A widely publicized article last week highlighted that the construction industry in North Carolina has had the highest number of deaths in the state for most of the past 14 years – with nearly 60 construction workers involved in fatalities between January 2021 and September 2023.
The article, published by Carolina Public Press on January 29, 2024, also said that more NC Department of Labor/Occupational Safety and Health inspectors are needed along with “stronger consequences from the government over the years for worker fatalities.” The lengthy article, which advocated “leveling harsher penalties,” at the bottom did offer a short “construction industry perspective” from Carolinas AGC:
Jacob Garmon is the director of Safety, Suppliers & Sponsorships for the Carolinas AGC, or (Associated General Contractors). Construction by nature can be a dangerous industry, but that’s why there are numerous safety regulations, Garmon said. The association members are “proactive” about safety, he said.
The association has an alliance agreement with the North and South Carolina labor departments, meaning the AGC’s safety committee and other members and staff meet with government representatives regularly to discuss new regulations or trends in incidents.
“It’s kind of an open forum between the contractor and the Departments of Labor, to hear those issues, to work through them, get ahead of problems and hopefully prevent accidents before they even happen,” he said.
What the article did not include was the fact, as Jacob emphasized to the reporter, that it unfortunately is inevitable that there will be an increase in construction workplace accidents and fatalities because of the booming growth and construction in North and South Carolina.
Still, one fatality in the construction industry is one too many.
And safety is the top priority for Carolinas AGC in the construction industry in both Carolinas.
“As Chair of the Carolinas AGC Safety Committee, our number-one goal is to promote safety, avoid accidents and fatalities, and have all construction workers go home to their families everyday safe and sound,” said Roger Richards, Safety Director for Sanders Utility Construction Co. “Nothing is more important than keeping our people safe. Nothing.”
To that end, CAGC is proudly committed to helping our members build the Carolinas as safely as possible, including such wide-ranging initiatives as:
- CAGC has an active member-driven Safety Committee with participation from both North Carolina DOL and South Carolina OSHA. They hold quarterly meetings to discuss safety issues and regulations while also providing an open forum for safety discussion and best practices.
- Dozens of Safety courses offered to our members – including opportunities like Spanish Scaffold Competent Person Safety Training Course. Upcoming safety classes and additional opportunities can be found on the Safety Training Page.
- Safety initiatives that we are supporting in the state legislatures in Raleigh and Columbia include work zone safety training for individuals getting a driver’s license or caught speeding excessively in a highway work zone.
- Several award programs are available through Carolinas AGC and AGC of America. These programs allow our members to promote their safety programs and efforts and be recognized for their safety achievements. For more information on our awards programs, visit the safety awards webpage.
- Carolinas AGC has partnered with YouTurn Health to provide a mental health service for our members and their employees along with the employees families.
- Carolinas AGC is proud to host our members at our annual HR & Safety Conference in March featuring sessions geared toward ensuring workforce safety, best practices and pertinent topics while networking and sharing information with the industry's top construction safety professionals.
- CAGC is proud to hold alliances with both NC OSHA and SC OSHA to ensure collaboration between our members and both agencies.
- Berry Jenkins Memorial Work Zone/Workplace Safety Fund to provide financial assistance to the families of construction workers who are killed in a construction work zone or job site accident in NC and SC.
- Dave Simpson, CAGC President & CEO, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Jacob Garmon, Director of Safety, Suppliers & Sponsorships, can be reached at email@example.com.