OSHA signed a "Platinum Partnership" agreement with the northern and southern New Jersey chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors Association (ABC) in recognition of those contractors within the association who have demonstrated exemplary safety and health programs at their work sites.
"Falls continue to represent the leading cause of fatal accidents on construction sites. This partnership is a demonstration of OSHA''s commitment to work cooperatively with employers who proactively reduce fatalities from falls at their work sites, as some of these ABC contractors have done," said Patricia K. Clark, regional OSHA administrator.
Platinum contractors are required to meet strict safety guidelines, including:
- having an occupational injury and illness rate less than 8.0;
- having a site specific written safety and health program, based upon either American National Standards Institute or OSHA guidelines, that includes employee involvement;
- providing training for employees on hazards specific to their jobs;
- providing effective supervisor training modeled on OSHA''s 10-hour construction safety course;
- designating safety personnel who receive training equivalent to OSHA''s 30-hour construction safety training course; and
- having a track record that includes no willful or repeat serious violations in the last three years, and no fatalities or catastrophic accidents in the last three years that resulted in serious citations.
More than 150 employers belong to the two New Jersey chapters of ABC, which together, employ more than 1,500 workers at construction sites throughout the state.
OSHA provides incentives to employers to enter into platinum partnerships, including:
- not targeting job sites for a planned or programmed inspection within the next 12 months;
- conducting an unplanned inspection only in response to reports of imminent danger, a fatality, or catastrophic accident, and a signed complaint;
- handling all other complaints, except in cases of serious injuries, by telephone and fax;
- not issuing penalties for non-serious violations that are promptly abated; and
- reducing any citation by the maximum amounts for good faith, size and history.
ABC is a national association representing approximately 22,000 contractors in 83 chapters across the country. The association signed a national partnership agreement with OSHA in February.
by Virginia Sutcliffe