Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is teaming up with Swank Enterprises during the construction of the new $32 million dining facility on the University of Montana campus.

KGVO News spoke with Art Hazen, the OSHA Area Office Director about the partnership that will help prevent workplace accidents and fatalities through training and flowing best practices.

OSHA will team up with Swank Enterprises to Monitor Safety on Dining Facility

“I have I have actually worked with Swank Enterprises for quite a few years now, but this is our first partnership with them,” began Hazen. “In a partnership with the federal OSHA, we look for a project of a certain size for at least two years so we can give a good measure off of the partnership. I had been working with a gentleman named Dave Stewart with Swank Construction for quite a few years looking for the right partnership. They have an extremely well-designed safety and health management system at Swank. We've never had any real enforcement issues with them, so it was just perfect.”

Hazen described what OSHA inspectors will be looking for on the UM dining hall project.

“We just walk the site with them and we discuss some of the biggest hazards in construction, from trenching, falls, struck-by hazards, machine guarding, electrical, fire head, anything like as they break ground all the way till they punch their list and call the job done. We just kind of work with them throughout the whole project.”

An OSHA Inspector will make Regular Visits to the Jobsite

Hazen said he has one specified OSHA representative that will make regular inspections at the project site throughout the build.

“I do have one dedicated person, and he's a compliance assistance specialist,” he said. “We will show up there probably every two months or so, or if Swank Enterprises or any of their subcontractors need anything from training, or if they have anything they want us to come look at we're will always be on call with them if they need us. We'll be up there.”

What Happens if There is a Workplace Accident?

KGVO asked Hazen what will happen if there is a workplace accident on the dining hall job site.

“Well, at that point that (the accident) takes the priority,” he said. “If we have to investigate it, we’ll still maintain the partnership, but we'll have an enforcement asset go in there and actually do the investigation themselves. I oversee that as well. So it's one of those things. I'll just let the enforcement arm do what they do and we talk about that before we even sign the partnership.”

The Swank and OSHA alliance seeks to protect the safety and health of workers employed by subcontractors involved in different phases of the $39 million project, including preparation, precast concrete, structural steel, HVAC, electrical, and roof work.

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