Wed., Dec. 12, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
ST. JOHN, U.S. Virgin Islands -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Park Service have entered into a partnership to enhance the safety and health of employees at the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument.
"This partnership is a unique endeavor for a unique workplace," said OSHA Regional Administrator Patricia K. Clark. "It will establish an ongoing, proactive safety and health culture that will make the identification, prevention and elimination of hazards top priorities. The results will be fewer injuries, increased productivity and safer conditions for the park's employees and visitors."
The partnership will include a comprehensive inspection to identify major causes of injuries and illnesses among park employees. That information will be used to develop and implement an effective safety and health management system with a focus on employee involvement and training. The system also will emphasize the prevention of unsafe acts, a reduction in injuries and illnesses, and the sharing of safety and health resources.
OSHA's Puerto Rico Area Office, which covers the U.S. Virgin Islands, will provide training and technical assistance, and aid in the development of a five-year occupational safety and health plan for the park.
"A significant aspect of this partnership is that it will raise park employees' awareness of the hazards inherent in their daily tasks," said OSHA Area Director José A. Carpena. "This knowledge will empower them to maintain and improve a safe and healthful work environment."
The partnership was signed Dec.12 at the park by Clark, Carpena and Park Superintendent Mark Hardgrove. For information about OSHA partnerships in the U.S. Virgin Islands, contact Madelline Medina (telephone 787-277-1560 or toll-free, 888-457-6410).
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. More than 1.2 million employees and more than 21,000 employers across the U.S. have participated with OSHA in 484 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.
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