Local 592 earns national safety award

Lone Star District Lodge BM-ES Ron Keck (c.) accepts the national NACBE safety award on behalf of Local 592 (Tulsa, Okla.). Joining in the presentation are, l. to r., NACBE Exec. Dir. John Erickson, retired Central States IVP George Rogers, Intl. Pres. Newton Jones, and NACBE Pres. Wendell Bell.

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Safety records improve, even with an 8.7 percent increase in man-hours

THE MORE YOU work, the more chances you have to get hurt. But even with an 8.7 percent increase in man-hours by field construction Boilermakers working in the United States in 2008, the safety records just got better, reports John Erickson, executive director of the National Association of Construction Boilermaker Employers (NACBE).

Erickson presented NACBE’s annual safety awards to the top-performing locals from the Boilermakers’ five U.S. vice-presidential areas at the Brotherhood’s annual construction conference at Marco Island, Fla., March 2.

Local 592 (Tulsa, Okla.), from the former Central States area, won the national honors. BM-ES Ron Keck, of the Lone Star District Lodge, with which Local 592 is affiliated, accepted the award. Local 592 was among six Boilermaker locals with perfect scores: zero lost-time injuries, zero compensable injuries, and zero OSHA-recordable injuries. In some cases, NACBE had to resort to the number of man-hours worked to determine the national and area winners.

Four other lodges finished first in their areas: Local 45 (Richmond, Va. — Northeast); Local 85 (Toledo, Ohio — Great Lakes); Local 92 (Los Angeles — Western States); and Local 199 (Jacksonville, Fla. — Southeast).

NACBE maintains a safety index for 54 U.S. construction locals. Erickson said 2008 was an excellent year for safety, with both compensable injuries (all injuries, lost-time or not) and OSHA-recordable injuries at their lowest rate ever — 9.49 and 3.23 per 200,000 man-hours respectively. The lost-time injury rate came in at .041 per 200,000 man-hours, a tie for the lowest rate recorded since NACBE began the index in 1990. Thirty-seven locals reported zero lost time injuries in 2008.

Erickson says only about 62 percent of all Boilermaker construction hours are included in the NACBE safety index, as not every Boilermaker contractor participates. However, over 50 of the largest contractors do participate and reported man-hours in 2008 totaled over 40 million.

“The past few years have seen a significant increase in work opportunities for Boilermakers, but in trying work environments. The safety performance has been remarkable, under difficult conditions,” he said. “If you have a safe job, you’re going to have a productive job. As an industry, we’re having some very productive times.”

SINCE NACBE BEGAN recording its safety index for lost-time and compensable injury rates in 1990, the number of injuries has dropped from 13.54 and 83.02 per 200,000 man-hours to 0.41 and 9.49, respectively. The number of OSHA-recordable injuries has also declined since NACBE added those figures to its index in 1998, from 5.97 to 3.23 per 200,000 man-hours.