Fort McCoy News March 28, 2014

Construction safety focus of OSHA course at McCoy

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Safety representatives from Fort McCoy as well as Fort Snelling, Minn., participated in a 30-hour, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-approved construction safety course March 10-13 in building 2113.

Photo for OSHA article
Bob Emmerich, a safety consultant from Madison, Wis., dialogues with students.

The course, taught by safety consultant Bob Emmerich of Madison, Wis., covered nearly two dozen areas of construction safety.

"We teach them all of the primary areas of safety for various types of construction work," said Emmerich, who's worked in either construction or construction safety for the last 37 years.

"That includes working in areas of excavation and heights, around or with construction equipment, and also working with hand and power tools. The course trains people how to look at safety when inspecting construction work, and provide a firm understanding of safety when completing construction."

Topics covered also included recognition of major safety and health hazards in the construction industry, prevention strategies, safety and health management systems, OSHA requirements and guidelines as well as available resources.

The Fort McCoy Installation Safety Office (ISO) set up the training for post building and construction inspectors, said Randy Eddy, post safety manager.

"This training gives people more expertise when they are inspecting construction projects under their control," Eddy said.

"With the knowledge gained, our building and construction inspectors will better know what to look for and be able to correct problems on the job site. They can also call my office and report things they might believe are unsafe so it can be addressed."

Fort McCoy isn't the only post benefiting from the training. Civilians and Soldiers from Fort Snelling, Minn., traveled the 170-plus miles to complete the course.

"Mr. Eddy contacted me and said he had a few openings available in the course, so we signed up," said Michael Vosen, occupational safety manager for the 372nd Engineering Brigade.

"We are an engineering brigade with many people who work in construction, so it made sense for us to be here."

Eddy said having Soldier participation in the course is good because they participate in troop projects at Fort McCoy and across the nation and overseas, as well.

Vosen agreed.

"Unless they get training like this, many troops may not understand everything they should look for at construction sites in regards to safety," Vosen said. "Now, with this kind of training, they can go out and know what to look for according to OSHA regulations, Army regulations and possibly even civil engineering requirements."

Emmerich said he was glad he had the chance to come to Fort McCoy, and he hopes the training helps all the students as they move on to support future construction efforts.

"Over the years, I've had the opportunity to train people who have gone down to Antarctica to do some drilling, and I've trained people who are doing work over in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor," Emmerich said.

"It's always nice to help people improve their safety environment no matter where they go in the world."

Whether its construction or other areas, both Eddy and Vosen said safety should always be considered.

"I've always had a motto I've lived by — it's 'mission first, safety always,'" Vosen said.

"People should always remember that if something doesn't look right — question it," Eddy said. "Safety is paramount in all we do, and this course is another step in emphasizing the importance of being safe."

For more information about safety at Fort McCoy, contact the ISO at 608-388-3403.