Partnership Agreement

Saipan’s garment factories continue to earn praises from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration for their commitment to improving employment and workplace standards.
OSHA Regional Administrator Frank Strasheim in a recent letter to Saipan Garment Manufacturers Association Executive Director Richard A. Pierce said the most recent verification visits of 23 garment firms yielded encouraging results.
He hailed the various factories for meeting and exceeding the expectations required of them under the SGMA-OSHA Excellence 2000 Partnership Agreement.
“I truly believe the Excellence 2000 has improved the working and living conditions of the workers, which in turn, will allow OSHA to focus its resources in those areas where we are needed most,” said Strasheim.
According to the Region XI administrator, his staff has completed reports for the first annual verification visits of the original 23 garment manufacturers who chose to participate in the SGMA-OSHA Excellence 2000 program, twenty-one of whom met the basic requirements.
“Overall, my staff believes that the participating employers have not only strengthened the commitment, but also accomplished much in the development and implementation of safety and health programs,” said Strasheim.
He added however that it would take continued efforts to maintain and improve the established programs.
Also, Strasheim commended SGMA for the development of a compliance and excellence committee which he said has been extremely effective in promoting the benefits and development of a strong safety and health program, and educating and strengthening the commitment of management.
He noted that while the creation of such a committee is not a requirement under the excellence 2000 program, it goes a long way towards ensuring the success of the program.
Excellence 2000 is aimed at encouraging employers to carry out many of the routine safety and health inspections now done by OSHA in order “to eliminate workplace risks by establishing model practices for safety and health.”
The program seeks to develop a formal safety and health effort closely following OSHA guidelines for their factories and dormitories.
SGMA is comprised of 31 apparel companies. Total employment in the industry is currently about 15,500. Nearly another 7,000 jobs are created by the industry, some 1,500 in government. The factories account for approximately 40% of total government revenue.