OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
OSHA National News Release
U.S. Department of Labor
News Release USDL: 97-425
Tuesday, November 25, 1997
Contact: Susan Fleming (202)219-8151
Employers Offered Partnership, Reduced Chance of Inspection
OSHA EXPANDS COOPERATIVE COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS TO REDUCE INJURIES AND ILLNESSES IN THE WORKPLACE
An award-winning enforcement partnership program developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is expanding nationwide as the Cooperative Compliance Program (CCP) is offered to 12,250 employers, Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman announced today. The program is part of the agency's strategy to reduce injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
OSHA's Maine 200 Program, the prototype for CCP, won the prestigious Innovation in American Government Award from the Ford Foundation as well as the Hammer Award from Vice President Al Gore's National Performance Review.
"One of my top priorities is protecting the safety and health of the American worker," said Herman in announcing the program. "I believe most employers share that goal and will welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with OSHA in finding and fixing workplace hazards. The bottom line is saving lives and saving money."
Herman said OSHA is committed to reducing injuries and illnesses in 100,000 workplaces by 20 percent over the next five years, and this partnership program will help the agency reach that goal.
Employers that accept OSHA's offer to join the Cooperative Compliance Program and commit to the program criteria can reduce their chances of a safety and health inspection from 100 percent to 30 percent; small employers that request special compliance assistance reduce their inspection chances to 10 percent.
CCPs are part of the new, common-sense approach to OSHA announced by President Clinton in May 1995. They expand the agency's successful Maine 200 program that focused on the 200 companies in Maine with the highest workers' compensation rates and helped 70 percent of them to reduce serious injuries.
Key to reducing those injuries is establishing an effective safety and health program, a critical commitment each participant makes when joining CCP. Employers agree to find and fix hazards, work toward reducing injuries and illnesses, fully involve employees in their safety and health program, share injury and illness data and provide OSHA with information from their annual injury and illness records.
"We want to work with employers and help them do the right thing," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Charles N. Jeffress. "This program offers employers a choice: partnership or traditional enforcement. It also enables us to focus our agency's resources where we can do the most good.
"Employers are not forced or required to join the CCP. Those that do join are placed on a secondary or tertiary inspection scheduling list. Those that elect not to join will remain on OSHA's primary inspection list," said Jeffress.
The new compliance program grows out of the agency's 1996 data initiative in which OSHA collected information from about 80,000 employers in targeted industries where many injuries and illnesses occur. The companies, all with 60 or more employees, represent manufacturing and other selected standard industrial classifications.
Based on the data, about 500 companies with either the highest injury and illness rate or with a high injury and illness rate coupled with a significant OSHA history receive comprehensive safety and health inspections. Another 14,500 with lost workday injury rates of 7.0 or higher (about double the national average of 3.6) will receive an invitation to participate in the CCP. Those that choose not to participate remain on OSHA's primary inspection list.
Under CCP, OSHA is encouraging employers with 100 or fewer workers to seek free help from their state OSHA Consultation Program to set up effective safety and health programs. Those who do so will reduce their likelihood of inspection to one in 10. CCP participants with more than 100 workers and smaller employers not working with consultation services face a three in ten chance of inspection. Those invited to participate have until Jan. 30, 1998, to let OSHA know whether or not they will join the program. OSHA CCP participant inspections will begin May 4, 1998, giving employers time to find and correct hazards and begin implementing or improving their safety and health programs.
According to Jeffress, CCP participants benefit because they learn in advance that they are on OSHA's primary inspection list and reduce their chances of inspection by 70 or 90 percent. Inspections for participants will likely be shorter with lower penalties, provided the employer has worked diligently to identify and correct hazards and to implement his or her safety and health program. Those who successfully fulfill the requirements of the program should reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities, leading to lower workers' compensation costs and reduced insurance costs.
Jeffress said workers whose companies join the program will be more involved in workplace safety and health and will get training to do their jobs safely. They should experience fewer injuries and illnesses and an improved quality of worklife.
OSHA also benefits by extending its resources and expanding the base of employers with safety and health programs, Jeffress said. OSHA's experience has demonstrated that effective safety and health programs are the critical difference between employers with low injury rates and those with high rates.
Nine states under the jurisdiction of federal OSHA currently have CCP programs. They are Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. North Dakota, South Dakota and Idaho will continue their existing programs for another year. The other six states will convert to the new federal CCP system.
Twenty other states with private sector occupational safety and health coverage under federal jurisdiction will be added to the new federal CCP system. They are Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia.
Six states that operate their own occupational safety and health programs have had partnership programs similar to the CCP in place during FY 1997, while others have been working on their own approaches. While state plan states are not required to adopt the CCP concept, OSHA anticipates more partnership efforts among the states during FY 1998. States will be asked to provide details on any such programs in response to the new federal directive.
"OSHA High Injury/Illness Rate Targeting and Cooperative Compliance Programs," CPL 2-0.119, the OSHA compliance directive implementing the CCP program, will be posted on the agency's Internet site (http://www.osha.gov/) on December 5, 1997. After that date, single copies will be available upon request from OSHA Publications, telephone 202-219-4667.
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