If the recent sixth-annual Safety Expo: Statewide Safety Training & Construction Management event proved one thing, it’s that construction industry representatives in California crave information.

Keeping the Jobsite Safe
Various classes and demonstrations at the Expo focused on scaffold awareness, safety and new products.
Various classes and demonstrations at the Expo focused on scaffold awareness, safety and new products.

As they say during tough times, the better prepared employees and firms will reap benefits down the line. The 140 sessions presented at this expo ranged from forklift certification classes to basic CPR training and from a nine-part series of new green building workshops to Cal/OSHA updates.

Presented by the Construction Industry Education Foundation (CIEF) in partnership with the Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange (SRBE), the Expo was held at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento during spring break. The three-day event cost just $50 per person.

The Expo offered four tracks of training: safety certification sessions, construction management sessions, safety workshops and special projects such as the VIP Forum. The education tracks included mechanical/technical training sessions with Expo partner Public Equipment Managers Association (PEMA), as well as an industry trade show, complimentary to all Expo attendees and invited customers.

More than 4,500 individual attendees have participated in the Expo since its inaugural event in 2005.

What Jim Lambert, CAE, executive vice president of the SRBE and Jim Neely, safety director for the Safety Expo, are surely proud of is the strong sponsorship of such construction firms and organizations as McCarthy, Roebbelen, CEA, Penta Building Group, Hertz Equipment Rentals, State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) and Rosendin, as well as the ongoing support of the 26 members of the Golden State Builders Exchanges.

One of the highlights every year is the release of the winners of the Safety Innovation Awards. Winners are selected by the Safety Advisory Council, which consists of Michael Alavarez, regional manager at Cal/OSHA; Nick Cloud, regional safety director at McCarthy Building Cos.; Steve Heller, loss control manager at the SCIF; Steve Hooper, safety manager at Unger Construction Co.; Rich Howell, safety manager at Rosendin Electric; Dana Lahargoue, corporate safety director at Roebbelen Contracting; Jim Lambert of the SRBE; Jim Neely of the expo; Gena Roberts, corporate safety and health manager at HMH Builders; and Bud Shope, principal/general superintendent at Ascent Builders.

The goal of the awards is to find procedures, ideas and specific products that improve safety and safe practices.

This year’s best-in-show submissions include the Raptor R1000 from AES Raptor/CH Bull Co. (a four-wheeled mobile workstation); the SKYNET, also from AES Raptor/CH Bull (safety netting for work on skylights); Ladder Safety Guard from CH Bull (a guard that restricts access to the top step and the cap); Dynaflex Anchor Point by Guardian Fall Protection and XSPlatforms (rooftop horizontal life-line system); Cooling Station from Heat Relief Solutions (mobile shade facility); Back Connections from the State Compensation Insurance Fund (a DVD with risk analysis tools, training tools, cost benefits, “toolbox talks,” safety meeting videos and fill-able forms); Floor Hole Protection from Sundt Construction (a lock-out tag system); Tuff Step from Tuff Built Product (aluminum stairs); and the Safety Sweep Program from Western Water Constructors (audit protocol for subs).

The overall winner was the 360 Masonry Chop Saw by JackVac, a compact 14-in model with an integrated dust collection vacuum system. JackVac, based in Morreno Valley, says the unit weighs only 65 lbs and is ideal for moving around a job site and cutting indoors or out. The patent pending Quick Spin filter will last over a year, no replacing filters and downtime for cleaning.

The chop saw was also recently honored with a World of Concrete Most Innovative Product award in the masonry tools and equipment category.

The VIP Forum for 2010 stressed construction management techniques with the topic, “You Can’t Plan for a Crisis While You’re Having One,” presented by Marv Rockford and Steve Gray, principals with Denver-based Rockford Gray, which specializes in crisis management.

Rockford and Gray say that good crisis management doesn’t happen by accident, it takes a solid plan, meaningful training and a culture that values the safety of people above all else. And even with all of that in place, things can go very wrong when something bad happens.

The principals also say that in this age of the 24-hour news cycle, a crisis at a workplace, no matter how...