July 10, 2015
From the desk of Gary Peifer:
What’s wrong with this picture? The picture above is a prime example of disregard for job safety. No, this is not a UNION contractor and yes, this contractor was reported to and investigated by Cal-OSHA. Can you identify the safety violations in this photograph? Hint: Cal OSHA saw (4) four.
While it may not have been a BAC member that coined the phrase “SAFETY IS NO ACCIDENT”, it is obvious that the person had good common sense. And yes, it is obvious that most UNION construction workers have good common sense when it comes to safety. But even the most wary of us have moments of lax judgement, especially when faced with today’s challenges on the jobsite. Pressure from employers to meet contract schedule deadlines and daily production schedules when combined with our demanding personal lives can contribute to the misfortune of us and those we work with.
How many times have you walked on the job in the morning and climbed that ladder to the scaffolding, especially on Monday, without checking to see if had been moved and properly re-secured or even damaged. Or worse, climbed on a swingstage without checking for a secure anchorage, or worked on, without inspecting, scaffolding that may have been altered and thus, is no longer safe. We’ve all done it. Fortunately most of us have lived to see another day and a chance to better our awareness and improve our judgement.
It is a primary function of the UNION, the signatory Employers and YOU, the members to educate and inform each other on a daily basis to be SAFE and thus insure the wellbeing of all. While we are at work, each of us has the responsibility to the brother or sister with whom we work, to insure they return home “SAFELY” to those who depend on them. From Heat Illness to Fall Protection awareness programs, each of has a responsibility to insure the message is delivered and received.
In California, the law requires employers in the construction industry to provide workers with jobsite safety awareness programs of value on a regular basis. The Union has become aware that some employers may not be holding these or may be asking you to sign safety meeting sheets without receiving the safety training they are required to provide. These declarations often include a section that requests written employee input on safety hazards you have observed and suggestions to alleviate those conditions.
If you choose to constructively comment on these issues, please be assured that your employment is protected by state and federal law. If you feel your employment would be endangered by doing so, please contact your Union representative or Cal-OSHA and identify the issues that are unsafe on the jobsite. Your identity will be protected and the health and wellbeing of all involved will benefit from your genuine concern and actions.
In closing, I would remind each of us that “SAFETY IS EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS” and we all have the opportunity and responsibility to remain safe every day. The life you save may be your own.
Be safe and be well. Gary.