www.agc.org • June 2014  

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On Monday, June 2, AGC released a new state-by-state analysis of construction safety and announced a new effort to cut worksite accidents during a visit to a Washington, D.C. construction site participating in a nationwide safety stand-down program. During the event, association and federal officials observed all construction activity come to a halt so that workers could participate in safety training programs. Stephen Sandherr, AGC CEO, released the new state-by-state construction safety analysis and outlined the steps the industry is taking to improve safety. Jim Maddux, director of the Construction Directorate for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), spoke about the national safety stand-down the agency organized. "Every craft worker has a right to get home safely to his or her family every night," said Sandherr.  "We, our members and our industry are committed to taking every step possible to improve construction safety."

As part of the new safety effort, AGC will conduct an exhaustive analysis of the details of each of the 806 construction fatalities that took place across the country in 2012.  The objective, Sandherr noted, is to identify the common threads among the fatality incidents. Noting that "the best safety programs are based on a solid understanding of vulnerabilities," Sandherr said the association will share its findings with member firms, the federal Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) and every other construction firm and association that wants the data, free of charge.  He added that the new effort is designed to complement many steps AGC and member firms are already taking to address workplace safety. Click here to see the state construction fatality data and here to see the state construction injury data.
This week marks OSHA's National Safety Stand-Down event to raise awareness among employers and workers about the hazards of falls, which account for the highest number of deaths in the construction industry.

AGC encourages all members to participate in the safety stand-down. In addition, chapters may contact their local OSHA offices for information on how to partner with them and further reinforce the importance of fall prevention. The attached flyer can be used to promote the event. For your convenience, a Spanish version of the flyer is also available. 

To find a safety stand-down event in your area, click here. Or, for further information, click here or contact Kevin Cannon, AGC's safety director.

TCC Fly-In
June 10-11, 2014
The Mayflower Hotel, Washington DC
The Transportation Construction Coalition's annual legislative fly-in will be held June 10-11, 2014 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. In conjunction with the fly-in, AGC is hosting meetings with the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration.

2014 Federal Contractors Conference 
June 12-14, 2014 
The Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C. 
The AGC Federal Contractors Conference is the only national event where AGC contractors and federal agency personnel can meet in a collaborative forum to review federal construction contracting issues from around the United States.  The conference is designed to allow open dialogue between contractors and the federal agencies to discuss contracting issues critical to the construction industry.  Top decision makers from the federal agencies with large construction programs will be in attendance.  These insightful and highly productive exchanges have solidified the need for both federal construction contractors and the federal construction agencies to share information on a wide variety of issues, foster better communication and create real solutions.

July 16-18, 2014 
Portland, Ore. 
Construction safety and health is vital for the success of the industry. More than 150 industry professionals participate in the development of regulatory and legislative activity on both a national and local level, assist in the development and creation of new safety training programs and products and hear the latest initiatives from OSHA and other industry experts at this twice-yearly conference.
Best Practices
More job openings in construction mean more risk of workplace safety issues

As the United States’ economy continues toward recovery, the good news is that the construction industry has seen job growth in every major category over the last two to three years. The not-so-good news is that demand for jobs is not necessarily being met with experienced workers. With a key group of workers aging out of the industry due to retirement or injury, combined with the return of workers who took other employment when construction work was scarce, a shortage of qualified workers is the next issue to face. Workers who are not up-to-date on the latest safety practices are more likely to become injured, which of course depletes the number of men and women available to work even further. To combat the shortage and safety learning gap, Miron Construction Co., Inc., an AGC of Wisconsin and AGC of Greater Milwaukee member, has emphasized teaching onsite safety to those who are new or returning to the field.

While some balk at the cost of training workers, safety is a key driver for successful projects. Effective orientation and training is ultimately the best way to prevent accidents, and the best way to ensure that all workers—no matter what their job status—are prepared to work effectively. It is assumed that those entering the industry lack the expertise of workers with more years under their belts, but it is dangerous to assume that anyone who has ever worked in construction will automatically be an expert in safety. Working in construction is not like riding a bike; best practices in safety are not something that immediately flood back to workers after time away. Safety issues evolve and it benefits all workers to review them on a continual basis.

Aside from team leaders, veteran workers play an important role in the orientation or reorientation of workers as well. Teams encouraged to lead by example with demonstrating safe practices reinforce topics discussed with new workers. By being mindful of the training required specific to the project at hand, safety education is an ongoing part of any workday on a construction site. Observing and assessing can be an excellent way to discover what areas workers need training in. Brand new workers obviously need to start with the basics, but a refresher on the basics doesn’t hurt those coming back after a construction hiatus either, especially in regard to updates on new practices, methodologies or technologies being used.

Every worker onsite has the opportunity, and responsibility, to be a mentor to new or returning workers, whether it’s through a dedicated program or simply in day-to-day practice. New workers must be adequately supervised, but it’s also important to make additional training and orientation a priority whenever hazards or conditions change onsite. Topics that may seem intuitive to those who have spent years working in construction may not be top of mind for those new to the industry. Fall protection, ladder and scaffolding safety and the inspection of ladders and fall protection equipment should be addressed, as should the limits, proper storage, maintenance and inspection of personal protective equipment. Reviewing procedures for different equipment, including types of lockout and extension cord inspection and grounding procedures, as well as safe distances from exposed power lines is imperative. Understanding labels and knowing locations of first aid kits, fire extinguishers and how to use them could very well save lives in an emergency situation.

The benefit of safety training for new and returning workers, aside from the growth of qualified craftworkers, is that these lessons are reiterated for the entire crew. The safety of workers is, and should be, a top concern at all levels of construction management. By continually educating new employees and having realistic expectations of the workplace environment, we protect our investment in our jobsites and in our biggest investment—our workers.

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