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OSHA Best Practices

In March of 2004, the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA), the national association representing the industry's mason contractors, signed an Alliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide education and training to the industry's workforce. The primary goal of this Alliance was to increase the level of safety throughout the masonry industry. The areas that the Alliance focuses on include: fall protection, scaffold safety, rough terrain forklift safety and masonry wall bracing.

While there are certainly many benefits to this Alliance, one of the primary benefits is to partner with OSHA in establishing safety training programs. As a result, OSHA agreed to allow the MCAA to provide masonry training programs to educate OSHA's office and field personnel. Titled "OSHA Best Practices," this training focuses on the safety training methods and best practices in the masonry industry, which ensure safety and provide safe work practices for the industry's nearly 275,000 masons and laborers.

"We felt that many OSHA field personnel did not fully understand our industry and the intricacies of our safety practices" said MCAA Executive Director Michael Adelizzi. "OSHA gave us an opportunity to explore ways in which, as an industry, we could provide some of the same training to their personnel as we provide to our own industry's workforce."

On Jan. 26, the MCAA — along with the Laborers-AGC Education & Training Fund and the Laborers Health & Safety Fund — conducted a full-day, pilot training program at the Laborers-AGC training center in High Hill, Mo. Roughly 40 OSHA field personnel from Region VII, which includes the states of Missouri, Kansas and Iowa, attended the training program.

The morning portion of this session featured occupational safety presentations on topics such as silica protection, ergonomics, fall protection, wall bracing and overhand bricklaying.

The afternoon portion consisted of hands-on demonstrations at four stations. These stations included masonry basics, rough terrain forklift safety, masonry wall bracing and scaffold safety. Assisting with the afternoon sessions were David Gillick, executive director of the MCA of St. Louis, and Rolly Cox of Grout Hog.

One of the major benefits of the program is the elimination of the myriad of interpretations of OSHA standards from different OSHA inspectors that mason contractors often come in contact with on their job sites. Another benefit and outcome of the session is a stronger understanding by OSHA personnel of the steps that the masonry industry and the MCAA have taken to provide a safe work environment.

Feedback from the OSHA participants was extremely strong, with many calling for a more extensive two-day program, citing that more time was needed for the hands-on portion.

As a result of this program, the MCAA will be working more closely with the Laborers Union to conduct OSHA Best Practices training programs in all 11 OSHA regions over the next two years.

For more information, visit www.masoncontractors.org.






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