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Health & Safety, Training
Illinois Dedicates New Training Center

Hundreds of Laborers and their employers came together Saturday April 5th for the Grand Opening of the new 16,000 square foot Laborers’ Training Center located in Marion, Illinois. The event included speeches from LIUNA leaders, lunch, and safety incentive giveaways.

“No one has done more for the advancement of training skilled and qualified Laborers in Southern Illinois than Bill and John,” said retiring LIUNA Vice President, Midwest Regional Manager and Assistant to the General President Edward M. Smith as he unveiled a plaque commemorating the new facility as the William Simonds-John R. Taylor Training Center.

Bill Simonds is President of E.T. Simonds, a heavy construction firm in Carbondale, IL that has served commercial, governmental and residential clients since 1946. Bill has served as a Management Trustee for the Illinois Laborers’ and Contractors Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program (ILCJATP) since 2001. John R. Taylor is Business Manager of the Southern and Central Illinois Laborers’ District Council. John has served as a Union Trustee for the ILCJATP since 1999.

Each year, the number of apprentices entering LIUNA training programs grows exponentially. In Illinois, that number grew by 400 last year. With that growth comes the need for new facilities and strategies to train our membership. ILCJATP is answering the challenge with the opening of regionally based satellite training centers, the first of which opened this last year in Stanford, in the north central part of the state and the second which is the new facility in Marion, in the southern part of the state.

ILCJTP Director Clint Taylor says that location is big advantage in training. “Instead of traveling 200 – 300 miles and being away from home weeks at a time, our folks can sleep in their own bed each night and travel a short distance to train each day,” said Taylor. “It’s more like going to the job.”

The Training Program’s Worker Memorial Ceremony was also observed during the program. ILCJATP has held the annual ceremony since 2004 and a memorial plaque is displayed at the Mt. Sterling Training Center in honor of the Illinois Laborers who have lost their lives. “We are very proud of the fact that we have not had to add a name to the memorial since 2004,” states Clint Taylor, “I believe that speaks well for our emphasis of training and safety.”

P.J. Hoerr Partnership Makes Great Strides in Promoting Safety and Health During Construction Project

In April 2007, P.J. Hoerr Inc. of Peoria, IL formed a strategic partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Illinois On-site Safety and Health Consultation Program aimed at reducing injuries and illnesses for employees involved in the Illinois Medical Center construction project.

The project is an $18 million, five-story medical office building with a two-story parking garage and is scheduled to be completed in 2009. During the project's first 14 months, the partnership recorded a days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer rate of zero and a total case incident rate that was 45 percent below the Bureau of Labor Statistics' national average for the construction industry.

OSHA's mission is to send America's employees home whole and healthy every day. Traditionally, the agency's strategy has been to promulgate and enforce workplace safety and health standards. The OSHA Strategic Partnership Program (OSPP) moves away from traditional enforcement methods and embraces collaborative agreements. Through OSPP, OSHA and its partners agree to work cooperatively to address critical safety and health issues. This very different approach is proving to be an effective tool for reducing fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace.

"The goal of lowering injury and illness rates was a success by signing and enacting the Partnership early in the project,” said P.J. Hoerr Safety Coordinator Steve Williams. “The strict enforcement of safe work rules at a smaller project such as this puts all contractors on the ‘same page' in working toward the goal of having a zero accident worksite."

Employers with questions about this or other OSHA partnerships and alliances should call the agency's Peoria Area Office at (309) 589-7033 or visit its Web site at www.osha.gov and click on "Cooperative Programs."