Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority Signs Partnership with MIOSHA to Ensure Worker Safety during Cobo Center Renovations

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

April 9, 2013 - The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRFCA) signed a formal partnership today with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) to protect workers during Phase III of the Cobo Convention Center Capital Improvement Plan. The partnership has support from the Michigan Building & Construction Trades Council, other supporting unions, partnering contractors and additional partners. The MIOSHA program is a part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

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

"We are pleased to join with the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority and affiliated partners today in this construction partnership," 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."

Phase III is the final phase of a program that started in 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in 2015. Phase III of the program is the most capital intense phase and includes the development of a new 38,000 square feet ballroom and meeting rooms in the former sports and concert arena. In addition there will be a new atrium connecting the main concourse to the lower river level and other improvements.

Signing partners included: Patrick Bero, CEO, DRCFA; Gary Brown, Owners Representative, DRCFA; Thomas Tuskey, Capital Program Manager, DRCFA; John Kull, Construction Manager, DRCFA; Richard Sumner, Safety Manager, DRFCA; 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 Cobo Convention Center Capital Improvement Program 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.
  • All Crane Operators will be Certified Crane Operators (CCO).
  • Pre-Task Safety Plans (PSPs) are to be completed and submitted to DRCFA's safety manager prior to beginning the work. PSPs must be reviewed with workers prior to beginning work.
  • DRCFA and the partnering employers on this project will uniformly apply corrective action (disciplinary action) 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. Positive reinforcement will be utilized to recognize and encourage discretionary safety effort/s.
  • All employees working on the project will complete a project-specific safety orientation before starting work on the project

Additional safety 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.


The Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council and many additional unions are supportive of this partnership.


The Partnering Contractors include: Turner/Tooles and Jenkins Construction.


Supporting Partners include: Marsh USA; Goss LLC Insurance; and Liberty Mutual Insurance.


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.


The DRCFA was created in 2009 to operate Cobo Convention and Exhibition Center in Detroit under long-term lease from the City of Detroit. The DRCFA Board of Directors is comprised of five representatives selected by the Governor of Michigan, the Mayor of Detroit, and the county executives of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties. The DRCFA receives funding from revenues at Cobo Center as well as support from the state's Convention Fund. More information is available at


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