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News Release USDL: 95-290
Monday, July 31, 1995
Contact: Frank Kane, (202) 219-8151
OSHA's "MAINE 200" Program To Receive Vice President's Hammer Award
At 1 p.m., on Tuesday, August 1, 1995, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will receive a "Hammer" Award for its "Maine 200" partnership program. The award is Vice President Al Gore's special recognition of significant contributions to the National Performance Review, President Clinton's reinventing government effort.
Joseph A. Dear, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health; Elaine Kamarck, Senior Policy Advisor to the Vice President who heads the National Performance Review; and Charles O'Leary, president of the Maine AFL-CIO, will join company officials at the S.D. Warren Company, a pulp and paper mill near Skowhegan. O'Leary, Bill Freeman, OSHA's Bangor Area Director, and James Goffi, vice president of operations for S.D. Warren, will accept "Hammer" awards on behalf of labor, government and business.
"In Maine, we took enforcement very seriously," said Freeman. "We conducted wall-to-wall inspections, issuing more citations than any one else in the country. There was only one small problem: We were having no impact on worker health and safety. It was time for a change."
The successful program, instituted in 1993, identified 200 companies with the highest number of workers compensation claims, and offered those employers a choice: a partnership with OSHA to improve safety and health at their facilities, or stepped-up enforcement. All but two firms chose the former. S.D. Warren, working in partnership with four unions, had particular success in the program, identifying 17,000 safety and health deficiencies in self-inspections, and working to correct them.
Ms. Kamarack said, "The common sense of the "Maine 200" program typifies OSHA's on-going reinvention efforts and a cooperative partnership between government, industry, and labor unions."
Results of the "Maine 200" program are stunning. Employers were able to find and fix hazards at a rate of 14 times more than OSHA had in the past eight years. And three out of five employers experienced a reduction in lost work days.
"Ironically while we are in the process of reinventing OSHA--and achieving significant successes like those demonstrated in the "Maine 200" program--Congress is moving to stop us," said Dear. "At the same time we are in Maine celebrating this award, the House of Representatives in Washington is considering an appropriations bill that would send a wrecking ball through OSHA efforts to work with employers to protect the health and safety of America"s working men and women."
Information on this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-219-8151.
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