By Ross Myers & David Walls
Several human resource websites offer checklists and other guidance for what to do when an employee dies on the job. Such lists usually begin with calling 911 and contacting the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), dealing with the media, keeping the business operating, and even suggesting tips on establishing scholarship funds and remembering anniversaries. What’s missing is any guide about what to say to the family who has lost someone in a workplace incident.
During our careers in the transportation construction industry, we’ve been to the funerals of company employees or industry colleagues. We have listened to moms and dads, grandparents, and siblings share stories about their loved ones. Sometimes there is just not much you can say to console them, but we come away from these events with a renewed commitment that such incidents should never happen again.
That’s why we are proud to have helped launch the Safety Certification for Transportation Project Professionals™ (SCTPP) program. The SCTPP’s program goal is clear: to significantly boost the hazard awareness and risk management skills of all transportation project professionals who are in positions of influence through day-to-day oversight to cause a decline in safety incidents.
Transportation construction is a dangerous business. According to Federal Highway Administration data, nearly 50,000 people die or are injured in and around U.S. transportation infrastructure projects annually. OSHA tells us more than 125 of these fatalities are workers, while 15,000 workers are injured. In addition to the human toll, the economic costs of worker fatalities and injuries are billions of dollars annually.
We want to reverse these trends.
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) Foundation, which is administering the SCTPP program, engaged Professional Testing Inc. (PTI)—an internationally recognized consulting firm to assist.
The SCTPP program is not a “certificate course” or “self-certification” program. With PTI’s help, it has been designed to meet the rigorous protocols required for accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO/IEC 17024: Conformity Assessment: General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons.
A crew of top safety professionals from leading industry firms, public agencies and academia devoted months of time shaping the program’s scope and crafting the questions for the certification exam. The 2.5-hour test, which can be taken year-round at Pearson Test Centers located all around the nation, has up to 120 multiple-choice questions, which probe knowledge in assessing project risks, creating project safety plans, implementing and conducting ongoing evaluations of site-specific operational safety plans, and conducting incident investigations.
One of the most unique benefits is the program’s broad reach. The exam is open to all transportation project workers, supervisors, foremen, managers, designers, planners, owners, equipment operators, manufacturers and materials suppliers who meet the eligibility requirements. ARTBA’s Foundation has also established an Online Learning Center (“Prep Courses” at www.puttingsafetyfirst.org) with six initial courses to help prepare industry professionals for the exam, while simultaneously providing Professional Development Hours.
Earning the SCTPP credential shows employers and peers that certified individuals have the professional core competencies necessary to identify common hazards found on transportation projects and correct them—whether during planning, design or onsite personnel management—and thus prevent incidents that could result in deaths or injuries.
In the end, the more trained eyes we have on transportation project sites, the safer those sites will be. It can mean fewer fatalities and injuries; fewer insurance claims and lower insurance premiums; and increased productivity.
We invite you to join us by enrolling at least 20 key people at your firm to take the certification exam and earn the SCTPP designation in 2017, and every year after. Protecting the safety of the industry’s employees, and the motoring public, is our collective responsibility. Together, let’s strive to make transportation project sites zero-fatality and zero-injury zones.
Ross Myers is chairman & CEO of Allan Myers, based in Pennsylvania.
David Walls is president & CEO of Austin Industries, based in Dallas. The gentlemen co-chair the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Foundation’s Safety Certification for Transportation Project Professionals™ Program Commission.
Scope of the Public Health Challenge
- 125 worker deaths annually
- Each worker fatality costs $8.7 million
- 15,000 worker injuries each year
- Each injury costs $62,000
Source: U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration