5 minute read

Safety and Health

Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones by Understanding Your Risks and Rights of Asbestos Exposure

Over a million construction and craftworkers, especially bricklayers and tile setters, are currently at risk of asbestos exposure. When toxic asbestos fibers are released during cutting, drilling, or sanding building materials, they can lodge inside the lungs and other soft tissue, causing lasting and often fatal damage. Workers not only suffer from illnesses, but also loss of income. Too often those affected face the threat of personal bankruptcy due to devastating medical costs — all while trying to battle a potentially life-ending disease.

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Bricklayers who work inside power plants, chemical and petroleum refineries, steel mills, foundries, shipyards, and other industrial manufacturing have likely been exposed to asbestos contained within the equipment and the buildings themselves. Activities such as cutting and laying mortared bricks, mixing mortar, repairing walls with asbestos insulation, installing or repairing chimneys, working on boilers or furnaces, or remodeling older buildings, have also exposed bricklayers to asbestos.

To inform and assist members, BAC recently pub-

Exposure, containing information about the resources available. “The facts about asbestos exposure are stark and alarming,” said BAC President Driscoll in the introduction for the pamphlet. “Bricklayers, and their families, are amongst those workers at-risk from exposure… Just as we did with the silica standard, we will relentlessly pursue more stringent asbestos safety measures. And we will help those already exposed and suffering from asbestos-related illnesses get RISKS & RIGHTS the help and compensation they deserve.” of Asbestos Exposure Whether you are a current or retired BAC member, if you believe you have been exposed to asbestos or find yourself diagnosed with an asbestos related illness, you can contact the BAC for Courtesy of assistance and support. “I encourage all BAC members read the important information available in this new resource,” said BAC Executive Vice President Jerry Sullivan. “It contains information about what asbestos exposure is, what diseases it can cause, and what members can do to get help from the medical costs associated with mesothelioma, cancer, or other illnesses caused by known asbestos exposure.” To receive a free copy, please contact Bobbie Haut

lished a new pamphlet, Risks and Rights of Asbestos at rhaut@bacweb.org. //

BAC Webinar Held to Raise Awareness of Ladder Safety

Each year in the US, more than 500,000 people are treated for, and about 300 people die from, ladder-related injuries. Unfortunately, many victims are tradespeople who thought they knew everything they needed to know about ladder safety.

In recognition of National Ladder Safety Month, on March 29, the International Union hosted a webinar to raise awareness about ladder safety among BAC members and signatory contractors. The presenters were both from the union and International Masonry Institute National Training Center.

BAC Executive Vice President Jeremiah Sullivan Jr. opened the webinar by introducing the two presenters — the IU Manager of Health and Safety Programs Liliana Calderon and IMTEF National Safety Director David Wysocki. “Information provided through this webinar is intended to serve as a reminder to be proactive and bring additional insight into keeping our members safe,” Sullivan said.

Calderon started the discussion with a list of the most common ladder accidents, including missing the last step when climbing down and overreaching. She then went over a few examples to show the importance of choosing the right ladder for the job.

Wysocki emphasized the importance of ladder safety training. “If you look at the most frequently cited federal OSHA ladder violations, most of them started with training. Employers must train all employees to recognize hazards related to ladders and instruct them how to use them,” Wysocki said.

Resources for ladder safety and checklists were provided including how to choose the right ladder, how to inspect a ladder prior to use, and how to set up the ladder for use. The recorded webinar is available at: https://bit.ly/3M4xitK. //

Plan, Provide,

Train to Prevent Falls

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, making up almost a third of all fatalities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines three steps to preventing these tragic deaths — Plan, Provide, and Train.

The first step towards reducing risk and saving workers’ lives is to create a well-designed, written fall protection plan.

Secondly, employers must provide the right fall protection equipment, including the correct type ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear, for workers who are six feet or more above lower construction levels. All fall protection equipment should be inspected regularly to ensure it is in good condition and safe to use.

Lastly, hands-on training must be provided to every worker who might be exposed to fall hazards. The training should enable workers to recognize the hazards of falling and instruct them on the procedures to be followed for each type of fall protection.

You can find educational materials and resources about preventing falls at: https://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/educational-resources //

From left, BAC Executive Vice President Jeremiah Sullivan Jr., Secretary-Treasurer Bob Arnold, President Tim Driscoll, US Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and BAC Director of Collective Bargaining Mike Di Virgilio.

BAC Board Attend DOL Worker Memorial Event

This Workers Memorial Day, April 28, BAC joined our brothers and sisters across the country to remember those who suffered and died on the job, and renew the promise to ensure safe jobs for all workers.

On average over 5,000 American workers die of workplace injuries every year. The construction industry accounts for 1 in 5 of those deaths. “The right to return home safe and healthy is an obligation that every employer owes each of its workers,” said BAC President Tim Driscoll. “Worksite safety should never be a secondary consideration.”

On April 26, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Executive Board attended a wreath laying ceremony at the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Memorial Garden in Washington, D.C. The ceremony was hosted by Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), OSHA, and MSHA.

The BAC officers laid a wreath for the three BAC members who tragically died in 2021 from injuries suffered on their jobsite: Frank Scabilloni, Brian James Cotter, and Cody Lee Wilson.

“BAC mourns the loss of Brothers Cotter, Wilson, and Scabilloni,” said President Driscoll. “Workers Memorial Day serves as a potent reminder that BAC needs to rededicate itself to combatting such tragic and unnecessary loss of life.”

Go to bit.ly/39gsumk to watch President Driscoll’s and Secretary Walsh’s remarks. //

From left, BAC Secretary-Treasurer Bob Arnold, President Tim Driscoll, Executive Vice President Jeremiah Sullivan Jr., and Director of Collective Bargaining Mike Di Virgilio.