Partnership #778 - Agreement - January 7, 2011

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc


Occupational Safety and Health Administration


    A. Background

    To facilitate OSHA’s goal of reducing occupational fatalities, injuries, and illnesses within the construction industry, OSHA and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Central Texas Chapter (ABC) have agreed to enter into a cooperative partnership agreement with respect to construction projects in the Austin Area office’s jurisdiction. ABC is the nation's leading commercial and industrial construction trade association, representing 25,000 members nationwide. This partnership will help ensure that the construction projects are utilizing an effective and systematic safety management approach that emphasizes continuous improvement.

    This partnership is designed to address the hazards within the construction industry, and to promote and recognize jobsites controlled and managed by partners that join the partnership that have demonstrated an effective safety and health management system. The partnership agreement will serve to establish a cooperative effort in ensuring a safe worksite and maintaining an open line of communication between OSHA, ABC, and the contractors that choose to join. The partnership is consistent with OSHA’s efforts to better use their resources, encourage safety management systems, and increase participation by construction contractors to utilize safety processes.

    B. Partners

    • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
    • Audubon Bridge Constructors
    • Other Participating Contractors.

    This agreement was developed jointly by OSHA and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc, Central Texas Chapter. The common objective and goal of the partnership is to provide a safe and healthful environment for workers involved in the construction industry through increased training, implementation of best work practices, improved safety and health programs, and compliance with applicable OSHA standards and regulations.

    By focusing its efforts, skills, knowledge, and resources, OSHA and the ABC expects to reduce exposure to hazards and serious injuries by preventing accidents on all capital improvement construction projects at participating contractor job sites.

    According to 2008 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction had a fatality rate of 9.6 per 100,000 employees compared with the manufacturing rate of 2.5. The construction industry has 20% of all fatalities but employs only 6% of the workforce. In Texas, the total lost workday injury and illness incident rate per100 employees is 4.0 compared to the national average of 2.5. The hazards associated with the construction industry are well documented. OSHA has identified the top four causes of fatalities: falls, struck by equipment or machinery, electrocution, and caught in or between equipment. OSHA has traditionally devoted 50% of its compliance resources to enforcement activity in the construction industry. The goal of this partnership agreement is to work with the ABC and partnering contractors to establish effective safety management systems and best work practices to achieve self-compliance at the construction project sites.

  3. GOALS

    The overall goal of the partnership is to create a relationship that focuses on preventing fatalities, controlling or eliminating serious hazards, and improving the safety management system. This partnership will also strive to reduce injury/illness rates, insurance costs, and compensation claims.

    A. Outcomes

    The targeted outcome of this Partnership will be to promote a positive safety culture for all participating contractors through the following means:

    1. Contractor(s) development of a model construction safety and health management system that other organizations can use and share.
    2. Increasing communication and mutual respect among government, state institutions, and the construction contractor community.
    3. Promoting use of available OSHA resources to all project contractors where assistance and oversight are needed.
    4. Mentoring and providing training opportunities for subcontractors and their employees.
    5. Reduction of injury/illness rates, insurance costs, and compensation claims.


    1. Increase the number of employees, employers, and supervisors that have completed relevant safety training.
    2. Increase the number of safety and health programs and best safety practices implemented among subcontractors.  Raise safety awareness among all contractors.
    3. Reduce and prevent serious accidents, and control or eliminate serious workplace hazards through pre-construction hazard assessments and proactive safety process management.
    4. Reduce injury/illness rates, insurance costs, and compensation claims.

    C. Strategies

    1. Develop and maintain rigorous project safety specifications for use in all contracts.
    2. Require that all contractors develop pre-construction hazard assessments on all projects and document existing conditions and proposed control measures.
    3. Require that each tiered contractor provide a subcontractor safety representative that has completed a ten (10) or thirty (30) hour construction training course depending on work scope. Weekly subcontractor safety representatives meetings dedicated to project safety will be conducted and documented.
    4. Require that all tiered contractors provide an annual, quarterly, weekly, or daily inspection of equipment as appropriate.  Record(s) of inspections will be documented and maintained at the project sites.  Require that all equipment capable of amputations be adequately guarded.
    5. Require that all workers on the project are provided a site-specific safety orientation prior to starting work.  The orientation will include providing information on employee workplace rights and responsibilities. Ensure that a competent person will be provided for all tasks required by OSHA standards and regulations.
    6. Require that trench plans, fall protection plans, emergency response plans, lift plans and daily job hazard analysis be developed, reviewed, and documented prior to starting work as it relates to the contractor’s scope of work.
    7. Require that daily site safety inspections are conducted by the General Contractor’s Project Safety Coordinator and/or Project Safety Assistant(s).  All inspection findings and corrective actions will be documented, tracked and communicated to all levels of workers on the project.
    8. Provide resources to conduct OSHA 10/30 hour outreach, JHA development, incident investigation, and other general construction safety training.  Training will be provided periodically to project workers, management.  Safety and health training will be conducted in Spanish as the need arises.
    9. Require that health-related issues arising during the course of the construction project are adequately addressed by the creating contractor with participation by the General Contractor’s Project Safety Coordinator. An effective monitoring program will be implemented to assess exposures to health hazards. Control measures will be implemented when exposures exceed permissible exposure limits.
    10. Provide award/recognition to contractors that demonstrate the ability to provide a safe working environment.
    11. Require any contractor using tower or mobile cranes to demonstrate proper working condition through inspections conducted by qualified crane inspectors prior to use.  Documentation of inspections will be maintained at the project.
    12. Require that all crane operators are competent and certified to operate the specific crane in use.  Documentation to demonstrate competency will be provided and maintained at the project site.
    13. Require that all critical lifts be identified and a plan to safely perform be developed and implemented prior to the lift.
    1. The measurement system will use OSHA recordable injuries and illnesses to determine the total lost workday injury and illness rate for the participating contractors and compare to the average for the construction industry nationally.
    2. Activity measures shall include the applicable number of employers, supervisors and employees trained.  Records will be maintained of the 30-hour and 10- hour OSHA training certifications. All contractors will be required to conduct daily and/or weekly safety toolbox talks.
    3. Intermediate measures will include the number of safety and health programs instituted.
    4. Outcome measures will be gathered on a monthly basis and will incorporate data to analyze the number of hours worked, number of injuries, illnesses, fatalities, and serious hazards found as a result of onsite audits, job site inspections, and OSHA inspection activity.
    5. Job site inspections will indicate the number of hazards observed and corrected by the general contractor and each affected subcontractor.
    6. Tools for tracking near miss incidents and first aid cases will be implemented.
    7. Measurement factors will be compiled monthly, submitted to the ABC Central Texas Chapter, who will forward the aggregated data to OSHA.


    The partnership will be evaluated on an annual basis through the use of the Strategic Partnership Annual Evaluation Format measurement system as specified in Appendix C of CSP 03-02-002, OSHA Strategic Partnership Program for Worker Safety and Health Directive.

    The ABC Central Texas Chapter is responsible for gathering the data to evaluate and track the overall results and success of the partnership program. This data will be shared with OSHA.

    OSHA is responsible to conduct, write, and submit the annual evaluation report.


    Participant benefits from OSHA may include:

    1. Maximum penalty reductions for all tiered contractors working on any partnership jobsite as allowed in the OSHA Field Operations Manual (FOM) for good faith and history.  When calculating the initial penalty reduction, OSHA may provide an additional 10% reduction for good faith beyond the 25% reduction provided in the OSHA FOM where the employer has taken specific, significant steps beyond those provided in the OSHA FOM to achieve a high level of employee protection.  This additional reduction will not apply to high gravity serious, willful, failure to abate or repeat citations.  Minimum penalty provisions of the FOM will apply for penalty reductions of 100%.
    2. Priority consideration for compliance and offsite technical assistance (phone calls/faxes) by OSHA as resources allow.
    3. Other benefits may include a reduction in insurance premiums, workers’ compensation claims, and medical costs.

    OSHA will conduct one unannounced enforcement verification inspection at one project site each year for the term of the partnership. These inspections will be conducted through normal enforcement inspection activity. Inspections conducted in response to complaints, Local Emphasis Programs, or referrals will qualify as the monitoring if, in addition to addressing the complaint/referral item(s), the compliance officer completes the focused inspection protocol for the worksite.

    As resources allow, one non-enforcement inspection will be conducted at each construction project each year for the duration of the partnership. The focus will be on the four major construction hazards (falls, struck by, caught in or between, and electrocution). The focus inspections will be coordinated with the ABC Central Texas Chapter. During such visits, if OSHA personnel identify serious hazards that site management refuses to correct, OSHA will make a referral for an enforcement inspection.

    Any tiered contractor working on any partnership jobsite will remain subject to OSHA inspections and investigations in accordance with agency policies and procedures. OSHA will continue to investigate fatalities and catastrophes that occur at campus project sites as well as formal complaints received.


    A. Participating Contractors

    1. Implement a comprehensive safety and health program, which includes:
      1. Management commitment and employee involvement
      2. Hazard analysis
      3. Hazard control
      4. Employee training
    2. Mentor contractors that have not yet developed their own safety and health program, and if necessary, refer them to OSHCON for assistance.
    3. Require that the participating contractors enforce safety rules and regulations.  This authority will include provisions to hold all tiered contractors and employees accountable and, if necessary, removal from the job site.
    4. One hundred percent fall protection for fall hazards over six (6) feet as set forth in 1926.501.
    5. Electrical safe work practices will be used when working on or near energized equipment. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) will be used to protect all temporary electrical circuits that are installed for work on the project.  All contractors will ensure that their employees are protected by the use of a GFCI at all times.
    6. The participating contractor’s safety representative will be responsible for overseeing site safety and to serve as a point of contact for their company.  
    7. Safety inspections will be conducted under the supervision of the partner’s safety representative.  As a minimum, all partner job sites are to be inspected monthly, with the results documented.  Job site safety meetings/toolbox talks will be conducted and documented on a weekly basis.  Employee workplace rights and responsibilities will be re-emphasized during the job site safety meeting/toolbox talks. Accident reports, including first aid, injury, property damage and near miss reports will be submitted and documented by each contractor on a monthly basis.
    8. No employee shall be allowed to work directly below a suspended load except for: employees engaged in the initial connection of steel, and employees hooking or unhooking the load.  The following criteria must be met when employees are allowed to work under the load: materials being hoisted shall be rigged to prevent unintentional displacement; hooks with self-closing safety latches or their equivalent shall be used to prevent components from slipping out of the hook; all loads shall be rigged by a qualified rigger.  All rigging must be tagged with workload limits or color-coded to identify the workload limits.
    9. Require the use of appropriate personal protective equipment.  Hardhats and eye protection will be worn at all times in the construction area(s).  All employees working near heavy equipment or motorized vehicles will be required to wear highly visible upper body clothing.
    10. Allow OSHA access to the site during inspection activities (monitoring and unprogrammed activities such as fatalities and employee complaints) without requiring a warrant.

    B. OSHA

    1. Designate an experienced safety and health specialist to serve as a resource and liaison for the partnership.
    2. Assist with safety and health training and provide technical assistance.
    3. Audit the monthly reports/documents and make recommendations for improvement in meeting partnership goals.
    4. Conduct inspections in accordance with section VII of this partnership.

    This partnership does not preclude employees and/or employers from exercising any right provided under the OSH Act, nor does it abrogate any responsibility to comply with rules and regulations adopted pursuant to the Act.


    Any of the signatory stakeholders may terminate participation by providing thirty (30) days written notice to the other.

    Either party may also propose modification or amendment to the agreement. Changes to the Partnership Agreement may be implemented if both parties agree that it is in the best interest of the parties involved.


    This partnership agreement will cover the 34 counties covered by the Austin Area OSHA office and will be for a period of three (3) years. The Austin OSHA Office and The Associated Builders and Contractors Central Texas Chapter will make a joint determination of whether or not to continue the partnership.

    This agreement will terminate on ______________, which is three (3) years from the date of the signing. If either OSHA or The University of Texas System -OFPC 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.

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