Workplace safety partnership

Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services Director Kathy Wilbur announced on 18 March an innovative partnership between the United Auto Workers Union (UAW), Ford Motor Company, Visteon Cor…

Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services Director Kathy Wilbur announced on 18 March an innovative partnership between the United Auto Workers Union (UAW), Ford Motor Company, Visteon Corporation and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) to help improve worker health and safety at Ford and Visteon facilities in Michigan. The CIS Bureau of Safety and Regulation administers the MIOSHA program. All partners are committed to providing employees in the 17 Ford and eight Visteon plants in Michigan a healthful and safe workplace. The partnership“s primary goals are not only to reduce injuries and illnesses at each location, but to create a proactive safety and health culture, and a non-adversarial relationship that stresses cooperation. Federal OSHA signed a formal partnership agreement with the UAW, Ford and Visteon on 14 November 2000. That agreement covers 21 Ford and two Visteon plants in federal OSHA states, and addresses hazards specific to the automotive industry. The partners are constructing this partnership based on mutual respect and trust that will leverage the resources of all the parties through the anticipation, identification, evaluation and control of health and safety hazards at Ford and Visteon locations in Michigan, and thereby reduce worker injuries and illnesses. Sharing safety and health information between all partners will be a key component of the agreement, and will help identify emerging issues in the automotive industry. This partnership represents a new strategy that will emphasize proactive measures to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. During the implementation of the partnership, MIOSHA will use both consultation and compliance staff. The MIOSHA programme is one of 23 State Plan states. State Plans are OSHA-approved job safety and health programs that are operated by individual states and require standards and programs that are “at least as effective” as the federal OSHA programs. From time to time, representatives from OSHA may participate in the MIOSHA meetings to help assure consistency with the UAW/Ford/Visteon federal OSHA partnership. MIOSHA representatives also serve on the federal OSHA partnership steering committee. Each Ford and Visteon location covered under the agreement will conduct an annual MIOSHA Day where MIOSHA representatives will meet with the plant manager, union chairperson and their leadership team. The meeting will include a review of the injury and illness reports, an overview of their safety and health progress, and an informal walk-through of the facility. The partnership with MIOSHA also provides that Ford and Visteon may be asked to pilot and evaluate draft regulations for consideration by a MIOSHA standards commission. Elements of this agreement may serve as a model in the future to all businesses subject to MIOSHA regulations. MIOSHA inspections to investigate employee complaints, serious injuries or fatalities, and national or state emphasis programs are not precluded by this agreement. Ford and Visteon plants selected for general schedule inspections from the MIOSHA Inspection Targeting list will receive a focused inspection. The focused inspection will include an evaluation of the inspection protocols listed in the agreement. Under the agreement, an 11-point set of guidelines will provide more focused inspections. The guidelines address hazards specific to the automotive industry and include confined spaces, skilled trades hazards, maintenance vehicles, chemical safety, energy control and power lock out, ergonomics, noise control and hearing conservation, heat stress, powered material handling vehicles, machine guarding and personal protective equipment. Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services.