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News Release: USDL 98-455
Thursday, November 12, 1998
Contact: Frank Kane, (202) 693-1999


In the early years of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it
seemed unlikely that employers, labor unions and OSHA would willingly join forces in
coordinated efforts to reduce injuries and illnesses. Today, however, on the eve of
OSHA's first partnership conference, on Nov. 13, in Washington, D.C., working together
with business and labor has become a key strategy for the federal safety and health

"The common thread running through these partnerships is the commitment of each
organization to work with OSHA to ensure that employees have safe and healthy
environments," said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman.

Under the banner, "Partner with OSHA: New Ways of Working," business and labor
leaders, safety and health managers, and OSHA staff will gather Friday with
representatives of trade associations and professional groups. More than 450 participants
will meet from 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center
during the conference, which is sponsored by the Labor Department and the Council for
Excellence in Government, in cooperation with the Ford Foundation.

"OSHA is constantly striving to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses. One important way
to do this is by finding others in both the public and private sectors who share our goals
and are willing to join us in partnerships, " said Assistant Secretary of Labor for
Occupational Safety and Health Charles N. Jeffress. "This conference will show how some
of the best partnerships in America operate."

Partnerships to be highlighted at the conference are:

Cowtown Project -- This includes 60 companies in Fort Worth, Tex., where OSHA
compliance training enabled them to identify and correct job hazards, resulting in
reductions in lost workday injury rates and $2 million in direct cost savings.

Steel Erectors Safety Association of Colorado -- A group of steel erector
contractors in Colorado agreed to implement comprehensive safety and health
programs and track their performance. The majority of association members have
experienced significant reductions in injuries and illnesses and lower workers'
compensation costs.

Huntsman Petrochemical Corp. -- The Huntsman Petrochemical Aromatics and
Chemical Plant, Port Arthur, Tex., has been a member of OSHA's Voluntary
Protection Program (VPP), which recognizes excellence in safety and health, since
1987. Its excellent safety and health program, which includes effective partnerships
between labor, management and OSHA, has resulted in an injury rate more than 70
percent below the national average for its industry and a lost workday rate 99
percent below the national average.

Homesafe -- This is a partnership between the Homebuilders Association (HBA) of
Metropolitan Denver and OSHA. The 350 participants are required to implement a
ten-point program that is based on OSHA and industry analyses and addresses
hazards known to cause fatal or serious accidents in the Denver homebuilding

ConAgra/UFCW/OSHA -- In January 1997, the United Food and Commercial
Workers (UFCW), OSHA and ConAgra Refrigerated Foods entered into a five-year
partnership to create models of safety and health excellence at nine ConAgra
facilities. They agreed to work cooperatively to address worker safety and health
issues at both the plant and corporate levels. One plant, Brown N Serve, has
already experienced significant reductions in injury and illness rates, improvements
in employee morale, and lower absenteeism and turnover rates.

Roofers Partnership -- This partnership involves the National Roofing Contractors'
Association; the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers; the
CNA Insurance Company; the National Safety Council; and OSHA. It works on
improving safety and health in the roofing industry in the greater Chicago area. To
date 16 contractors have achieved Premier Status and are eligible for incentives
from OSHA and the CNA Insurance Company.

The conference also will feature remarks by Secretary Herman and a leadership panel that
will include Jeffress, Robert A. Georgine, president of the Building and Construction Trades
Department of the AFL-CIO; Theodore C. Hillman, chairman of the safety and health
committee of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America; and J. Roger Hirl,
president and chief executive officer of Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem).
Patricia McGinnis, president and chief executive officer of the Council for Excellence in
Government, will moderate the panel.

In addition, Robert Stone, representing Vice President Al Gore, will present Hammer
Awards to five OSHA reinvention projects that stress partnership. The awards recognize
teams of federal, state and local employees, labor representatives and managers that
make significant contributions toward reinventing government. This will bring the total
number of Hammer Awards received by OSHA to 16.

The OSHA partnership projects being honored are with the U.S. Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS) in the Southwest to reduce injuries and illnesses at Border
Patrol Stations and INS offices; with New Jersey state police to protect highway
construction workers in that state; with meatpackers in the Midwest to reduce injuries
and illnesses in the meatpacking industry; with the state of Oregon to reduce injuries,
illnesses and fatalities in that state; and with the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas
Association to cut fatalities in the oil and gas industry.

The text of this news release is on the Internet World Wide Web at

Information on this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals
upon request. Voice phone: 202-693-1999.

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