NSC: OSHA Announces New Alliances

Sept. 11, 2003
Emphasizing the significance of its cooperative programs, OSHA used the National Safety Congress in Chicago to announce its alliance with the National Safety Council.

"We've enjoyed a superb association with NSC," Assistant Secretary of Labor John Henshaw said earlier this week. "This alliance will strengthen that relationship as we work more closely together on vital issues such as reducing traffic collisions, providing first aid training in the workplace, and delivering safety and health management system programs."

Added Alan McMillan, president and CEO of NSC and a former OSHA employee, "The alliance between the National Safety Council and OSHA builds on a long-standing and successful relationship between two organizations that are committed to similar goals. Formalizing the relationship allows us to strengthen the link and make even greater progress in achieving workplace safety and health. We look forward to the enhanced collaboration and the results it will bring, particularly in the areas of reducing traffic-related worker fatalities and injuries, improving first aid, and increasing training."

OSHA and NSC will work together to provide employers and workers with information, guidance and access to training resources. Part of the first aid training the alliance addresses will focus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automatic External Defibrillators (AED).

The alliance also calls for cross training of OSHA personnel and industry safety and health practitioners in best practices or effective approaches as jointly defined by OSHA and NSC. Both organizations will participate in forums, roundtable discussions or stakeholder meetings related to vehicle safety and first aid training to help forge innovative solutions in the workplace. Finally, both organizations will work with OSHA's regional and area offices to facilitate joint outreach activities with NSC chapters to address the specific safety and health issues outlined in the Alliance.

During the National Safety Congress, Henshaw also welcomed Abbott Laboratories and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) as new alliance program participants.

Henshaw and Daniel K. Shipp, ISEA president, signed the OSHA/ISEA alliance agreement during a ceremony at the NSC. Under the alliance, OSHA and ISEA will promote safety and health in heavy construction workplaces by:

  • Providing users in the heavy construction industry with best practice outreach materials and guidance in the selection and use of personal protective equipment, and
  • Working to improve upon ways to keep workers safe by producing materials that demonstrate to workers how to perform rudimentary hazard analysis of common tasks in the heavy construction field. To keep workers safe, ISEA also will promote best practices of personal protective equipment (PPE) use.

"We are tremendously excited about this opportunity to formalize our long-standing partnership with OSHA and build upon the foundation we have laid over the past three years to reduce construction industry illnesses and injuries through our 'Partnership for Worker Protection' outreach program," Shipp said. "This new alliance recognizes the progress we have made together, while acknowledging that much work remains to be done. Even one worker illness or injury is one too many, on our view."

Tangible near-term steps to achieve the program goals will include outreach through conferences, events and print and electronic media (including links from OSHA's and ISEA Web sites); continuing a dialog between the heavy construction community and PPE manufacturers; and establishing avenues through which ISEA members will help OSHA personnel stay current about national consensus standards for safety equipment, and new types and versions of safety equipment.

OSHA and the ISEA also will work together to educate users about the appropriate forms of PPE for various hazards, and to communicate the value of using PPE to mitigate the hazards of heavy construction. An implementation team made up of representatives of OSHA and the ISEA will meet to develop a plan of action, determine working procedures, and identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants.

The alliance between Abbott Laboratories and OSHA calls for them to work cooperatively to improve workplace safety for workers across the health care industry. The alliance was formalized in a signing ceremony during the NSC.

Workers in nursing homes, hospitals and other health care facilities are potentially exposed to many safety hazards, including ergonomic and other occupational injuries; exposure to needles and needlestick injuries; and exposure to pathogens. Initial efforts of the alliance will focus on the nursing home setting, which has the third-highest rate of injuries and illnesses per 100 workers across all U.S. industries.

"We welcome the expertise and knowledge that Abbott Laboratories brings to help ensure that workers in the health care and pharmaceutical arena will have safe and healthful workplaces," said Henshaw. "The results of this alliance will touch thousands of workers in the industry and we're pleased that Abbott has joined with us in this important effort."

Abbott and OSHA will focus efforts on the three main alliance program areas: training and education, outreach and communication, and promotion of a national dialogue on workplace safety and health. Some specific initiatives include:

  • Convening and participating in forums, roundtable discussions or stakeholder meetings on safety and health issues in the health care industry to help forge innovative solutions in the workplace.
  • Developing and incorporating materials into business school curricula that communicate the business value and competitive advantages associated with the implementation of comprehensive safety and health programs in the workplace.
  • Participating in and speaking at safety and health events to promote good safety practices.

"We are pleased and proud to be the first company in the pharmaceutical and health care industries to join in an alliance with OSHA," said Robert D. Morrison, divisional vice president, Corporate Environmental Health and Safety, Abbott Laboratories. "Abbott has a long history of commitment to the safety and well-being of our employees, customers and communities in which we operate."

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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