Mobile Classroom to Make First Stop in Buncombe County
ARDEN—The N.C. Department of Labor will step up its efforts to reduce workplace deaths and injuries with the introduction in Arden Wednesday of the department’s new mobile training classroom.
The vehicle—called Labor One—offers English and Spanish safety and health training customized to suit the needs of employers.
“Labor One can travel to any job site in the state and provide customized training,” said state Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry. “We thought we’d use it for the first time in the Asheville area to show our commitment to work safety in western North Carolina.”
The Windsor/Aughtry community of Stone Crest will be Labor One’s first stop in North Carolina. Labor officials will train about 40 construction workers on safe trenching techniques, fall protection, scaffolding, hazard communication and electrical safety.
Labor One will focus on high-risk industries, with an emphasis on the construction industry. The training vehicle is the only one of its kind in the country.
“It’s an innovative approach to training that eliminates the need for employees to leave the job site,” Berry said. “They can get the training they need to be safe on the job and be back to work in a few hours.”
Although construction workers last year represented only 7.3 percent of the 3.2 million private sector workers in the state, the construction industry accounted for 27 of the 80 total work fatalities investigated by the labor department, or 34 percent. Western North Carolina counties accounted for 12 of the 80 deaths in the state. Of the 12, half were in the construction industry.
The labor department first purchased a used Winnebago in 2001 and introduced the country’s first mobile safety and health training vehicle. The idea came from a labor department task force that studied construction fatalities in the state. The old vehicle was replaced this year with a new vehicle equipped to train about 15 people in English or Spanish on various safety and health topics.
Labor One will provide hands-on demonstrations and presentations from bilingual safety and health experts.
“We want to be able to show workers and employers how to work safely on the job,” said Allen McNeely, the state’s occupational safety and health director. “The OSH regulations fill hundreds of pages and can be very overwhelming and difficult to understand. We want to help employers stay in compliance with the law, but more importantly, we want to keep the workers safe.”
The first training session in Arden begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Directions to the site:
Mail Service Center • Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1101 • (919)
807-2796 or 800-NCLABOR