South Florida AGC and OSHA

Partners for Safety in AGC/OSHA Strategic Partnership

(previously the Construction Health and Safety Excellence program)

The article below was written by Luis Santiago, Ft Lauderdale area former OSHA Director, and explains the value and success of the Strategic Partnership program.

  OSHA partnership logo

What a difference a partnership makes!

It is time to celebrate for the reduction in losses achieved by the companies who are part of the program. We also need to ensure that Murphy's Law does not come to the celebration. Of course, an effective safety and health program can put this law to rest.

Over six years ago, OSHA signed a partnership with the South Florida AGC chapter. Since then we jointly participated in different activities, which benefited and strengthened both organizations. This has been a proactive coordination that has produced some extraordinary tangible and intangible benefits among members. The results are now beginning to be tabulated allowing us to make a few generalities, all positive. Let me summarize just a few, though this is not all inclusive due to space limitations:

• One year after the signing of the partnership, there was an injury rate reduction of 51.5%. This represents millions of dollars in savings.

• The member companies scored 25% below the Construction National Average Incidence Rate for all sizes of companies.

• Blue level (top level) member sites inspected, some of them several times by OSHA as part of the verification process, were found not to have any violations of OSHA standards. Do I sense a great sense of pride and accomplishment?

Just to name a few of the benefits, these accomplishments represent an outstanding amount of savings in compensation costs, claims and legal representation fees, improved productivity, improved images and reputations for members, and workers being able to return to their families safe and ready to report to work the next day. This demonstrated that the Partnership works, and that all members should be proud of their accomplishments. This also represented increased profits to those Partnership members, profits that otherwise would have been severely reduced.

We also expect a secondary benefit when others attempt to replicate these successful results. Other partnerships have been recently signed in Florida such as the one signed with the Florida East Coast AGC chapter and others under the Tampa and the Jacksonville OSHA area offices' jurisdiction which now have a challenge on the table. I expect results in the future to be the same or even better, now that all are being challenged to join and reap the benefits.

Rest assured that the Ft. Lauderdale OSHA area office, and I am sure that Tampa and Jacksonville as well, will provide Partnership members the support and recognition for their commitment towards the safety of their workers. Working together, everyone wins.