Poor air quality and visibility. Fire hazards. Chemical exposure. These hazards, and more, are often faced by plumbers and other construction workers who perform jobs in confined spaces – and can often be prevented with the proper training.
Although manuals and classes exist to train workers and their employers on best practices in workplace safety, Chicago’s West Suburban Association of Plumbing Contractors has launched a series of short, animated videos to its membership with a goal to maintain an awareness of current safety-related topics and issues in a fresh, new way.
“We’ve been looking for ways to energize our safety programs and training, because safety – while vitally important – can sometimes be a dry subject,” said Steve Marquardt, WSA board president. “These video graphics put relevant information in the hands of our members in a way that’s approachable and easy to remember.”
To date, WSA has produced branded videos on knowing the risks of confined spaces, texting while driving, energy drinks and the use of personal protective equipment. Each video clip contains important statistics and safety tips related to the topic, all presented in less than a minute.
“The amount of safety messages we can create is nearly unlimited,” Marquardt said. “Due the varied nature of the plumbing industry and the dangerous situations sometimes encountered by our members, our first priority at WSA is keeping our workforce safe. One way of keeping safety top-of-mind is to continually add new messages throughout the year.”
In addition to animated videos, WSA’s partnership with the Construction Safety Council offers all member contractors the opportunity to register for safety classes at a discounted rate. Other benefits include enrollment in the Safety Materials Program, which provides participating members with high-visibility safety T-shirts, hard hats, quarterly safety messages, vehicle decals and jobsite posters.
WSA also recently formed a new Safety Committee for increased awareness of issues surrounding the plumbing industry.
“Establishing a culture of safety is a team effort, so we’re excited to introduce our organization’s first active Safety Committee, made up of safety directors from our various contractor members,” Marquardt said. “WSA is committed to improving the bottom line of every one of our contractor members, and this is a big step toward creating a better business environment.”
In 1933, a group of plumbing contractors from Chicago’s western suburbs joined together to form the West Suburban Association of Plumbing Contractors. Today, more than 80 years later, the association has grown to include Chicagoland’s premier plumbing contractors, with a board offering more than 200 years of combined experience in the industry. The WSA serves its membership by fostering and maintaining a cooperative, collaborative relationship with its union partners