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SMART Local 71 Business Manager Paul Crist Honored With National Safety Award

Under Crist’s Direction, Local 71 Created A Training Incentive Program That Has Generated Thousands Of Additional Hours Of Safety & Trade-Related Training For His Union’s Membership - ‘And Rewards Them For Their Participation’

Published Thursday, May 28, 2020
by SMOHIT Press Release & WNYLaborToday.com Staff
SMART Local 71 Business Manager Paul Crist Honored With National Safety Award

(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) - International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 71 Business Manager Paul Crist has received a Safety Matters Award from the Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT), the safety arm of the Sheet Metal Workers Union.

Crist (pictured above) was recognized for his SMART Local’s creation of a Training Incentive Program that has generated more than 16,000 hours of additional Safety and Trade-related training for Local 71’s 100-plus Members in the Buffalo area - with prize incentives for those who participate in the program. 

Originally kicking off in 2015, three cents for each hour of additional training per Member per year is put into a local pot – an amount agreed on with local Union Contractors.

Local 71 Members receive one ticket for every three hours of additional training they participate in each year, which is put into that pot that is worth more than $25,000 and consists of an array of prizes that are awarded during a yearly breakfast banquet. 

Besides every Member receiving a $150 certificate for a new pair of work boots, the Union Workers have the chance of winning a variety of prizes, ranging from kayaks, his and her bikes, barbeque grills and an overnight stay at a local casino, to name but a few.

“We ‘do these things to keep our Members and the industry safe.’  ‘We do it so we don’t have to call the family of a Member to tell them they had an accident on the job,’” Crist, who was nominated for the award by Local 71 Training Coordinator Tim Bremmer, told WNYLaborToday.com. 

Besides Crist, several other SMART Members and Union Contractors received SMOHIT’s 2020 Safety Champions Conference and Safety Matters Awards.  They were from: Pewaukee, Wisconsin; Phoenix, Arizona; Pomona, California; Washington, D.C.; and Salem, Oregon - all who made safety a priority.

The Safety Design Award winners are also typically honored during an annual awards ceremony, which was to be held in San Antonio, Texas this year, but has now been moved to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Also receiving one of the 2020 SMOHIT Safety Matters Awards was Albert Blanco, Jr., Training Director for SMART Local 359 Training Center in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Blanco created a Jobsite Bullying and Harassment Training Program to teach Apprentices and Local 359 Members about the emotional and mental effects associated with bullying and harassment on job sites.

It was added to the Apprenticeship Curriculum to be reviewed annually.

Fairfax, Virginia-headquartered SMOHIT was founded in 1986 to address the impact of decades-long asbestos exposure to those working in the Sheet Metal Industry.  To date, more than 55,000 Sheet Metal Workers have been screened as part of its on-going program.

SMOHIT has since expanded its mission to operate on four separate, but related tasks: Monitoring and documenting the health of Sheet Metal Workers as it relates to workplace exposures and hazards; Providing safety information and training related to best safety practices on and off the job; Acting as an aggressive advocate for the health and safety of its Members with government and through like-minded allied organizations; and Providing diet and exercise information to address the health and wellness of its Members.

SMOHIT has also adjusted its methods and messages to reflect feedback from Local Unions and the industry, and to address new safety challenges as they arise.

The organization also works directly with the International Training Institute (ITI) to provide Training Programs for the Unionized Sheet Metal Industry.

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