“I’m a Priority to My Company and My Union,” says TK Elevator Mechanic and IUEC Local 2 Member

The sound of a passing subway car on a set of elevated tracks and the distinct smell of Chicago-style pizza were in the air when ElevatorInfo arrived outside of the brand new, glass-walled structure where @IUEC Local 2 member and @TKElevator mechanic Mike Durkin oversees a variety of conveyance equipment that includes 31 elevators, eight car banks, and two escalators.

We met up with Mike in Chicago to speak with him about his strategies for keeping elevator constructors safe on the job. When we entered the lobby, it was clear right away that this was a place where a lot of activity happens. From customers going in and out of the bakery in the lobby to business clients and building tenants traveling up and down the two big escalators at the front entrance, the building Mike is responsible for was bustling with activity all day long.

One of the first things we noticed was how clean the machine rooms we visited were. The work areas were spotless, with no visible debris, dust, or dirt; no tools out of place, just pristine rooms housing the millions of dollars’ worth of equipment that Mike and the TK team used their expertise to keep running smoothly. “We like to keep our machine rooms clean because a clean workspace is a safe workspace,” he said.

This is especially important in a building with as much activity as his. In a business-centered environment, professionalism and keeping passengers safe is an absolute must. “If the people in this building never think about getting stuck in an elevator, never worry about getting their hand pinched on a handrail or their shoe caught in a comb plate, that means I did my job well,” Mike remarked.

Because he is a graduate of the International Union of Elevator Constructors’ National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP), Mike received the most comprehensive and safety-focused training the industry has to offer. Beginning during the probationary apprenticeship period, NEIEP apprentices are required to complete courses and certifications that will keep them safe through the duration of their careers including OSHA 10, SAIA Competent Person Training for Framed and Suspended Scaffolds, American Heart Association Heartsaver® First Aid CPR AED, in addition to the trade-specific safety training embedded in the general apprenticeship curriculum. As a mechanic, Mike’s education benefits give him the opportunity to enroll in additional safety training through NEIEP such as Arc Flash Safety and Awareness, Confined Space Awareness, and OSHA 30 – all with no out-of-pocket expense.

Working on jobsites that pose as many risks as those in the construction and conveyance world, it is vital for mechanics and apprentices to have the ability to accurately assess potential dangers and know what kind of safety precautions to put in place to mitigate those hazards.
Mike spoke about the importance of having regular toolbox talks each week in addition to the monthly 2-hour continuing education safety standdown his company sponsors. “Every day when I come to the job, I know that I am going to be safe and I know that I’ll be effectively able to manage (to maintain) this building because of the training I received years ago through NEIEP and what I continue to receive on a weekly and monthly basis through TK Elevator,” he said.

Watch the video to learn more about how Mike puts his training into practice to keep himself, his coworkers, and riding public safe.

View NEIEP’s complete course catalog with descriptions of the industry’s top-quality safety and technical training at https://www.neiep.org/Catalog/