Region 2 News Release: NY 161
July 13, 2001
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
Office: (212) 337-2319
OSHA, NEW JERSEY CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS,
AND UNIONS SIGN SAFETY PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration will sign a partnership agreement with the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey on Friday, July 13 to recognize those contractors within the association who demonstrate exemplary safety and health programs and practices in their operations.
More than 180 companies belong to the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey, employing more than 10,000 construction workers throughout the state. The organization is a chapter of the Associated General Contractors, the nation's oldest and largest construction trade association.
The Construction Industry Safety Partnership Program, to be announced in ceremonies at BCANJ headquarters in the Raritan Center on Fieldcrest Avenue in Edison, New Jersey, will be co-signed by supporters from organized labor, including:
- New Jersey State Council of Carpenters and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, AFL-CIO;
- Building Construction Laborers' District Councils and local unions of the State of New Jersey;
- International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Locals 4 & 5;
- International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 825;
- Structural Steel and Ornamental Ironworkers of New Jersey.
"The construction industry continues to be the nation's most dangerous major industry," said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA regional administrator. "Serious injuries and deaths from falls while working in construction significantly contribute to the nation's workplace statistics. The use of partnerships as an effective tool to broaden OSHA's impact by allowing us to devote more attention to other employers who are not as safety-conscious has become an important part of our long-term strategy.
"I commend BCANJ and its member contractors, as well as the co-signers from organized labor, for their enlightened attitude and ambitious goals," Clark added.
The goals of the partnership program include:
- formally training at least ten percent of all workers each year for the next ten years in basic construction safety awareness;
- reducing workplace accidents and fatalities by five percent per year;
- formally training all participating contractors' supervisory employees in an OSHA 30- hour construction safety course;
- reducing workers' compensation costs;
- increasing the number of construction companies that have implemented safety programs.
In order to participate, contractors are required to meet stringent safety guidelines, which are organized into incremental levels designated Red, White, and Blue. To attain Blue level, contractors must:
- have no willful or repeat OSHA violations in the last three years;
- have a site-specific safety and health plan;
- ensure that all subcontractors have a site-specific safety and health plan;
- assign a fully trained competent person to each job site responsible for enforcing the site-specific safety and health plan;
- ensure that all site supervisory personnel are trained by OSHA or BCANJ to recognize and correct safety hazards;
- have a six-foot fall protection program or a 100 percent fall protection program;
- achieve the highest score, field-verified by BCANJ or OSHA, on a self-audit safety survey;
- have suffered no fatal accidents resulting in serious violations related to the fatality in the last three years;
- keep the company's rate of injuries severe enough to be eligible for workers' compensation benefits at or below the average for the construction industry;
- have their safety records verified by an independent third party.
OSHA enforces the standards in the Occupational Safety and Health Act through a system of penalties for violations of increasing magnitude. A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations.
A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result. A repeat violation is one for which an employer has been previously cited for the same or a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
OSHA has four offices in New Jersey:
Avenel - Plaza 35, Suite 205, 1030 St. George's Avenue telephone (732) 750-3270;
Hasbrouck Heights - Teterboro Airport Professional Building, 500 Route 17, (201) 288-1700;
Marlton - Marlton Executive Park, 701 Route 73 South, Building 2, (856) 757-518;.
Parsippany - 299 Cherry Hill Road, suite 304, (973) 263-1003.