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Region 5 News Release: 11-1173-CHI
Aug. 11, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976      312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA establishes safety and health partnership with
Weis Builders for Illinois State University Cardinal Court project in Normal

NORMAL, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Illinois Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program have established a partnership with Weis Builders Inc. to promote effective safety and health programs during the construction of the Illinois State University Cardinal Court apartment project in Normal. Weis Builders is the lead contractor for the public-private student housing project.

"This partnership reflects the recognition of the importance of construction workers' safety and health," said Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "We want to ensure all construction companies are prepared to effectively control the workplace hazards their employees may encounter. Partnerships such as this one help develop effective safety and health programs, and improve open and continuous communication among OSHA, employers and workers."

Weis Builders, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., will implement a site-specific safety and health program. The company will mentor subcontractors who have not yet developed their own safety and health program and, if necessary, refer them to the Illinois Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program for assistance.

The company will also require the use of wet cutting techniques and/or dust collection systems in addition to the mandatory use of approved respirators where the potential for airborne silica exposure exists. Personal air monitoring will be conducted to assess employee exposures levels.

The voluntary partnership agreement is focused on identifying and controlling safety hazards, improving safety and health programs, promoting a cooperative relationship between labor and management, and encouraging employee participation in achieving a safe and healthful workplace. It aims to meet these goals through increased training, implementation of best work practices, and compliance with applicable OSHA standards and regulations.

Through the Strategic Partnership Program, OSHA partners 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. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/partnerships/index.html.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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