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Updated 9:00 AM September 14, 2009

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Proposed changes address campus construction safety

Leaders from Architecture, Engineering and Construction, and Occupational Safety and Environmental Health are fine-tuning processes to ensure construction site safety is one of the highest responsibilities for all outside contractors working on U-M projects, no matter how large or small.

"The primary objective of these proposed changes is to highlight the university's commitment to construction safety and to promote a consistent approach to safety across all projects," says Marina Roelofs, executive director of Architecture, Engineering and Construction.

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

Roelofs will meet with leaders of local construction companies and trade organizations later this week to discuss additional safety requirements that will apply to all contractors and subcontractors.

Proposed additions to the guidelines include:

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

• All contractors must have on-site supervision with a minimum of 30 hours Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety training.

• 100 percent fall protection for projects more than 6 feet tall.

• A disciplinary plan for construction workers who do not comply with the contractor's safety plan.

• Mandatory drug and alcohol testing for all contractor and subcontractor employees working on U-M projects.

"Effective contractor safety programs enhance projects by assisting contractors to thoroughly identify and evaluate anticipated hazards and establish controls in advance of actual work," says Terry Alexander, executive director of Occupational Safety and Environmental Health.

The university plans to implement the changes this fall.

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