I recently picked up the spring 2018 issue of Concrete Pumping magazine as it is a subject in which I have always been interested. I read a short essay by Mr. Gary Brown, the President of the American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA), in which he addressed the responsibilities and authority of concrete pump operators to work safely on the job. In a subsequent phone conversation, we discussed the universal message inherent in his editorial. With just the swapping of “pump operator” with the name of your particular trade, the message becomes clearly universal. With his permission, I am carrying his important message to all the building trades. Here is his article:


 I’ve been in the concrete pumping industry for nearly 40 years. During that time, I’ve had more than my fair share of mishaps. Power line contact: one week in the hospital. Compressed air accident: seven hours of surgery to attach tow of three fingers. Rolled a concrete pump on the way to the job and was ejected from the cab. Why would I introduce myself by sharing just a few of the serious accident I have been involved in? They happened before 1987. That year, the ACPA decided to make safety its number one mission. The Safety Committee developed many types of training videos and other materials to advance the safe operation of concrete pumps. Once you acquire this knowledge, you could test and become safety-certified. There have been many improvements to the training, helping operators learn the safe way to drive, set up and operate concrete pumps. Unfortunately, we still see preventable accidents. What else can we do to improve? The Certification Committee is continuing to advance the training and testing to ensure you have current knowledge of safe practices. As operators, you can take this training and make this choice: “If it’s not safe, I won’t do it.”

Unfortunately, our industry has not completely accepted a safety culture. We need to make the tough decisions. When you arrive on the job, the hazards you face could cause an accident. If unsafe, offer options or refuse to do the job. Here is my challenge to everyone in our industry: How can you make a difference and raise the safety standards? We need employers to empower operators to make the decision whether they can do the job safely. And we need operators to make that decision: If the job can’t be done safely with the equipment they have, then don’t. On a positive note, we have seen a significant increase in operator certification training. Since the first of this year, we have trained and certified more than 900 operators, with several more training events on the schedule. I will end on this: I have the courage, authority and responsibility to make it safe and do it right. Do you? Email: garybrown@rlmccoy.net