Once hazardous areas have been discovered, identifying suitable measures to put in place to control risks and protect employees with training, equipment, and skills should be the next step.

Contractor Groups, Unions Backing Construction Leadership Project

Project LeAD is a study lasting several years that shows apprentices high-level skills for safety leadership at work sites. Plumbing and mechanical contractors and the United Association are involved.

A study headed by Colorado State University researchers and funded by NIOSH through the Center for Construction Research and Training is exploring how best to turn construction apprentices into safety leaders.

Project LeAD -- Learning, Assessment and Development -- Involves the Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago, the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, UA Locals 3 and 208 in Denver, UA Local 290 in Portland, UA Local 597 in Chicago, the Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors, and The Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association in Oregon.

"Anything we can do to help meaningfully change safety practices in the workplace is a worthwhile endeavor," said Stephen Lamb, executive vice president of MCA Chicago. "This project is particularly good because it is research-based and is in conjunction with an institution that has a proven track record."

Project LeAD grew out of two projects, It grew out of two projects, Proactive Management and Safe Talk, which developed multi-level safety communication and feedback training for construction foremen and workers that can be found at http://csuohp.org. Both projects were developed in collaboration with union apprenticeship programs, mechanical contractors, and general contractors. Designed to supplement technical safety training with skills on how to communicate about safety, the programs address how to give and receive feedback on the job, how to share near-misses so others can learn from them, how to handle conflict management at work, and how to conduct training without interrupting work.

"Through the Safe Talk and Proactive Management projects, we learned that in order to influence safety, we have to have commitment from the top," said Krista Hoffmeister a doctoral student on the Safety Management Applied Research Team at CSU. "We learned that leaders play a critical role in the improvement of job site safety." She said more organizations are welcome to participate. "There are a number of places where people can become involved. They could be involved with many different aspects of the project, which is completely dependent on the time and interest they have."

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