Search the LHSFNA website
Published: Spring, 2005; Vol 7, Num 1

Message from the Co-Chairmen:

Our Fund works on behalf of LIUNA members by focusing on helping LIUNA business managers, signatory employers and health and welfare fund administrators do their jobs better. We think the stories in this issue offer valuable help and direction while, also, demonstrating the scope and breadth of expertise available through the LHSFNA.

In our cover story, we note the pervasive danger that hexavalent chromium, a key ingredient in Portland cement, poses for Laborers and other construction workers. PPE only goes so far. Thus, our Fund has taken the battle to OSHA where we’re fighting for a construction standard that will protect workers while leveling the playing field for union employers.

We also highlight the Federal Highway Administration’s recent approval of remote-controlled flagger devices for highway work zones. Another increasingly common hazard in highway work is night work. We look at what companies and workers can do to ensure that the workforce is as alert as possible throughout the night shift. Road work – especially road repair work – also brings the hazard of silica exposure. Again, PPE only goes so far. We spotlight the efforts in New Jersey to design and implement more systemic solutions.

To help employers contain the cost of injuries – both in terms of lost work days and higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums – we examine two studies that should help to focus company safety programs where they can provide the most benefit. We also look into some history to help answer the common question of why certain contractors are inspected over and over by OSHA while others are never inspected.

Lastly, we look into the recent merger of two Texas health and welfare funds. Though a complex option, mergers are one possible way to save money in the face of the health care cost crisis that is impacting all LIUNA health and welfare funds.

We think the stories in this issue can help make your job easier and even more successful. We look forward to your thoughts and feedback.