OSHA signed a "Platinum Partnership" agreement with the Associated Builders and Contractors Association (ABC), Empire State Chapter, yesterday.
The agreement recognizes those contractors within the association who are committed to and who have demonstrated exemplary safety and health programs at their work sites, including providing site-specific safety and health training for their employees.
The goal of the cooperative partnership between OSHA and ABC is to reduce the number of injuries, illnesses and fatalities at construction sites throughout the State of New York, with special emphasis on reducing injuries and deaths resulting from falls and electrocutions.
"Falls, electrocutions and accidents in which employees are struck by or caught in various materials account for the majority of fatalities and serious injuries at construction sites," said Patricia K. Clark, regional OSHA administrator. "One of OSHA''s goals, outlined in the agency''s strategic plan, is to reduce fatalities by 15 percent in the construction industry. The partnership demonstrates OSHA''s commitment to work cooperatively with employers and employee associations who are proactively making an attempt to reduce injuries and fatalities at their work sites, as some of these ABC contractors have done."
ABC, which signed a national partnership agreement with OSHA in February, is a national association representing 22,000 contractors in 83 chapters across the country.
The Empire State Chapter serves more than 300 members and employs approximately 9,000 construction workers across New York State.
Platinum partnership contractors are required to meet stringent safety guidelines, including:
- having an occupational injury and illness rate of less than 8.0. The average injury rate for the construction industry is 8.8.
- 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.
- designating a safety manager who receives training equivalent to OSHA''s 30-hour construction training course.
- having a past history that includes no willful or repeat serious violations for the last three years, and no fatalities or catastrophic accidents in the last three years that resulted in serious citations.
OSHA provides incentives to employers to encourage them to enter into platinum partnerships, including:
- not targeting a job site for a planned or programmed inspection once a verification inspection has been completed.
- conducting unplanned site inspections only in response to reports of imminent danger, fatality or catastrophic accident and a signed complaint from an employee.
- responding to all other complaints by contacting the employer by telephone and faxing a letter to the employer outlining the complaint.
by Virginia Sutcliffe