(NRCA) provided testimony on Wed., May 25, to the U.S. House of Representatives Workforce Protections Subcommittee regarding its concerns about Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) policies and their effects on workplace safety in the roofing industry.
“There is great concern within the roofing industry about a number of OSHA regulations and the effects they will have on worker safety and on businesses such as mine,” said Lisa Sprick, president of NRCA member Sprick Roofing Co., Inc., Corvallis, Ore, who testified on behalf of the association. “I am concerned some OSHA regulations and actions could prove to be counterproductive toward making workplaces safer. This would be truly tragic given the inherent danger of roofing work.”
In her testimony, Sprick addressed two examples of how NRCA believes recent OSHA
regulations are taking the wrong approach to improving workplace safety in the roofing industry: injury and illness reporting which requires employers to submit injury and illness record electronically to OSHA, who would post the records on the Internet for public inspection, and OSHA’s recent efforts to impose federal fall-protection regulations on state-plan states, such as Oregon.
“Data will be presented without any meaningful context, which is absolutely critical to understanding the information properly,” Sprick said of the injury and illness reporting regulation. “Without presenting the whole picture of how certain injuries and illnesses occurred the information is meaningless, so it is unclear how this information being made public will help advanced the cause of improved workplace safety.”
Sprick also stressed the supposed benefits of the rule are speculative and not supported by empirical data to justify its implementation.
In addition, Sprick and other NRCA members are concerned with OSHA’s push to force state-run agencies to adopt federal fall protection regulations, despite the data shows state-plan rules are more effective in preventing injuries.
“Statistics demonstrate fatality rates in Oregon and California are significantly lower than most states under OSHA’s jurisdiction,” she said. “Additionally, it should be noted that since OSHA changed the rules for fall protection in 2010, the number of fatal falls nationwide has actually increased.”
Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows fatal falls have steadily increased each year since OSHA changed the rules for fall protection in 2010. There were 61 fatalities that year and 71 in 2014.
Sprick stressed NRCA is ready to work with Congress and OSHA to craft effective safety policies based on sound risk-management principles and reliable data.