think.
Our attendance probably averages around 20 to 22 people a meeting. We've had as high, I think, as 35 or so at some of our sessions. As I have said to my colleagues as I try to facilitate this, is some days I feel like it's a little bit like herding cats. But, nonetheless, I think we're making some progress.
Certainly it has begun to attract the attention of the industry, as I said. We've had manufacturer representatives in from Germany, from Japan. We're trying to bring focus to this.
In terms of just background in our process, our first meeting, or several meetings, we thought that if you're going to talk about revising a subpart, that it's important that everybody understands what's in the current subpart.
So, we spent a fair amount of time sort of trying to get everybody on the same page in terms of the understanding of the current regulation, let alone where we might want to go with it.
In addition to that, because the current subpart references several ANSI standards and other standards, we also spent time understanding those standards, both as they exist currently in the subpart, as well as those standards that have been updated by these consensus groups. That was fairly time consuming.
But, having said that, we have begun to look at the subpart itself. Our primary focus has been on cranes and derricks. As many people know, the Subpart N actually includes a lot of equipment other than just cranes and derricks. You've got side booms, conveyors, hoists, helicopters, and on, and on.
Our focus has not been in those areas. We have not made a specific decision to exclude those, but we really haven't had any interest coming forward saying we have problems in those areas. So, cranes has really been our focus because of that.
One of the things that has come out early on in the work of the group is a fairly strong belief on the part of members that we give consideration to beginning to establish minimum qualifications for crane operators as a part of the regulatory process as a direct way to improve job site safety.
We have begun to do that over our last couple of sessions. The concepts, I do not think, are fundamentally different from some of the other, what I will loosely characterize as qualification processes that exist within other OSHA standards.
But it has been an interesting experience trying to get everybody on the same page. I think we have begun to do that.
Another strong opinion from this group. Let me say that what people said in terms of our initial charge was that we wanted to be able to develop a recommended standard that was understandable to every party of interest. Whether it is an employer, whether it's an owner, whether it's an OSHA compliance officer, our goal was to have a standard that is clear for all of those parties of interest. That is the direction in which we have been working.
Having said that, we know we still have a long way to go. Craning is becoming increasing sophisticated and complicated and we want to make sure that any recommendation that we bring forward to this committee is reflective of the current state of affairs in craning and within the industry.
One of the things we are now struggling with, is this group feels that--again, in terms of sort of our plain language attempt, if you will--that there is strong need to identify a specific scope of equipment that is covered by the standard as well as equipment that is explicitly not covered by the standard, because there is certain equipment that is used in construction for lifting purposes on occasion that often get confused as to whether or not it's a crane. So, we're trying to work through those differences. That's probably our next charge.
We met for the better part of two days this week. We have set out a meeting schedule for another three meetings, the first of which will be in late January. I don't remember the dates off the top of my head, but we will have those up on the ACCSH portion of the Web site soon.
We have begun a process where all workgroup members routinely get e-mailed our product from the previous meetings. We're finding that that works very well.
We've received really excellent cooperation from the directorate in terms of staff support. We're now leading every meeting with a work product in hand. I think it's been very beneficial in that respect.
Jim and Jane have been involved. I don't know if they have any thoughts or comments about it, but I certainly think we ought to hear from them.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Jim?
CRANES - SUBPART N
By James Ahern
MR. AHERN: The one comment that I would make to add to Larry's remarks, in the seminole event that I've perceived since I became a member of the group earlier this year, is the efforts we've made to come up with a qualification criteria for operators that is two-part, written, and practical. A third part, which almost goes without saying, is a physical and drug-free.
One of our real challenges is, as the industry goes from the cable friction rigs that dominated the hoisting 50 years ago to the more complicated hydraulic computer-controlled rigs that are the state-of-the-art machines that are being purchased at this point, is to ensure that we have operators who are actually skilled with dexterity to pull the levers and understand, physically, what's happening with ground pressure, wire rope hydraulic systems from a very experienced point of view.
But then we also have operators that have the intelligence level to pass a fairly rigorous written test that demonstrates that they go beyond a seat-of-the-pants and move into the real ability to understand the physics of lifting the loads.
That's going to be a real challenge to ensure that the person that can pass the written test really has the physical ability and the necessary experience, and the person that's currently out there now that has never really been tested but has 25 years' experience, but maybe has less capacity to sit down and pass a couple-hour written test, that we don't miss something in that process.
In West Virginia, where I'm from, we have gone through a licensing process. All crane operators, as of September of this year, have to be licensed. It's been a challenge to ensure that we accomplish our end goal and don't leave anybody out. That will be a challenge to our workgroup, and the industry as a whole, as we go forward.
MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I think one of the things that we need to stress, is this overwhelming commitment from the attendees who come to this meeting, and the support from their employers to finance them to come to these meetings, and they're lasting two days.
As Larry just said, they sit in the room. We're in there all day long. We have had some very interesting discussions, but we certainly have come out of each meeting with consensus and enthusiasm to continue our work product.
I think it's very important to acknowledge all the stakeholders that have such an interest in seeing this very old standard move forward in the manner in which this is all being talked about. It's very impressive to have that many people participate continually.
MR. EDGINTON: Sort of following up on Jane's point, we spent some amount of time yesterday talking about the announcement that was made in this week's semi-annual regulatory agenda with respect to a Notice of Intent to consider the use of negotiated rulemaking for cranes.
I think it was the sense of the workgroup--and I don't know that today is the day to do it, but you may well hear from us in the very near future once the Notice of Intent is formally published by the Agency--that the interests that we have had represented in the workgroup should be interests that are represented on the negotiated rulemaking committee at the starting place. Not the end place, necessarily, but a start place.
As you may recall, this question came up before in the context of ACCSH recommending to the Agency that it use negotiated rulemaking for cranes. The charge that was given to us, in lieu of a decision being made on that, is to continue to move forward with our work product until such time as a negotiated rulemaking committee is established, if it is established, at which time we would hope that the work of this workgroup would become a starting point for a negotiated rulemaking committee, one.
Two, that because we've had such a strong cross-section of interest, again, that it would be appropriate to have those interests represented on the committee.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. We introduced ourselves. I neglected to have the audience and public introduce themselves so everybody knows who everybody is.
Could you state your name and your affiliation, please?
(Whereupon, the audience introduced themselves.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you.
Jane is a subcommittee of one, now that Mr. Cooper isn't participating in this. Could you give us a report on Form 170?
ACCSH WORKGROUP REPORTS
OSHA FORM 170
By Ms. Jane Williams
MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Form 170 workgroup has met consistently over the last four years. The 170 workgroup was charged by the agency to identify the cause of fatalities by review of the Fatality Form, which is what we refer to as Form 170.
We have met on multiple occasions, as I've said, and have enjoyed significant support from numerous stakeholders, OSHA representatives, as well as representatives from the Department of Energy, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Center for the Protection of Worker Rights, the University of Tennessee, ACCSH Data Collection workgroup, and many, many more that I'm leaving out here for the sake of time.
Over the years, the workgroup successfully drafted reference logic for the new form and was able to really accommodate data input fields to make the information much more meaningful to the directorate when they were trying to target what is the cause of fatalities.
Where do we really have to look, be it standard language or enforcement programs, or whatever the case may be, to help them have a better handle in making sure that fatality rates come down, not go up, as they have been?
The in-depth analysis has, in fact, been completed. The workgroup is satisfied, for what our charge was with this product, to identify those fields to assist the data people who actually are going to be managing the computerized document to put such equations into the system that would let Compliance put in information that will allow it to be extracted in a manner that you would know that the fall came from a ladder that killed, or the fall was a result of a building collapsing rather than just knowing you had 10 falls. That was the whole intent.
With the steel erection standard coming out in January, one of the commitments in that standard was to go back and visit the fatality information. We believe that revision of this form will be critical to play that role for the agency to be able to determine if, in fact, the new standard is saving the projected 30, 40 lives or is there other options that have to be reviewed by the Agency in regards to that standard.
We have provided the Directorate all of our data that we have gone through over the year, the format, the re-tasking, the flow charts. There are numerous things. I am very confident that the Directorate is working with the Office of Management Data Systems on processing that information. Again, it will have to play a large role in researching the fatality issues that they really want.
So I believe, Mr. Chairman, that the task of the 170 group, in this regard, is completed. We have totally massaged the report. We have provided strong rationale for the issues that we felt needed to be. We have passed those issues off to the Directorate in a very timely manner.
I'd like to, at this point, thank all the hundreds of people that participated. We had some, also, interesting sessions that allowed us to do that.
The other task that was assigned to me that came under the umbrella of 170, which is not really the right name but it was assigned anyway under this area, was for me to work with and respond to questions from the construction representative, Ms. Cathy Martinez, of the Office of Regulatory Analyses in support of their responsibilities for paperwork reduction.
There are various issues that have to come before the Regulatory Office to review to see if, in fact, the paper itself that's stated in the standard can be eliminated or justified in a research of the actual hours.
They've asked ACCSH to participate with them so they could have actual field input as to what is really involved rather than someone guessing, oh, I think this can be done in two minutes.
The first packages of crane issues have been completed and have been submitted to OMB. They are now in the process of preparing the next round of documents, which will, in fact, be sent to me.
I will be responding to those documents either with my own individual field analyses of timing for them for verification. Or, should something require another expertise than I would be able to do in the field, my intent would be to call one of my ACCSH brothers here to say, I need your help to help me verify this time restraint, or element, or whatever it is that they're asking us to do, and we will do it that way and then resubmit back to them. They're on a schedule, so we had to be very consistent with our schedule.
In the past, I would inform my chairman and the Directorate of any requests that I get for participating so they always know what it is that we're doing, and they would be sure of the response to then pass on to the Office of Regulatory Compliance.
So I believe, in summary, the summary actions to offer to ACCSH, is I wish to thank you all for listening for four years to the input of 170. I do believe this is a critically important document for the Agency.
I cannot wait to see its priority listing and how it will end up some day and be utilized. I think we gave them a very good field common-sense approach to fatality issues, and hopefully the prevention of many, many lives.
The last summary action would be to conclude that portion of the 170 workgroup until such time as the Directorate would ask us to be involved with their ongoing workgroup, who meets monthly, picking up where we are and massaging it with OMB.
Then, as a side note, I will continue to work with Regulatory Analysis at their request of me.
Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you, Jane. The goal of trying to get better data collection when it comes to fatalities, and serious injuries, for that matter, in construction, it seems to me to be a logical step, with the nomadic nature of construction, the inability of OSHA compliance officers to track every single contractor every single place that they go.
But yet, if there was a way to get all that data for the terrible accidents and fatalities that unfortunately happen in construction, and they happen for a reason. It's not just acts of God and willy-nilly. There has to be a pattern to most of them. We all understand that freak accidents do happen. It's a very dangerous workplace. But I think the data collection is an important factor in that.
I was privileged, when you and Steve were working on that form, to look at our trade and trying to break it down into sub-work activities. It was interesting. I saw the value in doing that.
Without trying to raise a Hatfield and McCoy issue, though, this is the Chairman's second time at chairing this meeting. I gathered from the last time that the 170 report came out that the Data Collection Committee and Targeting Committee, we were not at odds, but -- I'm trying to avoid, now that this has gone -- I don't want us to look like banning Santa Clauses in Kensington, Maryland.
MS. WILLIAMS: Absolutely, Bob. If I might just suggest, I think the input from Data Collection was very, very important to the Form 170. It was critical at various places.
Their quest is to come up with a whole system to help assist data collection. At first it was a little confusing, their charge, in relation to our charge, which was to work with specific form data issues, to look directly at construction fatality, but not to be related in a number issue. We were looking more towards root cause analysis.
So I think, once we truly got on track and everyone knew what we were doing, Data Collection is continuing with the significant task they have before them of all these interesting code names that I have no idea what half of them are. Marie is the scholar on that. But they have tremendous tasks that are ongoing.
But for us to have a meaningful form, that hopefully in time will be coded so others will use it-- and we did do that in conjunction with the BLS reporting method, which was very important that came from Data Collection for us to be on track to do it that way.
I think we've ended up with a very, very strong product for the Directorate to be able to work, and hopefully they get the computers running to identify and put it in.
We should be able to start seeing functional data as to where our causes are coming from in some of these fatalities and what we have to do to correct for that recurrence.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Thank you, Jane.
MS. WILLIAMS: You're welcome, sir.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Marie and Felipe, Multilingual Issues.
ACCSH WORKGROUP REPORTS
MULTILINGUAL ISSUES IN CONSTRUCTION
By Felipe Devora
MR. DEVORA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to go over the history a little bit of this workgroup, and then talk a little bit about our goals. I'll let Marie talk about some of the meeting discussions that we had. That's where we are right now, is discussions, and not knowing quite sure where we were going to go with this workgroup.
The history of this workgroup, is I guess over a year ago, seeing many comments on the diversity of construction, the changing face of our industry of the workers out there and the diversity of our workers, we felt that the Advisory Committee should convene a workgroup to address some of these issues, not necessarily focusing on any specific cultural group.
But, given the statistics that came out last year, I think our workgroup has focused our attention on some very interesting statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics with regards to fatalities and injuries amongst Hispanic workers.
So I think that's the way we're going with our diversity workgroup right now, is focusing on our efforts to see if we can change the numbers.
As you may have read in some comments by the Secretary of Labor, fatalities among Hispanic workers in 2000 increased sharply. They increased from 730 fatalities in 1999 to 815 in 2000. I think occupational experts will tell you that, in construction, those numbers are higher.
I think there's a statistic that there is a 20 percent chance more likelihood of an Hispanic worker having serious injury or fatality on a construction job site than whites or blacks, given the statistics that we have from BLS for 2000.
Having said that, the Advisory Committee Workgroup on Diversity in Construction is beginning a partnership with the Agency. The Agency has assigned John Miles, Region VI Director, to head up this effort for the Agency. He is in our region, and in my region in Texas.
So, we have begun discussions and we have begun identifying some of our objectives and some of our goals. Quite frankly, our goal is very simple. That is to review the training process and to see what works, and identify some folks out there that can help us with this effort, and then report back to the Agency on what works in helping reduce these numbers.
Numbers, like everything, sort of validate what we suspected to be the case many years ago. With the changing face of the workforce in construction, there was a likelihood that the injuries and fatalities were going to be higher for Hispanic workers. As the statistics bear out, that has been the case.
Marie is going to talk a little bit about some objective and some of our goals right now, short-term and long-term.
ACCSH WORKGROUP REPORTS
MULTILINGUAL ISSUES IN CONSTRUCTION (Continued)
By Dr. Marie Haring Sweeney
DR. SWEENEY: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee.
I, first, have to apologize to Tom Broderick, because I noticed on the minutes from the last meeting that he is actually on this workgroup. We apologize for not including you in our discussions yesterday, but we'll make sure that you are in the future.
I did want to expand a little bit on the goals of the workgroup. One, is basically to reduce injuries, both fatal and non-fatal injuries, among Hispanic workers. I think what we need to do, is probably define it more Spanish-speaking worker. Right?
MR. DEVORA: We'll talk about it.
DR. SWEENEY: Some of the objectives that we have are pretty lofty, and perhaps we'll have to hone them down a little bit. But our first objective would be to identify the occupational safety and health needs of the Spanish-speaking worker, the Hispanic worker, and their employers. We have to keep both groups in mind.
Secondly, we wanted to identify possible collaborators who could work with the Agency. That includes federal collaborators such as NIOSH and EPA, who both have ongoing programs not only for construction, but other efforts related to Hispanic workers.
Also, to look at collaborators from the non-Federal area, such as trade associations, academic organizations, labor organizations, and other interested parties who, again, may have programs that deal with the health and safety of Spanish-speaking workers. Then, also, not to leave them out, actually, the leaders in the construction industry.
We would also like to help identify possible resources, including financial resources, personnel, training materials, existing programs including training programs, as well as existing information in Spanish that may be directed to the Spanish-speaking worker as well as the employer.
I think there is a lot of stuff that has been done in the work that we've done at NIOSH. We know that there are programs out there. We're better off not reinventing the wheel, so we'd like to work with the Agency in identifying those programs and seeing how we can integrate them into the overall health and safety program that OSHA will be working on.
Our final objective is to help disseminate and communicate that information, whether it be in training programs or technical advisors, in public materials, or videos, what have you.
So we'd like to help the Agency pull together a holistic program that looks at identification of collaborators' existing materials.
Then finally, perhaps, given when we've identified all the gaps and all the existing stuff, to see where the Agency can appropriately step in.
Now, we've put together what we consider a short-term action plan and a long-term action plan. These things are fluid, so we may or may not get them all done.
The first thing we are going to be doing, is to work with John Miles on the Agency program, and hopefully have a workgroup meeting that, in fact, coincides with their Agency group. We haven't talked to them yet, but we're hoping we can do that.
Then, also, to hold a workgroup meeting sometime between now and the next ACCSH meeting, or maybe two, so that we could start getting some of these objectives going.
Then, finally, in terms of long-term plans, we thought maybe we could help the Department of Labor put a workshop on, or a conference, that deals specifically with Hispanic workers and their employers, their needs, and what kind of information is needed.
Then, finally, probably within a year, we want to put a report out to the committee that makes recommendations on a variety of different things that we have just talked about.
Now, I know that Felipe said that there is a lot of work being done in Houston. I think we wanted to talk about that, because it deals directly with training Hispanic workers.
Before he does that, I just want to say that NIOSH, last week, just instituted their Spanish Web site. It's up and coming. It doesn't have a lot of stuff on construction, but we are putting links to things like ALCSH, to various databases in Spanish. PAHO, the Pan American Health Organization, is being linked, as well as other links.
So, please visit our Web site. It's www.CDC.gov/NIOSH, and then go to NIOSH en Espanol. Thank you.
Felipe is going to talk about the Houston program.
ACCSH WORKGROUP REPORTS
MULTILINGUAL ISSUES IN CONSTRUCTION (Continued)
By Mr. Felipe Devora
MR. DEVORA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Very quickly, last year in Houston we began this effort, in collaboration with the local OSHA offices, their outreach -- they had one outreach designee for both offices.
What we did, we identified some voluntary trainers. We targeted our audience to the field workers out in the field. Not necessarily the safety directors or foremen, but more just the workers. We offered this free of charge, in collaboration with OSHA. Houston AGC donated the facility and the trainers were voluntary.
This was kind of put together with the OSHA office. Now the two OSHA offices in Houston each have an outreach person assigned to them. We will be in collaboration with those two folks.
This year, we have expanded our classes to having one every month. We ran about four last year. I'm sorry. We ran about six classes last year, and we ran about 400 field-level workers through the program. This year we hope to double or triple that number.
We hope to report on the results of that, in collaboration with OSHA, our local offices, and, for lack of a better term, we are known as the Hispanic Construction Safety Committee of Houston. We will be reporting and working with the Agency very, very closely in Houston to track numbers and track injuries in our own local area with that specific group in mind.
So, having said that, this workgroup is going to be interested in other local efforts and will certainly make any resources available through this committee, or through any other group, to any other part of the country that has some interest in this area.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you. Certainly, as you mentioned in your opening remarks, the demography for the entire workforce over the next 10 or 20 years indicates a huge increase in the Hispanic workforce. In many, many areas of the country--I speak personally--I know, in our line of work, in areas like Chicago and places that you would not think -- everybody always thought the Hispanic workforce was more prevalent in the southwest and California, and that is certainly not the case.
This issue of the 730 fatalities versus 815 was of great concern to the president of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeney. He's sent a letter of concern to Secretary Chao, asking that she look into it. So, I think the work you guys are doing on that committee is certainly going to help.
I can tell you, at least in the organized sector, there is a great deal of effort for ESL, English as a Second Language, classes to be organized, either at the Building Trades Council level or utilize schools who have grants to teach ESL classes. They look for places to spend that money.
The problem with ESL classes, is getting people to attend them. Many are no different than people in this country who drop out of school. The last thing they want to do is go back to school. We find that in our apprenticeship program. But where it works, it works. We have bilingual instructors in our apprenticeship and safety and health training programs. That seems to help.
It's sort of a boring class for people to attend. It's like listening to a speech--I think I listened this at the last ACCSH meeting--and then having it translated. There can't be anything worse than sitting in a classroom and having a course taught that way.
But, nonetheless, these are issues that must be faced. I think, with the language barrier, it's just a breeding ground for fatalities and serious accidents when people go out on construction sites, which are inherently dangerous anyway, and don't know either what they're doing, or can't follow directions, or can't take precautions.
So, I think what you guys are doing will be extremely important in directing the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary.
DR. SWEENEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think one of the things that those of us at NIOSH realize, and I hope at Department of Labor and OSHA, is that we have to go to more grass-roots levels. We can't just stay at the federal or state level any more.
Even in Cincinnati, there are church groups that are teaching people English as a second language. Also, there are other organizations that are teaching safety and health. So, we're going to have to see if we can utilize those resources as best we possibly can to perhaps get those out.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I wrote one down for you. It's LACLA. Have you dealt with them?
DR. SWEENEY: We haven't dealt with them yet. I'm trying to find a contact. If somebody has one, please call me.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I'll be happy to steer you the right way.
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, Marie might have just answered my question. In a recent round table that I participated in, the workers that were participating in the round table were very concerned with the emphasis to teach them in Spanish.
Many of them were asking for English language to be taught to them so that they could not only be more responsible on the job site, but so they could also be more responsive in society.
I was wondering, has your workgroup looked at that as a side issue because of the multiple dialect problem?
MR. DEVORA: Let me address that. In Houston, in our particular trial classes that we had last year, we looked at it this way. We tried to use more job site-specific scenarios where they're working together, these different dialectic groups are working together, as well as with English-speaking foremen or supervisors.
So we have invited those folks that they work with 8 or 10 hours a day, five or six days a week, into these classes. These are folks that are already interacting with these people.
So we have not identified it as so much as a barrier, as more of an interaction. That is another thing that we're going to have to sort out, is the successful type of curriculum that I was talking about with Marie, whether it's because the educational level that we're targeting is probably a lot lower than folks that are trying to get an OSHA 10-hour or OSHA 40-hour course.
We're targeting even a little lower than that. From this group, we hope that they'll bootstrap themselves up and we'll be able to identify leaders that will pull themselves to the next level that are bilingual that can take the OSHA 10-, 30-, and 40-hour courses.
DR. SWEENEY: Right. Thank you
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Go ahead, Larry.
MR. EDGINTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
So far this morning I have only heard you talking about Hispanics. The thought occurs to me that, in some industry sectors or regions of the country, we have individuals from Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, North Africa.
I'm wondering, on the BLS data, is there anything separate for them? I don't think that there is, but I was wondering if it was there. Alternately, in terms of sort of the scope or charge of your project, are you going to look beyond Hispanics?
MR. DEVORA: We talked about that in our discussions. I think if the Agency had identified folks that weighed 150 pounds with red hair that were the ones that were getting injured at a 20 percent higher rate than anyone else, that we would think that the Agency would focus on that particular group.
The reason we focused on this group, is because really, in the changing face of construction, I think the propensity has been toward Hispanic workers. But we do recognize the very diverse other groups.
What we're hoping will come out of this will be perhaps a model for successful curriculum training, where other diverse groups or other ethnic groups that have a contingency of workers can start as a ground base for those sorts of efforts.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: I'll repeat for some of you in the public who came in later. If there is anybody in the public sector who would like to make a comment later on in the afternoon at the end of the agenda, if you would give me your name and affiliation on a piece of paper so we could recognize you later this afternoon. Okay.
I'm going to turn this over to Stu Burkhammer and Pat Clark right now. When I knew this was going to be on the agenda, I was excited about hearing about it and seeing it myself. It's a report on the operations at ground zero at the World Trade Center.
Stu was there on September 12th and worked there for two months. Pat is with Region II of OSHA. I think we are going to hear and see from both of them a rather interesting report on the World Trade Center.
WORLD TRADE CENTER- UPDATE
By Mr. Stewart Burkhammer and Ms. Patricia Clark
(Showing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Good morning.
On September 11th, we all--probably most of us, anyway--sat in front of a TV somewhere watching the events that took place in New York. I did in my office in Frederick. Pat probably did firsthand, just down the street from where it occurred.
MS. CLARK: Actually, I was in Paris.
MR. BURKHAMMER: She missed it.
MS. CLARK: It made it more difficult because I could not find out until Friday if our people in WTC 6 were okay. So, there were a number of very stressful days, just wondering if the people got out okay.
MR. BURKHAMMER: And probably with the airports closing, too.
MS. CLARK: No.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I got a call the morning of the 12th from Riley Bacto, who asked me to put together a small team and go to New York on an humanitarian mission to see if we could help in any way.
We did that. Luna went out to Wal-Mart and some other stores and we got some stuff and threw it in a van, and seven of us drove to New York City. For those of you that have driven in New York City in real life, it's a disaster.
That day, driving to New York City, was like driving through a ghost town. We got to the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, and of course there's police everywhere and the bridges were closed, and the tunnels were closed.
Fortunately, one of my brighter moves was to take a New York City fellow with me who has a family of 14, and was born and raised in New York and happens to have friends or family in every agency in New York City, probably.
It just so happened that one of his brothers was a personal friend of one of the cops that was standing in front of the Holland Tunnel and knew Greg, and we were the only vehicle allowed in the Holland Tunnel and we got through.
We ended up in New York City at the Marriott Hotel, and went out to the site the night of the 12th. the pictures you're going to see in the presentation we've put together--and Pat made a presentation to NACOSH last week--you'll kind of get a feel, hopefully, for some of the things that we all experienced and went through, some of the stories that didn't make TV or the news that actually happened there, and some of the personal feelings that I think we all shared among each other.
A lot of people became very close friends during our time there. It's certainly a moving experience that I never expected, in my career, to ever happen to me, and I don't think America ever expected it to happen to it.
So with that, Pat, do you want to --
MS. CLARK: No. Why don't we go through the pictures. And, as we go through, we've been trying to figure out how we do this. I'll talk a little bit later on about OSHA's role, what we did initially and what we actually are still doing, and will be doing for quite a while.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Bechtel's role was kind of strange, in a way. When we got there, we had an individual in New York City. One of our ES&H area managers was in New York City working on a project and went out to the site immediately on the 11th and got involved.
When we got there the night of the 12th, he had made some contacts that allowed us to get onto the site and to start functioning in an ES&H role of helping to come up with some plans and procedures to protect the approximately 10,000-plus people that were initially there.
When you say 10,000, you'd think on a 16 and a half acre site, 10,000 is a lot of people. It is. But appreciate that everybody around the world in a lot of instances, and certainly around the United States, rushed to New York to help in any way they could. We had a tremendous amount of volunteers, as well as a lot of craftworkers and companies that came in to give material and people and any help they could give. It was just amazing, the outpouring of things people did and the things that happened in New York City.
Bottles of water. For example, every bottle of water manufacturer you can name had bottles of water trucked in, literally trucked in, to New York City. I would be, in an easy estimate, we probably had upwards of 3 to 4 million bottles of water that were consumed daily.
McDonald's brought in a mobile food truck, which was a hit. Salvation Army had their food service. There was lots of people. The American Red Cross set up emergency food services, plus emergency medical for the workers. We'll get into a little bit about how that worked later.
But Bechtel's role ended up evolving into, on Saturday the 15th, I was named the consulting ES&H director for the World Trade Center emergency site, working basically with four city entities: the Department of Design and Construction, which had overall oversight for the clean-up of the site; City Health, which was responsible for the safety and health of the City of New York and the site; the Department of Environmental Conservation, which was responsible for the environmental aspects of the site; and certainly Pat Clark and her team and OSHA. OSHA and Bechtel formed a very unique teaming arrangement and partnership on this site. I think we could not have accomplished what we did without that particular team. It worked out exceptionally well.
It also was a training ground, in a sense, because a lot of the OSHA people were brought in from around different parts of the country, as I brought in a lot of Bechtel people from various parts of the country.
So, Bechtel got to know OSHA in a lot closer way than we normally would on a regular site, and I think OSHA got to know Bechtel a little better also. We both appreciate greatly the aspects that both teams brought to the party.
So, with that, we'll start.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Here's an overview of the World Trade Center as it was. You can kind of see, going around the various buildings -- and we picked this one because these are somewhat the key buildings that were affected more so than the peripheral buildings.
As you'll see when we go through the site, you'll probably see a little bit of every one of these buildings, or some of all these buildings of what's left over.
We'll kind of bring you up to date. I came back yesterday from New York. I was out on the site on Tuesday to kind of get a feel for where they are currently, and I'll share that with you as we go through.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is Tower I North and Tower II South that were hit. This basically is a shot to show you the underground levels, which is kind of untouched right now.
We've spent a lot of time getting rid of all the debris, which you'll see in the slides in the upper structures, and demolishing the buildings that were somewhat left standing.
We've been cleaning up the peripheral buildings that were damaged greatly, shoring up the Winter Garden, picking out pieces of steel out of the peripheral buildings.
Then you'll see shots of that that you wouldn't
normally see on TV, or couldn't see on TV. Basically, the
television cameras are mounted
-- one camera was mounted on the south shooting north, and one was mounted in the north shooting south. So, you kind of got a line view, so to speak. If you'll notice, after a while, you were seeing the same old pictures over and over again on TV.
That's because we would not allow the site and the City of New York -- the FBI, because it's an ongoing crime scene, Secret Service, CIA, and anybody else that you can imagine is associated with a federal agency, is controlling the site very tightly because of a lot of reasons. That's why you kind of only saw pretty much two views on TV.
All the above-ground work is scheduled to be completed December 31st. In my view, it will be. The mayor, when he leaves office the first part of January, issued an edict that eh wanted all the upper buildings, upper debris, and upper demolition completed before he left office. I think that will be a challenge, I think, to meet that goal.
The majority of the balance of the work will probably take four to five months. It should all be completed by the end of May, and that's the target date.
Originally, the target date was September/October. Some people were even saying it would be the end of 2003. But the team out there has done a phenomenal job of cleaning up and developing a system for getting the debris off the site. They take it off to Pier 7 and Pier 25, where they have hoppers.
They load it on barges and the steel is shipped to New Jersey, where it's going to be melted down and eventually made into new steel columns and beams which will be used in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, which is interesting.
So what you're seeing here in the below-ground shots, are the mall -- for those of you who have been here, there's a shopping mall down here. There's two parking level garages. Then there's the path tube, and there's the N&R line.
And then there's the bottom part, which contains the battery rooms, the chillers, the motor control centers, all the electrical parts that ran this whole seven-building complex and area, so to speak.
So there are a lot of things down below that are not known, currently. Certainly there's hazards down below that we have not quite identified, even though there's been a lot of samples taken, and you'll hear about that.
Also, there's a lot of air pockets down below where debris did not fill when it came down. That causes, somewhat, a lot of shifting and moving of material, especially when you're taking material out with huge, big pieces of equipment. As you tend to snake something out, something moves, something falls, and something shifts. So, it's a very unstable bottom, currently.
Also, when we first started, there were two huge, big fires burning underground, 2,800 degree fires. Slowly, over the past two months, those fires have decreased.
We have pumped millions, and millions, and millions of gallons of water, some of which reached part of the fire, some of which didn't because of the massive debris down there. The water would coagulate all this material together and then it would run off out into other places and never even get to the fire.
The fire department tried a chemical called pyrofoam, where you had to drill down and pump some foam down into this. But the problem was, there is so much mangled steel, you could never get a clean drill and a clean tube down to where the fire was to get some of the pyrofoam down in there. So, we scrapped that idea. The fire department scrubbed that idea and just continued to pump water, and water, and water.
Right now, there's one fire left burning. It's a small fire on the Building 7 side. It's about 400 degrees, which has been greatly reduced. That fire, they anticipate having out Friday.
So, once that comes, a lot of the heat and problems will dissipate and it should be somewhat easier to get down into the lower levels. We started down at the lower levels and stopped because of the shifting material and the heat. But once the fire gets out and we have a day or two to cool, we should be able to go back down and work that.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is the flight path of the attack, which you've seen on TV several times. But we've put this in to kind of show you, in correlation to the rest of the building, and how the two planes came in from opposite directions and hit in an almost perfectly precise place in each of these buildings.
Where they hit was the after-flow of the heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems. So when they hit in the two buildings, all the floors above those plane crashes were basically cut off from anybody.
The only way those people could have ever gotten out, was if you could have gotten a helicopter in there to evacuate them, which of course did not happen. So, every employee above those airplane crashes died or is missing.
Below them, there are some remarkable stories about people getting out. One particular story appeared in the New York Times, which was an exceptional article.
I think it also was in the Washington Post, about the safety director for Sherson, Lehman, who had 2,300 employees and evacuated 2,100 of him. He, himself, died while going back to try to get the other 200 out.
He was an ex-war hero. It is a phenomenal story of courage and individual fortitude by a person. And he weighed about 370 pounds. He was one of the better security guys in the world.
He had predicted something like this would occur and he had planned for it in advance. He had his people trained and ready to get out of that building. His sole efforts, I think, and that of some of the firemen who helped him, saved the lives of 2,100 of those people in that building. It's a remarkable story.
But there are tons of remarkable stories. Pat, I'm sure, has several also. But that particular one touched me greatly, because I keep thinking about Bechtel and the evacuation procedures in our own buildings all over the world.
It kind of hits home that maybe we're not as prepared as we thought we were, and I've been doing something about that since I've been back. But it's a slow process.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: The fire balls you saw on TV. These pictures were taken by an individual who happened to be down there and just happened to have a camera, and happened to get out so you could see his pictures.
But these are when the planes actually hit. This is the jet fuel explosions that you saw on TV and the huge fire balls that came out of both of the buildings.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is 1 as it's tumbling down and collapsing, and this is 2 as it's tumbling down and collapsing. Again, the individual that took these pictures and shared them got out safely and is fine.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: But you'll notice, the closer he was here, he's now running, and the further away he was when he took these shots.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: We have a handout for you. Hopefully, you can pick one of these up because you can use this to follow along as we go through the presentation. A lot of the shots -- if you don't have one, take a few minutes and go out and get one.
Does the committee have this? Luna, could you get some and pass it out to the committee, please?
It will make it easier for you to follow along when you see the pictures. You can kind of identify where we are in relationship to the map.
You can read here, collapsed or destroyed, partially collapsed, or major damage.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Then we have a shot that shows you the periphery damage. One hundred and sixty-eight buildings total either need cleaned, had broken windows, trash on the roof, or other types of debris before they could be reoccupied. That's the gray you see around this area here.
So you can see the collapse of these two towers, in essence, causing the collapse and severe damage of the other buildings, and the damage that occurred in the yellow area.
The gray area is the area that a lot of clean-up was done, washing down the buildings, replacing windows, communication problems, debris on the roofs, trash on the roofs, cleaning the streets. The Sanitation Department did a phenomenal job at that.
This kind of gives you kind of a pictorial view of the whole area that had to be cleaned up in the City of New York.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is kind of interesting. This is a before and after. The left image is just an aerial shot taken in June of 2000. Of course, this is the after view and the plume, as it became known as, which is a combination of heat, fire, dust, and debris that's floating up in the atmosphere. The plume lasted for about six weeks. A lot of the plume contributed to the fires burning down below.
So even though it was not this extensive, and you'll see in some of the pictures initially the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, those kind of days, most of this area in here was very heavily, for lack of another word, fogged in and it was very difficult to see.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: In your handout we've given you these fact sheets. It just kind of tells you a little story about the World Trade Center and different things about it.
The fire department in New York suffered probably one of the greatest losses in history of anything. Three hundred and eighty-three firemen lost their lives in the rescue operations of the World Trade Center. You can see the number of vehicles they lost. NYPD lost 85 people and 133 vehicles.
The Port Authority of the New York Police lost a couple of dozen people, of which we found two Sunday, by the way, in the bottom of one of the areas. They were doing demolition of one of the buildings and they saw some things and stopped.
They brought in the fire department. The site is still under the jurisdiction of the incident command. The incident command is a guy by the name of Chief Hayden, who is a battalion chief of the New York City fire department.
Incident command means, until the fire is out and until "recovery" of bodies is complete, it's under the jurisdiction of the incident command.
The unique part of this, is it's also a crime scene. It will be an ongoing crime scene until all the debris is cleaned up, including the basement. So you have a lot of federal agencies out there watching, looking, and making sure that any parts that could help them in their investigation of various things throughout this are taken care of properly and removed. So, they have all the access to it.
So it is very difficult for contractors, in a sense, to do their job because they're doing it under the scrutiny of several federal agencies. When they do get to the point where a body is potentially available to recover, or a part of a body is there to recover, they stop work, they call in the dogs. A dog goes in and does his thing and they tell, yes or no.
Then if it's yes and it's identified as NYPD, fire department of NY, or Port Authority Police, or a federal agent individual, there's a ceremony that takes place and the body bag is filled, and there is a flag draped over it and there's a procession that comes out honoring this individual. He's taken off in lighted police escort to the morgue. It's quite a moving scene when you see this the first time, but it continues to be moving the more you see it. It gets to you after a while.
Pretty soon, you get to the point where you accept it, but still you feel for the family and you feel for the people because you can't help but do that.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Three thousand, one hundred and seventy-five confirmed dead or missing as of Tuesday. As you'll notice, this number keeps coming down, which is great. That means that they found, identified, or found people they thought were missing that have not been.
I'm sure, hopefully, you all saw on TV--maybe you did--the fraud case that took place last week, where an individual's family said they were missing, filed an insurance claim, and they were not missing--they were hidden somewhere--to collect the insurance money. They were caught, of course. Now they're both in jail, awaiting trial.
Fifty-seven million tons of debris were removed out of a total of 100 million, plus or minus. When you think about the devastation, that's a lot of debris. The Staten Island landfill has been set up as the debris removal site. The Staten Island landfill is a huge area. We had an opportunity to go over there and take a look at it on a couple of occasions.
It's kind of unique, in a way, because they have three 100-yard football fields, it looks like, roughly. FBI has one, NYPD has one, and I think the other Secret Service, CIA, and other agencies kind of have one together.
Their job is, they have 100 people in each of these three areas, 100 FBI, 100 NYPD, and 100 combination, I think. They all have rakes. Their job is to rake through every single piece of debris that is sent over there from the site to do three things.
One, to see if they can find any crime scene things that would help them in the crime scene. Two, is to make sure that the debris that is sent over there is proper and belongs in that particular site and doesn't belong in another place. Three, to see if there are any body parts, teeth, hair, bone fragments, et cetera, that they can identify or take out and try to match with DNA.
They've asked all of the family members of those that are still in this 3,175 to please come in and contribute some DNA material, because that's the only way now that they're ever going to identify, basically, the balance of these people.
MS. CLARK: They are also looking for any other kind of identification. Just two days ago, we had a call from the FBI because they had found the credentials for one of our investigators. They were calling to find out if he was safe or if he was still missing. Luckily, he is safe.
But they've also been able to do a number of identifications that way, licenses and other kinds of material like that.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Speaking of that, there's an interesting story that occurred one day into the second week. Time became a blur for a lot of us back there, and I can't remember one day from the next.
First of all, the badging scheme out there was a joke, in a sense. We went through seven badging systems because, every time we'd get a badging system going, people were coming in and out of the site in droves. We had 36 entrances and exits, which we in no way could control. It was just a disaster.
So we'd keep going through these badging systems because, as soon as we got one color going, we'd find out they were selling badges on Ebay to the highest bidder so anyone could buy one and come to the site, and that was a disaster. So we have finally, hopefully, gotten that stopped. I think we did. I think they quit selling badges on Ebay.
But if you're a director or one of the people that were allowed to go to various different places, you had a badge with your picture and stuff on it. They had different symbols that told where you could go.
One of the symbols that nobody wanted, that I unfortunately got, was the morgue symbol. It's a humorous story, but in a sense it isn't. I was out at the site one day and I got a call that the doctors would like me to come to the morgue that was located in the American Express building. And I'm not a big morgue fan.
So I went over there, very uneasy and not knowing what to expect and what they wanted me for. They wanted me to come in because the body bags were getting to the point that they were being stacked up and they were falling, and they didn't know how to fix this. It was just a big room. It was really an eerie feeling in there.
So I made a couple of suggestions. We got some people over there and we built some stands that we put the bags to keep them from falling on the floor.
So there were two doctors and myself. We spent a couple of minutes in there and then we left. The doctors came out with me, which left nobody in the morgue.
Well, one of the problems we had on the site, is people would come on the site. And you have to appreciate, in New York City, I think there's somewhere in the neighborhood of 45,000 New York City policemen, several thousand fire department employees.
But everybody in an agency, I think, in New York--and Pat can correct me if I'm wrong--has a badge. If you have a badge, that's golden. If you've got a badge, you can come on that site at that particular time and nobody will stop you. So we had, I'll bet, all 45,000 New York City police coming and going at one time or another.
Well, this particular individual--and you can buy these tee shirts anywhere in New York, NYPD tee shirts, or FDNY tee shirts, or sweat shirts, or ball caps. This individual came out on the site and he had an NYPD tee shirt and an NYPD ball cap. He had taken a crayon, a yellowish crayon, and drew a badge and put it in a plastic holder and had it on his chest, and got right in the site.
Evidently, he got, also, right in the American Express building, and somehow he got in the morgue. He was rifling credit cards out of the body bags.
So, evidently, they caught him. They did catch him. All that they would tell us the next day, was that he's no longer with us.
Now, that can be interpreted in a lot of ways. It can be interpreted that he's in jail somewhere, or it can be interpreted that he's in one of those body bags inside the morgue. But stories like that are just terrible.
But it goes to show you, I think, that even in --and this is my opinion--a tragic situation like this, there's always somebody, some thing, or some people that want to take advantage of the situation to better themselves in one way or another. But this particular individual, I don't think, got any better out of the deal.
The dollar loss is estimated at $3.7 billion. That's the current estimate by the New York City Mayor's Office of Emergency Management and FEMA. I would think, as we continue to go down to the basement levels, this number could go up.
They initially had four prime contractors on site: Amec, Bovis, Tully, an Turner. They were all given a designated area to work and given certain tasks to do, and they did very well at these particular tasks.
There were some complications. One, there were no contracts, and there has never been a contract let to any of these contractors. They're all working on verbal agreements. There's no indemnity clauses for any of the contractors. They're all working on a wing and a prayer.
And there's no worker's comp insurance coverage yet, even though three or four insurance companies bid the OCIP, Owner-Controlled Insurance Policy, and one was awarded it. It is not agreed to or signed yet.
So, there are a lot of things happening out there under the Mayor's Emergency Declaration and a lot of permits were all taken away, and a lot of barriers dropped immediately so things could be done immediately. They have been, and it has worked very well.
Turner has completed their work. They're basically off the site. Now they're down to Amec, Bovis, and Tully. They'll be going down to probably two by the end of this year.
Currently, we've reduced down to 400 crafts: 150 New York fire department, two 75-person tours. That was a big fiasco that made the print in the news. The fire department was very unhappy because the mayor cut them to 25, and then they moved it back up as a public relations thing to keep the problems down. New York Police Department HAS 125, and 150 volunteer people. They are all working 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. This is not going to change.
They will be working 7/24s until the very end because there is still the Firemen's Widows' Coalition and the Spouses Coalition, and the other coalitions that have been formed by the families of non-fire department and police department personnel who continually hold out hope --although it is false--that somebody may be found alive.
It is evident to those of us in the business, and everybody in the fire department, the police department, and all those who are thinking with their head and not their heart, that that is impossible after this amount of time.
But these coalitions, as Pat can share with you, are very vocal. They get a lot of prime time on CNN and the New York City TV stations. They carry a lot of clout. We had an opportunity to meet with the Firemen's Union and the Fire Chiefs' Union, and we're going to be meeting with the Widows' Coalition sometime in the near future.
Not so much about Bechtel taking over the job and running the project, which is a whole other story and I'm not going to get into that, but to assure them that everybody on that site, the only interest they have, is to make sure that bodies are properly removed, and properly honored, and properly taken care of.
There was one incident that occurred where a body--parts of a body, two parts of a person's body--were accidently picked up and dropped in a dump truck and they were found by an FBI agent who was scanning the truck before it left the site. Procedures have been changed now so that will never happen again.
But that made for a lot of unrest in the coalitions. Because of that, the mayor got a lot of heat and the city got a lot of heat, and everybody else took a lot of heat for that. And rightly so, I think, because that should have never happened.
MS. CLARK: The other part of that, is you may have heard on Veteran's Day the site was closed, or at least it was closed for construction-related operations. They still had dust suppression and fire suppression. We had a skeletal safety crew there around the clock.
What happened, though, there was a lot of very adverse reaction from these groups that Stu mentioned. The plans to close for Thanksgiving had to be scrapped. That, in itself, caused a great deal of problem because the construction employees are very, very tired. They're exhausted. They've been working very long hours continuously and there's a limited number of them, to be honest.
They really, really were looking for that day off. The companies were looking for it, too, because they're not really having a lot of time to be able to do any maintenance or work on their equipment, which is just getting incredibly beaten up. This is new equipment. If you saw it, you would never believe it was new when it came on the site. I'm sure we have some pictures that will show that.
But basically the mayor came out, as soon as this uproar started, and said, no, no. We realize that we shouldn't have shut the site for Veteran's Day and we're going to keep it open for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and every other holiday.
Well, what they finally decided then to do, which is probably what they should have thought of originally, is to say that they would continue recovery operations, which is what they did for Thanksgiving. There were about five or six grapplers working. A heavy component of the recovery teams, the fire, police, and the Port Authority Police, were there.
We did keep more than a skeletal crew of safety on the job since there was going to be some activity. We didn't do our sampling activities that day, but we also kept our respirator group open. Some of us, including me, went to the site several times that day just to make sure that we did have some appropriate coverage.
We were pretty concerned that, given the unrest about the situation -- because the construction workers were not happy even with this limited amount of activity that was going to be going on, and there was some concern that there might be some demonstrations on their part.
But everything went okay. There were some events that day where they did have some positives identified, so it all worked out rather well. The same kind of thing will occur on Christmas and New Year's.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: The next few slides show you each building in sequence and tell you a little bit about what it is. The thing to look at here is this area right here.
We named these the Coliseum Areas, because if you kind of think back to Greek mythology, it kind of looks like an old coliseum. At night when the smoke was coming up, and at daybreak, and at sunset, this was really an eerie-looking piece, when you looked at the sun going down and the sun coming up. It kind of set it in your mind as kind of an old coliseum.
Building 2, the South Tower. You can see a piece of the coliseum. Here in the background is Banker's Trust. Liberty One is over here. So, you can look at that on your little maps.
Three, was the old Marriott Vista Hotel. When the towers came down, it came down right on top of this. I mean, this was totally crushed and destroyed.
MS. CLARK: That's the one that took the brunt of the damage during the 1993 bombing.
MR. BURKHAMMER: The same. Yes. Four, gutted, burned out, collapsed, partially standing. It's now down completely.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Five. The Northeast Plaza Building was seven stories. It was partially destroyed. It was kind of amazing to look at this building because structurally, from a sense of looking at it like this, it was a wreck. But it was so unstable and so gutted, that we had no choice but to take it down.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Six is here. This was the Custom's house. This is where OSHA had their offices, on the top floor up here. Again, it was crushed and mutilated.
I want you to remember this. See this hole here? I want you to remember that hole because there's a story that goes with this hole.
Richard Middleson, who's the area director for Lower Manhattan, Pat's person, and I became pretty good friends. He was pretty amazed when he saw this huge hole in the middle of this building. And it goes all the way down. I mean, it's a complete hole that goes all the way down to the bottom. But, again, there's a little story here I'll share with you later.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Seven collapsed at 5:20 p.m. that night. The part that hadn't collapsed was collapsed in the following two days and brought down. This was the Turner work here. This is completely all gone now. This looks like this, basically, now.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Bob Adams was the S&H Director for the Department of Design and Construction. Every morning, we had a safety meeting where basically all the agencies, all the contractors, subcontractors, fire department, police department, as I said, came in here to the PS-89, which is where our headquarters were temporarily. We had a morning safety briefing in the morning meeting.
Prior to this, the fire incident command had a 7:00 meeting every morning to plan the fire meeting, and then we had our meeting. Right after this meeting was a 9:00 construction meeting, where all the contractors got together and planned the day's activities.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is a shot from the roof of 90 West, which if you look on your map, is an old decor building that had a huge scaffolding around it because they were fixing it, cleaning it, and were going to restore it somewhat. A lot of the scaffolding was broken and pieced.
What they wanted to do is just take a bulldozer in and bulldoze down the scaffolding. We said, no, you're not going to do that. What would have happened if they did, was those cross-pieces would have acted like spears and shot out all over everywhere and could have potentially injured a lot of people.
But if you'll look at the view here, you can see from a rooftop view, somewhat, the debris and the mangled mess, and, again, the fires and the smoke.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Search and rescue personnel. You can look at the people up here and you can get a feel for how huge this debris pile was. These are human beings standing up here from the fire department working.
I would say they're 80 to 100 feet up in the air where you see them here. You look at some of these beams --and we'll talk about them later--a lot of these beams weigh in the tons and they're just mangled like pretzels.
Again, it shows the sheer force when that building came down and the inertia of that building being crushed. When the building came down, it was somewhat ironic because the top of the building became the bottom, and the bottom of the building became the top because, as I said, as it came down, it came back up.
So, the force drove the building down to the ground. The bottom part that was already down on the ground was forced back up again. So the bottom of the building is at the top of the pile, and then the top of the building is the bottom of the pile.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is a Plaza view with WTC 2 in the background, and 1 in the foreground, and again, some of the equipment.
As Pat said, this equipment has been working non-stop since September 11th/September 12th, in that time span, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They change out the operator, but they don't have a lot of time to service the equipment.
So one of the big concerns we had from a safety standpoint was the equipment breaking down. So we tried to come up with a system where we would work 6 days a week, 24 hours a day, and use the seventh day for maintenance of the equipment.
Again, as Pat shared, that caused so much consternation, we couldn't do that. The hour meters on the rigs were useless because they couldn't stop them at service time.
So what they ended up doing, was servicing them on the run, basically. If we had a problem with a crane or we thought that the cable needed changed, we'd just shut the crane down. That's the only way we could get it to a point where they could stop it, shut it down, service it, clean it.
We became the bad guys for shutting the cranes down. Pat and I have a story about a crane inspection team that we put together that you'll see a little later, but it's really a classic.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is between Tower 1 and 2 where a lot of the debris was forced down into the underground areas, as you saw in the picture of the underground, into the shopping mall area.
If you'll look at a lot of these beams, they're still connected together somewhat. The ones that are connected together, of course, weigh a whole lot more than the ones that aren't connected together. I'll give you an example in a little bit.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Initially, all the work was done with buckets and by hand because there were some cell phones calls that people were under the debris. They didn't know exactly where they were. We found a couple, three of the people that actually did call out and we were able to find them.
On Wednesday the 13th, was the actual last day that we found anybody alive, and that was eight firemen that we found alive that day. Nobody has been found alive since the 13th.
But they call the dog out. The dog comes out, does what the dog does, and either tells them yes or no. If it's yes, the whole site basically rushes over. There's thousands of people lined up with buckets passing debris back and forth, in and out, to get down to hopefully where this person is and that the person is alive.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Tower 2. Again, you can see two rescue workers in there, and again, the debris and the dust. The white powdery film is everywhere. It was just everywhere on the whole thing.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Those are rescue workers, just below your flag?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Right here? These two?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Yes.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: And down here in the middle just below the flag.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Here? No. Just these two are the only two people.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This kind of gives you a feel for when they're attempting to find a survivor. You can see right in here, this is where they think he is. You can just see everybody running over to help in any way they can. This is a close-up view of the firemen in here. They did find a person in here, but unfortunately the person didn't survive.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: But the hard part was, you can see back here the beam coming down. For every opening like this you have maybe a foot in or two feet in, is just a stop, a wall, a crack of debris.
A lot of the people, unfortunately, that were trapped under this were trapped under debris and there was no way to actually get in there because it took too long to cut these pieces out.
When you cut them out, you're going to have a fire because of all the powdery debris, the paper, trash, and stuff in the back. So the only thing you could do, was try to fit yourself in.
We had several midgets that came in that do mining work and caisson work and they used them to get in these very, very tight, small, little areas as best they could where a normal 5' or 6', plus or minus, 200-pound human could not get. So the smaller individuals were able to fit in these little crevices like this and actually help identify and find people.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is myself and Richard Middleson, one of the many tours he and I took together on the site, identifying problems and looking for things we could do to improve the safety on the site.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Again, here's another example of a huge steel-matted area that came down in the collapse. Again, you can see the rescue workers. These are pretty big guys. I mean, these are 6'-plus, 200-plus pound people. They just look like ants on this pile.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is World Trade Center 4. Again, you can see the fire and the smoke, which continued for a long period of time.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: There were several American flags raised in and around the site. This is not the one you've seen a lot of on TV. I'll show you that one in a minute.
Again, you can get a picture here of the debris, the smoke, the fire, the trash. You actually see people in respirators, which was a big, big problem, to get these firemen and policemen--especially the firemen and policemen--to understand that these respirators were there for their protection.
Yes, they were a pain in the butt and they caused a lot of heat in breathing, but they were going to prevent a lot of potential problems down the road.
When you're talking to these guys, their sole mindset is, find people, find people, find people, put out the fire, find people, and they never thought of themselves. It was very difficult to get them to think of themselves.
It was also very difficult to get them to wear their fire helmets or to get them in hard hats, let alone get a respirator on them. Here's some that happen to have a respirator on, which is encouraging.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Again, just a shot of the back of 4, and Tower 2. Again, the firemen. These are looking for people, any way to find bodies down in this mangled mess.
If you watched real closely on TV when the plane hit the tower and the fire ball erupted, you saw this shot come out the other end of the World Trade Center. This is it. This is the engine off the plane. This is what came out the front end and was buried under the debris pile of 2. So this is the casing and the engine, in fact, is intact up in here.
This is the casing off the American Airlines flight that erupted and exploded and the thing that shot out the front end that you could see if you really watched. If they slowed the film down, you'd see this coming out the front like a bullet. This is what they recovered and it's sitting over at the Staten Island landfill. It's kind of eerie to look at it sitting there.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Again, we had one Bechtel ES&H person and an OSHA person. We teamed up together, days and nights. We went around in teams of two. It was a great learning experience for both. We identified a lot of problems. We were able to correct a lot of problems.
By having the OSHA person with us, it allowed us to do some things and shut down some things that, without them, we could have eventually probably done, but it would have been a struggle, at best.
But with us working together, teaming together, and identifying problems and concerns together, we got a lot more done and provided a lot safer atmosphere to work in, I think, than we would have if we had not been a team effort.
MS. CLARK: And maybe this is a good time to explain our role at the site. Initially, whenever there's a response to an emergency, we certainly are there providing technical assistance and guidance, and trying not to interfere with the emergency operations, but to make sure that they are occurring in the safest way possible. That's the tack that we took here.
On the safety side, we very quickly joined up with Bechtel and did they safety monitoring teams. Basically, we had six people per shift, 18 a day. We still have that. When Bechtel left the site, we pretty much took over that function ourselves and we've since been continuing that.
We found that, moving in this way doing the compliance assistance, has been pretty successful. We have actually entered into a partnership recently. Two weeks ago, the Secretary came up and we signed a partnership agreement with the now two co-incident commanders.
The fire department, several weeks ago, was joined in their incident command by the city Department of Design and Construction. So, they are the co-incident commanders at the site. They are part of the partnership, along with the four primes.
Actually, it was a joint venture, Turner Plaza--they were still on the site at that time--Bovis, Amec, and Tully, as well as the two major employer and employee associations, the Building Trade Employers Association of New York and the Building Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, as well as the Contractors Association of Greater New York, and the General Contractor's Association. They're all part of this partnership.
Basically, the commitment is to continue to work together to support the environmental safety and health plan, which actually Bechtel was the primary author of, to continue to support that and to share information, both from the safety monitoring and also from the risk assessment.
The bottom line is to make sure that the site is as safe as possible. We certainly don't want to lose any more lives there or encounter any serious injuries. So, we are continuing to work in this cooperative fashion.
We are doing some enforcement outside the confines of the project area. The project area is defined very carefully by what work is under the Department of Design and Construction's control for contractors who are working on some of those buildings outside that suffered damage that Stu showed you earlier.
There's a lot of activity going on there. There, we are doing focused inspections. We are basically looking at the four causes of most of the construction fatalities as our way of focusing those inspections.
But within what we've called the so-called green line--it was actually painted at one point. I don't know that there's any of that green paint left--but pretty much the Plaza itself now, and the little keystone area that was 7, inside that area we're still continuing to provide technical advice and assistance and it has been working quite well.
Jointly, we basically are getting the job done identifying the hazards and working on getting them abated immediately.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: What you see here, is Building 4, the collapsed part of 4, and what's left of 5.
There's a Plaza area right in here between these two buildings. A lot of people used that Plaza area, unfortunately, for an observation deck. They would walk out and you could get an excellent view of the entire ground zero site by walking out in this Plaza.
The problem was, the Plaza was very unstable. We had barricaded it off, we had flagged it off, we had tried to get the police to keep people out of there. The problem was, it was the police and the firemen bringing their families out, and their kids--which was no place to do that--to look at the site.
So on this particular day, in this particular area, about 5:30, 6:00 at night, one of our guys on one of our teams observed 16 policemen, their wives, and their kids out in the Plaza on the other side of the barricades, out taking pictures and looking at the debris. We went out and hassled them, and hassled them, and hassled them, and finally they left.
As they got about down to where this group of people are, the Plaza collapsed down completely, about a 25-foot collapse down into the basement area, and it would have killed every one of them. We were extremely fortunate that our guys happened to, A) walk by there, number one, and B) had enough foresight to hassle them and get them out of there, C) they got out of there and they lived.
MS. CLARK: And the sad part of that is, two weeks later, Bill Gillen and I were making one of our Sunday tours and we were in that area. Now there was this huge sign that said, "Unstable Area - Do Not Enter," big, fluorescent orange letters, enormous. No one could miss it. And what do we see, but two groups. One, a group that a few of the people had hart hats on, but they were dressed in obviously civilian clothes, wives and friends, with some people. Then the other one was a New York City police officer in his dress uniform, with a woman in high heels out there. We're standing back. This also is an area, at this point, where respirators are required. That is the way the plume would sort of flow. We're in our respirators trying to shout with the respirators on, get their attention.
I don't know what they thought we were doing. We're going like this (gesturing) telling them to come back. It took us a good 10 minutes to get them back. And we're saying, do you realize what's going on? We asked the police officer if he was aware of what had happened just two weeks before. He said, oh, I heard about that, but I didn't think that was here.
So, this visitor problem continues, I hate to say this, to this day. Even though the site is shrinking as far as the area that's controlled and the number of entrances, it is still an amazing tourist attraction, so to speak.
Stu is absolutely right. If you have any badge whatsoever, it doesn't matter if it's from Connecticut, or there was a whole crew from Canada the other day. On Sundays it's very bad. Hundreds of people come through there. You're constantly going up and checking with them and then escorting them out.
MR. BURKHAMMER: If you can think in your mind of all the celebrities in the world, all the foreign heads of state, just anybody you think is important in your mind, they've probably been there. All the way from Julia Roberts to every football team you can imagine. The Wrestling Federation was out.
The big thing was, these individuals would sign hard hats. They would sign their autograph on the workers' hard hats. You'd see workers with masses of signatures on their hard hat. A lot of jobs, people put stickers on their hard hats. Well, this particular one they put signatures of celebrities on their hard hats.
The Julia Roberts one was interesting because we didn't know she was there. We found her out in tennis shoes and a tank top and a pair of shorts with a couple of firemen walking her out onto the pile. Now, normally Julia Roberts in a tank top, tennis shoes, and shorts wouldn't bother me at all.
But, unfortunately, in this particular case it bothered me greatly because if she walked out into that pile, and she was heading right for the plume, she had no respirator, no hard hat, no safety glasses, no nothing.
So we were able to go up and very politely explain to her that she was walking into a death trap, and she turned around and left. But that's kind of what we've had to put up with.
So we built a visitor's stand on the southeast or southwest corner of the site in hopes that the visitors would migrate to the viewing stand. Some did, some didn't.
The biggest problem we had was getting Mayor Guiliani to wear a hard hat. We finally achieved that, even though he always had his New York baseball cap on whenever you saw him on TV.
We finally got a hard hat on him. We never could get a respirator or safety glasses on him, but we did get a hart hat on him. The only reason we did that, we ordered a special hard hat that said, "VIP - Mayor," and it worked.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Man baskets were a huge problem, as Pat can attest. All the way from non-certified man baskets, improperly constructed man baskets, improperly placed man baskets, man baskets hanging from cranes that weren't certified to carry man baskets, too many people in the man baskets, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We were shutting man baskets down, if not every hour, at least every other hour and pulling people out, and making issues of man baskets. It's still a problem today.
MS. CLARK: It's much, much better. Part of that, I think, is the crane team effort, which we'll show in a few minutes. This is a good man baskets. I was going to say, did you have a picture of the one that was the dumpster?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes, we have it but it's not here.
MS. CLARK: They actually had a dumpster that they retrofitted to become a personnel hoist. It was interesting. It was under the direction of the fire department, I should say.
MR. BURKHAMMER: One of the concerns was being able to get torches and plasma arcs up in the air so they could cut this high steel. The only way feasibly to do that, is a man basket. But, unfortunately, to do it, you've got to have immense heat and you have to have several cylinders in the man basket along with personnel to do the cutting.
So the only thing they could figure out that they could make big enough, was a big, huge Dempsey Dumpster and they put 20 cylinders in there and 4 people, each with cutting torches, hanging over the side trying to cut steel, until we caught them and politely explained to them that that was a no-no and we're not going to use the Dempsey Dumpster.
But it was a real concern because, even going up in the air and cutting this huge steel with these torches, and in some cases using the plasma arcing, you needed so much intense heat that you'd suck up the cylinders unbelievably fast.
So, they had to dream up a way to get the cylinders back and forth. They would weld shackles on top of the cylinder caps and hook up to the shackle and jerk the cylinders up, until we caught them doing that and that ended.
So, they had every trick in the book. We became real jerks because we were preventing them from doing what they thought was right to help clean up the site.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Here's an example of the crane team. We had 32 pieces of equipment on site at the height of the work. It was a mess. You'll see a slide that shows you a lot of it. The swing radiuses were greatly cut. Every time they'd move, they'd move into another piece. A lot of them, back-up alarms didn't work or they turned them off, or you couldn't hear, anyway.
Some operators didn't have licenses. Just everything you can imagine that went wrong on some of these cranes, we found: rigging, lineage. A lot of it was due to no maintenance and not being able to work on the equipment.
So we systematically decided that we'd go around to each rig and inspect each rig, and we did. We had a laundry list of things that we found that were wrong. Liberty Mutual, who is the awardee of the OCIP, also sent a crane team around to do theirs, and we compared our notes and we were basically identical in the things we observed and found. So, we systematically got each contractor to work off the list, and they did. They did a fairly good job.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: We're going to take a brief break in Stu and Pat's presentation. Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Mr. Henshaw, is here, along with Davis Layne, is it Bruce?
MR. SWANSON: Yes.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Would you like to introduce them both?
MR. SWANSON: I thought I say Gary Vischer come in, too.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mr. Secretary, why don't you come up here and take a chair. Welcome.
MR. HENSHAW: Good morning. How are you?
MR. SWANSON: I think it would be helpful, Bob. I know you already went around and introduced yourselves this morning. But for John's benefit, perhaps you could do it again?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Great. John, why don't you start?
(Whereupon, the committee members and attendees introduced themselves.)
MR. HENSHAW: Good. If I could have Gary Vischer stand. Gary is back in the room. He is Deputy Assistant Secretary. And Davis Layne. Most of you know Davis. If you don't, you'll know him quickly. But it's an honor to be here and I'm glad that we have an opportunity to talk a little bit.
I don't know your schedule. Stu and Pat were in the middle of their presentation. Do you want me to just sort of --
MR. SWANSON: We had anticipated that and planned to break around you, whenever you could arrive. We will avail ourselves of your presence and then we'll get back to Stu and Pat when you have to move on.
MR. HENSHAW: You say, plan to break around me. Did you want to break while I'm talking?
By John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary, OSHA
MR. HENSHAW: Okay. I've got a few minutes. I guess what I'd like to do, if this is okay with the group, is sort of explain some of the priorities and what we, as the Agency, are working towards in the upcoming years. Does that seem appropriate?
MR. SWANSON: Totally.
MR. HENSHAW: I didn't get a chance to meet everybody. But, in the introductions, I have your names and where you're from. Hopefully, in the very near future we'll have a chance to talk on an individual basis and we can talk some more about various issues.
Let me just tell you who I am. Obviously, I'm not as familiar with the construction side as I am to the general industry side of safety and health and OSHA. But I'm quickly, with Bruce's help, coming up to speed. It seems Bruce has more issues than some other groups.
I'd like to do this in several pieces. I want to let you know who I am and what kind of person I am, and how I intend to operate as we go through these next few years, also then discuss some priorities, what I see the priorities are for the Agency, and then some impressions that I have in respect to the Agency, and working relationships with various groups such as this Advisory Committee.
Let me just give you a little background. I've been in this business for over 26 years. I am a safety and health professional, first. My number-one result and goal, is reducing injuries, illnesses and fatalities. That's my number-one mission. I have received a mandate from the President and Secretary Chao to accomplish that result. That's what I'm here for.
I'm a very mission-oriented and results-oriented kind of person. I'll be looking at driving the injury and illness rates down, and fatalities down. That's got to be our number-one goal.
How we get there, is what we're going to talk about. That's the priorities, that's the methodologies we use, that's how we approach this and how we, hopefully, will show that these kinds of methodologies, these kinds of approaches, will result in injury and illness reduction.
I'm also very much, in my view, a "we" person in the sense that it's going to take all of us to make this happen. It's going to take a collective effort of the great people in the Agency, as well as those great professionals and managers in the private sector who are really where the rubber meets the road, where the job gets done, where safety and health is really reduced to practice and realize, on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis.
It can't be done by one group who's isolated. It has to be by all of us. It has to be employers, it has to be workers, it has to be government sort of working together on making all of this happen.
That's not only the best way of doing it, the most efficient way of doing it, but also the most sustaining way of doing it. Whatever we do has to be sustaining. It has to survive over time. It has to show positive results. That will be the basis upon which, now, we can do even better improvements as the years to come.
So that's where I come from. That's my philosophical view of safety and health and approach to driving what we're all about in this room, is injury and illness and fatality reduction.
Let me get into, sort of, priorities. The concepts around team, the concepts around getting people engaged will be reflected in some of these priorities that I'll speak about.
It will be reflected in the things you'll be hearing--you already heard, probably--and what you'll be hearing in the near future as to how we move forward in accomplishing this.
I'm coming also with a clear understanding that the Agency's 30 years' history has done a great job in what it's been charged to do. There are always the bumps in the road, there are obviously things that can be improved on, but the Agency has done a great job.
The Agency is needed. OSHA needs to be here. It needs to work in partnership with employers and employees. It needs to work in partnership, obviously, with the members of Congress. We will strive to improve those kinds of partnerships.
But the Agency has been successful. My goal is to grow those things that have been successful, even to really make it even more successful based on the history, the experience that we have, and the knowledge we've gained in using various tools to drive that kind of performance.
I want to make sure we continue to drive that using all the tools that the Agency has at its disposal and it's been given authority to do under the OSH Act.
I think some of the things that Pat and Stu were talking about in respect to the World Trade Center is an example of that, and the value the Agency can bring. When we look at all those tools, how can we be successful in realizing real-time safety and health reduction and avoiding serious injury and fatalities in places such as the World Trade Center?
I commend Pat, and Stu for his leadership early on, in the effort at the World Trade Center. Pat and her team have done an excellent job in sort of pulling our resources together and delivering the bottom line, which is injury and illness reduction at the World Trade Center, and using some unusual techniques, unusual things that possibly the Agency has not been noted for in the past. But that's okay. I think the proof is in the pudding.
I think the kinds of work that's being done at the World Trade Center, the kinds of successes we've had at the World Trade Center, certainly the partnership in bringing the primes together, the workers, and the city together, has been a prime example of what we can accomplish if we work together.
The World Trade Center, in my view, is a sacred site to this Nation. We cannot afford, and we do not want to lose, another life at that site. We'll do everything in our power to make sure that happens. It's in our power to do the kinds of things that Pat and her staff are doing, and we'll continue to do that and be successful. That is an example.
With anthrax, there's another example of some things that we're doing that I'll speak about a little bit later, but I don't want to consume too much of your time.
Let me get into the four priorities. I think the World Trade Center and anthrax are examples of how some of those priorities are playing out.
Number one, is I've been involved in this business since 1975. I know the value of enforcement. I know the value of strong, fair, and effective enforcement. That's got to be the underpinning of what we're all about.
That's where we've had successes in driving performance around organizations that may not have seen the light, organizations that may not have decided to comply or exercise good safety and health programs.
Through enforcement, we've been able to turn a number of companies around. That's the goal, is turning them around so they are now performing more appropriately and protecting workers and driving injuries and illnesses down.
But we need to have a strong, fair, and effective enforcement policy. There are some ideas around that that you've probably read about or you've heard talk about in how to make that happen. Obviously, the how is the difficult part. How can we make it more effective?
One of the things, is make sure our targeting is right on target. I firmly believe there are only a few employers out there that need the enforcement tool to comply or need the enforcement tool to understand the value of safety and health.
I believe there are other employers out there that would see using a different tool. It doesn't have to be enforcement. I'll talk about those other tools in a second.
But there are some that will only respond to enforcement, so enforcement is necessary. But when I say "effective enforcement," I also mean -- and I've mentioned this to -- we had a management meeting a couple of weeks ago and we talked about, the purpose of enforcement is to achieve result. That result is injury and illness reduction.
If we continue to go back to the same employer over, and over, and over again for the same kind of citation and non-compliance, then we've failed in achieving the result, which is compliance in injury and illness reduction.
We have failed in getting them convinced there is value in safety and health, value in compliance, and they need to comply. We've convinced in that message.
So, we need to find a different way of really approaching those employers who constantly come up as far as not complying and not protecting workers. We've got to find a different way.
Continuously to cite over and over and over again, to me as a safety professional, is repulsive in the sense that we're allowing, now, the penalties to be incorporated into the cost of doing business. That doesn't sit right with me. We've got to find a different way of doing that.
So we've got to find different ways to make our enforcement effort -- if the strategy is to effect a change, impact a change, and result in a change, we've got to find a different way of approaching those employers.
It doesn't mean we're going to stop from citing, but we've got to find a different way to convince them, to sell them, that there's a better way of doing it besides not complying with the law. That's what I mean by "effective enforcement."
It may be the way we sell it, by the way we, in a close-out, we sell the value of safety and health, the way we relate to the employer, the way we provide the incentives that are necessary for them to come on board and comply. We've got to find different ways of doing that.
Another way of effective enforcement, and you've heard this before, is I'd certainly like to engage in improving the quality of our compliance officers.
Before I go there, I want to just stress -- somebody asked me in the past, not too long ago, what was my biggest surprise when I came to the Agency? My biggest surprise is the quality of the people and the sincerity of the people in the Agency.
I have never seen a more dedicated group of people, more sincere, a more mission-driven group of people than I've seen in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It doesn't mean that they weren't existing. Obviously, they did. They've existed since the beginning.
It's just, I didn't see that until I really got immersed into the Agency. But I've been very impressed with the quality of the people in the Agency. I'm probably preaching to the choir here for many of you, as it is. But I have been very impressed with the quality of our folks.
Having said that, however, I also believe that we're only as good as the people who succeed us. The people who succeed me and others have to be better than we are. They have to be much better than we are, just like our children. We want our children to be better than we are because we know some of the bad things that we did. We want them to be better.
But, nonetheless, we want the people who succeed us, the new people that come into the Agency, to even be better than the people that are already in the Agency. We're going to strive to improve the quality of the folks that are coming into the Agency and improve the quality of the training that we provide our employees.
And I would also like to get them a flavor of business. One of the proposals that we threw out in the management meeting is that our folks have an internship with the outside, with the private sector, so they realize what the private sector has to go through to accomplish the result that we're looking for. It's not necessarily real easy to comply with the standard. It's not digital. There's a lot more work that goes into compliance and sustained compliance than just, it's on paper, do it. It takes a lot of work.
So one of the notions that we talked about is providing some sort of internship or some sort of incorporation of the real-world activities into our compliance officers' training so they can appreciate that and be more effective in selling to the employer what we're trying to accomplish.
If we know the language, if we know the business, we have a better opportunity of selling the concepts we're trying to sell during the close-out sessions of an inspection.
Now, I think on the construction side you have done more of that, probably, in some of the other areas, so I commend you for doing that. I think we need to continue to do more, so we'll work on doing more of those things. I think we need to continue to do more, so we'll work on doing more of those things.
The other piece of being more effective, is the credentialing. I think most of you heard that we as an Agency are going to value credentials, value a certification that's based on an outside certification board, not inside the Agency, but outside, so we can be judged, and our people can be judged, at the same level of competency as the outside world is being judged on.
The people in your organizations are getting certifications. We want to do the same thing. We want to use sort of the same baseline as far as level of competency.
Certification, or those kinds of activities, are not the end all, of course. They're only the beginning. But we want to raise the bottom, raise the bar, of our starting employees and value that within the Agency.
Fair enforcement means our strategy on how we issue penalties, how we conduct inspections and make sure they're fair. We want to make sure that we target those employers who need enforcement to respond and not target those where we can use some other tools. We need to have a strategy and begin to gather numbers.
This is results-oriented and we'll be measuring those results. The measurement tools that we use have to derive the right kind of consequences. We don't want measure tools that derive unintended consequences, or unfairness, or other kinds of things that may happen.
So, we're working on that and we'll have some useful information as our task forces begin to flesh out the concepts around fair, effective, and strong enforcement.
The second priority that I'd like to talk to you about, and I really believe this -- you put in -- I use this analogy. You put in a dollar in enforcement, you get a dollar out on impact. A dollar out of impact is injury and illness reduction compliance.
Now, if you hit the same employer three or four times, you put a dollar in and you get 50 cents out because you've diluted it over three times, or 75 cents. So, to be really effective, dollar in, you get a dollar out.
I think, on compliance assistance, education, outreach, and training, you put a dollar in, you could get $10 out on impact. I think the impact is injury and illness reduction compliance with the standards.
The Secretary has made this statement many times, how important compliance assistance is. So, as the President, we're going to make it happen. We're going to show that there's value there and it will produce positive results within the Agency.
We're going to show that, through education, outreach, training, and compliance assistance, we will put a dollar in and we're going to get $10 out in respect to impact. Over the next several years, we're going to emphasize and show that to the rest of the world, that this is a useful tool in getting that accomplished.
Again, I'm operating on the premise that a majority of the employers, we don't need the enforcement stick to get it done. We need the education, outreach, compliance assistance to get it done. We're going to show that in the next few years, and how productive that is.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, these priorities are not anything new to the Agency. They've already been done in the Agency. What I want to do, is express them even more and capitalize on the good success that the Agency has had.
Compliance assistance has been around for a long time. As you know, we've got a compliance assistance specialist in every area office in the Nation. We have been using compliance assistance and it has been productive. It has been useful. We're going to grow that even more and emphasize that even more.
The reason is, we've shown success on these things. Now we want to take them even the next step further and show even more positive results.
I know you're not getting a briefing on recordkeeping, but there is sort of a major outreach effort that we're undergoing for the recordkeeping standard. We've got somewhere like 200 downlinks now, I think, of satellite training that will happen on December 12th.
I don't know how many employees and employers that that's going to touch, but obviously we want to touch as many people as we possibly can. We've got over 200 downlinks now already signed up, and we're going to have a lot more before December 12th.
We're going to deliver that training to the people who need to know. We've also communicated with 125 trade associates, gave them the information and are engaging them to be part of the training effort so they can train their members. The idea is to get the information to every workplace in this country so they know how to comply.
Yesterday, we signed an agreement with the Small Business Development Centers, of which there are 1,100 across the country. They're going to help us. These folks are designed to help small businesses get going on lots of issues. One of them, now, is going to be safety and health.
Now, these are not going to be experts, of course. But at least they'll be able to talk to small businesses, identify an issue, and help them find the resources to get it resolved. At least there's a go-to person in these Development Centers where small businesses can go to.
I don't know what this is. It may be in safety and health, it may be in EPA, it may be something else. At least they can go to these Small Business Development Centers, of which there are 1,100 across the country, and get some help. They, in turn, will communicate with OSHA and other agencies to make sure.
Now, we're the only Agency that signed the agreement with the Business Development Centers, and I hope this will be a model for the rest of the country over the next few years. That's just an example of outreach, example of education and compliance assistance that we're going to be doing more of.
The third priority that I want to share with you, is the voluntary and partnership emphasis. We have had -- and this is another prime example of some great successes that we've had in respect to partnerships. You guys have been involved in those anyway. You know how effective they are.
We want to grow those. We want to have more partnerships. We want to have more voluntary programs. I'm coming from the private side and I know that one size does not fit all. I know that, tailoring it to my company in my previous life was critical. Tailoring it to my culture, in respect to my culture, was critical.
The employees in my company, having them participate in developing the efforts around whatever that program is that achieves that result, which is injury and illness reduction, it's critical to tailor it to those organizations, to those businesses. So, I know one size does not fit all.
Through the voluntary and partnership effort, we can encourage people to voluntarily step up to the plate, do what they know is right, do it consistent with their culture, with their organization. The bottom line, again, is producing positive results, which is injury and illness reduction.
As long as that can be achieved, I don't care how it's done. As long as it's honest, as long as it's producing real results, who cares? The Act says our job is to ensure that people are safe. As long as that insurance can be achieved, I don't care how it's done. Through voluntary programs and partnerships, I think we can drive that kind of proactive approach around safety and health.
We've got good examples. We mentioned a couple
of them. Pat probably already mentioned the signing of
the agreement with the World Trade Center. We're working
on a couple of others in the New York
area. We've got lots of them all over the country.
I don't know how many there are, but they're in the thousands of partnerships that we've had and exercised within the Agency, some small, some very local, some larger.
Obviously, you know many of them already for the construction side. We'll do a lot more of those--many, many more of those, again--as long as we can produce the results and prove that it is reducing injury and illness and fatalities within this country.
The last priority that I want to talk about, and this is sort of a general conceptual issue, is the Agency, OSHA, needs to be a part of -- and the only other word I use is leading or being a part of the leadership around the dialogue of the value of safety and health.
We need to be out there. The value is not just compliance with standards. The value is safety and health. The value is around human capital. The value is preserving life, preserving and reducing injuries and illnesses.
The value is making the best of our employees, of the workers out there so they can be successful and we can be successful as a federal agency, and our economy will be successful.
That is the most critical thing. We need to be out there, as an Agency, articulating the value of human capital and the value of reducing injury and illness in safety and health programs. We need to be out there speaking it. Not just what the standard says. We need to be out there above that and driving the safety and health performance.
How that's going to play out, that was part of our management meeting the other day when we were talking about, how can we do that? How can we participate in this dialogue? How can we be up front encouraging further development around the safety and health issues? There's lots of ideas around that. But it means being vocal. It means being visible.
It means using the bloody pulpit to drive the value around safety and health. It means being active. It means also taking some risk in respect to either being misperceived, or somebody misunderstands the message. We've got to be willing to take that risk and then obviously correcting it if there is a misperception.
But no one can criticize us for saying what we value is human life and injury and illness reduction. That's what we're all about. That's what Congress has charged us to do. Using the dialogue and getting in front of everybody and articulating the value of safety and health is a part of that.
This administration is behind that. Secretary Chao is behind it. I'm sure we'll have a few people question us from time to time as to what we're doing, but we'll be prepared to answer those questions. But the bottom line will be showing injury and illness reduction, fatality reductions.
That's all I had. Let me, if I could, just add a piece on anthrax because I think it does play a little bit into this.
I did not mention the regulatory agenda, I did not mention ergonomics, I did not mention all those other things. I mean, those were all pieces of the pie. I'm giving you the overall perspective, the overall challenges, and the overall vision. We'll deal with those issues as they come up, and we must do that.
Let me just go to the anthrax issue. After September 11th, all of our lives had changed. I personally, as everybody in this room, on September 11th -- our views now of what our job was became more centered now around our own personal safety, around the safety of our loved ones, the safety of our workers, the safety of our communities. They became the more centering kind of events that all of us went through.
Now, that is something that we ought to be proud of as Americans because this is what we're all about. It also speaks to the safety and health professionals. That's what we're all about. We value human life. We value ourselves, our loved ones, the people we work with. We value their safety. This gives us an even stronger footing to continue the message around safety and health.
But what September 11th did, was it created some additional issues that OSHA needs to step up to and to participate in. Again, it's being a leader. It gave us the opportunity to lead. I think what Pat and her team are doing in New York is an example of that, because there are some issues around enforcement and some other things that are being questioned.
The fact, is, leadership is being exercised, all the tools are being used, and we are showing great results. We want to continue with that kind of leadership in driving some breakthrough thinking around how to achieve the bottom line, which is injury and illness reduction.
The 9/11 is the first time, at least in the history of OSHA, that war time has been on our soil and war time now has been in our workplaces, and anthrax, in particular, in the mail issue.
We are going to participate in dealing with bioterrorism or war time in the workplace. We are workplace experts in the Agency. We deal with experts. We deal with workplaces. We have contacts with workplaces. We have contact with the workers. That is our area of specialization. OSHA is going to step up to that plate and make sure that we provide the necessary tools to our workplaces.
One of the tools that we have embarked on, is the anthrax issue. As all of you know, there are lots of things going on, certainly, when anthrax came about and where it was going, and how to protect, and a lot of uncertainty, a lot of concern about our employees being protected, what's the best way to do this or that.
What we decided to do, was the Agency, with the help of the postal workers, the Postal Service, the government, CDC -- we are not trying to invent any wheel here.
What we want to do is take the knowledge that's out there already and reduce it to practice and make it available to all the workplaces in this country so that they know how to assess the risk based on other people's information.
I mean, we're not going to be the FBI. We're not going to be providing bulletins around, there's a risk at this workplace. We've got other systems in place that will identify that.
CDC is certainly the expert on communicable disease, and disease in general. We're going to rely on their expertise. NIOSH, being part of the HHS organization, we'll rely on them. They're a part of our work around the anthrax.
Certainly in the case of mail handling, the Postal Service, and the postal workers, they're a part of this work that we've put forward in respect to this anthrax matrix.
Again, the idea is to provide guidance, provide tools to workplaces where they can use it to reassure their employees and protect them.
The anthrax issue -- as soon as the word got out that we were doing this for anthrax, the big concern was, what was OSHA doing in respect to creating new requirements?
There's a perception out there that, any time OSHA gets involved, there's a standard somewhere in the wings. I want to dispel that. Every time OSHA is involved does not necessarily mean there are going to be new requirements or there is going to be a standard, or additional duty of care established from a legal standpoint.
The idea around anthrax, is get the best information out there to the people who need to know, to the people who have to use it. It's not adding any more additional requirements. It's not a back door rulemaking, it's not any other kind of activity. It's strictly providing guidance to the people who need it, to the workers, and to the community who needs to be reassured. That's the purpose behind it.
We'll continue to do those sorts of things. Now, as the need arises for standards, obviously, we'll address that. But if there's a thinking that any time OSHA gets involved there's a standard in the wings, I want to dispel that quickly. That doesn't necessarily mean that's the case.
When it's appropriate, there will be. When it's not appropriate, we'll deliver that tool, that technique, that guidance as quickly as we can and get it out to the people who need to know and need to protect their employees.
That's the anthrax. There will be some other things as we go through this whole bioterrorism and homeland security issues. We'll be doing more and more of those kinds of efforts, again, to get the information out so people can be protected, so people can be reassured.
That's it. I'll open it up to questions, if you have any questions.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Committee? Anyone?
MR. BURKHAMMER: I'd like to express my gratitude for being at the World Trade Center, and the effort of Pat, Richard, Bob McGee, and yourself, for providing very, very talented OSHA compliance officers that came back to the World Trade Center and participated on Pat's team, and with us together.
They were class acts. They were professional. We had a couple of exceptions, as I did on my team, and we both took care of those exceptions. But for the main, it was an outstanding effort.
The professionalism your people brought that contributed to mine, and I hope vice versa, really did a lot. Pat really needs to be commended for her efforts, tirelessly. I mean, she was out there days, nights, weekends in her work clothes, out there in the field working the beat and doing the things, like she said earlier, about getting people off the Plaza.
And Gil Gillen, and the other folks in New York that just -- you know, position wasn't an issue. It was protecting the people and not letting anybody else die on that site.
There were several occasions where we really came close. Thank God, we didn't get hit. But a couple of times I would go to the directors' meetings at night and sit there and say, I'm not going to be the one to go tell the mayor we just killed somebody, so clean up your act. It worked in a lot of instances.
But, again, please, please, think about Pat and her team and the outstanding effort they did. They really need to be commended.
MR. HENSHAW: I agree 150 percent. Pat and I talk on a regular basis. I know where to find her on her cell phone, and she's probably in the green zone or in the pile. But, yes, her leadership has been excellent.
I'd also like to say--and you've probably already covered this, Pat--that the 600 or so of the OSHA folks from state programs, state consultations --
MS. CLARK: We haven't gotten to that yet.
MR. HENSHAW: Oh. I'm not going to steal your thunder. Never mind.
MS. CLARK: And it's 700.
MR. HENSHAW: Is it 700? There's a lot of people involved. That's another example of -- I'm not going to give you the numbers because you're going to give the numbers. I'm very, very proud to be part of the Agency.
I'm proud to be part of the Agency because some of the stuff that I've seen at the World Trade Center, some of the great stuff I've seen on partnership, compliance, and the compliance assistance side -- I'm very proud to be a part of the Agency. Pat just makes me even prouder, and her team.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Tom?
MR. BRODERICK: Has OSHA's role been defined in this new organization of homeland security? Has there been an interaction between the Agency? What do you foresee it would be?
MR. HENSHAW: Yes. We are part of that matrix for homeland security. I don't know if you've seen that matrix. You'd have a headache if you saw it. I mean, it's a pretty complicated set of boxes. But we're in there.
I know OSHA has come up numerous times in respect to providing the tools that we talked about--anthrax being one of them--around the homeland security. We are part of groups and discussions that the President and others have organized. We're continuing to find that.
I mean, there's a lot of interagency activity, and who provides what. The idea is obviously not to duplicate, but the idea is to take the best of all agencies and the best information, and who can deliver on those in the best way and most effective way.
I can say, I don't have a lot of detail to offer at this point, but OSHA is viewed very high in that area. It is the Agency that deals with workplaces. We are the avenue and the way we're going to deal with workplaces. We are going to be providing tools, direction, guidance, as necessary as these things are developed and worked out.
So, we don't have all the detail yet. We're meeting on a regular basis, on a constant basis, about how that's going to play out. But OSHA is in a prominent position to not only step up to the plate, but also to deliver and to be successful.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Marie?
DR. SWEENEY: Mr. Secretary, thank you for coming.
I had the opportunity to participate on CDC's response team for anthrax in Atlanta and we had some really good interaction with the OSHA folks.
One of the lessons learned, was that there really was not good information in lay language about respirator use, about what kind of respirators to use. Of course, that was all evolving as it was going on.
But I think that's something to think about in terms of your goal for compliance assistance and education and outreach, is to get information in sort of bite-sized chunks and in lay language, get it up on your Web site as quickly as possible.
Also, you missed our discussion earlier this morning about, we have a workgroup on multilingual issues on construction sites. I think OSHA has to spend a little more time putting things into the Spanish language or into other languages, getting it up on your Web site, linking to other Web sites.
So I think part of it is, let's see about getting OSHA issues up in a little more usable form, not only for the worker and the foreman, but for the health and safety professional so they can hand it out.
MR. HENSHAW: That's a good point. I'm just relaying common language respirators. We've got a run on Army-Navy stores on respirators. Can you imagine how many people have bought respirators at an Army-Navy store that's been around for 50 years? They're going to think they're going to work. Well, that's public kind of information.
But one of the things that we're talking about in respect to workplaces, is educating workers is a great way to get information to families, especially on things like respirators. You educate workers as to what is right respirator protection.
You give them some tools they can take home and talk to their family about so they don't go buy $40 gas masks from World War II. That's another delivery mechanism to get to the general public and we need to do more on that.
One thing for sure, is we are not going to do things perfect and we're not going to let perfection get in the way of doing good, in the sense that we're going to get the best we can out there and then be willing to get criticism or builds on what we're doing. We're not going to take it as criticism. We're going to take it like, yeah, that can be more effective. Yeah, that's a good idea. And we're going to improve that.
So, we're not going to be sensitive to additional ideas and builds on what we're doing, or there may be a better way, do it this way. That's fine. We're going to learn that and we're going to learn as we go and build on that.
So, any suggestions you have like those two -- Spanish, we know, is an issue, or non-English speaking. It's not just Spanish, but that's a big one.
We've got a task force already involved, as you may or may not know. One of the chores, or one of the responsibilities of that task force that John Miles is heading up is figuring out, how can we get to the Hispanic population more effectively. How can we deliver products? How can we get to the right organizations? Who can provide the training, provide the cultural shift that there might be in respect to value of human life and the way we operate here.
If we've got a lot of immigrants, they may not have the same cultural background in respect to safety as we have. We need to let them understand, this is the way it is. They have some rights, and they have the ability, and there's some learning and responsibility that goes along with it.
So, I mean, there are a bunch of those things that we need to do, and I hope, Marie, you can help us do that.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Felipe?
MR. DEVORA: Thank you.
Mr. Secretary, in that same vein, I have been talking to John Miles, since he's in our region, and we are initiating some of those programs at the local level with the outreach OSHA offices.
But the comment I wanted to make about this group, especially about the Advisory Committee, in the last four years that I've been a part of this -- I think four years, or four-plus years. Time flies by. But it has been a very progressive, very proactive group.
Again, we've already formed, a year ago, a Diversity in the Workplace Committee and we have begun initial talks with John Miles on his initiatives and how this group can help him to reach those goals.
But I think you'll also find that, with the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, you're going to find a group that's willing to take on some very difficult issues and measure them in terms of large construction companies like Bechtel, to small- and medium-sized companies, or mom-and-pops around the country.
So our audience is diverse. I think we would serve at your pleasure. I think everybody on this committee would agree to that, with difficult issues regarding construction specifically. To that end, with the Directorate of Construction, I think you're blessed with a very good team there as well.
MR. HENSHAW: Did he pay you?
MR. DEVORA: No.
MR. DEVORA: Not yet.
MR. HENSHAW: Not yet.
MR. SWANSON: That will never happen!
MR. HENSHAW: There's another reason to be proud to be part of the Agency. Bruce has done a great job, and his team.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Jane?
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Secretary, I do appreciate you sharing your priorities. I think it's very important for this committee to hear those and see where your focus is going so we can be sure to put our efforts to your use.
I was reviewing the regulatory agenda that came out on Monday. In the completed items, there were certain things that caught my eye, needless to say, sanitation. I'm wondering if you would have any comments for us on that today.
MR. HENSHAW: I alluded to, the regulatory agenda -- not everything is going to fit the regulatory model. The regulatory agenda was set up for what we can accomplish as far as achieving milestones in the next 12 months.
It doesn't mean that issue is not important. It doesn't mean that we're not going to address it in a different way. It means, in the next 12 months, we don't have any milestones to identify. The priorities are such that it doesn't fit the regulatory agenda now.
It doesn't necessarily mean it's not an issue. It doesn't necessarily mean there's not another way of doing it. There might be. I certainly would entertain, and I know Bruce would, any ideas this committee has in respect to how to accomplish that.
What I don't want, is at the end of some period to say, well, we didn't address the safety and health issues because we didn't get a standard out. We can't wait 10 years to show positive results. We've got to get something done now. Especially if there is an issue, let's get it done now. There may be other ways of doing it.
Maybe there's guidelines, maybe there's tools, maybe there's education. Maybe there's all kinds of other things that may not have to go through this regulatory process, which we all know takes a lot of time, effort, and energy.
We need to be challenged on how we can deliver on that besides just going through the regulatory scheme. Until that regulatory scheme is modified in some way, it's going to take time to do that, and it takes a lot of resources.
So the regulatory agenda was put together: what can we accomplish in the next 12 months? What are those milestones we can accomplish? That's the basis for it. It doesn't mean that any one of those issues that fall off of the regulatory agenda are not important. They are. We just need to be creative on how we can deliver.
We may not get 100 percent of where we want to go, but I'll be happy with 50 percent, 60 percent. Just think of the lives saved and the inconveniences we've avoided, and the injuries and illnesses we've reduced if we institute something that may not get all the way to the wall, but at least it will get some way to the wall.
So the regulatory agenda, as it stands, if there's anything you can help us do in accomplishing the result, which is getting injury and illness and improving safety at our work sites, I'd entertain any ideas.
MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. Secretary, would the vehicle for me to do that then--specifically sanitation--be for me to communicate with Mr. Swanson as to some of the issues I think we could be pursuing in that vein to accomplish our goals?
MR. HENSHAW: Yes. This committee would be the group that we'd be expecting that kind of advice from.
MS. WILLIAMS: Very good, sir.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Larry?
MR. EDGINTON: Thank you, Bob.
Thank you for coming this morning, Mr. Henshaw. I guess my thinking, in sort of picking up in an area where Jane started. I think it has more to do with just the nature of the relationship between this committee and the Agency.
What I haven't heard you talk about yet this morning, and I know you're running in place every day just trying to stay even, is any thoughts that you have about what it is that we are, what value we can bring to the agency.
Probably, like another 15,000, 20,000 other crazy people in the world, on Monday I was looking at the semi-annual regulatory agenda. What caught my eye about it was a couple of things, perhaps, and I think, on balance, good.
One, that you're tempted to do a better job in what I'll call managing expectations, trying to lay out what it is that you realistically think you can do versus what you can't.
But in terms of a couple of areas that seem to suggest to me that the decision was made that it's not important but we can't do it now, it occurred to me that two of those areas, sanitation, construction safety and health programs, were both areas that ACCSH had spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours on in their workgroups.
With some fair amount of kicking, biting, and scratching sometimes amongst the workgroup members and amongst this body, a consensus was reached that this was something important for the Agency to do.
It occurred to me that, in terms of process, we need to be thinking more about how we all deal with this kind of a situation, if I'm making any sense to you.
I don't think it was your intention to send a message to ACCSH or individuals and organizations that were involved in these workgroups that you didn't value their work. I guess my point is, my concern is, that may be the perception, unless they hear something otherwise.
MR. HENSHAW: I think there may be some maybe rethinking a little bit. I'm coming in cold. I haven't met you guys before. I don't know all the great work you're doing. But maybe I can just best express it by, here's an expectation I would have of this group.
My expectation would be that this group would help us deal with issues, the serious issues, the important issues, what are high priority, what are not high priority.
The group would also help us decide, what is the best way to deliver on that and don't automatically assume that the only process is the regulatory process. MR. EDGINTON: I agree.
MR. HENSHAW: So, given the constraints we have and all the other things that we have to deal with, because the Agency is more than construction, obviously, so we need to factor all those in.
But this group deals with construction. How can we deliver that? One route may be a regulatory route. Well, if that's blocked, if that's not possible, what's another avenue? We'll, let's find another avenue.
I would hope this group could tell us, what are those other approaches we can use? Now, some will be regulatory and we may get those in, but some things, we might not. That doesn't mean we should stop.
Now, this group needs to maybe back off and say, okay, if the regulatory avenue is not available to us, what's another one? Put together the tools, the guidance that are necessary to help us deliver on it.
Again, the bottom line is, we've got to get the information out and we've got to show positive results as quickly as we can.
Now, the tool that we have is not just regulatory. There was a misperception that advisory committees only deal with the regulatory agenda. I want to try to dispel that.
I'm hoping the advisory committees deal with everything, not only what should be regulatory priorities, but also, if that's not an avenue, what are other ways to deliver? Again, the results have got to be impacting the bottom line, and to my mind, it's injury and illness reduction.
So if the regulatory process isn't available, what's next?
MR. EDGINTON: Just to follow up, I guess my concern about sanitation was--and maybe the thinking within the Agency has changed--somewhere along the line my recollection is that there was an opinion expressed within the Agency that the current sanitation requirements for construction were not enforceable in their present form.
It was sort of that notion that caused me some concern when it appeared, at least for now, that we weren't going to be moving in that area to try to correct that deficiency.
I always thought that that was part of the ACCSH workgroup's intention, was to try to correct it for that basis to start with, to make sure that we had something that was enforceable, then we could argue about whether or not it was good enough or not good enough.
I don't want to badger you about this, because that's not my intention, but rather to bring a focus to the process we can have to work with each other. I agree with you that the regulatory approach is not always the best approach.
Moreover, if it is, how do we explain some of the problems we continue to have out there? I mean, there's no argument about that. But I guess I raised these issues to get us all thinking about it and talking about it amongst each other again.
MR. HENSHAW: As we see issues around existing standards, we want to improve those. I mean, we've got to factor that in. We've got to make sure that we've got in place is part of the effective thing. Enforcement has to be effective.
If we've got a defect in our current standard, we need to start beginning to address those things. So, I don't know if that's what you were referring to, but that's certainly within the purview of this Advisory Committee.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Mr. Secretary, I know you have another appointment and you have to go. On behalf of the committee, I want to thank you for coming here, you and Davis and the other members of your staff. Any time the Assistant Secretary comes here before this committee I think it adds purpose and meaning to our work.
I think our work is dovetailed exactly with yours. Any time we can have a reduction in, or where possible elimination of, fatalities, injuries and illnesses, in the construction industry, in particular, we'll be there working with you.
We thank you for coming.
MR. HENSHAW: Appreciate it. I look forward to working with you. Thanks.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Thank you.
Let's take a 10-minute break.
(Whereupon, at 11:05 a.m., the meeting was recessed.)
CHAIRMAN KRUL: There's a couple more that went upstairs to get some coffee, but we're going to continue with Stu's presentation.
But before I turn it back over to them, we do have the minutes. What I'd like to do, as a matter of procedure for the committee, is hold onto the meeting minutes.
During the course of this I'll ask for a motion for approval or correction at the end of the meeting in case anybody wants to read them during the meeting, or if we have to refer back to them. So, I'll ask for that motion at the end.
I neglected to report that both Owen Smith and Bill Rhoten could not be in attendance today. I know Rhoten's out at the AFL-CIO convention. I don't know why Mr. Smith couldn't make it today. But both of those are absent.
With that, we want to continue with Pat and Stu's presentation.
WORLD TRADE CENTER - UPDATE (CONTINUED)
By Stewart Burkhammer and Patricia Clark
MR. BURKHAMMER: Along with the crane inspection team inspecting the equipment, they also spent a great deal of time inspecting the rigging, the chokers, and the slings, and the various pieces of equipment that the contractors were using to lift this very heavy debris and steel with.
We were not happy with the findings. Pat, do you want to elaborate on that?
(Showing of slides)
MS. CLARK: Sure. This is just a good example. This is one sling and these are just a few of the problems that were found in just that one sling. I say this is not atypical. This is probably pretty typical of what we found in the beginning.
We did about 10 days of work initially when we started this. At the beginning of this, we were finding one out of every three slings were pretty defective.
We were not really calling these defective unless there were really significant issues here. We were being very reasonable, I think, in what we were pointing out as problems.
The good news, though, is after a rather free and frank discussion, I would describe it as such, on about the seventh day of this inspection team activity, we, I think, got the attention of the contractors. We had started in one quadrant, and that contractor's name will be withheld. But we found an enormous number of problems, just an enormous number.
We all got together one morning and we started talking about this. Basically, CDC said to them, this is a time and materials project, so what's the problem? Basically, the contractor says, okay, we give up. We'll get new slings. We'll upgrade the slings.
We also had problems with that as far as some of the rigging and what they were using. We'll start a daily inspection scheme. I think they promised something else, all of which, of course, they were supposed to do anyway.
But we were very happy. Then we proceeded on to the next one, and we went around among the four quadrants. I can tell you, by the time we got to the second contractor, it was amazing how many slings were already marked "Out of Service." By the time we got to that fourth one, they had all new equipment there. So, it was pretty successful.
It was a cooperative effort. The operating engineers were involved with us as well in this inspection. I think that's what made it work, it was us with Bechtel, with the operating engineers, with the individual crane operators, and the primes. We finally got a lot of improvements made in this.
What we've continued to do, is every few weeks we bring back the crane team. We've been going around -- in fact, they were there last week and we have another crew in this week.
We've been lucky. Within the OSHA family, we actually have some licensed operating engineers who are compliance officers who have come out and worked with us. One of these is Trina Malux from Montana, who has become well-known on the site, I would say. When she walks on there, they know what's going to happen. So, that really has been an enormous change.
I think that clearly the cranes, the rigging, and the man baskets were one of our major, major concerns right from the beginning. There's been a remarkable, remarkable change in that.
MR. BURKHAMMER: One story that goes with the rigging that kind of hits home to everybody. There were 14 firemen down in a trench by the Vista Hotel. Look on your map, the Marriott Vista Hotel. They were looking for recovery potential. The crane nearest them was picking up a piece of steel. Appreciate, no one knows the weights of what we're picking up, in defense of the contractors. I mean, these pieces of steel are humongous in some cases, high in the tons in weight.
One example, and you'll see in the future, is there's a 1,000 crane out there. There's only three of them, I think, in the world, and one of them is at the World Trade Center. It took two weeks to put it together. It's just enormous. You can see a picture of it.
But the first time we put the 1,000-ton crane in use, we were going to snake out a beam out of the South Tower. He hooked on it and the beam didn't move, but the whole back of the 1,000-ton crane came off the ground in a heartbeat, just like that.
Of course, we set it down, shut it down, reinspected the whole thing, went through the whole nine yards. But it goes to show that the weights of these things, the load charts and what type of rigging to use, and how to rig it, is out the window. It's all done by feel and by guess.
So, anyway, this one particular piece of beam that they picked up weighed 16 tons. They cut pad eyes in it and they rigged it. They picked it up. One of our team was out in the field and they saw this coming, so they went and stopped the rig and they took the 14 firemen out of the hole.
As the last fireman climbed the ladder and was stepping out onto the ground, the crane then started to move its piece over to the lay-down area. As it got over the hole, it suffered metal fatigue and shear and the pad eye sheared out and the whole beam dropped down in the hole and landed right where the 14 firemen were, and would have killed every one of them.
So, you know, you add that 14 to the 16 police and family, there's 30 right there. There were some other incidents. OSHA and I, together, sat down one day and we kind of came up with a number. There were 41 people whose lives were saved by the Bechtel/OSHA team that was going around at the site pulling people out of harm's way. But this rigging is an example that the contractors talked about. They condemned 51 of their 65 pieces of rigging.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Again, here's another sample. Not only did we work days on the team, we worked nights. OSHA had three 8-hour shifts that were rotating, we had two 12-hour shifts we were rotating. Here's another sampler team going around doing their thing. They were constantly walking the site.
I would say, out of the 24-hour day, 23 and a half hours we had people on the site, other than taking a short break for something to eat, something to drink, or going to the restroom, or sitting down for a breather. For the most part, these people were on the run all day, every day.
MS. CLARK: And you notice our person, who has the Visi-Vest with the orange on. You can see us taking some notes. What we did initially, is we were trying to be less obtrusive and not have them writing out there. But we felt that, after a while, we needed to really look at trends and try to analyze what was happening.
In fact, that led us to do the crane initiative, and another one I'll mention later. But we started out just by keeping some notes on these pads that we had written up so that we could develop a database. We have now actually moved to Palm Pilots. Yes, we've got high-tech, Stu.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Oh, wow.
MS. CLARK: In which we can download this information. What we're doing, is on a weekly basis we meet with the contractors, the employee reps. We sort of host an OSHA meeting. Bechtel, in the early days, was coming to those, the DDC, and now the fire department. We basically go over what we're seeing, then we decide what our next initiative would be.
After the cranes and the rigging, we found that there are a lot of problems with the cylinder storage and the oxygen tube trailers on the site. In fact, I don't know if you have our picture, but we have this incredible picture of their answer to storage of the compressed cylinders. It was to strap them on the back of an oxygen tube truck.
MR. BURKHAMMER: No, I don't have that one.
MS. CLARK: Yes. That was one of our better episodes where, before we took the picture, we got in there. That initiative actually was one we worked on with the fire department. They issued some bulletins.
Before, you used to see cylinders strewn about the project everywhere because there's so much burning and cutting going on, as Stu mentioned. That became a major problem. There's so much oxygen being used, that they bring in all of these tube trailers and were just parking them everywhere. There were really a lot of dangerous situations that were presenting themselves.
So, we put an emphasis on that and now I would say it's the exception, not the rule, to see some problems with the cylinders. But it's a constantly changing environment and we have to keep looking at these hazard trends and devising new initiatives to address them.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Here's the 1,000-ton crane. This is one of the many toolbox sessions we had. When we first got there, they weren't having any training or any type of employee orientation, or any type of information flow. We instituted that.
On the night shift, they would get groups of people like this together and either the Bechtel or the OSHA safety reps would conduct the training session.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Again, inspecting equipment on the day shift, night shift. It didn't matter when it was, we continued to do everything the same to provide continuity between the shifts.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is one of the aerial shots that the fire department took. Every day they would fly over and do infrareds and they would do aerial shots. Infrared was basically to show where the fire was, whether it was decreasing, increasing, or moving. But they would also take some aerial shots like this.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is the American Express building here, which is part of the World Financial Center. This is World Financial Center I, II, III.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This little piece in the center here is the Winter Garden, which was a beautifully glassed structure full of trees, plants, and flowers and was beautiful.
Now, from the front of it, it's a gutted mess. If you go around and walk the back here, it's almost in perfect condition. You wouldn't even know if you walked behind these buildings and didn't understand this was here. You'd think nothing had happened. All the damage was done in the fronts of all of these, but in the backs--except for dust, dirt, and debris--it was pretty clean.
We talked about the hole in Building 6. If you look, there's actually two holes. There's a small hole here, and then this large hole here, which basically was done when the tower fell and it leaned a little bit. All the debris basically crushed this center circle here. You can see this area right here of Building 6.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is another shot of 6 from the outside. So if you saw the skeleton, you wouldn't really realize that these huge holes were in this building, because the outside structure, just looking at it, looks like a normal building.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is the telephone building. You'll see on your map where it's located. These holes here are facing Vessey, where debris flew over from the tower collapses and broke the windows and imbedded pieces of material and crushed out the area here.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: UPS. This is two blocks from ground zero. So, you can see the damage it caused to a vehicle two blocks away. This was a UPS truck, burned and gutted pretty bad.
Again, OSHA and Bechtel worked constantly together, providing services in safety and health and environmental coverage.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is an office building on Vessey Street. This is one block away from ground zero. Again, you can see the destruction and devastation.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is the back of the telephone building. The only way we could get water to Building 7 to put out the fire was to use the fire hydrants inside this building and spray out the window, and hopefully it would carry over.
What happened after about four days of this, there was so much water leakage in the building, the sixth floor in this area right here collapsed onto the fifth floor. So, these became one real quick. It was just because of the water damage. Nobody was hurt, nobody was injured. But because of the huge amount of water that was leaking and dripping inside of this building, it collapsed.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is OSHA's field -- they had one in PS-89 and a field one.
MS. CLARK: Right. One of the things we did very early on -- in fact, John was there on the 13th and he realized there was a desperate need for personal protective equipment. So, he got on the phone to a lot of the manufacturers and actually asked them to send equipment.
It really did pour in then. What happened is, the National Guard basically served as our quartermaster. They kept it and maintained it, and then they would parcel it out to us. We took over the responsibility of issuing a lot of this. It was very clear early on that getting any respirator on these people was important.
Doing much more than what we called a "fit check," which really is where we're checking the seals and doing a little, sort of, stand-up training while we were doing this was about as much as we could get.
We've estimated now that we've given out over 110,000 respirators. It was as high as 4,000 a day in the first days, probably the first two weeks, and it's down to more like 100 a day now. In the last month, we moved to a trailer we call Site Ops. That's right at the corner of the Plaza now.
In the past month we'd been working with MSA and Valen. MSA donated the services of Valen Occupational Safety and Health to do quantitative fit testing. They just moved out over the weekend and we've now assumed that responsibility. So, hopefully by January 1, there will be a positive requirement that everyone that works on the site has to have a quantitative fit test.
We're also doing the testing for the fire department. Because they were a little concerned about working with a private vendor, they came to us and we said we'd be happy to do that for them.
(Changing of slides)
MS. CLARK: This is a little outpost that we had over on the southwest side of the Plaza in order to be able to cover both areas. Do you have a picture of the Gator?
MR. BURKHAMMER: No.
MS. CLARK: Maybe not. No. We also have an operation we call, sort of, our mobile operation. We have a Gator. It's a little powered industrial truck there that we use, or ATV, actually, that we use. Initially, we were taking it as close to the pile as possible.
If we saw people that weren't wearing it, we'd go out and try to get their attention and get them into some personal protective equipment. Now we're also using it to do compliance checks.
One of the things that we've consistently found is very difficult, even though it's a much more controlled site, it's still really hard to get the respirators on and keep them on.
With our risk assessment, we've been able to define the area where they're needed: people who are working over, on, or under the pile, and certain task-specific operations like cutting and burning, no matter where, and dry debris loading and unloading of trucks.
Even with that limited number of operations and areas where you need it, it's still really hard to get some of these people to wear it consistently.
MR. BURKHAMMER: You can see a corner of your Gator there.
MS. CLARK: Oh. Yes, you're right. There it is. In fact, it's stocked. This is the team that goes out and gets people to wear the equipment.
But the other thing that they're doing, is on an hourly basis they go to an area and they try to do some compliance checks and they determine what is needed: do you need hard hats, safety glasses, and goggles? Then they determine, are those contractor employees? Whose are they? Is it fire, police, or visitors, or whatever, and try to do that.
We've been able to give some feedback during our contractor meetings on this, and I think it's helping, realizing that somebody's watching and keeping track of it.
What we find, is we're getting very good compliance from the contractor employees, better from fire, less good from the police, overall. So, that hasn't changed.
MR. BURKHAMMER: That was polite.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Sampling. We collectively, between OSHA and NIOSH, City Health, the EPA, we had a subcontractor, ATC, the operating engineers, the Teamsters, Verizon, ConEd, and surprisingly, the Church of Scientology, all did sampling at one time or another on the site.
Also, the parents of the students of Stuyvesent High School, which is located just off of Chambers and West Street. They were so concerned about reopening the school, that they employed an environmental firm to take sampling in Stuyvesent High School, even though the EPA was doing that on a regular basis.
During the two months-plus that I was there, we probably conducted 10,000 samples. Contrary to an article that was written by a colleague of mine, it is not a hazardous waste dump site.
MS. CLARK: We still are there. ATC is there, too, working with DDC. EPA is doing more of the city public monitoring. Basically, we have 10 people a day doing risk assessment, six on the day shift and then two each on the evening and night shifts. It is important that we continue to do this risk assessment because things have changed over time.
When we first started, we started on the 13th in the Financial District because, as Stu mentioned early on, that plume really went east over the Financial District, dumped an incredible amount of debris and dust there, eventually Brooklyn, then out to sea. The concern, as you well know, was to get the market up and running again.
So, EPA and OSHA went in on the 13th and there weren't any people working in that area. So what we did, is we put pumps on our compliance officers and had them walk grids around the Financial District to try to simulate what worker exposure would be. We looked for asbestos and silica at that point.
Meanwhile, EPA was using their HEPA vacuum trucks and the Sanitation Department was doing that power washing that Stu mentioned, just, incredibly, cleaning out that area. It is amazing what they got out of there. If you look at pictures before and after, it's just incredible.
The good news, is that all of our samples were well, well below even almost detection limits for asbestos, so that was good. We were able to get the market up and running on that Monday.
We continued sampling throughout the rest of that week just to make sure that changes or debris that were continuing perhaps to come over from the Plaza area weren't going to change that.
But then around the 21st, we really moved to doing sampling in ever-decreasing concentric circles to the pile. The purpose of that was to sort of clear areas. Basically, we found that the 90 square blocks around the pile, we weren't finding anything.
That's when we said you don't need the respiratory protection in those areas. We were able to keep shrinking that as time went on, until just, as I talked about before, the rubble pile itself in those several operations.
What's happened, though, is that we have started to find some more samples at what we would call apparent over-exposures. Remember, these aren't real typical operations here.
But what we're starting to see now is, as there is more below-grade work, there's more areas that are somewhat confined--not necessarily all confined spaces under the standards rule but just below grade--you do have pockets where, especially with the metals, we are getting some high exposures.
The antenna that was on top of the World Trade Center II, an enormously large piece of that came down intact and they were doing some cutting on that.
Unfortunately, that individual really did come down with a very high exposure and ultimately was hospitalized for another issue, which his physician says was not related to the lead, but we're still looking into that.
But we have a concern about the people who are doing the cutting and the burning and we are very concerned about whether the respiratory protection is sufficient.
Up to this point, we've gone with a half-face elastomeric facepiece with a triple combination cartridge, the HEPA P-100 with acid gases and organic vapor. For the early exposures for the cutters, that was sufficient. But we have now gotten a few that are higher when they're doing these very unique operations, like the antenna. So, that's a little bit of concern.
They're also doing some drilling on the slurry wall. Are you going to talk about that?
MR. BURKHAMMER: Yes.
MS. CLARK: Yes. I'll talk about the silica issue then.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Again, there were several dozen taxi cabs that are constantly roaming around the World Trade Center and the hotel, and as you can imagine, this is an example of what happened to one of the many dozens of cabs. They all pretty much look like this. This piece of metal here that you see is part of the aluminum flashing that came off World Trade Center II. Both I and II had these aluminum skins on them.
Part of the thing the mayor wanted to do, was to save as much of this aluminum skin as we could save. So they have a special storage pile where we're collecting a lot of this aluminum skin-type material.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is the dead center of the 16-and-a-half-acre site. This was erected by the firemen and that's what generated this picture that all of you have probably seen in numerous places. It was unique.
This pole that it is erected on is not a flag pole, per se. It's an antenna. You can see some of the antenna that was on top of the World Trade Center. So, they took this, cut off the bottom of it and fixed it so they could erect some flags to this. That's this pole that you see here, is this one here.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: Again, we spent a lot of time with the contractor safety representatives, the teams did, to try to get them to understand what we wanted to accomplish out there. For the most part, they were very willing. They wanted to do anything we asked them to do. Sometimes they got a little flack from their management, but we were able to fix that rather quickly.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is the Dow Jones Financial Building. It's one of the World Financial Center buildings. You can see a lot of the damage was done to the columns that are holding up this huge structure.
Part of the problem with this particular building here, is that these columns, as you can see--and there's many of them that go around here--were so severely damaged that one time there was some thought that they would have to take this particular building down.
But now they've come up with some engineering design to just reshore and put additional beams into here and fortify these to keep from tearing down this building.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is inside the lobby of that same building. It was kind of eerie when we first went in there on the 13th. There were some lights actually burning around there. One escalator was actually running, carrying debris up to the top. The other one wasn't running. This was kind of what we saw on the inside of a lot of these buildings that we were in.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: ConEd and Verizon were out there continually doing their best to restore cables, communications, power. We had a real power problem initially. For the first couple of weeks we didn't have any power except generator power. ConEd was working their rear ends off day and night, same as everybody else, to try to restore power.
But you can get a picture here. This is just all people you see back here. All this is bodies, and workers, and volunteers, and people trying to help, just hundreds and hundreds.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is the Banker's Trust building. This is the piece of steel that came from Tower II. The weight was calculated at 23 and a half tons. What they decided to do with this, all this had to be stripped out and all this had to be cut back and removed.
So they started by cutting pieces off this to kind of reduce the weight, but then they were afraid that this whole thing would shift on them. So what they ended up doing, was going up here and they cleaned out as much of this debris as they could clean out, and cut it from here.
We had a 150-foot exclusion zone around this whole area and the bottom. As they started cutting this, the hope was that it would fall straight down. Indeed, it did. It fell down and laid down and they were able to get this piece out of here.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is one of these huge box beams that was all over the place, way too heavy to lift, way too heavy to even load in a truck. So they had to cut them into sections. We had several ironworkers, that that's all they did day and night, was sit on these things and cut, cut, cut, cut.
To make a cut like you see here completely around this thing to break it off, was probably a nine-hour job, to make this one cut that he's making here. This guy wouldn't make the entire cut. They'd break out another guy, another guy, another guy.
But the bottles of acetylene and oxygen that had to be used to do all this was thousands, and thousands, and thousands of bottles. We also had the tube trucks that were a pain in the butt, because they always parked them in the wrong place, or cranes were swinging over them with stuff.
We finally had to put the Jersey barriers around them and get them away from the thing so it wouldn't get hit or struck. Some of them did, and we are fortunate we didn't blow it up.
(Changing of slides)
MR. BURKHAMMER: This is the front side of American Express. You can see this set of beams. There's one, two, and then this one goes in and actually cuts up into this floor right here. So this piece is imbedded in here and this is about 19 tons' worth of steel right here.
The theory was, or the problem was, that this whole side was so unstable right here that we were afraid, and the engineers were afraid, if we took this out it might collapse this upper portion of this building. The thinking was that what was keeping this up was actually this piece of steel. We left this here for a long period of time because they didn't know what to do with it. We didn't know how to cut it, and we didn't know how to get it out. There was really no safe way to put a basket up there or do anything. So it just kind of sat there for a while. After we left, I understand they went in.
MS. CLARK: Yes. It's out now. As a matter of fact, this building is reoccupied. DDC uses it as their headquarters and we have a desk there up on about the 30th floor, probably over around here. A great view of the Plaza. But they're still doing a good bit of work.
They were doing some work on Sunday on the 26th floor and they had started before the fire department had come and set up their fire watch. Unfortunately, there was a huge fire down about the third floor level. Smoke was billowing out, so we had to have an evacuation.
Luckily, there were only about 25 people up on the 30th floor at that point and they all got out. By the time they got to about the eighth floor they were starting to smell the smoke. By the time they got to third and fourth floor, the fire department was there with hoses and they were putting it out.
But it was a little tense. It sort of goes to my concern about reoccupying this building. But there is definitely the concern that they're trying to shrink the perimeter of the work project area and that they really want to make it more defined and bring everything in. This is sort of the logical place.
The other parts of the Financial Center are also reoccupied, some of the Dow Jones building. It's amazing. As Stu said, if you look at it from the west side, it looks pretty normal. They've even done some nice work on the facades and some of the other areas. It's very strange. It's a really weird sensation when you look from one side to the other.
MR. BURKHAMMER: If you look at your map, you can kind of get a feel. This steel came out of World Trade Center II, which was about 250 yards away from here. This is the 24th, 25th, 26th floors right here. So that steel flew in mid-air to Tower II straight across and imbedded itself here.
So if you look at the tonnage here, flying across the air and landing and just shooting straight into this building, the force that caused that had to be just unbelievable. Just absolutely unbelievable.
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MR. BURKHAMMER: One of the many dogs they had on the site. A sad part is, three dogs were lost. One, heat exhaustion, one severe burns to their feet and lower body. These dogs are really trained unbelievably and they're trained to find live people.
Some of them are trained to find bodies, but a lot of them are trained to find live people. One dog got so upset or stressed, they said, because he could never find anybody alive, they had to shoot him because he went crazy.
These booties were put on the dogs who were burning their feet. Most of the workers are on their fifth or sixth pair of shoes because the pile was so hot from the fire that the shoes were melting on the bottom.
The steel in the steel shanks and the steel toes were carrying the heat up and burning the feet of the workers, so we used all kinds of tricks, pads, and everything, to kind of cushion the heat from coming into the shoes. Mostly, they were changing out shoes every other day, basically.
Now, Sears sent in a railroad carload of work shoes and they could go in and trade out the shoes any time. A lot of the first aid cases on the job were burns from the feet and hands, legs, knees, arms. Anything that could be touched or exposed usually got burned.
When I left on the 7th of November--I've been back several times since, but Bechtel left officially on the 7th--there were 1,119 cases reported through the DMATs (the medical facilities) and I'm not sure what the number is now.
But most of those cases were either burns or respiratory ailments. The only serious injuries they had at the time that I was there, they had a broken arm, one guy had two broken arms, and on guy had a broken leg.
MS. CLARK: And that's still pretty typical, the fractures. There's been maybe 13 or 15 by now. Some concussions. The one thing about the numbers, those were city health department figures that they were putting out. They have since stopped doing that.
The DMAT has gone and MedCorps is now taking over the medical aspects at the site. But one of the concerns we had early on, is that these really were interventions. There was no way we could make any correlation between OSHA recordables.
If you looked at it, they have very comprehensive break-outs. If somebody asked for a pair of glasses and they gave out a pair of glasses, that would count as an intervention. Unfortunately, it came up in this total of injuries and illnesses. We finally got them to take out some of those, but it still was very difficult.
So about a couple of weeks ago we had gone to the contractors and gotten the 200 logs, and we've tried our best to estimate sort of a site figure for what would be the rate, the injury and illness rate, for the site for contractor workers.
Basically, we've come up with--and I knew I was going to have a problem. Does anyone know what the rate is for demolition? It is at the national average. It's either 4.3 or 3.4. It is right at that. It's exactly what the national average is.
Which, considering this site, considering what is going on there, the kinds of operations, the ever-changing environment, I think, is really, really incredible. I'm very thankful that it is such.
Of course, we don't want any of those injuries to occur, but it is encouraging to know that that is the situation right now, that there have been no fatalities and no life-threatening injuries, and very, very few hospitalizations. I think I could count them on one hand, the times people have actually had to stay overnight.
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MS. CLARK: This is, as I mentioned before, we were doing the fit checks. This is early on when we were in PS-89, which was the command center for everyone. It was the site command center for quite a while.
Remember, you saw us all sitting on those little seats. It used to be pretty amazing, at those 8:00 meetings, to see Stu on one of those little chairs that they have for kindergarten students. I wish I had a picture of that. I probably could make a little money off of that one.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I did find a new diet in New York. It's called work. The only good thing I got out of it, was I lost 28 pounds in two months. So, I certainly feel a lot better physically.
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MR. BURKHAMMER: Remember, back in the hole I showed you in Building 6? This cross, just looking like this with the little jagged edges, and this was cleaned up, was in the dead center of that hole. We took this cross out of the hole and we moved it over. There's a big concrete abutment that sits in here, and this cross sits on top of that concrete abutment.
All the workers come in past that during the morning, during the evening, and during the day, and it's a real inspiration to the team out there, that this was actually a piece that was left in the dead center of that huge hole. This was the only thing left standing.
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MR. BURKHAMMER: President Bush was out. You can say what you want about the guy, whether you're a Democrat or Republican, but I think the day he came out there on 9/14 and he walked out onto the site and he stood up and he gave a very rousing, very, very encouraging speech, and then he took the time, not to run back and rush and get in his car and leave, but he took 45 minutes from the time he left the stand, shaking the hands of as many workers as he could, talking to them, sharing with them, walking down to his car.
This is the vehicle that he's in, and I'm right next to this fellow right here. The Secret Service guys, you can see around here, too. But he didn't waiver, even though the guys, I'm sure, wanted him out of there. He wouldn't go. He just took his time and he thanked everybody, and was very appreciative, very sincere, and very warm.
A lot of the people really appreciated him taking the time to do that, and that was a big effort on his part. I'm sure more of an effort than these folks wanted him to do. But he wouldn't leave. He just hung in there.
There was a lady in front of me, over behind this fellow's nose, that was a New York City police officer, a very robust lady, very tough, very course-type talking lady. She broke down in tears. She could hardly control her emotions. He gave her a hug and thanked her. Guiliani was right behind Bush, and he also gave her a hug and thanked her.
I think, as far as psychological impact to that particular New York City police officer, those two hugs probably did more for her psyche than anything anybody else could have done.
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MR. BURKHAMMER: Maybe you've seen this on TV. This is the Firemen's Memorial. It was built in France and it was shipped over to be sent out to Seattle. It was designed and built to be sent out to Seattle. It was Seattle or Pittsburgh. I think it was Seattle. Where did you think it was?
MS. CLARK: I thought it was somewhere in the Midwest.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Oh, did you?
MS. CLARK: Yes.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Somewhere in the Midwest, or Seattle, or Pittsburgh.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Somewhere in between.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Anyway, they left it in New York. This became a huge tourist attraction. People, as you can see, would light candles and put flags and flowers around this thing as kind of a memorial to all of the firefighters.
Also on your map, right next to the Banker's Trust building, is Firehouse 10. Firehouse 10 lost every one of their firemen but one, and the one fireman that wasn't lost was home sick the day that the emergency occurred.
One of the priests, or the chaplain, was a Franciscan brother. There's a story written about him that's really moving, if you have an opportunity to read it. It tells the story of how he gave his life saving and ministering to others. The firemen in New York deserve a tremendous amount of praise and credit and thanks for all they did. That's the end of the show.
Questions? Comments? Anything that you'd like to ask?
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Jean, you look quizzical.
MS. WILLIAMS: I just can't imagine having to experience everything that he has. I just think it was an incredible opportunity. I commend you, Stu, for hanging in there and being able to represent construction as well as you did.
MR. BURKHAMMER: Thank you. It was an experience that I never thought I would seen, had never seen before, and I certainly never want to see it again, in this country or any country.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Well, we thank both of you for your efforts.
Go ahead, Tom.
MR. BRODERICK: I have been involved with the City of Chicago. I'm sure that a number of major cities have been severely shaken by this experience, as the whole country has.
The Building Department for the City of Chicago is trying to grapple with what they should be doing, and so forth. I'm just wondering if there's been any effort to study the lessons learned, and the ongoing lessons, bottle them, and make them available to other cities to model rescue efforts, or how the organization came together, what the organization looks like now. Is there a role that ACCSH could play in facilitating this kind of education for other metropolitan areas?
MS. CLARK: Well, it's interesting that you mention that, because it just occurred to me that we didn't mention how all of this came together and the sort of additional problem that occurred. Building 7 housed on the 23rd floor the Office of Emergency Management, the Mayor's office that would handle it.
It was a state-of-the-art bunker, had all the plans for how you would respond to such an emergency. It was in Building 7. They evacuated, obviously, when this happened and that building didn't collapse, or start to collapse, until around 5:30 or so that day.
But that caused an enormous issue about what to do, where to regroup. It took a while, although not very long, actually. They were in the Javits Center for a little while, then eventually they established a command center at Pier 92, where every imaginable agency, federal, state, and city, had a desk. It was just last weekend, actually, that the non-city agencies have moved out. That's why our representative is not at Pier 92, but down at the AmEx Building.
But I think there is certainly talk about this, but to be honest, most of us are still so involved, still, in day-to-day operations and dealing with that.
Some of the other groups, though, on the outside, like NIOSH, for instance, on December 11th and 12th, in New York, is hosting a conference dealing with respirators, personal protective equipment but very much attuned to the respiratory protection for first responders. I think it's an invitation-only.
MR. BURKHAMMER: He is running it.
MS. CLARK: Oh. You're running it. Okay. We should talk about it then. Some of the other groups have started to talk about risk assessment. All of the agencies dealing with the air sampling and the risk assessment started out having twice-daily calls. Now it's down to about twice a week, but there is some work around there.
But on the issue as a whole, about just the emergency response, I'm not sure that any agency is yet ready to say, we can take a moment to breathe and start to do that. But I know it needs to be done, and it should be done.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Larry?
MR. EDGINTON: Bob, my own organization has started thinking about this notion of who emergency responders are. I think in this country, when you talk about emergency response, you tend to think of police, fire, and EMTs, maybe.
We had our first experiences in California, with San Francisco and earthquakes, when we had members involved there in both search and rescue, and eventually demolition operations.
We really started to bring more of a focus to it, I guess, after Oklahoma City and our involvement with the Murrah Building there.
I guess my thought is, as we ask ourself as ACCSH, what can we be doing, I think one of the things we can do is to think about how it is that we prepare construction workers to become emergency responders, because we have that happen on a somewhat regular basis.
We have that happen on occasion during the construction process itself. We've seen that up in Connecticut, for example, when we've had building collapses. I think it's worth talking about that some more as we think about our charge in terms of just what it is.
For example, we felt very comfortable with New York and most of our members there at least understanding PPE, PPE selection, and those kinds of things, but that is not the case, necessarily, for everybody else.
I guess that's the only thought I have to offer about that. I mean, Stu's presentation was an excellent one. I remember being on the phone at 6:30 in the morning on the morning of the 12th with one of our business managers up in New York City.
I said, Joe, what do you people need? He said, outside of some PPE issues, the real problem we have is nobody knows what the hell it is that we're doing. That's sort of a notion that has really stayed with me through this entire thing. But I think the key is, and others have mentioned it, is we know more now about those things than we did before.
I think that's another part of this, is how we chronicle what our learning experiences are so as to apply them in the future no matter what part we have in all of this.
MR. BURKHAMMER: I think we spend a lot of time in our life being great reactors. The World Trade Center is a classic example, I think, of how we react to different types of situations. I think we're very poor proactors. I think the World Trade Center showed that also. Except for the Sherson Lehman person, and probably some of the federal agencies, most of those people, I don't think, were prepared for anything of this magnitude.
September 11th changed everybody's life, as John indicated. It changed the way we do business, changed the way we think, changed the way worker safety is going to be handled. It changed the way high-rise safety and commercial safety work is going to be done. The way we erect buildings now, I think in the future, is certainly going to be changed.
They have already come out with a design for the new "safe" building, the impenetrable building where, even if an airplane hits it, the airplane is supposed to bounce off and fall down to the ground. I'd like to see that building, but they supposedly have this design that says they have one.
But, on a serious note, I think each and every one of us have to take a real hard look at our companies and how we plan our business, how we go about assessing our offices. Especially in Bechtel, to have a fire drill, is a huge annoyance to the executives and senior members of the company, but they do it.
They do it because I tell them to do it. But, other than that, it's a struggle, at best. Then they don't think you're really having one when you have one, and some of them don't even want to get up out of their chair and go outside.
So, I think we really, as safety professionals and health professionals, have to change our approach. We have to start pressing harder internally to keep our employees out of harm's way.
If senior management does not want to participate or does not want to be involved, don't quit. Don't give up. Just keep hammering away, and hammering away, and hammering away, and hammering away. Pretty soon, they're going to get it. I think more of them are getting it, certainly, after September 11th.
CHAIRMAN KRUL: Okay. Let's break for lunch. Be back here by 1:15.
(Whereupon, at 12:12 p.m. the meeting was recessed for lunch.)Back to Top