New Partnership Benefits RescueWorkers

OSHA, contractors, and other interest parties are partnering to protect the safety and health of thousands of workers at the World Trade Center disaster site.

What is one of the most unsafe workplaces in America today? The site of the World Trade Center disaster.

That fact has not gone unnoticed by the federal government. Recently, Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced a new partnership with the City of New York, contractors and other organizations to protect the safety and health of thousands of workers at the World Trade Center disaster site.

"Those who work at Ground Zero are selflessly exposing themselves to serious hazards every day," Chao said. "This is a remarkable partnership to ensure the safety of these heroes as much as possible, because we can't let the terrorists claim another American life."

The WTC Emergency Project Partnership Agreement formalizes a commitment to safety and health among contractors, employees, employee representatives, and government agencies participating in the emergency response efforts in lower Manhattan. Chao and others signed the agreement in a ceremony during the Construction Industry Partnership's Safety Conference at the Sheraton Manhattan Hotel.

In addition to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), participants in the partnership include the New York City Department of Design and Construction and the Fire Department of New York (co-incident commanders); Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York; Building Trades Employers' Association; Contractors Association of Greater New York; General Contractors Association; and the four prime contractors at the WTC site: AMEC Construction Management Inc.; Bovis Lend Lease LMB Inc.; Tully Construction Co. Inc.; and Turner/Plaza Construction Joint Venture.

The partnership agreement outlines a cooperative effort to ensure a safe work environment. New safety and health initiatives have already begun, including a new site orientation training program and establishment of a safety committee that includes representatives from labor and management organizations as well as OSHA and other participating agencies. The orientation program familiarizes workers with potential hazards and personal protective equipment requirements.

"The World Trade Center site is potentially the most dangerous workplace in the United States," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "Our challenge is to ensure the Sept. 11 tragedy claims no more victims in terms of fatalities or serious injuries or illnesses. That challenge demands a cooperative, highly coordinated effort. This partnership provides the framework for that effort."

edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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