On October 30, 2008, the Luther Midelfort Bed Tower Expansion Project OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP) was formed to promote worker safety and health during the 80 million dollar construction project of an addition to the Luther Midelfort Hospital's Bed Tower. The OSP provides a unique opportunity to closely review the operations of tower cranes and prepare participants for OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). There are 14 companies currently participating in the OSP which covers over 120 employees. The planned end date of the tower expansion project is October 2010.
Key OSP Goals Met During Year One: Increases Number of Safety and Health Management Systems and Safety Training
Since the OSP agreement was signed in October, the participants have met on a regular monthly basis touch base and discuss any outstanding current issues. These meeting have been very beneficial to ensuring that the OSP stay on track. During each meeting the goals and objectives of the OSP were discussed, as well as challenges and solutions.
Two key goals of the OSP are that all participating companies will develop and implement an effective safety and health management system (SHMS) and that the level of safety training will be improved or increased for all workers. During the first year of the OSP, both of these key goals were met: 100 percent of the participating companies developed and implemented an effective SHMS and all workers (125) from the site received safety training. The Boldt Company contracted with Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) to develop and train workers on fall rescue for the leading edge work done along with emergency evacuation of the tower cranes. Time was spent conducting assisted and self-rescue from CVTC's fire training tower and then a discussion about suspension trauma followed. CVTC followed-up with a lecture on worksite suspension trauma. The local fire department also toured the site and assisted in developing the "Code Black" emergency plan. An example of an exercise was a simulated rescue from an elevator shaft.
Reduces Injury and Illness Rates - Days Away, Restricted, and Transferred (DART) Rate and Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR)
Another OSP key goals was to attain injury and illness rates (at a minimum) of 50 percent below the latest available (2008) Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) national and state averages for this industry, as well as experience zero worker fatalities. The target numbers were established through information provided by BLS' Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) and Days Away, Restricted, and Transferred (DART) rate.
The OSP's TCIR was 79 percent below the 2008 BLS national average, its DART rate was 100 percent below, BLS, and zero worker fatalities occurred. The table below presents the OSP's TCIR and DART rate data from the OSP's first year:
|OSP (Year One)||.92||0.0|
|BLS National Average (2008)||4.4||2.2|
|% Difference Between OSP Rate and BLS National Average||79% Below BLS||100% Below BLS|
*OSP Participants' data collected during the first year of the OSP was the established baseline.
One strategy that the OSP used to achieve such low injury and illness rates was having a safety group conduct regular self-inspections to identify hazards or potential violations. If such hazards were identified, immediate action was taken to correct them. Contractors were required to conduct daily inspections and contractors and Site Safety Representatives (SSR) from The Boldt Company conducted weekly joint inspections.
Over 50 self-inspections were conducted during the first year of the OSP and over 600 hazards were identified and corrected/abated. Wisconsin Consultation Services (WiSCon) participated in monthly "walkarounds" with the safety group, and during these inspections, 84 hazards were identified. After these inspections, the safety group provided a report to the employers and ensured the correction and/or abatement of all violations and hazards. The health group performed several full shift industrial hygiene sampling visits during the year for noise, silica, and other chemicals. Interviewing workers to gain their perspectives was also a part of this process.
Key OSP Goal Met During Year One: Prepared and Submitted a VPP Application to OSHA
Another key goal of the OSP was for The Boldt Company to prepare and submit an application to VPP. This goal was met in May 2009 when The Boldt Company submitted their VPP application to OSHA's Appleton Area Office. The VPP onsite evaluation visit was conducted at the company's home office along with the Luther Midelfort Bed Tower worksite. Formal approval into the program is currently pending.
Additional Benefits of OSP
Additional benefits reported in the OSP's first annual evaluation include: increased safety and health awareness; improved relationships with unions/workers; management, and OSHA; an increased number of interested companies interested in participating in the OSP; and the opportunity for OSHA and consultation staff members to watch a tower crane being ejected.
Key objectives of the OSP are to: reduce worksite injuries and illnesses by addressing key industry hazards (falls, electrocution, caught between, struck-by); implement safety and health management systems (SHMS); increase safety and health training; and prepare participants to prepare for OSHA's VPP. There are 14 companies currently participating which cover approximately 120 employees. The planned end date of the project is October 2010.
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