After the George D. Alan Company worked with the Texas On-Site Consultation Program and the Sealant Waterproofing and Restoration Institute, it developed its own Safety and Health Manual, reduced its Workers Compensation premiums and experienced two years with no-lost time.
In February 2001, the George D. Alan Company (GDA) of Dallas, Texas, a small contractor/subcontractor with approximately 40 employees experienced a jobsite fatality (NAICS 236220). While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) did not issue any safety citations for the fatality-causing incident, the Company expended considerable resources researching the safety and health issues and their affects on the work force to prevent a similar incident from occurring.
To improve its health and safety culture, GDA began by reviewing the safety and health programs of larger companies and organizations in its industry, instituting new safety practices, hiring a full-time safety coordinator and implementing a policy for educating those workers who violated the company's safety and health programs and procedures. In addition, GDA empowered its workers to walk away from situations where they perceived concerns about the safety and health of a jobsite and recognized them for their exemplary safety practices.
In 2003, GDA joined the Sealant Waterproofing and Restoration Institute (SWR Institute).1 Through the OSHA and SWR Institute Alliance2, GDA learned about OSHA's substantial resources available to it for identifying and preventing workplace hazards before injuries or illnesses occur including:
After learning of the OSHA On-site Consultation Program, GDA promptly contacted OSHCON to request a review of the Company's safety and health policies and procedures. In June 2003, a safety and health consultant from OSHCON visited a GDA worksite and worked with supervisors to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing safety and health programs. GDA implemented all of the consultant's recommendations including those involving ladder safety, trenching, and shoring. The interchanges were so beneficial that in 2005, GDA requested safety audits for three additional worksites from the OSHCON as well as training in record-keeping procedures.
Since 2001, GDA has increased the number of people working for the company from 40 to approximately 100 individuals. According to Dan Cain, President of GDA, "Using OSHA's cooperative and assistance programs to create a culture of safety has been essential to GDA. Embracing sound safety practices and sharing those safety practices with other companies has been empowering." Doug DeSilvio, GDA Safety Manager, stated, "Our internal promotion of Outreach Programs has challenged our field crews to take action when hazards exist. Limiting and controlling these hazards has translated into measurable gains for our company."
As a service company, GDA believes that properly prepared workers are more competent, confident, and comfortable performing their jobs. For that reason, GDA ensures that its workers receive training as well as ample personal protective equipment. While working with OSHA, GDA has dramatically improved its safety and health culture and lowered its injury and illness rates. At the time of its initial Consultation visit, the Company's Days Away, Restrictions, and Transfers (DART) rate was 19.2 and its Total Recordable Case (TRC) rate was 19.2, compared to the national industry average of 3.5 and 6.6 respectively. In 2010, the company reported a DART rate of 4.18 and a TRC rate of 5.57 and achieved over 200,000 hours without a lost time injury between July 2009 and September 2010.
According to GDA Safety Coordinator, Bo Bosher, "We've become much safer more quickly than we expected because we have made good use of OSHA and the SWR Institute Alliance. We've modified the SWR Institute Safety and Health Manual and morphed it into our GDA Manual. We've networked with other SWR Institute members and shared safety information and data with them. And, we've sent all of our Spanish-speaking employees to OSHA 10-Hour Construction Outreach Training Program Courses."
OSHA offers a number of resources for businesses and organizations to work cooperatively with the Agency. For more information on OSHA's cooperative programs, please visit Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs (DCSP).
1SWR Institute is a nonprofit corporation of approximately 230 commercial contractors, manufacturers and consultants engaged in the application, design and manufacture of sealant, waterproofing and restoration products.
2Originally signed in February 2003 and most recently renewed in July 2009, the Alliance between OSHA and SWR Institute provides information and guidance on reducing and preventing exposure to lead and silica as well as emphasizes safety concerns in the areas of confined spaces, fall protection, and staging requirements. Through the Alliance, OSHA and SWR Institute work together to increase access for workers to safety and health information and outreach programs and develop and disseminate injury and hazard information at conferences and events and through print and electronic media.
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