Partnership Joins Labor, Management to Reduce Employee Injury

OSHA signed a partnership agreement recognizing contractors at the Westchester County Courthouse site in New York for their exemplary safety and health programs.

OSHA signed a partnership agreement yesterday afternoon with New York State, building trade unions and URS Corp of New York City covering construction work at the Westchester County Courthouse.

The agreement recognizes those contractors who are committed to having exemplary safety and health programs, including site-specific safety and health training for employees.

"One of OSHA''s goals, as outlined in the agency''s strategic plan, is to reduce serious injuries by 15 percent in the construction industry," said Patricia Clark, regional OSHA administrator. "This partnership, which is unique because it includes not only private sector employers, but also two New York State government agencies and the local building trade unions, is a demonstration of OSHA''s commitment to work cooperatively with employers and employee groups who are proactively making an attempt to reduce injuries at their work sites."

Each participating contractor at the courthouse construction site will be required to meet stringent safety guidelines, including:

  • appointing an on-site safety representative;
  • submitting a comprehensive safety and health plan to URS for approval prior to commencing work on the site; and
  • conducting daily self inspections and maintaining records of those inspections.

OSHA provides incentives to the contractors who enter this partnership including:

  • not targeting the job site for a planned or programmed inspection within the next 12 months once a verification inspection has been completed;
  • conducting an unplanned inspection at the site only in response to reports of imminent danger, fatality or catastrophic accident and a signed complaint; and
  • responding to all complaints by contacting the employer by telephone and faxing a letter to the employer outlining the complaint.

The Westchester County Courthouse Phase II/III Project in White Plains includes the construction of a 255,000 square feet three-story courthouse annex, and the rehabilitation of the existing 285,000 square foot 22-story courthouse tower.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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