Tues., Jan. 22, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Enhanced safety and health protections for more than 350 employees constructing the General Electric Healthcare Digital X-Ray Detector manufacturing plant at the Rensselaer Technical Park in North Greenbush, N.Y., is the goal of a new partnership among federal and New York state agencies, the general contractor and union representatives.
An agreement has been signed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the New York State Department of Labor On-Site Consultation Program, Turner Construction Co. and the Greater Capital Region Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO. Under the partnership, every project subcontractor will be required to have a site-specific safety and health program administered by a qualified person. Subcontractors must also provide ongoing safety and health training that addresses new project tasks or processes, a safety and health orientation for all new hires, and certified OSHA training for all foremen.
Other requirements of the partnership include task-specific weekly toolbox instructions for employees about safety and health standards that apply to each week's work, as well as documentation of all safety and health activities, including corrected hazards and near misses. The partnership is expected to help prepare the project for entry into OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) next year under the VPP Mobile Workforce Demonstration for Construction pilot program.
"This partnership emphasizes employee training and an ongoing commitment by contractors to identify and eliminate hazards before they harm employees," said Louis Rica, OSHA's acting regional administrator in New York. "Other goals include a top priority of zero fatalities and full compliance with the project's stringent safety requirements."
Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany, added: "This agreement is an opportunity for the partners to come together and build on the value of safety and health. It should result in fewer injuries and illnesses, and their associated human and financial costs not just for Turner Construction's employees, but for all employees on this site."
The partnership was signed by OSHA's Jerome; Mark Breslin, Turner Construction's vice president and general manager, and Chris Fuller, the company's director of Safety New York North; New York State Consultation Program Manager James Rush; and Paul Engel, president, Greater Capital Region Building and Construction Trades Council.
OSHA's Strategic Partnership Program is part of U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's ongoing efforts to improve the health and safety of employees through cooperative relationships with trade associations, labor organizations, employers and employees. Nearly 1.3 million employees and more than 22,000 employers across the United States have participated with OSHA in more than 500 strategic partnerships since the program began in 1998.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.