OSHA''s Jackson, Miss., area office signed an agreement with the Mississippi Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) to improve safety and health at construction sites.
The partnership, based on a national prototype, also recognizes ABC''s "Platinum Partner" contractors who have exemplary safety and health programs at their work sites.
Clyde Payne, Jackson area director said, "Members of the Mississippi ABC and the OSHA area office staff have worked together during the past several years to reduce worker illnesses and injuries. OSHA, by signing this partnership agreement, recognizes ABC''s contributions and the efforts members continue to make toward the goal of safer and healthier construction sites."
ABC''s four-step program designates its safest contractors as platinum partners.
To reach this highest level of safety performance, contractors must meet stringent safety and health guidelines including:
- a three-year history without fatalities, catastrophic accidents, willful, repeat or serious OSHA violations;
- an occupational injury and illness rate well below the national construction industry average of 8.8 percent;
- a site specific, written safety and health program, with significant employee involvement based on guidelines from either the American National Standards Institute or OSHA;
- designated safety personnel who have completed OSHA''s 30-hour construction safety course or its equivalent;
- supervisor training programs as effective as, and modeled after, OSHA''s 10-hour construction course, and;
- effective employee training programs which include recognition and abatement of hazards specifically associated with the employee''s job.
"This agreement is a major milestone, marking the Mississippi ABC''s strong commitment to worker safety and our team effort with OSHA to reduce employee illness and injuries," said C.J. Buddy Edens, the association''s executive vice president.
The agreement also stipulates that after OSHA conducts a verification audit at a job site, that the site will be removed from OSHA''s targeted and programmed inspection lists for 12 months.
Other incentives include assurances that OSHA will process most complaints using the phone and fax method and that the unprogrammed inspections will be conducted only in response to reports of imminent danger, fatalities, catastrophic accidents or signed complaints.
by Virginia Sutcliffe