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Updated 7:00 AM December 7, 2009

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New safety requirements planned for outside construction contractors

Leaders from Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) and Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH) have announced plans to roll out additional safety requirements to help ensure construction site safety for all outside contractors working on U-M projects.

The new requirements will become effective in January. The university will continue to evaluate the impact of these enhancements.

"Safety is an essential component of construction work at the university," says Marina Roelofs, AEC executive director. "Effective contractor safety programs enhance projects by assisting contractors to systematically identify and evaluate anticipated hazards and establish controls before work begins."

Many of these safety measures already are required for larger campus projects.

Roelofs and Terry Alexander, executive director of OSEH, met with leaders of local construction companies and trade organizations in September to discuss additional safety requirements and seek their input. Roelofs notes that the contractor community expressed strong support for the program enhancements.

Starting Jan. 1 there will be a new emphasis on project-specific safety plans including:

• An emergency-action plan.

• The process to implement hazard-specific work plans.

• Mandated, site-specific safety orientation for all workers prior to start-up.

• A process for validating training for all workers using construction equipment such as cranes, hoists, scaffolding, etc.

• 100 percent fall protection for work above 6 feet. (State requirement varies by work activity.)

• Frequent, documented job site inspections with reports available on site for review.

• Disciplinary action for noncompliance with safety plans.

The university will require all contractors to report all safety orientations, safety observations, disciplinary actions and incidents for any size project. That will allow the university to assess contractor safety performance on the individual projects, Roelofs says.

Additional safety training requirements for work supervisors, and mandatory drug and alcohol testing for all contractor and subcontractor employees working on U-M projects will be included in all contract documents, effective until May 2010.

Roelofs adds, "We believe these enhancements will help promote a more uniform approach to safety at the university and achieve our goal of zero accidents."

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