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In the fall of 2001, Koch Industries, Inc. approached the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about expanding its relationship through a Partnership Agreement between certain Koch companies and OSHA. As a result, a Partnership Agreement was signed in January 2003 and subsequently renewed in March 2006. This Partnership facilitated the relationship by communicating the commitment to develop strong environmental, health and safety (EHS) management systems and to strive toward workplace safety and health excellence. Koch’s partnership sites allowed OSHA to reach out to a diverse industry spectrum and to impact safety and health in a meaningful way. The lessons learned from the partnership site participation will be used to further impact health and safety globally at all Koch company sites.
The following facilities were participating in the Partnership when it concluded:
The Partnership concluded on a successful note. First, the Partnership made strides towards its main goal, the prevention and reduction of employee injuries and illnesses as the participating facilities continued to outperform their respective industry average injury and illness rates. At the end of 2008, of the 8 facilities, 6 had Total Recordable Cases of injuries and illnesses (TCIR) rate and 7 had Days Away, Job Restriction or Transfer (DART) rates below their respective industry averages. On the average, the three year (2006-2008) overall TCIR and DART rates of the facilities were 41% and 51% below their industry averages.
Other notable events and achievements of the Koch Industries National Partnership include:
A review of the injury and illness trends shows that the majority of injuries and illnesses were associated with ergonomics and walking/working surfaces. To address this, one of the partnership’s objectives in achieving the partnership goal of reducing ergonomic injuries was to publish and implement a field ergonomic guide. The ergonomic task force, formed by the partnership management team in late 2004, met this goal by developing and publishing the guide. Training was provided to the plants safety teams who then began using the guide to help identify ergonomic risk factors.
The ergonomic field guide was shared and implemented at all partnership sites through the use of training sessions. The publication of the guide shows the goal of improved communication and knowledge sharing between OSHA and Koch being met.
To address specific ergonomic hazards, several facilities in the partnership have taken proactive steps. For example, one facility decided to do the following: mandate that all supervisors receive training in ergonomic hazards recognition; require the use of pre-job hazard analyses using a decision matrix to recognize hazards; and purchased specific items to assist employees. Another site had all of its employees receive ergonomic training, added an ergonomic section to each step of its Job Safety Analyses, included contractors in ergonomic awareness trainings which included the ergonomic field guide, and made several modifications to equipment to reduce vibrations.
One partnership objective focused on enhancing contractor safety. To address this, This involved providing training to both partnership and non-partnership site representatives in best practices in contractor safety. The committee successfully conducted a training session in March 2005 that involved subject matter experts in contractor safety from OSHA, Koch, and Monsanto. Training was conducted using Video Teleconferencing technology at Koch’s Washington D.C. and Wichita offices. The event was well received by all attendees. This effort demonstrates a spirit of cooperation not only between Koch and between OSHA but between other industry safety leaders as well.
Eventually, several partnership sites established teams to specifically focus on making improvements in their contractor programs at their sites. The contractor safety training session shows improved communication and knowledge sharing between OSHA and Koch as well as the increased awareness of the value of EHS management systems, both of which are two of the partnership’s goals. At this time, a list of active contractors is vetted and approved based on a grading system that includes performance criteria such as EMR, incident rates, lost time rates and environmental performance. Also, several sites are currently working with consultants to incorporate into their qualifying services a matrix of prescribed training, developed internally by Koch Industries, for which training records are required. Revision of the site hazard reporting and tracking procedure will be accompanied by a parallel review of contractor hazard tracking and abatement verification.
VPP participation remained a major objective of the Partnership. Three partnership sites achieved VPP recognition and by the conclusion of the Partnership, several sites were actively working toward VPP participation. Addressing the goal, the partnership achieved the following: