Delegate unfairly criticized for vote
Delegate Karen “Lynne” Arvon was unfairly criticized for an unrecorded voice committee vote on HB 2354. If passed, this bill would require all construction workers who work on public projects to complete the OSHA 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.
In other words, West Virginia employers are already required to provide compliance training to their employees. By requiring the OSHA 10 Hour, 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 preventative 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, when every day they are working hard to employ West Virginia workers.
Delegate Arvon is not against worker safety. She understands 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.
I ask that you consider these attacks for what they are — a group who only represents 14 percent of the construction industry trying to pick winners and losers on government-taxpayer-funded projects.
Associated Builders & Contractors, WV Chapter