OSHA: Picturing Safety at MOMA Construction Site

OSHA and the lead contractor and employee and employer representatives on the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) construction project on W. 53rd Street in New York have signed a site-safety and health partnership agreement with the hope of painting a bright future for safety at the site.

OSHA signed the agreement with construction contractor AMEC Construction Management Inc., the Building Trades Employers' Association and the Building and Construction Trades Council. AMEC Construction Management is the construction manager for this project, which involves the renovation of the existing facility and construction of two new steel frame buildings (140 and 250 feet high, respectively) for office and gallery use. At the peak of the project, AMEC and its subcontractors anticipate that they will employ more than 300 trade employees. The 30-month project is scheduled for completion in November 2004.

According to OSHA Regional Administrator Patricia Clark, one of the partnership's goals is to form a contractor-government relationship that will encourage other New York City contractors to improve their safety and health performance. She noted that the inclusion of the Building Trades Employers' Association and the Building and Construction Trades Council will help further support a framework for positive change within the New York City's construction industry geared towards ensuring employee safety and health.

The partnership was initiated as a result of relationships formed between OSHA and contractors during the clean-up operations at the World Trade Center Emergency Project. AMEC Construction Management was one of the prime contractors in that project and as a result of their demonstrated cooperation and commitment to employee safety and health, the partnership was formed.

"I'm happy to partner with contractors who obviously value the benefits of working together with labor and government on a large and complex construction project," said Richard Mendelson, area director. "Partnering on a high-visibility project such as MOMA highlights the benefits of a safe worksite."

Mendelson noted that partnership agreements allow for contractors to be more involved in safety and health and offer such incentives from OSHA as training or other assistance with safety and industrial hygiene concerns. The partnership, however, does not preclude OSHA from taking enforcement actions to address complaints, fatalities or serious accidents, nor does it infringe on the rights of employees to report workplace hazards.

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