Region V OSHA Training Seminar
On October, 26, 2006, the MCAA along with the Laborers-AGC Training Fund and the Laborers Health & Safety Fund conducted a full day training program at the Chicago Laborers Training Center in IL. 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 three stations. These stations included Masonry Basics with different types of masonry materials and equipment, Rough Terrain Forklift Safety and Scaffold Safety. Assisting with the afternoon sessions were Jim O’Connor, Executive Director of the MCA of Greater Chicago. Roughly 20 OSHA field personnel from Region V which included the states of Illinois and Wisconsin 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.
This program is a continuing effort to work more closely with the Laborers International Union and Laborers Health and Safety Fund to conduct training program in all 11 OSHA Regions over the next two years. Two regions are complete and we are currently planning a best practices seminar for OSHA Region I (New England area) for the early portion of 2007.
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. This training focuses 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."
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.