OSHA's mission is to send America's employees home whole and healthy every day. Traditionally, the agency's strategy has been to promulgate and enforce workplace safety and health standards. The OSHA Strategic Partnership Program (OSPP) moves away from traditional enforcement methods and embraces collaborative agreements. Through OSPP, OSHA and its partners agree to work cooperatively to address critical safety and health issues. This very different approach is proving to be an effective tool for reducing fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace.

What is an OSHA Partnership?

The OSHA Strategic Partnership Program for Worker Safety and Health (OSPP), adopted on November 13, 1998, is an expansion and formalization of OSHA's substantial experience with voluntary programs.

  • In a Partnership, OSHA enters into an extended, voluntary, cooperative relationship with groups of employers, employees, and employee representatives (sometimes including other stakeholders, and sometimes involving only one employer) in order to encourage, assist, and recognize their efforts to eliminate serious hazards and achieve a high level of worker safety and health.

  • Partnering with OSHA is appropriate for the many employers who want to do the right thing but need help in strengthening worker safety and health at their worksites. Within the OSPP, management, labor, and OSHA are proving that old adversaries can become new allies committed to cooperative solutions to the problems of worker safety and health.

  • OSHA and its partners can identify a common goal, develop plans for achieving that goal, and cooperate in implementation.

  • OSHA's interest in cooperative Partnerships in no way reduces its ongoing commitment to enforcing the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The OSPP moves away from traditional enforcement methods that target individual worksites and punish employers who violate agency standards. Instead, in a growing number of local and national Partnerships, OSHA is working cooperatively with groups of employers and workers to identify the most serious workplace hazards, develop workplace-appropriate safety and health management systems, share resources, and find effective ways to reduce worker injuries, illnesses, and deaths.

  • Most of the worksites that have chosen to partner with OSHA are small businesses, with an average employment of fewer than 50 employees.

  • Many Partnerships focus on areas of concern addressed in OSHA's Strategic Plan. These Partnerships are seeking solutions to the following Areas of Emphasis (AOE) and AOE Targeted Areas and High Incident/Severity Areas:

  • Areas of Emphasis (AOE)

    • Construction

    • General Industry

    • Manufacturing Amputations

    • Other

  • AOE Targeted Areas and High Incident/Severity Areas

    • Amputations

    • Landscaping/horticulture

    • Oil and gas field services

    • Preserve fruits and vegetables

    • Concrete, gypsum and plaster products

    • Blast furnaces and basic steel products

    • Ship and boat building and repair

    • Public warehousing and storage

    • Egro/musculoskeletal

    • Blood lead levels

    • Silica-related diseases

    • Logging

    • Residential Building Construction

    • Commercial & Institutional Building Construction

    • Heavy, Street & Bridge Construction

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