This photo is from the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

OSHA Renews Partnership for Electrical Workers' Safety

Originally signed in August 2004, the partnership supports training and sharing best practices for safe work in electrical transmission and distribution.

OSHA has renewed a partnership to support the safety of electrical transmission and distribution workers. First signed in August 2004 and renewed twice since then, it has been renewed once more with the same organizations: Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Edison Electric Institute, Henkels & McCoy Inc., MDU Construction Services Group Inc., MYR Group Inc., the National Electrical Contractors Association, Pike Electric Inc., and Quanta Services, Inc. They agree to work together to recommend best practices to reduce injuries and deaths in the industry while ensuring workers are trained to use those practices.

“I am pleased to see the members of this OSHA Strategic Partnership back at the table today to sign a new agreement,” said Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. “This tells that the previous years of the partnership have been successful for everyone concerned and that you find value in working with OSHA and with each other. The families of workers in this industry are counting on us to work together so that every worker returns home, safe and healthy, at the end of every single workday.”

Since the most recent renewal in 2008, fatal accidents in the industry dropped from six in 2008 to two in 2009 and the Days Away From Work, Restricted Work Activity, or Job Transfer Rate dropped from 4.04 in 2008 to 2.95 in 2009, according to OSHA, which said nearly 4,400 apprentices, journeymen, foremen, and general foremen completed the OSHA 10-Hour Outreach Training Program for the transmission and distribution industry during this time.

One of the largest electrical worker training programs is run by the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, formed more than 60 years ago. It is a joint project of the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. NJATC has trained more than 350,000 apprentices.

The Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety is studying nonfatal, work-related electrical injuries and shared some of the findings in its winter 2010 magazine. While studies have been done about fatal injuries, almost none had been done on nonfatals, and research on moer than 1,200 injuries by the institute's Center for Injury Epidemiology found some surprises: the three industry sectors with the highest frequency were services, manufacturing, and retail trade; and women sustained more than 25 percent of the injuries -- rising to 50 percent in the services sector.

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