Ford, ACH renew safety partnership with UAW, OSHA

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

In an effort to further emphasize the importance health and safety conditions in its manufacturing facilities throughout the country of employee, Ford Motor Company and Automotive Components Holdings LLC (ACH) have renewed a partnership with the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


The agreement, which covers all Ford Motor Company manufacturing facilities in the U.S., including the company's ACH locations, renews a partnership agreement first formed in 2000 among Ford, the UAW and OSHA. The new agreement, which was signed by officials from each of the partners at the UAW-Ford National Program Center in Detroit, aims to continuously reduce work-related injuries and illnesses at the company's manufacturing locations by optimizing the resources of the three partners in the development and administration of plant health and safety standards.


"Pulling together the leadership and resources of Ford, ACH, the UAW and OSHA creates a powerful team as we work together to improve our already-high standards of health and safety in our plants," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Company vice president of North America Manufacturing. "Ford is proud of its record of significantly reducing serious on-the-job injuries in recent years and we know that safety always must be top-of-mind. That's why we welcome the opportunity this agreement provides."


"As our ACH operations continue to go through significant periods of transition, one thing must remain constant – the safety of our people," said Al Ver, Ford Motor Company vice president and CEO, and chief operating officer of Automotive Components Holdings. "ACH also can benefit from the partnership and the resources available through this agreement."


The partnership among Ford, ACH, the UAW and OSHA is founded on mutual respect, trust, cooperation, accountability, understanding and employee involvement in all plant health and safety issues. Together, the partners are jointly developing and refining processes for data reviews and issue resolution, as well as coordinating site visits and monitoring inspections. Inspection protocols include, but are not limited to ergonomics, heat stress, electrical safety, working at heights, noise control and personal protective equipment.


"Through this agreement, we will be working to create a safe and productive work environment for UAW members at Ford and ACH," said UAW vice president Bob King, who directs the union's National Ford Department. "Workplace safety is always a huge priority for our union. It's important that our members know that we're working together with Ford and with OSHA and that everyone in the organization is empowered to focus on safe work practices.


"None of us can afford to be complacent where the health and well being of UAW members and other Ford employees is concerned. We've experienced some painful reminders of what happens when things go wrong – and this agreement is an important opportunity to work together to make things right. We're proud to be part of it."


Under the agreement, Ford, ACH and the UAW will track plant health and safety incidents, submit an annual safety report to OSHA and hold an annual plant review with OSHA representatives. OSHA also will conduct an informal walk-through of various facilities during this review and may return to a facility if it wants further data or reviews of specific health and safety issues. Company and union representatives will meet with OSHA to conduct the annual review.


"We are confident that today's renewal will accelerate the partners' efforts to continue improving safety and health in the automobile industry," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "In renewing the agreement, the UAW, Ford and ACH recognize the importance of safety and health at auto manufacturing facilities. The results of this partnership have helped prevent injuries and illnesses for Ford and ACH employees around the country."


The newly signed agreement will terminate on November 14, 2009. The partnership will end with respect to the ACH facilities upon the sale or closure of the facilities themselves.


In December 2000, Ford first entered into a similar partnership with the UAW and OSHA, which then was the first of its kind between an automotive manufacturer, employee union and government agency. Since that time, injury rates have declined in Ford's North America facilities by 77 percent, and the partners have collaborated on other strategic health and safety initiatives. Other similar state-specific plan agreements were reached to cover Ford Motor Company facilities in Michigan in 2002, Minnesota in 2004, Indiana in 2006 and Kentucky earlier this year.

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