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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

2009 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 for two more years in June 2007. While the 2007 OSP official end date was November 2009 (reflects a delay in the start up of the OSP at Fords request due to union negotiations), all partners agreed to work together within the framework of the OSP beyond November 2009 while drafting a new partnership agreement to continue the collaborative relationship. The data referenced within this evaluation reflects the OSP results through December 31, 2009.

The key goal of the 2007 OSP was to reduce injuries and illnesses at each participating site (see Appendix A). Twelve Ford and ACH sites employing 13,552 workers in three OSHA regions were covered by the OSP: OSHA Region V had 10 participating sites; Regions II and VII had one each. In addition, Ford continued its partnerships with the State Plan states of Indiana and Michigan under similar but separate agreements. A single Partnership Management Team (PMT) with representation from all partners (OSHA, State Plan states, UAW, Ford, and ACH) managed the OSP.

This Executive Summary and the attached Annual Partnership Evaluation Report address OSP results from January 2009 through December 2009. The evaluation covers the participating Ford and ACH sites under federal OSHA jurisdiction only.

2009 OSP Highlights and Results

In 2009, the UAW, Ford and ACH continued to improve and enhance their safety and health management efforts at the 12 participating sites (see Appendix A) through the ongoing implementation and continual improvement of the Safety and Health Assessment Review Process (SHARP). The positive trends experienced during this evaluation period are largely attributed to SHARP, a Ford/UAW gap analysis process that guides sites in the identification of hazards, program deficiencies and areas for improvement. Using SHARP and other self-assessment procedures, each OSP participant, on average, conducted over 300 self-inspections with nearly 450 hazards identified and abated.

Training continued to be an integral component of the OSP in 2009. More than 55,000 hours of training on more than 25 different topics (e.g., Confined Spaces, Ergonomics, and Hexavalent Chromium) were delivered. The training programs helped the OSP sites work toward the OSP goal to prevent and reduce worker injuries and illnesses.

Under the OSP, OSHA visits participating sites to verify the status of the OSP goals. These visits are known as OSHA Day events or onsite, non-enforcement verifications. A review of the documentation from the OSHA Day events at 10 of 12 sites participating in the OSP (two were not conducted during this evaluation period) shows the partners demonstrate a strong management commitment to worker safety and health. For example, in several of the OSHA Day event reports, new machine-guarding and ergonomic improvements to the manufacturing processes were instituted. Specific results for each participating site are included in the attached Annual Partnership Evaluation Report, Appendix A. Two examples of site-specific achievements are:
  • Previously, the workers at the Ohio Assembly Plant in Lima, Ohio had to twist and rotate wiring harnesses which required about 12 pounds of force. To address this ergonomic hazard, the site installed an oven-type warming unit to warm the wiring harnesses, making them more flexible. This solution reduced the needed twisting force to 2 pounds, thereby significantly reducing worker hand/wrist fatigue.
     
  • The Walton Hills Stamping Plant in Walton Hills, Ohio improved the work environment, reducing the noise levels generated by material handling equipment by replacing its steel wheels with those made of rubber. Also, this site implemented ergonomic improvements by increasing training on safe lifting techniques, posture, and stretching as well as purchasing lightweight and vibration free hand-tools to counter fatigue, slips, and falls.
While the OSP resulted in positive enhancements to site safety and health management systems, between 2008 and 2009, participating sites experienced slight increases in their overall injury/illness rates during this period. The overall Total Case Incidence Rate (TCIR) increased by five (5) percent, from 13.2 in 2008 to 13.9 in 2009; the overall Days Away, Restricted, and Transferred (DART) rate increased by 18 percent, from 2.8 in 2008 to 3.3 in 2009; and the overall Lost Time Case Rate (LTCR) average increased 25 percent, from 0.8 in 2008 to 1.0 in 2009. However, compared against the 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry averages, participants 2009 DART rates were, on average, 31% below their respective industry averages. Also, during this evaluation period, Walton Hills Stamping Plant in Walton Hills, Ohio had zero DART cases which is a first for any OSP participating site since the beginning of the OSP in 2000.

OSP 2007-2009 Results

The OSP, within a 3 year period (2007-2009), reduced its overall TCIR by 19 percent; reduced its overall DART rate by 35 percent; and maintained its overall LTCR at 1.0.


Conclusion

The OSP between the UAW, Ford, ACH, and OSHA produced positive results in 2009, although there is more work to be accomplished to ensure the TCIR, DART and LTCR rates resume a downward trend. Based on the positive experience of the OSP and the safety and health performance at participating sites, OSHA and the other OSP signatories plan to continue to collaborate to develop a new OSP agreement in 2010.