Labor and Economic Opportunity
September 19, 2007 - Detroit Edison, Washington Group Midwest LLC, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, Hamon Custodis, Ideal Contracting, the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG), and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), signed a partnership on Sept. 18th, to protect construction workers at the Monroe Power Plant. The partnership goal is enhanced safety and health protection and zero injuries for workers on a major environmental controls project.
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 the ultimate goal is zero tolerance for workplace injuries.
"DTE Energy and Detroit Edison have committed nearly $850 million to upgrade their facilities to provide environmentally friendly energy−an investment that can help secure Michigan's economic future," said DLEG Director Keith W. Cooley. "We applaud their commitment to send every worker home healthy and whole while providing clean air solutions to our great state."
In 2005, Detroit Edison launched the largest and most costly emissions-control construction project in the company's history. Detroit Edison projects it will spend almost $850 million by 2010 on equipment to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), mercury and particulate emissions from their coal-fired power plants.
The bulk of this work is being done at the Monroe Power Plant, with installation of a third selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system to control NOx emissions and two flue gas desulphurization (FGD) systems to control SO2. When operated together, the SCRs and FGDs are expected to reduce mercury emissions by about 80 percent. Long term, Detroit Edison estimates their investment in emission control systems to total $2.4 billion through 2018.
"At DTE Energy, we promote safety as a core value to others on and off the job," said Ron May, DTE Energy senior vice president. "We're committed to performing our jobs in the safest manner possible and we work together to continuously improve safety processes. It's gratifying to know that our partners in this project take safety as seriously as we do."
"These kinds of partnerships are becoming increasingly common in Michigan, and we couldn't be happier about it," said Patrick Devlin, CEO of the 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."
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.
"Washington Group is pleased to be playing such an important role in support of Detroit Edison's Environmental Projects. We share Detroit Edison's commitment to the health and safety of the workforce at the Monroe Plant," said Lou Pardi, President, Washington Group International Power Business Unit. "This formal agreement between the owner, the employing contractors, the Michigan Building Trades, and MIOSHA is unique and will help align and support the project participants as they strive to deliver true excellence in project execution."
Signing partners included: Anthony F. Earley, CEO, DTE Energy; Lou Pardi, President, Washington Group Midwest LLC; Dean Andrisevic, Vice President, The Babcock & Wilcox Company; John Boone, President, Hamon Custodis; Greg Sorrentino, Vice President, Ideal Contracting; Shorty Gleason, President, and Patrick Devlin, CEO, Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council; Keith Cooley, DLEG Director; and Doug Kalinowski, MIOSHA Director.
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; Asbestos Workers Local 45; Bricklayers Local 1; Boilermakers Local 85; Cement Masons Local 886; I.B.E.W. Local 8; Iron Workers Local 55; Laborers Local 499; Millwrights Local 1102; Operating Engineers Local 324; Painters D.C. No. 22; Pipefitters Local 671; Sheet Metal Local 33; and Teamsters Local 247.
The "Monroe Power Plant Partnership Agreement" has been established to raise awareness and promote safety for all personnel employed in the construction project. Detroit Edison, the partnering companies, and the partnering trade unions and subcontractors endorse the ultimate goal of ZERO INJURIES on the Monroe Power Plant project.
Recognizing that engineering techniques alone are not enough to ensure that exposure to hazards are controlled, the partnering employers will implement common efforts to assure safety through the following key elements:
"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."
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.
Detroit Edison is an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a subsidiary of DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE), a Detroit- based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Information about DTE Energy is available at http://www.dteenergy.com.