Union Participation in Lincoln-Way West High School Partnership Results in Increasing Safety and Health in the Construction Industry

Lincoln-Way West High School in New Lenox, Illinois (September 2009)

Lincoln-Way West High School in New Lenox, Illinois (September 2009)


In October 2008, Henry Brothers Construction Management, LLC; Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters; Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters - Local 174 (outside of Joliet, Illinois); and OSHA's Calumet City Office in Region V formed an OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP). The main purpose of the OSP was to promote worker safety and health by reducing injuries and illnesses and addressing key hazards associated with the construction industry during the two-story, 414,000 square feet Lincoln-Way West High School building construction project. There were ten employer participants covering approximately 250 employees involved with the OSP. The project was successfully completed in July 2009.

Success Impact:
Reduced Injury and Illness Rates - Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) and Days Away, Restricted, and Transferred (DART) Rate

Prior to forming the OSP, the partners' baseline injury and illness data was substantially above the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) national average for construction. However, over the course of the project, the OSP achieved both a TCIR and DART rate that were 23 percent below the 2008 BLS national average for the construction industry. Comparison of the OSP's baseline injury and illness rates after the project was completed show a 71 percent reduction in the TCIR and a 66 reduction in the DART rate. The table below presents the OSP's injury and illness data before and after the OSP was formed:




Pre-OSP Baseline(6/2007 - 8/2008)



Post-OSP(8/2008-May 2009)



Total Percentage Difference (Pre-OSP vs. Post-OSP)



BLS Industry National Average (2008)



Total Percentage below BLS



Due to the significant improvement in injury and illness rates resulting from their participation in the OSHA Strategic Partnership Program (OSPP), Henry Brothers Construction Management is considering applying to OSHA's premier safety recognition program - the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP).

Increased Number of Hazards Identified and Corrected/Abated

The OSP's Site-Specific Safety Program required that all new employees receive the safety orientation prior to starting work. Periodic tool box talks were also conducted to promote safety on the worksite. The OSP audit team conducted monthly self-inspections during the seven-month construction project. These seven self-inspections resulted in over 100 hazards being identified and corrected/abated. Identified hazards were either corrected immediately on the same day or scheduled for future abatement with notification to the team members. The minutes of the audit meetings, summary findings of the self-inspections, and injury and illness data were disseminated to OSP stakeholders.

Increased Collaboration and Communication between Labor and Management

Besides increased safety and health awareness and an improved relationship with OSHA, the OSP significantly enhanced collaboration and communication between organized labor and major contractors in Will County, Illinois that had little prior experience with partnerships. During the close-out OSP meeting, following the successful completion of the project, participants discussed the concept and implementation of the OSP. All of the comments were very positive and participants' stated that they would be interested in participating in future OSPs

Partnership Objectives:

Key objectives of the OSP included: preventing serious accidents and fatalities by addressing job-related hazards; increasing training to promote safety and health awareness; developing, implementing, and maintaining safety and health management systems (SHMS); and promoting and creating collaborative, working relationships between partners.

Origin: Region V, Calumet City Area Office
Partners: Henry Brothers Construction Management, LLC, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, and Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters - Local 174
Partnership Signed: October 14, 2008
Industry (NAICS Code): Construction (2362)
Employees: Approximately 250
Employers: 10
Source (Date): Danielle Gibbs, Region V OSP National Office Lead, Washington, DC (November 2009)