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Executive Summary

The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, the Ford Motor Company, and Automotive Component Holdings, LLC OSHA Strategic Partnership

2008 Annual Evaluation

Background

The National Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Strategic Partnership (OSP) between OSHA; the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW); the Ford Motor Company (Ford); and Automotive Component Holdings, LLC (ACH) was originally signed in August 2000 and renewed twice, first in February 2004 and again in June 2007 for two more years. The goal of the OSP is to reduce injuries and illnesses at each participating site (see Appendix A) through an enhanced, proactive safety and health culture.

Thirteen sites employing 14,124 workers in four OSHA regions were covered by the OSP in 2008: OSHA Region V had 10 participating sites; Regions II, VI, and VII had one each. In addition, Ford continued its partnering with the State Plan states of Indiana and Michigan under similar, separate partnership agreements. A single Partnership Management Team (PMT) with representation from all partners, OSHA, State Plan states, UAW, Ford, and ACH continued to manage the OSP.

This Executive Summary and the attached Annual Partnership Evaluation Report address overall OSP results and individual site data and achievements. The evaluation covers the Ford and ACH sites under federal jurisdiction only which participated in the OSP.

2008 OSP Highlights and Results

Since its inception in 2000, the OSP with Ford, UAW and ACH has produced tangible results. The 2008 Annual Evaluation shows the impact of the partners continued commitment to improve Fords/ACHs workplace safety and health cultures. Between 2007 and 2008, the worksites covered by the OSP reduced their overall Total Case Incidence Rate (TCIR) by 22 percent, from 16.8 to 13.1. They also experienced a 44 percent reduction in their overall Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate, from 5.0 to 2.8, and achieved a 20 percent reduction in their Lost Time Case Rate (LTCR), from 1.0 to 0.8.

While the TCIR, DART and LTCR rates declined at all but one participating installation/site from 2007 to 2008, the majority of sites covered by the OSP still have TCIR and DART rates that remain above the 2007 Bureau of Labor Statistics industry average. Ford and the UAW attribute this situation to the emphasis on and conservative approach to reporting and recording injuries and illnesses.

Some of the participating sites did report injury and illness rates below the 2007 BLS industry averages for 2007. Four out of 13 sites (31%) had their 2008 TCIR below the respective industry average and 8 out of 13 (62%) had their 2008 DART rates below the respective industry average.

In support of the OSPs goal of reducing and preventing worker injuries and illnesses, 14,124 workers and supervisors received training on 27 discrete topics using computer-based training that enabled workers to learn at their own pace. In support of the partners focus on finding and fixing hazards, they conducted and documented 5,317 self-inspections with 2,454 hazards corrected and/or abated.

The positive results experienced during this evaluation period were due to the partners continued efforts to establish a strong safety and health culture through safety and health management systems (SHMS) enhancements. With assistance from the UAW and significant worker involvement, Ford implemented the following enhancements at each participating site:
  • An updated Safety Health Assessment Review Process (SHARP);
     
  • Incorporation of risk assessment methods into the various phases of machinery-equipment procurements; and
     
  • Incorporation of new safety-control technology in manufacturing processes.
Ford also partnered with Zurich Risk Engineering to develop management tools designed to minimize the potential for injuries associated with automotive industry related hazards.

As part of the OSP, OSHA visits participating sites to verify the status of the partnership goals; these visits are known as OSHA Day visits or non-enforcement verification visits. A review of the documentation from the OSHA Day visits at 11 of the 13 participating sites (two sites did not have OSHA Day visits; one due to closure and one due to enforcement activities) shows the partners demonstrated a strong commitment to worker safety and health. The following observations were noted by OSHA staff on the OSHA Day reports:
  • Fords management provides strong leadership.
  • Existing equipment and processes have been modified to build in safety.
  • Ergonomic programs have been strengthened.
  • Worker training has increased.
  • The frequency of safety-related labor and management meetings has increased.
  • Relationships between the UAW and Ford management have improved as worker involvement has been emphasized.
Specific results for each participating site are included in the attached Annual Partnership Evaluation Report. Two examples of site achievements are:
  • The Walton Hills Stamping Plant in Walton Hills, Ohio lowered the numbers of lacerations by having workers wear cotton gloves underneath Kevlar gloves. This injury was identified as an issue during the OSHA Day visit in 2008. The site expanded on this effort by marking work areas in which gloves are required as a GLOVE SAFETY ZONE. As a result, laceration incidents decreased dramatically, from 26 in 2005 to 3 in 2008.
     
  • The Kansas City Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Missouri addressed a fall protection hazard on its SUV commercial line known as the Moon Buggy Mezzanine Platform. The site reconfigured the assembly process prior to platform erection; painted awareness/warning lines; and changed work practices. This change allows workers to perform work from the side only, thereby eliminating risks associated with performing tasks at the vehicle midpoint.
Three-Year OSP Results

The progress made by the OSP partners in 2008 continued the trends of the prior three years. Since 2006, the OSPs overall TCIR has declined by 31 percent, the overall DART rate has declined by 71 percent, and the LTCR has declined by 58 percent.

Conclusion

The OSP between UAW, Ford, ACH, and OSHA produced positive results in 2008. Reductions in worker injury and illness rates at participating sites demonstrate the OSP has achieved its goal to reduce injuries and illnesses through the creation of a proactive safety and health culture. Through this OSP, the UAW, Ford and ACH have experienced the value of advancing their SHMS to another level. The partners are looking towards building on these achievements by engaging in future collaborative efforts with OSHA, including the development of a new OSP agreement in 2010.