The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) entered into a partnership this week with the Home Builders Association of Greater St. Louis, in conjunction with the Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis and vicinity, to ensure the safety and health of residential construction workers in Illinois and Missouri.
OSHA health and safety partnerships are part of U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao’s ongoing efforts to improve health and safety for workers through cooperative programs.
The Residential On-Site Safety Initiative (ROSSI) partnership with OSHA area offices in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo., and Peoria, Ill., is designed to limit and check some of the most common workplace injuries and illnesses. A key goal of the partnership is to reduce and prevent the top causes of fatalities identified by OSHA: falls, electrical hazards, moving equipment or machinery, and workers who are caught between equipment. The partnership will reportedly increase the number of employers with effective safety and health training and allow OSHA to help employers who need assistance.
“A key goal will be to help businesses develop safety and health programs that involve employers and workers in identifying and controlling hazards before they result in injuries,” said Brian Bothast, OSHA’s acting area director in Peoria. “This partnership is a major step to advance this important effort.”
Under the terms of the partnership, contractors will put safety and health programs into action that require fall protection when employees perform work that is more than six feet above the lower level. The safety programs will enable workers and supervisors to recognize and abate safety and health hazards before work begins. Contractors must conduct regular job site inspections and train all workers on typical residential construction hazards.
Participation in ROSSI is voluntary but carries incentives for those who participate. OSHA will not conduct programmed inspections of partnership members for up to 12 months once an OSHA on-site verification inspection has been successfully completed.
OSHA will still conduct inspections in response to reports of imminent danger, an employee complaint, a fatality, or catastrophic accident. OSHA will not cite contractors for other-than-serious violations that are abated during an inspection, and will reduce penalties for other safety and health violations.
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