OSHA Official Renews Alliance With SMACNA
Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (OSHA) was a guest speaker at SMACNA’s December Council of Chapter Representatives meeting.
Mr. Foulke met briefly with SMACNA President Richard J. Cramer Sr. and SMACNA Director of Safety and Health, Mike McCullion, and together they renewed the original two-year SMACNA/OSHA Alliance for one more year.
“I am proud to stand before you today as OSHA and SMACNA renew our Alliance, which was first signed in August 2004,” Mr. Foulke said. “This agreement has focused on developing information, guidance, and access to training resources to help protect employees' health and safety. Over the last two years we have addressed a range of issues, such as motor vehicle safety, fall protection, and personal protective equipment.”
In response, SMACNA President Cramer acknowledged, “We are enthusiastic about our ongoing Alliance with OSHA because it ensures continuity and structure for the development of new safety information and tools to make American workplaces safer.”
In addition, he explained that “we also welcome the opportunity to share the benefits of the Alliance with our members and chapters by encouraging them to seek partnership efforts with OSHA on a state and local level.” For example, state and federal OSHA representatives participated in the 2006 SMACNA Convention Products Show.
Mr. Foulke further noted that ensuring workplace safety also makes good business sense. OSHA data suggests that companies implementing effective safety and health programs can expect to see their injury and illness rates reduced by 20 percent or more. SMACNA’s safety survey participants consistently report equally successful safety programs, as the average lost workday incidence rate for respondents is well below industry-wide rates.
Mr. Foulke emphasized his desire to impress upon employers the need to protect their most valuable business asset – their employees. “Do not be afraid to come to us for help and advice,” he said. “We should all be on the same side of the law, working toward the same goal: Assuring the safety and health of employees.”
“I want to get the message out that the most effective safety and health strategy available is prevention,” he said. “Together, we can make American workplaces the safest, most healthful and most productive in the world.”