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Speeches - (Archived) Table of Contents
• Information Date: 06/13/2005
• Presented To: American Society of Safety Engineers
• Speaker: Jonathan L. Snare
• Status: Archived

Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

Jonathan L. Snare
American Society of Safety Engineers
New Orleans, LA
June 13, 2005

  • Good afternoon. My thanks to Gene Barfield (President of ASSE) for the opportunity to talk with you this morning about where OSHA is heading in 2005 and beyond as well as updating you on several programs and activities.
  • As some of you may know, I joined the agency in December as Deputy Assistant Secretary and was asked by Secretary Chao to head up the agency as Acting Assistant Secretary in January.
  • By way of background, before I joined OSHA, I was a senior advisor to the Solicitor of Labor.
  • Prior to joining the Department of Labor two years ago, I was in private law practice in Texas.
  • I want to make very clear that OSHA will continue with the successful approach established by this Administration and the leadership at DOL and OSHA. At the same time, I look forward to using what we have learned from our successes the past four years. I intend to manage all of OSHA's resources to meet the challenges of the future and to lead OSHA in its mission by encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.
  • Let me also mention briefly the new OSHA front office leadership team.
  • I'm working with Deputy Assistant Secretary Steve Witt, who's been with OSHA since 1983. Most recently he served as Director of Standards and Guidance.
  • Also on my team is Kim Lazor, OSHA Chief of Staff. Kim previously served as a special assistant and was key to expanding OSHA's compliance assistance efforts and stakeholder outreach.
  • I'm certain that the Alliance between OSHA and ASSE, which we signed in 2002 and renewed in 2004, is of particular interest to you. We're working on a number of collaborative efforts with ASSE and will continue to do so.
  • One of our most significant successes under this Alliance was in promoting North American Occupational Safety and Health Week in early May.
  • Before we discuss this Alliance in more detail, I would like to provide you with some insights about where OSHA is going in 2005 and beyond.
  • In particular, I will briefly describe our balanced approach and the management strategy we use as our compass and roadmap; present a few words about our fiscal year 2006 budget; tell you about OSHA's standards and guidance; and then I will describe OSHA's recent efforts and activities to promote workplace safety and health with each of the elements of our balanced approach.
  • Let me begin by explaining a little about what we call our "balanced approach."
  • Over the past few years, the agency has developed an effective model for achieving the Agency's goals. This model includes:

    • Outreach, education and compliance assistance
    • Cooperative and voluntary programs
    • Strong, fair and effective enforcement
  • Our "balanced approach" is working.
  • Workplace injuries and illnesses have been on a downward trend. From 2002 to 2003, recordable cases of injuries and illnesses declined 7.1 percent.
  • The U.S. on-the-job fatality rate for 2002 and 2003 is the lowest ever recorded.
  • We intend to continue pursuing our balanced approach because it's working; it's having a positive impact on health and safety.
  • As you know, we have a detailed five-year Strategic Management Plan, or what we sometimes call our "Strat Plan." This is our blueprint for guiding us as we carry out our balanced approach. Our Strat Plan dovetails with the overall mission and priorities of the Department of Labor and puts us on target to achieve our major objectives by 2008.
  • The Strat Plan establishes three performance goals for OSHA:
  • Goal 1
    • Reduce occupational hazards through direct intervention.
  • Goal 2
    • Promote a safety and health culture through compliance assistance, cooperative programs and strong leadership.
  • Goal 3
    • Maximize OSHA's effectiveness and efficiency by strengthening its capabilities and infrastructure.
  • In addition, our strategic plan is in line with one of the Department's strategic goals: to foster quality workplaces that are safe and healthy.
  • All of the programs and activities I will describe for you today support the goals set forth in our Strat Plan. In this plan, as well as our annual operating plans that the Agency prepares each year, we set specific goals and targets, and OSHA will use all of its resources, such as compliance assistance, enforcement, outreach and education to achieve these goals.
  • Through these efforts in our Strat Plan and annual operating plans, we use our resources effectively and craft specific strategies to address the challenges of the areas of emphasis and focus that OSHA has determined are important.
  • Moreover, our annual operating plans allows us the flexibility to address emerging issues and situations that develop over the course of the five year period of the Strat Plan and to prepare new goals and strategies or make the necessary adjustments to meet these challenges.
2006 Budget
  • Our goals are well aligned with our overall mission and vision and we have the resources to achieve our goals and support our balanced approach.
  • Earlier this year, the President announced his budget for FY 2006. He proposed $467 million for OSHA, a $2.8 million increase over our FY '05 budget. This funding will support our existing programs and maintain our staff at 2,208.
  • As I said in my budget testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee in April, "OSHA's budget request is a continuing investment in traditional and innovative strategies that have produced declining injuries, illnesses, and fatalities for the American workforce. Our responsibility is to continue using this investment wisely to help protect employees in this nation."
  • And, just to update you, last Thursday the House Appropriations Subcommittee marked up our appropriations bill and the full committee is expected to do the same later this week.
  • As we look ahead, let me share with you a little bit about the standards and guidance projects we are working on, and then I'll go into greater detail on the three elements of our balanced approach: our outreach, education and compliance assistance efforts, our cooperative and voluntary programs, and then our enforcement program.
  • The regulatory agenda, published semiannually by the Office of Management and Budget, informs the public of all standards and other regulatory activities that the Agency expects to accomplish during the next year. As many of you are aware, the most recent agenda was published on May 16th. I will highlight a few of the matters on this list, but first a few words about our approach to standards and guidance.
  • Historically, our Directorate of Standards and Guidance has focused on developing or improving standards. Our standards address significant workplace risks and contribute greatly to ensuring safe and healthy working conditions.
  • More recently, however, in addition to our standards activities, we have been developing guidance documents, which allow us to be more responsive to emerging issues. Through our guidance documents we are able to develop creative strategies that address safety and health issues and get information to the public in a more timely fashion without having to go through the formal regulatory process.
  • Let's look at a snapshot of some of our projects in the standards and guidance arena.
  • Earlier in this fiscal year we issued a final rule for the second phase of SIPs, our Standards Improvement Project. A third phase has been added to our agenda to continue activities to upgrade and revise existing standards.
Consensus Standards Update
  • We also launched a logical, systematic effort to update the standards that reference or are based on national consensus standards over the next couple years. As you know, many of these standards date from the 1970's -- or even earlier -- and we need to tackle the job of bringing them up to date.
Subpart V: Electric Power Generation
  • OSHA is proposing to revise the general industry and construction standards addressing electric power generation, transmission, and distribution work. The proposal will be published in the Federal Register this Wednesday, June 15.
  • The proposed rule makes the much older construction standard consistent with the more recent general industry standard and reflects current technology in protecting employees.
  • This proposed rule also requires improved protection of employees exposed to electric arcs and improved fall protection for employees working from aerial lifts.
  • It also revises related standards for electrical protective equipment.
Subpart S: Electrical Safety
  • OSHA is also finalizing its revision of the general industry electrical installation standard.
  • The final rule will update the electrical standards to make them consistent with the most recent editions of the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) and the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace (NFPA 70E).
  • OSHA expects to publish the final rule later this year.
Cranes and Derricks Standard
  • A few years ago, construction industry stakeholders asked OSHA to update its 30-year old construction cranes and derricks standard. A number of stakeholders specifically asked that we use negotiated rulemaking for this project. The existing rule, which dates back to 1971, is based in part on industry consensus standards that in some cases date as far back as the 1950s.
  • In 2002, OSHA initiated a negotiated rulemaking process to update the standard. After soliciting nominations for a negotiated rulemaking committee, 23 members were appointed (C-DAC) in 2003. These members comprise a cross-section of the interests affected by the standard -- construction employers, unions, crane manufacturers, trainers and power line companies.
  • C-DAC met 11 times beginning in July, 2003. After 1 year, in August 2004, it completed its negotiations and agreed on a draft regulatory text.
  • The C-DAC draft addresses the key hazard areas associated with the use of cranes in construction. It has innovative features addressing ground conditions, crane assembly and disassembly, work near power lines and operator qualifications.
  • The principle benefit of using negotiated rulemaking is that the industry brings its collective expertise to the table and, with OSHA also at the table, works out solutions together. This is particularly valuable when, as in the case of cranes and derricks, there are highly complex technical issues involved. The end result is a product that is practical, viable and has a broad base of support among the affected interests.
  • We are currently developing an economic analysis; once it is completed we will determine if we are required to conduct a small business review under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, or SBREFA. If not, we will move directly to a proposal.
Confined Spaces
  • Over the past few years, OSHA has worked with the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, held stakeholder meetings, and completed the SBREFA Small Business review process. As a result of the feedback obtained through these mechanisms, OSHA has prepared a draft proposal.
  • The draft construction proposal is similar to the General Industry Confined Space Standard, but has the following differences:
  • Improved clarity -- it is designed to be more easily understood by small construction employers who do not have separate safety staff.
  • Hazard assessment -- it outlines a step-by-step approach for the employer to use when assessing confined spaces at the construction site.
  • Multiple employers -- since most construction sites involve multiple employers, it addresses coordination and information sharing responsibilities with respect to the general contractor and the subcontractors.
  • There are some enhanced safety requirements for sewer-type spaces, for example, an early warning system to guard against upstream hazards headed downstream.
  • We anticipate publishing a proposed rule by the end of the year.
Other Rulemaking Activities
  • We also expect to issue proposals for general working conditions in shipyards and explosives, and expect to have final action on assigned protection factors for respirators. In addition, we have ongoing rulemaking activities for crystalline silica, beryllium and hexavalent chromium. We plan to complete a final standard for hexavalent chromium in January 2006.
  • Now let me list some of the guidance products we're developing. We're working on guidance for tuberculosis, mold, hazard communication, PPE for emergency responders, metal recycling and other topics.
  • We are also exploring other emerging issues such as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, an important issue for addressing occupational health and safety in the global economy. This, in fact, has been added to our regulatory agenda, with an advance notice of proposed rulemaking expected later this year.
  • Steve Witt, my deputy assistant secretary, will discuss our regulatory activities in more detail in a session on government relations later in this conference.
  • Now I'm going to provide you a summary of activities we have undertaken in our balanced approach.
  • OSHA is committed to expanding outreach, education and compliance assistance and we are creatively using a large variety of resources to communicate with our many audiences -- employers and employees alike.
  • The OSHA website is a clearinghouse for occupational safety and health information. It contains an extensive array of resources on safety and health issues.
  • More than 200 safety and health topics pages address hazards, related standards, guidance for reducing associated risks and links to additional information on a variety of issues. I would just like to thank all of the ASSE members who have helped prepare a number of safety and health topics pages with us.
  • The Compliance Assistance section contains resources and information for employers and safety and health professionals.
  • Our interactive elements such as eTools guide users step-by-step through critical evaluations of safety and health hazards.
  • We also have a variety of web-based tools that provide easy access to employees and employers alike when they need OSHA information, such as QuickStart -- a tool to help businesses get started learning about OSHA's resources as well as applicable rules and standards -- and MyOSHA, which allows users to create personalized web links with just the OSHA resources they need.
Other Compliance Assistance Activities and Resources
  • OSHA has a variety of publications, such as brochures, handouts, etc., and other products such as Quick Cards, which provide information on a variety of topics in an easy to use format. One recent example of a highly successful Quick Card is the one we published on trenching and distributed to the Construction industry.
  • We also have a compliance assistance specialist in every Federal OSHA office across the country who is ready to lend a hand. These specialists are ready to answer questions and have the capability to zero in on local needs and issues. They can also provide advice and assistance, outreach, training, education and information sharing. These specialists also participate in, as well as organize, seminars, workshops and speaking events. And they provide services to all businesses, especially small businesses, local trade and labor groups, and community- and faith-based organizations.
  • We will continue our work on compliance assistance initiatives for recordkeeping, hazard communication, trenching and reactive chemicals.
Compliance Assistance Example -- Hispanic & Immigrant Workforce
  • Let me briefly mention an example of a situation where the Agency has utilized all of its compliance assistance resources to make a difference with a challenge faced by the Agency -- the situation involving the growing Hispanic and immigrant workforce. The Agency created a task force to come up with ways to provide the necessary resources and develop strategies to provide assistance to this important part of the nation's workforce.
  • For example, Hispanics are the fastest growing online population. Recognizing this, the agency developed OSHA en Espanol, that features critical OSHA safety and health information in Spanish.
  • The website contains many compliance assistance materials, including a simple, 7 Step Quick Start program that assists employers with a Spanish-speaking workforce to learn more about workplace rights and responsibilities, identify Spanish-language resources and find information about how to work cooperatively with OSHA to train and educate employees.
  • OSHA has distributed dozens of publications in Spanish. For example, the agency's popular QuickCards that focus on specific safety and health hazards are all developed in English and Spanish. It also has developed a bilingual dictionary of important safety and workplace terms for employer and employee reference.
  • OSHA has established Alliances and other cooperative relationships at both the national and regional level to provide outreach material to the Hispanic community. As of May, OSHA has 10 national and over 55 regional/area office Alliances with a Hispanic outreach focus.
  • Last summer, OSHA and the U.S. Department of Labor held the first national Hispanic Safety and Health Summit. More than 500 representatives from government, community and faith-based organizations, non-profits, industry, academia, and organized labor met in Florida to discuss safety and health issues impacting Hispanic workers. It was a great success, and spurred OSHA's renewed commitment to reducing occupational fatalities among Hispanic workers.
  • We are continuing to put additional Hispanic information on our website and making it more accessible.
  • We will continue to place special focus on the growing Hispanic and immigrant workforce and to develop further strategies including compliance assistance and enforcement to further improve workplace safety and health for these employees.
  • Turning to our training programs, I will mention a few words about the Outreach Training Program, the OSHA Training Institute, the Ed Centers and the training grants program.
Training and Education
  • The OSHA Outreach Training Program is the Agency's primary way to train workers in the basics of occupational safety and health. Through the program, individuals who complete a one-week OSHA trainer course are authorized to teach 10-hour or 30-hour courses in construction or general industry safety and health standards. Authorized trainers can receive OSHA course completion cards for their students. Over the past four years, over one million students have received training through this program.
  • OSHA's Training Institute, outside of Chicago, and 19 OSHA-sanctioned Ed Centers throughout the country offer a variety of programs for workers, safety and health professionals and the agency's compliance officers.
OSHA and Small Business
  • I will now take a few moments to describe the Agency's efforts at utilizing its outreach and compliance assistance resources to address the needs of an important sector in our economy -- small businesses.
  • Small businesses are the heart and soul of American enterprise. They are the engine of job creation, the source of income for millions of workers and the mainstay of the American ownership society.
  • Small businesses:

    • Represent 99.7 percent of all employers
    • Employ half of all private sector employees
    • Create 2/3 of all net new jobs.
  • Safety and health consultation programs that reach out to help these employers by improving safety and health conditions are of paramount importance to this Administration.
Recent OSHA Small Business Accomplishments
  • OSHA has taken many steps to help small businesses improve safety and health. Here are a few recent ones:
  • Since its creation two years ago, the Directorate of Cooperative and State Program's Office of Small Business Assistance has marketed and promoted the On-site Consultation Program at conferences around the Country involving small business issues -- reaching more than 170,000 potential customers.
  • We've just published -- in March -- an updated Small Business Handbook, which is a clear, concise, 56-page health and safety resource. There were more than 30,000 advance orders for copies. The previous edition was one of OSHA's best sellers.
  • Some 2,500 copies of OSHA Listening to Small Business videos, which showcases real small business success stories, have been provided to targeted audiences and are being used by regional compliance assistance specialists to promote the On-site Consultation Program.
  • Right now we're also developing plans to further improve our small business programs. We're reviewing our efforts and building on our successes.
  • As many of you know, OSHA's commitment to small business employers goes beyond Consultation. OSHA recently appointed a task force to look at new ways to focus on the needs of small businesses. The team identified innovative approaches and techniques for enhancing OSHA's impact on safety and health at small business worksites. We're now taking a look at the recommendations.
Consultation Program
  • Consultation is a free service through which employers can learn potential hazards at their worksites, improve their occupational safety and health management systems, and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections. The service is delivered by state entities, including state governments and universities, using well-trained professional staff. Most consultations take place on-site, though limited services away from the worksite are available.
  • This year marks the 30th anniversary of OSHA's consultation program. More than 500,000 private sector consultation visits have been conducted over the past 30 years, covering more than 25 million American workers.
  • The Consultation Program is primarily targeted for smaller businesses. It is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort -- no citations are issued or penalties proposed.
  • In the past 10 years, the consultation program has continued to experience a strong demand for its expertise and services that match its historical growth. From 1994 to 2004, 250,000 employers used the consultation program.
  • We've had good results and SHARP illustrates how these visits can lead to long-term positive outcomes.
SHARP Program
  • The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes small employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system. Upon receiving SHARP recognition, the employer's worksite will be exempt from programmed inspections during the period that the SHARP certificate is valid -- one year for the first certification and one to two years for subsequent certificates.
  • SHARP is administered by the Consultation Program in each state. To qualify, the employer must: request a comprehensive consultation visit; involve employees in the Consultation process; correct all hazards; implement and maintain an effective safety and health management system; bring injury and illness rates below the appropriate national average; and agree to communicate with Consultation about changes in working conditions or new hazards.
  • Today there are 788 SHARP worksites, and we would like to see even more companies join in the successes we have witnessed.
  • One award-winning SHARP company is DeBourgh Manufacturing Company, a custom locker manufacturer employing 110 workers and this company's story illustrates the benefits of this program.
DeBourgh Manufacturing Company (La Junta, CO)
  • Several years ago this company was targeted for OSHA compliance inspections due to their high injury rates. DeBourgh had upwards of 30 recordable incidents in 1997.
  • When the possibility for participating in the Safety and Health Achievement and Recognition Program was first proposed to the company, there was no hesitation that they wanted to pursue this goal. They have been participating in the Colorado Consultation since 1999, and their first SHARP certificate was awarded in 2000.
  • To date the company boasts a Total Recordable Case (TRC) rate of less than 1.0 and a Days Away, Restricted, and/or Transfer (DART) Rate of 0.0. Also, DeBourgh's insurance costs have dropped significantly and their already low Experience Modifier Rate (1.00) is expected to drop even lower this year.
  • "No job is worth the risk of injury," says Steve Berg, President/Owner/CEO of the company. "DeBourgh has the highest respect and care for each of its employees. Their safety and well-being are paramount to our success as a company."
  • DeBourgh was recently awarded the SHARP Employer of the Year Award.
  • The next element in our balanced approach is cooperative and voluntary programs. We're focusing on these programs because we can leverage our safety and health resources for substantial benefits for both employees and employers. Let's now review a few.
  • The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is OSHA's premier cooperative program, representing the highest levels of commitment to occupational safety and health. VPP has been incredibly successful for both employers and OSHA. On average, VPP participants have Days Away Restricted or Transferred rates that are 52% lower than other companies in their industries.
  • Reducing injuries and illnesses is not only the right thing to do for employees, but it also provides benefits to the bottom line -- increased productivity, lower costs such as workers' compensation premiums, reduced insurance expenses and reduction of other costs. Entire industries benefit as VPP sites evolve into models of excellence and influence practices industry-wide.
  • VPP also benefits OSHA because the agency gains a corps of ambassadors enthusiastically spreading the message of safety and health system management. These partners also provide OSHA with valuable input and augment its resources.
  • We're expanding this program to spread the value of VPP to as many companies and sites as we can. Today we have more than 1,294 sites participating.
  • VPP payoffs are high. While there are an impressive number of VPP success stories, let's take a look at a few to see how we're doing.
Milliken and Company
  • Milliken and Company, a large textile manufacturer based in South Carolina, began participating in VPP in 1992.
  • In January 2005, I awarded Milliken's Live Oak Plant in Lagrange, GA, with Star VPP Status.

    • Now, all 44 of Milliken's US-based locations are in the VPP.
    • Milliken ranks 4th overall in total VPP sites
  • Fortune Magazine named Milliken the 16th best company to work for in 2004 based upon a number of factors including corporate culture, relations with employees, company policies, etc.
  • Milliken is an exemplary company that takes its safety seriously and has employees dedicated to safety.
Valero Refining Company
  • Valero Refining Company is the most recent inductee into the VPP, earning a prestigious Star which will be awarded this week for the company's Ardmore facility in Oklahoma.
  • The facility processes domestic crude oil from third party pipelines and trucking operations. Refined products are transported by pipeline, rail car and truck. The company has 300 employees and 60 contractors on site.
  • The Ardmore facility has an exemplary safety record with an injury and illness rate that is 79 percent below the national average for their industry.
U.S. Mint
  • The final success story that I'll mention to you involves a federal agency and is an excellent example of how workers and employers can work together to achieve success in workplace safety and health. This is the story of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.
  • The Philadelphia Mint has been in operation since 1792. It is currently housed in a 1960s era building that was constructed when asbestos was commonly used.
  • Employees reported being fearful for their health in the building. Three years ago, OSHA cited the Philadelphia Mint for 81 violations with 139 specific examples.
  • The newly appointed U.S Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore took decisive action to turn the Mint's safety and health record around. She halted production for six weeks to improve conditions. Employees, managers and two unions worked side by side to raise standards and toughen procedures.
  • Just a week ago, on June 6, the facility and its employees celebrated a remarkable achievement. Through hard work, cooperation and a commitment to excellence, they had transformed the Mint into a model of safety, and were recognized for their achievements by being named a VPP Star Site.
VPP -- Pilot Programs
  • Last year we launched two pilot programs to increase participation in VPP -- Corporate Pilot and Challenge.
VPP -- Corporate Pilot
  • The VPP Corporate Pilot is designed to streamline the VPP application and onsite evaluation process for corporations that have made a corporate commitment to VPP and have internal screening processes to ensure their facilities are VPP ready.
  • Corporations submit one corporate application to OSHA describing corporate safety and health policies.
  • OSHA conducts an onsite review at corporate headquarters of corporate safety and health policies and procedures that are common to all facilities, reviews the corporate pre-screening process and interviews top executives on their commitment to safety and health and VPP.
  • After the corporate onsite is completed and the corporation is officially approved, their individual facilities qualify to submit a streamlined VPP application in that they do not have to repeat what was previously submitted in the corporate application.
  • Individual facilities can also qualify for streamlined onsite evaluations.
  • Currently there are seven (7) companies participating in or working toward VPP Corporate Pilot approval.
VPP -- OSHA Challenge Pilot
  • Another VPP Pilot launched last year is the OSHA Challenge Pilot, which provides a roadmap to implementing safety and health management systems in three stages.
  • OSHA Challenge provides a process to help workplaces get ready for VPP. We have 12 Challenge administrators working with us in the pilot to shepherd worksites to get ready for VPP.
  • OSHA provides recognition at the completion of each stage.
  • Challenge has both a construction and a general industry track.
  • The OSHA Challenge Pilot conserves OSHA resources. Qualified volunteer OSHA Challenge Administrators (private companies, federal agencies or non-profit associations) assist employers with improving their safety and health management systems.
  • There are currently 37 participants: 29 in the construction track and eight (8) in general industry.

    • There are 12,441 total employees covered by the VPP Challenge Pilot.
  • We anticipate continued growth in this Pilot over the next year and a half.
VPP -- Construction
  • An additional new Voluntary Protection Program was announced last year--VPP for Construction or VPPC. OSHA proposed the creation of the VPPC in the Federal Register to address the unique challenges of the construction industry (including short-term construction sites and mobile workforces) and requested public comment. Construction industry participation in OSHA's traditional VPP has been limited to longer term construction sites and companies who have qualified in either the Short-Term or Mobile Workforce Demonstration Star Programs. The new VPPC, subject to final review and approval by the Agency, would open up participation to many more construction industry participants across the nation. We've received comments on the FR notice and this program is under internal review within the Agency.
  • The OSHA Strategic Partnership Program embraces collaborative agreements between OSHA and its partners who agree to work cooperatively to address critical safety and health issues. This approach is proving to be an effective tool for reducing fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace.
  • Working together, OSHA, employers, and employees identify the safety and health problem they will address and begin to craft a Partnership agreement. The agreement may be national, regional, or local in scope. Partners agree upon individual responsibilities, identify strategies, establish goals and performance measures to verify results.
  • Other interested parties, including unions, trade associations, local/state governments, and insurance companies, are often brought into the Partnership to contribute their expertise and resources.
  • What is noteworthy about OSHA's Partnership program is that each Partnership is intended to impact multiple worksites or employers.
  • OSHA and its partners benefit every time a Partnership demonstrates the value of cooperation among employers, worker, and other stakeholders. These experiences are excellent industry models to encourage other employers to take a proactive approach.
  • We have 200 Strategic Partnerships, including one signed last summer that will benefit more than 750,000 workers in the electrical transmission and distribution industry.
Partnership Success Story -- UAW International Union/Ford Motor Co.
  • Partnerships can yield substantial benefits. Here's a few results of a partnership with the United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Company involving several different sites in eight (8) states.
  • Injury rates decreased at these sites.
  • At Partner sites in 2003, Ford had 97 percent fewer OSHA violations than they had in 1999.
  • In 2003, Ford experienced a 98.5 percent reduction of the total penalty dollar amount as compared to 1999 (A reduction from over $482,000 to $7,000).
  • In March 2002, OSHA created the Alliance Program. This cooperative program enables organizations committed to safety and health to work with OSHA to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the workplace. OSHA and Alliance Program participants work together to reach out to, educate and lead the nation's employers and their employees in advancing workplace safety and health. Groups that can form an Alliance with OSHA include employers, labor unions, trade or professional groups, and educational institutions.
  • We now have 349 Alliances to promote the value of safety and health and increase training and outreach.
  • There are many benefits to participating in an Alliance with OSHA. The two-year agreements help organizations to:

    • Build trusting, cooperative relationships with the Agency.
    • Network with others committed to workplace safety and health.
    • Leverage resources to maximize worker safety and health protection.
    • Gain recognition as proactive leaders in safety and health.
And now a word on our Alliance with ASSE
  • I was honored to kick off ceremonies to start North American Occupational Safety and Health Week at Department of Labor Headquarters, along with Gene Barfield, your president, and Art Nordham, secretary of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering.
  • Along with presenting the national winners of the annual ASSE Kids' NAOSH "Safety-on-the-Job" poster contest, I announced two new publications -- the Hispanic Outreach and Youth Worker fact sheets.
  • I believe our Alliance will have a significant impact on worker health and safety by focusing on occupational safety and health programs; and increasing understanding of the benefits of investment in occupational safety and health.
  • OSHA's participation in this conference is a key part of our Alliance. OSHA's executive leadership and others are making speeches, presenting workshops and attending. your conference this week.
  • We are sponsoring a workshop on "Supporting Safety, Health and Environmental Careers in Government" here. In addition to ASSE, other Alliance Program panel participants are the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and Washington Group International.
  • OSHA also has an exhibit booth where Agency staff will be distributing compliance assistance information and answering questions.
  • In the upcoming year OSHA and ASSE will be working together on a number of projects, including:
  • Addressing the following OSHA Strategic Management Plan areas and developing information products on the issues:

    • Motor vehicle safety
    • Young worker safety and health
    • Homeland security
    • Hispanic outreach
  • OSHA and ASSE will be planning and holding a kick-off event for 2006 NAOSH Week.
  • ASSE members are participating on the Alliance Program Construction Roundtable's Fall Protection and Design for Safety Workgroups.
  • Additionally, OSHA and ASSE continue to work together on activities supporting the Alliance to provide updates through ASSE's web site.
  • ASSE also has shared information with the Federal Network for Young Worker Safety and Health (FedNet). Cindy Lewis from ASSE's Gulf Coast Chapter made a presentation to FedNet about the regional Alliance that the chapter signed and the successes that the Alliance is achieving in its efforts to share safety and health information with youth workers.
  • As we continue our Alliance with ASSE we look forward to expanding the scope of the Alliance and continuing to partner for prevention.
  • Now for a few updates on the third element of our balanced approach -- enforcement.
  • I intend to continue a strong, fair and effective enforcement program. We are projecting 37,700 inspections for FY 2005 -- the same number planned for FY 2003 and 2004. The proposed budget for FY 2006 envisions the same number.
  • In March, testifying before the Congress on the FY 2006 budget, Secretary Chao said: "We have set records in enforcing worker protection laws. For example, worker fatalities are at an all time-low, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has consistently exceeded its inspection targets."
  • More precisely, in 2004, we exceeded our target, completing 39,167 inspections.
  • Let's review a few numbers on citations.
  • We identified 83,539 violations in FY 2003, 86,708 in FY 2004 and 45,545 so far in FY 2005.
  • The top violations for general industry and construction remain relatively constant each year. These are based on standards that deserve renewed attention as we focus on the reduction of injuries/illnesses and fatalities. The most frequently cited violations are:
  • For General Industry

    • Hazard Communication
    • Respirators
    • Lockout/Tagout
    • Machine Guarding, General Requirements
    • Powered Industrial Trucks
  • For Construction, the most frequent violations are:

    • Scaffolding
    • Fall Protection
    • Electrical, Equipment
    • Excavations, Requirements for Protective Systems
    • General Safety Provisions
Site Specific Targeting
  • Our mainstay for zeroing in on the right sites to inspect is Site Specific Targeting. SST identifies individual employers in general industry and maritime with the highest injury and illness rates. We will continue this program as one of our key strategies in enforcement.
  • In March, we sent letters to 14,000 sites from the 80,000 surveyed earlier on injury and illness rates. The letter informs the sites that their rates are significantly higher than average and suggests strategies for reducing injuries and illnesses among their workers. We're beginning inspections at several thousand sites with the highest rates.
  • A study in 2004 of Site Specific Targeting shows that it is making a difference. That evaluation, sponsored by the Department of Labor, found that companies that received our letter, but were not inspected, reduced injuries and illnesses about 5 percent over the three years following the letter. But the sites that were actually inspected had injury and illness declines ranging from 12 to 13.8 percent over the three years following our inspection.
  • As you know, we also have other strategies for inspection targeting.
National Emphasis Programs
  • We currently have five National Emphasis Programs focusing on specific safety and health issues including amputations, lead, silica, ship breaking and trenching that we've determined warrant special attention. We also have more than 140 Local Emphasis Programs, developed by our 10 regional offices and our 67 local offices on the basis of what hazards they think need special emphasis. About 20,000 of our inspections result from emphasis programs. Enhanced Enforcement
  • We're also continuing with the Enhanced Enforcement Program. EEP zeroes in on employers with the gravest violations who have failed to take their safety and health responsibilities seriously.
  • The EEP is the Agency's newest enforcement program, established in September, 2003.
  • The EEP includes a five-prong approach:

    1. Enhanced follow-up inspection;
    2. Targeted inspections for other worksites of the employer;
    3. Increased company awareness of OSHA enforcement;
    4. Enhanced settlement provisions;
    5. Federal court enforcement under section 11(b) of the OSH Act.
  • In Fiscal Year 2004, we had 313 inspections classified as EEP cases. These are the cases and violations we really want to focus and follow-up on.
  • By far the largest number of these EEP cases -- more than 80 percent -- involve fatalities with high gravity violations. About 55 percent of the EEP cases involved construction. Of the rest, about half were in manufacturing, and the rest were in other industries.
Enforcement Success
  • The result of our enforcement efforts, combined of course with our compliance assistance, outreach and education, is clear -- fewer injuries, fewer illnesses and fewer deaths in the workplace.
  • The facts are clear -- recordable injury and illness rates have declined 7.1 percent from 2002 to 2003 and lost workday rates have declined 7.7 percent from 2002 to 2003; both of these rates are at the lowest level since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting this information in the 1970s. Total fatalities have declined 6 percent from 2001 to 2003 and workplace fatalities among Hispanic workers have fallen by 11.6 percent since 2001.
Special Focus
  • The agency also in taking a special focus -- both in enforcement and compliance assistance -- on the seven (7) priority industries identified in our strat plan and our FY '05 operating plan:
    • Landscaping
    • Oil and gas field services
    • Fruit and vegetable processing
    • Concrete and concrete products
    • Steel works
    • Ship building and repair
    • Warehousing
  • These industries were selected because of their high incidence rates.
  • With respect to the special focus industries and areas, OSHA has set specific goals to address these challenges both in enforcement -- programmed inspections and the like -- as well as compliance assistance (including alliances, partnerships, and eTools).
Special Areas of Emphasis
  • Finally, I would like to highlight a few areas of emphasis that OSHA will focus its resources (including enforcement, compliance assistance, outreach and training) to address the challenges in the following situations: (1) youth employment safety; (2) workplace violence; (3) construction; (4) transportation; and (5) homeland security. In each of these areas, we have set goals and targets in our annual operating plan.
  • We've now covered all the elements of our balanced approach. Before closing, I'd like to tell you about professional certification of OSHA staff and briefly mention the upcoming World Congress on Health and Safety at Work.
Professional Certification
  • OSHA needs to constantly upgrade the skills and knowledge of its staff to maintain it's world class status as a professional safety and health organization.
  • One way we've been doing this is through Professional Certification. Professional certification of OSHA's staff is on the increase. OSHA now has 326 certified professionals -- 118 hold the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification. The 326 certified professionals represent an increase from 165, the number of certified professionals we had when we began emphasizing the importance of professional certification for OSHA employees in 2002.
World Class Leadership
  • And finally, OSHA is involved in a number of international initiatives surrounding occupational health and safety. The World Congress on Health and Safety at Work is one of those activities.
  • For the first time in the 50-year history of the World Safety Congress, the United States is hosting this event in Orlando, Fla. This conference is sponsored by the National Safety Council and the International Labor Organization (ILO). OSHA is supporting the conference and participating as a government partner on the national organizing committee.
  • This September in Orlando, 3,000 professionals will meet to discuss a variety of topics associated with this year's World Congress theme "Prevention in a Globalized World -- Success Through Partnerships."
  • Some of the topics that will be discussed include:

    • Impact of Globalization: Opportunities and Risks
    • Leadership in Safety and Health
    • Challenges in a Changing World of Work
    • Prevention is a Value in a Globalized World
  • I look forward to seeing many of you in Orlando this September.
  • As you can see, we expect to be busy the rest of this year. We're headed in the right direction. BLS data released in March, along with the seven-percent decline in workplace injuries and illnesses from 2002 to 2003 that BLS reported last December, validates OSHA's policy of targeting outreach and enforcement resources where they will have the most impact. This data tells us our Strategic Management Plan is on the right track.
  • In a large measure, our successes depend on safety and health professionals like you. My challenge to all of you is to build on our successes as we continue to drive down on-the-job injuries, deaths and illnesses.
  • Not only is workplace safety the right thing to do for America's workers, it also makes good business sense because time and time again it's been proved that good safety leads to reduced workers compensation costs, increased productivity and higher employee morale.
  • We look forward to continued close cooperation and collaboration with the ASSE and its members. We value your input into our activities and programs.
  • Unfortunately, I won't be able to stay for the rest of the conference but OSHA has several presenters here whom you will hear from this week including Deputy Assistant Secretary Steve Witt, Paula White, our Director of State and Cooperative Programs, and Bill Perry among others. Please take the opportunity to meet with all the OSHA staffers here, and stop by our exhibit.
  • My best wishes to each of you for a profitable, rewarding conference.
  • Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today about OSHA and where the Agency is headed this year and beyond.
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