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Published: Summer, 2003; Vol 5, Num 2

 

Occupational Safety and Health Shorts

The World of Concrete

In February, LHSFNA Occupational Safety and Health Division Director Scott Schneider attended the annual World of Concrete/World of Masonry show, one of the largest construction shows in the world. Over 80,000 people attended. Dozens of half-day courses were given, and exhibits covered three floors as well as several outdoor parking lots. Together with LECET and Laborers-AGC, the LHSFNA also staffed a display booth.

Some of the more innovative products that could improve health and safety on jobsites included: electrical tools for tying and bending rebar, an electrical drill-driven caulking gun, a small machine for laying paving stones, handles to help lift and place paving stones, new modular mobile scaffold systems, wet-saws fed from a backpack for cutting concrete, back-up video systems for construction trucks and the new, walk-behind laser screed, the Copperhead.

"This show is an easy way to keep up with trends in the industry and see the latest equipment," says Schneider. "Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes!" The next World of Concrete/World of Masonry show is scheduled for February 17-20 in Orlando, FL.

CAL/OSHA Setting Pace

Unlike federal OSHA, which is delaying consideration of an ergonomics standard for construction, California OSHA is reviewing its current standard with an eye to strengthening it. The LHSFNA is helping with its booklet, Ergonomic Survival Guide for Laborers, available through the Fund or from the CAL/OSHA publications website: www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/puborder.asp.

Federal OSHA also lacks standards for heat stress and sanitation facilities on worksites. CAL/OSHA, however, is considering the adoption of standards for both. It also is looking into amending its hearing conservation standard which, unlike federal OSHA's, already covers construction. LIUNA Tri-Funds Field Coordinator Chad Wright relied on recent LHSFNA hearing conservation comments to federal OSHA to recommend changes to the state standard.

EUCA Training: a First for LHSFNA

The LHSFNA provided instruction for a number of health and safety courses offered this spring at EUCA University, the education and training program of the northern California Engineering & Utility Contractors Association.

This was the first time the Fund provided training through an association of union contractors. Other signatory associations that might use health and safety training assistance should contact the LHSFNA.

The instruction was requested after LHSFNA Tri-Fund Field Coordinator Chad Wright and California LECET Marketing Representative Joe Ochoa addressed the association last year to explain the training and health and safety programs of the LIUNA Tri-Funds.

"Far too many signatory contractors just don't know what the union has to offer," says Ochoa who worked 30 years as a Laborer and came out of retirement to work for LECET. "A lot of big contractors are paying for things like CPR and First Aid training that they could get through our funds. They're surprised to see Laborers coming around with real help. It makes a good impression and helps solidify our relationship."

LHSFNA Backs Rearview Video Systems

The LHSFNA submitted comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in March, endorsing a proposal to require the coupling of rearview video systems with existing mirrors on trucks and other commercial vehicles used in work zones. Each year, more than 170,000 backing or turning accidents occur in work zones, resulting in over 500 deaths and costing $220 million. With rearview video systems, blinds spots can be drastically reduced and in many cases eliminated.

STEP Classes in Midwest

At the request of Midwest Regional Laborers' Health and Safety Fund (MRLH&SF) Director Angie King, LHSFNA staffers George Macaluso and Walter Jones conducted two days of Supervisor Training and Education Program (STEP) health and safety classes to LIUNA stewards at the Illinois Laborers and Contractors Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program in Mt. Sterling in March. Dr. Eric Rice, a consultant to the Laborers-AGC, delivered the Communication and Problem Solving for Construction Supervisors module of STEP.

The STEP program is designed to train union members so that they can advance their careers and become construction supervisors.

[Steve Clark]