Trade News Release
Monday, Dec.13, 1999
PHONE : (202) 693-1999
OSHA AND PRIDE OF ST. LOUIS FORM LANDMARK PARTNERSHIP TO IMPROVE SAFETY OF AREA CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
Construction workers' safety and health in the St. Louis, Mo., area will be enhanced by a landmark partnership entered into today by PRIDE of St. Louis, a voluntary labor-management organization, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The three-year agreement provides incentives for participating construction contractors to voluntarily improve their safety and health performance under strict guidelines set by the partnership. In return, OSHA will recognize contractors who have demonstrated exemplary safety programs. OSHA also expects that the partnership will reduce the need for inspections of participating contractors.
"This program will create private sector incentives to improve safety in an industry that has traditionally had a high number of accidents and injuries," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Charles N. Jeffress. "It is a model for public-private cooperation that can benefit an entire industry."
Establishing partnerships with the private sector to improve safety and health is one of OSHA's major goals. Although OSHA has developed other partnership programs, this is the first with an organization that represents the entire construction industry within a geographic area.
"The partnership tightens the safety net by encouraging and rewarding voluntary compliance efforts thus freeing OSHA to better pinpoint problem sites for inspection," said Ed Abbett, executive director of PRIDE.
PRIDE will administer non-policy administrative matters through a Stakeholder Steering Committee. The committee will consist of representatives from contractor association members and AFL-CIO union representatives. OSHA will provide assistance and oversight. Other organizations that have pledged their support and are participants in the partnership include:
- The St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, representing 26 affiliated construction unions;
- The St. Louis Council of Construction Employers, representing 12 contractor and subcontractor organizations; and
- The St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers, representing the buyers of construction.
- The Associated General Contractors of St. Louis, representing contracting firms
- The St. Louis area OSHA office; and
- The Kansas City Regional OSHA office, which oversees Federal OSHA operations in the state of Missouri.
PRIDE contractors who have established partnership-approved safety and health programs are eligible to apply for entry into the partnership. Applicants also must have an injury/illness incident rate which is less than the rate for their Standard Industry Classification (SIC) for the state of Missouri as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In addition to meeting OSHA standards for health and safety programs, the partnership will look for management safety training, employee participation in programs and annual safety and health program reviews, according to Bill Ahal, chairman of the PRIDE/OSHA partnership task force.
The PRIDE Stakeholder Steering Committee, with OSHA participation, will establish criteria for evaluating applications that will include meeting with the contractor and inspecting at least one job site. Once accepted into the partnership, the committee will periodically conduct on-site quality-control visits to ensure the contractor's continued compliance with safety and health criteria.
PRIDE, which stands for Productivity and Responsibility Increase Development and Employment, has been the leading force in sustaining the growth of the St. Louis construction industry, which employs more than 60,000 people and contributes $2.5 billion to the local economy annually. Established in 1972, PRIDE has worked to maintain harmony and build cooperation among St. Louis area AFL-CIO construction craft workers, contractors, construction buyers, architects, engineers and suppliers. The organization promotes construction productivity, cost-effective construction, safe job sites, and work force training and development.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 1,171 workers were killed on private sector construction jobs nationwide in 1998 - the most for any industry. In 1998, 14.5 workers out every 100,000 employed in construction were killed on the job - ranking third behind mining and agriculture among high risk occupations. The national average rate is 4.5.
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The text of this news release is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-693-1999.