Safety is important too

June 17, 2011
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Pioneer Construction, lead contractor on the Mary Idema Pew Library on GVSU’s Allendale campus, is concerned about more than LEED Platinum certification for the $47.5 million project.

The construction firm recently partnered with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration to promote enhanced safety and health protection, as well as zero injuries, for workers at the site.

“This says a lot about where our company and industry have come,” said Tim Schowalter, president and CEO of Pioneer. “This partnership represents a very important commitment to the safety of our people and to the idea of proactively working together with MIOSHA, our clients and our subcontractor partners to accomplish our safety goals.”

Officials stressed the collaborative nature of the partnership, as opposed to traditional enforcement methods. Doug Kalinowski, MIOSHA director, said those involved with the project have agreed to a lengthy list of safety precautions. Some of those rules and precautions include immediate dismissal from the project for any willful or deliberate violation of safety rules or safety policies and procedures; 100 percent eye protection; commitment to a pre-task analysis submitted to the safety manager prior to beginning critical work; substance abuse testing; and 100 percent fall protection over six feet, including steel erection and roof work.

“Safety at the workplace is our industry’s highest responsibility. This agreement will keep it ‘front and center’ in the minds of each skilled craft person on the project,” said John Doherty, president of the local Associated Builders and Contractors chapter. “Further, it complements Pioneer’s existing, exceptional safety program.”

A June 10 event included a unique signing ceremony in which all partners signed an actual 80-page book produced for the occasion.

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