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Iron Workers and Contractors Make History at the Groundbreaking Conference

Tue March 28, 2017 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Safety and diversity took center stage at the 2017 Iron Workers/IMPACT conference in San Diego, March 17-22. The conference has consistently broken attendance records and set a new attendance record with over 1200 attendees this year.

In addition to the educational breakout sessions, this year's conference featured a host of prominent speakers. During the general session, Dennis Randall from National Steel City and Chris Buckman from BMWC shared expert insights and experience on how to achieve zero safety incidents under challenging circumstances. Keynote speaker James Benham, from JBKnowledge explained how amazing new technology can tremendously increase efficiency and elevate safety standards on the job site.

Owners panel focused on safety and productivity and the panel on Ironworker Safety Directors discussed what it takes to manage safety programs for contractors and make a difference on the job site.

“We are expanding our safety department to improve and uphold our Standard of Excellence. We want to emphasize not just on safety and health but also on diversity and inclusion,” said General President of the Iron Workers (IW) Eric Dean addressing the general session. “As per our Zero Incident Campaign, we want to make sure every ironworker goes home intact at the end of every day and we will not stop until we maintain a record of zero incidents on all of our job sites.”

The lively panel of ironworker women on safety and diversity discussed the role of female ironworkers and unique challenges they face on the job site. The panel ended with a groundbreaking announcement about the new IW paid maternity leave benefit. IW District Representative of Safety and Diversity and U.S. Safety Coordinator Vicki O'Leary was pleased to announce the first ever paid maternity leave benefit for female ironworkers in the building trades. The IW with IMPACT made history and became a pioneer in diversity and inclusion with the announcement.

The new IW paid maternity leave benefit includes 6 months of pre-delivery and 6 to 8 weeks of post-delivery paid leave. Regardless of what was covered pre‐delivery, the ironworker member will be eligible for up to six weeks of paid leave after the birth of the child and two additional weeks for Cesarean deliveries. The challenges of physical work associated with the ironworking trade create unique health challenges that can jeopardize a pregnancy.

"When we first started talking about it, I wasn't sure how we'd pull it off and what it would cost, but we realized that it's an investment because we want our well-trained ironworker women to come back to work," said CEO of Ben Hur Construction Co. and Co-Chair of IMPACT, Bill Brown.

The conference was a huge success and served as a platform for end users, contactors and ironworkers to share ideas and build partnerships for mutual success. "Iron Workers/IMPACT Conference is the premium industry event for ironworkers, contractors and owners," said IMPACT CEO Kevin Hilton. "The level of interest we've seen in IMPACT and the conference this year is truly a testament to the value of our programs."

The IW and IMPACT look forward to another successful conference next year in Orlando, Fla.

For more information, visit

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