Region 2 News Release: 06-407-NEW/BOS 2006-059
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
Partnership Aims for Worker Safety for BCBS Construction Project
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Enhanced safety and health protections for workers building BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York's new corporate headquarters in Buffalo is the goal of a partnership agreement among the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Duke Realty Corporation and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Buffalo, N.Y. and Vicinity, AFL-CIO.
The eight-story, 452,000 square foot BlueCross BlueShield building is expected to take one and one-half years to complete at a cost of about $90 million. At the height of construction, it is anticipated that more than 40 contractors will be working on-site with some 200 employees. Duke Realty Corp. is construction manager for the project.
"This partnership is an example of Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao's commitment to improving the health and safety of workers through cooperative partnerships with labor unions and employers," said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA's regional administrator. "It will remain in effect until the project is completed."
"The partners will utilize a collaborative approach to manage job safety and health on this major, long-term project," said Art Dube, OSHA's Buffalo area director. "Contractors' safety and health programs will be analyzed. Those needing improvement will be brought up to par."
The partnership agreement outlines a comprehensive safety plan, site-specific training for all workers on hazards and safety standards, and ongoing site monitoring by a safety team. It also offers incentives to project contractors who meet enhanced requirements for safety and health performance.
Other goals include achieving an injury/illness rate for the site 25 percent below the national average for similar construction, zero fatalities and safety and health training for all workers and supervisors.
The partnership signing took place today at the jobsite at W. Genesee St., along downtown Buffalo's waterfront. Signatories were Clark and Dube from OSHA; James Thornton, safety director, Duke Realty Corp.; and Paul Brown, president, Building and Construction Trades Council of Buffalo, N.Y. and Vicinity, AFL-CIO.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. 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 www.osha.gov.
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