Iron Workers-IMPACT North American Safety Honors Program

Recognizing Members Making a Difference

As part of the 2013 ZERO Fatality Campaign, the International Association and IMPACT have launched the “Ironworkers-IMPACT North American Safety Honors Program.” The purpose of this program is to formally recognize our ironworkers and contractors who achieve outstanding safety performance on a bi-annual basis. Many complex projects throughout the United States and Canada are completed on time, on budget, with outstanding safety performance. However, in many cases these efforts remain unnoticed to project owners, regulatory agencies, insurance carriers and others in the construction industry. This article highlights some of the ironworker nominees and a brief overview of their accomplishments that have been submitted by contractors.

The IMPACT co-chairs and trustees want to pursue this initiative to help our members and contractors to increase safety performance, and provide national recognition for achieving outstanding safety performance. All IMPACT signatory contractors throughout the United States and Canada are eligible to submit nominations of ironworkers who have made a difference in the field. The “Ironworkers-IMPACT North American Safety Honors Program” is posted on the IMPACT website at for review and for contractors to nominate a superintendent, foreman, and journeyman or apprentice ironworker, who has achieved outstanding safety performance. Additionally, the program features the “Project of the Year Award” to formally recognize a particular contractor and project for safety excellence.

Following are some of the Iron Worker members throughout the United States and Canada who have been nominated by contractors for demonstrating safety leadership on the jobsite to prevent serious incidents. There are many ironworkers who have been nominated; however, I regret that not all of them could be listed in this brief article. All ironworker nominations will eligible for the first drawing in July during the IMPACT trustee meeting. This meeting is held in conjunction with the 29th Annual Ironworker Instructors Training Program in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Members Making a Difference Nominated for Safety Honors Program
Tom Tucker, Local 790 (San Francisco) nominated by Tom Davies, corporate safety director for the Herrick Corporation located in Stockton, Calif. Brother Tucker is the labor co-chairman of the Stockton Steel Safety Committee, and was instrumental in the recent celebration of two milestones in safety that received special recognition from California Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton). The Stockton Steel fabrication plant employs over 150 employees and successfully worked 1,000 days without a lost time accident and 12 consecutive months without a clinic visit. California Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) presented Stockton Steel with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for this shop safety achievement. Brother Tucker worked closely with members to recognize and avoid common plant safety hazards and health hazards during the steel fabrication process.

Bob Grothe, Local 21 (Omaha, Neb.) nominated by Jeff Green, chief executive officer of Davis Erection located in Omaha, Neb. Brother Grothe has taken an active approach to safety as a Local 21 executive board member and jobsite steward on many projects. Jeff Green characterizes Brother Grothe as “an excellent representative of the union and our company,” that customers have noticed and appreciated on many projects. In 1999, Brother Grothe was selected as “outstanding apprentice of the year.”

Rod Cawood, Local 771 (Regina, Saskatchewan) nominated by Ross Fraser, general manager and senior vice president of Supreme Steel located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Brother Cawood recently completed work at the PotashCorp Rocanville project that fabricated and erected over 25,000 tons of steel and involved over 800,000 field ironworkers man-hours. Brother Cawood acted as a foreman on this project for nearly three years and successfully completed over 8,000 man-hours with no lost time incidents. His safety leadership and initiative on this project was outstanding and recognized by the project owner.

Al Williams, Local 3 (Pittsburgh) nominated by Darlaine Taylor, president of Century Steel Erectors located in Dravosburg, Pa. Brother Williams is a decking foreman who has diligently and successfully addressed many potential hazards associated with the installation of metal floor decking. The installation of metal floor and roof decking remains one of the “deadly dozen” hazards during steel erection activities. We appreciate Brother Williams’ efforts to set a good example and protect members engaged in the decking process.

James Cortopassi, Local 25 (Detroit) nominated by Patrick Dimet, president of Vertex Steel, Inc., located in Milford, Mich. Brother Cortopassi received formal recognition by the Washtenaw University Construction Contractors Safety Recognition Program during the 2013 Pyramid Awards. His efforts to provide jobsite safety instruction to members is an important part of the “See Something—Say Something” campaign commissioned by General President Wise to help recognize and avoid workplace hazards.

Bill James, Local 377 (San Francisco) nominated by Dave McEuen, president of California Erectors, Inc., located in Benicia, Calif. Brother James has been an ironworker for 36 years and was among the first members of the California Erectors Safety Committee involved in developing/implementing many of the company safety protocols. His innovative approach to safety was recently in evidence on the SERC project, a very congested, hillside construction site located on the UC Berkeley (Lawrence Lab) campus. The general contractor, McCarthy Brothers, and the owner, Lawrence Laboratories-DOE (University of California), were very concerned with the safety hazards involved in erecting steel on this project. Brother James’ expertise and resources provided by California Erectors made this project a safety success.

Bryan Piper, Local 416 (Los Angeles) nominated by Lyle Sieg, executive vice president of Harris Rebar located in Seattle. Brother Piper has completed 22 months and over 48,539 man-hours at the Nevada Department of Transportation project without any incidents. His exceptional safety performance in preventing serious incidents during the erection of reinforcing steel columns, walls, decks and post-tensioning activities sets a good example for the reinforcing industry to follow.

Russ Boone, Local 5 (Washington, D.C.) nominated by Gary Gretzinger, executive vice president of Enclos Corporation located in Eagan, Minn. Brother Boone aced as a superintendent for Enclos performing curtain wall work and completed over 160,000 man-hours without an incident. Brother Boone implemented company safety procedures that required the installation and use of fall-arrest systems, barricading to prevent perimeter access and other safety functions to avoid hazards and prevent any incidents.

Anthony Barbosa, Local 416 (Los Angeles) nominated by Stacy Ortiz, field administrator of the Martinez Steel Corporation located in Claremont, Calif. Brother Barbosa has led by example and completed several projects and maintained a zero-incident record. Brother Barbosa complied with stringent safety policies and maintained documentation of safety procedures required by project officials.

Stephen Lehmann, Local 584 (Tulsa, Okla.) nominated by Harvey Swift, field operations manager for Bennett Steel, Inc., located in Sapulpa, Okla. Brother Lehmann was appointed to the position of safety director for Bennett Steel and contributed to a significant reduction in the company incident rate. Brother Lehmann continues to work closely with Iron Worker employees and management personnel for Bennett Steel to change the safety culture that has increased safety performance on the jobsite.

Dave Andreola, Local 721 (Toronto, Ontario) nominated by Pat Kilkenny, general manager for Harris Rebar located in Brampton, Ontario. Brother Andreola has demonstrated his leadership in safety during reinforcing steel and post-tensioning activities that reflects the Ironworkers’ Standards of Excellence (see page 31) and Harris Rebar’s Core Values. Brother Andreola received a special commendation from the Harris Rebar CEO recognizing his leadership regarding an incident at a post-tensioning project where Dave’s crew reacted and saved the life of a laborer. As a result of this action, Harris Rebar has created a “Safety Award of Merit,” of which Dave and his team became the first recipients. Dave is a valued and integral member of the Harris Rebar team and demonstrates the professionalism of a union ironworker.

Donny Powell, Local 5 (Washington, D.C.) nominated by Vic Cornellier, president of TSI/Exterior Wall Systems located in Upper Marlboro, Md. Brother Powell has demonstrated safety leadership on TSI jobsites and contributed to a significant reduction in the company incident rates. Brother Powell has been responsible for complying with stringent safety policies and procedures established by project owners and controlling contractors.

Steve Rank, executive director of safety and health, encourages you to visit the IMPACT Website at www. to view the online nomination and submission form. The program and nomination process includes eligibility requirements, program description, and criteria for nominating a superintendent, foreman, and journeyman or apprentice ironworker. There is also a nomination form for the “Project of the Year Award.” Please contact the IMPACT office at (800) 545-4921 if you have any questions regarding the “Ironworkers-IMPACT North American Safety Honors Program.”

Safety and Health Questions from Field and Shop Members

Q. I am a reinforcing ironworker in California and want to know if steel stakes used to anchor formwork bracing are required to be protected with covers to prevent impalement, just like exposed rebar. We are constantly working around these steel stakes, and it seems to me that they create an impalement hazard and should be guarded by protective covers too. What is OSHA’s position on this?

A. Yes, California requires protective covers for any projections that present an impalement hazard, including steel stakes used for anchoring formwork bracing. Another example is unprotected metal conduit that protrudes through concrete slabs or the metal deck before the concrete is poured. These too can result an impalement hazard and must be protected by the appropriate covers.

Q. I am a shop ironworker and my employer requires me to shave facial hair and wear a respirator at all times during welding operations. Do I have to shave if I don’t think it interferes with my respirator?

A. There are many OSHA standards pertaining to respiratory protection and use of respirators. One of these requires employees to remove facial hair that could interfere with the respirator. Even though you might think it is not interfering, it is important to remember that the employer is responsible under the OSHA Act to make the final determination on protective measures for their employees.

Q. I read that our union has been working with OSHA to develop new standards for rebar work. When will these standards be effective?

A. The International Association and the industry coalition of reinforcing steel stakeholders approached OSHA in 2010 with a petition asking the agency to adopt many new OSHA standards pertaining to reinforcing steel installation and post-tensioning activities. Since that time, we have met with agency officials and submitted support letters from district councils, local unions and contractors throughout the country. OSHA has informed us that they are evaluating the support letters and will respond in the near future. It could take many years before a new OSHA standard is published. However, we are pursuing new reinforcing steel and post-tensioning safety standards in states that operate under the provisions of state approved OSHA plans.

Q. When we perform multiple lift rigging, are we required to use swivel eye hoisting hooks as part of the rigging assembly?

A. No, the Subpart R – Steel Erection standard does not require the use of “swivel eye hoisting hooks” as part of the manufactured rigging assembly. However, common eye hoisting hooks can often rotate when the load is being released and can cause the connectors to injure their hands or wrists. The use of swivel eye hoisting hooks can help to prevent this potential hazard and should be discussed with your employer.

Q. I erect a lot of single story warehouses with open web steel joists. I like the OSHA requirement for vertical stabilizer plates with holes punched in them to allow me to shackle my guy cables before erecting columns. Recently, I have noticed that the fabricator did not install these stabilizer plates with pre-punched holes. What should we do?

A. The OSHA requirement for vertical stabilizer plates at columns to be fabricated with 13/16 inch holes is an important safety standard. It not only is designed to provide lateral stability for the joist, but also provides an anchorage point for attaching guy cables. If this situation occurs again, remember, “See Something—Say Something” and contact your employer. Stabilizer plates with holes help prevent structural collapse hazards that can occur during the erection of open web steel joists.

The International Association’s “2013 ZERO Fatality” campaign commissioned by General President Wise challenges all members to “See Something—Say Something,” to help recognize and avoid workplace hazards. As part of this campaign to raise safety awareness, the “Ironworkers-IMPACT North American Safety Honors Program” will recognize ironworkers throughout the United States and Canada who achieve outstanding safety performance.

Brother Rank will continue to work closely with district councils, local unions and IMPACT regional advisory boards throughout the United States and Canada to promote the 2013 Zero Fatality campaign and help improve safety performance during reinforcing steel and post-tensioning operations. To view a copy of the “Ironworkers-IMPACT North American Safety Honors Program,” visit the IMPACT website at