OSHA and Water Works Association work together to reduce cave-ins

A new alliance between the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the New England Water Works Association (NEWWA) will reduce hazards and improve safety for employees who work on water systems in Massachusetts.

"This alliance will help OSHA and NEWWA share best practices and technical knowledge to safeguard workers against cave-ins and trench collapses when they install or repair water systems," said K. Frank Gravitt, OSHA's deputy regional administrator for New England.

NEWWA is a non-profit, independent, member-driven organization serving New England's water works professionals and the public interest. Through the alliance, OSHA and NEWWA will develop and distribute training and education courses and provide access to training resources for NEWWA members and others.

The alliance partners will share information with industry safety and health professionals regarding NEWWA best practices or effective approaches. They will also promote the participation of NEWWA members or worksites in OSHA's cooperative programs — the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition program (SHARP) and the safety consultation program.

Representatives from each alliance organization will develop a plan of action, determine working procedures and identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants. The team will meet at least quarterly to track and share information on activities and results in achieving the goals of the alliance.

OSHA health and safety alliances are part of U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's ongoing efforts to improve the health and safety of workers through cooperative partnerships. Signing the alliance were Gravitt; Richard J. Fazzio, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties; Raymond J. Raposa, NEWWA executive director; and Ted Kenney, NEWWA deputy executive director.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created more than 230 alliances with organizations committed to fostering safety and health in the workplace.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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