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Partnership Agreement
October 21, 2008


Excerpts from the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970: 29 USC 651.

  1. The Congress finds that personal injuries and illnesses arising out of work situations impose a substantial burden upon, and are a hindrance to, interstate commerce in terms of lost production, wage loss, medical expenses, and disability compensation payments.
  2. The Congress declares it to be its purpose and policy, through the exercise of its powers to regulate commerce among the several States and with foreign nations and to provide for the general welfare, to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources --
    1. by encouraging employers and employees in their efforts to reduce the number of occupational safety and health hazards at their places of employment, and to stimulate employers and employees to institute new and to perfect existing programs for providing safe and healthful working conditions;
  1. Introduction and Identification of Partners

    In an effort to more fully realize the objectives of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to provide a safe and healthful work environment for all workers engaged in the electrical construction and maintenance industry; The Central Ohio Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association, Inc. (NECA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Unions 683 and 1105 (IBEW), an industry partnership, by this Charter enter into an agreement with the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Region V, Columbus Area Office (OSHA).

    For over 100 years NECA/IBEW labor - management partnerships have provided its respective members and the entire construction industry with model programs designed to meet industry specific issues. These models are as diverse as award winning Columbus State Community College credit joint training programs for the professional development of apprentices and journeymen. The Council on Industrial Relations which provides a means for labor and management to settle disputes without strikes or lockouts, to multiple trust agreements to manage benefit and other industry funds. It is because of these relationships that our business proudly bears the moniker of a "strike - proof industry," our issues are settled in house between peers.

    The NECA/IBEW partnership is pleased to extend the hand of cooperation and consideration to the Columbus Area OSHA Office, not only in the construction industry but in general industry as well; once more building groundbreaking relationships and expanding the umbrella of partnership to the key organization within the safety community.

    Our organizations have enjoyed a high level of cooperation though the year, the development of a national electrical worker safety curriculum is just one of many examples. This Charter builds on this important foundation, and denotes a new era of labor - management - agency cooperation and insight. And, of course, in the end meaningful increases in workplace health and safety benefits the central Ohio electrical worker, and their employers.

    Employers who perform electrical construction and maintenance contracting services within the jurisdictional boundaries of, and are signatory to, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 683 and Local Union 1105 and are a member in good standing of The Central Ohio Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association, Inc. shall be eligible to apply to this charter.

  2. Purpose and Scope

    Working as partners and associates the above parties are committed to achieve measurable, meaningful improvements in electrical worker safety using the following blueprint:

    1. It is the objective to design, and build an open, and continuous communication channel between OSHA, the NECA/IBEW partnership and participating firms. This channel will appreciate the unique role electrical workers and their employers play in today's construction industry and indeed society in general.
    2. Actively research, share and implement the top safety and health programs for electrical workers. This includes technology, innovations and best practices that provide measurable improvement in electrical worker safety. These will be shared with the NECA/IBEW Charter members at the quarterly meetings.
    3. Continuously develop, build and share improved, effective safety programs specifically for electrical workers.
    4. With help from the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) develop and build improved, effective, meaningful safety training programs specific enough for our trade, yet broad enough to be effective in every facet of our diverse industry.
    5. Constantly recognize and promote electrical worker safety excellence.
    6. Through consequential and honest communication ensure that enforcement policies and practices are consistent, fair and effective.
    7. Understand that any and all parties to this Charter may withdraw from this agreement 30 days following submission of written notification of intent to withdraw.
  3. Goals, Strategies and Measures

    This table is best viewed on tablets, notebooks, or desktop computer screens.

    Goals Strategies Performance Measures
    1. Decrease in the participating employee injury illness rate over the life of the Charter. a. Increase implementation of effective safety and health program through training, self-inspections, use of NFPA 70e Electrical Safe Work practices and employee involvement. i. Comparison of DART injury/illness rate to the most recently published BLS data
    2. Increased accessibility to quality safety training and education, thereby raising safety awareness for both employee and employer. a. Provide quarterly meeting for Charter participants and stakeholders
    b. Collect local accident and near-miss data.
    c. The use of on the job tool box talks appropriate to the project will be encouraged
    i. Document quarterly meetings
    ii. Use the collected data to focus training efforts in a meaningful manner to empirically identified topics.
    3. All parties will work to promote and encourage new members a. Charter will be promoted at industry events and functions. i. Track the number of new employers who apply to this Charter.
    ii. Track the number of new employers who become members of this charter

    These outcomes will be obtained using the following methods:

    • Adopt an industry standard checklist designed to exceed OSHA requirements that will be required to be used when working energized circuits. This policy will be based on the most recent National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) 70e Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces which can be found in Appendix A of this partnership.
      • Part II, Appendix C of this standard provides a typical description of Electrical Safety Programs that are built around NFPA 70e. To quote:
      • C-1 Typical Electrical Safety Program Principles. Electrical safety program principles can include, but are not limited to, the following:
        1. Inspect/evaluate the electrical equipment
        2. Maintain the electrical equipment's insulation and enclosure integrity
        3. Plan every job and document first-time procedures
        4. De-energize, if possible (see 2-1.1.3)
        5. Anticipate unexpected events
        6. Identify and minimize the hazard
        7. Protect the employee from shock, burn, and blast, and other hazards that are due to the working environment
        8. Use the right tools for the job
        9. Assess people's abilities
        10. Audit these principles
        C-2 Typical Electrical Safety Program Controls. Electrical safety program controls can include, but are not limited to, the following:
        1. Every electrical conductor or circuit part is considered energized until proven otherwise.
        2. No bare-hand contact is to be made with exposed energized electrical conductors or circuit parts above 50 volts to ground, unless the "bare-hand method" is properly used.
        3. De-energizing an electrical conductor or circuit part and making it safe to work on is in itself a potentially hazardous task.
        4. Employer develops programs, including training, and employees apply them.
        5. Use procedures as "tools" to identify the hazards and develop plans to eliminate/control the hazards.
        6. Train employees to qualify them for working in an environment influenced by the presence of electrical energy.
        7. Identify/categorize tasks to be preformed on or near exposed energized electrical conductors and circuit parts.
        8. Use a logical approach to determine potential hazard of task.
        9. Identify and use precautions appropriate to the working environment.
        C-3 Typical Electrical safety program Procedures. Electrical safety program procedures can include, but are not limited to, the following:
        1. Purpose of task
        2. Qualifications and number of employees to be involved
        3. Hazardous nature and extent of task
        4. Limits of approach
        5. Safe work practices to be utilized
        6. Personal protective equipment involved
        7. Insulating materials and tools involved
        8. Special precautionary techniques
        9. Electrical diagrams
        10. Equipment details
        11. Sketches/pictures of unique features
        12. Reference data
    • Mandatory OSHA 10 hour courses for all field employees and mandatory OSHA 30 hour courses for all field supervisors. All employees will receive refresher courses every three years.
    • Site specific safety training for new hires.
    • Regular safety program third party audits.
    • Quarterly meetings discussing best industry practices.

    All parties will be consulted on a continuing basis for feedback to assess the progression and potential amelioration of these goals.

  4. Performance Measures
    1. The measurement system will use OSHA recordable fatalities and accidents identified.
    2. Activity measures shall include:
      • The applicable number of employers, supervisors, and employees trained.
      • Number of job safety analyses conducted.
      • Number of work-site audits.
      • Increased employee involvement.
      • Enhanced communication between management and employees.
    3. Outcome measures will be gathered on an annual basis and will be comprised of data analyzing the number of hours worked, number of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities during the baseline year.
    4. All Participants will monitor and submit an Incident Worksheet on all accident and near-misses. Forms will be submitted to the NECA office on quarterly basis utilizing the worksheet found in Appendix B. All information will remain confidential as to company name and employee. The only purpose of this data is to assess performance and to target specific training requirements.
  5. Annual Evaluation

    The annual evaluation shall use the Strategic Partnership Annual Evaluation Format measurement system as specified in Appendix C of CSP 03-02-002, OSHA Strategic Partnership Program for Worker Safety and Health Directive.

    All data for the annual evaluation shall be submitted to the NECA/IBEW partnership no later than August 15th of each year.

    New applications and re-certifications shall be submitted by June15th to be considered for the upcoming year. Applications turned in past the June 15th deadline will not be considered for the partnership.

    It will be the responsibility of the NECA/IBEW partnership to gather participant data to evaluate and track the overall results and success of the Charter. Data collected will be given to OSHA as well.

    The OSHA liaison will use the collected data to write the annual evaluation and submit to the Area Director. The final draft will be made available to the NECA/IBEW partnership

  6. NECA/IBEW Partnership Management and Operation

    Representative(s) from the NECA/IBEW partnership will administer this program as outlined herein and will serve as the primary safety resource, supporting the participating employers and employees. To fulfill this Charter the NECA/IBEW partnership will also provide the following services:

    1. Act as a liaison for NECA/IBEW members with OSHA. Members will be able to call the NECA/IBEW Partnership with questions and the NECA/IBEW Partnership will contact OSHA for responses, if required. The OSHA primary contact will be appointed by the OSHA Area Director and the NECA/IBEW Partnership will be notified in writing.
    2. In concert with The Electrical Trades Center, offer ongoing, quality training on topics of importance for members - specifically the focused areas of fall protection, electrical hazards, trenching, etc.
    3. Provide up-to-date informational materials and brochures to NECA/IBEW Partnership members (from OSHA, OSHA Ohio On-Site Consultation Service, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) and other appropriate organizations).
    4. Organize and provide to participating employers OSHA's interpretations of major standards, as well as local inspection perspectives.
    5. Develop and build written safety and health policies and programs for participating employers, including emphasis on employer/employee responsibilities.
    6. Promote construction safety excellence through an annual NECA/IBEW Partnership Safety Recognition Program.
    7. Administer the overall Charter, including but not limited to the initial evaluation of potential participating employer applications to determine whether the firm meets the criteria specified within the Charter. Information considered by the NECA/IBEW Partnership will include pertinent company information as referenced in Section VII (demonstrated safety and health program, training commitments, OSHA citation history, fatalities, injury/illness experience and similar factors). Any and all information garnered by the NECA/IBEW partnership will be held with the greatest confidentiality.
    8. Notify OSHA on a regular and recurring basis with the name(s) of contractors which have met the partnership criteria.
    9. Conduct periodic audits to determine the impact and effectiveness of this partnership with OSHA. 10. A representative(s) from the NECA/IBEW Partnership and a representative(s) from OSHA together will conduct random on-site verification of 10 percent or more of participating employers, to ensure that participating employers are fulfilling their commitment to the partnership. During these on site evaluations, if an OSHA representative observes serious hazards these hazards will be addressed in a comprehensive and systematic manner, which may include citations.
    10. If necessary, terminate employers from the partnership, if findings indicate unacceptable performance or submission of falsified documentation. (Note: At the discretion of the NECA/IBEW Partnership and OSHA a participating employer may be permitted to correct deficiencies within 30 days of notification and apply to the NECA/IBEW Partnership for continued recognition as a partner in good standing before termination would take effect.)
    11. Although providing mandatory fall protection at the 6' level is not required by the current OSHA construction standards and is not mandated by OSHA as a requirement for participation in any OSHA partnership agreement, the contractors on this partnership are committed to providing a greater level of protection to the employees working at this site and will require protection at the 6' level and above.

    OSHA and the NECA/IBEW Partnership have the discretion to jointly veto employers from participating for just cause. The OSHA Area Director has the discretion to unilaterally veto employers from participating in this Charter, for just cause upon providing notification and explanation to the NECA/IBEW Partnership.

  7. OSHA's Commitment/Role

    Upon acceptance into this program, OSHA will provide the following initiatives and benefits to participating employers:

    1. OSHA will conduct quarterly meetings with the NECA/IBEW partnership and participating employers, to provide information on "what's hot" and to answer general and specific questions. Additionally these meetings will serve as evaluation sessions as provided in Section IX.
    2. Participating employers will not be cited for other-than-serious items that are fixed "on the spot".
    3. Unplanned inspections will occur only for imminent danger, national emphasis programs, local emphasis programs, fatalities/catastrophes or signed complaints (all other complaints will go through the phone/fax process).
    4. Formal complaints will be handled by the phone/fax process, if the complainant agrees.
    5. For inspections resulting from formal complaints, the inspection will only address the complaint item and those in plain view.
    6. Participating employers will receive the maximum allowable good-faith discount (35%).
    7. The OSHA Area Director will meet with participating employers to address their role in the partnership.
    8. During inspections, if minor (ex: missing midrail) problems are found; OSHA may review the participating employer's records and provide limited on-site training as needed.
  8. Participating Employer Verification

    To become and take full advantage of participating employer status, a firm must:

    1. Must submit application and be willing to submit documents to the NECA/IBEW Partnership for review by OSHA (such as the OSHA Log 300 and the company's safety program).
    2. In Ohio, must not have had willful or repeat violations in the last three years. Nationwide, must not have had serious violations that resulted in a fatally(s) or catastrophe(s).
    3. Must have a written safety and health program that complies with ANSI A-10.38 recommendations or OSHA's 1989 Voluntary Guidelines. The program must include active employee involvement.
    4. All new field employees must receive site-specific training before beginning work. And receive at least a 2-hour safety orientation within the first week of hire. Topics for the orientation must include fall protection, electrical, struck-by, trenching/caught-between and personal protective equipment.
    5. Within a year, all field employees must attend an OSHA 10-Hour Training Course. Field employees must receive refresher training in the 10-Hour Course every three years.
    6. Within a year, all field supervisors must attend an OSHA 30-Hour Training Course. Field supervisors must receive refresher training in the 30-Hour Course every three years.
      1. Note: A supervisor is defined as someone who directs/controls work.
    7. Must have a Days Away Restricted and Transfer (DART) rate for work in Ohio at least 25 percent below the BLS national average for the company's North American Industry Classification Code (NAICS).
      1. The company will submit individual DART rates for the past three years, and will be evaluated on a three-year average.
      2. If a company fulfills all other requirements, but does not have a qualifying DART, it may appeal for inclusion in the partnership. OSHA and the NECA/IBEW partnership will review these appeals on a case by case basis, and may allow the company to participate if the improvement can be shown.
    8. Must show evidence that both employees and supervisors are held accountable for safety.
    9. Allow OSHA access to sites for inspection, if the employer has the authority to allow an inspection of the site. OSHA will follow the guidelines for inspections as outlined in the Field Inspection Reference Manual (FIRM).
    10. The participating employers recognize that OSHA implements Local Emphasis Programs (LEP) and National Emphasis Programs (NEP) to better manage specified hazards. These specific programs will involve inspections. The NECA/IBEW Partnership will be informed by OSHA of all LEP's and NEP's and will pass this information to all participating employers.
    11. Must participate in a site audit by an outside, independent source approved by the NECA/IBEW partnership. The audit must include an action plan to prevent future hazards, as well as methods to abate current hazards. These audits will be made available to OSHA upon request.
    12. All work on energized circuits will be performed under an industry standard permit policy to be developed and built in accordance with the current National Fire Protection Association publication 70e. This policy will cover hazard/risk evaluation, and procedures including protective barriers and shields, communication, insulated tools and equipment, and personal protective equipment.
    13. Must be a member in good standing of the National Electrical Contractors Association.
  9. Employer/Employee Rights

    This partnership does not preclude employees and/or employers from exercising any right provided under the OSH Act (or federal employees, 29 CFR 1960), nor does it abrogate any responsibility to comply with rules and regulations adopted pursuant to the Act.

    Routine employee involvement in the day to day implementation of worksite safety and health programs is expected to be assured, including employee participation in employer self-audits, site inspections, job hazard analysis, safety and health program reviews and near miss investigations.

  10. Termination of this Charter

    Any party may withdraw from this Charter by providing written notification to the other parties. Termination will be effective 30 days after receipt of said notification. Furthermore an individual participating employer may withdraw from this agreement by providing written notification to the NECA/IBEW partnership and OSHA, termination shall be effective 30 days after receipt of notification.

    An individual participating employer's violation of this Charter shall not be grounds for OSHA to terminate this Charter.

    The NECA/IBEW partnership and OSHA may terminate an individual employer from the partnership if the employer fails to meet the qualifications or otherwise violates the terms and conditions of this Charter.

    Any party may propose modification or amendment to this Charter subject to concurrence by the every other party to the Charter.

    Unless modified or superceded this Charter will remain in effect until 31st day of October, 2010

    Agreed this 21st day of October, 2008

     


    Deborah Zubaty
    Area Director
    U.S. Department of Labor OSHA
    Columbus Area Office

     


    Mario Ciardelli
    Business Manager, Financial Secretary
    Local Union 683, IBEW
    Columbus, Ohio

     


    Brian Damant
    Chapter Manager
    Central Ohio Chapter, NECA, Inc
    Columbus Area Office

     


    William Hamilton
    Business Manager, Financial Secretary
    Local Union 1105, IBEW
    Newark, Ohio

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