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Safety Tech Rocks!

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the leading causes of death among construction workers, what they call construction’s “fatal four,” are falls, electrocutions, being struck by an object and being caught in or between objects. Lack of or improper fall protection is OSHA’s number-one citation, so it only makes sense that falls are the number-one cause of death in construction. OSHA’s job will probably never be done, unfortunately, because so many continue to ignore or bend the rules.


That’s one of the reasons we try to publish at least one detailed article on safety in this magazine each year. And this is it. I have to admit that I learned a few things from the jobsite safety story we have on page 32. Like geofencing—that was a new one to me. I really appreciate seeing how new ideas and technologies are being used for safety in construction.


In the article we asked AWCI member contractors and safety directors two questions: What is the most significant jobsite safety innovation (tool) you’ve encountered in the last year?, and What is the most significant safety improvement action you’ve taken in the last year? Wearable devices, apps and software for safety inspections, requirements that all staff take OSHA courses and the buddy system are among some of the suggestions for improved safety. You’ll have to read the article for yourself to learn how other ideas are being implemented.


The technology we have available today is amazing. From computers to cell phones to cloud storage, it’s an exciting time to be alive. Don’t you agree? I’m even more excited about what’s in store for our future. We are still learning about building information modeling, and virtual/augmented realities are not far behind. In fact, virtual reality and augmented reality are the subjects of a professional development session being delivered to attendees at AWCI’s Convention next month in Las Vegas. The session delves into how these technologies can influence design and construction. To me, it seems “beyond BIM.” That’s interesting stuff, if you ask me.


You’ll find other “interesting stuff” in the exhibitor listings that begin on page 46. Yes, it’s that time of year again, time for AWCI’s Convention & Intex Expo. This year it is in Las Vegas March 26–30 at the Mandalay Bay Resort. I’ve always loved going to Las Vegas, and so do many others in the ceiling and wall industry; Las Vegas often ranks as one of our best-attended convention host cities. This year is proving to be no different as the latest numbers are showing more sold booths than last year at the same time, and more full registrations purchased than the last four years at this time.


I have talked in the past about how meeting and talking with the readers of this magazine is one of the primary reasons I enjoy this AWCI event so much, and this year will be no exception. One AWCI contractor member that always does good work (you’ve seen them featured on these pages in the past) is Precision Walls, Inc. in North Carolina. Brian Allen, Precision’s president, is a member of AWCI’s board of directors, and his company has been an active participant in AWCI’s Awards Program for several years. PWI recently completed the drywall work on the type of project you love to hate: healthcare. The job, for Rex Heart and Vascular at the University of North Carolina, was a new building—attached to an existing hospital building still occupied an in use. Read the article on page 40 to find out what PWI did to become a critical player in achieving success on this job.



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