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Season 5, Episode 91

Construction Safety Week with Justin Azbill from Milwaukee Tool

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Justin Azbill

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Justin Azbill, Director of National Environment, Health and Safety at Milwaukee Tool, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast as part of our continuing coverage of Mental Health Awareness Month. He started the conversation around Construction Safety Week and his work on safety and mental healthcare for construction industry workers.

Azbill got his start with the Ironworkers at Local 10 in Kansas City. After a couple of career changes, he made his way into the safety industry. Azbill knows from his own firsthand experience that mental health care in the construction trades is not where it needs to be. He talked about his battle with mental health issues and how his daughter is his reason for making it through the darkest time of his life.

There are several triggers to a decline in mental health, and Azbill shared several examples he’s witnessed in the construction trades. In an industry where several workers feel they should not share their mental health issues, finding a way to eliminate the stigma around those conversations is crucial, he said. As part of this conversation around mental health, Azbill and Milwaukee Tool are focused on improving a person's life, not just turning out the newest tool. He talked about the efforts Milwaukee has made to ensure the tools the workers are using are made with workers' health in mind to prevent injuries that could lead to a mental health crisis. 

Milwaukee was involved with setting workers' safety standards in America in the 1930s. Now, their safety focus has evolved to ensure the safety of the men and women in the trades by partnering with several apprenticeship programs nationwide. Azbill talked about their efforts to train apprentices on the proper ways to use tools and why the right tools are essential for making it home safely at the end of the day. He discussed the SAFE method they use to teach the programs and what each letter of the acronym stands for in the workplace. Last year, Milwaukee trained more than 119,000 trade professionals. With their trade industry partnerships, Azbill hopes to see more trade professionals trained using the right tools. 

Hear more from Azbill about what Milwaukee Tool is doing for construction safety and mental health awareness by listening to the show above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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