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Voice of the People

Apr. 04, 2013 @ 11:57 PM

VA volunteers keep Spring Valley clean

All to often, letters to the editor are to criticize someone for what they say or do. Once in a great while, a "thank you" shows up in the mix, which is exactly where this one should be.

Litter in our communities has become a huge problem. There are fines in place for littering, but it appears to be at the bottom of the priorities list for law enforcement. Too bad, as if this were enforced, it would be a significant amount of money added to the coffers.

Having said this, I reside in Spring Valley, which in my opinion is one of the best residential areas remaining. To prove this point, VOLUNTEERS from the VAMC organize every year to clean up litter left by thoughtless individuals who drive through our neighborhoods. Those orange trash bags alongside the roadway are the results of these "Champions of Green" giving both their time and energy, not to mention risking their personal safety.

To each one of these people, I want to give a heartfelt thank you! All too often the efforts of folks like yourselves go unnoticed and unrecognized. Each of you has been listed as a "Hometown Neighborhood Hero" in my book and shall remain there from now on. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are the creme de la creme.

Rich Christian

Huntington

Local delegates voted correctly

Delegates Kelli Sobonya and Carol Miller were unfairly criticized for an unrecorded voice committee vote on H.B. 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. By requiring the OSHA 10 hour, the state 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 the employee is actually performing. We would not want these to be replaced with a more generic OSHA 10 Hour course that can be completed on-line with virtually no employer oversight.

This bill is another measure to limit competition within the construction industry. We should have an open and fair playing field for all companies. This bill would especially hurt the small business owner.

Delegates Sobonya and Miller 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.

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 taxpayer-funded projects.

Wendy McCuskey

Associated Builders & Contractors, WV Chapter

Charleston

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