On January 21, the Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin (AGCWI) held its annual construction safety and education day for 2008.
This was the 30th annual statewide seminar AGC of Wisconsin has held.
This year's event, held at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, drew about 325 participants who came from as far away as Eau Claire, Green Bay, Racine, Beloit, and La Crosse. The group of attendees included craft workers, foremen, superintendents, and even vice presidents of AGC member companies.
The experts who presented the 20 seminar sessions came from as far away as Florida. "We wanted the most knowledgeable speakers for each selected topic," said AGCWI Director of Safety and Environmental Services, Brent Miller. "Some are from far away, and others are from right here in Wisconsin."
The 16 seminar topics, selected by input from the AGCWI's 28-member safety committee and the AGCWI staff's awareness of relevant subjects, ranged from proper use of crane hand signals, to OSHA's voluntary protection program, electrical safety, subcontractor and multi-employer relations, legal responsibilities for foremen and supervisors, and survival Spanish for construction.
Each attendee had the opportunity to attend up to three 90-minute classes.
The day opened with guest speaker Jim Goss, sr. vice president of Construction Safety Management, Inc., Getzville, N.Y., presenting "Everybody Goes Home," a talk about the importance of safety and its ultimate goal: seeing that every worker on a job site goes home to his or her family safe and healthy at the end of the work day.
The day also included presentation of safety-excellence awards, as well as lunch and door prizes.
About 30 AGC member companies earned the safety-excellence awards in 2007. To qualify, a company's lost-time-accident rate per hour worked had to be among the best 25 percent nationwide.
The event's sponsors were Kraemer Brothers, LLC; Immel General Contractors; Affiliated Construction Services (ACS); Fowler & Hammer; Wall-Tech, Inc.; Oscar J. Boldt; Klobucar Construction Co., Inc.; Staab Construction Corp.; and Hurckman Mechanical Industries (HMI).
The largest group of attendees came from C.D. Smith Construction, Fond du Lac, which sent approximately 30 of its employees. Leading the C.D. Smith contingent was Patrick Smith, the company's corporate secretary and safety director.
Says Smith, "Our company is completely committed to safety, and this well-recognized event with great instructors is a perfect way to augment our everyday safety training. We send about a quarter of our workforce each year."
Two of the event's key organizers were AGC Director of Safety and Environmental Services Brent Miller and Associate Director of Safety Jim Falbo.
Said Falbo, "Training is an important part of safety. People just don't automatically know what to do. They have to be educated."
"When an employer sends employees to this kind of safety training," Falbo continued, "it emphasizes how much the company cares about safety — and its employees. And if an attendee comes away from the day knowing just a few things more than he or she did before, the experience was valuable."