Talking about partnerships: Oregon Construction Advisory Committee

Buildings under construction with cranes

Colleagues of mine outside of Oregon have likely heard me discuss the often unique relationships among those supporting workplace safety, health and well-being in Oregon. During my 35+ year career as an industrial hygienist and safety and health professional, I have participated in and observed the collaboration and communication that occurs between groups and partners for the greater good of improving workplace conditions. This isn’t to say that we are perfect, that everyone listens all of the time, or that all of us – industry, workforce advocates and regulatory agencies – agree on everything. It doesn’t even mean that we all “like” each other. However, we have often identified positive examples for collaborating and attempting to work together on often difficult and emotional topics. I believe that an important reason for this, is the voice of occupational health and safety professionals. So many OSH Professionals have spent entire careers working in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, often moving between different jobs within industry, labor and as regulator: enhancing the desire to communicate effectively.

While there are many examples of different successful partnerships and forums, the Oregon Construction Advisory Committee (CAC) is one that deserves a bit of space in our blog. I have had the good fortune to be a regular member and attendee of  the CAC for well over a decade, and have seen the good work that comes from it. I honor those who are committed to its continuation, such as current chair, Nathan Taylor, CSP, ASP, CHST, of Associated General Contractors, Oregon Chapter (AGC). Although Oregon OSHA has a strong presence in the monthly meetings, necessary to report out industry fatalities and accidents and give regulatory updates, it is the construction industry that guides the group in discussion and process. I highly encourage anyone interested in positive outcomes and improving safety and work in construction and trades to attend these now virtual meetings.

Here’s a bit of detail about the Construction Advisory Committee from Nathan Taylor.

Most companies have one or more safety professionals that are up to date on current OSHA regulations. But what very few companies know or understand is that they have the ability to regularly meet with Oregon OSHA’s leadership team and other construction industry safety professionals to discuss all aspects of construction safety from both Oregon OSHA’s perspective and those in the private sector. This group is called the Oregon OSHA Construction Advisory Committee (CAC) and it enables companies to stay up to date on industry trends, best practices, but more importantly gives companies the opportunity to influence and be a part of Oregon OSHA rule making process. Companies that regularly send a representative to the Oregon OSHA CAC will ensure that they have a voice in the rule making process and are up to date on the latest regulations implemented by OSHA.

Over the years that I have been attending these meetings, not only have I developed friendships and partnerships with attendees, I have heard directly about lessons learned on construction jobs, resources for training and development, and been involved in important dialogues between Oregon OSHA technical staff and industry partners about regulations, fatalities and accidents, and future needs. The Construction Advisory Meeting has been meeting virtually via Zoom during the pandemic, and meets the first Tuesday of each month from 9 AM – 11 AM. Visit the CAC website to see minute meetings and learn more. If you have any questions about the Oregon OSHA CAC, please contact Nathan Taylor at (503) 894-1110.

Thank you to Nathan, AGC, Oregon OSHA and all CAC members for working together to improve workplace safety and health in construction and beyond.

Other Oregon Safety and Health Partnerships
Oregon COVID-19 Construction Task Force
Oregon Management-Labor Advisory Committee (MLAC)
Alliances with Oregon OSHA
Interagency Agreements with Oregon OSHA
Portland Jobs with Justice