Increased Safety Training and Self-Inspections at the Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Project Leads to Injury and Illness Rates Well Below National Average


This OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP) was formed to promote worker safety and health during the multi-million construction project of the expansion and modernization of the Columbia St. Mary's Hospital on the Milwaukee Campus in Wisconsin. The OSP covers 45 contractors and over 4,000 employees. Anticipated outcomes of the OSP include the prevention of fatalities and serious injuries by establishing proactive measures and improved data reporting. The expected end date of the project is September 2010.

Success Impact:

Safety and Health Promoted through Increased Training and Number of Conducted Self-Inspections

The main purpose of the OSP is to promote employee safety during the modernization and expansion of the hospital. One of the strategies for achieving this was to deliver consistent safety training to labor and management. During the first year of the OSP, over 2,000 safety training sessions and close to 58,000 hours were delivered to 4,600 employees and managers. To further support the training initiative, over 4,300 site orientations and 2,100 tool box talks were conducted weekly on the worksite.

In 2009, over 2,000 self-inspections were conducted which resulted in over 150 hazards identified and corrected/abated. The low number of identified hazards is partly due to the OSP's three-tiered, pre-planning approach. Pre-task planning includes health aspects and monitoring for lead, silica, noise. There is a three week outlook planning meeting that keeps the project crews informed on overall future tasks, as well as an "in the coming week" site safety meeting. Safety is first on the agenda of all meetings. There is a mandate for a documented job hazard analysis to be performed prior to the commencement of work.

Future plans of the OSP include discussing various methods of collecting self-inspection data and types of hazards identified. Improved data collection will provide a better quantification for measurement and progress. Also, any upward trend of injuries or illnesses experienced will be discussed in an effort to identify trends/patterns.

Days Away, Restricted, and Transferred (DART) Rate below Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) National Average for Construction

During the first year of the project, the OSP attained a DART rate that was 80 percent below the 2008 BLS national average for the construction industry. The table below presents the OSP's DART rate compared to the BLS national average for construction:

Years Hours # of DART Cases DART Rate
OSP (Year 1) 456,163 11 .5
BLS Industry National Average (2008)     2.5
Total Percentage Difference     -80% below BLS

Besides a low DART rate, additional benefits experienced by the OSP include: an increased safety and health awareness; improved relationships with unions/employees; management, and OSHA; and an increased number of participants.

Partnership Objectives:

Key objectives of the OSP are to: ensure worker safety and health and prevent serious accidents and fatalities by addressing key hazards (falls, electrocution, caught-between, and struck-by); and promote the development of effective safety and health management systems (SHMS) in the construction industry.

  • Origin: OSHA Region V, Milwaukee Area Office
  • Partners: CG Schmidt Barton Malow and Wisconsin Consultation Services (WisCon)
  • Partnership Signed: September 27, 2008
  • Industry/NAICS Code: Construction (23622)
  • Employers: 1 (+45 contractors)
  • Employees: +4,000
  • Source and Date: Patrick Ostrenga, Compliance Assistance Specialist, Milwaukee Office; James C. Dillard, Chicago Regional Office; and Danielle Gibbs, OSHA National Office (March 2010).