Wendy McCuskey: Just another bill to limit competition in construction
Delegates Troy Andes, Kelli Sobonya, Carol Miller, and Karen "Lynne" Arvon were unfairly criticized for a voice committee vote on House Bill 2354.
If passed, this bill would require all construction workers who work on public projects to complete the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's 10-hour safety course.
Currently, the OSHA 10-hour course is a voluntary course. More than half of the curriculum is pre-determined and therefore not task-specific.
The "Focus Four" curriculum does have value to employees and employers alike.
However, employers who have exposures to the "Fatal Four" hazards are already required by OSHA 29 CFR 1926 to provide these types of training to their employees.
West Virginia employers are already required to provide compliance training to their employees.
By requiring the OSHA 10-hour course, the state of West Virginia would be creating an unnecessary redundancy.
Many West Virginia construction companies choose to send their employees to task-specific safety training.
These courses provide a higher level of safety and offer better preventive measures based on the work that employee is actually performing.
We would not want these to be replaced with a more generic OSHA 10-hour course that can be completed online with virtually no employer oversight.
This bill is another measure to limit competition within the construction industry.
As a state, we should have an open and fair playing field for all companies.
This bill would especially hurt the small business owner working hard every day to employ West Virginia workers.
These delegates are not against worker safety. They understand that the construction companies employing thousands of West Virginia workers are dedicated to the safety of their employees.
But they do not need another government regulation to inhibit business growth in our state.
Consider these attacks for what they are: A group that represents only 14 percent of the construction industry trying to pick winners and losers on government taxpayer-funded projects.
McCuskey is president and executive director of the West Virginia Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors.