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Renton Technical College offers green building safety course

The King Street Station project is the kind of green building construction site that benefits from workers trained in the new Green Building Safety program being offered at area community colleges, including Renton Technical College. - Submitted
The King Street Station project is the kind of green building construction site that benefits from workers trained in the new Green Building Safety program being offered at area community colleges, including Renton Technical College.
— image credit: Submitted

Renton Technical College will be among several community colleges at the forefront of green building issues this fall with a new safety program to address potential incidents associated with new green building systems.

Offered through the Construction Center of Excellence at RTC, the course is called the Green Building Safety program. It will be offered Jan. 17 on campus.

A most recent 2011 study found that Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED-certified, green projects pose a higher risk for injury than traditional non-LEED buildings. Matthew Hallowell, Bernard Fortunato, Michael Behm and Katie Dewlaney came to that conclusion in the study, “Identification of Safety Risks for High Performance Sustainable Construction Projects,” first published in the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management.

“The safety industry has not yet had the opportunity to fully understand what is different about green building,” said Yancy Wright, director of Sellen Sustainability in a release. “We see a great opportunity – and a serious need – to teach the green building workforce, particularly safety professionals, about the safety issues surrounding new and emerging green building systems to prevent future incidents from occurring.”

Wright will teach the course at RTC in January.

Sellen Sustainability, a subsidiary of Sellen Construction, developed the safety course with a grant from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

The eight-hour course includes topics such as green building systems, new roles and responsibilities for managing construction of green systems and unique safety situations and protocol for trades.

So far about 40 people have signed up for the course at RTC, but instructors hope to sign up at least 150 people at all of the locations the course is being offered.

The typical target students are safety professionals, managers and general construction contractors, said Shana Peschek, director of the Construction Center of Excellence at RTC.

After completing the free training students will receive a certificate and the information will be available to anyone online after this first round of courses. The course features videos of construction projects in the works and analysis of different scenarios.

Sellen Sustainability reports that around 300,000 disabling injuries take place in the construction industry each year. A typical example the company points to is landscapers unaccustomed to working on multi-story buildings needing new training for how to install a green roof.

“When implementing a new way of doing anything in the construction industry there is always a need for risk assessment and adequate safety training,” said John Hogan, safety director for Sellen Construction, in the release. “By providing safety training programs to the green building workforce, we’re not only preventing injury, we’re potentially saving lives.”

For more information or to register for the Green Building Safety course, contact Vicki Plemmons via email at vplemmons@RTC.edu

 

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