CWU News

CWU Leads Project to Improve Safety for Mechanical Contracting Industry

CWU is part of a project that will lower risk and improve safety in one of America’s most dangerous industries. With $199,944 from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries Safety and Health Investment Projects (SHIP) grant program, the project team will produce a best practices handbook for mechanical crafts. It will be published in English and Spanish.

Oftentimes best practices originate and end on a single project — there is no common medium to share worker innovations with other mechanical contractors and the industry as a whole. CWU is collaborating with Comfort Systems USA Northwest, McKinstry, and Oregon State University to identify and publish these safe and innovative work practices. 

“This project will make a major impact in the world of construction safety,” said Sathy Rajendran (pictured), grant project manager and director of CWU’s safety and health management program. “This kind of collaboration, thought leadership, and proactivity is exactly what we need to truly enhance safety and health performance for construction workers across the state and throughout the industry.”

CWU’s premier safety and health management program prepares excellent safety professionals for the construction trade and various other industries. Its construction safety minor is the only one of its kind in the country.

“The mechanical contracting industry is one of America’s most dangerous—but it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Ali Vahed, a grant team member and safety risk analyst at McKinstry, a national designer, builder, and operator of high-performance buildings. “Mechanical contractors have developed innovative best practices to prevent injuries over the years, but there’s never been a common medium for compiling and sharing those innovations until now. We’ll be setting the bar for best-in-class safety.”

The $199,944 L&I Safety and Health Investment Projects (SHIP) grant is funded over 18 months when the grant team will collect, develop, refine and produce a collection of “Safe and Innovative Best Work Practices for Mechanical Crafts” in both English and Spanish.

Administered by Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries, SHIP’s purpose is to fund and support projects that prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. This partnership is the first SHIP grant addressing occupational safety and health as it relates to the mechanical construction industry.

Media contact: Barb Arnott, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2841,

September 8, 2016