February 2012

The Importance of Training and Zero Fatalities

As 2012 takes off and courses are underway in most of the local union training centers across North America, it is important to remember President Wise’s goal of Zero Fatalities and what we, as members, can do to realize this goal. One of the most important benefits of belonging to our organization is the level of quality training we provide to our membership – certain mandatory courses within the Ironworker Apprentice Certification Program (IACP) guidelines and various journeyman upgrading or re-training courses. When apprentice coordinators and instructors step in front of a classroom, they have a captive audience of apprentice members. Documenting classroom hours is part of an apprentice’s duties. The apprentice is also required to maintain a log/record of his/her on-the-job training. His/her classification change from apprentice to journey-level status will not happen until all requirements are met.

What about our journey-level members (JIW) who graduated ten years ago, for example? Who’s to say that they would not benefit from sitting in a Steel Erection Sub-Part R course again? Our membership continues to suffer injures and fatalities in the same numbers each year. Would it hurt to repeat the message or lesson they received years ago? It is disturbing for me to read or hear reports about ironworkers who are involved in an accident that should never ever happened in the first place! Statements like, “I was only un-tied for just a minute and didn’t think it was important”, to, “I wasn’t thinking”, is the reason and will continue to be the reason as to why our brother and sister members become statistics!

I believe if each local union training program would expand the number of JIW upgrading courses conducted each year, the number of injuries and fatalities would decline to reach Zero Fatalities.

As we move forward let us all take the time to remind everyone in the job shack or at a Monday morning safety meeting to keep our mind on our tasks and do not cut corners when it comes to following safety policies and procedures! If you come across an unsafe condition — correct it!

If you see something unsafe-say something! Injuries in our profession are usually unforgiving. Let’s put an end to the unnecessary risks so each of us can go home to our family and loved ones at the end of every shift!

For information regarding courses in your area call your local training center.