Christman and MIOSHA Sign Partnership Agreement to Ensure Worker Safety at BWL Project in Lansing's REO Town; Zero-Injury and Accidents Safety Goal Highlights Partnership Endorsed by Construction Team on $182 Million Construction Project

Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

October 14, 2011 - The teams at work behind the construction of the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) REO Town Plant Electric-Steam Generation Facility are declaring a united front to ensure the health and safety of every worker on the project, with the goal of having zero injuries or accidents.  The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and The Christman Company - together with the project trade workers and contractors - signed a formal partnership today to ensure the advancement of safety on the project.

"Christman is one of Michigan's premier construction companies and has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to promoting worker safety on its projects," said LARA Deputy Director Steve Arwood.  "We commend the leadership of the BWL project for bringing together so many fine organizations to promote and support safety on this project."

Christman is construction manager on the $182 million cogeneration facility project, located in Lansing's historic REO Town neighborhood, which will use natural gas to generate both electricity and steam.  By switching to natural gas at the new facility, the BWL will avoid burning 139,000 tons of coal each year.  This environmentally healthy alternative to its current operations ensures that greenhouse gas emissions will be dramatically reduced - 50 per cent less than BWL's current Moores Park station.  The safety partnership, according to BWL, fits in perfectly with the utility's overarching focus on health and safety for its workers, the community and the environment.

"We know proactive safety practices are just good business," said BWL General Manager J. Peter Lark.  "We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this partnership to not only help reinforce that message during the construction process itself, but also in the early engagement of the general industry trades in the partnership, which will help set up the future operations of the plant for success as well."

In addition to zero injuries and accidents, the goals of the proactive partnership include promotion of positive worker attitudes and actions, 100 percent safe site conditions, effective coordination and cooperation, and increased knowledge of safety rules and requirements.  These goals are evident in the elements of the partnership agreement which include, in part:

  • Mandatory project safety orientation with new employees, who work on a restricted break-in period until fully familiar with the project;
  • Continuous, enhanced, on-site worker safety training co-sponsored by the Local Trade Unions;
  • Subcontractor Corporate Executive Management audits and mandatory reporting;
  • 100 per cent fall protection for work over six feet high;
  • Hardhats and safety glasses required 100 per cent of the time;
  • Required certification of crane operators through National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO);
  • Mandatory pre-work and post-accident substance abuse testing;
  • Pre-task safety planning; and
  • Enforcement of a progressive discipline action plan, with Intentional disregard of any safety rule, procedure or other important safety expectation of the project resulting in immediate removal from the project site.

 

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 nearly 40 percent of all fatal workplace accidents. All partners are committed to creating an environment where every construction worker goes home healthy every day.

"Safety is a top priority on every project and we want every worker to return to his or her home and family safely each day," said Christman Corporate Safety Manager Don Staley.  "We are pleased and proud that virtually every organization involved in this project is not only philosophically embracing the ideal vision of a zero-injury workplace, but also agreeing to support the tactical action plans outlined in this agreement to help make it happen."

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 resource sharing agreements.

"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 help eliminate serious hazards and achieve a high level of safety and health."

The Christman Company, founded in 1894, has grown to become one of the country's leading professional construction services firms.  In conjunction with its affiliates Christman Capital Development Company and Christman Constructors, Inc., the company's services include construction management, general contracting, design/build, real estate development, facilities planning and consulting, and self-perform skilled trades.   Christman is currently ranked 164 in the Engineering News-Record ENR 400 list of Top Contractors nationally.  For more information, visit www.christmanco.com .

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