2019 Delegation Focus on Safety


Forewomen in India! (From left to right – electrician, plumber, plumber, carpenter, mason, mason)

On Wednesday, the North American Tradeswomen and the Women of Archana discussed safety on the job in construction. Below is a summary of that discussion. In an effort to keep the issue at the top of our joint international agenda, we have added FOCUS ON SAFETY to the front page menus on the Building Bridges webpage. We can refer back to this first discussion and add and share ideas on that menu page.

In North America, we often complain about lapses in safety on construction sites–

  • a worker up high has not been giving a harness
  • a cloud of concrete dust envelopes a crew without respiratory protection
  • workers are told to lift excessive weight when a hand truck could have moved it faster and without risk of back injury

This is nothing like we see in India where most workers are totally unprotected and injury and death on construction sites happen every day.

Archana Women’s Centre wants to be a leader in changing this. They have asked Tradeswomen Building Bridges to assist them in this goal. The first discussion happened on November 7 and here are the notes from that meeting.

Safety Conversation with AWC Heads of Trades

  • After our site visits – what machines do the North American Delegation believe AWC could use to make their jobs easier.
  • If AWC sees a tool, machine or process and they want to learn more – take a picture/video and send to us.  We will virtually provide accurate info
  • Teach/share ergonomics and proper safety positions to AWC workers.  Use pictures posted on job sites of how to work safely and with proper ppe (as it make sense in Indian climate) (knee pads for masons and plumbers, gloves for masons, nose plugs for carpenters, safety glass for everyone.

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  • Work with engineers to build job so workers will be safe as they build.
  • Is Fall protection a thing in India?
  • Create a “Train the trainers” program at AWC
  • AWC wants to be a model of safety so other regions and programs follow them
  • Collect data on injuries to help prove case of need for safety.

What will happen next?

How can we continue to support the women of Archana?

Can we find health and safety experts in North America who will assist this project?

WhatsApp Image 2019-11-07 at 8.54.29 AMWhatsApp Image 2019-11-07 at 8.52.55 AM









About susanmoir2015

Researcher, feminist, labor activist.
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1 Response to 2019 Delegation Focus on Safety

  1. Denise Dauvin says:

    Hi Susan,
    I am having to write my blog piece on my phone because my tablet has crapped out on me. I apologize for the fragmented piece. But I promised to send one in tonight!

    I heard something today that touched my heart. We were having a round table meeting about the challenges women face in non-traditional trades. One of the women ” who’s name was Money” had just traveled 4 hours to come to the meeting, told us her story. She had grown up in the very poorest of families, her family put her out to work by age 5 cleaning. She had no schooling, she could not read or write. She was married off at a very young age and had two children. It was then that her husband abandoned the family. She was desperate when she met Thersiamma Mathew founder of Archana Womens Centre.
    She entered one of the first groups of women Masons that went through the centre.
    She not only learned to be a Mason, but learned how to read and write. She continued learning and got first a scooter license and then a car license. She has gone on to raise her children and is self employed as a Mason for over 23 years.
    This echoed to me some events in my life. I was 17 when I got pregnant and had two children. I ended up a single mother after a very terrible marriage. I felt powerless, and needed a way to earn money and take care of my children. It was then that I entered the trades, where you get paid as you learn. Trades was the answer for both Money and I. Enabling us to raise our children and become strong, skilled trades people.
    We are lucky in North America to have government programs that help single parents to improve their education. Thank goodness the women of India have The Archana centre.

    I will have pics to follow. Please feel free to edit the crap out of it. Or send it back if the issues are to large.
    Thanks do much

    Denise Dauvin


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