Detroit program ensures members are safe, ready for any project

DETROIT – Giving sheet metal workers access to jobsite required safety training as well as tracking all training is the main goal of Detroit’s Ready to Work Safety Program.

Owners demand for workers to be certified with specific safety training as well as being drug tested has increased in recent years, with certain training requiring days to complete.

The Ready to Work Safety Program prepares sheet metal workers for future work, so the time between accepting a job and going to work is a manner of hours, not days. The program was designed through a partnership between Sheet Metal Workers Local 80 and Detroit Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) Metropolitan Detroit Chapter to help contractors meet mandatory safety standards in bid documents before they are needed.

“When you go to a jobsite, workers must have a current drug test and many other safety requirements,” said Mark Saba, executive director of SMACNA Detroit. “This program takes care of all of that.”

The program requires members to maintain current drug testing, general construction safety training, first aid AED certification, OSHA 30 and customized sheet metal industry specific online safety courses such as shop safety, lockout/tag out, scaffolding, welding, asbestos and silica awareness, confined space, fall protection, temporary traffic, pre-task planning and rigging. Once all requirements are met, members can earn an annual monetary stipend for program completion.

In 2017, more than 200 members participated with 100 percent completion.

By design, the program adapts to new industry safety demands. For example, Local 80 and SMACNA Detroit recently met with safety directors at Ford Motor Company as well as prominent Detroit general contractors to incorporate specialized safety training into the Ready to Work program. If there are specialty projects, such as a hospital, these safety requirements are added to the program as well.

“We want our members to come home at night,” said Tim Mulligan, business manager and financial secretary for Local 80, part of the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART). “There can never be enough safety, and it puts ease on the contractor. It is a good partnership, and we are doing what we can on our end.”

The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) have a labor-management partnership that is more than 75 years old. The goal of these Partners in Progress is to maintain an effective cooperative effort that demonstrates their expertise in the industrial and architectural sheet metal and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) markets. For additional information, visit