Historic Oklahoma Public/Private Partnership
Promises Safe Construction Sites
A partnering charter was signed on May 2, 2000 which was the first step toward reducing accidents on construction sites and rewarding those construction companies who make a commitment to safety.
This agreement is another step in turning around a once adversarial relationship into a public/private partnership between Federal OSHA, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Oklahoma, and State OSHA Consultation.
Signing the agreement were U.S. Department of Labor OSHA Area Assistant Director James E. Brown, III, ABC of Oklahoma President Jim Beeman and Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau Wynn.
The agreement contains a four-step program designed to recognize ABC's safest contractors. Under terms of the partnership, ABC created a "platinum" level safety designation for select members. In order to obtain platinum status, contractors must meet rigorous safety guidelines.
"All parties to this agreement recognize the importance of providing a safe and healthy work environment in the construction industry," said Brown. "We strongly agree on the need to promote mutual trust and respect for our respective roles in the construction safety process. Under this agreement both employees and employers retain all rights guaranteed by the OSHA Act and OSHA regulations."
ABC has implemented the Safety Training and Evaluation Process or "STEP" program. The program assists member construction companies in evaluating their safety training programs and performance.
The STEP program has four award levels which includes the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards that are based on self-evaluation scores and are administered by ABC. The fourth category, Platinum, is open to those companies whose workplace safety achievements are certified as the best of the best.
Companies accepted into the Platinum level will receive incentives from OSHA which include a one-year exemption from programmed inspections and a reprieve from citations for 'other-than-serious' violations provided the violations are abated immediately.
Oklahoma's construction industry recorded a 49 percent increase in accidents and injuries from 1997 to 1998. Those 5,800 injuries accounted for about 8 percent of all injuries in Oklahoma. Of those injuries, 1,695 or 21 percent resulted in lost workdays. The partnership agreement between Federal OSHA, ABC of Oklahoma, and State OSHA Consultation will offer an aggressive approach to reducing these numbers.
Specific Goals include:
- Reduce the number of injuries, illnesses and fatalities by 3 percent annually.
- Increase the number of participating construction companies.
- Decrease workers' compensation costs and OSHA penalties for contractor participants.
- Allow OSHA to focus resources on companies that require attention instead of companies that have demonstrated effective safety programs.
- Improved safety and health programs, a higher level of employee safety and health training, improved job site safety and health commitments by subcontractors working with Platinum level contractors.
- Occupational injury and illness rate of less than 8.0.
- A site specific written safety and health program based on either ANSI or OSHA guidelines that include employee involvement.
- Training for employees on hazards specific to their jobs.
- Designated safety personnel who receive training equivalent to OSHA's 30-hour construction safety course.
- A track record that includes no repeated serious violations in the last three years nor any fatalities or catastrophes within that same time period.
- 12 month exemption from targeted, programmed OSHA inspections upon successful conclusion of an ABC verification inspection.
- Conduct an unplanned inspection only in response to reports of imminent danger, a fatality or catastrophic accident.
- Reduce any citation by the maximum amounts for good faith, size and history.
- OSHA will not issue penalties for non-serious violations that are promptly fixed.
We can handle your potential legal case if you are in any of these Oklahoma cities. Even if your city is not listed you may still speak with one of our Oklahoma construction accident attorneys by filling out our contact form or calling us toll-free at 1 (866) 664-0400.
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