How LIUNA Training Turns Out Safe Laborers
Skilled, Knowledgeable and Safe
By Mark Mancini
A key component to any productive and profitable jobsite is safety, and there is a significant difference between talking safety and actually implementing it on the job.
For LIUNA Training and Education Fund (LIUNA Training) and its affiliated network of training centers across the United States and Canada, safety is a top priority. Safety is not only a cornerstone of journey-worker and apprenticeship training, but it is also integrated into LIUNA Training’s instructor certification and Train-the-Trainer programs.
The importance of safety on the jobsite cannot be overstated. It has a profound effect on everyone and every process. Still, many safety regulations are seen as restrictive and costly. But professionally trained and certified workers learn that even the toughest standards can be implemented by utilizing cost-effective quality controls.
LIUNA Training and the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America work together with employers to ensure a safe and productive workforce. Through training and education, LIUNA provides the information employers need, not only to be in compliance, but also to implement engineering controls and work practices designed to keep workers safe.
Safety is the foundation of the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund. Whether it is health promotion, research, or working directly with contractors to develop safety and prevention programs, the Laborers’ Heath and Safety Fund fosters safe production outcomes that enhance employer reputations. Productivity is built on a safety-conscious and healthy workforce, which leads to fewer injuries that produce lost work time and reduced workers’ compensation costs. Ongoing control of these expenses is a key element in improving competitiveness for employers.
LIUNA Training infuses safety concepts into all its courses, which cover everything from general construction safety and OSHA safety training requirements to specialized safety information and skills that address a wide variety of job hazards. All LIUNA Training courses are steeped in safety, including its Mason Tender program.
An experienced mason tender knows the potential hazards on a jobsite are many, whether it’s cutting brick or block, driving a forklift, or erecting and working on scaffolding. For apprentices or journey-workers new to the masonry field, it is important to remain productive while safely performing these tasks. That is why LIUNA Training’s apprenticeship program offers a concentration in masonry. In addition, journey-workers have the availability to take a variety of masonry-specific courses that cover safety skills.
For example, the first two hours of LIUNA Training’s 40-hour Mason Tender class are dedicated solely to safety and health. Trainees learn right away such essentials as how to use personal protective equipment (PPE) and the damaging effects of silicosis and cement contact dermatitis.
The Mason Tender course also weaves safety into each classroom lesson and hands-on activity. Trainees learn about the importance of pacing and developing a work schedule, material strength and stability, the use of temporary bracing, and the impact of weather.
Safety goes hand-in-hand with common sense. What good is beating a deadline if the work is flawed, or if workers suffer injuries while rushing to complete the project? Lost-time injuries to workers impact present and possibly future employability. In addition, a contractor’s reputation takes a hit, and company profits are adversely affected. Some delays on a project are accepted as part of doing business, but LIUNA Training believes injuries and accidents don’t belong in that same “inevitable” category. That is why there is a constant focus on health and safety while working to increase skill sets and improve productivity. This combination of safety, skills and productivity makes a LIUNA-trained laborer more valuable to employers. When a laborer learns to work within a set of industry-required safety standards that include cost-effective jobsite controls, the job gets done right.
In addition to training on silica exposure, LIUNA Training features information on reducing back injuries and utilizing respiratory protection. OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 courses are also part of LIUNA Training’s comprehensive safety and health program that helps trainees learn how to recognize potential jobsite hazards and prevent injuries to themselves, their co-workers and the public.
The quality of LIUNA Training’s safety and health program is also evident in the instructors themselves. LIUNA Training’s instructors bring experience in the construction business, including first-hand knowledge of jobsite hazards. LIUNA Training builds on each instructor’s experience by providing them with professional development and career-long education and training opportunities. The cornerstone of this ongoing process is LIUNA Training’s Instructor Certification Program. Accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), LIUNA Training’s certification program ensures that LIUNA instructors are skilled and knowledgeable in a classroom by utilizing the best practices and latest principles of adult education.
Once certified, LIUNA instructors must retain their certification by taking approved continuing education classes. For interested instructors, LIUNA Training offers the rigorous Masters of Instruction program, which is available in three tracks: Trainer-of-Trainers, Curriculum Design, and Vocational English for Speakers of Other Languages.
Lastly, LIUNA Training offers instructor programs that focus on safety, supervision, and trade skills in construction and environmental remediation.
LIUNA Training’s integrated, comprehensive approach to apprentice, journey-worker and instructor training may seem overwhelming to most, but for laborers and the contractors it serves, LIUNA Training does not cut corners. LIUNA Training’s affiliated training centers across the United States and Canada remain the frontline force for a safe, skilled and productive workforce.
About the Author
Mark Mancini is the communications/staff writer for the LIUNA Training and Education Fund. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.