OSHA Advisory Council Sept.

9, 2005 minutes

Members: Carol Bufton Harvey Burski Pat McGovern Scott Richter Bill Stuart Daryl Tindle Members absent: Eric Ajax Melanie Allen Eugene Harmer Michael Hawthorne Scott Metcalf Ed Raine

Staff members: Debbie Caswell James Collins Jeff Isakson Roslyn Wade

Visitor: Greg Rindal

The meeting was called to order by chairperson Carol Bufton at 10:16 a.m. Greg Rindal introduced himself and welcomed everyone to Duluth. Bufton thanked Minnesota Power for hosting the meeting and for all they do in safety. Members and visitors introduced themselves. The agenda was approved as presented. Harvey Burski made a motion to approve the minutes from the March 4, 2005 meeting. Bill Stuart seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion and the motion passed. II. Announcements Assistant Commissioner Roslyn Wade expressed appreciation to Minnesota Power for hosting the Minnesota OSHA fall outstate meeting. She stated that Minnesota Power has been a great partner to both the MNOSHA compliance and consultation programs. Minnesota Power is a MNSTAR participant and we appreciate their partnership and appreciate what they do for Minnesota employees. Wade noted the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has been very busy and that she appreciated the flexibility of council members in allowing the June meeting to be canceled. Wade stated DLI had a very lean legislative agenda this year and all of the agency initiatives succeeded. One of the items that will have an impact on the OSHA program was the legislation passed requiring crane-operated certification by July 1, 2007. This initiative started with discussions many years ago regarding whom the certification

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should apply to. At that time, the Legislature asked DLI to convene a workgroup to study the issue. Wade indicated that cranes not only pose a risk to the employees in that specific area, but could cause serious damage to people and property in and around a worksite. The workgroup came to agreement and acknowledged cranes are different than other types of heavy equipment and that there should be specific guidance in either OSHA standards or law that would require specific training for crane operators. The workgroup was representative of the entire industry. The workgroup had very relevant discussion; however, it took the Legislature until this past session to return to that discussion. With that in mind, the department drafted some possible language based on the feedback of the workgroup and the Legislature accepted that language with very few changes. The language requires that operators of cranes of more than 5,000 lbs are required to be certified by July 1. There are some very limited exceptions, including those individuals who are training to become certified operators. The language is in the OSHA statutes and OSHA personnel will be used to ensure the provision is complied with. Violations of that statute would be considered like any other safety violation and would be fined accordingly. That bill passed. Another significant bill passed this year was the minimum wage bill. This bill increased the threshold that distinguishes a large employer compared to a smaller employer. Previously, that threshold was $500,000. The new threshold is $625,000. Employers grossing more than that amount are considered large employers and the minimum wage increased to $6.15 an hour for those employers and to $5.25 an hour for smaller employers – those doing business grossing less than $625,000. Additional important legislation passed this year directed the commissioner of DLI to convene a workgroup to study the installation of biotech piping systems and plan reviews. Minnesota has seen a significant increase in the biotech industry, with a number of major players looking to expand or initiate business in Minnesota. There was concern regarding the multiple levels of review required through the city inspection process and the Legislature asked DLI to study that issue and to provide recommendations to the Legislature by March 1, 2006. The commissioner will be heading that workgroup. Wade noted that effective May 16, 2005, the governor issued a re-organization order requiring five different units that currently administer, inspect or license building construction activities throughout the state of Minnesota be consolidated under DLI. Previously, the department had a small program in the overall building construction process, with the high-pressure piping and boiler code regulation. Under the governor’s re-organization order, four other units were consolidated to establish the Building Code and Licensing Division. Those units include: Building Codes and Standards, previously of the Department of Administration; Residential Contracting and Licensing, previously with the Department of Commerce; the Plumbing and Engineering unit, previously with the Department of Health; and the Board of Electricity, which was a stand-alone agency. DLI also assumed fire code-making authority, although it did not receive the personnel. Wade indicated these units, including the Boilers and High-pressure Piping unit, have been consolidated into one division that will report to her, along with the previous Workplace Services Division. The agency is undergoing major changes, not just the

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physical movement of those units into the building, but also studying what structural changes need to be made in the business processes to assure business improvement for the end users. The majority of employees are moving into the 443 Lafayette Road N. location. There is also great outstate presence with individuals either working out of established state offices, as well as some home offices, to ensure services continue throughout Minnesota. The primary goal of the re-organization order is to ensure building construction is performed in a way that ensures the integrity of the buildings and the safety component. This was one of the recommendations made last year when we were looking at ways to advance safety. This re-organization provides a more direct opportunity to leverage those resources to continue to advance safety in the workplace. The entire consolidation will result in an additional 100 employees for the department; the new division comprises 120 employees. Wade announced Jeff Isakson is now serving in the capacity of the Minnesota OSHA Compliance director and Patricia Todd has been promoted to assistant commissioner of the Workers’ Compensation Division. Wade stated the commissioner has great confidence in Todd, based on her tenure, experience and success in moving the MNOSHA program forward. Wade indicated the agency has started to think about legislation for next year and stated that if anyone has suggestions or concerns they want DLI to take into consideration, now would be a good time to advance those. Due to the late start of session next year, deadlines have not been set yet. Wade noted the regional administrator for federal OSHA, Mike Connors, is coming to Minnesota. She and the commissioner will be meeting with him. Wade stated Connors is an avid supporter of the Minnesota OSHA program and he rarely addresses the public without mentioning the good work that is going on in Minnesota. McGovern asked if there would be any follow-up in the meeting regarding construction safety. Wade said yes. Burski stated that at the March meeting there was discussion about the Legislature and possibly trying to deal with work-study students at the university who were exposed to hazards and not getting proper training; she asked what happened with that discussion? Wade responded that bill was not successful. She indicated it had been introduced, but that it had not received a hearing. Bufton asked if the definition of the size of an employer, which was in the minimum wage provision, applied to other laws within the state or if it only applied to the minimum wage issue? Wade responded the dollar volume test for purposes of establishing the minimum wage only applies to the minimum wage.

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Bufton asked if there would be some interaction between the MNOSHA construction program and the new group? Wade responded there would be and indicated Jim Collins recently led a discussion with the group. As a follow-up, he established a strategic plan to work with building officials and city and state inspectors to advance safety. Wade indicated the department has explored using those groups or using the forums they have established through their educational program and would continue to be open and looking for how these groups can work together to advance safety. VI. Federal OSHA update Jim Collins spoke on behalf of Mark Hysell, federal OSHA area director. Collins stated the first item is the OSHA response to hurricane Katrina. OSHA has asked all state-plan states to participate in a response. They are looking for both safety and health volunteers with special expertise, such as electrical hazards or an industrial hygiene background. Collins reported MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation has five volunteers. Collins indicated the deadline has been extended to next week. The request is for a two-week span of time for each volunteer. Collins indicated the next item to report has to do with Hispanics in Minnesota. Collins stated there is a calendar designed to identify nationwide safety and health outreach and training events for Hispanics. The training and education will help to raise injury and illness prevention for Hispanics, especially in construction. There is a clearinghouse for training materials to allow anyone in the nation to use the information. VII. Staff reports Compliance – Jeff Isakson Isakson reported the compliance group had been very busy the past six months. He stated MNOSHA Compliance had hired its first-ever summer intern, a graduate student from the University of Minnesota Duluth Environmental Health and Safety program. Isakson stated the intern did a fantastic job. She did a number of research projects, one of which was to research experience modifier rates to determine whether they could be incorporated into the scheduling plans as an additional factor to aid in the selection of companies under target-industry lists. A complete copy of the report is in the packets, along with the final recommendations. The second research project done by the intern was to analyze the 31 data. These are weekly reports by the OSHA investigators that identify what the investigators do. That information is compared to the federal 31 reports to make sure MNOSHA is at least as effective in the inspection process as the federal staff and also to make sure there are no issues or glitches within the group that need to be looked at. A copy of the summary of that report is also in your packet.

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Isakson indicated the third project the intern did was to analyze the general duty citations of the past three years and recommend modifications of specified Minnesota rules to clarify hazards due to the prevalence of citations that were identified. A copy of that summary is in your packet also. Isakson reported there are two other research projects in draft form that will be available for the December meeting. One analyzes the fatalities, catastrophes and serious injuries of the past five years to determine – through SICs – which companies needed more information to help identify specific hazards causing serious injuries. The intern drafted a formative letter that relates to the hazard alerts. Those letters will be going to companies that are affected. The last project was to analyze the health inspection 2004 target program where we look at isocyanate exposure in the spray-on truck bed relining industry. This report is in draft form and will also be available in December. There are a couple other reports in the packets, including the fatal and serious injury report and the OSHSPA GRASSROOTS publication. Partnerships: Isakson reported that Commissioner Brener, Assistant Commissioner Wade and he attended a formal signing at the Ford plant in St. Paul. He stated it was great to see the UAW and Ford work closely to improve employee safety, not only at that site, but also throughout that whole corporation. Isakson stated it is exciting to be able to build that relationship with them to improve worker safety for the people who work in Minnesota. Construction Breakfast seminars: Isakson reported that a focus group had been developed, consisting of a couple risk-managers that are hired through insurance companies, three construction company safety directors and one safety consultant. The primary focus for the group was to develop a list of topics that would be covered during the next year, to help pull more people into the Construction Breakfast seminars. The topics for the next year are: personal fall-arrest systems, skid steer safety, the cost of not having a real safety program, a hands-on AWAIR program that works and tubular welded-frame scaffold safety. Outreach: Isakson reported that during the past year, MNOSHA Compliance participated in a number of full-day conferences for small-business owners throughout greater Minnesota. These conferences provide information about regulatory requirements and changes. Other participating agencies for these small businesses include DEED, the Minnesota Small Business Development Centers, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Minnesota Department of Revenue and the U.S. EEOC. Isakson stated some of the hazard alerts on the Web site have been updated and some new hazard alerts have been added. Some of the more recent alerts provide information about falls from ladders used during advertising sign maintenance, tree felling, carpenter bracket scaffolding and motor-vehicle safety.

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Isakson indicated MNOSHA Compliance currently has a few open positions, one due to the retirement of Mitz DelCaro. In addition, it will be adding an industrial hygienist to the Mankato office, as well as filling a general industry metro safety investigator position and an electric technician position in the metro office. Isakson reported quality assurance inspections were implemented about a year ago in Greater Minnesota, with a lot of success. Isakson explained that at quality assurance inspections, a principal, supervisor or industrial hygienist 3 goes out with investigators during selected inspections to ensure there is consistency in the inspections being done in the field and also to work with the investigators on process improvement. This is now being done in all units in Greater Minnesota. Isakson reported federal OSHA has made some redesign efforts in the IMIS database MNOSHA uses. The latest is a Web-based solution with an estimated timetable of three to five years and $77 million to improve. Because of the age of the hardware and software, MNOSHA decided to develop its own system to interface with the federal system. One of the goals of the new system is to allow the department to image-enable the work done by MNOSHA, to eliminate paper filing and to facilitate workflow and file tracking while inspections are performed. Isakson stated he was involved in similar projects at a previous job and saw a positive impact on quality improvement that helped investigators in the inspection process. Isakson stated MNOSHA Compliance uses a number of different databases to record information and it would be better if the information were all under the same umbrella. Isakson reported this project was put out for bid earlier this year and four consulting companies submitted proposals. Of these, the proposal from Assured Consulting was accepted. Phase one will be completed at the end of September, at a cost of $86,000. Phase one consisted of the consultant meeting with a group of users to determine what IMIS encompasses, what other databases are being used and what other information should tie into this program. A feasibility study is included to determine project requirements, detail design, costs and resources. At the completion of phase one MNOSHA will have an idea of what phase two will cost. Phase two will actually start to build the system. Stuart asked if Isakson could share any names of the people in the focus group and explain how those individuals were chosen. Isakson stated one of the other managers was involved in that process, but said it shouldn’t be a problem to get the information. Tindle asked whether the schedule for the Construction Breakfast seminars is on the Web site and indicated he is particularly interested in the cost of not having an effective program. Isakson responded that the schedule is on the Web site. Bufton asked Isakson to talk about his background for those who do not know him. Isakson responded that he has an undergraduate degree in electronics engineering and technology, and a master’s degree in industrial safety and health. Prior to going back

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to college, he worked as a mechanic on the railroad. After graduation, he worked for a number of paper companies, including Meade in Escanaba, Mich., as its safety and health manager, and Potlatch in Cloquet, Minn. He began working for MNOSHA in 2003, as its Greater Minnesota supervisor in the Duluth office. Workplace Safety Consultation – James Collins Collins reported that in fiscal-year 2004/2005, the department spent $1.1 million for the safety grant program. Of that amount, the employers put in $3.3 million to match, for a total of $4.4 million. There were 180 grants offered; the private sector received 127 and the public sector received 53 grants. Collins indicated it is a very good and popular program. He stated MNOSHA receives more applications than it has money for, but there is good criteria in place for screening the applications. The program tries to award the grants that will give the highest impact. LogSafe update: Collins reported 14 workshops were conducted throughout the state this year. A partnership has been developed with the Minnesota logger education program, which is one of the larger logging groups from outstate, and two very successful conferences were done with this group. Collins stated the usual on-site training and seminars throughout the state will continue. The training topics this year were: Right-toKnow; hearing conservation; AWAIR programs; and lockout/tagout. MNOSHA also contracted out for two programs: fire protection use of extinguishers and CPR/first aid. Both were with Mesabi College on the Iron Range. Administrative operations: Collins reported MNOSHA consultation also has a few vacancies to fill. Phil Jacobs went back to the private sector. Phil did a good job on management and supervisors training; he may be contacted to help with other types of training. Collins reported two other consultant positions that need to be filled, one public sector and one VPP in construction, which is unique to Minnesota. This is the first time Workplace Safety Consultation is focusing the VPP MNSTAR program on construction. Productivity: Collins noted that Sept. 30 ends the federal fiscal-year, when MNOSHA has to account for what has been done with the funds received for the year. Collins reported that, once again, MNOSHA has surpassed the goals that were set for the year. It asked for close to 800 initial visits and got nearly 1,000. Out of 600 training sessions, it has trained slightly more than 20,000 workers in the state. For initial visits, it usually tries to calculate penalty savings. This year, it identified more than 5,000 hazards and, because all were removed, employees are safer and – in terms of the penalty calculations – nearly $4.3 million were saved. Alliance: Collins stated there are currently five alliances, with two more having been offered. Workplace Safety Consultation recently signed with the Mechanical Contractors Association. These alliances help with training and also in partnership with colleges, universities, and trade and business associations.

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Collins reported the inspector general is coming to Minnesota to review MNOSHA consultation safety records. Minnesota OSHA is 90 percent federally funded and has to follow federal regulations. Other states being inspected are New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. The goal is to look at timely abatement of hazards. Every time a serious hazard is identified, consultation works with the employer to set a time frame for corrective action. Those that exceed 90 days uncorrected without extension are the kinds of records the feds will be looking at. If it goes past 90 days and an extension has not been granted, the employer is referred for enforcement action. The second bureau objective is to review the records of extensions granted to determine an interim protection is in place until the permanent protection is provided. The opening conference is Sept. 13 in the regional office. There will also be an opening conference at DLI and a closing conference to discuss the findings. Collins reported five people have expressed interest in volunteering for the hurricane Katrina relief effort. Federal OSHA provided a checklist of the requirements needed. All volunteers should be qualified as industrial hygienists or safety professionals. McGovern asked if the inspection by the inspector general was congressionally initiated. Collins responded that a few years ago, federal OSHA looked at consultation programs across the nation to see how targeting was done and if states followed the goals they proposed to the feds for the grants. Most states followed the goals, but some states got the money without meeting the grant requirements. The feds became critical and wanted to know a little bit more about consultation. Under 1908, the regulation that governs consultation, if hazards are on the books, the employer must abate the hazards. However, letters often need to be sent reminding these employers to get the hazards fixed within a time frame or explain why they are not fixed, to get an extension. If the employer follows the consultation requirements, OSHA enforcement doesn’t go to the employer except for fatalities, catastrophes and imminent danger situations. The feds want to know if the regulations allowing consultation to get the grant money are being followed. Consultation is also asking for more money and the feds want to make sure the programs are currently as effective as enforcement. Stuart asked how many companies, what percentage, go beyond the 90-day correction deadline and need reminder letters. Collins responded the 90-day timeframe is for employers that are not cooperating. If they are cooperating, extensions are granted for good reasons. However, before granting the extension, employers are asked to put interim protections in place to prevent an accident. That’s not a violation of the rule. The rule is only violated if a hazard exceeds the mutually acceptable time frame and the employer has not abated or contacted the consultation program. To prepare for this audit, the feds ran a report for 2002, 2003 and 2004, and found two hazards not corrected within those years. After checking the records, it was discovered this was the result of a glitch in the old system. Stuart stated his interpretation was that it is an extremely rare percentage of people that are going beyond the 90 days. Collins responded that in terms of the violation of the rule, very few.

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Stuart commented that was great and he is pleased to hear it is an extremely small percentage, in fact, possibly zero percent. Wade referred to the March 4, 2005, memorandum about how the agency responded to the 16 recommendations made by the OAC at the Sept. 12, 2003, meeting. 1) Use workers' compensation data, experience modification rates, to determine enforcement focus. Wade said the experience modification rate is not a reasonable predictor. Not all companies have an experience modification rate from their insurer and it could be costly to develop one. She thought there was a good targeting system in place and the experience modification rate would not be helpful to the targeting process. Wade was impressed with the intern’s EMR report in the meeting packet and encouraged everyone to read the report. 2) Define the differences between federal OSHA and MNOSHA requirements and keep only the ones that positively impact safety and health. Wade noted MNOSHA performs an annual review of statutes and rules to make sure they are at least as effective as federal regulations. It is MNOSHA’s goal to move forward and be more effective, not “at least as” effective.

3)

Increase the effort in reducing workplace violence incidents.

Wade noted Vikki Sanders, MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation, is doing an outstanding job and moving that agenda forward. They are dedicating resources to education and outreach and are targeting high-risk workplaces. Sanders’ work is based on word of mouth and referrals made to the consultation program, based on how effective she has been in the past. She gives employers and employees the right language to use and teaches them how to identify potentially violent situations. Recent feedback from an employer gave her an astounding rating. Sanders recently conducted employee-based training. Afterward, one employee came to management and said he had been troubled for quite some time and that there was a potentially volatile situation that had been brewing for years. This individual recognized his or her own behavior was negative to another employee and there was an opportunity to look at the behavior, not the individual. Consultation is moving that work forward and will continue to invest resources in that area. 4) Move ergonomics ahead.

Two positions were created in the Workplace Safety Consultation unit to assist employers in reducing the occurrences of work-related musculoskeletal disorders

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(MSDs). They are continuing to focus on nursing homes. Information in the meeting packets describe the effort put forth and give the number of employees and students who have participated in training. There is still room for growth and they will continue to give resources. 5) Increase productivity of inspectors.

MNOSHA managed to increase the number of inspections in spite of high turnover. Wade indicated the past fiscal-year for both state and federal were very impressive years for the MNOSHA Compliance program. The consultation program continues to impact thousands of employers and an equally proportionate number of employees. Wade stated there has been a significant increase in just the past year in the number of inspections that were conducted, with no increase in the number of inspectors. Progress has also been made in the time it takes to generate reports from the opening conference to the time that citations are actually issued. This is particularly important, because the employer is not obligated to take abatement action or control the hazard until MNOSHA Compliance issues the employer its report. After MNOSHA becomes aware that a hazard exists, then the ball is in the MNOSHA court to ensure employers recognize the legal responsibility to control or abate that particular hazard. Moving that from an average of 44 days to 25 days is a very significant improvement in general industry, as is moving from 70 to 55 days in the health industry. Feedback is received on a monthly basis from federal OSHA’s tracking of MNOSHA’s progress as a state-plan state: how we perform based on our strategic plan, how we compare in our own region and how we compare across the nation. In every measurable area except discrimination, MNOSHA is performing significantly better than other state-plan states in our region, as well as nationwide. That is comparing both state-plan states and federal-OSHA-plan states. Wade stated that while she is extremely impressed, MNOSHA is not resting on its laurels. This work is very important. And, while we are making progress in all of these areas, this is good work, but there is more work to be done. So, although we have made significant quantitative improvement, during the next year Wade will be working with Isakson on qualitative improvements that can be made in the program as well. 6) Use the advisory council to facilitate stakeholder input in planning.

Wade asked the council to look at the value of taking the meetings outstate if we cannot generate additional public interest. She pointed out it’s time-consuming, requires a different kind of planning and, while it’s a good idea, if it’s not going to generate additional input, we should stop to weigh the value of the time and effort it takes to put 10 to 15 people on the road. Burski stated he attended the meeting in Rochester and today’s meeting, and it seems like we are not getting outside guests other than the people who are hosting. In fact, we do not get OAC members either.

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Bufton stated maybe there should be discussion about whether the structure and content of the meeting and how it gets promoted. Maybe it needs to be more of an open forum and less of a reporting session and publicized to generate outside interest. McGovern stated that it didn’t seem to be worth the time and effort for so many people to travel. If you have a different agenda, then we could revisit the question. Burski indicated he knew a news release was sent to Duluth papers, but he didn’t know if the paper published it. Tindle – I see some tie between items six and seven. I do not know how this organization and the general organization and OSHA can make themselves more publicly acceptable. The interesting part of question seven was what do people think of OSHA. My experience is they think of the compliance function a whole lot more than they think of the consultation function. 7) Continue to build a brand. (Action planned for next year.)

Wade indicated this action item will be on the December agenda; Chairperson Bufton will lead that discussion. 8) Look at companies that are using behavioral safety models.

Wade commented that two companies shared their experience, so we have satisfied that request as well. 9) Ensure that when goals are set within the program they are measurable and we have an ability to impact them. Wade explained it is extremely important when goals are set in the program that they are measurable. The agency is fortunate to have a Research and Statistics unit that has been extremely valuable in helping to set measurable goals. Several years ago, the agency went through a process of establishing performance measurements and, on a monthly basis, each operating unit – both for the policy units and the general support units – provide a detailed monthly report to the commissioner and the executive staff. 10) Encourage MNOSHA to better utilize external resources to broaden our impact.

Wade indicated there are five alliances and two others being pursued. She reported a partnership was signed just a few weeks ago and it was impressive to see labor and management so committed to ensuring the safety of the workers. We have a few other partnerships as well. We look at partnerships to impact those areas that are representative of large numbers of employees or employers and that’s just a way to stretch our resources a little bit further to ensure we are having as much impact as we possibly can.

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Wade noted there are also the MNSTAR and MNSHARP partnerships and that Minnesota Power is a partner through those programs. Those are ways we are partnering and for Minnesota Power to make the commitment to host today’s meeting is indicative of a very healthy partnership. It’s unfortunate we are not able to attract other users of our system to see our good work, but be assured we are doing our very best. Wade stated the commissioner is an avid supporter and marketer of the MNOSHA consultation program. He has an open-door policy and encourages individuals, regardless of their specific area of interest, to continue to provide feedback to the agency, so we can improve the services we provide to employers and employees. 11) Strengthen the role of the advisory council.

Wade urged the council to continue to provide feedback and not to feel limited in any way. She invited members to bring any concerns to our attention at any time. She told them if opportunities are identified through internal organizations where we can be more effective, she’s counting on the council to bring them to our attention. 12) Build stronger relationships with employers to share data and resources and to share best practices. Wade reported some of this has been done through the alliances and partnerships, and we will continue to look for ways to share relevant information. 13) Increase the number of candidates for the Art McCauley award.

Wade stated this is extremely important and is continuing to be promoted. Announcements are sent to many of the larger organizations, and individuals have an opportunity to make an application at any time during the year. As many of you may recall, we chose not to award the Art McCauley award this year, because of the lack of interest that was shown. We received just a few applications and, although those individuals certainly deserve some applause for their commitment to safety, we did not feel the applications received raised to the level of making an award. She encouraged assistance in the advertising the Art McCauley award so we can truly recognize the efforts of individuals committed to safety who are making a difference every day. 14) Review the surveys to see if we are getting to the heart of the issue. (Action planned for next year.) Wade pointed out that at our last meeting, this group was invited to take a look at the suggestions and to provide some feedback to the council. If anyone is prepared for that discussion, we may open the floor up for some discussion of that today. If not, that could be an item we come back to at a later date. Part of the challenge is many employers have shown little or no interest in providing the feedback to us. The paper survey seemed to provide a better response. Now that it’s an electronic survey, we have gotten little or no response. It’s extremely important we hear from employers; if we don’t get the

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feedback from a survey form, we will continue to look for other ways to get the feedback needed to ensure we are being effective. Please continue to give that some thought and bring your feedback to the council. McGovern – It sounds like the number one issue is how to increase response rate. Is it too late to then put it on the agenda for next time? Isakson shared information regarding some of the things done in this area since the last meeting. He noted the icon on the Web page has been moved to a more prominent location at the top of the page, so people can find it easier; the Web site address is now printed on the front of all of the new business cards for the investigators; the Web site information has been added to the OSHA inspection booklet that is a handout provided to every employer; the Web site information has also been added to the OSHA information sheet that is another handout provided to employers; and, the Web site information has been added to the inspection checklist to remind the inspectors to mention it during the inspection. Still in progress is a review of all handouts for other opportunities for providing that information and researching whether it’s possible to make the survey a pop-up when users exit the Web site. McGovern asked if the process for the survey was that people complete the evaluation at the end of an inspection. Iskason indicated that was correct. McGovern noted that, in terms of social response theory for how you do surveys, there are a number of classic things, such as when you have a personal relationship and you set up an expectation of people owing you something. It would seem people would want to be viewed favorably with the inspection. Do you ever talk to the employers to find out why they don’t fill it out? Isakson responded they did not. McGovern asked how long it takes to fill in the survey. Isakson indicated it’s not a very long survey, so it should only take three to five minutes. McGovern suggested doing a follow-up call if not received within a week. Bufton suggested an e-mail message from the inspector with a link to the Web site, so all they need to do is click that link and be sent to the survey. Burski asked if it that could be included with a close-out of the case. Richter noted that when someone says it’s a survey, they think everything is going to be made into a statistical report. He asked if it could it be called a comment card. He noted he sends comment cards out for every one of their service calls and, out of 2,500 to 3,000, they probably get 2,000 back. McGovern asked if the inspector gave the employer anything in writing or if it is a verbal request to take the survey online. Isakson responded there was not and that is one

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of the things on a list that is starting to be done by printing that information on handouts and discussing it at the closing conference. McGovern suggested a visual queue, because they might not want to do it right then, but if they had a colorful postcard or something to put on their bulletin board as a reminder. 15) Special effort to keep employees within the program

Wade noted one of the areas of concern expressed by this group and internally is the amount of turnover we continue to see in the MNOSHA programs. For many years that was a one-sided conversation, with us seeing significant turnover in our compliance program. However, most recently we have seen a significant increase in the turnover in the consultation program as well. It is important we keep this particular topic in context. We are limited with what we can pay and are bound by the bargaining agreement. In addition to being bound by the bargaining agreement, we must be cognizant of the individuals who are already a part of the program. We have instituted a process that allows every departing employee an opportunity to provide us very specific feedback about why they are leaving the MNOSHA program. Wade noted that, to the extent that the goal is to have a positive impact on employees and employers in Minnesota, we believe losing our staff members to private business is not the worst thing. It is a beaurocratic and administrative nightmare that has a profound affect on the ability to plan the work. However, individuals leaving stay within the safety and health industry and go on to have a more direct impact on a smaller number of employees. We are continuing to look at this as a significant issue, because we believe it is necessary to have some degree of stability for us to maintain effectiveness. We have identified it is generally between the three- and five-year mark when individuals start to make a determination about whether they want to stay with MNOSHA long-term. Generally speaking, those who stay beyond five years tend to be individuals who have a plan to stay with the program for the long-run. So, with that in mind, we have developed another position between the senior and principal levels; those individuals qualifying for that promotional opportunity are individuals who have demonstrated their ability to conduct the volume and qualitative inspections. They are individuals who have performed some of the more difficult inspections. We believe that by providing yet another promotional opportunity, it may encourage a few more people who are looking to leave right at that critical moment, just when they are fully trained, to stay with MNOSHA a bit longer. We are continuing to look at the program management to ensure there isn’t anything specific within the management that is encouraging individuals to leave. The managers have participated in 360-degree feedback and we’re getting feedback from all different levels. We are committed to continuing to look at this as an important issue, but we cannot allow the turnover to cripple the program. We think by being the feeder source for future safety directors, that too is an investment in ensuring that Minnesota workplaces remain safe.

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Bufton noted it would be interesting to benchmark turnover against that of safety professionals. Perhaps we are stretching for solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist, because there are jobs that turnover at a regular pace as the norm and not the exception. While we hope we can keep employees as long as they are productive, the productivity numbers and the quality numbers are high enough that it would seem it’s not impacting negatively on the program. Collins reported two colleges, Mankato and Cambridge, did a need analysis for safety people and have created a two-year certificate. This may help to reduce the turnover, because we will have more two-year safety and workers’ comp graduates. 16) Add another person to answer the phones

Wade indicated other things are being done to ensure the customers are serviced in an expedient manner. The phone tree has been updated to provide options for callers to select from. Wade stated the budget does not allow or support the proposal to simply add another person. She noted they looked at the programs and tried to streamline them to ensure the majority of time is dedicated to inspection activity. Wade said this was extremely valuable feedback and it forces MNOSHA to look at its programs. If anyone has further input or research to consider, please make DLI aware of it. McGovern made a motion to adjourn at 12:43 p.m. Burski seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion and it passed. Respectfully submitted, Debbie Caswell Executive Secretary