OSHA Chief Says Builders Are Reaching Out and Saving Lives
During an address before the NAHB Executive Board in Orlando, Fla. on Feb. 4, Edwin Foulke, Jr., assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, reaffirmed his commitment to work with the nation’s home builders to promote safety and health programs in the residential construction industry.
“We want to be perceived as the neighborhood policeman, where you can go and ask for directions and help,” he said. “There is no doubt in my mind that we can help you be safe and help you be successful.”
Foulke pointed out that businesses that implement quality safety programs are more productive, profitable and efficient.
“Statistics show that good safety and health programs mean fewer injuries, illnesses and fatalities,” he said.
During the past several years, NAHB and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have maintained a successful alliance that has produced a number of safety training materials for the home building industry, including the popular NAHB-OSHA Jobsite Safety Handbook.
Commenting on the partnership, Foulke told builders that through their efforts, they are “reaching out and savings lives. You are helping people to go home safe and sound. That’s a tremendous legacy to look back on.”
Noting that this was the first year in which OSHA had an exhibit booth at the International Builders’ Show, Foulke said “we have great materials that you have helped us to develop.”
Estimating that 65% to70% of builders are unaware of OSHA resources geared toward increasing safety on job sites, Foulke encouraged builders to log on to OSHA’s Web site (click here) to find data helping them to “become more profitable and more competitive and to reduce injuries on the job site.”
The Web site contains the latest information on guidance for small businesses, compliance standards, cooperative programs and much more, he added.
Foulke also met separately with NAHB Senior Officers and members of the NAHB Construction Safety and Health Committee, who urged the agency to take into account the differences between residential and commercial construction — and how the two should be regulated.
NAHB also believes that before instituting any new regulations, OSHA must clearly demonstrate their need, focus on real world solutions that target specific hazards, make sure that they are easily understandable for small businesses, provide the flexibility for employers and workers to determine effective solutions and have a significant impact on worker safety.
As an alternative to new regulations, NAHB believes OSHA should seek to educate and inform construction workers and employers about workplace hazards and how to minimize and eliminate them. This can be accomplished through cooperative initiatives, such as the NAHB-OSHA Alliance program, which Foulke noted is already having a positive impact on worker safety.
"It was a great opportunity to be able to welcome the assistant secretary at the International Builders' Show as an ally in our efforts to improve construction safety in the home building industry," said Andy Anderson, 2006 vice chairman of the NAHB Construction Safety and Health Committee. "He listened to our ideas, our issues and the concerns of our association and clearly demonstrated his commitment to working with us."
For more information on construction and safety resources available to home builders, e-mail Rob Matuga at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8507.
Protect Your Workers and Your Profits
The “Jobsite Safety Video,” available through BuilderBooks.com, provides an overview of the key safety issues residential builders and workers need to focus on to reduce accidents and injuries. Based on the “NAHB-OSHA Jobsite Safety Handbook,” this DVD is intended to be used as part of an essential residential construction safety-training program and includes two 20-minute videos.
To view or purchase this DVD online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.