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Voice of the people

Mar. 31, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

OSHA safety course shouldn't be mandated

A recent ad in your paper criticized Delegates Carol Miller and Kelli Sobonya for not voting for House Bill 2354, a bill to mandate workers on public construction projects to complete the OSHA 10-hour safety course.

It is important to note that OSHA does not require construction workers to complete the 10-hour course. It is a generic safety course and many West Virginia contractors do elect to use it for their safety training.

However, many other contractors provide their highly skilled employees with specific hazard training for their particular type of construction, whether it is highway, bridge, utility or other forms of construction activities. This training is much more intensive than the 10-hour course.

If the bill passes, those companies that elect to do specific hazard training will have to replace it with this generic safety course. Also, every worker will have to complete the OSHA 10-hour course. Small contractors, such as those doing a plumbing job at a senior citizen center or lighting for a Little League Ballpark, also will be required to complete the course before they can perform their duties. HB 2354, as designed, could curtail small contractors from bidding, which would only create higher unemployment in the construction industry and raise the cost of construction to taxpayers.

As with all legislation, there is more than one side of an issue. The Contractors Association of West Virginia appreciates Delegates Miller and Sobonya not wanting to compromise worker safety by adding more levels of bureaucracy without any clear indication that safety will be enhanced.

The legislative process in West Virginia is elevated when legislators consider all sides of an issue before taking a position.

Mike Clowser

Executive Director

Contractors Association of West Virginia

Charleston

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