Strategic Partnership Agreement
Valley Builders Association
The U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and
Charleston Area Office
This partnering agreement was developed jointly by the above named groups. The common objective and goal of the agreement is to provide a safe and healthful work environment for employees engaged in construction activities in the Charleston and Kanawha Valley Area, and to help prevent serious accidents within the industry through increased training and implementation of enhanced safety and health programs. By focusing its efforts and utilizing the skills and resources of the Kanawha Valley Builders Association, the Labor and Education and Development (LEAD) Program, their member employers and with assistance by OSHA, it is believed that through this cooperative and voluntary program, hazards and serious injuries can be reduced at Kanawah Valley construction jobsites and that participants will achieve an injury and illness rate below the national average for the construction industry.
This initiative represents a voluntary agreement and affords a partnership alternative to the traditional OSHA enforcement procedures. This partnership program is consistent with OSHA's long-range efforts to develop a business/labor/government partnership approach to safety management, allows for better use of OSHA resources, and encourages more participation in the safety process by each stakeholder.
Representatives of the building trade organizations most directly involved or affected by this partnership have been consulted and encouraged to provide input on an ongoing basis to help suggest improvements and further enhancements to this partnership initiative.
Kanawha Valley Builders Association (KVBA) is a trade association focused on commercial, institutional and industrial construction with over 100 member companies which employ over 6,500 people and represent all facets of construction. Member companies include the following industries: site construction, concrete, masonry, metals, wood and plastics, thermal and moisture protection, doors and windows, finishes, specialties, equipment, furnishings, special construction, conveying systems, mechanical, and electrical.
KVBA's mission is to provide opportunities for its members and leadership to the Kanawha Valley construction community, and KVBA's focus is to provide the means and measures for its members to develop and grow. One of KVBA's principal goals and long standing commitments is to promote safety awareness and to serve as a safety resource for its members. This safety commitment includes a strong training commitment through the LEAD program.
KVBA and OSHA believe that maintaining a focus on safety saves lives, time and dollars. The impact of accidents leads to employee deaths, injuries, equipment damage, worker's compensation costs, fines, and criminal and civil penalties. A focus on safety is one objective that OSHA and all KVBA members have in common.
In 1991, the KVBA Board of Directors, realizing the importance of safety for their members, agreed to improve training for all members through the Labor Education and Development (LEAD) Program, which met the organization's commitment and resources for these safety efforts. A full-time staff was hired and given the long-term goal of developing a safety training institute to provide quality education and training for KVBA members.
OSHA, along with KVBA, has a vested interest in the protection of employees and in working with other associations and groups to assist in promoting safety. With a lack of staff to be able to inspect every job site and project, joint efforts by KVBA and OSHA will provide an opportunity to reach larger populations and keep the focus on safety in the forefront. Forming this partnership will increase OSHA's visibility with KVBA's membership and help to improve the relationship through continued cooperation.
KANAWHA VALLEY BUILDERS ASSOCIATION COMMITMENT/ PLEDGE
Recognizing the diversity of KVBA's membership, KVBA's and OSHA's partnering initiative will be focused on safety training
KVBA will administer this partnership program, as outlined herein, and will serve as the principle safety resource in support of KVBA members, and:
- Act as liaison for members with OSHA. Members will be able to call KVBA with questions and KVBA will contact OSHA for responses.
- Offer on-going, quality training on topics of importance for members, specifically the focused areas such as fall protection, scaffolding, trenching, etc.
- Provide tool box talks to members to assist with their training efforts. Members can use these for site-specific and topical training. To further this effort, KVBA, through the LEAD Program, will be developing a prepackaged Safety Awareness Program that includes tool box talks as well as a specific safety slogans and novelty gifts.
- Provide up-to-date informational materials and brochures to KVBA members, i.e: (from OSHA, the Bureau of Workers Compensation ("BWC"), Associated General Contractors ("AGC"), and similar organizations). KVBA will secure pertinent publications from all available sources and provide such materials to members upon request, thus helping to save them the time and effort to secure this material.
- Organize and provide OSHA's interpretations of major standards as well as local inspection perspectives. Providing this information to members will help them understand and properly interpret standards.
- Provide FATAL FACTS to members from recent OSHA information targeted to the Kanawha Valley area.
- Develop safety training criteria for all levels of construction as needed. This will help to define and better clarify what OSHA accepts as adequate training for superintendents, supervisors, foremen, and every level of construction worker.
- Work with OSHA to use the above established training criteria developed for implementation in KVBA's L.E.A.D. Program where member companies, that agree to partner, can begin this defined training program for their employees.
- Develop written safety and health policies and procedures for members including emphasis on company / employee responsibilities.
- Solicit grants to further develop the goal of being a "safety training institute" and initially feature hands-on training in fall protection, scaffolding and trenching.
- Administer the overall Partnership Program, including but not limited to the initial conduct and evaluation of the Partnership applications to determine whether the contractor meets the criteria specified within this Partnership initiative. Information to be considered by KVBA will include pertinent company information, i.e., demonstrated safety and health program, training commitments, OSHA citation history, fatalities, injury/illness experience, and similar factors. (Reference Section V)
- KVBA will notify OSHA on a regular and recurring basis with the name (s) of contractors who have met the Partnership criteria, including notifying OSHA whether the contractor qualified as a Level One (1) or Level Two (2) partner.
- KVBA will conduct an annual evaluation to determine the impact and effectiveness of this Partnership with OSHA. OSHA will support KVBA and its activities to increase safety efforts for KVBA members and, as resources permit, will recognize Level One (1) and Level Two (2) partners.
The KVBA Partnership Committee will review performance records of member applicants to determine if they meet the following criteria for exemplary safety performance in order to qualify for Level Two (2) status:
- Comprehensive safety and health programs.
- DART rate (cases with days away from work, job-transfer or restriction) below the most recently published national average for the construction industry. The latest DART rate posted by Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for construction is 3.8 for the year 2002.
For members who do not meet the criteria for exemplary performance and are given a Level One (1) status, OSHA will:
- Assist KVBA in the development of criteria to be used for the Safety Training Institute.
- Provide technical information to KVBA regarding the grant process to apply for funding for the LEAD Safety Training Program.
- Provide an OSHA Representative to meet with KVBA membership on a regular basis (e.g. bi-monthly) to discuss current job site findings, current violation trends and possible options/corrective measures to eliminate hazards.
- Share information on current violations and statistics, including relevant interpretations, proposed standards and similar information which may be of interest to KVBA membership (for possible publication in KVBA mailings to its members).
- Recognize and consider KVBA safety training programs when inspecting job sites of partnering members, consider the extent of employee training and instruction and the KVBA member's safety and health program.
- Where participating members have established and implemented a comprehensive safety program (such as referenced in FRN 54:3904-3916,"Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines," January 26, 1989 and/or American National Standards Institute ("ANSI") A 10.38, "Basic Elements of an Employer Program to Provide a Safe and Healthful Work Environment"), including the appropriate monitoring/ presence of a competent person(s) (as defined within 29 CFR 1926.32(f)), ensuring program enforcement, employee involvement and effectively training their employees and supervisors (e.g. utilizing LEAD's safety training program or equivalent training), OSHA will focus and limit the scope of its investigation to the four primary groups of hazards which account for most fatalities and injuries in the construction industry: falls, electrical hazards, caught in/between hazards, and struck-by hazards.
- OSHA consultation will be available to assist Level One (1) employers in improving their safety and health performance.
Contractors who have been awarded the Level Two (2) status for exemplary safety performance will be included in the above stated commitments and OSHA will:
- Consider Level Two (2) participants for the maximum good faith, size and penalty reductions currently outlined within OSHA Instruction CPL 1.103 ("Field Information Resource Manual").
- Not issue penalties for other-than-serious violations, provided the violations are immediately abated. OSHA reserves the right to issue penalties for regulatory violations for which mandatory penalties are established pursuant to the policy set forth in the Field Inspection Reference Manual.
- Limit the scope of the inspection to the "Focused" issues of fall protection, caught between, struck by, and electrical hazards.
- Not subject Level Two (2) participants to programmed inspections for one (1) year following the completion of a successful OSHA verification inspection, provided they have given notice to the OSHA inspector that they are participating in the the KVBA partnership. For all other OSHA inspections and activities, the contractors remain subject to OSHA inspections and investigations in accordance with agency procedures.
Contractors electing to participate in this agreement as a Level Two (2) partner are not subject to requirements beyond what is mandated by existing OSHA regulations or policy. Non-compliance with Level Two (2) commitments, however, may be evaluated and a determination made by OSHA as to whether their employer should remain in the program and retain the rights and considerations identified within this Partnership agreement.
OSHA personnel will continue to conduct investigations under national and local emphasis programs, workplace complaints, referrals, fatalities, catastrophes, other significant accidents or events, and will investigate contractors whose employees are exposed to or are creating plain view hazards at Partnership worksites. These investigations will be conducted outside of the Partnership agreement in accordance with established OSHA enforcement policy. Violations documented during such investigations may result in the issuance of citations and penalties.
COMMITMENT BY KVBA MEMBERS
KVBA members will be able to take advantage of this opportunity to partner with OSHA. Contractors participating in this partnership agreement must:
- Sign a letter of agreement with KVBA indicating their intent to participate in this partnership initiative, and request recognition by KVBA as a Level 1 or Level 2 partner.
- Certify that their company has not been cited by the Charleston OSHA office within the past three (3) years for alleged violations classified as "willful", "high gravity serious", "repeat" or "unclassified".
- Verify that a comprehensive written Safety and Health Program is in place which is at least equivalent to the criteria referenced in Section IV, Paragraph A. 6. This is the minimum established criteria for participation, and shall include the KVBA member's implementation of policies and procedures to ensure that safety rules and procedures are enforced at their jobsites.
- Insure that policies are in place to hold supervisor(s) and employee(s) accountable for following established safety rules and OSHA regulations.
- Provide the level of training required by OSHA regulations to their employees either through KVBA, their own training personnel or other consultant / trainers.
- Ensure that within one year after obtaining KVBA's acceptance into this Partnership Program, all competent persons will have completed the OSHA 30-hour course for the construction industry (or its equivalent). Records of training certification will be provided to KVBA and made available for review.
- Ensure that within one year after obtaining KVBA's acceptance into this Partnership Program, all non-supervisory personnel engaged in construction activities will have completed the OSHA 10-hour course for the construction industry (or its equivalent).
- Note: All employees will receive a 2-hour safety orientation when hired unless already trained. Full-time employees on the job after six months will receive the remaining necessary training. Summer employees and interns will receive the 2-hour safety Orientation, but will be exempt from the 10-hour or equivalent Requirement as identified in this Partnership agreement (summer and intern employees are limited to 90 days of employment).
- Records of training certification will be provided to KVBA and made available for review.
- Provide periodic safety related data or statistics to KVBA concerning such issues as man-hours worked lost work day injuries, accident records and OSHA inspection results. KVBA will provide a summary of an analysis of pertinent safety related information for review by OSHA. The purpose of such summary information will assist in preparing an annual report necessary for evaluating the merits of the Program and making recommendations for continuous improvement.
EMPLOYEE EMPLOYER RIGHTS
As an integral part of an effective Safety and Health Program (as defined within Section IV), the availability of employees to exercise their rights which are guaranteed under the OSH Act and Regulations (such as, but not limited to, the right to file a safety and health complaint, and the right to information collected pursuant to OSHA requirements (e.g. the OSHA-200 log and medical exposure records) will not be infringed. It is anticipated that routine employee involvement in the day to day implementation of worksite Safety and Health Programs will be assured, including employee participation in employer self-audits, site inspections, job hazard analyses, Safety and Health Program reviews, and mishap investigations.
Employers retain all rights guaranteed under the OSH Act, including the right to appeal or contest violations issued by OSHA.
TERMINATION OF AGREEMENT
This agreement will terminate on 9-30-06, which is 2 years from the date of the signing. If either OSHA or KVBA wishes to withdraw their participation prior to the established termination date, the agreement will terminate upon receiving a written notice of the intent to withdraw from either signatory.
For non-signatory participants of the strategic partnership, OSHA may terminate the participant's involvement at any time with written notice. Additionally, the participant may withdraw their participation from the strategic partnership at any time with a written notice of the intent to withdraw to OSHA.
Any party may propose modification or amendment to the Partnership Agreement subject to concurrence by the other partner.
This Partnership will be evaluated yearly by all participants using the format in Appendix A. Such evaluation may include criteria such as, but not necessarily limited to, contractor lost workday injury rates, number of OSHA recordable injuries, workers compensation experience modification rates, etc.
KVBA's evaluation will include a comparison of the contractor's experience modification rates with the industry average, and will also compare the contractor's OSHA lost work day injury and illness rates with the latest available USDOL Bureau of Labor Statistics data for the contractor's SIC code. As outlined previously, KVBA will provide a summary of this information to OSHA. (Note: The first evaluation shall occur on 9-30-2005.)
Following implementation of the Partnership agreement, every six months during the term of the agreement, all participating contractors shall submit data to KVBA so that lost time incident rates can be monitored and measured. Such information will be used as an ongoing evaluation tool helping to guage the effectiveness of the Program and will be used to compile the annual evaluation as noted above. It is anticipated that OSHA's onsite evaluation of the effectiveness of this Partnership Agreement will occur during the normal course of compliance investigations and onsite inspections consistent with the criteria specified within this Partnership agreement.
Based upon a mutual interest to protect construction workers in the Kanawha Valley area, the parties below agree to the above terms ofan KVBAI OSHA Partnering Agreement.