Mon., March 10, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
CONCORD, N.H. -- A successful safety and health partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) significantly reduced injuries among the 21 contractors and 250 employees who worked on the now completed Capitol Commons construction project in Concord. The project involved the construction of an eight-story building and five-level parking garage.
Cobb Hill/Pro Con Construction JV LLC, construction manager for the project, signed the partnership with OSHA and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services' safety consultation program in June 2006. The project was completed in June 2007.
A major partnership goal was to reduce the project's "Days Away from work, Restricted work or job Transfer injury and illness" (DART) rate, the number of cases where employees lost workdays or were put on restricted duty due to an injury or illness, by at least five percent below a baseline rate of 8.02 cases per 100 employees. The project's final DART rate was 3.73, more than 50 percent below the project baseline and a rate of decrease almost 10 times more than projected.
"The reduction far exceeded our projections, and the final results are encouraging," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's area director in Concord. "Nineteen contractors had no recordable injuries and illnesses during the life of the project, while eight contractors reduced their pre-project DART rates from over 10.0 to zero."
Ohar attributed these results to the partnership's stringent requirements and its emphasis on training, self-inspections, and proactively identifying and correcting hazards. Specifically, subcontractors had to document their safe work procedures and use them during the project; managers and safety personnel conducted daily site inspections; a system to identify and track hazards through their correction was developed and followed; and OSHA, the New Hampshire consultation service and others provided training, toolbox talks and guidance to contractors and employees as needed or requested.
"This partnership shows that a uniform, continuous commitment to prioritizing safety and health can result in a safer workplace, but the most important benefits may be in the future," said Ohar. "We're particularly encouraged that contractors have told us they intend to carry the knowledge and practices learned during Capitol Commons to future jobs."
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. Since the program began in 1998, nearly 1.3 million employees and more than 22,000 employers across the U.S. have participated with OSHA in 512 Strategic Partnerships. For information about OSHA partnerships in New Hampshire, contact Dave Berard at 603-225-1629.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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.
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