National Partnership for Reinventing Government
Remarks by Bob Stone
Hammer Award Ceremony for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Partnership Teams
November 13, 1998
Good Morning! Thank you Secretary Herman, Mr. Georgine, everyone.
On behalf of Vice President Al Gore, let me offer congratulations to all of you champions – and particularly to the hammer teams.
You know how the Michelin Guide gives hotels up to five "stars" for supreme excellence. Well in the NPR Guide, this is a "Five Hammer" event – meaning the best possible.
The Vice President invented the Hammer Award to recognize teams of reinventors who got RESULTS, who made REAL progress in reinventing government.
He chose a hammer for the award because hammers can be used to build, and to demolish. As these teams can attest, reinvention usually involves both. And the Hammer Award was just about the only piece of hardware we could find that didn’t require Bill Gates’ software to run it.
Reinvention almost always requires another key activity – partnership. And that is what these hammers are all about. And that is what this meeting is all about.
These hammers highlight, once again, OSHA’s leadership in the toughest job in town, regulatory reinvention. OSHA started fast and kept at it, showing the way for other regulatory agencies. They did it by changing the game from "gotcha" to "helpya" – otherwise known as partnership.
Today’s hammers are yet more evidence of the POWER OF PARTNERSHIP – a power that is transforming our government.
In Kansas City, the OSHA team offered training and a voluntary self-inspection to meatpacking companies with high injury rates. Working in partnership with OSHA, these companies reduced lost workdays by 15%. Even better, in response to their training, the employees identified and corrected 840 workplace hazards – far more than inspectors ever could.
Most people don’t know that OSHA inspects government agencies. The Immigration and Naturalization Service on the Texas border was a dangerous place to work. By creating an agency-to-agency partnership that emphasized proactive solutions and training, the Dallas OSHA office and the INS collaborated in reducing accidents by 13% and hazardous exposures by 11%.
OSHA in New Jersey worked out a federal/state/local, public/private partnership to reduce the hazards of highway construction in the Garden State. By teaching state and local police what to look for on road construction sites and by empowering them to enforce OSHA regulations, more than 4,000 hazards have been identified and over 4,500 highway workers removed from harm.
The State of Oregon partnered with OSHA in developing the first ever comprehensive performance agreement. This means that Oregon’s State OSHA no longer will be monitored in comparison to the federal OSHA, but instead will work to meet mutually agreed on standards. These performance goals are focused on results, and they are reducing Oregon’s injury and illness rates.
And finally, back to Kansas again. OSHA’s Team Kansas partnered with the Kansas Oil and Gas Association to encourage safety training and voluntary compliance with OSHA regulations. The Kansas petroleum industry had averaged 3 deaths a year, and the year before the Team Kansas program kicked in, five workers were killed. Now the program’s been up for three years with just one fatality.
So when I said to you that these teams have only one thing in common – regulatory reinvention through partnership – I forgot something.
These teams have one more thing in common – they have saved lives and limbs.
Now it’s time to present the Hammers.
Marcia Drumm, Deborah Berkowitz, Christine Stewart, Yvonne Amy, Jean Williams, Jacalyn Wheeler, James Wood, Richard Baily, Kathlyn Gail Harris, Adam Gerson, Wendy Banden
Dallas and INS
John Miles, Dean McDaniel, Debbie Dusenberry, Robert Hunter, Harry Campbell, June Quarles, Geronimo Gomez, Antonio Fuentes, Steve McDaniel, John Sciascia, John Garcia, James Haley, Barbara Blessing
New Jersey Highway Safety
Patricia Clark, Dave Ippolito Louis Ricca, Douglas Prince, Bob Kulick, Russel Tong, Paul Hoffman, Anker Winther, Donna Dooner, David Sowers, Phillip Schifano, Kevin Monaco, Dennis Merida, Gary Corino, Brian McQuade, Joseph Orth, Joseph Zippel, Frank Diantonio, Michael Cackowski, John Hibbs, Mike Seigfried
Richard Terrill, Peter Deluca
Kansas Oil and Gas
Judy Freeman, Kristina Lenoch, Thomas Marple, Michael Moon, Douglas Pechman, Donald Schnacke, Leonard Schuckman
Now let me say a few words about the future. We have all been working hard at reinvention for over five years. Sometimes people come up to me and ask what the future of this reinvention effort will be if there is a change in government. You know, like if we had a new Speaker of the House or something.
Well, one of the key principles of reinvention is to listen to the front line workers. I was talking to an OSHA frontliner, Mike Kelly. Mike is a compliance safety and health officer. He said, "We know the new way saves lives. We’ll never go back to the old way." I think that answers the question better than any policy statement from Congress or the White House.
Which leads me to one last thought-- It’s often hard for adults to relate to their children or grandchildren about their work. The kids are often proud of their parents or grandparents, but they aren’t sure why.
Here’s a chance to show them why. Show them your Hammer Awards. And go to their schools and show the Hammer to their class as part of "Show-and-Tell." Explain to the class what your company or agency has done to make the world they will inherit a cleaner, safer place. It is important for them to understand that some real heroes have names like "Dad" or "Grandma."
And when you are done with your show-and-tell, they’ll know one great reason to be proud of you. And, far more than Al Gore or anybody else could, those children will make you feel like the champions you really are.
And remember, "We’re saving lives and we’ll never go back."
NOTE: For more information on OSHA Hammer Awards and reinvention at OSHA, contact Bob Pitulej at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 693-1834. Also visit:
National Partnership for Reinventing Government
Vice President Gore's Hammer Awards