Washington – Iron Worker Safety Director Course (IWSDC), a 30-hour training designed to teach new skill sets for managing comprehensive company safety and health programs, was held in Toronto last week, May 3-5.
As part of the Zero Incident Campaign commissioned by the IW General President Eric Dean, the Safety and Health Department developed the course to address incident trends and improve the standard of safety performance. It was developed in response to contractors, owners, and safety consulting firms expressing interest in employing ironworkers who have hands on experience and are qualified to manage safety duties and responsibilities as a company safety director.
Ironworkers make the best safety directors as they have experience in doing the work they manage and have an intimate understanding of the hazards. It allows them to combine their work experience with new safety skills. “Who better to take care of safety than an ironworker?” said IW Executive Director of Safety and Health Steve Rank. “They know the job and they know the dangers and we have them bridge that gap between safety and the workers”. Many course graduates have become successful company safety directors across the United States and Canada.
It takes additional training and new skill sets to assume the role of a corporate safety director and manage safety programs for several projects. There are many safety measures that must be routinely implemented to help recognize and prevent workplace hazards. The course focuses on routine safety responsibilities that are set forth by federal, state or provincial, local and contractual standards. Participants learn about the responsibilities of a safety director from nine subject matter experts and experienced Ironworker Safety Directors.
“It’s ironworkers leading ironworkers; they respect each other” said Dave Otey, a 20-year ironworker veteran IWSDC instructor and the first Iron Worker Safety Director, currently managing the safety program for Rebar International, Inc. “The most important thing about leading is to be able to walk alongside with those you lead and that’s what we do.”
“We are training for the future,” said Oliver Montour, an ironworker participant from IW Local 771 in Regina, Saskatchewan. “We are increasing the market share through training and education and by taking care of safety ourselves”.
“We are leading the industry in safety,” said Wayne Worrall from IW Local 771. “On the job site, guys from other trades come to us for safety needs and questions; they ask us for safety training.”
The IW has revolutionized the way safety is managed on the job site with this concept of having ironworkers manage ironworker safety. It has created a culture of safety on the job site.
Due to popular demand, additional courses are scheduled in Philadelphia and Wixom, Mich. this year.