Posted in 'USW'

Lynne Hancock, USW Communications

The Triangle of Prevention (TOP) program was born out of worker deaths and injuries.

During the 1980s and 1990s numerous catastrophic fires, explosions and toxic releases plagued the U.S. petrochemical industry, causing workers to suffer horrific deaths and injuries.

TOPOne of the landmark occupational health and safety incidents was the Oct. 23, 1989 explosion and fire at the Phillips 66 Company’s Houston Chemical Complex facility near the Houston Ship Channel in Pasadena, Texas, that killed 23 people and injured 314 others.

“Blame-the-Worker” company-driven health and safety programs were unable to reveal the root causes of these incidents and prevent them from reoccurring. So, in the mid-1990s the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW) enlisted a team of rank-and-file members who were health and safety activists to develop a worker- and union-driven program to replace ineffective behavior-based safety (BS) programs, said John Scardella, the program administrator for the Tony Mazzocchi Center (TMC) that administers TOP.

He explained the program’s history to those attending the Sept. 26-28 TOP conference at Local 10-1’s union hall.

Limited Focus

OCAW member Glenn Erwin was one of the activists who formed TOP and later headed the program for PACE and the USW until he retired in 2012.

He and other members of the team knew the BS programs focused on slips, trips, falls, and worker behavior as a cause of incidents. Managers usually blamed workers for incidents, and prevention focused on wearing personal protective equipment instead of hazard elimination.

The team also saw how companies usually ignored how work processes contributed to a dangerous work environment.

“Glenn and his team saw that companies only focused on process safety when fires and explosions happened,” Scardella said. “There was also a failure to share lessons learned.

“Plus, companies used a low OSHA recordable rate to show how safe a plant was, which did not capture true safety,” he added.

The team wanted to create a pro-active health and safety program.

“Glenn Erwin knew that to prevent incidents from reoccurring, workers had to be involved in health and safety and control it along with management,” Scardella said. “The program puts workers in roles as trainers, investigators and leaders.”

Worker InvestigatorsTOP

TOP is composed of three sides: Systems of Safety Training and Investigations, Comprehensive Tracking of Results, and Union Design & Leadership.

The program requires everyone in a plant, including managers and non-represented staffers, to be trained on health and safety. Workers are trained to be trainers, to investigate incidents, to measure and track incidents and near misses, and to take a leadership role.

Employers agree to a no-discipline policy for reporting or being involved in a near miss. Plus, workers investigate incidents in conjunction with management and government agencies.

Scardella said it is essential for any TOP investigation process to use the logic-tree diagram method to find the root causes of incidents. If a worker made a mistake on the job that resulted in an incident or near miss, the logic tree is used to find what contributed to the worker making an error.

Locals have used logic-tree diagrams to settle grievances when companies wanted to discipline workers involved in an incident, Scardella said.

“Anyone can learn to use this method, and it can’t be manipulated. The logic tree is fact-based no matter the outcome,” he said. “Identifying accidents is not enough. Finding and fix-ing hazards is not enough. You need to identify root causes.”

Erwin and his team also made capturing lessons learned and passing them on a key part of TOP.

“It is important that we recognize TOP’s history,” Scardella said. “We are proud of that history. We stand here today on the shoulders of those who put the program together.”

View the original news article here.

PHOTOS

Top: Jim Dannelley from USW Local Union 9-265 at the Shell Saraland, Ala., refinery makes a point during a TOP presentation. Photo by Mike Hancock, Local 9-562 retiree.

Bottom: TOP conference participants engaged in a small group activity to provide feedback on a new TOP training manual. They answered questions in the manual and discussed them. Photo by Mike Hancock, Local 9-562 retiree.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, TOP, USW

Rebecca Moss, The New Mexican


For more than a decade, a vast, mile-wide, below-ground plume of cancer-causing chemicals has encroached on the regional aquifer that rests below Los Alamos National Laboratory. The lab has said it is working to contain the contamination and prevent it from entering tribal land or further polluting a water supply relied on by residents from Los Alamos to Albuquerque.



But according to new data, the plume — resulting from decades of lab workers dumping contaminated water into a canyon — may be continuing to spread. … read more

Posted In: Environment, EPA, Health and Safety, USW

Lynne Hancock, USW Communications

One of the strengths of the worker-driven Triangle of Prevention (TOP) program is the consistent follow-up on issues through full-time, union TOP representatives, a TOP Advisory Group and yearly gatherings.

The Tony Mazzocchi Center (TMC), which administers the program, held its annual conference on September 26-28 in Philadelphia. USW Local 10-1, which participates in TOP with its employer, Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in South Philadelphia, Pa., hosted the conference at its local union hall.

Over 50 TOP representatives, alternates, and health and safety members from 16 USW locals and management personnel focused on ways to strengthen the program.

2017 Triangle of Prevention Conference

“We all have to work together to make TOP successful,” said Carmine Frangella, who is a Local 13-750 TOP alternate representative at the Shell Chemical plant in Norco, La., and a member of the advisory group.

TOP Recognition

A highlight of the labor-management sessions was the presentation of the 2017 Glenn Erwin Award to Local 9-675, representing the TOP site at the 3M plant in Guin, Ala., for a major near-miss investigation, and Local 912’s acceptance of the 2017 Fallen Workers Memorial Award for integration of the TOP program into the health, safety and environment department at PBF’s Toledo Refining Company in Oregon, Ohio.

Sharing Lessons Learned

During the first two days of the conference, participants discussed topics like better sharing of lessons learned, improved tracking of all health and safety training, involving an entire plant in TOP through refresher training, and writing success stories. They also engaged in an eight-hour refresher training on incident investigation.

Kevin Theriot, the Local 13-750 TOP representative from Shell’s Convent, La., refinery said the key is to have success stories written for management to read.

“During your 15-minute toolbox talk, share your successes and what you learned. We learn something so we may save a life today,” Scardella said.

Theriot also said it is important to share what was learned from incidents.

“What happened at one site might happen at another site even though it is another company,” he said.

During the union-only session, participants discussed how to grow participation at existing sites, expand TOP to other locations, and increase management participation in the TOP annual meetings. Each site reported on its program successes and challenges. The union participants also elected two new members of the advisory group to represent the paper and oil sectors.

Working Together

Longtime TOP participant “Cookie” Sonnier from Local 13-423 at the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, advised the attendees to work with managers and gain their support.

“Glenn Erwin said we need management input. He got management into the TOP meetings and told them, ‘You come here to work. You are here to see how to prevent people from getting hurt and how you can correct it from happening again.’

The company people may tell each other about health and safety incidents, and it does not get to the rank-and-file. As workers, we have to let the company know we want their support. When it comes to people’s safety, there shouldn’t be conflicts. You are working toward a goal together, not against each other.”

For More Information

If you are interested in the TOP program, you can contact TOP Program Coordinator Steve Doherty, sdoherty@uswtmc.org, (o) 412-562-2561 and TMC Program Administrator John Scardella, jscardella@uswtmc.org, (o) 412-562-2582.

View the original news article here.

PHOTO: Participants in the 2017 TOP Conference at the USW Local Union 10-1 union hall. Photo credit: Mike Hancock, USW Local 9-562 retiree

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, TOP, USW

Dawn Andreoli, TOP representative, USW Local Union 10-234Dawn Andreoli, Triangle of Prevention (TOP) representative and member of United Steelworkers (USW) Local Union 10-234, received the Leadership in Health and Safety Award from PhilaPOSH at the 33rd Annual Awards Reception.

USW Local 10-234 represents workers at Monroe Energy, a refinery located in Trainer, Pa. Andreoli also takes on the role of safety representative within her local.

The PhilaPOSH 33rd Annual Awards Reception took place on Nov. 17, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pa., where six awardees were recognized for their health and safety activism within their union or communities.

Andreoli was nominated by her local union for the Leadership in Health and Safety Award because of her ongoing commitment to health and safety.

“I was not aware of my entrance for the award; actually my union president entered me in the program,” Andreoli said. “I was surprised when I got it, it’s pretty exciting and it means more because the union president, Jonas Dauber, put it in.”

The PhilaPOSH award description reads:

DAWN ANDREOLI: LEADERSHIP IN HEALTH AND SAFETY AWARD


USW Local 10-234 Safety Rep and T.O.P (Triangle of Prevention) Coordinator at the Monroe Energy refinery in Trainer, PA. Dawn was nominated by her local union for this award because of her outstanding work for workers’ safety and health at the refinery. She is credited with initiating and managing a new incident investigation program from scratch, part of the Triangle of Prevention (TOP) program that is union run and led. (courtesy of PhilaPOSH)

“If it wasn’t for everybody it would never happen, although I’m honored it is me, it’s really everybody,” Andreoli said.

She reiterates that the reason why she won this award was all due to the collective work of those who surround her, a foundation taken seriously within the TOP program.

“It wouldn’t happen if we all didn’t work together. That’s my main take from it all,” Andreoli said. “If we didn’t have support from the union, if we didn’t have support from the workers, if we didn’t have support from the Mazzocchi Center, if management didn’t buy in, we wouldn’t end up going anywhere.”

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, TOP, USW
Posted In: AFLCIO, CWA, Environment, Health and Safety, Labor Institute, Mazzocchi, NDLON, USW

From the Chillicothe Gazette:

PIKETON - An arrangement between four entities will provide for free job training for those interested in filling open positions with ongoing cleanup work at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon.

The arrangement involving the United Steel Workers Local 1-689, the Village of Piketon, the Pike County Career Technology Center and the Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education was announced this week as also benefiting existing workers on the project in terms of cross training as the scope of work changes and needs for different skills emerge. … more

Posted In: Environment, Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, USW

United Steelworkers (USW) Local Union 11-560, representing members at Bobcat Corporation in Gwinner, N.D., participated in union health and safety training. July 18 and 19, 2017 consisted of Incident Investigation, and on July 20, the training concluded with Hazard Mapping.

“The Incident Investigation class included logic tree diagramming, which is a great tool to get to the root cause of an incident. Bobcat has incorporated the logic tree into their incident investigation report forms,” Frank Helebrant of Local 2-213 said.

Helebrant, along with Dennis Delie of Local 2-213, facilitated both courses and are long-time USW Tony Mazzocchi Center worker-trainers.

“A group of 33 trained in the Hazard Mapping class. The group found over 40 different hazards that they have been working around for many years. Through the Hazard Mapping process, the group was able to address many of these hazards and were able to come up with recommendations to design, or mitigate the hazards,” Helebrant said.

USW Local Union 11-560
Photos courtesy of Frank Helebrant.

Training reported in this brief is supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number U45ES006175. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIEHS, NIH.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, USW

Staff members in the photos include USW National Director for Canada Ken Neuman, District 3 Director Steve Hunt, District 5 Director Alain Croteau and retired National Director for Canada Lawrence McBrearty. Also pictured are health and safety staff Nancy Hutchison, Al Hedd and Gerry LeBlanc, along with D6 H&S Coordinator Sylvia Boyce, D3 H&S Coordinator Brian Harder and retired staff Andy King.

Many other USW staff and local union representatives from across Canada, and retirees that had been involved with the Westray tragedy for 25 years, were also in attendance.

Westray 25th Anniversary Commemoration

Photos are credited to Jim Frederick and Peter Boyle.

Posted In: USW

Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH of Milken School of Public Health at George Washington University, The Pump Handle

Chronic beryllium disease is a horrible illness, as is lung cancer. Both diseases are the rationale for a new health standard issued by OSHA on January 9.

The rule is designed to protect the health of an estimated 60,000 workers in the U.S. who are exposed to the light-weight, super-strong metal: beryllium. This includes about 10,000 workers involved in electric-power generation; 9,000 workers in dental laboratories and dental offices; 8,400 in specialty construction trades; 5,600 in motor vehicle parts manufacturing; and 3,000 in the maritime industry who are welders and abrasive blasters. ... more

Posted In: Health and Safety, OSHA, USW

CONTACT Mike Wright: 412-562-2580, mwright@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) today praised the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the release of the final rule for occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds in general industry, construction and maritime.

“This has been a long time in the making,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “The USW has advocated for an OSHA rule since the early 1970s. This rule will protect workers who are exposed to beryllium in general industry, construction and shipyards and ensure that controls are put in place to prevent future occupational illness from developing.”

The USW represents several thousand workers who use beryllium alloys and beryllium-containing products in a number of industries.

The first occupational exposure limit to beryllium was set in 1949. OSHA first proposed a standard in 1975, but political pressure forced cancellation of the rulemaking. In 2012, a collaborative effort between Materion Brush, the world’s largest beryllium producer, and the USW resulted in a draft standard that the union and company jointly presented to OSHA.

“Although the process took decades, the result is a strong, protective worker health rule,” said Michael Wright, USW Director of Health, Safety and Environment. Wright’s first assignment with the union was to participate in the original rulemaking attempt. Even with the long lag, the USW never lost sight of the need for a new standard.

Under the new rule, permissible exposure limits are significantly reduced. The rule also includes provisions that require employers to assess exposure, implement methods for controlling exposure, provide protective clothing and equipment, perform medical surveillance, and continue the wages and benefits of workers who become sensitized to beryllium.

The final rule is effective 60 days after the publication of the proposal in the Federal Registrar.

The USW continues to fight for occupational safety and health regulations that affect workers’ lives and to promote recognition of occupational hazards.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

# # #

View the USW Media Release here.

Posted In: Health and Safety, USW
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