Alliance -- An OSHA Cooperative Program<< Back to Concluded Regional Alliances - Region III


  1. Alliance Background

    Date Signed:

    February 27, 2009

    Date Renewed:

    Not applicable at this time.

    Alliance Overview:

    The TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce, is located in Pottstown, Pa., and serves more than 700 businesses in northern Chester, southeastern Berks, western Montgomery counties, and along the Pennsylvania Route 422 Corridor. Through this Alliance, OSHA and the Chamber will provide Chamber members and others with information, guidance, and access to training resources that will help them protect employees' health and safety, particularly in reducing and preventing employee injuries and illnesses. Training and educational programs that have been offered under the Alliance agreement during it's second year include various safety and health topics including: "Control of Hazardous Energy Lockout/Tagout", "Job Safety Analysis", "Accident Investigation" and "Understanding the Value of a Safety Committee".

    Implementation Team Members

    Kitty Papp, Special Events Director, TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce

    Scott G. Shimandle, Compliance Assistance Specialist, USDOL/Allentown Area Office

  2. Implementation Team Meetings

    April 21/22, 2010 Email correspondence for upcoming outreach seminar with Senior Safety Engineer from Cabot Supermetals
    May 6, 2010    Email correspondence with Chamber for upcoming  (5/7/2010) outreach seminar
    May 7, 2010    Outreach Seminar – Control of Hazardous Energy (LO/TO)
    June 6/7, 2010 Email correspondence and phone conversation for upcoming outreach seminars with representatives of Eastern Alliance Insurance Group and Body-Borneman Insurance
    June 8, 2010 Phone conversation with Body-Borneman Insurance representative
    July 8, 2010     Email correspondence to Eastern Alliance Insurance Group and phone conversation with Chamber Implementation Team representative
    July 12, 2010   Email correspondence confirming July 13 seminar and attendees
    July 13, 2010 Outreach Seminar – Job Safety Analysis (JSA)
    August 3 - 4, 2010 Email correspondence with “Safety Net” representative
    Sept. 1, 2010 Phone conversation with Eastern Alliance Insurance Group representative
    Sept. 23, 2010 Email correspondence from “Safety Net” promoting upcoming November 2, 2010 Chamber Seminar – sent to “Safety Net” network
    Oct. 22, 2010 Email correspondence updating registration for Nov. 2 seminar
    Oct. 25, 2010  Email correspondence to Chamber and "Safety Net" for possible planning meeting
    Oct. 29, 2010  Email correspondence confirming Nov. 2 seminar and attendees
    Nov. 2, 2010 Outreach Seminar – Understanding the Value of a Safety Committee and Implementation Planning Meeting with Chamber representative and “Safety Net” representative (see comments below)


  3. Activities and Products

    Evaluation Period

    February 27, 2010 through February 26, 2011.

    Alliance Activity

    • Training and Education:

      Events Listed below is a summary of the outreach seminars that were held over the past year. These descriptions are the notices (flyers) that were promoted by the Chamber for each of the events.

      May 7, 2010 "Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)". Controlling hazardous energy while performing service and maintenance duties is not only an OSHA regulatory requirement, but more importantly, failure to implement an effective lockout/tagout program could result in serious injury or even death. Scott Shimandle, Compliance Assistance Specialist (CAS) with the USDOL/OSHA - Allentown Area Office (AAO) will present information on the 29 CFR 1910.147 regulation and also discuss the most commonly cited elements of this standard.

      July 13, 2010 "Job Safety Analysis (JSA)". A Job Safety Analysis should be a favorite tool in the tool box of every manufacturing and safety pro. JSA systems, beyond a very basic framework, are flexible enough to be tailored to a particular site or group of workers. Cabot Supermetal employees have realized benefits to production, quality, environmental compliance, ergonomic, and safety by putting a JSA process in place several years ago. Randy Kresge, Sr. Safety Engineer at the Cabot Supermetals site in Boyertown, PA will describe how the JSA process works at his site.

      September 2, 2010 "Accident Investigation". The Accident Investigation session will aid in conducting a thorough accident investigation, develop the skills to confidently investigate the incident and document the findings. Preparing an accident investigation kit and identify the root cause of the incident will also be discussed. Most importantly, the training will focus on what to do once the root cause has been identified. Other related topics to be presented during this session will include corrective action plans, employee discipline, maintenance requests, re-training, which are all possible corrective actions, but which one(s) are right in the particular situation. The session will conclude with a group accident investigation practice. Presentation by Barry L. Houck, CSP, Senior Risk Management Consultant for Eastern Alliance Insurance.

      November 2, 2010 "Understanding the Value of a Safety Committee". Effective workplace safety committee can serve as the "driving engine" for your entire safety and prevention program AND for adding to your company's bottom line. To gain a greater perspective about how improving safety not only protects your most valuable resource -- your employees -- but can also help your firm, gain a competitive edge by reducing direct and indirect costs associated with accidents. The presentation will focus on how to form a workplace safety committee that can be certified by the state (Commonwealth) and entitle each employer to an annual 5% reduction in your workers' compensation insurance premiums. David Guzik and Valorie Konnick from Body-Borneman Insurance will discuss: setting committee objectives, team dynamics, organizing and holding safety committee meetings, committee structure (single, centralized and multiple committees), audit issues and potential pitfalls, the PA Dept. of Labor and Industry safety committee certification requirements, the certification processing via the Health AND Safety (HANDS) website (deadline requirements for new and renewal certifications), the pros and cons of certification, the requirements for annual committee member training and motivation tools for committee members and employees.

    • Outreach and Communication:

      Events

      See seminar events listed above.

    • Promoting the National Dialogue on Safety and Health

      No formal events were conducted with the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce to promote the National dialogue on workplace Safety and Health during this time period. However, the presentations on "Job Safety Analysis", "Accident Investigations and "Understanding the Value of Workplace Safety Committees" were conducted by individuals, who through their respective organizations, provide services in various states within the U.S. and products world-wide. These presenters disseminated and shared real case study information and company safety system process improvements which directly relate to the value of the implementation of safety and health management system.

    Alliance Products.

    • Training and Education

      PowerPoint presentations have been created and/or modified for the specific topics/subject matter listed above. PowerPoint presentations were provided in handout format for note-taking purposes.

    • Outreach and Communication

      As noted above new PowerPoint presentations were developed/modified and used locally.

    • Promoting the National Dialogue on Safety and Health

      No products developed at this time.

  4. Results

    As previously reported it had been recognized by the Implementation Team, that the outreach sessions have not been as well attended as originally hoped. In part, there appears to be still some reservation (by Chamber members) about a training/outreach session with a regulatory agency and a fear of asking regulatory related questions during the outreach. The concern is that enforcement activity may be triggered by active participation (asking regulatory "out of compliance" type questions) during the event(s). Although efforts had been made over the last year, in an attempt to alleviate those concerns, attendance was still less than expected. Again, as previously addressed in last years annual report, the "Safety Net" group that is affiliated with a local occupational healthcare provider in the area (Careplex of Pottstown Memorial Medical Center), has continued conducting its safety and health seminars on the same days (or close in date) as those listed below (with this Chamber). Since many members belong to both groups, several employers opted to attend the healthcare session as the "Safety Net" group has been in existence for several years and this Alliance was only in its second year of existence. In an effort to possibly "merge" these two groups for a common goal, discussions were held with the Safety Net" group Coordinator for the possible allegiance to our Alliance with the Chamber. Comments relating to this effort are listed in Section V. Upcoming Milestones, below.

    In review of the table below, attendance did appear to be growing and the attendees did become a little more comfortable with the (OSHA) activities with the Chamber. The Chamber continued to solicit information from the attendees by requesting completion of a Survey. The information obtained from the surveys is listed below.

    Type of Activity (Conference, Training, Print and Electronic Distribution, etc.)

    Number of Individuals Reached or Trained

    Control of Hazardous Energy (LO/TO)

    10

    Job Safety Analysis

    16

    Accident Investigation

    8

    Understanding the Value of a Safety Comm. 19

    TOTAL

    53


    The Chamber surveyed the attendees by asking them 7 questions, 6 of which were directly related to the days outreach event.  The survey questions are as follows:

    1. The session content was relative to my job.                           
    2. My goals in attending the program were met.
    3. The length of the program was appropriate.
    4. The geographic location of the meeting was suitable.
    5. The speaker was an effective presenter.
    6. Overall rating of this seminar.     

    In review of the evaluations the following data (average) was obtained.  On a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being the highest:

    Question          5/7/2010          7/13/2010        9/2/2010          11/2/2010
    1.                     3.8                   3.6                   3.8                   3.6
    2.                     3.7                   3.8                   4.0                   3.5
    3.                     3.6                   3.7                   4.0                   3.9
    4.                     4.0                   3.8                   4.0                   3.9
    5.                     3.8                   3.8                   4.0                   3.4
    6.                     3.7                   3.8                   4.0                   3.9

  5. Upcoming Milestones

    As listed above, discussions had been held over the last year, with the coordinator of the local "Safety Net" group in an effort to possibly merge (combine) the efforts of both groups, as OSHA has been assisting with outreach over the last several years with these neighboring organizations.

    At the conclusion of the last scheduled quarterly event (November 2, 2010), a meeting was held between the AAO CAS, the coordinator of the "Safety Net" group and the Chamber representative (Eileen Dautrich, who was the Executive Vice President and as of Nov. 1, 2010 became the Chamber President, as P. Timothy Phelps had resigned).

    The Safety Peer Group coordinator had indicated that after discussions with her organizations leadership, they would fully support the efforts of the Alliance through announcements and advertisements, but would not be willing to be a signatory member to an Alliance.

    The Chamber representative, understood the efforts of the Alliance, but had not been a participant in its activities and having just become the new Chamber President had other duties and responsibilities to address. She did indicate that she did not foresee any obstacles from the Chambers perspective on renewing our Alliance, however, it was a decision that she felt needed to be addressed by the Board of Directors, as they might have other initiatives which the Chambers' staff (which had been downsized) should be continuing and/or developing in an effort to revitalize the Chambers' mission.

    A Board meeting was scheduled (and conducted) on November 8, 2010, where she indicated she would bring the OSHA Alliance to their attention for direction and/or action.

    At the conclusion of this meeting, I shared that the Agency has established some new criteria for new (and renewed) Alliances, and that the we now need to have worker organization (e.g. unions) involvement, either as a signatory member or by having worker involvement in the Alliance agreement's development and implementation, by assisting in the planning of the outreach activities. Both representatives felt that this new criteria would not be a major issue as many of the "members" had local (and national) union representation, some of which have been attending the Alliance outreach activities over the past two years. However, identifying one particular union to be an actual signatory member would/could take some time.

    Finally, I offered to both representatives, that OSHA outreach activities can and most certainly will continue even without a new (or renewed) Alliance, as it had prior to OSHA's Alliance Program, and the individual organizations need only send a request to our office's attention for consideration. On January 3, 2011, I received and email from the President of the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce indicating that with the limited staff and the timing of an Alliance Renewal (by the end of February 2011), attempts to identify union signatory member(s) or the creation of a workgroup with union participation is not feasible.

    Therefore, on February 27, 2011 this Alliance agreement will be concluded. Let this annual report also serves as the close out report for the TCCC Alliance.

    Report Prepared by: Scott G. Shimandle

    For more information, contact the Office of Outreach Services and Alliances at 202-693-2340 or go to www.osha.gov.