A3 - Alliance Agreement - October 5, 2015


The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) recognize the value of establishing a collaborative relationship to foster safer and more healthful American workplaces. To that end, OSHA, NIOSH, and RIA hereby form an Alliance to provide OSHA and NIOSH staff, RIA members, and others with information, guidance, and access to training resources that will help them protect the health and safety of workers, particularly by reducing and preventing exposure to mechanical (machine guarding, lockout/tagout), electrical, and other hazards; addressing workplace safety and health issues related to traditional industrial robotics and human robot collaboration (HRC) installations and systems; and understanding the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

This agreement provides a framework and objectives for the Alliance's activities. Alliance participants will summarize specific activities and timeframes for completion in a written work plan.

Through the Alliance, the organizations will use relevant injury, illness, and hazard exposure data, when appropriate, to help identify areas of emphasis for Alliance awareness, outreach and communication activities. The Alliance will also explore and implement selected options to evaluate the effectiveness of the Alliance and measure the impact of its overall effort on improving workplace safety for employers and workers. In developing this Alliance, OSHA, NIOSH, and RIA recognize that OSHA's State Plan and On-Site Consultation Project partners are an integral part of the OSHA national effort, and that information about the products and activities of the Alliance may be shared with these partners for the advancement of common goals.

Raising Awareness of OSHA's Rulemaking and Enforcement Initiatives

The Participants intend to work together to achieve the following objectives related to raising awareness of OSHA's rulemaking and enforcement initiatives:

  • To share information on OSHA's National Emphasis Programs, Regulatory Agenda, and opportunities to participate in the rulemaking process.
  • To share information on occupational safety and health laws and standards, including the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers.

Training and Education

The Participants intend to work together to achieve the following training and education objectives:

  • To conduct effective technical seminars, web-based training, or other types of training to educate OSHA, State Plan, and Consultation staff, and NIOSH researchers about traditional industrial robotics operational hazards and abatement methods, and the emerging field of HRC installations and systems.
  • To provide technical information to OSHA and NIOSH that enables both agencies to make informed observations about traditional industrial robotics, and HRC installations and systems safety in different industries; and to support each agency's efforts to develop and issue internal and public technical resources (e.g., OSHA Technical Manual Chapter and NIOSH guidance documents).
  • To assist in identifying and developing research questions that might be addressed by NIOSH, and opportunities for field-based research among early adopters.

Outreach and Communication

The Participants intend to work together to achieve the following outreach and communication objectives:

  • To develop information on the recognition and prevention of workplace hazards by creating and updating public communications, and compliance assistance tools and resources (e.g., fact sheet(s), website, etc.) for employers and workers on robotics system safety, including HRC installations and systems, and ensuring that they accurately reflect the latest best practices.
  • To speak, exhibit, or appear at OSHA, RIA, or NIOSH conferences, local meetings, or other regional events.
  • To promote, through seminars and workshops, industry-wide use of best practices for robotics systems, and to encourage employers to develop new or enhance existing safety and health programs.

OSHA's Alliances provide parties an opportunity to participate in a voluntary cooperative relationship with OSHA for such purposes as raising awareness of OSHA's rulemaking and enforcement initiatives, training and education, and outreach and communication. These Alliances have proven to be valuable tools for both OSHA and its Alliance participants. By entering into an Alliance with a party, OSHA is not endorsing or promoting, nor does it intend to endorse or promote, any of that party's products or services.

An implementation team made up of representatives of each organization will meet to develop a work plan, determine working procedures, and identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants. In addition, they will meet at least two times per year to track and share information on activities and results in achieving the goals of the Alliance. OSHA team members will include representatives of the Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs, the Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management, the Directorate of Standards and Guidance, the Directorate of Enforcement Programs, the Directorate of Training and Education, Regional/Area Offices, and any other appropriate offices. OSHA will encourage State Plan States and OSHA On-Site Consultation Projects to participate on the team.

This agreement will remain in effect for two years. Any signatory may terminate it for any reason at any time, provided they give 30 days' written notice. This agreement may be modified at any time with the written concurrence of all signatories.

Signed this 5th day of October, 2017.

Loren Sweatt
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for
Occupational Safety and Health

Jeffrey Burnstein
Robotic Industries Association

John Howard
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health