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Partnership - An OSHA Cooperative Program
Weston 4 Power Plant Construction: An OSHA Partnership Success Story


Background:

The construction project of the 500-megawatt Weston 4 Power Plant is a major project involving extremely dangerous work. In an effort to reduce injuries and hazards, OSHA Region V signed on to an OSHA Strategic Partnership Agreement on November 2, 2005 with Washington Group International, the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and the State of Wisconsin's Department of Commerce. Representatives from local trades, unions, contractors and other stakeholders also signed onto the agreement signifying the commitment to worker safety in the building of the new Weston 4 Power Plant. The 500-megawatt Weston 4 plant is expected to be operational in 2008.

The partnership set forth 3 goals when it was signed in November 2005:
  • Injury/illness rates shall be at or below 50% of Wisconsin rates for construction.
  • Improve/increase the level of safety and health training for all employees at the site.
  • All contractors working at the site will have an effective written safety and health program in the first year of the agreement.
Partnership Success:

With everyone's commitment to a safe working environment, the partnership has met or exceeded each of the goals listed above.

Lowered Injury/Illness Rates:

In CY 2006, employees worked a total of 1,718,711 man hours at the site with zero fatalities. There were just 26 recordable cases and only 9 of them resulted in lost or restricted time. The 2006 Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) was just 2.9, which is 69% below the WI average rate of 9.3. The 2006 Days Away, Restricted, Time Away (DART) Rate for the site was 1.3, which is 75% below the WI average rate of 5.0.

Safety and Health Training:

As stated in the partnership, increased training was one of the goals set forth to reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. During the first year of the agreement, each of the 1334 employees received at least 1 hour of site specific training and over 115 employees have received OSHA 10-hour training. Additional safety and health training topics included: blood borne pathogens; confined space; fall protection; job hazard analysis; and lockout tagout. In all, over 4,400 hours of training had been conducted in just one year of the partnership.

Implementation of Effective Written Safety and Health Programs:

As a result of this partnership, all 24 partner/contractor employers have made improvements in the way they implement their Safety and Health Programs. One construction partner did not have a written safety and health program at all. To remedy the situation, the partner adopted the Weston 4 S&H program until the State Consultation Service and Washington Group International could help them develop their own working program. Many of the non-contractor partner employers have also made significant improvements to their S&H programs. During the past year, seven new partners have joined the Partnership.

Many labor organizations and business representatives have been actively involved in this Partnership from its inception. The relationship between OSHA, employers, and labor unions has played a prominent role in the success of this Partnership.

Weston Project Rates:

 
  *TCIR **DART Fatalities Hours Worked
Year 1
(10/1-12/31/2004)
2.7 0 0 71,490
Year 2
2005
5.0 2.2 0 714,148
Year 3
2006
2.9 1.3 0 1,718,711
3-Year Rate (Avg.) 3.5 1.16 0 2,504,349
BLS Industry National Average for most recent year 6.3 3.4    

The OSHA Strategic Partnership Program (OSPP) moves away from traditional enforcement methods and embraces collaborative agreements. Through OSPP, OSHA and its partners agree to work cooperatively to address critical safety and health issues. This very different approach is proving to be an effective tool for reducing fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace.

Additional information about the project can be found at Wisconsin Public Service Corporation's Weston 4 Power Plant Project webpage.

Origin: Region 5, Appleton Area Office

Partners: OSHA Region 5, the OSHA Appleton Area Office, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation; Black & Veatch; Washington Group International; Wisconsin Safety Consultation; Wisconsin Health Consultation

Partnership Signed: November 30, 2005

Industry: Construction

Employees: 700-800

Employers: 28

Source and Date: Julia Evans and Mark Chasco, February 13, 2007

Status: Open