One thing I really love about my job is having the opportunity to share insights about issues affecting the commercial construction industry – whether I’m writing a post for this blog, networking at industry events or connecting with a reporter who needs a construction expert’s perspective.
A great example of the latter happened a few weeks ago, when I received a call from a Chicago Tribune reporter. The Department of Labor had just announced revised guidelines intended to reduce workers’ exposure to silica dust, which can cause lung disease and increased risk of cancer when it is breathed in over time, and the reporter wanted a national commercial contractor to comment on what the final rule means for the construction industry.
I was more than happy to weigh in. Like most successful construction firms, Englewood Construction makes construction worker safety a top priority. After all, we work in an industry where workers regularly encounter on-the-job hazards, so making sure construction employees are aware of those safety concerns and have the right equipment and know-how to work as safely as possible is a big part of being a responsible employer and leader in our field. And as I told the reporter in the final article, construction job site safety goes beyond what we can easily see and anticipate, such as fall hazards or tool and equipment issues. We also need to be aware of exposure hazards, such as silica dust, and how those hazards can affect the long-term health and well-being of our construction team.
While it was exciting to share our viewpoints with the Tribune, what happened next was even cooler. The day after the story published, I received a call from a staff member at the Department of Labor (DOL) who had read the Tribune story. He thanked me for sharing my views on the new guidelines, and we discussed additional ways Englewood could weigh in on why the silica rule is important and how we are already seeing silica protections being implemented across our industry. As a result of that conversation, our team authored a blog post on this important topic – you can read it here on Hard Hat Chat, and I’m proud to say it has also been published here on the DOL blog.
Like any major change in an industry, the introduction of the final silica rule has sparked debate among those it impacts. This exchange is good for our industry, because it has brought an important issue for worker safety into the spotlight – and I for one am glad to be part of the conversation.
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You can reach me at CTaylor@eci.build