MTA MIOSHA Form Alliance

February 27, 2006
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FARMINGTON HILLS — Protecting the health and safety of metalworkers was the key reason why the Michigan Tooling Association Worker's Compensation Fund (MTA WCF) entered into a formal alliance last month with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA).

"One of the primary focuses of the MTA WCF is improving shop safety through education and training. This joint effort will increase awareness and promote safe acts, which should result in reduced incidences of injury in the members' shops," said Gary Wood, fund administrator for the association.

The MTA WCF is a nonprofit group self-insurance fund with more than 500 members, with dozens of member shops located in West Michigan. The fund tries to control the cost of workers' compensation through promoting safety improvements and by keeping a sharp eye out for potentially false claims.

The MTA WCF Board of Trustees endorsed the goals of the alliance following a meeting with MIOSHA representatives last summer, and these goals include:

  • Promoting and improving shop safety by providing safety awareness and other outreach activities.

Providing training and educational activities and encouraging member participation.

  • Sponsoring seminars with the Consultation Education and Training (CET) Division of MIOSHA on power press safety and safety and health-management systems.

"This proactive partnership between labor, industry and government can save lives by ensuring that worker safety and health plays an integral role in MTA member's workplaces," said Connie O'Neill, CET director.

Wood told the Business Journal that Bill Hoke, who heads the Loss Control Division for MTA WCF, was the individual most responsible for encouraging the association to form the alliance with the state agency.

"He presented the idea to our board of directors and they accepted the challenge. He has been spearheading the development of the program through this organization," said Wood.

Hoke, who spoke with the Business Journal from his Farmington Hills office, said his organization's main goal right now was to make members aware of the services that are offered through the alliance.

Shops can receive benefits like on-site consultations, safety walkthroughs, air sampling, sound-level testing and safety seminars through the program, and all are free of any charge.

"Our members are going to benefit because they're going to gain knowledge of what is expected of them and what the best practices are," said Hoke.

MTA members can contact Hoke to get personalized service from the alliance's offerings, or they can just thumb through the association's latest newsletter for more details.

"We produced our own training video in 2004 that we distributed to all of our members, and MIOSHA has just released a similar training CD that was produced at Walt Disney Studios with Disney-quality animation. It's a very well done CD, and our board of directors actually reviewed the prototype last June," said Hoke of the 30,000 CDs that the state agency sent to all types of manufacturers a few weeks ago.

"After that meeting, our board of directors made a motion to form the alliance with MIOSHA to work with them."

Hoke said he has met with MIOSHA officials several times following the creation of the alliance and was in the process of setting up some educational sessions for MTA members.

"We feel that having an alliance with MIOSHA is beneficial to both of us because we both really have the same aim and view, and that is providing a workplace free of hazards so that we reduce accidents," said Hoke. "It's been a very positive thing already."    

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