Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Ernie Fletcher Addresses Steps Being Taken to Improve Construction Workplace Safety

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, July 18, 2006  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Jennifer Parks

Goal is protection of ‘human capital’ vital to healthy economy

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today spotlighted steps being taken by his administration and leaders of the construction industry to improve on-the-job health and safety of construction workers.

“Since the beginning of our administration, our goal has been to achieve a growing, healthy economy,” Governor Fletcher said in a news conference at the University of Kentucky’s fabled Memorial Coliseum, which is undergoing expansion. “Improving workplace safety is a necessary part of that goal because a healthy economy requires a healthy work force – the human capital that is every bit as vital as physical infrastructure,” the governor said.

The governor was joined by Peter Strange, chairman and CEO of Messer Construction Co., general contractor for the Memorial Coliseum project; LaJuana S. Wilcher, secretary of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet; and Phil Anderson, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Labor (DOL).

Construction historically has been a “high hazard” industry in the United States. “But Kentucky’s construction industry is taking a proactive approach to improved safety and health,” Governor Fletcher said.

Messer Construction is taking part in the Construction Partnership Program offered by the Education and Training Division of the Kentucky Office of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) within DOL. Under the program, safety and health experts from the agency provide free, on-site consultation and technical assistance to employees of the company and its subcontractors.

Strange said his company’s partnership with Kentucky OSH “enables our workers to benefit from continuous engagement with consultative visits, training, education and safety process implementation.”

“Being proactive and tackling issues as a team just makes sense, as all of us are seeking the best ways to protect the workers on the job sites,” Strange said.

Secretary Wilcher said one advantage of the construction partnerships is that DOL’s safety and health consultants can reach many subcontractors at one location.

“We commend Messer Construction Company for having taken a very proactive approach toward providing a safer, healthier working environment for its employees and its subcontractors’ employees,” Wilcher said.