LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Kentucky Labor Cabinet signed an agreement on Tuesday meant to keep hundreds of workers safe while building a new Omni hotel in downtown Louisville.

Cabinet officials established a “construction partnership program” with general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie, the Louisville Building & Construction Trades Council, and the AFL-CIO for the $289 million Omni project at Third Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

The program allows the state’s workplace training division to make routine visits to the construction site over the next 30 months, conducting audits at least four times a year and offering training, said Danny Vernon, Kentucky’s partnership program manager.

The Omni is expected to create about 765 construction jobs.

“The goal is for everybody to be safe and go home at night,” Vernon said. “That’s what we all want.”

The Omni joins 13 other construction projects in Kentucky with similar agreements, including Walsh Construction’s downtown part of the Ohio River Bridges Project.  

Vernon said companies working on the project will be told in advance of state visits, which could involve as many as seven consultants spending several days on site. There won’t be regular inspections, but Vernon said investigators still could probe “a legitimate complaint, if there’s a fatality, if there’s an imminent danger situation.”

Omni is paying slightly more than half of the project’s cost, with state and local coffers contributing 48 percent in tax-increment financing, the land’s value and money towards building a parking garage. The complex includes the 612-room hotel, 225 apartments and a grocery store.

“We’re excited about coming in at the beginning of construction and helping with safety, so that our people and the people that are building this building will do the things the right way,” said Mike Nemes, Kentucky’s deputy Labor Secretary.

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