Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
January 12, 2005 - Today Walbridge Aldinger, the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG), the Greater Detroit Building and Trades Council, and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) signed a historic partnership to ensure the safety and health of workers on a large and complex construction project.
Walbridge Aldinger, the Detroit-based worldwide full-service construction company, has been contracted by the City of Dearborn to construct a $34 million Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project to build the largest sinking caisson in the world. The 30-month project will begin in early 2005. As general contractor, Walbridge Aldinger will coordinate the work of 21 subcontractors and 20 building trades unions, involving more than 500 trades workers.
"Walbridge Aldinger in one of Michigan's ‘Economic All Stars' and is a true worldwide leader in the construction industry," DLEG Director David C. Hollister said. "This is a historic agreement not only because of the enormity of this project, but the scope of the partners signing on. Whether you are labor or management, public or private sector - this agreement says we are all on the same team that makes worker safety priority number one. This is collaboration at its best and hopefully the first of many of its kind in Michigan's construction industry."
The construction industry is one of the most hazardous industries in Michigan. Only about four percent of Michigan's workforce is employed in construction-however, construction fatalities account for more than 40 percent of all fatal workplace accidents. All partners are committed to creating an environment where every construction worker goes home healthy and whole every day.
"We share a common vision with our partners to be committed to providing all trades people and subcontractors a healthful and safe workplace and to demonstrate leadership, responsibility and accountability in furthering worker health and safety at all levels. The active integration of the safety and health program, along with this partnership with the trade unions, subcontractors, and MIOSHA will endorse the ultimate goal of zero injuries," said Walbridge Chairman and CEO John Rakolta, Jr. "It is key that the design, through construction with safety polices and procedures, support the quality of life on this project by ensuring that everyone goes home the way that they came to work."
Signing partners include: John Rakolta, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Ronald Hausmann, P.E., President - Heavy Civil Group, and Steve Clabaugh, Assistant Vice President of Safety & Health, Walbridge Aldinger; David Hollister, Director, Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth; Doug Kalinowski, Director, MIOSHA; John Hamilton, President, and Patrick Devlin, Secretary-Treasurer, Greater Detroit Building and Construction Trades Council. Also signing were all of the subcontractors and building trades unions working on the project.
"We're glad that MIOSHA and companies like Walbridge-Adinger recognize there is nothing more important in our business than making sure construction workers spend a safe day at work so they can go home to their family," said Patrick Devlin, Secretary-Treasurer of the Greater Detroit Building and Construction Trades Council. "Intensive planning for safety before a construction project begins is something we'd like to see more often."
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.
"This is a dangerous business, but construction projects can be made safer when there's proper planning," said John Hamilton, President of the Greater Detroit Building and Construction Trades Council. "If safety planning becomes part of a construction project's blueprints, so to speak, we would greatly reduce worker injuries and fatalities."
The "Walbridge Aldinger Safety and Health Program" has been established principally to govern the activities of all personnel employed in any capacity in the Dearborn CSO Contract #3 project. Recognizing that engineering techniques alone are not enough to ensure that exposure to hazards are controlled, the program includes coordination, monitoring and educating the personnel involved in the project. These components will be implemented through the same principles of management control applied throughout all phases of the project.
As part of the partnership, Walbridge will implement a process to audit the job for safety and will involve the partnering sub-contractors in developing and implementing corrective measures. Walbridge Aldinger will report all incidents and accidents to MIOSHA and will provide monthly safety reports. MIOSHA will conduct compliance inspections and job-site surveys on pre-determined serious hazard issues.
"The MIOSHA program is dedicated to working with employers to find innovative ways to enhance workplace safety and health," said MIOSHA Director Doug Kalinowski. "Through partnerships, MIOSHA can offer employers a voluntary, cooperative relationship to eliminate serious hazards and achieve a high level of safety and health."
Walbridge is responsible for the construction of a 350-foot concrete pre-cast diversion channel, and the construction of a sinking caisson that is 151-feet in diameter that will create a CSO structure. The caisson will be sunk approximately 110-feet into the sandy soil and bedrock. By the completion of the project more than 500 trades people will have contributed on various phases of the project including carpenters, laborers, cement masons, bricklayers, operators, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, painters, ironworkers, sheet metal workers, roofers, and tile, marble and terrazzo workers.
"The amount of people working throughout the CSO project makes this partnership especially important," said Kalinowski. "There are many hazards in any construction project, especially with people coming and going over a 30-month period. Our partnership group will be proactive and relentless in its combined mission to reduce worker injuries and illnesses."
The Greater Detroit Building Trades and Construction Trades Council and its affiliate unions are supportive of this partnership. The partnering unions include: Asbestos Workers Local 25; Bricklayers Local 1; Boilermakers Local 169; Carpenters Local 687; Cement Masons Local 514; I.B.E.W. Local 58; Ironworkers Local 25; Laborers Local 334; Laborers Local 1076; Laborers Local 1191; Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters; Operating Engineers Local 324; Painters D.C.; Pipefitters Local 636; Plumbers Local 98; Roofers Local 149; Sheet Metal Local 80; Sprinkler Fitters Local 704; Teamsters Local 247; and Tile, Marble & Terrazzo Local 32.
The partnering employers include: Brinker Company, L. S.; Canon; Christen Detroit; Cleveland Tram and Rail; Dan's Excavating, Inc.; De-Cal, Inc. Mechanical Contractors; Detroit Door & Hardware Company; Detroit Industrial Services; Doetsch Industrial Services, Inc.; E. C. Korneffel Company; Farnell Equipment Company; Hamlett Environmental Conservatec; Hollowcore, Inc.; Nagel Paving Company; Nicholson Construction Company; Rosati Masonry Company, Inc.; Rotor Electric Company; Titus Welding Company; W.P.M., Inc.; Walbridge Concrete Services; and Western Waterproofing Company.
The City of Dearborn is a supporting partner of this agreement, and has pledged its support for the critical emphasis in this project on worker safety and health. "This partnership is a wonderful example of a cooperative effort benefiting all parties," said Dearborn Mayor Michael A. Guido. The other supporting partners include NTH Consultants, LTD; the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; and Wade-Trim.
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.
Headquartered in downtown Detroit, Walbridge Aldinger employs a professional staff of more than 600, with offices located in Aurora, IL; Charlotte, NC; Kokomo, IN; Georgetown, KY; Quad Cities, IA; Tampa, FL.; Windsor, Ont.; Mexico City, Mexico; Sinaia and Bucharest, Romania; and soon to be established, Shanghai, China. The company provides a complete range of program management and design build services in all market segments of the construction industry. Walbridge also owns and operates Mefin Sinaia S.A., a diesel fuel injection manufacturing business in Romania with 1300 employees. Visit http://www.walbridge.com/ or http://www.mefinsinaia.ro/ for additional information.
Sinking Caisson Construction
Following is a brief description of the construction of the caisson provided by Walbridge Aldinger
1. Create a level work surface filled with approximately two feet of stone and a railroad tie ‘launch pad'.
2. Form and place concrete in stages - stage 1 will be placement of the 7-1/2 foot thick by 14 feet high circular concrete walls to create the ‘cutting edge shoe' of the caisson. The shoe consists of circular steel and a tapered bevel wall.
3. Form and place concrete for stage 2 of the 7-1/2 foot thick by 14 feet high circular wall.
4. Once the concrete for stage 2 has been cured to sufficient strength, the caisson is ‘launched' by a carefully controlled method of removing railroad ties. The caisson will sink under its own massive weight.
5. The next 14-foot high circular wall stage is constructed and then sunk. Sinking occurs when the inside perimeter of the caisson is excavated in a controlled method. In some cases, the caisson may sink under its own weight.
6. This process continues until the caisson shoe reaches the bedrock. At this point the caisson is stabilized and the rock on the inside of the caisson is excavated by either mechanical means or controlled demolition.
7. Once all of the rock is excavated, the 7-foot thick bottom slab of concrete is placed, and the structural work from the bottom to the surface can commence.