Veteran sheet metal worker plans to bring members’ health, nutrition to forefront
FAIRFAX, Va. – The Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT), which monitors the health of its members, works closely with other health and safety organizations to provide its members with the latest health and safety standards, and acts as health and safety advocate for the unionized sheet metal industry, has named Randall Krocka as its new administrator effective on Oct. 14.
Krocka, who moved to the nation’s capital from Pewaukee, Wisc. to accept the position, has been a sheet metal worker for nearly 34 years. A graduate from the sheet metal apprenticeship in 1985, Krocka worked in residential, architectural, commercial and industrial shops throughout his career. He served as a Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 18 union trustee for six years, and for the last decade, as the local’s financial secretary/treasurer/business representative.
Throughout his career, Krocka also served on numerous safety committees, which piqued his interest and raised his awareness of safety issues in the shop and on the job site. He saw workers taking short cuts to get work done, and in return, putting themselves at risk of injury and/or illness.
“I was interested in making sure our workers were safe out there,” Krocka said.
Krocka’s goal is to engage the workers, so information flows back and forth. Along with the required health screenings and tests, he wants to encourage early detection and injury prevention, but health and safety is more than just making sure injuries are prevented and workers aren’t breathing in harmful chemicals, dust and debris. To Krocka, educating workers on their nutrition and fitness will help extend their careers as well.
“It’s all about occupational health,” he said. “As people haven’t been as exposed to asbestos and those things, there are other things coming down the pike that are health hazards. A lot of times we get busy, eat junk food and sit around, and we don’t take care of our bodies. I’d like to help members live healthier lives.”
So far, he’s taking his own advice and walking to and from his new office. After winter melts, he plans on getting out into Washington, D.C. to explore the city’s historical side.
The Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT) was founded in 1986 to address the impact of decades-long asbestos exposure on those working in the sheet metal industry. To date, more than 55,000 sheet metal workers have been screened as part of its ongoing Asbestos Screening Program.
SMOHIT has since expanded its mission to operate on three separate but related tracks: monitoring and documenting the health of sheet metal workers as it relates to workplace exposures and hazards; providing safety information and training related to best safety practices on and off the job; and acting as an aggressive advocate for the health and safety of its members with government and through like minded allied organizations. SMOHIT has adjusted its methods and messages to reflect feedback from local unions and the industry, and to address new safety challenges as they arise. SMOHIT works directly with the International Training Institute (ITI) to provide training programs for the unionized sheet metal industry.
For more information on SMOHIT visit www.smohit.org or call 703-739-7130.