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OSHA News Release
Region 2

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Region 2 News Release: 06-95-NEW/BOS 2006-012
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074

OSHA Announces New Partnership to Protect Workers on Cornell University Construction Project

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Enhanced safety and health for workers constructing the Life Sciences Building at Cornell University is the goal of a new partnership among the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Skanska USA Building Inc. and 14 building and trades unions working on the project.

OSHA's Strategic Partnerships for Worker Safety and Health are part of U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's ongoing efforts to improve the health and safety of workers through cooperative relationships with groups including trade associations, labor organizations and employers.

"Through this joint effort of government, business and labor, we aim to minimize risks to workers, reduce injury and illness rates and improve construction safety and health throughout the project," said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA regional administrator in New York.

The project, scheduled to last through 2007, involves the construction of a five-story, 280,000 square-foot building and a 500-foot tunnel. At its peak, it will utilize 20 subcontractors and employ 1,500 workers in a variety of trades. Skanska is the construction manager.

The partnership's key goals include eliminating accidents and injuries stemming from major construction hazards, as well as overexposure to silica; zero fatalities; an injury and illness rate 25 percent below the industry average; and eliminating cave-in hazards and accidents, along with underground construction and tunneling hazards.

To accomplish these goals, the partners will conduct mandatory safety training for all workers and supervisors, as well as training in OSHA's underground construction standard. Site-specific safety and health programs will be implemented for all contractors. Weekly safety and health inspections will identify and promptly eliminate hazards. There will also be oversight and inspection of all excavations by a competent person, examination of all work areas for potential silica exposure and effective controls to reduce such exposures.

Signing the partnership were representatives of OSHA, Skanska and the following labor unions: Carpenters Local 281, Electricians Local 241, Elevator Constructors Local 62, Laborers Local 589, Masons Local 3 NY, Heat/Frost, Insulator & Asbestos Workers Local 30, Operating Engineers Local 545, Painters Local 178, Plumbers Local 267, Sheet Metal Workers Local 112, Sprinkler Fitters District 34 Local 669, Iron Workers Local 60, Roofers Local 203 and Glaziers Local 677.

Since the inception of OSHA's Strategic Partnership Program in 1998, more than 388 partnerships have been formed, impacting over 13,000 employers and 573,000 employees across the United States. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit

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