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OSHA Alliance Program Directive: Frequently Asked Questions


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OSHA issued a revised Alliance Program directive on July 29, 2015. The following are some frequently asked questions related to the implementation of the directive by OSHA’s national, Regional, and Area Offices.

Worker Involvement

Alliances are intended to provide a forum for employers and workers to work together to resolve workplace safety and health issues. To achieve this, Alliances with employers and employer groups (e.g., trade associations) must also include worker representatives to ensure that their activities sufficiently address the safety and health needs/issues faced by the target audience (in most cases, workers).

The directive states that worker involvement can be accomplished by:

  • Having a union signatory whenever possible (e.g., from a union with a presence and/or experience in the industry); or
  • Having worker involvement in the Alliance agreement's development and implementation, including project workgroups; or
  • Having participation in the Alliance of community-based labor groups or similar organizations knowledgeable and involved in the issues addressed by the Alliance.

Other examples of worker involvement include:

  • Inviting union representatives, or community- and faith-based labor groups, to implementation meetings.
  • Requesting union, or community- and faith-based labor groups, review of products/topics in development.
  • Surveying the target audience (e.g., students, workers, union representatives) to identify gaps in existing training or educational resources that could be addressed by the Alliance, and/or to ascertain the effectiveness of the Alliance’s products/activities (e.g., trainings, publications, outreach campaigns, etc.)
  • Obtaining input and feedback from consulates (in cases where workers are predominantly from other countries).
  • Including OSHA compliance assistance staff in implementation team meetings. This may include a representative from the OSHA National Office.

The target audience for these Alliances is the student/worker. To meet the worker involvement requirement in this context, Alliance participants can gather feedback on the courses from the students, or if applicable, have student representation at Alliance implementation meetings. The feedback can be collected immediately after the course and/or several months after course completion to determine whether students were able to apply what they learned during the course. This feedback may also be used to determine future Alliance activities.

Alliance Signatories

Yes. However, there may be situations where a Memorandum of Agreement would be more appropriate than an Alliance. Check with your Solicitor’s Office for more guidance.

Renewal Period

Renewals can be for two to five years, based on the activity and impact of the Alliance. Alliances are evaluated annually to determine if they are meeting the goals in the agreement and work plan. Alliances that are not meeting these goals should be concluded early or put on a plan to improve performance. In addition, Alliances cannot be renewed automatically.

Initial Alliance signings are for two years.

Yes, If an active Alliance has gone beyond its renewal period, it can still be renewed. It is not necessary to conclude the Alliance and sign a new one. Please use the date the new agreement is signed as the renewal date. Do not use the previous Alliance renewal due date (or "expiration date"). For renewal agreements signed by mail, see Signing by Mail.

Yes, in some cases you may be able to sign an addendum to add a new signatory. Please contact the Office of Outreach Services and Alliances at (202) 693-2340 for more information.

Conclusions

Please use the date that the conclusion letter was mailed to the Alliance participants. Do not use the renewal due date (or "expiration date") as the conclusion date unless the letter was mailed on that date.

While a formal conclusion letter is not required, the directive requires an Alliance signatory to provide 30 days written notice to terminate its participation in an Alliance. Even if an Alliance is being mutually concluded, it’s good practice for the OSHA office to send a written communication (conclusion letter or email) to document the decision. A conclusion letter or email can also help set the stage for the participants to continue working together outside a formal Alliance by noting that OSHA looks forward to continuing to work with the other signatories to address workplace safety and health issues.

Annual Reports

The annual report should cover one year from the signing date. For example, if the Alliance was signed on September 9, 2015, the annual report would cover the period between September 9, 2015 and September 8, 2016.

Annual reports should continue to be prepared based on the original signing date. For example, if an Alliance is signed on April 10, 2012, but is not renewed until June 15, 2014, the annual reports should continue to cover the periods from April 10 to April 9.

Signing by Mail

Alliance signings and renewals can be done by mail. The non-OSHA Alliance participants should sign first, followed by the OSHA official(s). The date the OSHA official(s) signs should be considered the signing date. It is also permissible to have some participants sign in person and others sign by mail.

Region-wide Alliances

Yes, the national Solicitor’s Office must approve Region-wide Alliances. Regions should submit draft Region-wide agreements and renewals to the Office of Outreach Services and Alliances, which will send them to the national Solicitor’s Office for clearance. Area Office Alliances do not require approval from the national Solicitor’s Office.

An Alliance signed by the Regional Administrator and that applies throughout the Region is considered Region-wide. Alliances signed by multiple Area Offices (for example, all the Area Offices in a state) are generally not considered Region-wide.

Products Developed by Alliance Participants

Many National Alliance participants develop products such as fact sheets, toolbox talks, and videos. The National Office has established Guidelines for Developing Alliance Products for products developed by national Alliances. These guidelines may be helpful for Regional and Area Office Alliances that are developing Alliance products. For example, products developed by Regional and Area Office Alliances should generally include the Alliance logo, the Alliance participant’s logo, and the standard disclaimer. Alliance products should not include the official OSHA logo.

Alliance Templates

These templates are also posted on the Alliance Program Templates page. There are separate templates for consulate Alliance agreements with Mexico versus consulate Alliance agreements with other countries. When submitting draft agreements with non-Mexican consulates, please do not include a signing date in the agreement. These agreements must be submitted to SOL for clearance, which can take several weeks.

Former Alliance participants should not use the Alliance logo to imply that they still have an active Alliance with OSHA or that OSHA has endorsed or reviewed any of the participant’s activities after the Alliance concluded. However, a former Alliance participant can use the logo to promote the Alliance Program or highlight its past accomplishments, as long as it is clear that the Alliance has concluded. Former Alliance participants can also keep the Alliance logo on Alliance-developed products in accordance with the Guidelines for Developing Alliance Products.

Submitting Information to the National Office

The Regions should submit the following to the Office of Outreach Services and Alliances:

  • Agreements and renewals. Initial Alliance agreements and renewals should be submitted as soon as possible after they are signed, but no later than one month after signing. The agreements and renewals should be in Microsoft Word format. Please ensure the Word document you send is identical to the signed agreement, but does not display actual signatures. If available, please include signing photos (with suggested captions) and provide links to Regional news releases on the signing.
  • Draft Region-wide Alliance agreements and renewals. (See Region-wide Alliances)
  • Draft consulate Alliance agreements and renewals. (See Region-wide Alliances)
  • Annual reports. These should be submitted as soon as possible after the annual report period, but no later than 60 days after the end of the annual report period.
  • Success stories. Regions are encouraged to submit brief summaries of successful Alliance activities. These may be highlighted in Related OSHA QuickTakes and on the Alliance Program page.
Additional Information

Please contact the Office of Outreach Services and Alliances at (202) 693-2340.

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