Occupational Safety & Health Administration

University of Chicago Construction Project Stresses Worker Safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established a strategic partnership with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and W.E. O'Neil Construction Co. to reduce workers' exposure to hazards and the likelihood of serious injuries. The Illinois On-Site Consultation Program of the Illinois Department of Labor is also participating in the partnership, which covers the University of Chicago William Eckert Research Center Project.

"This voluntary strategic partnership is focused on identifying and controlling hazards, improving safety and health programs, promoting a cooperative relationship between labor, unions and management, and encouraging employee participation in achieving a safe and healthful workplace during the construction of this research center," said Gary Anderson, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "The agreement will require all workers to be covered by an effective employer safety and health program and to attend a project/safety orientation."

The William Eckert Research Center project is a four-story, $170 million project, scheduled to be completed in 2015. OSHA will work with all companies and management involved in the project to promote safety programs and work methods using the latest technologies and the safest available methods.

W.E. O'Neil Construction Co. is the general contractor on the project. The company will develop a site-specific safety program and require all prime contractors on the project to provide on-site safety representatives, conduct regular safety audits, attend a specific safety orientation given by O'Neil personnel and conduct daily huddle and safety meetings to share safety concerns and implement best practices.

Through its Strategic Partnership Program, OSHA works with employers, workers, professional and trade associations, labor organizations and other interested stakeholders to establish specific goals, strategies and performance measures to improve worker safety and health.

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