Construction Safety Gets a Boost from ASSE

ASSE holds a special conference in Louisiana to help stem the tide of construction injuries.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics National Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2000 report shows a sobering statistic: construction recorded the highest number of fatal work injuries in any industry.

As employment in the construction field in Louisiana continues to increase, employers and employees realize that safety is of paramount concern on the construction site. The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) will play host to a Construction Safety Symposium this Nov. 8 and 9 at the Radisson Hotel located at 1500 Canal Street in New Orleans.

Titled "Taking the Lead in Construction Safety," the symposium kicks off with a keynote presentation by the Director of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate on Construction Safety Standards Russell "Bruce" Swanson at 8:45 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 8. Swanson will provide an update on construction safety and regulations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2000 report, fatal injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers were up sharply, led by a 24 percent jump in construction fatalities involving Hispanic workers.

Not only will these issues be addressed during the symposium, but several ASSE members are working to address overcoming language and cultural barriers in an effort to improve safety on the worksite. These programs include creating worksite programs to not only teach English to Hispanic workers but to also convey safety information. One company offers four levels of English with the highest level for those who speak English but do not read or write it. The company also pays for and provides Spanish classes for supervisors. On Friday, Nov. 9 at 4:30 p.m. the ASSE Construction Safety Symposium will feature a session titled "Safety Training for Non-English Speaking Employees."

With falls being the number two cause of death in the workplace, fall protection and insight into what works to prevent falls will also be discussed.

The construction of New Orleans' celebrated Jazzland from conceptual design to the finished product will be presented by Anne Lauderdale, P.S. of Metairie, LA, during the Thursday, Nov. 8 luncheon at 12:15 p.m. also at the Radisson Hotel.

Other topics on the two-day symposium schedule include crane safety, preparing for confined space emergencies, OSHA recordkeeping, understanding Owner Controlled Insurance Programs (OCIP), scaffolding safety and a panel discussion on construction safety by experts from across the country.

For more information on the symposium check ASSE's Web site at www.asse.org.

Founded in 1911 and celebrating its 90th anniversary, the non-profit ASSE is the largest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment.

edited by Sandy Smith

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