In an effort to promote safety in the construction industry, OSHA and the Associated Building Contractors (ABC) entered into a partnership yesterday.
Officials from both organizations say this partnership will become the industry model for how OSHA works with ABC member construction contractors with exemplary safety records.
Calling it "a template for future collaborations," OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress said that OSHA area offices and ABC local chapter will be the key players in creating local partnerships that implement the provisions of this first-of-its-kind agreement.
Under terms of the partnership, ABC will create a "platinum" level safety designation for select members.
ABC, which represents nearly 22,000 members nationwide, estimates nearly 240 members could meet the criteria for the program.
Platinum will be the highest in a four-step ABC program designed to recognize its safest contractors.
In order to reach platinum status, contractors must meet stringent safety guidelines that include:
- an occupational injury and illness rate of less than 8.0 (industry average is 8.8);
- a site specific written safety and health program, based upon either ANSI or OSHA guidelines, that includes employee involvement;
- training for employees on hazards specific to their jobs;
- effective supervisor training modeled on OSHA's 10-hour construction safety course;
- designated safety personnel who receive training equivalent to OSHA's 30-hour construction safety training course, and
- 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.
In return for meeting these criteria, OSHA, after a verification inspection, will:
- not target the site for a planned -- or programmed -- inspection within the next 12 months;
- conduct an unplanned inspection only in response to reports of imminent danger, a fatality or catastrophic accident, and a signed complaint;
- handle all other complaints, except in cases of serious injuries, by telephone and fax;
- not issue penalties for non-serious violations that are promptly abated, and
- reduce any citation by the maximum amounts for good faith, size, and history.
The agreement designates that local ABC safety committees visit construction sites to verify data submitted by contractors seeking to become platinum members.
The national ABC safety director will conduct random verification visits and submit annual reports to OSHA's construction directorate.
In turn, OSHA will inspect less than 10 percent of the site's to verify program compliance.