MCAA Hosts Pilot Training Program for OSHA Field Personnel
In March of 2004, the Mason Contractors Association of America, the national association representing the industry's mason contractors, signed an Alliance with OSHA to provide education and training to the industry's workforce. The primary goal of this Alliance was to increase the level of safety throughout the masonry industry. The areas that the Alliance is focused on includes: fall protection, scaffold safety, rough terrain forklift safety and masonry wall bracing.
While there are certainly many benefits to this Alliance, one of the primary benefits is to partner with OSHA in establishing safety training programs. As a result, OSHA agreed to allow the MCAA to provide masonry training programs targeted at educating OSHA's office and field personnel. This training would focus on the safety training methods and best practices in the masonry industry. These methods ensure safety and provide safe work practices for the industry's nearly 275,000 masons and laborers. "We felt that many OSHA field personnel did not fully understand our industry and the intricacies of our safety practices" said MCAA Executive Director Michael Adelizzi. "OSHA gave us an opportunity to explore ways in which as an industry, we could provide some of the same training to their personnel as we provide to our own industry's workforce."
This past January 26, the MCAA along with the Laborers-AGC Training Fund and the Laborers Health & Safety Fund conducted a full day pilot training program at the Laborers-AGC Training Center at High Hill Missouri. The morning portion of this session featured occupational safety presentations on topics such as Silica Protection, Ergonomics, Fall Protection, Wall Bracing and Overhand Bricklaying. The afternoon portion consisted of hand-on demonstrations at four stations. These stations included Masonry Basics, Rough Terrain Forklift Safety, Masonry Wall Bracing and Scaffold Safety. Assisting with the afternoon sessions were David Gillick, Executive Director of the MCA of St. Louis and Rolly Cox of Grout Hog. Roughly 40 OSHA field personnel from Region VII which included the states of Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa, attended the training program.
One of the major benefits of the program was the elimination of the myriad of interpretations of OSHA Standards from different OSHA inspectors that mason contractors often deal with on their jobsites. Another benefit and outcome of the session was a stronger understanding by OSHA personnel of the steps that the masonry industry and the MCAA have taken to provide a safe work environment.
Feedback from the OSHA participants was extremely strong with many calling for a more extensive two day program, citing that more time was needed on the hand-on portion. As a result of this program, the MCAA will be working more closely with the Laborers Union to conduct training program in all 11 OSHA Regions over the next two years.
About the Author
Rashod R. Johnson, P.E., is president of The Roderick Group in Chicago. He is the former Director of Engineering for the Mason Contractors Association of America and currently serves as a technical consultant to the association.