IMI MSHA Training Gives Members “More Tools in Their Tool Belt”
Journal: Issue 3 - 2009
BAC members are increasing their job prospects by taking advantage of mine safety training at the BAC/IMI John J. Flynn International Training Center, where IMI also certifies instructors to teach the program. The training is being driven by renewed mine safety enforcement and an expected boost in work at cement plants as infrastructure funding starts flowing.
Cement plants require scores of refractory bricklayers to repair or reline the brick kilns or build new plant facilities. Anyone who sets foot on mine property is subject to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) rules.
“When the infrastructure work begins in earnest, we want to be a step ahead when the calls come in,” says Local 8 Illinois Springfield/Jacksonville Chapter Apprentice Coordinator Vaughn Renfro, who took the MSHA trainer course this June. “Members can’t get in the gates without it.”
Certifying trainers “is an additional opportunity for our members,” says Local 1 Maryland/Virginia/DC Field Representative Scott Garvin. “Hopefully we’ll be able to get a small army working when they are needed.”
The training includes a field trip to a working mine to meet MSHA’s requirement to provide an “introduction to the work environment.” MSHA also requires instructors to deliver a practice class, which exposes them to different teaching techniques.
Many mine contractors increasingly demand refractory training, which IMI also provides. “Bricklayers need resumes these days,” notes Local 9 Michigan Apprentice Safety Instructor Matt Cecora, who is now certified to teach new miner training. He and other trainers note that having both types of training helps members obtain work in other markets when local work slows down. “Anything we can do to give them more tools in their tool belt is good,” says Cecora.
The prospect of one large job at a West Virginia cement plant had BAC members from all corners of the country coming to the Flynn Center for MSHA training, along with several dozen instructors getting certified to deliver the training.