The Teamsters Safety and Health department, in collaboration with the Building Material and Construction Trade Division, recently taught a series of courses in Pawhushka, Okla., a community in the Osage Nation portion of the state. Classes were given on forklifts, load securement and hazmat transportation.
The Enbridge Pipeline’s Flanagan South project is a 600-mile crude oil project which will traverse through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Teamsters provide training related to jobs in their jurisdiction while other unions (Pipefitters, Operating Engineers and Laborers) take on training courses for their fields.
“These are taught by worker-trainers, in other words, trainers who also work on construction projects themselves. In order to become one of our trainers, you would need to have basic certification in the construction or freight business, but then we have them trained at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Training Institutes for specific courses,” said LaMont Byrd, Director of the Teamsters Safety and Health Department.
During the training in Oklahoma, 32 people participated and the sessions were broken down into three segments so that the teacher-student ratio was high. With the hazmat training, students are made familiar with the transport of hazardous materials, the various placards indicating hazardous chemicals and hands-on exercises. Students also learn about the DOT’s Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) Program.
“Our training program is the most complete out of any union,” said Marion Davis, the Director of the Building Material and Construction Trade Division. “Fortunately, our Safety and Health Department has worked hard to secure grants through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy so that we can properly train our members, giving them a leg up on a good career in the construction industry.”