Quality Elevator is a proud signatory company. Jim Snider (VP, Quality Elevator) recently sat down with ElevatorInfo to talk about his company’s journey and what makes his workforce one of the best in the industry.

Jim came from the field and understands what it takes to become a talented elevator technician. During the interview, Jim underscores the importance of “going above and beyond” – explaining that a robust investment in worker training is one of the smartest investments a company can make for workers and clients alike.

He went on to explain how the union provides the skilled, safe, talented workforce that makes Quality Elevator the trusted, successful company it is today. Each of Quality Elevator’s workers has successfully gone through the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP), and Jim explains that this background is part of what allows Quality Elevator to do a project and come out the other side without doing a change order.

Finishing a job at the same price at which the company came in is a great source of pride for Jim, and he articulates that this simply wouldn’t be possible without strategic investments in worker training. That said, Jim believes in NEIEP’s mission, as he’s witnessed firsthand how improving the knowledge and skills of elevator technicians not only benefits individual workers – but also benefits employers and the entire industry.

*If you interested in having your elevator company featured on ElevatorInfo, please contact us here

a lift for a vet

A Lift for a Vet, a nonprofit program originating in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has taken off across the country. A collaborative effort between the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) and IUEC Local 5 in Philadelphia, A Lift for a Vet has helped hundreds of veterans nationwide to date.

The program’s model is a fairly straightforward one, as the union and its members purchase forms of vertical transportation – from elevators and home lifts to stair lifts and wheelchair lifts – and install them in the residences of disabled veterans. What’s more, there is never a cost to the veterans. IUEC local unions help to generate funding for the program, as signatory companies – including, in recent months, Quality Elevator, Elevator Control Services (ELCON), and Schindler Elevator Company – donate equipment to the cause. Then, elevator union (IUEC) members donate their time, skills, and knowledge to ensure each installation is a success.

A disabled Air Force veteran hurt during his last year of service, Mike Walsh joined fellow IUEC Local 5-member Ed Loomis to launch A Lift for a Vet. Their vast experience in the elevator industry helped to provide a comprehensive understanding of what it would take for the program to provide meaningful assistance to our nation’s veterans.

“Our mission has always been to help disabled veterans any way we can,” said Walsh. “This is very personal. I know the name of nearly every veteran we’ve helped. This program has changed my life – it’s impacted the lives of every union member who has volunteered his or her time to help these heroes stay in their homes. At the end of the day, we’re helping these veterans maintain a sense of independence. Providing these lifts is our members’ way of giving back – it’s our way of expressing our appreciation for all these men and women have done for our nation.”

A Lift for a Vet allows elevator constructors to volunteer both their time and unique skillset to ensuring veterans have access to the vertical transportation systems best suited to their needs. The nonprofit relies solely on donations, including funds from an annual Local 5 golf outing, to fund its efforts. Furthermore, there are no operating costs – meaning every dollar donated goes directly to helping disabled veterans.

“Every veteran has a story. Helping these veterans is what motivates us to keep going forward with A Lift for a Vet. We never want to have to say ‘no,’” said Walsh. “In fact, we want the entire country to know about us. We want veterans from all eras to know that our program is here to help any way we can.”

The purchase, installation, and maintenance of any system supplied via A Lift for a Vet is free of charge to the veterans. All donations to A Lift for a Vet are tax deductible.

“Your generosity – no matter the amount – will help A Lift for a Vet’s goal of providing the best lives possible for disabled veterans,” said Walsh. “Former members of the Armed Forces of the United States deserve our utmost respect and eternal gratitude, but perhaps even more importantly, fulfilling the physical needs of these men and women must be our priority – that’s critical.”

Learn more about donating here: http://iuec5.org/lift_for_a_vet.aspx

Check out other stories about the work done by A Lift for a Vet on our blog, including recent projects in MA and DE.

Elevator construction worker

With Summer 2022 just around the corner and temperatures rising, it’s the perfect opportunity to review practices that workers can follow to help protect themselves from heat-related illness. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are common to all workers, and there is a need to be aware of the signs and prevention and treatment.

Check out more details on OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention campaign, best practices, signs to watch out for and a dangerous example from a real-life situation with an elevator constructor.

OSHA’s Campaign

OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention campaign, launched in 2011, educates employers and workers on the dangers of working in the heat. Through training sessions, outreach events, informational sessions, publications, social media messaging and media appearances, millions of workers and employers have learned how to protect workers from heat. Our safety message comes down to three key words: Water. Rest. Shade.

Dangers of Working in the Heat

Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in extreme heat or humid conditions. There are a range of heat illnesses, and they can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition.

Employer Responsibility to Protect Workers

Under OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazards. This includes protecting workers from extreme heat. An employer with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat illness prevention program.

  • Provide workers with water, rest and shade.
  • Allow new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize or build a tolerance for working in the heat.
  • Plan for emergencies and train workers on prevention.
  • Monitor workers for signs of illness.

Worker responsibility

  • Review the employers heat illness prevention policy
  • Watch out for fellow workers
  • Implement your employer’s safety plan of water, rest, shade

 

Millions of U.S. workers are exposed to heat in their workplaces. Although illness from exposure to heat is preventable, every year, thousands become sick from occupational heat exposure, and some cases are fatal. Most outdoor fatalities, 50% to 70%, occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments because the body needs to build a tolerance to the heat gradually over time. The process of building tolerance is called heat acclimatization. Lack of acclimatization represents a major risk factor for fatal outcomes.

Occupational risk factors for heat illness include heavy physical activity, warm or hot environmental conditions, lack of acclimatization, and wearing clothing that holds in body heat. (See also, personal risk factors, below.)

Hazardous heat exposure can occur indoors or outdoors and can occur during any season if the conditions are right, not only during heat waves.

Heat-Related Illnesses and First Aid

Several heat-related illnesses can affect workers. Some of the symptoms are non-specific. This means that when a worker is performing physical labor in a warm environment, any unusual symptom can be a sign of overheating.

Heat-Related Illness

Symptoms and Signs

Heat stroke
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Heavy sweating or hot, dry skin
  • Very high body temperature
  • Rapid heart rate
Heat exhaustion
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Thirst
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Elevated body temperature or fast heart rate
Heat cramps
  • Muscle spasms or pain
  • Usually in legs, arms, or trunk
Heat syncope
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
Heat rash
  • Clusters of red bumps on skin
  • Often appears on neck, upper chest, and skin folds
Rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown)
  • Muscle pain
  • Dark urine or reduced urine output
  • Weakness

 

Employers and workers should become familiar with the heat symptoms. When any of these symptoms is present, promptly provide first aid. Do not try to diagnose which illness is occurring. Diagnosis is often difficult because symptoms of multiple heat-related illnesses can occur together. Time is of the essence. These conditions can worsen quickly and result in fatalities.

When in doubt, cool the worker and call 911.

See below for further first aid recommendations.

First Aid

OSHA’s Medical Services and First Aid standard and the Medical Service and First Aid in Construction require the ready availability of first aid personnel and equipment. First aid for heat-related illness involves the following principles:

  • Take the affected worker to a cooler area (e.g., shade or air conditioning).
  • Cool the worker immediately. Use active cooling techniques such as:
    • Immerse the worker in cold water or an ice bath. Create the ice bath by placing all of the available ice into a large container with water, standard practice in sports. This is the best method to cool workers rapidly in an emergency.
    • Remove outer layers of clothing, especially heavy protective clothing.
    • Place ice or cold wet towels on the head, neck, trunk, armpits, and groin.
    • Use fans to circulate air around the worker.
  • Never leave a worker with heat-related illness alone. The illness can rapidly become worse. Stay with the worker.
  • When in doubt, call 911!
  • Confusion, slurred speech, or unconsciousness are signs of heat stroke. When these types of symptoms are present, call 911 immediately and cool the worker with ice or cold water until help arrives.
  • Workers who are new to working in warm environments are at increased risk of heat-related illness. See the Protecting New Workers section of this website for more details. Especially during a worker’s first few days, absolutely all symptoms should be taken seriously. Workers who develop symptoms should be allowed to stop working. They should receive evaluation for possible heat-related illness.

Prevention

Heat-related illnesses can be prevented. Prevention requires employers and workers to recognize heat hazards. Management should commit to:

You can learn more about these preventive measures by exploring the links on this page.

Standards

Employer Responsibilities (OSHA Standard: General Duty Clause)

Under the General Duty Clause,

Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that “is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” The courts have interpreted OSHA’s general duty clause to mean that an employer has a legal obligation to provide a workplace free of conditions or activities that either the employer or industry recognizes as hazardous and that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees when there is a feasible method to abate the hazard. This includes heat-related hazards that are likely to cause death or serious bodily harm.

(2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.

Remember Section 5(b) is your responsibility to comply with occupational safety and health standards.

(b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.

The following is an actual example of an Elevator Constructor suffering from the heat illness and his close call.

“I had been running weekend OT calls on a hot Atlanta Saturday and was somewhere around hour 12 for the day. An entrapment call for a parking deck elevator came in after the Braves game and passengers were out when I arrived. The Fire Department had taken passengers out of the emergency escape hatch, and it was left open.

I positioned the car at the top landing so I could access the car top and work on the open escape hatch. I was having difficulty getting the switch closed and needed a tool from my bag at the front of the car. When I stood up to get my tool bag, I immediately became lightheaded and dizzy and lost my balance falling against the car top handrail. This was a duplex hoistway and I fell into the middle of the hoistway or the open car side. If it had not been for the car top handrail, I’m certain I would have gone over the side.

I attribute this incident to not staying hydrated and stopping to eat when I was hungry. Also, self-awareness of where I was on top of the car when standing up.”

All workers should be aware of the dangers of Heat Illness (as it can affect anyone without warning) and remember employer’s safety plan of Water, rest, shade.

The elevator industry continues its efforts to create a great place for transitioning military veterans in the trade. The goal is to provide veterans with opportunities to find fulfilling careers with family-sustaining wages and excellent health and retirement benefits.

In this video the General President of International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Frank Christensen and Colonel David Sutherland of Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services discuss the importance of connecting veterans transitioning to the civilian workforce to meaningful employment opportunities.

The discussion touches upon the importance of education and training in the elevator industry as part of the solution to ensuring our nation’s heroes find careers they enjoy and are proud of upon reentering the civilian workforce.

 

The Qualified Elevator Inspector Training Fund (QEITF) recently announced that its QEI Certification Program has returned to Columbia, Maryland for in-person training and certification. QEITF’s skilled instructors from across the country are thrilled to welcome students back to the classroom for their initial certification training. In addition, QEITF continues to offer continuing education (CE) classes virtually for all inspectors.

In the elevator industry, QEITF is widely recognized for its methodology and meaningful guidance in preparing Elevator Inspectors. Its nation-wide QEI program has prepared many inspectors practicing throughout the US.

If you are interested in becoming certified as a Qualified Elevator Inspector, check out the Fund’s website at www.qeitf.org, or give them a call at 1-888-511-3113.