OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
News Release USDL 98-102
to Bar Association
Wednesday, March 11, 1998
Contact: Susan Fleming (202) 219-8151
ASSISTANT SECRETARY JEFFRESS CALLS COOPERATIVE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM A TRIPLE WIN; REGRETS LITIGATION
Assistant Secretary of Labor Charles N. Jeffress today told attorneys at the midwinter meeting of the labor and employment law section of the American Bar Association in Santa Barbara, Calif., that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Cooperative Compliance Program (CCP)is a "triple win...because employers, employees and OSHA all benefit.
He noted that CCP is on hold as the result of a challenge in the federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. and will probably be delayed at least until FY 99. He said the delay does not benefit employers who are experiencing high rates of injuries and indicated that many invited to participate in the program have asked OSHA if they could continue the partnership despite the stay.
Jeffress called CCP an innovative and creative strategy to reduce worker injuries and illnesses at the most hazardous workplaces--those with higher than average injury and illness rates. "What OSHA wants to do is leverage its resources--maximize its impact. We want the impact of 12,000 visits while conducting fewer that 3,500 inspections," he said.
CCP is designed to benefit employers, employees and taxpayers by encouraging employers to develop effective workplace safety and health programs and find and fix hazards on their own in exchange for a reduced chance of inspection. "I believe the most helpful thing OSHA can do for workers at all companies is to encourage their employers to work with them to avoid injuries and illnesses through effective safety and health programs," Jeffress said.
With CCP in place, Jeffress said that OSHA inspections would become a double-check that employers are following through on their promises. The assistant secretary called CCP a sound, solid and sensible way to reduce injuries and illnesses in the workplace. He cited the following examples of success during pilot projects held over the past several years:
A pre-stressed concrete manufacturer with 10 sites in Wisconsin and Illinois reduced injuries by more than 50 percent the first year and cut its workers' compensation costs by 75 percent over 21 months.
A footwear manufacturer in the same program saved $516 per employee in workers compensation costs when the company cut its lost work day injury rate by nearly 65 percent.
A manufacturer participating in Dakota First cut workers' compensation premiums by nearly $130,000--in only one year following adoption of its safety program.
A manufactured housing employer with 17 sites nationwide reduced lost workdays by 60 percent, their compensation costs by 70 percent, while at the same time increasing production by 40 percent!
Nearly 87 percent--about 10,000--of the 12,000 employers invited to join CCP had signed up by mid-February. All had experienced injury and illness rates in 1996 that were double or higher than the national average rate. At that time, the federal Court of Appeals temporarily stayed OSHA's implementation of the program following a suit by the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Trucking Associations and the Food Marketing Institute.
OSHA has committed itself to providing technical assistance to these employers and to developing an alternative inspection plan for the remainder of fiscal year 1998.
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