ACCSH MSD Workgroup report on reactions to an earlier report submitted to ACCSH on musculoskeletal disorders. Part of a collection. Click on the 'collection' button to access the other items.
eLCOSH Editor's note:
The OSHA Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) was authorized in the
1969 Construction Safety Act (US Code Title 40§3704, to advise OSHA on matters related
to construction safety and health. It consists of five public representatives (one is normally
from a State OSHA program, one from NIOSH, etc.), five labor representatives (normally from
various Building Trades Unions) and five management representatives (primarily from contractor
trade associations). The ACCSH often sets up work groups, which are open to the public, to
draft positions on various topics or issues. These positions are then often voted on by the
full ACCSH and those recommendations referred to OSHA for their consideration. These work products
represent a lot of effort and thought by many individuals. They are posted here to make that
work more easily accessible. This historical archive many serve as a resource to future regulators
and safety advocates, so they don’t have to start from scratch. OSHA has removed some
of these documents from their website which makes access difficult.
MSD WORKGROUP CHAIRMAN'S REPORT TO FULL ACCSH COMMITTEE
OCTOBER 24/25, 1995
MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE ACCSH COMMITTEE, I AM REPORTING TODAY AS TO WHERE WE CURRENTLY STAND, REGARDING MSD, AFTER OUR LAST MEETING. AS EACH OF YOU REMEMBER, SEVERAL REPRESENTATIVES OF INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS CAME BEFORE US TO MAKE PRESENTATIONS REGARDINGT HEIR VIEWS ON TEH MSD WORKGROUP'S DRAFT REPORT. BASICALLY, THE THEME OF THE ELEVEN SPEAKERS CENTERED AROUND THREE ISSUES:
THE FIRST ISSUE WAS COMPLAINING ABOUT THE PROCESS, THAT ACCSH, AND I AS CHAIRMAN, WENT THROUGH TO SELECT MEMBERS OF THE WORKGROUP. SENTIMENT WAS THAT IT WAS A CLOSED GROUP AND THE INDUSTRY WASN'T ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE FULLY. AS ACCSH COMMITTEE MEMBERS, YOU ARE AWARE OF THE WORKGROUP SELECTION PROCESS. THE ACCSH CHAIRMAN ASKS FOR VOLUNTEERS FROM THE FULL COMMITTEE ANDTHENSELECTS THE WORKGROUP CHAIRMAN. THE WORKGROUP CHAIRMAN SELECTS OTHERS TO PARTICIPATE AS DEEMED NECESSARY. ALL THOSE WHO ASKED OR VOLUNTEERED TO BE ON THE WORKGROUP WERE ACCEPTED AND INCLUDED IN ALL WORKGROUP MATTERS. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE HERE THAT NO ONE WAS TURNED DOWN WHO ASKED TO PARTICIPATE.
THE SECOND GENERAL ISSUE FROM THE PRESENTERS WAS BASICALLY, 'WHY DO WE NEED THIS - THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT MSD IS A PROBLEM IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY". LET ME OFFER A PERSONAL OBSERVATION TO THOSE WHO SUGGEST THAT MSD IS NOT A PROBLEM IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY. EVIDENTLY THEY HAVE NEVER WORKED IN THE SAFETY PROFESSION ON JOBSITES AND WITNESSED THE NUMBERS OF EMPLOYEES WHO COME INTO FIRST AID OFFICES OR GO TO HOSPITALS OR DOCTORS WITH PULLED MUSCLES, STRAINS, SPRAINS, BACK INJURIES, ETC., THAT INVOLVE MSD. WE DID A STUDY IN OUR COMPANY OF INJURIES FROM 1983 THROUGH 1994. THIS STUDY INDICATED THAT APPROXIMATELY 50% OR 1/2 OF ALL OUR INJURIES WERE MSD RELATED. I AM NOT A LIBERTY TO SHARE THE STUDY WITH YOU DUE TO IT'S COMPANY CONFIDENTIALITY; HOWEVER BACK INJURIES ALONE RESULTED IN 35% OF OUR LOSS COSTS FOR THAT PERIOD OF TIME. IF A COMPANY LIKE OURS, WITH THE WORLD CLASS SAFETY AND HEALTH PROGRAM AND RECORD THAT WE HAVE, ALONG WITH THE INNOVATIVE CONCEPTS AND PROGRAMS THAT WE PUT FORTH, IS EXPERIENCING THOSE KINDS OF NUMBERS IN MSD, I'M QUITE SURE THAT OTHER CONTRACTORS ARE SHOWING THOSE NUMBERS OR WORSE.
THE THEIRD GENERAL ISSUE WAS THAT "THERE IS NOT ENOUGH SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE TO CONCLUDE THAT MSD IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IS A PROBLEM." MR CHAIRMAN, YOU ADDRESSED THIS ISSUE IN A LETTER FROM CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training TO A SELECTED GROUP OF UNIVERSITY-BASED SCIENTISTS AND PHYSICIANS, INCLUDING THOSE SUGGESTED BY PETE CHANEY AND THE AGC, ASKING THEM TO REVIEW THE DATA AND SUBMIT THEIR FINDINGS. I WOULD AT THIS TIME LIKE TO SHARE THEIR CONCLUSIONS WITH THE FULL COMMITTEE?
I THINK THAT PUTS TO REST ANY SUGGESTION THAT THE DATA REVIEWED BY THE MSD WORKGROUP WAS IN ANY WAY NOT FACTUAL OR FLAWED. AS EACH OF YOU WILL REMEMBER, AFTER LISTENING TO THE PRESENTERS MAKE THEIR CASE, I ASKED THEM TO PROVIDE THE WORKGROUP WITH ANY DATA OR DOCUMENTATION TO DISPROVE THE WORKGROUP'S FINDINGS SO THE WORKGROUP COULD COME TO A CONCLUSION ON THIS ISSUE. THIS WAS FOLLOWED UP WITH AN AUGUST 9TH, 1995 LETTER FROM MYSELF TO THE PRESENTERS AND AN ADDITIONAL AUGUST 29TH, 1995 LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN ASKING FOR DATA AND PARTICIPATION. TODATE, I HAVE RECEIVED EIGHT LETTERS FROM THOSE WHO PRESENTED, ALL DECLINING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE WORKGROUP OR IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PRODUCT AND, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE AGC RESPONDING TO THE CHAIRMAN, NONE SENDING ANY VALID MARK-UPS OR DATA TO SUPPORT OR DENY THE WORKGROUP'S REPORT. AS A RESULT OF THESE ACTIVITIES, OR LACK THEREOF, IT HAS BECOME APPARENT TO THE WORKGROUP CHAIRMAN THAT THE WORKGROUP WILL BE UNABLE TO GENERATE THE VOLUNTARY INDUSTRY COOPERATION NEED TO ACHIEVE A CONSENSUS VOTE AMONG THE FULL COMMITTEE. IF I WERE TO CALL FOR A FULL COMMITTEE VOTE, I BELIEVE I WOULD RECEIVE A MAJORITY VOTE BUT NOT A FULL "YES" VOTE TO FORWARD THE WORKGROUP REPORT ON TO OSHA FOR ACCEPTANCE. BASED ON THIS, I HAVE COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT FURTHER DELIBERATION OF THE MSD ISSUE BY THE WORKGROUP AND THIS COMMITTEE WILL NOT YIELD ADDITIONAL BENEFITS. THEREFORE, I MAKE THE FOLLOWING RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE FULL ACCSH COMMITTEE:
- THAT THE FULL ACCSH VOTE TO REFER THE MSD MATTER BACK TO OSHA.
- THAT OSHA USE FORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES AVAILABLE TO THE AGENCY TO CONSIDER A CONSTRUCTION MSD STANDARD.
- THAT THE WORKGROUP FORWARD THE DOCUMENTATION IT HAS DEVELOPED TO DATE TO OSHA FOR THEIR USE.
- THAT OSHA, PERHAPS IN CONJUNCTION WITH NIOSH, CONDUCT DEMONSTRATION PROGRAMS TO DETERMINE IF THE WORKGROUP DRAFT HAS PRACTICAL APPLICABILITY IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY, IS COST EFFECTIVE, AND HAS AN EFFECT ON REDUCING MSD IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.
I WOULD LIKE TO NOTE AT THIS TIME THAT SOME OF INDUSTRY PRESENTERS SUPPORTED A DEMONSTRATION EFFORT AND EVEN OFFERED TO PARTICIPATE IN THAT EFFORT. I WOULD HOPE THAT THEY WOULD STILL BE FORTH COMING IN THEIR SUPPORT.
- THAT THE MSD IN CONSTRUCTION WORKGROUP BE PUT ON HOLD AT THIS TIME; BUT, AVAILABLE FOR ADVICE AND COUNCIL IN THE EVENT THAT OSHA WISHES TO CONTINUE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A STANDARD OR CONDUCT DEMONSTRATION PROGRAMS.
S. C. BURKHAMMER, CHAIRMAN
ACCSH MSD WORKGROUP
OSHA Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH)