The safety and health of workers at one of the largest highway construction projects in the history of central Illinois received a boost this week thanks to a partnership agreement between the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), three local companies, five union locals, and the state of Illinois.
The alliance was signed by OSHA’s Peoria Area Office with a joint venture comprised of Freesen Inc., Illinois Valley Paving Company, and R.A. Cullinan & Son Inc. The partnership was also signed by Carpenters Local 183, Cement Masons Local 18, Iron Workers Local 112, Laborers Local 165, Operators Local 649, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity – On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program. This is the second partnership developed by OSHA for this road construction project which is scheduled for completion in December 2006.
“The goal of this partnership is to eliminate or control workplace hazards and prevent construction fatalities and serious injuries. That challenge demands a cooperative and coordinated effort. This partnership provides a framework for that effort,” said Brian Bothast, OSHA’s acting area director in Peoria.
The specific goals of the partnership are to maintain the total case rate for injuries and illnesses on the project at least 10 percent below the average for construction and to increase the number of hazards that are eliminated or controlled within one day.
Other goals are to provide at least 20 hours of safety and health training to all of the joint venture’s supervisors and to increase the number of subcontractors who have written safety programs for employees working on the project.
OSHA and the state of Illinois will work with joint venture contractors and labor unions to implement effective safety and health programs that include management and union commitment, employee involvement, hazard elimination or control, and training. Joint venture contractors will implement a comprehensive safety and health program to ensure that employee exposures to air contaminants, including silica, do not exceed OSHA limits.
OSHA will conduct at least one focused monitoring inspection within six months as part of the partnership and annually thereafter.
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