MCAA Magazine

Jerry Painter  

Subject: Welcome to My Sandbox

Since February, I have been traveling around the country for MCAA teaching our Silica Train the Trainer Seminar.

This is a seminar developed by MCAA to meet the needs of our membership and others as they prepare for the OSHA enforcement date of September 23, 2017. By the end of Phase 1, we had reached 510 people who can train all of their employees. We are now into Phase 2 and as with Phase 1, we have classes stretched from coast to coast.

It is not unusual for me to wake up from my power nap in the airport and wonder “Where am I?” or “Where am I going?” I just recently completed a week with three classes in two different states. What is even worse is when you wake up in the middle of the night for a trip to the bathroom and have to sit on the bed until you can figure out whether you need to go left or go right? This probably has a name, like “Salesman Syndrome!”

I will have to admit though, I have gained far more knowledge than I have shared. We have had attendees from all types of contractors with respirable silica exposure. Besides masonry contractors, we have had construction managers, general contractors, concrete cutting and coring, restoration, and refractory contractors in classes. Most of the time the only thing I can offer that will help restoration and refractory folks is the offer of “Last Rites.” The refractory people also have confined space issues to contend with.

I have found that MCAA has the cream of the crop as members. MCAA members are very professional, intelligent, and work toward the highest quality masonry. I have met Masonry Association Executive Directors, who are some of the hardest working ED’s you can find in any organization. They are constantly working to promote masonry, raise funds, and provide value for their members.

If you are a Facebook friend of mine, you know that I try to eat the local cuisine. If that doesn’t work, I look for a diner with comfort food. I have been able to see the greatness of our wonderful country in this way! The pinnacle so far was spending most of Memorial Day on the mall in Washington D.C. Goose bumps, tears, and God Bless America!

While doing these seminars, I hear a lot of comments by attendees on what they have heard regarding the modifications to the “Respirable Crystalline Silica” Rule. One such comment is that OSHA is the bad guy. While I can defend their ability to write and enforce rules through CFR 29 Part 1926 and 1910, but OSHA will not be the drivers of this rule. Just as in all other parts of safety on the job site, the construction managers and general contractors will push this through their own safety programs. Their safety folks are on site every day. Everyone in the on-site construction office is an expert in masonry construction and masonry safety in their minds. Masonry contractors: PLEASE read the safety policies and beware of any added changes they may make to the “Rule”. They are trying to have safe work sites, but more importantly prevent litigation.

Another comment was: ”If we just follow table 1, we will be okay and not have to do anything else.” Not True! Table 1 only deals with the task, what engineer controls to use and what respirator to use, if any. The rest of the story is there is another part dealing with medical surveillance and record keeping.

But the scariest thing I have heard is a case of secondary exposure causing a death. Respirable silica is similar to smoking cigarettes in that breathing it CAN cause Silicosis or other related illnesses. Even the smallest amount in the wrong person is deadly.

MCAA put this program together for their membership. There are still classes available and others may be added. Contact MCAA or this column with your questions. Please have someone attend, so your company can provide a safe and healthy workplace for your employees.

Safety first, then, “Raise the line and come on around the corner.”