More than 100 Houston construction professionals are just a little bit safer today after attending a safety training class hosted by HCSS.
Senior safety consultants Jim Goss and Robert Emmerich, P.E., CHST, CET, hosted a Susan Harwood Grant Safety Training event on April 30 for members of the Associated General Contractors of America’s AGC Texas chapter. The class focused on OSHA-required safe practices involving heavy equipment, work zones, flagging operations, and cranes for those in the heavy civil construction industry.
Emmerich (P.E., CHST, CET) has more than 35 years of experience in safety, construction project management, operations management, and engineering. As an OSHA-authorized trainer for the OSHA outreach course in construction and a nationally-recognized construction instructor, he has trained thousands on various topics related to construction and industrial safety.
Goss and Emmerich also reviewed employee rights and employer responsibilities under federal law.
According to OSHA standards, employees have the right to:
- A safe and healthful workplace
- Know about hazardous chemicals
- Information about injuries and illnesses in the workplace
- Complain or request hazard correction from employers
- Hazard exposure and medical records
- File a complaint with OSHA
- Participate in an OSHA inspection
- Be free from retaliation for exercising safety and health rights
Employers responsibilities are to:
- Provide a workplace free from recognized hazards and comply with OSHA standards
- Provide training required by OSHA standards
- Keep records of injuries and illnesses
- Provide medical exams when required by OSHA standards and provide workers access to their exposure and medical records
- Not discriminate against workers who exercise their rights
- Post OSHA citations and abatement verification notices
- Provide and pay for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The safety class focused on understanding the hazards associated with working on foot around heavy equipment as well as operating that equipment on a job site. Workers on foot accounted for 57 percent of fatalities involving heavy equipment, while operators accounted for 35 percent.
Construction work zones were discussed as well, as attendees learned proper work zone set up and the many hazards facing workers in these areas. More than 40 percent of heavy and highway fatalities involved a contractor vehicle inside a work zone.
Goss and Emmerich also shed light on proper work zone flagging techniques and the consequences of incorrect flagging, which seemed to be a hot topic for many in attendance.
“I learned a lot today, mostly about traffic control,” said Carlos Cruz, Site Safety Coordinator at Alexis Risk Management Services. “I’ve never really had any experience with that, as we do mostly buildings and commercial work. But there are times we have deliveries and we do have to shut down a street.”
Cruz’s coworker Jason Leavitt said he was more familiar with crane safety topics, as his work deals very little with traffic safety.
“We do have a couple of projects coming up that will require some traffic control, so that will be good for us to get the training we’re getting here,” Leavitt said.
The class’s crane management module rounded out the day, as Goss and Emmerich highlighted often amusing -- but also frightening -- photos and videos of cranes failing and falling.
According to OSHA, 25 percent of crane-related deaths in construction are caused by overhead powerline electrocutions, while 21 percent are caused by being struck by crane loads. Collapses account for almost 15 percent of crane-related deaths.
All attendees then closed out the day by taking an assessment and receiving a certificate of completion for the course, which was held at the HCSS campus in Sugar Land, Texas.
“I thought it was a great presentation,” said SpawGlass Field Operations Manager Al Ramirez. “They kept you alert, and it was easy to engage. A lot of this information we already know -- I’ve been doing this job for a long time. But we’re about to start a job that is going to have a lot of traffic control on it, and it’s always good to refresh. I’d recommend this class to anybody.”
HCSS is proud to participate in Safety Week 2015. Want to learn more about how to keep your employees safe? Attend our free Safety Week 2015 Webinar on Thursday, May 7 at 3 p.m. CST.