Safety

Raising The Standard of Safety Performance Throughout the United States and Canada

Effective August 1, 2011 General President Wise appointed me to the position of Executive Director of Safety and Health to raise the standard of safety performance for our members throughout the United States and Canada.  I appreciate this opportunity to serve our members and will work closely with the District Councils, local unions, and IMPACT to address safety and health issues, and implement new initiatives to help prevent workplace fatalities and disabling injuries. I am a member of Ironworkers Local 10 Kansas City, Missouri and grateful for the apprenticeship training and work experience I received during my time in the field. 

In 1994 I was appointed to the Steel Erection Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee (SENRAC) to help draft new safety standards for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Subpart R – Steel Erection Standard.  During this rulemaking process I worked with representatives of the Iron Workers International to review 673 fatality reports provided by OSHA.  These reports revealed the causation factors of many fatalities during the steel erection process that later resulted in new OSHA standards designed to protect our members. However, not included in these OSHA fatality reports and statistics are the untold stories of emotional and financial hardships incurred by family members and friends left behind.   

It is important for our members to know that General President Wise, General Secretary Dean, and General Treasurer McHugh are committed to the safety and health of our members.  I have accompanied the General Officers to several meetings with the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA and Agency officials to address current Compliance Directives pertaining to steel erection, and pursue new safety standards for reinforcing steel industry. The International Association

and stakeholders representing the reinforcing steel and post-tensioning industry have petitioned the Agency to pursue a new OSHA standard to address serious hazards in the reinforcing steel industry. 

I want to make every effort to participate in District Council meetings, local union meetings, and IMPACT Regional Advisory Board meetings throughout the United States and Canada to identify any safety and health issues that warrant our attention.  There is a variety of safety issues that often arise on projects within the District Councils and State OSHA Plans throughout the country.  These issues involving project owners and special contract safety requirements may require individual focus and attention to prevent incidents and/or costly jobsite delays.

With the support and resources of President Wise, the Safety and Health Department is launching many new initiatives that are designed to produce measurable results for protecting our members. 

I want to congratulate you on your new position to serve our members at your local union and I look forward to devoting my efforts to raising the standard of safety performance for our members throughout the United States and Canada.  I appreciate this opportunity to serve our members and will work closely with the District Councils and local unions to address safety and health issues, and implement new initiatives to help prevent workplace fatalities and disabling injuries.


Sincerely,

Steven L. Rank

Executive Director of Safety and Health

Iron Workers International

Ironworker Facts

  • In its 115 year history, the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers has been led by just twelve general presidents-Edward Ryan, John Butler, Frank Buchanan, Frank Ryan, James McClory, Paul Morrin, John Lyons Sr., John Lyons Jr., Juel Drake, Jake West, Joseph Hunt, and Walter Wise.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of ironworkers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. The need to rehabilitate, maintain, and replace a growing number of older bridges is expected to drive employment growth, as will the ongoing construction of large projects, such as high-rise buildings. Job opportunities should be best in metropolitan areas, where most large construction projects take place.
  • With the completion of every job, it has been a tradition of the Iron Workers to celebrate with a “Topping Out” ceremony when the last beam of the building or bridge is set in place. The tradition is usually done with a Christmas tree, a flag, and an Iron Workers banner, which are hoisted and displayed on the final beam. Traditionally, the last beam is signed by all the ironworkers who worked on that project, representing both their skills employed and their pride in the completed structure.
  • The first shop local of the International, Local 40 (Newark, N.J.), was chartered in 1902 and was designated as "Inside Architectural Bridge and Structural Iron Workers."
  • Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 28 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts.

    While only 19 percent of nonunion workers have guaranteed pensions, fully 78 percent of union workers do.

    More than 84 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 64 percent of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.

    Unions help bring workers out of poverty and into the middle class. In fact, in states where workers don’t have union rights, workers’ incomes are lower.

  • Close to 10,000 participants have completed approximately 400,000 hours of training during the 29 years of the Annual Ironworker Instructor Training Program.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook handbook predicts faster-than-average job growth the next eight years for carpenters, masons and iron and steel workers across the nation.