Safe Jobs Now! Mobilizing for Health and Safety

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Safe Jobs Now!
Mobilizing for Health and Safety
Workshop Objectives
Understand a union
approach to health and
safety.
Learn how to identify and
document H&S problems
and find solutions.
Be aware of different
strategies to get H&S
problems corrected.
A Union Approach to
Health and Safety
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Injuries, illnesses, and deaths can be prevented.
Don’t blame the victim.
You can’t rely on your employer.
You can’t rely on laws and enforcement.
Workers acting together through their union can
make employers provide safe workplaces!
H&S Issues are Good
Organizing Issues
• Health and safety affect all workers.
• Health and safety issues can be won.
• Health and safety concerns can move workers to
take action.
Three Steps to Organizing for
Health and Safety
1. Identify and document
problems.
2.
Find solutions.
3.
Develop a strategy
and organize to
get problems fixed.
Building the Union by
Organizing for H&S
Safe Workplaces ↔ Building the Union
• When workers act
together to make a
safer workplace it
makes the union
stronger.
• A stronger union is
better able to secure
safe working
conditions.
Workshop Objectives
Understand a union
approach to health and
safety.
Learn how to identify and
document H&S problems
and find solutions.
Be aware of different
strategies to get H&S
problems corrected.
Identify the Problem
What
injuries or health complaints do workers have?
Who
has been hurt or is having symptoms?
When
do the workers feel these symptoms?
Where
in the workplace are health problems occurring?
Why
are the workers being injured or having health
problems?
Methods to Identify and
Document H&S Problems
• Talk to your co-workers.
• Survey the workers.
• Inspect the workplace for
hazards.
• Investigate injuries and
close calls.
• Take photos of hazardous
conditions.
Risk Mapping
Draw an outline of a work area and then mark
where hazards are located with symbols or
colored markers.
Examples of hazards
C = chemical
B = biological
E = ergonomic (lifting, repetitive strain)
M = dangerous machinery
R = radioactive
H = heat
N = noise
V = violence
Body Mapping
Where does it hurt?
Review Records
You may have the right to:
• Injury/illness/fatality logs and
reports
• Workers compensation
records
• Worker exposure and
medical records
• Inspection reports/citations
• Material Safety Data Sheets
Correcting Problems
MOST EFFECTIVE
Elimination
Substitution
less toxic chemicals
Engineering Controls
ventilation, machine guards,
lifting equipment
Administrative
Controls
Personal Protective
Equipment
training, signs, procedures
respirators, gloves, hard hats,
goggles, ear plugs, etc.
LEAST EFFECTIVE
Knowledge Check
1. Which of the following statements is true?
a) Most work-related injuries are caused by careless workers.
b) Hazards that cause injuries are part of the job.
c) Correcting dangerous working conditions is the most important way
to avoid injuries.
2. The least effective way to prevent health problems
caused by chemicals is to:
a) Switch to less toxic chemicals
b) Provide respirators, gloves and other personal protective equipment
c) Use ventilation, lifting equipment, or machine guards to prevent
exposures
Answers
1. Correct answer – c) Correcting dangerous working
conditions is the most important way to avoid
injuries.
2. Correct answer – b) Provide respirators, gloves and
other personal protective equipment.
Personal protective equipment, or ppe, such as respirators,
gloves, hard hats are the least effective way to protect
workers. The hazard is still there and if the equipment fails,
there is no barrier between the worker and the danger.
Sometimes PPE is the only choice, or it may be a backup to
some other control such as ventilation.
Workshop Objectives
Understand a union
approach to health and
safety.
Learn how to identify and
document H&S problems and find
solutions.
Be aware of different
strategies to get H&S
problems corrected.
A Union Health and
Safety Committee
• Similar to having a union bargaining team that meets
separately before talking with management.
• Work with employer when possible but can use
other strategies if necessary.
Labor/Management
H&S Committees
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Include structure/responsibilities in the contract.
Have equal representation and co-chairs.
Meet on a regular basis.
Conduct inspections and other duties on work time.
Receive/review injury reports, near misses, other
documents.
• Maintain/review minutes of H&S committee meetings
and follow up.
• Provide training for committee members.
Tactics
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Labor-management committees
Contract language/grievances
Petition
Send a delegation to
talk to management
• Political pressure
• Coalitions with other
affected groups
• Media attention
Public Employees Covered by
Federally Approved State
OSHA Plans
Public and private sector workers covered by federally approved state OSHA plan
(CT, NJ, NY) State and local government workers covered by state OSHA program,
private sector workers covered by federal OSHA
State and local government workers not covered by federally approved OSHA plan
States with an Occupational Safety and Health Law NOT Federally Approved:
DC, IL, KS, ME, NH, OH, OK, WV, and WI
What Does OSHA
Coverage Mean?
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Right to a safe and healthful workplace
Workplace inspections with union participation
Enforcement of safety regulations
Information about hazards and access to
employer records
• Protection from being fired or discriminated
against for filing complaints
www.osha.gov
There are no OSHA Standards for
these Common Hazards
• Workplace violence
• Indoor air quality
• Infectious diseases (with exception of the Bloodborne
Pathogens Standard)
• Repetitive strain disorders
Other Drawbacks
of OSHA
• Enforcement varies.
• Some state plans do not allow public employers to
be fined for violations.
Other Laws that Apply to
Public Employees
• Environmental Protection Agency
– Worker Protection Rule (extends OSHA asbestos rule)
– Asbestos in Schools Rule
– Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response
(HAZWOPER)
• Right to Know Laws (chemicals)
• Local Building and Fire codes
• Health Department Regulations
Refusing to do Unsafe Work
Exception to “obey now, grieve later” rule
Applies to situations in which a worker in good faith
believes that performing the task will result in death
or serious harm.
Refusing to do Unsafe
Work: Do’s and Don’ts
• Do not simply refuse or walk off the job.
• Tell your supervisor you believe there is a serious
hazard.
• Ask for a union representative.
• Tell the supervisor you will do the job if it is made
safe to do so.
• Offer to do other work that is not dangerous.
• Ask for a safety manager to inspect the worksite.
• Phone in to request an “imminent danger” OSHA
inspection.
Workshop Objectives
Understand a union
approach to health and
safety.
Learn how to identify and
document H&S problems and
solutions.
Be aware of different
strategies to get H&S
problems corrected.
For More Information
AFSCME DEPARTMENT OF RESEARCH AND
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
AFSCME Health and Safety homepage
http://www.afscme.org/issues/73.cfm
 [email protected]
202-429-1228
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