In January 2008, The Montana Renewable Energy Association and the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration executed a Strategic Partnership Agreement to ensure workplace safety in the growing renewable energy industry in Montana. The MREA is attempting to foster a safer working environment for themselves and their member companies.
The purpose of the partnership is to prevent the four major hazards (falls, electrical, caught in/between and struck-by hazards) that account for the majority of fatalities and injuries in the construction industry. This partnership will focus on improving the safety and health programs of the MREA and their Participating Member companies and strive to eliminate hazards in the targeted areas.
The OSHA Strategic Partnership Program for Worker Safety and Health (OSPP), adopted on November 13, 1998, is an expansion and formalization of OSHA’s substantial experience with voluntary programs. In a Partnership, OSHA enters into an extended, voluntary, cooperative relationship with groups of employers, employees, and employee representatives (in this case the Montana Renewable Energy Association) in order to encourage, assist, and recognize their efforts to eliminate serious hazards and achieve a high level of worker safety and health. This is the first such partnership between OSHA and a renewable energy advocacy group.
Pictured are Ross Yeager, Director of the OSHA Billings Office, Christopher Borton of Sage Mountain Center (Vice President of MREA), Tom Bishop of SUNELCO, Conor Darby of Independent Power Systems, Steven Aagenes of In-Solar, Orion Thornton of Independent Power Systems, and David Ryan of NCAT (President of MREA).
“We are delighted to form this partnership with OSHA” said David Ryan, President of the MREA after signing the agreement. “This agreement is a great step toward thedevelopment of renewable energy in Montana, showing our commitment to energy independence and to bringing clean energy to Montanans.”
“The OSHA Strategic Partnership Program moves away from traditional enforcement methods and embraces collaborative agreements. Through OSPP, OSHA and its partners agree to work cooperatively to address critical safety and health issues. This very different approach is proving to be an effective tool for reducing fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace” said Ross Yeager, Billings area director of OSHA.