Life Jackets Worn…Nobody Mourns Campaign

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is one of the nation’s leading provider of outdoor recreation with over 400 lake and river projects in 43 states and more than 250 million visits per year.

Please be careful in and around the water because even strong swimmers drown. Check out this website to find valuable tips and resources that could save your life or the life of someone you care about.

2021-2022 National Capitol Chapter Confirmed Executive Committee


I am pleased to announce the results of the National Capitol Chapter election for the 2021-2022 chapter year.

President: Ashelyn McConnell, ASP, MEng

President-Elect: Christopher Hughes, CHST, STS

Secretary: Mary Ciesluk, CSP

Treasurer: Alex Norwood, GSP, CHST

Delegate to the House of Delegates: April Dorsey, ASP, CHST 

                                                              Thomas Trauger, CSP, ARM 

Directors: Marcus Odorrizi, CSP

                  Wyatt Bradbury, MEng, CSP, CHST, CIT

Many congratulations to our newly elected leadership team!

On behalf of the Nominations & Elections Committee, many thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s election process.


Jerry Rivera, MEng

Nominations & Elections Chair

The Mid Atlantic Construction Safety Conference (MACSC)

The Mid Atlantic Construction Safety Conference (MACSC) is returning this spring in a big way!  The OSHA Directorate of Construction is one of the presentation that will be at this year’s conference. The Director or Deputy are schedule to provide an update.

Other topics* include:

·      Updates on COVID regulations (nationally and regionally) and practical responses

·      Use of Tele-Medicine

·      Substance abuse

·      Cannabis in the workplace

·      Benefits of Dash Cams

·      ANSI standards and Construction

·      Silica monitoring

·      Fall protection

This year’s (2021) conference (May 11th and 12th) will take place over two days, with 5 educational sessions each day. It will begin at 7am EDT both days and run through early afternoon.   Click here for tentative* agenda.

This is a great way for continuing education and here some amazing technical presentations, 2-days for only $99.

Attendees Click Here to register

Sponsors Click Here to register

Seed Organizations 

ABC Virginia

American Subcontractors Association of Metro Washington

ASSP National Capital Chapter


Chesapeake Region Safety Council

Washington Metropolitan Area Construction Safety Association

TO TEACH OR TO COACH Navigating Between Approaches

By Wyatt Bradbury

If someone is looking for me most Saturday mornings, I can be found pacing the pool deck at my local YMCA. I grew up a swimmer in sunny southern California and, for the past half-decade, have worked to pass along my passion for the water to people of all ages.

The water is a great equalizer. Some ac- complished adult swimmers leave train- ing sessions frustrated and exhausted. However, as much as I love working with adults, it is when teaching the tadpoles, or elementary-aged swimmers, that I am challenged as an instructor.

During my time as a safety profes- sional, I have repeatedly been frustrated when people seem unable to pick up the simplest of concepts. Why is it so hard to choose the appropriate ladder or fall pro- tection when they are right there? Why can’t the foreman just fill out the daily safety briefing form correctly? Why can’t “they” just get “it”?

As a professional, I repeatedly try to coach the behavior I am looking for. Feedback, positive reinforcement and spot coaching are all provided on a con- sistent basis. I am doing my best to im- part the expectations to employees based on what I see them doing. Why can’t “they” just get “it”?

When a new group of athletes, usually age 5 to 7, are promoted into my level 4 stroke introduction class, it is my first time working with these students. It is also possibly the first time they are tak- ing a class in “the big pool” and expected to actually swim laps by the end. They are coming from the level 3 class suppos- edly knowing how to “use big arms” and breathe to the side. It is at this point that I am also presented with a choice: How will I approach these students?

You see, one of the reasons I believe our employees “just can’t get it” is because
we fail as professionals and leaders to un- derstand the magnitude of the choice we

Vantage Point

Vantage Point articles in Professional Safety provide a forum for authors with distinct view- points to share their ideas and opinions with ASSP members and the OSH community. The goal is to encourage and stimulate critical think- ing, discussion and debate on matters of concern to the OSH profession. The views and opinions expressed are strictly those of the author(s) and are not necessarily endorsed by Professional Safety, nor should they be considered an expres- sion of official policy by ASSP.

face when new employees start with our organization and go through their initial orientation. We assume that because they have an OSHA training class or decades of experience they should already know how to do something. This is a common assumption and seemingly not without justification. However, behind this as- sumption is ultimately a critical choice: Whether I am going to teach or to coach. Interestingly, the dictionary defini- tions for these words also fail to pick

up on the subtle but crucial distinction between the two approaches. They relate one to another and the methodology of training, and thus they are not useful for the purposes of understanding the differ- ences between the two concepts.

In its most basic form, teaching refers to the imparting of a skill, lesson or piece of knowledge for the first time. This does not mean that the learner does not have any prior knowledge or skill, it simply means that the next skill to learn is being developed or imparted for the first time. When I work with level 4 swimmers, I am often teaching them how to breathe

on their side and how to properly swim with “big arms.” Many already know how to float, roll and kick from their level 3 classes. The skills of breathing on their side and swimming with their freestyle “big arms” that I am teaching validate and integrate their prior knowledge and build upon it to accomplish a new or more complicated skill. I have to under- stand their initial capacity, then teach the new skills they need to master.

Once these budding athletes have be- gun to demonstrate their competency of the skill, coaching can begin. Coaching relates to the continued development of a skill to achieve advanced levels of perfor- mance. Coaching is personalized and be- gins to take into account the unique goals of the individual based on how far beyond mere competency they desire to achieve.

As the students progress to levels 5 and 6, they have already learned how to swim freestyle through my level 4 teaching and we now work on the specific nuances such as how to pull more efficiently and in a motion that will reduce the potential for damage to the rotator cuff. Were I to start

You see, one of the reasons I believe our employees “just can’t get it” is because we fail as professionals and leaders to understand the magnitude of the choice we face when new employees start with our organization

and go through their initial orientation.



by trying to coach these methods before they were effectively taught, there is a good chance that all parties would become frus- trated and proficiency would take longer to achieve, if it could be achieved at all.

When employees fail to demonstrate competency of a safety expectation, we must carefully consider whether teaching or coaching is needed. Teaching when the content is already known runs the risk of disengaging employees from the safety system because they are hearing the same information over and over. When they can recite the information, chances are they do not need teaching. They will tune it out and the feedback will go unheeded.

Coaching employees prematurely
runs the risk of them not understanding base-level expectations or being able to demonstrate competency, and they are given feedback that does not align with the base-level understanding they have. These two approaches are not mutually exclusive. In many cases, there will be some blend of the two, particularly as the core skills are validated and advanced skills imparted. The key is recognizing

when either teaching or coaching is needed in a particular situation. When employees are hired, they need to go through a validation of their skills and abilities to determine where gaps exist and in what areas coaching or teaching might be needed. This means that professionals need to become adept at identifying when teaching or coaching is needed and have developed a nuanced approach to effec- tively blend the concepts into their daily work. Reliance on one or the other will ultimately limit the potential impact and therefore a blend of teaching and coaching depending on the situation is key.

One of the best ways to identify what method is needed at a particular time
is to let employees demonstrate their competency. If they fail to demonstrate a

basic level of proficiency, then training is undoubtedly needed. If the employee has working knowledge, then coaching can bring the individual to a more advanced skill level. When it is time to start build- ing upon prior knowledge and learn new skills, a teaching approach can resume.

Navigating between the teaching
and coaching approaches is crucial to ensuring that employees are receiving the appropriate level of information and through a means that supports, validates and builds upon their knowledge, skills and abilities. When properly employed, the likelihood that employees “just don’t get it” is reduced, and employees become part of the solution to growth and de- velopment, not perceived as part of the problem or source of failure. PSJ

Wyatt Bradbury, M.Eng., CSP, CHST, CIT, serves as an HSE advisor for Hitachi Rail and as an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has experience in aquatic and rec- reation risk management, electrical construction, powerline safety, rail safety and safety consulting. Bradbury currently holds an M.Eng. in Advanced Safety Engineering and Management from the Univer- sity of Alabama at Birmingham. He serves as Assistant Regional Vice President—Communications for Region VI, and as a member of the Chapter Leader Training Committee. He is a professional member and past president of ASSP’s National Capital Chapter, and a member of the Society’s Emerging Profession- als in OSH Common Interest Group.


Working at height is hazardous and a leading cause of injuries in the construction industry. Our resources can help you address this challenge by understanding how to properly design, implement and use fall protection systems.

Learn the components

of an effective Fall Protection Plan through webinars, articles and podcasts with industry experts.

Gain the knowledge

you need to advance your safety programs with Online Instructor-led or Self-paced Courses.

Download your free copy

of The Fall Protection Code, a detailed overview of the Z359 Fall Protection and Fall Restraint Standards.

Access Fall Protection Resources at APRIL 2021 PROFESSIONAL SAFETY P S J 47

Nominations and Elections Committee Notification

In accordance with our Chapter Bylaws the _National Capital Chapter, Article VI, Section 1. Nominations and Elections Committee for Chapter Year 2020-2021 has been appointed.


The newly appointed Nominations and Elections Committee will oversee the election of our 2021-2022 Chapter/Section Executive Committee. Names are as follows:

Jerry Rivera – Committee Chair

Tom Trauger – Committee Member

Ashelyn McConnell – Committee Member

Anyone interested in running for an Executive Committee position should email the Chapter Nominations and Elections Committee Chair- Jerry Rivera: no later than Friday, November 20th.