Safety training center opens in Gonzales

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News,Business

GONZALES, La. (AP) — Contract workers employed in the construction, power and petrochemical industries will be able to get federally mandated training at a new $2.8 million center in Gonzales.

The Advocate reported (http://bit.ly/1flHDAK) the Alliance Safety Council's 11,000-square-foot center is in the Edenborne Development in Ascension Parish.

"With all the work that has been charted for Louisiana for the next five to six years, with new projects because of the low price of natural gas, the need for training is going to increase," said council president Kathy Trahan.

And because all contract workers must take a basic safety course before they work at a petrochemical site, so training centers are essential, she says.

"It's the last stop before going to work," Trahan said.

Alliance, a Baton Rouge-based nonprofit, provides an entry-level safety class and other training required by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration for more than 150,000 workers in a variety of industries in south Louisiana.

The organization has more than 1,000 corporate members that pay a yearly fee entitling them to training for their contract workers.

Alliance began to move training closer to members in the Baton Rouge area over the past decade, opening satellite training centers in Gonzales and Addis.

The organization moved its headquarters to larger offices in Baton Rouge in 2012.

"Along the way, we discovered a huge need in Ascension to serve the 30-plus (industrial) facilities" in the area, Trahan said.

The organization bought the 2.-5 acre site for the new Gonzales training center in 2012.

That's when the Alliance Safety Council, in partnership with the LSU School of Engineering, was selected as a new OSHA Outreach Training Institute Education Center.

"We train the trainers" of OSHA courses. Alliance was one of only four new centers selected in 2012 by OSHA to train its course instructors and the first one chosen to do that training in Louisiana. It serves OSHA Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas region.

The Alliance Safety Council has offered some OSHA courses for trainers in the past, but with the new facility in Gonzales, its classroom and computer lab sizes have doubled and it soon will be offering more courses, Trahan said.

The Alliance has had a long collaboration with the LSU School of Engineering.

"What we do here is directly tied to industry," said Chuck Berryman, chairman of the Bert S. Turner Department of Construction Management at LSU.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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