Safety should be a major priority on all jobsites, but accidents still happen. To prevent jobsite accidents, the Iron Workers and the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) are developing a Ironworker Safety Supervisor Course to educate supervisors about their safety and legal responsibilities in case of a jobsite accident.
A supervisor is considered to be someone working as a foreman, general foreman or superintendent.
“Supervisors have a much higher level of responsibility than an ironworker in the field. Supervisors are not considered union ironworkers by law; they are considered company management representatives,” says Steve Rank, executive director of safety and health for the Iron Workers. “First thing the [Occupational Health and Safety Administration] (OSHA) representative will ask after an incident is who the supervisor is. The majority of supervisors don’t understand the higher level of responsibility they have in that moment. It’s basic, fundamental stuff that’s not covered as it should be.”
The primary reasons the Iron Workers and IMPACT have been working on this course for the past year is to keep ironworkers safe by preventing accidents and to educate supervisors about their responsibilities on the field from a legal standpoint.
An online study guide of 300 to 400 questions will be available online for those participating in the certification. Testing will be available year-round at all 157 training facilities around North America. The test will be required for all apprentices during their fourth year of training (approximately 20,000 ironworkers a year), and optional to all journeyman.
According to Rank, the need for this program exists because online supervisor safety programs are not specific to the ironworker industry.
“These other programs are so broad that they don’t talk about things ironworkers encounter on the jobsite every day,” he says. “Our course is ironworker supervisor safety specific. It’s what you would want to know if you’re erecting a building. You already have the skill to build it, but you need the safety skill set to protect the ironworkers and understand your responsibilities.”
The Iron Workers and IMPACT plan to have the course completed by the end of 2018. They will run a pilot program to get the feedback of 50-100 apprentices before going forward with the certification program, which is being overseen by the International Accreditation Service.