According to Patricia K. Clark, OSHA's regional administrator for Region II, this is the first partnership in the nation where a State Program (PR/OSHO) has joined OSHA as a full partner in all aspects of the agreement.
"This partnership recognizes employers in the construction industry that have exemplary safety and health programs and those committed to reaching the same level," said Clark. "By entering into this partnership, the Puerto Rico AGC membership agrees to commit the resources necessary to ensure employee safety and health in the construction industry. OSHA is pleased to have the opportunity to work with these committed employers and employees."
The AGC's Construction Safety and Health Excellence (CSHEP) Partnership consists of three levels of safety performance. To reach the highest GOLD level, contractors must meet stringent guidelines, including:
- Implementing a comprehensive written safety and health program;
- Safety personnel who have completed training equivalent to the OSHA 30-hour Construction Outreach Course and field construction supervisory personnel who have completed training equivalent to the AGC Safety Management Course, as well as additional training to achieve designation as a "competent person" in areas such as scaffolding, excavation, crane operations and fall protection;
- Employee involvement at all levels of the safety and health program;
- Maintaining an injury/illness rate of less than 5.0 (total cases); and
- No willful or repeat safety violations, or fatalities resulting in related serious or willful citations, in the last three years.
As an incentive for attaining any of the three levels within the AGC program, companies become eligible to be removed for 12 months from OSHA's random selection of job site inspections in Puerto Rico. OSHA will conduct on-site inspections only in response to reports of imminent danger, fatalities, catastrophic accidents, signed employee complaints or complaints alleging serious injuries.