Safe and Sound
November 4, 2005
Last year George Armstrong learned that one of the co-op students in his civil engineering technology program at Cincinnati State Technical and Com-munity College climbed almost 50 feet up on a steel beam while working on a building project-and was without fall protection. Armstrong knew immediately that a mandatory safety policy was needed in the program. "[A student] climbing up on steel really makes you think," Armstrong says, adding that a required safety course, designed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administra-tion (OSHA), is now required for co-op students with a major in surveying beginning this month. Students will undergo the OSHA 10-Hour Construction Industry Outreach-Trainer Presentation following their first 10 weeks in the program; this will coincide with the first two days of the students' first co-op program. Since each co-op student ultimately banks 200 hours, and many will work in roadways and other at-risk locations, the new requirement is a much needed addition to the program, Armstrong says. "We've talked about safety in the past, but we've never done anything as formal as this. This is the right thing to do." Students will learn about personal safety, confined space entry, climbing and harnessing, as well as some of the basics like responding appropriately to the alarms from bulldozers. "I know of two surveyors [who] have died by trucks driving over them," Armstrong says. And in an environment where bustling activity overpowers the senses, learning-or re-learning-to have a heightened awareness for safety precautions is never without merit. Lessons on safety cover numerous categories, and all are valuable. But while some institutions have installed safety measures in their programs, numerous schools, firms and associations have fallen behind in their task to protect students, employees and members. For this, a high price may be paid.