December 05, 2017

Labor, management strengthen worker-driven Triangle of Prevention program

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

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