Indiana Local 305 Earns Major Safety Award
Members of Fort Wayne, Ind., Local 305 will receive the construction industry’s most prestigious safety accolade, the Zero Injury Safety Award, for working more than half a million hours without an injury.
Local 305, General Motors Co. and Conti Electric comprise the winning tripartite recognized by the National Maintenance Agreements Policy Committee, the labor-management organization that issues the awards.
“This is a big deal,” said Business Manager Darrell Sade. “I don’t like to brag, but this is a big one. And the guys deserve it.”
Over 700 members, some of whom were travelers, earned the honor for work on a facility upgrade at GM’s Fort Wayne assembly plant in Roanoke, Ind. It’s considered to be the No. 1 truck plant in the country, Sade said. They worked on power distribution, equipment hookup, telecommunications, security and lighting for the entire plant. They also worked on a new body shop and a new paint shop.
“They did everything from A to Z,” Sade said. “From demolition to installation, it was all about safety.”
A major test for the crew came during an eight-week shutdown in August of 2017 that was compressed to only five. For the last week and a half, members worked 16-hour days for 12 days straight.
“It was tough,” Sade said. “It was a massive amount of work for the time they had. It’s never been attempted before.”
Each crew had a plan and solid procedures in place, and each day started with a very thorough safety talk, Sade said. Another part of the success came from the Code of Excellence.
“The Code was an integral part of the performance,” said Sixth District International Representative Mike Daugherty. “From the owner, the contractor and, most of all, the local, members heard about the importance of safety. It was the custom.”
The National Maintenance Agreement, a collective-bargaining agreement used by the industry with the building trades, stresses safety much like the Code does, so it was a natural marriage, Daugherty said. “They work in concert.”
The ultimate reward is coming home safe every day, Daugherty and Sade said, but members are happy about earning the award as a recognition of their efforts.
“To work as hard as they did, under the pressure they did, and not have any reportable accidents, is a huge achievement, and one to be proud of,” Sade said.
A record like this isn’t very common, Daugherty said, especially considering the schedule. It’s the first time Local 305 has earned a ZISA award, and possibly the first for a local in Indiana, he said.
“It’s a testament to their professionalism,” Daugherty said. “These guys are five-star, blue-chip members.”
The award was given at a gala event on Nov. 1 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
Fort Wayne, Ind., Local 305 members put in more than 500,000 hours without a major injury on a facility upgrade, earning them the Zero Injury Safety Award from the National Maintenance Agreements Policy Committee.