International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers Safety and Health Department District Representative Wayne Creasap previewed the Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference, contractor prequalification and more on the Oct. 13 episode of AWF Union Podcast.
PPE for women
With the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Tradeswomen Build Nations (TWBN) Conference taking place on Saturday, October 17, Creasap took some time to talk about personal protective equipment for women in the trades and other matters as they pertain to women.
Creasap said that he hopes listeners will register and take part in the virtual conference. He added that this is a good way for women to gain interest in the building trades and potentially take up a career.
As a safety official, Creasap brought up that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has finally recognized the need to have personal protective equipment specifically made to properly fit women as opposed to the old method of “pink it and shrink it.”
The new equipment is geared to properly protect women and is designed to better fit their bodies.
Creasap then went into discussion on contractor pre-qualification for work and the ability to bid on projects.
He said this process consists of looking at a contractors safety record, their bonding and strength of their insurance policies.
Creasap believes there are some benefits and some disadvantages for union contractors in the pre-qualification process. He said some smaller contractors can be negatively impacted by the process because many rely on making a personal connection with a project owner and this blind process makes that connection difficult to establish.
Despite this, union contractors typically have an advantage because of their better safety record and more skilled workforce than their non-union counterparts.
Vacancies at OSHA
Finally, Creasap touched on why OSHA has appeared absent during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said this is due to the many vacancies throughout the administration. He credited this to the politicized nature of the confirmation process. Due to this process, many positions in the administration remain vacant and the work is left to the career staff at OSHA to make up.