Hammer Award Presented to OSHA for Partnerships

The Hammer Award was presented yesterday to OSHA for its partnership program to improve workplace safety and health.

The Hammer Award was presented yesterday to OSHA for its Strategic Partnerships for Worker Safety and Health -- a national and regional program to improve workplace safety and health through cooperative, voluntary agreements between OSHA, employers and employees.

"We are very pleased to be honored with a Hammer Award for our efforts to encourage voluntary compliance with OSHA''s standards through partnerships," said OSHA Administrator Charles Jeffress. "OSHA''s Strategic Partnerships for Worker Safety and Health create opportunities for OSHA to enter into cooperative relationships to eliminate serious hazards and encourage a high level of worker safety and health."

"Partnership programs emphasize sustained efforts and continuing result," continued Jeffress. "They are key to leveraging federal resources and expanding the use of the best practices in occupational safety and health."

The majority of OSHA''s partnerships focus on areas such as silica and lead exposure and serious hazards in the nursing home, food processing, logging and construction industries -- all issues the agency has targeted as part of its strategic plan.

Most of the worksites that have chosen to partner with OSHA are small business.

The partnership program involves pooling resources to make a difference at more workplaces and for more employees than OSHA could reach with a traditional enforcement program focused on inspections of individual worksites.

OSHA said partnerships benefit employers by helping them establish effective safety and health programs, reduce workers'' compensation costs and improve the company''s relationship with OSHA.

Employees benefit from the partnership because the program helps reduce risk of injury, illness or death on the job and enhances employee morale and the quality of work life.

The partnerships work for OSHA by providing opportunities to work cooperatively with companies to improve worker protection, enabling the agency to increase its emphasis on serious hazards.

Partnerships also allow OSHA to leverage the agency''s limited resources.

This award is the sixteenth Hammer received by OSHA since its first award in 1994.

Twenty-seven employees are part of the team recognized for developing and implementing the Strategic Partnership Program this year.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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