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OSHA’s cooperative programs: Alliance

The Department of Labor created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assure safe and healthful working conditions and reduce workplace accidents. Under OSHA, Ohio employers are required to provide workers with a workplace that is free of serious recognized hazards and that is compliant with OSHA standards.

By setting and enforcing workplace safety standards, and implementing safety and health programs, OSHA continues to successfully reduce workplace hazards. One of the ways in which OSHA works with employers and workers to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses is by offering various cooperative programs.

One of OSHA’s cooperative programs is the Alliance Program, through which OHSA works with groups, such as unions, consulates, trade or professional organizations, businesses, faith or community-based organizations and educational institutions, to ensure that workers are not subject to an unsafe working environment. Participants develop agreements to implement projects aimed at accomplishing specific goals, such as raising awareness of OSHA’s Rulemaking and Enforcement Initiatives. Such projects may include training workers on new standards, participation in group discussions, developing compliance assistance materials and sharing information on OSHA’s regulatory agenda and how to participate in the rulemaking process.

Alliance projects also emphasize outreach and communication and may involve speaking at conferences and meetings, creating and sharing compliance assistance materials in languages other than English, and conducting best practice seminars that support OSHA’s enforcement initiatives. Finally, Alliance projects typically focus on training and education; developing training and education programs as well as arranging for the training may be part of Alliance agreements.

There are certain criteria for Alliance program participants. Alliances with employers and employer groups must also have worker representatives. This is accomplished by having a union signatory or having workers be involved in the Alliance agreement’s development and implementation.

Participants must also promote open dialogue between workers and employers and be committed to providing safe workplaces. Products of the Alliance must be made available to the public for free and workers must be provided by training opportunities, safety materials and information on new standards. A future post will discuss OSHA’s other cooperative programs dedicated to reducing workplace accidents.

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