OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP) with the Electrical Transmission and Distribution (ET&D) Construction Contractors, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), and the Edison Electrical Institute (EEI) (ET&D OSP) was originally signed August 20, 2004, renewed in 2006 and on September 16, 2008. The current agreement is in effect until September 2010.
The ET&D OSP impacts approximately 75 percent of the ET&D industry. OSHA has joined with labor, trade and industry representatives to develop a common vision and commitment for industry worker safety and health through leadership, responsibility and accountability. The following parties are signatories to the OSP:
The OSP’s Executive Team, made up of CEO-level management, meets approximately three to four times per year to approve OSP activities and products and manage overall OSP implementation. The OSP’s Steering Team, made up of employer participants’ safety and health managers, meets approximately every four to six weeks, manages day-to-day operations of the OSP and serves as the liaison between the Executive Team and the Task Teams. Task Teams are groups of employees and supervisors who meet as needed to focus on specific OSP topics. As of December 31, 2008, there were four Task Teams: Data (established in 2006), Training (established in 2006), Best Practices (established in 2006), and Communications (established in 2007) working toward achieving the goals of the OSP.
The OSP continues to reap benefits for the participants through a continual decrease in fatalities; Total Case Incidence Rates (TCIR); and Days Away, Restricted, or Transfer (DART) rate indicators. Since the initial OSP was in 2004, the OSP employer participants’ TCIR and DART rates have been either at or below yearly Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average rates for their NAICS codes.
By working on the OSP goals, OSP employer participants in Calendar Year 2008 succeeded in reducing injury/illness rates and controlling the number of fatalities. Details of the injury and illness rate results for the OSP are presented below.
The OSP participants reported eight fatalities in 2008, an increase of one fatality from 2007. Although there was one additional fatality recorded in 2008 it is notable that the number of partner fatalities has decreased since the beginning of the OSP; where the OSP participants experienced a high of 11 fatalities in 2004.
OSP Injury and Illness Experience Compared to Industry Averages
Another measure of the OSP’s performance can be found in a comparison of its injury and illness rates to those of the Utility Construction Industry (NAICS code 237130) as reported by the BLS. The chart below reflects the OSP’s TCIR and DART rates from 2004 to 2008 and compares these rates to industry average rates published by BLS.
As the chart shows, injury and illness rates in the utility construction industry are trending downward. As goes the industry, the OSP participating employers, in each year from 2004 through 2008, succeeded in achieving both a TCIR and a DART rate below the industry national average. Overall, the OSP’s participating employers have maintained injury and illness rates below that of the industry and continued to reduce these rates year after year.
1-Year OSP Injury and Illness Rate Changes 2007-2008
OSP employer participants, as a group, achieved a TCIR of 4.04 in 2008. This represented a seven percent decrease from its 2007 TCIR. OSP employer participants, as a group, achieved a DART rate of 1.81 in 2008. This represented an 18 percent decrease from its 2007 DART rate.
OSP Injury and Illness Rate Changes 2004-2008
A look at the 5-year progress of the OSP reveals a positive pattern. In 2004 and 2005 both the TCIR and the DART rate increased. This occurrence may relate to the OSP participating employers’ efforts to improve safety and health efforts, to encourage workers to report injuries and illnesses, and to improve company injury and illness recordkeeping. After this first year, from 2005 to 2008, the OSP’s TCIR and DART rates declined steadily.
The OSP participants developed and delivered training curriculum to ensure that workers, who frequently move between companies, receive consistent, quality training; identified and shared best practices and information to prevent the occurrence of fatalities and injuries; and established relationships that foster information sharing within the industry.
The OSP participants developed two industry-specific training courses; the ET&D 10-Hour Outreach Training course developed in 2006 and the Supervisory Leadership Outreach Skills Training (SLOT) course in 2007. Nearly 6,000 persons received training in 2008, including apprentices, journeymen, foremen and general foremen. The OSHA 10-hour Outreach Training Program course specific to the ET&D industry has been attended by more than 12,000 employees and supervisors of OSP participating employers since it began in 2006.
The OSP-developed industry-specific SLOT course for foremen and general foremen has been used to train more than 3,000 supervisors and managers. This course was designed to help foremen/general foremen create a safe work culture on the job. The OSP’s decision to develop this course resulted from a survey completed by workers that clearly identified the lack of consistent enforcement of company safety and health policies as a key causal factor in the incidence of worker fatalities and injuries. This training, the first of its type approved by OSHA’s Training Institute (OTI), focuses on changing industry safety and health culture through holding foremen and supervisors accountable for implementation of safety and health policies.
Through the ET&D OSP, OSHA staff and the participants continued to build on the working relationship established since 2004. The improved communication and attendance and participation at all of the OSP’s oversight and functional team meetings facilitated the development and implementation of the best practices. Tracking the implementation of these best practices will be the focus of the OSP in 2009-2010.
OSHA staff and OSP participants collaborated in the development of an OSHA Form 170 supplemental guidance document that will be used to achieve the OSP’s goal of collecting more substantive data for use in analysis of the scope of implementation of best practices in 2009. The OSHA Form 170 is used by OSHA field personnel during conduct of inspections of fatal and/or catastrophic accidents. The Form 170 summarizes the information gathered by OSHA in determining fatal and catastrophic accident causal factors.
OSP participating employers further accomplished a reduction of the average number of OSHA citations for Serious, Repeat, and Willful violations per enforcement inspection. They achieved a five percent reduction in the issuance of Serious, Willful and Repeat violations per inspection in 2008 when compared to 2007.
In addition, as evidence of the OSP participants’ efforts to improve worker safety and health performance and protections within their organization, three subsidiary companies of OSP participating employer, MYR Group gained approval to OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) during the reporting period: