By Terri Perrin / Published October 2015
Whether you are the owner of a large company with a team of 100 or a family-run operation with just a few employees, the thought of conducting safety training can be daunting. We all know that establishing safety procedures is important, but where do you start?
According to John Nearon, Director of Operations of Indianapolis-based Exterior Wood Restoration, there is no need to feel overwhelmed about creating a safety-centric workplace. He firmly believes that becoming an active member of one (or more) of several industry-specific trade associations is the best place to start. As the volunteer president of the Power Washers of North America (PWNA), Nearon has experienced first-hand the amazing benefits of belonging. Memberships, he says, can help both individuals and companies develop safety programs to protect employees, equipment, and the environment.
“Trade associations have spent years, sometimes decades, developing training and certification programs in which safety is always a major component,” explains Nearon. “There is no need to start from scratch and reinvent the wheel. Association membership offers the benefits of developing mentoring relationships through networking opportunities and access to training programs, ‘how to’ videos, manuals, and protocols.
“The PWNA offers operational safety training in various areas,” adds Nearon. “This includes Chemical Safety, Power Washing Funda-mentals, Ladders and Scaffolding, Safety Harness Training, OSHA Lift Operation Certification, and more. The safety curriculum is typically taught at our annual conventions and select regional training roundtables throughout the calendar year. Fees for these courses vary by duration and scope. Many of the safety training topics we cover are embedded in the appropriate classes for which a certification in that discipline is sought. For example, the Roof Cleaning Curriculum includes ladder and harness instruction.
“Operational Safety is an ongoing concern at the PWNA; for our members, their employees, and the general public that we serve,” concludes Nearon. “In addition to our training and certification classes, we enjoy the network support of industry leading suppliers and manufacturers, many of whom participate in our training events and offer safety training programs to our members as well.”
Stefan Bright, Safety Director for the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA), states that their safety training programs have been developed in alliance with the Occu-pational Health and Safety Association (OSHA). It has been statistically proven that the safety training efforts of the IWCA have reduced the number of industry-related accidents and fatalities over the last 20 years by nearly 40 percent.
“The theory behind our training programs is to enable students to study and retain the knowledge, which then further enables their employer to evaluate each employee’s job performance,” reports Bright. “It helps to maintain the highest level of safety. Advanced knowledge and education, combined with skill set evaluations, has proven to be the best method for reducing accidents on the job. Getting workers to think safely makes them act safely.”
IWCA offers several tiers of state-of-the-art safety training programs at their annual convention and several times throughout the year, in major cities and smaller centers across the nation. IWCA’s Window Cleaner Safety Program is a full day of training. It consists of five hours classroom time and another five hours of hands-on teaching, using the equipment and techniques employed by professional window cleaners across the nation and beyond.
Education For The Next Generation
A Benefit of Belonging to CETA
The Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA) Education Foundation is a separately incorporated charitable organization for the purposes of scholarship awards to students of CETA members, their employee’s and families, member education and industry research. Since its inception in 1996, the CETA Education Foundation has given CETA members an opportunity to participate in encouraging and preparing the next generation to join our business and our industry.
It is the intention of the CETA Education Foundation to award scholarships to qualified applicants in a fair and impartial manner. The Education Foundation awards an equal number of scholarships for each CETA eligible membership class: manufacturers, supplier, and distributors, based on the ranking of the applicants supplied by an independent, accredited university. In the absence of a qualifying applicant in a membership class, the Board of Trustees will award a scholarship “at large” to the remaining applicant with the highest ranking, regardless of the membership class. In an effort to maximize scholarship distribution among the CETA membership, the Board of Trustees may, at their discretion, award the “at large” scholarship to the remaining highest ranking applicant in a manner that restricts awards to one per company per scholarship year.
Only the top scoring applicants, based on these rules, will be awarded a scholarship. In the case of a tie, the scholarship award will be shared equally among the tied applicants. “Our goal is to benefit future leaders in our industry and increase professionalism at every level,” says CETA board member Roy Chappell, of Chappell Supply in Oklahoma City, OK.
Learn more at www.ceta.org/education-foundation.
Their Safety Certification Program is designed to ensure that you and your employees work more effectively and safely by training them in accordance with the IWCA/ANSI I-14 Safety Standard. This self-study course has several modules and three online tests. After successfully passing all three online exams with a score of 90 percent or higher, candidates will be qualified to take the final exam.
“We cover about a dozen different types of equipment used to access windows for cleaning,” concludes Bright. “There are also several sidebar training modules, such as dealing with harness shock trauma, self and partner rescue, performing a pre-work site assessment and work plan, and a few others. Each module can be separated out and taught individually. IWCA is currently developing a program that enables Web-based training.”
Safety training is also an integral part of the WaterJet Technology Association–Industrial and Municipal Cleaning Association (WJTA-IMCA). They have published recommended practices that have been adopted across North America and around the world and also provide safety training at their annual expos.
“The timing of this article is perfect because we have some exciting new developments happening,” declared WJTA-IMCA’s Manager, Peter Wright. “In the past, our main activities have focused on publishing recommended practices and safety videos. We are currently working on a new training program for entry-level hydro blasting technicians working in industrial plants. We plan to introduce it at our annual Conference and Expo in New Orleans November 2–4. The ability to have an actual training program, that teaches leading-edge best practices, and is approved by the association, is a great opportunity for contractors, facility owners, and us. There will be classroom and hands-on training offered.
“WJTA-IMCA is working with the Houston Area Safety Council (HASC) to create this new WJTA-IMCA-approved training program,” adds Wright. “HASC conducts training both at a new facility they have recently constructed at their headquarters in Pasadena (Houston), Texas, and in a mobile classroom unit that can travel to locations around the country. The HASC mobile training classroom will be on display at the 2015 WJTA-IMCA Conference & Expo in the Exhibit Hall, and there will be a seminar explaining the new program.”
One of the greatest advantages of the new certification program is that if technicians are moving between companies, they do not need to be retrained. It is the individual, not the company that is certified. Additional modules will be added in the near future, for more advanced water blasting training, the use of robotics and automated equipment, to name a few.
If you want to keep on top of what’s happening with safety training at WJTA-IMCA, Wright encourages you to connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as regularly visit their website. Members have access to the association’s full communications and knowledge base. Non-members can also sign up at wjta.org to receive their e-mail broadcasts, to stay informed about the association’s activities.
Regardless of which organization(s) fit best with your businesses’ main focus, the cost of annual membership will be a sound investment in your company’s safety success. There truly are great benefits to belonging and strength in numbers.