The Grain and Feed Association of Illinois Partnership (Partnership) realized several accomplishments since its start in March 2002, but the most notable was the identification and correction of hazards at participating facilities. During the summer of 2003, the Partnership held four separate outreach/training sessions in Mt. Vernon, Springfield, Pontiac, and Mendota, Illinois. The sessions provided Grain and Feed Association of Illinois (GFAI) members with information on effective safety and health management systems, fall protection, machine guarding, confined space entry, hazard communication, personal protective equipment, and warning signs. Following each session, members received tools to help them identify hazards and report back on the number of specific hazards identified and controlled.
As a result, the Partnership succeeded in eliminating 113 machine guard hazards at participating facilities. These facilities installed 59 new machine guards and made repairs to 54 existing guards during 2003. During the same period, 227 fall protection hazards were eliminated through the addition of handrails, fixed ladders, and fall arrest equipment. One-hundred fifty-two confined space reviews were performed, and 240 new chemical hazards were identified. Employers also performed 38 personal protective equipment assessments, and 48 of the 119 sites purchased new equipment. Similar training sessions were conducted during the summer of 2004, and the Partnership expects to identify further hazard reductions after the completion of surveys early in 2005.
The Partnership was formed as a means for OSHA to promote the value of safety and health management systems for the GFAI's small employer members, many of whom have less than ten employees. The Partnership encouraged the grain and feed industry, which typically has a high rate of injuries, to use OSHA compliance assistance resources. By reaching out to these smaller employers and providing them with proactive information on addressing common hazards, OSHA helped to eliminate hazards and prevent injuries.
Feedback from the training sessions also indicated that, in addition to taking the specific steps noted above, GFAI members placed a greater emphasis on safety and health in general at their facilities. Members reported that they held more safety and health meetings and conducted safety inspections more frequently. Employers also provided training on personal protective equipment, first aid, and CPR. Other members reported that they were quicker to respond to safety questions and concerns, and management has developed new or improved safety and health policies.
The Partnership between OSHA and GFAI encouraged the implementation of effective safety and health management systems at grain handling facilities. These systems included components, as described above, that address hazard prevention and control and safety and health training for employees. The Partnership strove to demonstrate the value of cooperative action and leveraging of industry resources to eliminate hazards.
The Partnership identified specific goals for safety and health improvements through voluntary measures. These included an increase in the number of machine guarding hazards eliminated or controlled at member facilities; an increase in the number of lockout inspections completed by member facilities; the elimination or control of fall hazards at member facilities; an increase in the development of action items for member safety and health management systems; and an increase in the number of member facilities that develop effective safety and health management systems.
To facilitate these improvements, OSHA and GFAI collaborated on a series of outreach/training sessions that emphasized hazard awareness and OSHA requirements and promoted the use of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program (Consultation). GFAI encouraged its members to attend training sessions and work with Consultation to eliminate specific hazards, then collected data on the specific hazards eliminated.
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