It was only last year Aldo Zambetti joined the Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT) as its program director, and as of Jan. 1, he moved into the role of administrator. His new position will entail working not just with programs in development, but also with all the programs SMOHIT currently offers, from health screenings to suicide prevention, as well as the SMOHIT-SMART MAP (the member assistance program offered to the members of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation) and Helpline, available to all SMART workers and their families. Zambetti is eager to get the ball rolling to make all members aware of what resources are available.
“My top priority is letting everyone, who is a SMART member, know and understand what SMOHIT has to offer,” Zambetti said. “This means getting out there in front of members and telling them, however it is we need to do that — and COVID has taught us lots of ways to get in front of people.”
Zambetti entered the sheet metal industry as an apprentice at Local 19 in Philadelphia more than 40 years ago. A second-generation SMART member, he worked in the field for 20 years, 16 of those years as a full-time apprentice instructor and training coordinator for Local 19. Along the way, he earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the National Labor College in 2011, and in 2014 he became a field staff representative with the International Training Institute (ITI), the education arm of the unionized sheet metal, air conditioning and welding industry, overseeing 35 training centers in the northeast United States.
During his time with ITI, Zambetti taught many Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classes, giving training coordinators and instructors the knowledge and skills to keep workers and apprentices healthy and safe on the job site. Thanks to that experience, he knows too well that educating workers on health and safety is not just memorizing a list of rules — it’s a matter of life and death, and “life” isn’t just what happens on the job.
“We have long been helping people manage their daily work at the jobsite — which we’re very proficient at — as OSHA makes the rules and we deliver those rules,” Zambetti said. “But moving into 2022 and 2023, we’re not just worrying about tool safety and OSHA guidelines, it’s about what’s happening to this person, our brother or our sister, when they go home. With the pressures of life and the amount of work coming up, or family pressures, COVID pressures and everything else, we want to make sure they’re checking their oil and doing okay.”
As administrator, Zambetti will coordinate and implement various programs offered by SMOHIT to local unions and contributing contractors, as well as assist local unions and signatory contractors in the development of plans and implementation of programs to make the workplace a safe and healthy environment. Zambetti takes pride in the many offerings SMOHIT brings to the table to improve — or even save — members’ lives.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said. “Taking on this responsibility would be much more daunting if I didn’t have the resources I know SMOHIT has already.”