February 3, 2006
The construction of Cornell’s Life Sciences Building, scheduled to last through 2007, is a complex and dangerous undertaking. With goals of enhanced safety and health for workers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) formed a partnership with the construction manager Skanska USA Building Inc. and 14 building and trade unions. The partnership seeks to eliminate accidents and injuries.
“This is the first OSHA partnership with a construction company in Central New York,” said Jack Brown, senior project manager at Skanska USA Building Inc.
The partnership was initiated six months ago, when Skanska approached the OSHA’s local office. After an initial review meeting with local labor authorities in the area, OSHA and business authorities drafted a partnership agreement. A document was created and sent to the state office in New York City, and then the national office in Washington where OSHA approved the agreement.
“We scheduled a signing, which took place on February 11, between Skanska, OSHA, and the 14 business unions from different locales,” Brown said.
Partnerships with OSHA are commonplace for large-scale projects like the Life Sciences Building, a five-story, 280,000 square foot building with a 500-foot tunnel. The building will require 20 subcontractors and 1,500 workers from various trades.
“If you have a large hundred million dollar project with fairly difficult construction, we try to do a partnership. Skanska uses it more as a collaboration tool between us and the OSHA professionals who are experts in the field of safety,” Brown said.
One of the partnership’s goals is for OSHA to offer Skanska feedback and risk analyses for work activities. Skanska will be better equipped to avoid construction hazards, overexposure to silica, as well as cave-in and tunneling accidents. They hope the partnership will lead to zero fatalities and an injury and illness rate 25 percent below industry average.
“Through this joint effort of government, business and labor, we aim to minimize risks to workers, reduce injury and illness rates and improve construction safety and health throughout the project,” said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA regional administrator in New York.
The most immediate outcome of the partnership will be the 10-hour OSHA safety course required for each worker within the first two months of site work.
“There is also a requirement that any supervisory person go through the standard 30-hour course,” Brown said.
During the next stage, Skanska will request feedback from OSHA regarding various work activities.
“We’ve already had OSHA in the office helping us review shoring plans,” Brown said.
Site-specific safety and health programs will be implemented for all contractors. Weekly safety and health inspections will identify and eliminate dangers; excavations will be thoroughly overseen and inspected.
With goals that promote safety and communication, one might ask why the recent partnership is one of a kind in Central New York. Brown believes the hesitation stems from misconstrued perceptions of OSHA.
“There is this perception that OSHA is like a big brother. There is a long history of OSHA coming in and fining people for non performance issues and nobody has really tried to ask them to help figure out what the safest and best way is to do the work,” he said.
With a project as complex as the Life Sciences Building, Skanska believes it will benefit from OSHA’s resources, thereby reducing the possibility of accidents and injuries.
Archived article by Jessica Liebman Sun Staff Writer
February 3, 2006
This weekend, Lynah Rink and Barton Hall will host competitions featuring remarkable athletes – hockey players with NHL aspirations and runners with near-Olympic credentials.
On Wednesday night, however, both venues were disgraced as far as athletic prowess is concerned – because two nights ago, both places opened their doors to intramural sports.
Let me begin with my personal venture on the basketball courts in Barton. It was the first game of my fraternity’s basketball season. Being 5-8 with two-inch sneakers on, I wasn’t exactly the key to my team’s success. To be honest, I was just planning to give moral support. But there I was, stealing a pair of shorts from Teagle Hall (sorry girl who I swindled into giving them to me), and then standing on the sideline hoping my team would go up by enough points so that I could actually play.
With about seven minutes left in our game, we went up by 18 or so, and it was my time. Quick background: I played basketball for two years in middle school and played power forward because I was the same exact size then as I am now. Even so, everyone I guarded was at least a head taller than me, so what I gave up in size, I made up with in feistiness, or as some like to call it, fouling out.
So I came out like a madman, diving for loose balls, sitting on a kid’s head, and occasionally running the floor to play defense.
But the shining moments of my time on the court were an easy lay-up off the glass and then draining a 3-pointer from the corner. It was like those Master Card commercials – pair of Cornell athletic shorts: free because I took them and never gave them back; beers after the game: free because they were left at our house after a party; scoring five points in seven minutes only to miss two free throws after a technical foul – priceless.
Okay, so I didn’t actually pay for anything, but you get the point.
Speaking of things that are priceless. Fraternity basketball was nothing compared to sorority ice hockey. Yes, that’s right. The lovely ladies of Delta Gamma and Kappa Kappa Gamma traded in their pink shorts and hair ribbons, for