A policy change that limits the number of certain consultative visits by L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) could affect contractors with multiple jobsites.
There are four types of onsite visits by safety consultants from DOSH – initial training and assistance follow-ups and non hazard assessment. According to L&I the policy change only pertains to initial visits. Initial visits require a hazard assessment opening conference evaluation of all aspects of the safety and health management system relating to the scope of the visit a walkthrough of the workplace and a closing conference.
Under the new policy DOSH consultants may self assign only one safety and one industrial hygiene visit at an employer’s worksite during a 12-month period. There may be justifiable reasons to provide more than one visit/site/discipline/year but these exceptions must be approved by the Regional DOSH Consultation Manager.
The policy affects contractors that have more jobsites for which an initial visit would be requested. Under the new rules they would be allowed only one initial visit per calendar year (unless the exception is granted).
According to L&I the change was required by federal OSHA. “The rationale for the change was to better balance the allocation of services with limited resources” noted L&I in a memo to AGC. “The goal has been and still is to help the employer such that they can manage the safety of their worksites. The highest priority for DOSH Consultative Services remains small high hazard employers and has not been changed or affected. Most small and medium size employers will not experience a change in the number of DOSH services provided. The larger employer is more likely to be impacted by this change to initial visits. Again policies on all other types of visits are unaffected.”
AGC is monitoring the policy change to see whether and how it might impact the construction industry.
“DOSH’s consultation service is a proactive way for employers to spot and jobsite issues and get advice on how to correct them” said AGC Safety Director Mandi Kime. “Many AGC employers use this service as a way to get an extra often more refined ‘set of eyes’ on their jobsites. Contractors who have participated in the consultation on one site will likely implement those changes/advancements on their other current and future sites. So the positive impacts of one consultation are often felt for a long time. We would be very concerned if access to this service is significantly hampered.”
Kime reminds AGC members that AGC also offers free consultative services. AGC’s safety staff is available for jobsite visits program reviews onsite training and accident investigation support. Contact the AGC Safety Services Department at 206-284-0061.