Originated by the Dallas and Fort Worth Area Offices of OSHA, a Partnership with the North Texas Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Inc. and the QUOIN Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) was established on May 6, 2004. The main purpose of the Partnership was to improve performance in construction industry safety and health in the Greater Dallas metropolitan area.
Cessation of Construction Worker Fatalities
In conjunction with an Alliance (formed on June 7, 2003) between OSHA and the Hispanic Contractors Association de Tejas (HCAT), the Partnership's construction industry fatality rates have steadily dropped. In 1999, the Greater Dallas metropolitan area experienced an average fatality rate in the construction industry of 1.2 deaths per month. As a primary goal of the Partnership, OSHA 10-hour and 30-hour training courses were instituted to enhance the safety and health posture of participating employers, and aimed to reduce fatalities and injuries/illnesses. The results of the intensive training and outreach effort have been impressive, culminating in a literal halt to construction fatalities during the last eight months with zero recorded fatalities among participants between August 11, 2005 and April 18, 2006.
Injury and Illness Rates Steadily Decline
Injury and illness rates declined steadily during the first three years of the Partnership, and have remained under the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) national average for that specific year. Although the aggregate injury and illness rates of participating companies lie below the industry averages, a key focus of the Partnership is to achieve a 3% per year reduction in injury and illness rates as a requirement for continued membership in the partnership.
|OSP DART Rate||DART BLS Industry Average||DART Difference b/t OSP and BLS (by %)||OSP TCIR||TCIR BLS Industry Average||TCIR Difference b/t OSP and BLS (by %)|
|Year 1:||1.7||3.4||50% below BLS||5.0||6.9||27.5% below BLS|
|Year 2:||1.7||3.1||45.1% below BLS||4.3||6.1||29.5% below BLS|
|Year 3:||1.4||3.0||53.3% below BLS||3.1||6.1||65.6% below BLS|
As shown in the above table, the Partnership's baseline measurements in 2002 were a TCIR of 5.0 (27.5% below the 2002 BLS industry average of 6.9), and a DART rate of 1.7 (50% below the 2002 BLS industry average of 3.4). The 2003 rates improved to a TCIR of 4.3 (29.5% below the 2003 BLS average of 6.1, and a DART rate of 1.7 (45.1% below the 2003 BLS industry average of 3.1). In 2004, the Partnership saw an additional improvement to a TCIR of 2.1 (65.6% below the 2004 BLS industry average of 6.1), and a DART rate of 1.4 (53.3% below the 2004 BLS industry average of 3.0). In 2005 the rates continued to improve again, to a TCIR of 1.1, and a DART rate of 0.0.
Safety Culture Enhancement / Hispanic Outreach
The vitality of the Partnership became particularly evident when the Dallas Area Office asked for a meeting of partners concerned over recent accidents in the Dallas area, resulting in the participation by more than 150 construction superintendents, safety directors and owners. One outgrowth of the meeting was the voluntary “Stand Down to Stand Up For Safety” program that encourages participants to shut down all jobs in the area for a few hours so that all employees on site may attend a training session, and then return to work to make a list of all the items that require correction for safety.
Many company owners and CEOs participated at their sites to encourage workers to speak up for safety, and in May 2006, the Partnership ran its third such quarterly stand down.
These activities follow several years of intensive training efforts by AGC, ABC, HCAT and the Dallas and Fort Worth OSHA Area Offices to conduct numerous 10- and 30-hour Construction Safety courses for employers and employees. The 10-hour courses have also been provided in Spanish, in keeping with Alliance goals of helping construction contractors improve knowledge of safe and healthful work practices among Hispanic employees, and increasing access to training resources and related materials for employees who are not fluent in the English language.
Initiatives Extended to Other Organizations and Job Sites
The enthusiasm for these events has spread to sites in Houston and sites that do not belong to cooperative program members. Extensive planning efforts resulted in a City Wide Safety Stand Down held on May 11, 2006, affecting thousands of construction workers. The event was sponsored by OSHA, AGC, ABC, the Hispanic Contractors Association and the Houston Contractors Association. The mayor of Houston was also present to recognize employers participating in the Stand Down, during which construction work temporarily halted while employees and managers across the city held safety training.
This Partnership was formed to encourage companies to voluntarily improve their safety and health performance, provide methods for assisting contractors in these efforts, and recognize companies with exemplary safety and health programs. Maintaining a zero rate of fatalities continues to be a priority, along with increasing the number of construction companies that implement effective safety and health programs. Making safety and health resources available to all members of participating organizations and construction industry via contractor and CSHO training is also a priority, along with fostering open communications and knowledge sharing.
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