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Pioneer Construction, LARA and MIOSHA Sign Partnership to Protect Workers on Grand Valley State University's Mary Idema Pew Library Project

Contact: Mario L. Morrow 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

JUNE 13, 2011 - Pioneer Construction, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), signed a formal partnership on June 10th to protect workers at the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons project in Allendale. The MIOSHA program is part LARA.

The partnership goal is enhanced safety and health protection and zero injuries for workers on this major new facility construction project.

Pioneer Construction is the general contractor for the $47.5 million GVSU Mary Idema Pew Library project. The technology and learning design of the new library will serve as an incubator for 21st century skills, preparing students to compete globally in the information age. The facility will be built to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Platinum specifications - the highest possible standard in that sustainability rating system.

"We're proud to recognize Pioneer Construction's commitment to send every construction worker home healthy and whole, every day," said LARA Deputy Director Steve Arwood. "We're also proud to recognize Grand Valley State University's vision to create this innovative learning facility. This project is good for Michigan - and it will help fuel our state's drive to be a leader in the 21st century economy."

Signing partners included: Tim Schowalter, Pioneer President & CEO; Scott Veine, Pioneer Director of Sustainability & Project Manager; Brian Blocher, Pioneer Director of Safety; Chris Fisher, ABC of Michigan President & CEO; Steve Arwood, LARA Deputy Director; and Doug Kalinowski, MIOSHA Director. Also signing will be all of the subcontractors and supporting partners.

The event included a unique signing ceremony. To celebrate the creation of this innovative library, all partners signed in an actual 80-page book produced for the partnership ceremony.

"This says a lot about where our company and industry has come," said Schowalter. This partnership represents a very important commitment to the safety of our people and to the idea of proactively working together with MIOSHA, our clients and our subcontractor partners to accomplish our safety goals."

Partnerships are an important emphasis in MIOSHA's Strategic Plan to improve the health and safety of workers through cooperative relationships with groups, including trade associations, labor organizations, and employers. Partnerships move away from traditional enforcement methods and embrace collaborative agreements.

"Safety at the workplace is our industry's highest responsibility! This agreement will keep it ‘front and center' in the minds of each skilled craft person on the project," said John Doherty, President, ABC Western Michigan Chapter. "Further, it compliments Pioneer's existing, exceptional safety program."

The Partnering Employers (subcontractors) include: Siemans, VanDellen Steel, Shoreline Sprinkling, Safeway, Ram Construction Services, Quality Air Service, Otis Elevator Company, Jelsma Concrete Construction, Hardman Construction, Dykema Excavators, Dematic, Buschelle Sales, Allied Electric, and 3M. More subcontractors will be added during the next phase of construction.

The Supporting Partners include: ABC of Michigan, ABC West Michigan Chapter, Summit Training Source, Wells Fargo Insurance Services, AAA Sling and Supply, and Grand Valley State University. The "Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons Partnership Agreement" has been established to raise awareness and promote safety for all personnel employed in the construction project. Pioneer Construction and the partnering employers endorse the ultimate goal of ZERO INJURIES on this project.

Recognizing that engineering techniques alone are not enough to ensure that exposure to hazards are controlled, the partnering employers will implement common efforts to assure safety through the following key elements: 
  • Adherence to all safety policies, procedures, and MIOSHA standards. 
  • 100 percent fall protection over 6 feet, including steel erection and roof work. 
  • 100 percent eye protection. 
  • All Crane Operators will be Certified Crane Operators (CCO) as recognized by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). 
  • Substance abuse testing through Med-1and the results shall be provided to the Pioneer Construction Director of Safety. 
  • Pre-Task Analysis (PTAs) are to be completed and submitted to the project Safety Manager prior to beginning critical work. 
  • Contractors shall provide a Competent and/or Qualified Person for work operations as identified by a MIOSHA standard. 
  • Pioneer Construction and the partnering employers will uniformly enforce a disciplinary action plan for employees who fail to work in a safe manner. 
  • Automatic dismissal from this project shall result from any willful or deliberate violation of safety rules or safety policies and procedures.


"The MIOSHA program is dedicated to working with employers to find innovative ways to enhance workplace safety and health," said Kalinowski. "Through partnerships, MIOSHA can offer employers a voluntary, cooperative relationship to eliminate serious hazards and achieve a high level of safety and health."

The partnership does not preclude MIOSHA from enforcing its mission of addressing complaints, fatalities, or serious accidents, nor does it infringe on the rights of employees to report workplace hazards.

Established in 1933, Pioneer Construction builds exceptional facilities that perform for their clients, on time and in budget. They are headquartered in Grand Rapids and provide construction solutions throughout the continental United States. Building throughout four generations of family ownership, they have been fortunate to construct many landmark environments in which people learn, heal, worship, work, govern, play, shop and live. As a true builder employing over 200 talented craft and trade professionals, they offer extensive self-performance abilities that enable them to provide unsurpassed budget, schedule, and quality control. Their commitment to sustainable design and construction, safety, inclusion, and community involvement sets them apart in the construction industry.

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