Region 8 News Release: 40-OSHA 12-15-98
Tuesday, December 15, 1998
Contact: Ernie Sanchez, (303) 844-1303
Working With The New OSHA:
"DAKOTA FIRST" JOB SAFETY PARTNERSHIP WITH EMPLOYERS BRINGS DRAMATIC RESULTS
Dramatically reduced injury and illness rates; fewer lost work days; at least $2.8 million workers' compensation savings, plus development of new and improved workplace safety and health programs are some of the significant results of North and South Dakota's "Dakota First" Cooperative Compliance Program.
"The partnership pioneered between Dakota First employers and OSHA was an outstanding job safety and health success," Bruce Beelman, area director of the Bismarck Area Office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said today in announcing the outcome of the employer, worker, and OSHA effort.
A total of 123 companies at 212 sites in the two states joined OSHA in 1995 in the three-year program to reduce injuries and illnesses at businesses with the highest incidence of worker comp claims. In 1995, participating employers submitted detailed action plans that provided a strategy to identify and correct occupational hazards in their workplaces.
The primary goals of the program, said Beelman, were to measurably reduce injuries and illnesses, and to insure that the companies developed or implemented effective safety and health programs. Beelman noted that the safety effort included substantial employee participation.
"The final evaluation and summary report indicates significant accomplishments in the program," Beelman noted. These elements were: reduced overall Lost Work Day Injury and Illness (LWDII) rates, reductions in worker comp costs, decreased number of lost work days, plus improvement of existing, and development of new safety and health programs.
A brief summary of the major accomplishments follows:
LWDII Rates: 75% of the companies experienced a decrease in LWDII rates. Seven companies experienced a dramatic decrease, i.e., as high as a 90% reduction. Additionally, 16 sites ended with a 0.0 incident rate.
The baseline LWDII for all companies decreased by 22%.
Workers Compensation: A majority of the companies voluntarily provided information indicating a decrease in their workers comp premiums and their EMRs (experience rate for premiums). Examples:
38 of these companies said that in 1996 and 1997 they saved a combined total of $2,876,560 in workers compensation costs.
77 companies reported a reduction in EMRs indicating a cost savings in premiums.
A single company reported savings of $360,000 in 1997.
Of the 123 participating companies 89 reported a combined 36% decrease in the number of lost work days (17,909 in 1995 to 11,394 in 1997).
34 companies reported a combined 70% decrease in the number of lost workdays (12,759 lost days in 1995 to 3,853 in 1997).
Safety and Health surveys: 56 companies also identified a total of 8,800 hazards as a result of self audits.
Evaluation of Safety and Health Programs: 50 monitoring inspections were conducted by the Bismarck OSHA Area Office. All of the companies were found to have implemented a comprehensive safety and health program with full employee involvement.
Letters of recognition and thanks were sent to all of the participating companies, acknowledging their tremendous effort and achievement, Beelman emphasized.
Gregory J. Baxter, OSHA Regional Administrator of Denver's Region VIII, observed that this program is exactly what the President was striving for when he announced a "New OSHA: Reinventing Worker Safety and Health in 1995."
"The Bismarck OSHA staff and the employer's in this program should be proud of what they have accomplished in this unique cooperative effort," Baxter said. "This partnership program should be applauded as a significant step forward for the New OSHA, which is dedicated to common-sense enforcement and regulation."
MEDIA NOTE: Beelman can be reached at 701-250-4521, Ext. 303.