Training News

Craft Committees Identify Safety and Health r2p Priorities

Journal: Issue 2 - 2011

BAC, ICE and IMI are taking a lead role, in coordination with CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training, to translate safety and health research findings into practical solutions on construction sites through the establishment of the Masonry Industry Research to Practice [r2p] Partnership. In addition to using this Partnership to advance their shared goals of safe jobsites, BAC, ICE and IMI are working with CPWR to develop a model r2p partnership structure and process that other segments of the construction industry will be able to replicate.

Brick & Block Committee

Committee Co-Chairs – ICE President Fred Kinateder, left, and IU President James Boland – facilitated the Committee’s discussion on safety practices, existing research, and potential areas for further study. Members also heard from CalStar Products, which produces a lightweight, environmentally friendly fly ash block, and IMI, on recently issued recommendations for the safe use of mast scaffolding (for further details, see article, page 7).

“The Partnership’s mission is to bridge the gap between the research community’s findings on how to make job sites safer and what is actually happening in the field,” says IU Executive Vice President Gerard Scarano, who oversees safety and health issues for the IU Executive Board. “BAC’s participation moves us closer to our ultimate goal of ensuring that members are not injured, made sick, or worse killed on the job.”

Stone Committee

IU Secretary-Treasurer Henry Kramer, left, chaired the Stone Committee meeting. In addition to its in-depth safety discussion, the Committee welcomed Chuck Muehlbauer, Technical Director of the Marble Institute of America, who reported on “Quality Control in Adhesive and Anchored Systems.”

During its initial meetings, the Partnership developed a comprehensive list of work-related hazards potentially facing masonry workers and research-based solutions to address each one.

At meetings earlier this year, BAC’s six Craft Committees each reviewed the list for their specific crafts, and identified those hazards of greatest concern, as well as related solutions with the most potential to be accepted and used on job sites to improve worker safety.

Cement Committee

IU Executive Vice President Gerard Scarano,right, chaired the Cement Committee’s full agenda, which included segments on safety, a report on strategies for weathering the construction downturn from the Portland Cement Association, and recent trends in the repair and restoration of historic concrete.


Plaster Committee

Mike Pilolla, left, President of J.P. Phillips, Inc., and IU Executive Vice President Ken Lambert chaired the Committee’s examination of plaster-specific safety concerns. The Committee also addressed quality workmanship issues, and heard from a Rapid Set® products representative.


Restoration & Retrofit Committee

IU Executive Vice President Tim Driscoll, above right, joined Co-Chairs Tim Zito, center, President of Structural Maintenance Systems, and PCC Craft Director John Wurtenberg at the meeting of the reconstituted Restoration and Retrofit Committee. Last October, in response to the growth and expanding scope of the restoration and retrofit markets – including trends that favor firms that are proficient in the installation of wall systems, not just materials, that allow for the passage of energy, air, moisture and vapor in the wall cavity – IU President James Boland revamped the existing PCC Craft Committee to focus more effectively on these changes, and to help build market share for Union contractors in this segment. In that same vein, IMI outlined to Committee members the many ways in which restoration, retrofit and sustainability intersect. Architect Ed Gerns provided a thorough look at the history of city-enacted façade inspection regulations and their importance to the industry and the preservation of our built environment. And last but not least, the Committee’s detailed safety discussion provided important feedback to the Masonry Partnership with respect to PCC craftworkers and contractors.


Tile/Marble/Terrazzo Committee

In addition to its comprehensive safety discussion in connection with the work of the Masonry Partnership, the TMT Committee reviewed recent changes to ANSI Tile Installation Standards. In photo at left are Committee Co-Chairs John Trendell, left, of Trendell Consulting, and IU TMT Craft Director John Mason.

Based on the feedback provided by the Craft Committees, the following five safety and health areas surfaced as priorities for the Partnership’s work, and two new issues were identified as needing additional research or materials to raise awareness:

R2p Priority areas to disseminate and promote solutions:

Two new areas that require additional research:

  1. Use of 7 1/4” circular masonry saws
  2. Radiation exposures from working near cell towers

Through the Partnership, efforts to increase member and contractor awareness of tools and work practices available to reduce workers’ risk of injury or illness has already begun on a number of these issues. For example, IMI’s new Toolkit ( contains safety toolbox talks on several of these topics and more are planned. These brief, one-page toolbox talks are intended to be used by contractors on jobsites to raise awareness of potential hazards and reinforce safe work practices. They also serve as a quick reference and reminder for BAC members interested in learning more about a particular safety and health issue. The Partnership is also working on ways to prevent back and shoulder injuries by promoting solutions that enable workers to perform their work at an optimal height. [See article].

“The Masonry r2p Partnership’s focus on safer jobsites and work practices has the potential to benefit all involved and create a winning situation for BAC members and contractors,” says Scarano.

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