Habitat for Humanity International is the sixth largest home builder in the U.S. and uses thousands of volunteers each year to build homes. Over the past 10 years, HFHI has paid out more than $24 million to settle claims for volunteers and staff that have been seriously injured or killed on affiliate construction sites. HFHI is very concerned about the number of injuries and deaths on the construction site and wants to safeguard their volunteers and staff. While every age group is at risk, a large percentage of volunteers are over 60 years old. The statistics for accidents more than doubles for the 60-65 and older group due to diminished balance, reflexes, sight and hearing; plus often there is an increase in medications.
To address this problem, this past year HFHI construction technologies and the RV Care-A-Vanner program have worked together to create a safety training initiative. As part of this safety initiative, HFHI recruited and trained 23 Care-A-Vanner volunteers as Competent Person safety trainers.
In December 2013, these 23 Care-A-Vanners, traveled to Americus, Georgia, at their own expense and received job site safety training on stairways, ladders, scaffolds, electrical and fall protection. This year, as these Care-A-Vanners travel around the country building, they will also provide two days of safety training to affiliates.
The two-day training will be focused on providing in-depth safety training for individuals designated as the affiliate’s “Competent Person” as defined by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
However, in general a Competent Person has:
- Years of experience in the trade area, which could include but is not limited to: fall protection, scaffolding, general electrical, stairways, ladders, and trenching/excavation
- Knowledge of rules & regulations per subject area
- Documentation of knowledge level
- Full authority to stop work & make safety corrections
- Knowledge of safety equipment installations & limitations
Habitat’s ultimate goal is to have a person trained on safety at every build site and zero accidents. If your affiliate does not currently have a Competent Person or are interested in having additional individuals attend Competent Person training, please contact:
CSSMI / CEP
U.S. Safety Specialist
Habitat for Humanity International
270 Peachtree St. NW, Suite 1300, Atlanta, GA. 30303
office phone: (404) 420-6730 – cell (404) 859-7146 – fax: (404) 420-6820
DHartle@habitat.org • habitat.org | What will you build?
Excerpted with permission from “Habitat for Humanity RV Care-A-Vanner Update” – Safety Corner, Frank Peccia, Care-A-Vanner Safety Coordinator, February 17, 2014.