In November 2006, the Health Alliance Hospital OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP)
was formed to promote safety and health during the construction of the 207
million dollar new hospital and medical office building in West Chester, Ohio.
The construction project was a joint venture between M.A. Mortenson Company and
Messer Construction (also referred to as "Mortenson Messer Healthcare
Construction"). The two companies merged their individual best safety and health
practices together to develop one of the most thorough safety and health
management systems (SHMS) available. Main purposes of the OSP include providing
a safe and healthy environment within the construction industry and increasing
communication between stakeholders. The OSP will end upon completion of the
project within the next three years.
Development of Safety and Health Management Systems Enforced
There were 50 onsite contractors who performed work on the West Chester Medical
Center project, and 47 of the 50 developed and implemented their own SHMS. The
three contractors who had not yet developed their own system adopted Mortenson
Messer Healthcare Construction's. However, all of the onsite contractors – even
those with their own SHMS in place - were also required to follow Messer
Construction's "Safety4Site (S4S)" Commitment and M.A. Mortenson's Zero Injury
Procedures while performing all work. The S4S Commitment specifically addressed
the four key hazards within the industry (falls, electrocution, caught
in-between, and struck-by). The S4S Commitment started at top executive level.
However, all employees had to provide "buy-in" before it was formally
implemented. All contractors' employees received training on S4S.
OSP Enforces a Safety and Health Culture at All Times
M.A. Mortenson and Messer Construction take safety and health very seriously.
When the project first began, all contractors, tiered subcontractors,
supervisors, and onsite management staff went through a two-month "trial"
period. During this period, any violation of the S4S requirements resulted in
stopping all operations and participating in a safety and health education
Messer Construction's S4S Commitment identified 20 non-negotiable behaviors not
tolerated on projects, and applied them to all subcontractor employees.
Contractors are removed from the project for one day if a non-negotiable
occurrence takes place. Two non-negotiable occurrences will result in dismissal
from all Messer Construction projects for one year. If two or more occurrences
occur, the contractor must submit a plan of action for correction and hire a
full-time safety specialist onsite at the contractor's expense until Mortenson
Messer Healthcare Construction determines that they have made a significant
improvement in their safety performance.
During the hospital project, 15 S4S non-negotiable violations were noted
resulting in 15 employees receiving a one-day suspension and being re-educated
on the specific violation. In addition, 21 other safety violations resulted in
formal discipline (with actions ranging from temporary suspensions to removal
from the project indefinitely). There was a clear message that general employees
were not the only ones who needed to comply with safety rules - five
foreman/supervisory personnel were also disciplined after violating safety
requirements. To date, there have been no repeat offenders. Also, three
full-time safety specialists were hired by individual contractors as a result of
the multiple occurrence requirements.
Safety and Health Training Leads to More
Attention of Potential Onsite Hazards
One of the key objectives of the Health Alliance Hospital OSP is to increase
safety and health training. Since the OSP began, nearly 4,100 educational hours
were provided to 237 management and non-management participants. Over the past
year, over 135 employees completed the OSHA 10-Hour course. The increased number
of safety and health training sessions offered to employees working on the
project led to more employees noticing potential safety hazards on the site.
Over the course of the project, 200 self-inspections (not including daily "walk-throughs")
were conducted. During these inspections, 33,842 safety observations were noted
and/or questioned resulting in 272 (1.2%) being classified as "unsafe
operations." All serious violations were corrected and/or abated immediately.
These observations were captured using the "dbo2" safety inspection system,
which includes pre-determined categories with multiple options within each
OSHA On-Site Consultation conducted six on-site inspections during the tenure of
the project. Any serious and non-serious violations were abated immediately.
Also, three OSHA enforcement inspections were conducted under the terms of the
OSP resulting in 100 percent compliance.
Days Away, Restricted, and Transferred (DART) Rate below National Average
One of the key objectives of the OSP is to reduce illness and injury rates
during the project. Therefore, six-foot fall protection was a requirement of the
OSP's SHMS. A daily Jobsite Safety Analysis (JSA) was conducted by each
contractor, with findings being regularly submitted to Mortenson Messer
Healthcare Construction for review. Also, to help avoid injuries, a daily
stretching program (M.A. Mortenson's Strech & Flex), as well as "Daily Morning
Huddle" meetings were implemented with all contractors.
As a result of these programs and the overall all commitment to safety, the
OSP's DART rate decreased from 2.6 during the first year to zero during the
second year. The OSP's two-year average of 1.3 was 54 percent below the 2007
Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) national average for construction. The table
below presents information on the OSP's DART rate during the first two years of
||# of Fatalities
|Year 1 of OSP (2007)
|Year 2 of OSP (2008)
|OSP 2-Year Average
|BLS Industry National Average (2007)
Over 750,000 safe hours were worked on the project without any DARTs instances
occurring. There have been no fatalities. Multiple contractor safety luncheons
with awards were given for reaching the milestones of 200,000; 500,000 and
750,000 safe work hours.
OSP Develops Safety and Health Best Practices to Ensure Project Success
Since the West Chester Medical Center hospital project began, the OSP has
developed several new safety and health best practices to reduce injuries and
illnesses, promote a safety and health culture, and increase safety
collaboration. These best practices include the following:
Daily Stretch and Flex Program
All employees working on the Mortenson Messer Healthcare Construction project
(subcontractor and construction management staff) were required to participate
in a daily stretch and flex program. This program is one component of the M.A.
Mortenson Zero Injury Program. It includes a series of nine exercises to help
employees warm up their muscles prior to performing work duties. The
implementation of this program has helped M.A. Mortenson and Messer Construction
reduce repetitive motion injuries (sprains/strains) and lower injury and illness
rates on the worksite.
Activities with Local Organizations that Promote Safety and Health
Mortenson Messer Healthcare Construction has worked closely with the West
Chester Fire Department (WCFD) and West Chester Police/Special Weapons And
Tactics (SWAT) teams to gain their insight on developing search and rescue
drills. During the OSP, three drills were conducted with assistance provided by
WCFD. The drills consisted of search and rescue procedures for an occupied
facility, fire hose rotations in the bed tower, and high-angle rescue simulation
using both tower cranes and aerial fire truck ladders from neighboring fire
Numerous tours were also conducted during each phase of construction for the
WCFD crews. Mortenson Messer Healthcare Construction representatives attended
WCFD meetings to provide information regarding the building layout and
construction safety. At the latter part of the project, the West Chester police
department and SWAT teams used the newly-constructed facility to conduct
hostage-situation and terrorist-response training drills, because neither the
police nor the fire department had access to a building of this size and
magnitude in their area prior to the project.
New Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Requirement
During the project, new PPE requirements were implemented that included a new
100% hardhat, safety glasses, boots, and hi-visibility vest policy. Following
orientation, all employees were provided with stickers that had to be displayed
at all times on their hardhats. Implementing requirements such as these leave no
room for question and error, and help to create a safe worksite.
Key objectives of the OSP are to: reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in
the construction industry through training focusing on the four key industry
hazards (falls, electrocution, caught in-between, and struck-by); implement best
work practices and enhance safety and health management systems (SHMS); and
ensure compliance with applicable OSHA standards and regulations.
Origin: Region V, Cincinnati Area Office
Partners: M.A. Mortenson & Messer Construction and the
OSHA On-Site Consultation Program
Partnership Signed: November 28, 2006
Industry (NAICS Code): Construction (23)
Source and Date: Dick Gilgrist, AD and Gaye Johnson,
CAS, Cincinnati Area Office
James Dillard, Chicago Regional Office (Region V)/March 2009