Utility Contractor

SEP-OCT 2018

As the official magazine of NUCA, Utility Contractor presents the latest information affecting every aspect of the utility construction industry, including technological advancements, safety issues, legislative developments and instructional advice.

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Utility Contractor 37 Years ago, the NUCA Foundation applied for and re- ceived a Susan Harwood Grant from OSHA to develop an Excavation Safety Orientation Program, which is still avail- able from NUCA. The simple program is provided in both English and Spanish, flexible, and easy to use. The entire orientation takes approximately 1½ hours to complete. Al- though the program was designed as a self-study, interac- tive, computer-based program, it can easily be used by an instructor in a classroom environment. Overcoming the language barrier is not enough. The literacy level of workers entering the utility construction market has created a growing training challenge. The ori- entation program has been designed so that any worker at all levels can understand the message, even if they cannot read. The program has addressed this problem by using pictures and video clips accompanied by audio in English or Spanish to convey the necessary information. In the utility construction industry, the goal of a safety orientation is to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities resulting from cave-ins, falling materials, being struck by materials and equipment, confined space entry, and other common hazards found around the average trench site. This program is a valuable orientation tool and a good way to ensure that all workers are educated about possible haz- ards and how to avoid or prevent them. Program Content The Excavation Safety Orientation Program contains in- formation about the following: ■ Employer and employee rights and responsibilities ■ Personal protective equipment ■ Entering and exiting the excavation safely ■ Slips, trips, and falls ■ Working near the edge of a trench ■ Cave-ins and protective systems ■ Rigging, lifting and material handling ■ Working near traffic ■ Existing utilities ■ Jobsite drainage ■ Confined-space entry, and ■ Personal safety. Even though we have just completed the third annual NUCA Trench Safety Stand Down, there is still a lot to be done to prevent workers from placing their lives on the line. Employers need to provide the equipment to ensure that workers are protected from cave-ins and workers need to understand that they are not expected to enter into any unprotected trench – no sloping, no shoring, no shield – for any reason. Even short-term entry for a minute or two can result in a worker being trapped or killed. By focusing on all workers engaged in excavation activity – not just the foreman or competent person – the orientation program is designed to help contractors reach all workers. A copy of the program can be ordered from NUCA's website. The disk includes the programs in both English and Spanish. The price is $99.00. NUCA members have always had the attitude that "We Dig Safely" and expect our workers to go home to their families at the end of every workday. Let's continue to ensure that work- ers are our most important asset by educating them to work safely. George Kennedy is is vice president of safety for the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) and is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). By George Kennedy

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