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Rush University Medical Center Transformation Project Partners with U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA

April 23, 2009

Ensuring the highest level of employee safety and health during the multi-phase expansion and transformation of the Rush University Medical Center campus is the goal of a workplace safety partnership between Rush and the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA’s area office in Calumet City, Ill., signed an agreement with representatives from Rush University Medical Center, the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, the Illinois Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program and key contractors in the form of a safety and health partnership for Phase One and Phase Two of the medical center expansion, which includes a new fourteen story hospital tower, parking garage, and medical office. The voluntary partnership is in effect through the completion of these phases, anticipated to run through 2012.

“With Rush University Medical Center serving as the general contractor, we view this as a unique opportunity to form a partnership that will involve active interaction with subcontractors. Together, we will continue promoting safety and health in the construction industry,” said OSHA Area Director Gary Anderson, Calumet City.

Under the terms of this partnership, the participants will track injuries and illnesses for the project, and jointly conduct a monthly audit of the facility. The partnership also requires written safety programs, training and unannounced verification inspections by OSHA to assure safety and health requirements are being met.

“The safety and health of workers on this large project is a priority. We look forward to working with OSHA to identify methods by which we can adjust and strengthen worker safety and in turn assist OSHA in raising awareness about safe working environments in the construction industry,” said Mick Zdeblick, vice president of campus transformation at Rush.

The $900 million, eight-year campus redevelopment plan called the Rush Transformation includes construction of new 14-level hospital, a new orthopedic ambulatory building, parking garage and central power plant, renovations of selected older buildings and demolition of obsolete buildings. The new hospital will feature leading-edge operating rooms and intensive care units, state-of-the-art imaging technology and an advanced bioterrorism response unit in an expanded emergency department. The new hospital will break down physical boundaries to care — locating related services where they are most convenient for patients. For more information visit www.rush.edu.

OSHA’s Strategic Partnership Program is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to improve the health and safety of employees through cooperative relationships with trade associations, labor organizations, employers and employees. More than 1.4 million employees and nearly 28,000 employers across the United States have participated with OSHA in more than 580 strategic partnerships since the program began in 1998.