Messer Construction Xavier University Partnership Achieves Success and Promotes Safety and Health in the Construction Industry


In September 2008, Messer Construction Company (Messer), Xavier University, and the OSHA Cincinnati Area Office in Region V formed this OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP). The main purpose of the OSP is to develop and share best safety practices within the construction industry and implement safety training to contractors and employees during the construction of the $89 million Xavier University Hoff Academic Quad in Cincinnati. There are 35 employer participants covering close to 1,000 employees in the OSP. Phase 1 of the construction project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2010.

Success Impact:
Development of Safety and Health Management System Results in Many Positive Benefits Onsite

Since Messer (construction manager/general contractor) created and implemented their safety and health management system (Safety4Site), all individuals working on Messer jobsites actively participate in daily huddle meetings, ongoing planning sessions, and periodic communication about safety associated with the worksite. This culture-changing program has been a notable success on the Xavier University project.

There were over 40 comprehensive self-inspections conducted on the complex construction project located on an active college campus, which resulted in 146 hazards being identified and abated. Results of the detailed inspections were shared with everyone working on the site as an opportunity to learn and improve processes.

During the first year of the OSP, over 950 Messer and subcontractor employees working on site have participated in an educational program pertaining to their safety and health as part of the OSP. Safety4Site orientations, review of inspection results, as well as subject-specific safety training programs have been offered to everyone that works on the site. The OSP provided 22 safety training sessions and 200 training hours to over 350 employees, supervisors, and managers.




Year 1 of OSP



BLS Industry National Average (2008)



Percentage Difference Below BLS



OSP Testimonials

The combination of the Messer Safety4Site Program and the OSHA Partnership Agreement aligned into what has become a project culture of awareness, responsibility, and education. From the outset of the bid document requirements, contract award, pre-planning and execution, the processes in place created a project culture that enables each individual stakeholder the opportunity to complete not only their work safely, but entrust that others around them are too.

Participation begins and ends with each individual on the project, and company cultures are being impacted by what is being implemented as crews begin to realize the benefits of planning, communicating, and training on a level that may not have been experienced prior to this project. There is no doubt that there are stumbling blocks and hurdles to overcome as the scope of work changes and work progresses, but with foresight and the processes in place, the teams tackle these issues head on.

--Employee, Messer Construction

We at Xavier are extremely pleased with the proven success of the OSHA partnership on this project. From attending some partnership meetings, it is clear that all members have bought in to the philosophy from all sides: OSHA, Xavier, Messer, and all of their subcontractors. The incredibly low number of incidents is evidence that the plan is working on this project. The morning huddles not only help identify work plans for the day, but identify any new or continued hazards around the job. They also provide the physical stretch and the mental reminders to be aware of safety at all times. We are thankful to Messer for their leading role in the partnership and look forward to completing this and more projects in the same fashion.

--Representative of Xavier University

Due to the collaborative efforts of all involved, OSHA has been able to partner with other companies as a result of the work on this project site as well as other Messer job sites. Because of the success of the OSP on the Xavier site, as well as at other Messer OSP worksites, Messer submitted its application for the OSHA Mobile Workforce VPP in November 2009.

Partnership Objectives:
Key objectives of the OSP were to: Reduce injuries and other worksite hazards (falls, electrocution, caught-between, and struck-by); develop stronger training programs; and enhance safety and health.
Origin: Region V, Cincinnati Area Office
Partners: Messer Construction Company and Xavier University
Partnership Signed: September 8, 2008
Industry (NAICS Code): Construction (2362)
Employees: Approximately 1,000
Employers: 35
Source (Date): Dick Gilgrist, A.D., OSHA Cincinnati Area Office; Gaye Johnson, CAS, OSHA Cincinnati Area Office; and James Dillard, OSPP Coordinator/VPP Manager, OSHA Chicago Regional Office (January 2010)