Pioneer Construction and MIOSHA Sign Partnership to Protect Workers at Grand Valley State University Biology Lab and Market Place Project

Contact: Melanie Brown 517-373-9280

September 11, 2013 – Pioneer Construction Company, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), and Partnering Contractors signed a formal partnership today to protect workers during the construction of a new Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Biology Lab and Market Place. The partnership goal is enhanced safety and health protection and zero injuries for workers on this major facility project.

“We’re honored today to recognize the exemplary leadership of Pioneer Construction Company and their commitment to worker safety and health on this significant project for GVSU,” said LARA Deputy Director Stephanie Comai.  “Their commitment sends a strong message that providing a safe and healthy work environment is a sound business decision."

The Grand Valley State University project consists of 150,500 square feet of laboratory, academic, faculty office suites, and study areas.  Grand Valley State University is seeking LEED silver certification for the new building.  The overall project construction budget is $44 million.  The project was started April 29, 2013 with a construction completion date of June 2015. 

Signing partners included Tim Schowalter, President; Seth Wehner, Director of Safety; Scott Veine, Project Manager; Bill Roh, Project Superintendent; and John Morris, Project Safety Manager for Pioneer Construction; and Martha Yoder, Director, MIOSHA.  Also signing were the subcontractors working on the project.

Partnerships are an important emphasis in MIOSHA’s Strategic Plan to improve the health and safety of workers through cooperative relationships. Partnerships move away from traditional enforcement methods and embrace collaborative agreements. 

The safety and health of the GVSU Biology Lab and Market Place project’s employees, visitors, as well as GVSU’s students and faculty are the core value of this partnership with MIOSHA.  The Leadership of Pioneer, Partnering Employers, GVSU, LARA, and MIOSHA are aligned and committed to achieving the objective of protecting our workforce by providing a workplace that is free of recognized hazards and behaviors by means of an effective safety management system.  All partners agree to commit leadership, time and resources to achieve this objective.

The Partnering Employers include: 

  • Pioneer Construction
  • Allied Mechanical
  • Architectural Glass & Metals
  • Burgess Concrete
  • Connan Inc.
  • D&D Building
  • D/A Central
  • Detail Painting
  • GLFC
  • Jelsma Concrete
  • Otis Elevator
  • Premier Caulking
  • Proline Concrete
  • Quality Air Service
  • RAM Construction
  • Riteway Plumbing
  • Sobie Company
  • Schiffer Mason
  • Siemens Industry, Inc.
  • Streng Construction
  • Szudera Insulation Co.
  • Total Fire
  • Town & Country
  • Van Dellen Steel

The active integration of the Pioneer Construction Safety and Health Program along with this partnership with the tradesmen, subcontractors, and MIOSHA will endorse the ultimate goal of ZERO INJURIES.

Recognizing that engineering techniques alone are not enough to ensure that exposure to hazards is controlled; the partnering employers will implement common safety goals to assure safety through these elements:

  • All employees onsite must provide a “negative” drug screen result from a third party testing facility.
  • All employees complete the GVSU Biology Lab project safety orientation.
  • All Crane Operators will be Certified Crane Operators (CCO)
  • 100% fall protection over 6 feet for every trades and scaffolds with mandatory 3 day suspension for any fall protection violation
  • 100% wearing of hard hats, eye protection and hand protection using appropriate cut resistant gloves.
  • Pre Task Analysis’ required by subcontractors each day.
  • All employees must have an OSHA 10-hour certification or receive a 10-hour certification at one of the project specific OSHA 10-hour certification live training events put on by Pioneer by the completion of their scope of work. 
  • All employees with an OSHA 10-hour certification prior to starting at this project must complete 2 hours of online training through Summit Training Source or 1 project-specific MIOSHA CET 4-hour training seminar.

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

Pioneer Construction is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan and provides construction solutions throughout the continental United States. Pioneer has the expertise in a variety of delivery methods including General Contracting, Design/Build, and Construction Management; they customize their approach based on the specifics of each project and the goals of their clients. (

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