James McHugh Construction Company and U.S. Navy Partnership Makes Safety and Health a Top Priority During Battle Stations 21 Project


In August 2005, the James McHugh Construction Company, the United States Navy's Naval Facilities Engineering Command Midwest (NAVFAC Midwest) Great Lakes, and OSHA's Region V Chicago North Area Office joined together to form an OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP) during the construction of the Battle Stations 21 (BS 21) Project.

The BS 21 Project was an $80 million, "one-of-a-kind-in-the-world" construction project that consisted of constructing a one square block, boxed-shaped building. Inside of this building the USS Thayer was built which is a replica of an Arleigh-Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer with internal compartments that duplicated other U.S. Navy ships. The BS 21 Project took place at the United States Navy Recruit Training Center located in Great Lakes, Illinois.

The main goals of the OSP were to reduce injuries and illnesses through developing, implementing, and maintaining a comprehensive safety and health management system (SHMS) and utilizing the latest technologies and safest available methods. The BS 21 Project was successfully completed in the spring of 2007.

Success Impact:

Injury and Illness Rates Decline - Days Away, Restricted and Transfer (DART), Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR)

Over 710,000 man hours were worked during the project from 30 companies with 150 employees at the site. During the OSP, the Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) and Days Away, Restricted and Transfer (DART) rate were below the Bureau of Labor Statistics national average for the construction industry. The below table presents the injury and illness data collected during the BS 21 Project.




Year 1: 2006



Year 2: 2007



2-Year Average



BLS Industry National Average (2003)*



Percentage Below Industry National Average



*As stated in the OSP agreement, the OSP compared its injury and illness rates to BLS rates for CY 2003.


In a letter to McHugh Construction, dated July 31, 2008, U.S. Navy Commanding Officer, Captain R.J. Gibbs of the Civil Engineer Corps wrote:

"I want to extend my sincere appreciation and congratulate you for your commendable attention to safety at your Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Midwest (NAVFAC Midwest) construction projects.

Your absolute commitment and adherence to safety is exemplified by your admirable safety record. A safe work environment doesn't 'just happen. It takes a dedicated effort by your staff to emphasize safe work practices and procedures every day...I know that you share my views on the value of each human life. A serious accident involving a member of your workforce would be a terrible loss. I appreciate all you have done in reemphasizing our shared goals of proving and enforcing safe working conditions on our Midwest jobsite. Safety has been my number one priority."

Commitment to Safety and Health Leads to Many Positive Results

Safety was at the forefront during the project. Specific areas that were focused on included worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and safety and health training. Aside from offering specific safety training courses such as the OSHA 30- and 10-hour courses and aerial lift and Ramset trainings, regular weekly tool box talks and employee orientations were also conducted. In addition to approximately 565 formal training hours conducted, employee orientations added approximately 75 hours, and weekly tool box talks added approximately eight hours per employee.

Each contractor who worked onsite was required to develop their own SHMS which included an Activity Hazard Analyses element. Contractors unwilling to follow safety protocols were disciplined or asked to leave the site on more than one occasion as a result of continuous monitoring for safety.

A full-time safety manager and the site management team conducted regular worksite inspections to ensure that safety protocols and procedures were being followed. These inspections were a key factor in not having any citations issued as a result of the three OSHA unannounced enforcement inspections.

Partnership Objectives:

The key objectives of this Partnership were to develop an effective safety and health management system by reducing injuries and illnesses; creating a working relationship between OSHA and the Partnership participants; increasing employees safety awareness; promoting a cooperative relationship between labor and management; and developing and providing training necessary to enhance safety awareness and proactively address job-related hazards.

Origin: Region V, Chicago Regional Office and Chicago North Area Office
Partners: James McHugh Construction Company and the United States Navy NAVFAC Midwest ITP Great Lakes
Partnership Signed: August 2005
Industry and NAICS Code: Construction (NAICS Code 2361)
Employees: 150
Employers: 1
Source and Date: Nancy Hauter, Compliance Assistance Specialist, Chicago North Area Office, Diane Turek, Assistant Director, Chicago North Area Office, and Julie Evans, Team Leader, Chicago Regional Area Office (August 2008)