TRADE NEWS RELEASE
December 5, 2000
CONTACT: Frank Meilinger
PHONE: (202) 693-1999
OSHA FORMS PARTNERSHIP WITH FORD AND UAW
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) are joining together in a landmark partnership to improve worker health and safety at Ford's facilities.
The partnership addresses hazards specific to the automotive industry and establishes guidelines that will streamline the inspection process in twenty-five Ford plants across the country.
"The goal of this partnership is to reduce injury and illness rates through improved safety and health programs," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "This unique coalition sets a new precedent for public-private cooperation and addresses our mutual goal of protecting the hard-working men and women of Ford Motors."
Under the agreement, an eleven-point set of guidelines will provide shorter, more focused inspections and diminish the probability of wall-to-wall inspections under OSHA's inspection targeting program. The guidelines address hazards specific to the automotive industry and include confined spaces, skilled trades hazards, maintenance vehicles, chemical safety, energy control and power lock out, ergonomics, noise control and hearing conservation, heat stress, powered material handling vehicles, machine guarding and personal protective equipment.
"Ford, the UAW, and OSHA share the goal of providing a safe and healthy working environment in our global manufacturing facilities," said James Padilla, group vice president - manufacturing, Ford. "By working as a team, we harness the best resources and knowledge available to achieve this goal. We are proud to take the lead in forging an industry partnership that focuses on collaboration rather than acrimony, and builds a strong health and safety dialogue at Ford."
All partnership Ford plants are located in federal OSHA enforcement states. The Ford Motor Company also intends to pursue similar agreements with State OSHA plans. State plans are OSHA-approved job safety and health programs that are operated by individual state and require standards and enforcement programs that are "at least as effective" as the federal OSHA programs.
"This is an important step forward in our efforts to make sure all our employees have a safe workplace,' said Ron Gettelfinger, vice president and director, UAW National Ford Department. "This agreement will lead to better communication and a better process."
Each Ford location covered under the agreement will conduct an annual OSHA meeting where the local OSHA area director will be briefed by the plant manager, union chairman and the leadership team. The briefing will include a review of the injury and illness reports, safety progress and the results of internal health and safety inspections. OSHA will be afforded the opportunity to conduct an informal walk-through of the facility and may return to a facility for further review of particular health and safety issues.
OSHA will also have access to Ford safety and health data, including plant injury and illness reports related to the guidelines, to help identify emerging issues in the industry. Compliance officers will review required recordkeeping information, conduct walk-through inspections and interview workers in accordance with OSHA inspection procedures.
OSHA inspections to investigate employee complaints, serious injuries or fatalities, and national or state emphasis programs are not precluded by this agreement. Ford plants selected for general schedule inspections from the Site-Specific Targeting (SST) list will receive a focused inspection instead. The focused inspection will include an evaluation of the inspection protocols listed in the agreement.
This news release text is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.