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Letter: Promoting job site safety

Letter: Promoting job site safety

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Dear Editor:

Bravo to Cumberland Valley School District for being forward-thinking when it comes to construction. Despite having its hands tied by having to abide by a century-old law called the Pennsylvania Separations Act, Cumberland Valley is encouraging collaboration among construction contractors that will build its Mountainview Middle School and Winding Creek Elementary School.

The separations act requires public construction projects, such as a school buildings, post offices, police stations, etc., to bid and award at least four separate prime contracts for one construction or renovation project. When there is no clear lead or general contractor steering the ship on a project it can lead to a lot of finger-pointing, which can result in delays and cost overruns.

Knowing that they must abide by this inefficient delivery system, Cumberland Valley is setting up a co-location collaboration trailer so that the multiple prime companies will be forced to interact and directly communicate with its building partners in one job site trailer. This hub is not the savior for improving the efficiency of public construction projects, but until a repeal of the separations act occurs, it’s good to know that public owners are being innovative to improve the construction process.

The co-location trailers have proven successful on a few Penn State University projects. Not only were those projects under budget and ahead of schedule, but by working close together the construction workforce created positive relationships with each other and this benefits safety as workers care about the people on the job site.

A safe construction industry is good for our commonwealth’s economy. According to Pennsylvania's  Department of Labor and Industry, promoting safety saved employers more than $4.6 million in worker’s compensation costs during May of 2015.

Jon O’Brien

Executive Director, Keystone Contractors Association

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