Department of the Army
The United States Army (Army) employs over 100,000 civilians at more than 76 installations/ sites, making it one of the largest Department of Defense (DoD) employers in the United States. In recognizing the need for a proactive approach to improve safety and health for civilian and contract workers at all installations/sites, the Army approached the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enter into an OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP) to gain guidance and assistance on improving its safety and health programs.
OSHA and the Army entered into their first OSP on October 15, 2004. Due to a change in Army command and structure, the OSP was discontinued in the summer of 2005. However, OSHA and the Army entered into a new OSP on August 25, 2008. The key goal of the 2008 OSP is to reduce civilian and contract worker injuries and illnesses through Army facilities achieving recognition in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). The OSP is also designed to support the goal of former President George W. Bush’s Safety, Health and Return to Employment (SHARE) Initiative to reduce occupational injuries and illnesses by 3% per year. However, the SHARE program was terminated October 1, 2009.
To assist the Army and other services within the DoD to expand VPP participation, the Defense Safety Oversight Council established the DoD VPP Center of Excellence (DoD VPPCX). The DoD VPPCX supports Army installations/sites participating in the OSP in achieving and maintaining VPP recognition by providing on-site and remote assistance and delivering training on VPP and safety and health technical issues.
To facilitate the direction and management of the OSP, a Partnership Management Team (PMT) was established in September 2008. The PMT consists of representatives from OSHA’s National and Regional Offices and the Army. During the first year of the OSP, the PMT held quarterly teleconferences to discuss and accomplish the following:
This annual evaluation examines the accomplishments and areas for improvement for the period August 2008 through December 2009.
Partnership Highlights and Results
The first year of the OSP presented challenges to the PMT, although some progress was made in accomplishing the OSP goals, strategies and measures.
Challenges for the PMT included: Army leadership responsible for OSP implementation changed during the reporting period; collecting OSHA-300 data from participating sites was problematic for the Army; and the Army had limited resources to expend on the accomplishment of the OSP goals/strategies/measures. In addition, OSHA and Army OSP contacts did not work together at the local levels to facilitate OSP implementation.
Progress on the goals, strategies and measures for August 2008 through December 2009 follows:
Goal 1: Reduce civilian and contractor workforce fatalities, injuries, and illnesses at each participating Army installation/site by at least 3% each year, consistent with SHARE goals.
While thirty-five sites participated in the OSP during the evaluation period, only 11 of the participating sites submitted either complete or partial information related to this goal. As a result of the data’s being incomplete, OSHA did not perform the off-site verification of the injury and illness rates which the 11 facilities provided. However, , OSHA was able to make a comparison of the injury and illness experiences for the 11 facilities from 2008 to 2009. Five of the 11 sites experienced decreases in their Total Case Incident Rates (TCIR) and Days Away from Work, Restricted Activity, and Job Transfer (DART) rates:
A three year analysis of the injury and illness rates provided was also performed. The results of the three year rate calculation compared to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry averages is used for installations/sites to qualify for the VPP which is a goal of the OSP. Eleven of the 35 installations/sites participating in the OSP during this evaluation period submitted three years of injury and illness data for 2007 – 2009. Section 3 of the attached Annual Partnership Evaluation Report provides the breakdown of rates for each facility into the three year average TCIR and DART rates. A summary of those results follows:
In 2009, all Army installations/sites included in Appendix A were visited by the VPPCX to evaluate the status of their SHMS using the VPPCX E-Tool. Appendix C of the attached Annual Partnership Evaluation Report provides a detailed look at the participants’ progress in developing their SHMS by presenting a percent (%) completed status of each installation/sites’ progress in completing the E-Tool. Results include:
As of December 31, 2009, five installations/sites applied to OSHA for VPP status, resulting in one approval (Fort Indiantown Gap, PA was approved for VPP participation on December 19, 2008). The additional four installations/sites were pending onsite evaluations and/or VPP final approval.
Also notable are the continued efforts by Red River Army Depot as an OSHA Challenge participant. Red River Army Depot applied for and has been actively participating in OSHA Challenge since the inception of the program in August 2007.
Goals 4 & 5: Share best practices and successes with other Army installations and similar worksites in other industries; convey civilian workforce safety and health best practices and injury/illness reduction lessons learned with soldiers, where appropriate.
Five Army installations/sites submitted 7 best practices: development of a New Employee Safety Orientation Enhanced Training Program to increase worker awareness of safety and the OSP; development of an Ergonomics Lab to aid with the reduction of overexertion-type injuries; implementation of SafeStart to increase worker involvement in safety; the conduct of daily safety meetings to discuss OSP goals and VPP status; implementation of a safety stand-down training week; implementation of an employee information system called SPIKE; and the delivery of a weekly broadcast to address site safety and health concerns. These Army identified best practices were not reviewed by the PMT.
The OSP has achieved some positive results for participating installations/sites where data was submitted, but the results are inconclusive due to the limitations of the data provided. Progress made by participating sites on the implementation of effective SHMS is noteworthy, however. In 2010, the PMT will have to improve the overall implementation of the OSP goals/strategies/measures and determine if the OSP is still appropriate to continue. OSP areas for the PMT to focus on are as follows:
1. This average was calculated using a simple arithmetic mean due to the difficulty in obtaining disaggregated hours worked data by individual worksites included in the Partnership. Were this data available, a weighted average of injury and illness rates experienced by individual worksites would yield the most statistically accurate rates for the group as whole. However, partial calculations not included in this evaluation suggest that use of the simple arithmetic mean does not produce appreciably different conclusions for evaluative purposes.
2. This figure was calculated using a geometric mean rather than a simple arithmetic mean as the former is more appropriate for determining average percentage changes in TCIR over three or more years. Use of the simple arithmetic mean in this instance tends to understate average decreases in TCIR when negative while overstating average increases in TCIR when positive.