OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
News Release: USDL 98-455
Thursday, November 12, 1998
Contact: Frank Kane, (202) 693-1999
In the early years of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it seemed unlikely that employers, labor unions and OSHA would willingly join forces in coordinated efforts to reduce injuries and illnesses. Today, however, on the eve of OSHA's first partnership conference, on Nov. 13, in Washington, D.C., working together with business and labor has become a key strategy for the federal safety and health agency.
"The common thread running through these partnerships is the commitment of each organization to work with OSHA to ensure that employees have safe and healthy environments," said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman.
Under the banner, "Partner with OSHA: New Ways of Working," business and labor leaders, safety and health managers, and OSHA staff will gather Friday with representatives of trade associations and professional groups. More than 450 participants will meet from 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center during the conference, which is sponsored by the Labor Department and the Council for Excellence in Government, in cooperation with the Ford Foundation.
"OSHA is constantly striving to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses. One important way to do this is by finding others in both the public and private sectors who share our goals and are willing to join us in partnerships, " said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Charles N. Jeffress. "This conference will show how some of the best partnerships in America operate."
Partnerships to be highlighted at the conference are:
- Cowtown Project -- This includes 60 companies in Fort Worth, Tex., where OSHA compliance training enabled them to identify and correct job hazards, resulting in reductions in lost workday injury rates and $2 million in direct cost savings.
- Steel Erectors Safety Association of Colorado -- A group of steel erector contractors in Colorado agreed to implement comprehensive safety and health programs and track their performance. The majority of association members have experienced significant reductions in injuries and illnesses and lower workers' compensation costs.
- Huntsman Petrochemical Corp. -- The Huntsman Petrochemical Aromatics and Chemical Plant, Port Arthur, Tex., has been a member of OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), which recognizes excellence in safety and health, since 1987. Its excellent safety and health program, which includes effective partnerships between labor, management and OSHA, has resulted in an injury rate more than 70 percent below the national average for its industry and a lost workday rate 99 percent below the national average.
- Homesafe -- This is a partnership between the Homebuilders Association (HBA) of Metropolitan Denver and OSHA. The 350 participants are required to implement a ten-point program that is based on OSHA and industry analyses and addresses hazards known to cause fatal or serious accidents in the Denver homebuilding industry.
- ConAgra/UFCW/OSHA -- In January 1997, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), OSHA and ConAgra Refrigerated Foods entered into a five-year partnership to create models of safety and health excellence at nine ConAgra facilities. They agreed to work cooperatively to address worker safety and health issues at both the plant and corporate levels. One plant, Brown 'N Serve, has already experienced significant reductions in injury and illness rates, improvements in employee morale, and lower absenteeism and turnover rates.
- Roofers Partnership -- This partnership involves the National Roofing Contractors' Association; the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers; the CNA Insurance Company; the National Safety Council; and OSHA. It works on improving safety and health in the roofing industry in the greater Chicago area. To date 16 contractors have achieved Premier Status and are eligible for incentives from OSHA and the CNA Insurance Company.
In addition, Robert Stone, representing Vice President Al Gore, will present Hammer Awards to five OSHA reinvention projects that stress partnership. The awards recognize teams of federal, state and local employees, labor representatives and managers that make significant contributions toward reinventing government. This will bring the total number of Hammer Awards received by OSHA to 16.
The OSHA partnership projects being honored are with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the Southwest to reduce injuries and illnesses at Border Patrol Stations and INS offices; with New Jersey state police to protect highway construction workers in that state; with meatpackers in the Midwest to reduce injuries and illnesses in the meatpacking industry; with the state of Oregon to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities in that state; and with the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association to cut fatalities in the oil and gas industry.
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.
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