On February 4, a luncheon and ceremony announcing the establishment of a Center of Excellence for contractor safety will be held in Washington, DC.

The ceremony will highlight the results of nearly two years of work to address contractor safety, announce the establishment of a Center of Excellence where the fruits of this research will be publically available, and will include remarks by Christine Branch, acting director, NIOSH; Mitchell C. Griggs, vice president, corporate environmental health & safety services, Duke Energy Corporation; and Frank White, senior vice president, ORC Worldwide.

In October, 2006, the Duke Energy Foundation sponsored the first-ever National Summit on Contractor Safety, which brought together approximately 80 individuals representing a cross-section of government, business, and labor organizations. Participants included safety and health, operations, and procurement experts from host and contract employers in different industries with different kinds of contractor operations and environments.

The objective of the summit was to explore contractor fatality and serious injury prevention. Participants identified key challenges to high performance in contractor safety; strategies, methods and best practices for meeting the challenges and improving contractor safety management; and critical areas requiring research that would contribute to improved contractor safety performance.

The research agenda that emerged from the summit guided the work that followed. Since that time, four research projects have been completed or initiated: the process of prequalifying contractors; the identification of metrics for monitoring contractor safety; risk identification, risk perception and risk communication tools and methods; and an investigation into the best method to transfer a company’s safety culture to its contract workers. 4)

According to ORC Worldwide spokesman James Nash, all of this work was made possible through the Duke Energy Foundation, which provided a charitable grant to Industrial Relations Counselors (IRC), a not-for-profit research and educational institution affiliated with ORC Worldwide. The grant to IRC funded the summit and the resulting research projects. IRC commissioned ORC to coordinate the summit and all subsequent research activities. The public release of the information resulting from the summit and the research projects will be announced during the February 4 luncheon ceremony.