UWP hosts OSHA, ABC, WisCon partnership meeting
PLATTEVILLE-Providing industrial studies students with the opportunity to observe and network with safety professionals, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville hosted a partnership meeting between the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Inc., the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) and the Wisconsin Safety Consultation (WisCon), Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Pioneer Student Center.
Attending the meeting were UWP alumni and safety committee members Don Moen, safety director of ABC in Madison, Nick Kerkenbush, compliance officer of OSHA in Madison and Chad Ferguson, safety director of Kramer Brothers Construction in Plain.
The meeting agenda included items such as planning the 2003 safety conferences, 2003 safety committee goals, 2003 ABC Wisconsin Safety Awards and a brief overview of the various agencies' roles and responsibilities regarding safety in the workplace. Professor Richard Klawiter, department of industrial studies, said students commented on how beneficial it was to sit in on the meeting.
"Several of the students said they were surprised how much they learned just about planning a conference," Klawiter said. "The students were also very pleased to have the opportunity to network. Some students even brought resumes with them."
The meeting adjourned at 3 p.m., however, the learning opportunity continued for UWP students with Kerkenbush attending Professor Klawiter's seminar and safety class. Kerkenbush obtained an internship and eventually a job with OSHA through the networking he had done at the last OSHA, ABC and WisCon meeting, held at UWP two years ago. During the seminar and safety class, Kerkenbush gave a more in-depth presentation of OSHA and his job responsibilities.
"Nick discussed the nature of his job, what his typical day of work entailed and how he performs workplace inspections," Klawiter said. "Because Nick is such a recent graduate of UWP, some of the students already knew him and said they felt very comfortable asking Nick questions."
Kerkenbush addressed a number of questions asked by students, ranging from how to deal with companies who attempt to refuse an inspection to how to help employees who are reluctant to report safety issues for fear that it will affect their jobs. Kerkenbush also discussed the equipment he uses for inspections such as sound level meters and air samplers. Overall, Klawiter described the committee meeting and classroom presentation as a tremendous success.
"The students really identified with Nick and appreciated his candid answers to their questions," Klawiter said. "Our visitors also commented on how impressed they were with the new Pioneer Student Center. We hope to host another safety committee meeting again in another three to four semesters."