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In December 2009, Builders Association (BA), a trade organization in the construction industry, formed their second OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP) with OSHA. The OSP covers 24 participating employers who are both large and small general contractors and specialty trade companies from the Chicago area. The OSP covers approximately 2,200 workers and is committed to the continued development, improvement, and implementation of the OSP participants’ safety and health management systems (SHMS). The anticipated end date of the OSP is December 2012.
Key OSP Goals Met During Year One: OSP Increases Safety and Health Training and Promotes a Hazard-Free Worksite
One of the key goals of the OSP is to increase workplace safety and health training for construction workers. Results from the OSP’s 2010 annual evaluation show that the OSP is well on its way to achieving this goal. In 2010, the OSP offered over 3,330 safety and health training sessions consisting of 19,725 hours to 1,223 workers. Four Builders Association training forums were conducted at the Chicago Construction Safety Council. Training topics included best practices for how to effectively communicate safety and health expectations to specialty contractors, tradesmen, and field supervisors; cranes and derricks ruling; hexchrome exposure; and safety related to jobsite surroundings. Safety Awards were conferred at the spring meeting and OSHA presented an update. OSP participants conducted safety training on a variety of safety and health topics, including cranes/derricks, recordkeeping, first-aid, and signal/rigger issues. Over the course of the year, there were also regular, consistent toolbox talks at all jobsites.
Another key goal of the OSP is to promote an exposure and hazard-free construction worksite through conducting frequent and regular inspections of near-miss accidents. In 2010, the OSP participants conducted 12,349 self-inspections which resulted in the identification and abatement/correction of 2,749 hazards and/or violations. As a requirement of participating in the OSP, all 24 OSP participants must have independent verification inspections performed by a third-party of their choice to determine their compliance with the agreement entered into at the “Gold” level. Members are required to develop and maintain the self-inspection program.
OSP Reduces Injury and Illness Rates - Days Away, Restricted, and Transferred (DART) Rate and Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR)
Another key goal of the OSP is to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses by three percent annually by developing a comprehensive SHMS process approach. The target numbers were established through information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS’) Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) and Days Away, Restricted, and Transferred (DART) rate.
During 2010, All 24 OSP participants developed and/or improved and implemented a comprehensive SHMS. The OSP participants attained an aggregated TCIR of 3.3 which was 11 percent below the BLS national average for 2009. The below table presents the OSP’s injury and illness data achieved in 2010:
*Injury and illness rates from the last year of the OSP’s previous partnership (2008) are also shown in order to present a three-year rate (2008-2010).
Additional Benefits of OSP
Additional benefits reported in the OSP’s first annual evaluation include: increased safety and health awareness; improved relationships with unions/workers, management, and OSHA; and an increased number of interested companies interested in participating in the OSP. The OSP continues to experience growth in numbers. The participants strongly support the OSP and are very proud of their involvement. They continue to tweak and enhance their SHMS and training in effort to improve overall records. The BA Safety and Health Committee actively recruits BA members to learn more about how OSP participation may benefit these firms, and staff continues to promote the OSP to prospective members. OSP participants feel that due to this agreement, OSHA has created an environment in safety where companies can have a positive and active role in safety and health in the construction industry. OSHA’s willingness to assist and promote safety has led to safer and healthier construction workers in the Chicago area.
The key objectives of the OSP are to reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the construction industry through means of open communication; promote recognition for construction safety excellence; and share knowledge of the best industry technology, innovations and work practices that improve safety and health performance.
Origin: Chicago Regional Office (Region V), Chicago North Area Office, Calumet City Area Office, North Aurora Area Office, and Peoria Area Office