OSHA Builds Construction Partnership in Virgin Islands

OSHA is partnering with an engineering and construction firm, an integrated oil refinery and a local union to ensure safety and health of workers during a major construction project in the Virgin Islands.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is partnering with an engineering and construction firm, an integrated oil refinery and a local union of the United Steel Workers of America to ensure safety and health of workers during a major construction project in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Delayed Coker Plant Project in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, includes the construction of a petroleum coke storage facility and a dock, as well as modifications to existing process units necessary to accommodate the operation of the coker at the Hovensa LLC refinery. The project is scheduled to be completed by September 2002 and will employ, at its peak, approximately 2,000 employees.

OSHA's partners include Bechtel International Inc., Hovensa LLC refinery, and the United Steel Workers of America - Local 8526.

"The partnership formed today is an example of public and private cooperation that protects America's workers," said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "This partnership demonstrates OSHA's commitment to work cooperatively with employers and employee representatives who make every effort to eliminate hazards and reduce injuries at their work sites."

OSHA hopes the agreement will reduce the rate for injuries and illnesses by 20 percent and prevent serious accidents during the construction of the coker plant by focusing on eliminating hazards associated with falls, electrical, struck by, and caught by/in-between dangers.

Under terms of the partnership, contractors must meet stringent safety guidelines that include:

  • Maintaining a site-specific written safety and health program that ensures employee involvement;
  • Appointing an on-site safety representative;
  • Enforcing the use of 100 per cent conventional fall protection systems where employees work in excess of six feet above a lower level, including steel erection; and,
  • Providing training for employees on hazards specific to their jobs.

In return for meeting these criteria, OSHA has agreed not to target the job site for a planned or programmed inspection once a verification inspection has been completed. The agency will only conduct unplanned site inspections in response to reports of imminent danger, fatality or catastrophic accident or a signed employee complaint. OSHA also agreed to handle all other complaints, except in cases of serious injuries, by telephone and fax.

edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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