February 2009 U.S. Department of Labor
Volume 7, Issue 3
Inside This Issue Private Employee Interviews
• Employee Recently, during some construction inspections, the issue of private em-
ployee interviews has been causing confusion among employees and em-
The stress associated with an OSHA inspection can cause emotions to run
Compliance high and lead to misinterpretations of employee and employer rights. Some
employers feel that under section 8(e) of the Act, they have the right to ac-
Officers company the compliance officer on all aspects of the inspection, including
employee interviews. This is not the case. Section 8(e) of the OSH Act of
• Cold Weather 1970 states:
Safety “Subject to regulations issued by the Secretary, a representative of
the employer and a representative authorized by his employees shall
• Fatalities be given an opportunity to accompany the Secretary or his author-
ized representative during the physical inspection of any workplace
• Top 10
under subsection (a) for the purpose of aiding such inspection.
Where there is no authorized employee representative, the Secretary
or his authorized representative shall consult with a reasonable
Construction number of employees concerning matters of health and safety in the
Section 8(a) of the OSH Act of 1970 states:
• Training “In order to carry out the purposes of this Act, the Secretary, upon
presenting appropriate credentials to the owners, operator, or agent
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in charge, is authorized –
1. to enter without delay and at reasonable times any factory, plant, establishment, construction site,
or other area, workplace or environment where work is performed by an employee of an employer;
2. to inspect and investigate during regular working hours and at other reasonable times, and within
reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner, any such place of employment and all pertinent con-
ditions, structures, machines, apparatus, devices, equipment, and materials therein, and to question
privately any such employer, owner, operator, agent or employee.”
Further, OSHA’s Field Inspection Reference Manual (Chapter 2 – Inspection Procedures paragraph A.4.e.(4)) con-
cerning employee interviews states:
Privacy. “Employers shall be informed that the interview is to be in private. Whenever an employee
expresses a preference that an employee representative be present for the interview, the CSHO shall make
a reasonable effort to honor that request. Any employer objection to private interviews with employees
may be construed as a refusal of entry”.
The court decision between the Secretary of Labor vs. Dravo Engineers and Constructors also notes:
“First, Respondent argues that the citation should be vacated because the compliance officer talked to
Dravo employees in private, in violation of its rights under section 8(e) of the Act to accompany the com-
pliance officer. Private interviews are, however, specifically authorized under section 8(a)(2) of the Act
and do not conflict with the employer's statutory right to accompany the inspector. Wollaston Alloys,
Inc., v. Donovan, 695 F.2d, 1, 8-9 (1st Cir. 1982).
(Continued on page 3)
Wisconsin Safety Partnership Committee
Worker Fatigue Survey
The Wisconsin Safety Partnership Committee, composed of representatives from Wisconsin Council of
Safety, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Department of Health Services, Department of Public
Instruction, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, OSHA, and American Family Insurance, is dedicated to collect-
ing information on workplace safety and health and distributing it to Wisconsin workers and employers.
As part of their mission they ask that you complete their 12 question survey located at
(Continued from page 2)
The compliance officer will explain the parameters of the interview to the interviewee and will allow an employee
representative be present if they are available.
What is an Employee Representative?
A better question to ask would be “what is not an employee representative?”
Case law has established that individuals cannot be both employee and employer representatives at the same time.
This would be a conflict of interest. OSHRC Docket No. 76-4082, ANDY ANDERSON, d/b/a ANDY ANDER-
SON IRRIGATION AND CONSTRUCTION, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, April 21,
“We reject respondent's contentions and affirm the Judge's decision. Respondent does not claim that its
foreman was not in charge of the worksite at the time of the inspection, only that complainant's represen-
tative should have contacted Anderson. This argument is without merit. Section 8(e) requires only that
a "representative of the employer" shall be given an opportunity to accompany the inspector. In North-
western Insulation Company, Inc., 77 OSAHRC 32/F3, 5 BNA OSHC 1148, 1977-78 CCH OSHD para.
21,614 (No. 12632, 1977), the Commission held that a foreman working in a managerial capacity, with no
person superior in authority at the worksite, was a "representative of the employer" within the meaning of
section 8(e) of the Act. Foreman Matthies was a representative of respondent inasmuch as he was in
charge of the worksite at the time of the inspection.”
Foreman, superintendents, and managers cannot sit in on employee interviews as employee representatives as this
would be a conflict of interest and inhibit the free flow of information.
Ultimately it is the compliance officer who determines the structure of the inspection interviews. Compliance offi-
cers will do everything possible to protect the rights of the employees and the employer during the inspection and
Dressing For The Season
If you spend much time outdoors during work or recreation, wear loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing in sev-
eral layers. Layers of protective clothing are more effective than a single layer of tight, heavy clothing. Layers
can be removed to prevent perspiring and subsequent chill, and can be replaced as you begin to feel the need for
warmth. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded. A hood or ski-type mask should
protect much of your face and cover your mouth to ensure warm breathing and protect your lungs from extremely
cold air. Mittens are better than fingered gloves.
The Wind Chill Index
A very strong wind combined with a temperature slightly below freezing can have the same chilling affect as an
actual temperature nearly 50 degrees lower. Arctic explorers and military experts have developed what is called
the wind-chill factor, which shows the combined effects of wind and temperature as equivalent calm-air tempera-
tures. The index describes the cooling power of the air on exposed flesh. The wind-chill table provided here
shows this cooling power for various combinations of wind and temperature and will help you gauge how much
protection you really need.
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National Weather Service Windchill Chart
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Commonly called exposure, is known to be the number one cause of accidental death in outdoor activities. Hypo-
thermia is the lowering of body temperature under any conditions, although moisture, wind and cold most often are
the leading causes. It is compounded by a combination of improper clothing, inadequate shelter and energy deple-
tion. If body temperature goes below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, it continues to drop at an ever-increasing rate. In a
short time, the victim becomes unconscious and often the result is freezing to death.
1. SYMPTOMS to watch for in ourselves and companions are:
• Poor coordination - Repeated stumbling, poor control of arms and legs.
• Careless attitude, decreased attention span, daze and memory lapse.
• Uncontrolled shivering, drowsiness, blurred speech, confusion.
• Weakness, slowing pace, unable to maintain muscle movement.
• Disorientation and possible hallucinations and collapse.
2. TREATMENT for hypothermia:
• Prevent further heat loss any way possible.
• In advanced hypothermia the body cannot re-warm itself and must be re-warmed from outside
sources (hot sugary drinks, if victim is conscious).
• Give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if breathing stops.
• If possible, force victim to exercise.
• Furnish external heat slowly; extremely fast heating can also cause damage, so use caution.
Chilblains and Trench Foot
Chilblains is a painful inflammation of small blood vessels in your skin responding to sudden warming from cold
temperatures. Chilblains can cause itching, red patches, swelling and blistering on extremities such as toes, fin-
gers, ears, and nose. Treatments typically consist of lotions and medication. While it doesn’t usually result in per-
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No fall protection
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manent injury, chilblains can lead to severe damage if left untreated. Chilblains is usually the result of an abnor-
mal reaction of your body to cold. It tends to develop on skin that has been exposed to cold and is then warmed
too quickly, such as by warning your hands directly in front of a heater or fire. This cooling and rapid heating can
cause small blood vessels under your skin to expand more quickly than nearby larger blood vessels can handle,
resulting in a “bottleneck” effect and the blood leaking into nearby tissues. Chilblains does not require freezing
temperatures to occur.
Another condition that does not require freezing temperatures is trench foot, also known as immersion foot.
Trench foot develops after prolonged exposure to a wet, cold environment. Symptoms include pain, numbness and
swelling. As with chilblains, blisters and open sores can develop. This condition can occur with as little as 12
hours exposure. Prevention involves keeping the feet warm and dry.
Prevention of all cold weather-related injuries is beat achieved through pre-planning and preparation for the cold.
National Emphasis Programs—Targeted Strategy
During fiscal year 2008, OSHA conducted 8,730 inspections (out of 38,591 total inspections) that were related to a
National Emphasis Program, or about 22%. National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) focus on major health and/or
safety hazards which are of recognized national significance. They provide guidance to the OSHA field offices for
program planning and for conducting inspections consistently across the nation.
On January 24, 2008, the Crystalline Silica NEP was signed by the Assistant Secretary. Other current NEPs in-
• Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management
• Combustible Dust
• Microwave Popcorn Processing Plants
with no fall
Region 5 Construction Fatalities for November 2008 to February 2009
SIC code and accident description
1521—General Contractors—Single-Family Houses
Three employees arrived at the chemical plant at about 5pm to perform snow removal. One employee operated a
pick up truck with a snow plow blade. Another employee operated a skid steer with tires and the third employee
operated a skid steer with tracks. After about 5 hours of plowing the three were supposed to all meet back at the
parking lot. The third employee did not show up. The other two found tracks leading onto a sludge pond but did
not see the employee or his skid steer. The two employees left and returned with security guards and flashlights
and they found the tracks leading onto the sludge pond and saw a hole in the mud and ice about 40 yards out where
the employee and his vehicle had fallen through the ice.
1711—Plumbing, heating and Air-Conditioning
An employee was performing normal maintenance on a condominium’s boiler equipment and was working in the
boiler room. He was found unconscious around noon by another employee. The fire department measured about
1400 ppm of carbon monoxide in the room and two exhaust dampers were found to be partially closed. The medi-
cal examiner determined the cause of death as carbon monoxide poisoning.
1542—General Contractors—Nonresidential Buildings, Other Than Industrial Buildings and Warehouses
Seven employees were working to install trusses as part of a new roof system on an existing building. Three em-
ployees were in the trusses, one on each top-plate and one in the web. In the early afternoon, after 73 trusses had
been set, the trusses collapsed causing injury to two employees and fatal injuries to one. The victim fell 15 feet to
the concrete surface.
Top Ten Violations
Listed below are the “top ten” cited violations found during Federal OSHA
construction inspections from October 2007 through September 2008.
Rank Standard Hazard
1. 29 CFR 1926.451 General Requirements of all Types of Scaffolds
2. 29 CFR 1926.501 Duty to Have Fall Protection
3. 29 CFR 1926.1053 Ladders
4. 29 CFR 1926.503 Fall Protection Training
5. 29 CFR 1910.1200 Chemical Hazard Communication
6. 29 CFR 1910.453 Aerial Lifts
7. 29 CFR 1926.20 General Safety and Health Provisions
8. 29 CFR 1926.651 Specific Excavation Requirements
9. 29 CFR 1926.100 Head Protection
10. 29 CFR 1926.454 Scaffold Training Requirements
Upcoming Training and Educational Opportunities
• ABC of Wisconsin 608-244-5883 www.abcwi.org
1. OSHA 10 Hour Course
i. Milwaukee, March 3 & 10, 2009
ii. Fond du Lac, March 12 & 19, 2009
iii. Madison, March 18 & 25, 2009
iv. Stevens Point, March 24 & 31, 2009
v. Appleton, March 26 & April 2, 2009
2. Construction Workers Safety Conference
i. Wisconsin Dells, Feb. 18, 2009
• AGC of Greater Milwaukee 414-778-4100 www.agc-gm.org
1. Online Safety Courses
2. Safety Day, Milwaukee, Feb. 24, 2009
• Construction Safety Council
1. Annual Construction Safety Conference, Rosemont, IL Feb. 17 to Feb. 19, 2009
Posting the OSHA Form 300A
The Form 300A is used to summarize the entries from the Form 300 Log at the end of the year and is then posted
from February 1 through April 30 so that employees can be aware of the occupational injury and illness experience
of the establishment in which they work. The form contains space for entries for each of the columns from the
Form 300, along with information about the establishment, the average number of employees who worked there
the previous year, and the recordkeeper’s and corporate officer’s certification of the accuracy of the data recorded
on the summary. These requirements are addressed further in Section 1904.32.
This newsletter provides an overview of OSHA standards and does not alter or determine compliance responsibili-
ties, which are described in the OSHA standards and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Because interpreta-
tions and enforcement policy may change over time, the best sources for additional guidance on OSHA compliance
requirements are current administrative interpretations and decisions by the Occupational Safety and Health Re-
view Commission and the courts.
Wisconsin Contact Information
Wisconsin OSHA Consultation Offices:
• Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, University of Wisconsin
2601 Agriculture Drive, Madison, WI 53718-6780
(608) 226-5240 (Health)
• Wisconsin Department of Commerce, 141 NW Barstow Street, Fourth Floor
Waukesha, Wisconsin 53188-3789
Wisconsin OSHA Enforcement Offices:
• Appleton Area Office, 1648 Tri Park Way, Appleton, Wisconsin 54914,
(920) 734-4521, (920) 734-2661 FAX
• Eau Claire Area Office, 1310 W. Clairemont Avenue, Eau Claire, Wisconsin 54701
(715) 832-9019, (715) 832-1147 FAX
• Madison Area Office, 4802 E. Broadway, Madison, Wisconsin 53716
(608) 441-5388, (608) 441-5400 FAX
• Milwaukee Area Office, 310 Building, Suite 1180, 310 West Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203
(414) 297-3315, (414) 297-4299 FAX
Do you have comments or ideas for articles?
E-mail them to the Wisconsin Construction Safety Newsletter at Zortman.Chris@dol.gov
Ideas for Articles for Upcoming Issues
Do you have any ideas for articles that you want to see or topics that you think are important?
Please let us know at the email address listed just above.