- The Associated Builders and Contractors teamed up with HITT Contracting Inc. and Power Design Inc.—two of its member organizations—to open Safety Week 2015 and OSHA's National Fall Prevention Stand-Down campaign Monday with a jobsite tour and bilingual "Toolbox Talk" safety training sessions.
- The second annual event, running from May 3 through May 9, is sponsored by more than 40 construction firms, or The Construction Industry Safety group, who partnered with the Incident and Injury Free CEO Forum to raise awareness about the importance of safety in the construction industry and work towards eliminating worker injury.
- Representatives from HITT, ABC, Power Design, and OSHA gathered with more than 100 workers at the site of a 10-story mixed-use development for Atlantic Plumbing currently under construction in Northwest Washington, DC. Work on the site began 22 months ago, and there has been no lost time for injuries, R.J. Trottier, a HITT vice president, said during opening remarks.
Safety has always been a focus and concern in the construction industry, especially considering reports that it is the most dangerous general industry of those tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman emphasized the importance of construction firms and contractors taking the lead and putting programs in place to train their workers thoroughly. "We want to make sure there's no gap in training. Some companies can go a whole year without an incident, so we know it's possible," he told Construction Dive.
All participants at the Safety Week kickoff event also discussed the importance of training in both English and Spanish. Between 60% and 75% of workers on the DC jobsite were native Spanish speakers, HITT executives said. The Latino construction worker fatality rate has inched up over the past few years, according to BLS data, and industry professionals are looking for ways to counter that trend.
During Monday's safety sessions for the workers, all instructions were provided in both English and Spanish, and supervisors encouraged questions in any language. Bilingual training is standard practice at all HITT Contracting jobsites, according to Jeremy Bardin, HITT executive vice president.
Robert Poole, HITT safety director, said of the increasing number of Latino construction workers: "It's not something that's going away. We need to address it with proper training."