Side Story: Ask An Expert - How can masons be kept safe and insurance premiums be lowered?

Words: Dan KamysJune 2008 Adjustable Scaffolding

The Scaffold Industry Association (SIA) has been working to reduce accidents, violations and insurance premiums since 1972. Masonry talked with SIA President John Miller about current issues affecting the industry:

Q: What simple things can masonry contractors do to avoid violating OSHA regulations?

A: The easiest checks often get forgotten or overlooked. For example, at the beginning of each shift, contractors should inspect the scaffold foundation, anchorage ties and plank configuration to make sure they are sound and don't need replacing or repair. Always be sure to check the mechanical safety on your winch system, so it won't fail. And, make sure your scaffold enables proper access for workers and material.

Q: How can masonry contractors lower their workers' comp insurance?

A: Training! Insurance companies are more willing to decrease their rates if your crew is trained properly. Competent person training specific to adjustable scaffold should directly result in a premium discount when you renew your insurance. The best source for training is the adjustable scaffold manufacturer. The SIA has programs that meet the proper requirements for masons and should decrease your rates as well.

Q: Why should a masonry contractor look to the SIA for training?

A: OSHA requires that all scaffold be installed by a competent person. The SIA offers training programs throughout North America that meet and exceed OSHA requirements, so contractors can be confident they are receiving the proper education. We have supported scaffold courses that specifically include adjustable scaffold as part of its education. When you pass, you will be OSHA certified for three years. You can take a refresher course every three years to keep your certification current. The training benefits the company by helping to reduce violations and insurance costs, and it stays with the student if he or she would work for another company.

Q: How will the upcoming SIA Annual Convention & Exposition benefit contractors?

A: This year, admission to the exposition is free for the construction community. Since masonry contractors and the scaffold industry are tightly aligned, contractors will see the latest scaffold and access equipment that can save them money and increase productivity. Once you are there, you can take advantage of our training and networking opportunities for a small fee. As mentioned, these opportunities are a good way to educate your crew to keep your masons safe and lower insurance premiums.

For more information about the SIA, visit www.scaffold.org.


   
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