August 2012

Safety First Featured Projects

Stockton Steel Fabricator Receives Congressional Recognition for Working 1000 Days - Incident Free

Stockton Steel, a division of the Herrick Corporation, recently celebrated two milestones in safety that received special recognition from Calif. Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton). The Stockton Steel fabrication plant employs over 150 employees and successfully worked 1000 days without a lost time accident and 12 consecutive months without a clinic visit. The Herrick Corporation is a large established structural steel fabricator and erector founded in 1921 headquartered in Stockton, Calif., with four branch offices throughout the state. Doug Griffin, president of Herrick states, "We operate under the principles of developing long-standing relationships within the industry, understanding and controlling costs, and providing efficient, on-time scheduling. All of our accomplishments have been, and will continue to be, guided by an unwavering commitment to the highest standards for safety and quality. The Herrick Corporation has a proven track record of fabricating and erecting structural steel for over 500 projects such as airports, hotels, hospitals, convention centers, and high-rise towers. Most important we have empowered all employees to correct hazards and at-risk practices. When you see employees that feel free to point out hazards and at-risk practices to foremen and managers you know you have created a culture of safety where everyone looks out for each other. Our corporate safety mission is simple. All employees go home physically the same or better than when they arrived for their shift."

The Herrick Corporation began in 1921 and has achieved industry recognition for providing outstanding safety performance, value engineering, cost-efficient, and on-time construction activities across a broad spectrum of projects, and has earned the right to be called one of the industry leaders in steel fabrication and erection. Special thanks and recognition to Rich Barbour, executive vice president and Tom Davies, corporate safety director for the Herrick Corporation, for their efforts to work with IMPACT and the Western Steel Council to raise the standard for safety performance in the ironworking industry. Calif. Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) presented Stockton Steel with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for this shop safety achievement. Congratulations to Stockton Steel and Local 790 (San Francisco) shop ironworkers for working 1000 days without a lost time accident and 12 consecutive months without a clinic visit.

Harris Salinas Rebar Memorial Seminar and Focus on Reinforced Column Safety

Lyle Sieg, executive vice president of safety for Harris Salinas Rebar, sponsored the "Robert Ceja Memorial Reinforcing Seminar" to honor Robert Ceja, a valued member of Local 378 (Oakland, Calif.) and the employee of the Harris Salinas Rebar family. Robert Ceja was fatally injured when a vertical reinforced steel column collapsed during erection and final placement. In an effort to address rebar column safety hazards and help prevent reoccurrence, the seminar hosted a panel of construction industry leaders, regulators, and academic experts to discuss the need for simple and practical guidelines on methods for erecting and placing reinforcement cages on construction sites.

Participants at the Local 378 meeting place included business agents from Local 377 (San Francisco) and Local 378, Associated General Contractors, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, reinforcing subcontractors, engineering students, Structural Engineers Association, Calif. Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), and insurance carrier representatives. Industry presentations and panel discussions were provided by Len Welsh, chief of the Calif. Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Robert Peterson, attorney at law, Steve Rank, Iron Workers and IMPACT, Dr. Michael Casey, George Mason University, Dr. Ahmad Itani, ASCE's Construction Institute, and Lyle Sieg, executive vice president of safety for Harris Salinas Rebar.

The contributions of Lyle Sieg and Harris Salinas Rebar to address specific safety hazards associated with column erection and stability have been incorporated into draft regulatory text and submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Washington, D.C. We are pleased that OSHA has agreed to pursue new safety standards for reinforcing steel and post-tensioning activities that include many column stability hazards and practices that were discussed during this seminar. We mourn the tragic loss of Robert Ceja and other members throughout the United States and Canada that have been fatally injured during rebar column erection. Special thanks to Lyle Sieg and Harris Salinas Rebar for honoring Robert Ceja and your efforts to improve safety standards for our members in the reinforcing steel industry.

Local 720 and Contractors Pursue Alberta Safety Amendments

In response to the tragic loss of Brother Kane Avery David Thorne, Local 720 (Edmonton, Alberta), who was killed on October 18, 2011, while working on the job, efforts are being made to pursue new safety standards in Alberta, Canada.

Following the fatal incident, General President Wise issued a special notice stating, "Brother Thorne is the eleventh fatality suffered by our union this year. In his and their memory let us commit ourselves to preventing another tragedy." Reports from the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Administration indicate that anchor bolt failure and insufficient concrete strength were the primary causation factors in the structural collapse of two columns and a beam. Brother Thorne was struck while connecting from aerial lift equipment.

On November 30, 2011, a special safety meeting was held at Waiward Steel Fabricators headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta, to address several safety issues and ways to improve safety performance. Labor and management representatives included Darrell LaBoucan, Iron Workers International and director of Canadian affairs; Harry Tostowaryk, business manager of Local 720; Jim Kanerva, chief operations officer, Waiward Steel Fabricators; Kevin Guile of Supreme Steel; and Steve Rank, Iron Workers International, executive director of safety and health. One of the topics was the pursuit of amendments to the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety standards to reflect specific anchor bolt and concrete strength requirements.

Following are the topics of proposed regulatory amendments for adoption.

* Column-to-base plate design requiring a minimum of four anchor bolts;
* Notification of concrete strength from controlling contractors prior to steel erection;
* Written notification and engineer approval of modifications to anchor bolts systems;
* Column evaluation by a competent person to determine column stability.

We appreciate the support and commitment of our Canadian local unions and contractors to press-in until we obtain anchor bolt and concrete strength requirements to protect our members throughout Canada.

Schuff Steel Embraces "See Something - Say Something" Campaign

Schuff Steel Company has taken on a new safety culture in recent years. They continue to make great strides in trying to provide a safe workplace for all ironworkers in the shop and field, and admit it could not have happened without the cooperation and dedication of its union members and the IMPACT program. With its "Working Safe for Family" campaign aimed at emphasizing "Look out for your Brother," Schuff is now embarking on the dog days of summer, and is pushing the International's "See Something - Say Something" campaign.

The program changes that have led to the success in recent years include conducting daily pre-task meetings, daily safety meetings, job site safety instruction, programs to identify apprentices on the job, and a policy to provide a full time safety professional on projects with 30 or more ironworkers. The latest pilot program is the Safety Training Enrichment Program (S.T.E.P.), which provides a safety mentoring training program for all current and future superintendents.

Accountability is the key, having their employees responsible for not only their actions, but also the actions of those entrusted under them. In addition, the collaboration and work between major competitors is a testament to the approach our union companies are willing to take to keep our union members safe. Schuff Steel, Herrick Corporation, and the Western Steel Council continue to look for and share innovative ways of completing their tasks safer each and every day, by sharing ideas and safety resources.

Schuff Steel believes the catalyst for any program is total belief from management to apprentices. With the support of the Schuff family and local union membership, they believe accident-free projects are very obtainable. The paradigm that accidents happen and it is part of being an ironworker, no longer exists at Schuff Steel. With the help of supervision and local members throughout Calif., Nev., and Ariz., Schuff Steel will continue to change that mindset. The realization is that preventing workplace incidents is possible, and that ironworkers do not have to get hurt just because we’re ironworkers.

Schuff is also involved in an innovative program with Kitchell Contractors, as part of their Kitchell Trade Contractors Safety Alliance, another innovative approach to better communicate amongst the trades, to promote a safer work site. Schuff Steel continues to make safety a priority every day.