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Electrical Safety Month: Raising awareness about protecting electrical workers

 

electrician at electrical box with helmet and safety goggles on.

Every May, Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi) sponsors National Electrical Safety Month. It’s a time to give workers a voice and highlight innovative ways we can make workplaces safer.

At Electrical Alliance, we advocate for making working conditions as safe as possible by organizing as a union and prioritizing workers’ rights. Our goal is to use the power of organizing to make safer working conditions the standard for all contractors.

Work fatalities disproportionally affect Latino and non-union workers

Sadly, one major safety issue is the fact that worker fatalities disproportionally affect Latino workers and non-union workers. In April, St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Maryland held the second annual Building Trades’ Workers Memorial Day Mass. At this event, attendees remembered the 19 construction workers who died at worksites in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia this past year. One of the church’s priests noted that 13 of the 19 men who died were Latinos, and all 19 who died at job sites were non-union workers.

Seminars to raise awareness about work hazards

To help raise awareness about hazards facing electrical workers as a whole, we and our partners are involved in several important initiatives for National Electrical Safety Month. There have been a variety of seminars to educate the industry and the greater public about changes we can make to improve working conditions.

To kick off Electrical Safety Month, the Washington DC NECA Chapter and IBEW Local 26 put on a seminar that focused on common hazards affecting the electrical construction industry.

For example, Rich Gojdics, Senior VP of Sales at Enerpro PPE, provided an overview of how everyday clothing when facing electrical hazards can significantly increase the severity of the burns. He discussed how, even though the electrical industry is moving towards doing more electrical work in a de-energized state, there are still some activities that place qualified electrical workers in harm’s way. Arc rated clothing that meets design standards still plays a significant role in reducing the severity of electrical injuries when faced by workers.

Electrical hazards continue to be a large concern, but there are also other emerging hazards that need to be tackled. Washington, DC NECA contractor and safety committee memberships have joined efforts to address mental health issues and suicide, which are on the rise in construction.

To help raise awareness of these issues, Lynn Berger from BHS  ran a session on the mental health risks experienced by workers. She focussed on three main themes: how to recognize risky behaviors, how to establish successful interventions and, most importantly, where to get help for those in need.

Workers’ safety impacts everyone

There is so much that must be done to improve worksite safety. Across the board, an important takeaway is the role unions play in ensuring these improvements are put in place. Unions make it possible to amplify workers’ voices and, when their voices are amplified, real change takes root.

That’s why, at Electrical Alliance, we help provide the safest workplaces for each and every one of our members. Ultimately, when workers are safe, supported, and empowered, the effects ripple out to their families and communities at large.

We’re stronger together, so we must do what’s necessary to ensure safety across the board.

NECA and IBEW attend Maryland Chamber of Commerce “Externship” Celebration

On September 30th, Members from Maryland NECA, DC NECA, Local 24 and Local 26 attended the 2021 Teacher Externship Celebration held by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis. The Maryland Chamber Foundation’s Teacher Externship Program is a four-week summer program that bridges the gap between businesses and educators by pairing high school teachers with top Maryland businesses who provide hands-on experience in industries related to the subjects they teach. Maryland teachers then bring this knowledge back to the classroom, where they can empower their students with the essential information and skills they need to begin down a lucrative career path. Teacher externs receive a stipend from the Maryland Chamber Foundation for their work, and gain invaluable experiences and perspectives that they can share with their students—through field trips, enhanced lesson plans, and exciting classroom activities—when they return to the classroom in the fall.

In its third year, the Maryland Chamber Foundation Teacher Externship Program is staged to impact thousands of Maryland students in 2021 as they consider their future careers. The industry and technical knowledge teachers gain allow them to enhance their curriculum and educate their students on both the hard and soft skills required to enter the workforce and obtain a livable-wage career. Up from three participating teachers in 2020, the 25 teacher externs represent a 766% growth in the program in 2021.

Freestate Electric was also involved in this year’s class, hosting Dennis Poe, an electrical teacher at Croom Vocational High School in Prince George’s County.

For more information about the Teacher Externship Program, click here.


Pictured (left to right): Michael Harris, Joe Dabbs, Al Aus Jr., Will Yull, Mike McHale, Tom Clark, Greg Bayliff, Rhett Roe, JT Thomas and David Howell.

Local’s Where It’s At!

Local 26 distributes locally made hand sanitizer to local and regional contractors & more

IBEW Local 26 electricians have heart. When they discovered that hand sanitizer had become difficult to purchase, as a result of many snatching up cleaning supplies during the pandemic, they snapped into action. Seen as a win-win by the local union, 26 was able to purchase large quantities of the sanitizer from two local small businesses, McClintock Distilling and Baltimore Spirits Company, then distribute it to their workforce in need.

The Reach at The Kennedy Center

Electrical Alliance Honored With Every WBC Craftsman Award

Electrical Alliance contractors, powered by their well-trained, skilled, union workforce, provide the highest level of quality for the jobs they service and supply workers for. Their workforce’s attention to safety, elevates them above the rest. Thus, it is no wonder that year-over-year Electrical Alliance electricians continue to sweep The Washington Building Congress (WBC) awards.

A Season Of Giving

The 2019 holiday season brought about feelings of giving and gratitude for IBEW Local 26, the JATC and RENEW Group as it seems to each year. The organizations’ annual food drive did not disappoint. Leading up to Christmas the groups jointly collected and raised funds to donate over $8,000 worth of non-perishable food items, along with 35 gently used coats.

Electrical Alliance Endows Virginia Tech Scholarship

The Electrical Alliance has established an endowment at Virginia Tech through the Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc. The Electrical Alliance Norman Hill Scholarship will endow $100,000 to the university for the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, in consultation with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction. This endowment will thusly support one scholarship award every school year, over the next five years, to a student involved in the Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Program (VCEMP).