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Contractors Protest Safety Manual Change

The Corps of Engineers Safety Office presented proposed revisions to their official safety manual to industry in late 2002, giving contractors just four days to respond to the changes in the comprehensive document.

The Dredging Contractors of America (DCA) and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) informed LTG Robert H. Flowers, chief of engineers, that this was not sufficient time to review the changes, and were granted a 30-day delay.

“This process (revising the safety manual) had been going on since 2000,” said Torgersen, stating that their members had not been asked for comments or suggestions before November of 2002.

By mid-January, 2003, the DCA had prepared 163 comments on the revisions, including suggestions for changing the wording or eliminating certain requirements altogether.

“It came to our attention in December that the Corps was practically ready to go to press with a newly-revised safety manual,” said Dan Renfro, executive vice president of the Mississippi Valley Branch of the Associated General Contractors of America (MVAGC).

“We were aware that the manual was planned to be revised, but we had no idea the time line was so tight,” he said.

He asked members to review the draft manual to see how it would impact them, and there was a universal response that there was a focus on administrative details and new requirements that would not contribute to jobsite safety, and that many of the new requirements were unacceptable as drafted.

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