May 2015

Working Without Incidents is a Reality

As part of the 2015 ZERO Incident-Fatality Campaign, the International Association and IMPACT are pursuing ways to improve safety performance for our members and contractors throughout the United States and Canada. During a special safety webcast last fall called IMPACT TV, General President Walter Wise and General Secretary Eric Dean addressed safety trends and challenged our members and contractors to make safety a function of their company operations and daily jobs. One of the primary themes of this safety webcast was to pursue “zero incidents in the workplace.” There have been many successful projects completed with zero incidents, and I regret that I cannot give credit to all of them. This article is dedicated to recognizing the ironworkers and successes of Rebar International Inc. and Stockton Steel for their efforts to “work without incidents” during high hazard steel fabrication and reinforcing steel installation.

Rebar International Inc. is a good example of outstanding safety performance and “working without incidents.” It was performed by Rebar International Inc. at the Milpitas Station in Northern California. Rebar International Inc. is based out of Edgewood, Washington. Under the supervision of Martin Batres, general foreman for Rebar International Inc., and member of Local 378 (Oakland, Calif.), the rebar assembly incorporated a corner wall section that included a column fabricated within the panelized wall. The combination of the corner column and wall section had to be built and hoisted at the same time. This presented a special challenge to safely fabricate and erect this rebar assembly. The wall is double faced with #11s both ways, 30 foot by 30 foot, 15,000 pounds plus additional corner bars. Special consideration was given to the hoisting process that included an engineered spreader bar, nylons slings, shackles, wire rope slings, and use of tag lines to safely handle and position the load. The column/wall dowels extended six feet from the rebar assembly, and the exposed pier dowels were protected by manufactured covers and troughs to prevent impalement hazards.

Dave Otey, member of Local 229 (San Diego), regional safety manager for Rebar International Inc., works closely with his management team, local unions, and members to complete projects with zero incidents. Dave and Rebar International Inc. have successfully worked over 60,000 hours without a recordable or lost-time accident (LTA). The Milpitas Station jobsite is a joint venture of Skanska, Shimmick, Herzog, which has achieved a MILLION man-hours (currently at 1,307,321) without a lost-time accident, as well as completing 1,000 days and counting without a LTA! The Rebar International management team and Iron Workers, along the West Coast, have all stepped up to achieve a zero incident workplace.

Another example of “working without incidents” are the employees and Local 790 (San Francisco) members of the Herrick Corporation, a subsidiary of Stockton Steel located in Stockton, California. The workers above celebrated almost five and a half years without a lost-time incident. This is a commendable feat due to the thousands of tons of steel fabricated for buildings, bridges and stadiums throughout the country. Tom Davies, the Herrick safety director, has instituted a strong labor/management injury and illness prevention program to protect ironworkers from welding fume hazards, material handling injuries, equipment usage and other workplace hazards. Ironworkers at the Stockton Steel fabrication plant receive regular training and are empowered to correct unsafe conditions and unsafe acts that they may encounter. Stockton Steel’s last lost-time incident was March 7. 2008. That has spanned over two million man-hours.

Congratulations to the Herrick Corporation, Stockton Steel, and Local 790 ironworkers for making this a good example that “zero workplace incidents” can be achieved.