What Is The KYOSH Strategic Partnership (OSP) Program?
KYOSH’s mission is to send Kentucky’s workers home uninjured. Traditionally, KYOSH’s strategy has been to promulgate and enforce workplace safety and health standards. With only 40-plus compliance officers and over 90,000 workplaces, the challenge is significant.

In contrast, KYOSH Strategic Partnerships (OSP) moves away from traditional enforcement methods and embraces collaborative agreements. Through OSP, KYOSH 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.

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How Do Partnerships Work?
Working together, KYOSH, employers and employees identify the safety and health problem they will address and begin to develop a partnership agreement. The agreement may be statewide, regional or local in scope. Partners agree upon individual responsibilities, identify strategies, and establish goals and performance measures to verify results.

Other interested parties, including unions, trade associations, local/state governments, the Consultation Projects and insurance companies, are often brought into the partnership to contribute their expertise and resources. The resulting agreement maximizes the use of non-OSH resources to accomplish tasks such as training employees and developing site-appropriate safety and health management systems. KYOSH serves mainly as a technical resource and facilitator

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Who Are The Partners?
Partners can be associations, unions and councils, and industries. Partner worksites may be very large, but most often they are small businesses averaging 50 or fewer employees. All partnerships emphasize sustained efforts and continuing results beyond the typical three-year duration of the agreement. By involving employers and workers in combating the hazards in their workplaces and by encouraging the sharing of success stories and best practices, KYOSH Strategic Partnerships instill pride and commitment in participants.

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What Makes Partnerships Unique And Innovative?
The partnership program’s most significant feature is its flexibility. This flexibility allows KYOSH and its partners to work together to assess a mutual concern and create a customized agreement that will improve worker safety and health in a way that serves the needs of all partnership participants.

The partnership program is also unique among KYOSH cooperative programs, in that each OSP is intended to impact multiple worksites or employers. This is a departure from the focus on individual worksites that characterizes most of the KYOSH, Division Education and Training Consultation Program.

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Why Is The Partnership Program Valuable To KYOSH?
KYOSH and its partners benefit every time a partnership demonstrates the value of cooperation among employers, workers and other stakeholders. These experiences are excellent industry models to encourage other employers to take a proactive approach.

Additionally, the collaborative nature of the partnership program allows KYOSH to communicate its message and leverage its resources to reach a greater number of employers and employees more consistently, effectively and efficiently than ever before. As a result, KYOSH enforcement program efforts can then be focused where they are needed most--on employers who violate the OSHA act and disregard the safety and health of their employees.

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How Does An Employer Benefit From The OSP Program?
The OSP program benefits employers by helping them develop practical skills to identify and abate hazards and establish effective safety and health management systems. These management systems serve to continually improve worker protections and create a corporate culture that values worker safety as much as production and profit. The OSP program also offers employers access to technical assistance, educational resources and training. Employers benefit further from reduced workers' compensation rates and other costs, lower absenteeism, and increased productivity and employee morale.

Through mentoring and the sharing of lessons learned, partnerships foster enhanced relationships for employers within their industries and communities. Additionally, partnerships help transform the relationship employers have with KYOSH. Instead of viewing KYOSH as an adversary, employers within an OSP learn that KYOSH can be a willing listener and useful ally.

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For More Information
For more information on entering into a OSH Strategic Partnership with KYOSH, contact John Lippert, OSH partnership administrator, by phone at 502-564-3320 or e-mail Brian.Black@ky.gov.

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