Walsh Construction Company and Supporting Partners Sign Partnership with MIOSHA to Ensure Worker Safety during the Renovations of the Ann Arbor Waste Water Treatment Plant

Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280

November 14, 2012 - The Walsh Construction Company, Partnering Employers, Michigan Building & Construction Trades Council, Partnering Unions, and Supporting Partners signed a formal partnership today with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) to protect workers during the renovation of the Ann Arbor Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). The MIOSHA program is a part of LARA.


The partnership goal is zero injuries, zero incidents, zero near misses, zero tolerance of unsafe acts or conditions and zero citations.


"We are honored to join with Walsh Construction and affiliated partners today in this construction partnership," said LARA Deputy Director Rob Nederhood. "Through our collaboration, we will ensure this project is on the path for a safe and successful completion."


The project includes renovations to both the west and east plants of the existing WWTP. Renovations include rehabilitating existing flow control structures, complete demolition and replacement of primary and secondary treatment equipment, and construction of new buildings. Other improvements include installation of a new electrical distribution system and two new emergency power generators, utilities relocation, replacement of storm water collection system equipment, installation of new roadways, replacement of aeration systems with energy efficient blowers, embankment improvements to meet FEMA requirements, and construction of a new administration building. 


"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 Steve Aleo, Regional Safety Manager for Walsh Construction Company. "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."


Signing partners included: Steve Aleo, Regional Safety Manager, Walsh Construction Company; Robert Cariano, Safety Manager, City of Ann Arbor; Patrick Devlin, Secretary-Treasurer, Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council; Thomas Porter, Malcolm Pirnie of Michigan Inc.; Rob Nederhood, Deputy Director, LARA; and Martha Yoder, Director, MIOSHA.


In addition to zero injuries and accidents, the key elements to the site-specific Safety and Health Program for the renovations of the WWTP are (this list is not intended to be all encompassing):

  • Adherence to ALL safety policies, procedures, and MIOSHA standards.
  • 100% fall protection over 6 feet, including steel erection and roof work. 
  • 100% eye protection - prescription eyewear with side shields or ANSI Z-87.1 protective safety glasses with built in side shields. 
  • All crane operators will be Certified Crane Operators (CCO) as recognized by an accredited organization.
  • All contractor employees must submit to certification of substance abuse testing to the Walsh Construction Safety Manager.  
  • A Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) is to be completed and submitted to the Project Safety Manager prior to beginning any definable feature of work.
  • Contractors shall provide a competent and qualified person for work operations as identified by a MIOSHA standard.
  • Walsh Construction Company and the partnering employers on this project 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.

Additional subcontractor protection measures are included in the partnership agreement.


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.


"These kinds of partnerships are becoming increasingly common in Michigan, and we couldn't be happier about it," said Patrick Devlin, Secretary-Treasurer, Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. "There is no better way that we can improve the on-the-job health of the state's construction workers than making these kinds of sustained commitments to safety."


The Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council and its affiliate unions are supportive of this partnership.  The partnering unions include:  Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters; Operating Engineers Local 324; Carpenters Local 1004; Laborers Local 499; Laborers Local 1076; Laborers Local 1191; Electrical Workers Local 58; Plumbers / Pipefitters Local 190; Plumbers Local 98 and Electrical Workers Local 252.


The Partnering Employers include: Walsh Construction Company; Mersino Dewatering, Inc.; Motor City Electric; Omega Demolition, Site Development, Inc.; Granger Construction; and De-Cal, Inc.


Supporting Partners include: The City of Ann Arbor; Malcolm Pirnie of Michigan Inc.; and the Construction Association of Michigan.


"The MIOSHA program is dedicated to working with employers to find innovative ways to enhance workplace safety and health," said MIOSHA Director Martha Yoder.  "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 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.


Walsh Construction Company, whose Michigan office is based in Detroit, is a general contracting, construction management, and design-build firm. Walsh is recognized as one of the largest construction firms in the Great Lakes area as well as one of the nation's top 15 contractors according to Engineering News-Record (ENR). The firm has experience with a wide variety of building, civil, and transportation sectors. Maintaining regional offices across North America, including in Michigan, Walsh Construction operates using Union Labor and Union Subcontractors. More information is available at http://www.walshgroup.com/.


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