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Consultation Program Gives Employers “Second Pair of Eyes” to Ensure Workplace Safety

For immediate release
October 3, 2007

WETHERSFIELD, A no-cost consultation program offered to employers by the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA), is helping an increasing number of employers in their efforts to improve health and safety procedures and better protect the workforce.

More than 450 companies took part in the On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program last year, and according to CONN-OSHA Program Manager Kenneth Tucker, approximately 500 consultations were already accomplished by the end of September.

The program, available to all private sector companies in Connecticut that are required to comply with federal OSHA safety and health standards, is completely voluntary.

As part of the consultation, CONN-OSHA health and safety personnel tour the physical facility and check a wide range of items, including the presence of air contaminants and blood borne pathogens, improperly-stored hazardous chemicals, missing or incorrectly installed machine guarding, and improper lockout/tagout procedures.

“The consultation is non-binding” Tucker notes, “in that the company is not fined or penalized for any safety concerns we identify. Instead, all that we ask is for the employer to correct the problem in order to create a safer workplace.

“We find that companies interested in taking a pro-active approach to safety are interested in taking part in the program,” Tucker added. “We have been told time and time again by employers that they appreciate this program because it gives them a second pair of eyes to double check their company’s health and safety.”

In addition to checking work areas and equipment such as grinding machines, CONN-OSHA consultants also inspect loading docks, stockrooms, lunch areas and restrooms. The consultation also includes an examination of electrical outlets, safety gloves and electrical cords, and verification of the company’s health and safety written records. The inspection portion of the visit can be accomplished in one day.

CONN-OSHA employees involved with the On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program include four occupational safety officers and four industrial hygienists. These highly experienced individuals work closely with company representatives to ensure that everyone understands the process and is satisfied with the results.

“Communication between CONN-OSHA and the employer is key throughout the entire process,” Tucker notes. ”We are there to work with a company, and our goal is to help improve them health and safety procedures and practices, rather than to criticize or reprimand.”

During the visit, a CONN-OSHA staff member and a company representative tour the worksite. The CONN-OSHA consultant will critique what they’ve found, identify possible hazards, and make written recommendations within 30 days. “We work one-on-one with employers and go over anything contained in the report, point by point,” Tucker adds.

The consultation, however, does not take the place of a visit that might be undertaken by representatives of federal OSHA. While CONN-OSHA has regulatory jurisdiction over public sector employers in this state, including state agencies, hospitals and schools, private sector employers come under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

“We want to get the word out about our On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program because it’s bringing about positive results for those employers who have taken the opportunity to use this free service,” Tucker said.

Companies interested in more information regarding the On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program can contact CONN-OSHA at (860) 263-6929. 

Media Contact: Nancy Steffens  (860) 263-6535

200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109 / Phone: 860-263-6000

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