Experts from the Construction Industry Research & Policy Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business recently traveled to Nashville to conduct job safety training as part of the event, National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction. Ed Taylor, executive director of the construction center, said 24 apprentices with the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Tennessee completed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training.
“These students are actively working and have two nights of apprenticeship training each week,” said Taylor, who designed the training and pointed out that it is centered around tasks the apprentices complete every day.
“We used an example of a fatal fall from a ladder, and the guys found meaning in it,” Taylor said. “To them, that could be their friend or themselves. We want to encourage them to recognize that dangerous situations can emerge at any time when safety regulations are not followed.”
John Wagner, a research associate at the center, is an authorized OSHA trainer and conducted the training.
“We used real case files as a teaching method,” Wagner said. “The students read the case file and looked at the pictures. We discussed what led to the accident, and what could have been done to prevent it.”
Wagner acknowledged that OSHA regulations can be a dry topic, but he takes satisfaction in having used his role as instructor to open up interaction with the apprentices that could save lives on the job.
“I find it fulfilling to spread the knowledge of these events and teach these guys about the culture of safety,” Wagner said. “The priority is that they are able to go home to their families at the end of the day.”
Taylor agreed, pointing out that everyone on a job site has a responsibility for safety.
“One of the guys at the training said that if everybody is a lifeguard, then nobody drowns,” Taylor said. “That stuck with me. It's up to us to look after our brothers. Safety is everybody’s job.”
The National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction was held May 7-11. The national event was sponsored by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and the Center for Construction Research and Training.
The Construction Industry Research & Policy Center primarily studies the effects of policy changes to the construction industry. The center also participates in outreach to help construction workers understand the real-world implications of safety training.