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Published: August, 2016; Vol 13, Num 3

Message from the Co-Chairmen:

Making the Right Choice for Health and Safety

Over the last several months, a thriving construction industry has continued to drive demand for skilled labor across the United States and Canada. Infrastructure funding is starting to flow, and members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) are getting to work on the tall task of repairing roads and bridges and expanding capacity at busy airports and ports. As LIUNA members and signatory contractors put in long hours working together on projects large and small, there’s no better time to talk about safety and health on the jobsite.

Here at the Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America (LHSFNA), we know that tight deadlines can often lead to stressful times. But we also know that working under these conditions increases the chance that workers will suffer a serious injury on the job. This risk is even greater for inexperienced workers or those new to a jobsite. The LHSFNA can help LIUNA signatory contractors and members maintain productivity without sacrificing safety by reviewing work practices and recommending ways to build safety into the planning stages of a project. So if the deadlines are mounting on your site, give the LHSFNA a call before Laborers’ lives are put in jeopardy.

The Fund has also been monitoring the impact of several standards recently enacted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The new silica standard is ushering in industry-wide changes, improving the safety of many jobs that LIUNA members perform every day. The Fund has already been working to help signatory contractors reduce worker exposures and limit harmful dust on their jobsites. The Fund is also monitoring the agency’s new injury reporting, which includes provisions that may affect how employers handle post-accident drug testing. This month’s issue of Lifelines includes more detailed articles on both of these topics. The LHSFNA will continue to provide new information on both of these issues and provide more guidance as it becomes available.

This November, millions of Americans will hit the polls to choose the next president of the United States. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you’re registered to vote. There are many important issues at stake for LIUNA members, and we encourage all members to make their voices heard. For a more detailed look at the issues facing LIUNA members, see this month’s article, “Key Health & Safety Issues Heading into the Election.”

No matter the outcome, the LHSFNA will continue to fight for the health and safety of LIUNA members on and off the job. In addition to working with signatory contractors directly, the Fund will also continue to advise LIUNA, its District Councils and Local Unions about policies and actions that can improve the lives of LIUNA members and their families.