Posted in 'Mazzocchi'

After Glenn Erwin became involved as a worker-trainer, he and a team of three others set out to design a program that would not only eliminate incidents leading to death or serious injury, but also prevent near-misses that lead to harmful occurrences. Erwin and his team began writing curriculum and studying current accident investigation methods such as the “five why’s” and computer-based “check the box” systems that directed workers to conclusions but didn’t necessarily protect them. These methods didn't settle well with Erwin, knowing that tragedies still occurred too often.

“Accidents happen outside of the box,” Erwin said at the recent TOP Conference.

After evaluating several different models of accident investigation, Erwin was finally interested in implementing the use of a logic tree. (See Logic Tree Diagramming below.)

“Anyone can learn how to use the method and it is not easily manipulated,” Erwin said.

TOP Logic Tree DiagrammingWith this decision Erwin concluded that union leadership could take on the role of incident investigation because the logic tree is fact-based no matter the outcome.

But again, just investigating accidents wasn’t enough; Erwin continued to develop methods to identify near-misses which would reduce incidents because investigators were finding and fixing hazards. Erwin and the rest of the team determined that the method would be to identify the root cause.

The curricula developers then went on to study investigations and fatalities recorded and found that similar incidents were occurring in a wide range of facilities. Capturing “lessons learned” from incidents and sharing the data throughout the specific industry would become another key aspect of the program.

With the generation of these methods and the findings from Erwin and the rest of the developers, the United Steelworkers (USW) Triangle of Prevention program came to life with union leadership at its foundation. Systems of safety and incident investigation structured one side, and measuring and tracking incidents closed the other, forming a triangle.

Glenn Erwin along with Dr. Thomas McQuiston, who are both grant program retirees, attended the TOP Conference which took place in Pittsburgh, Pa., from Sept. 13-15, 2016.

Dr. McQuiston’s two years of work coordinating TOP was essential to program advancement and his efforts are reflected in its continuation.

“I’ve stepped in to build on the foundation that Tom and Glenn effectuated,” Tony Mazzocchi Center Program Coordinator Steve Doherty said. “It’s important to continue to meet the needs and overcome the challenges of existing sites, and to also meet the changing needs of new and prospective sites.”

During the TOP Conference attendees consisting of TOP representatives, alternates and local union leadership participated in newly developed curricula titled “Metrics and Indicators.” They also worked together to identify ways in which the TOP teams and local union leadership could collaborate with one another to make the program more effective.

Other than specific training courses and connecting with staff, retirees and other sites, time was allotted for the recognition of two local unions for their outstanding accomplishments in health and safety through the TOP program.

USW Local Union 13-750 in District 13, representing the TOP site at Motiva Refinery in Convent, La., were given the Glenn Erwin Award for completing an investigation resulting in a significant improvement through the Design and Engineering System of Safety. The site is lead by TOP Representative Kevin Theriot, Alternate Camile Trabeau, Local Union President Marty Poche and Unit Chair Darrell Heltz.

After the site’s TOP program investigated the severe injury of a contractor, it recommended a design and engineering change to a hydraulic tensioner failure found to be a root cause of the incident. The tensioner manufacturer learned of the findings and invited the site’s TOP team to present their findings and recommendations, and to be involved in a system redesign. The new design was built and tested and an improved system was born. The company pulled all tensioner units out of service until they could be retrofitted to the newly designed safety device. This will change the hydraulic industry, making it safer.

Local Union 423 in District 13, representing the TOP site at Motiva Refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, were recipients of the Fallen Workers Memorial Award, for building solidarity and exhibiting collective involvement in the TOP program. The site is lead by TOP Representative Jeffrey Wright, TOP Alternate “Cookie” Sonnier, Local Union President Butch Chapman and Group Worker’s Committee Chairman Jeremy Walker.

In the wake of a long and difficult strike, the large oil refinery began a major plant shutdown and overhaul also known as a turnaround. The site’s TOP program began receiving increasing numbers of incident reports. The USW leadership recommended meeting this challenge with the creation of a TOP Turnaround Investigation Rapid Response Team. Over two months the team investigated approximately 60 incidents. The output allowed the team to better understand the systemic weaknesses across the site. In turn, this led to the establishment of a health and safety improvement plan. The USW leadership is also engaging the company in establishing a full-time Near-Miss Coordinator role and also training 23 hourly employees as TOP/Casual Learning Investigation Facilitators.

Both of these sites carried out TOP team and local union collaboration to work together toward improving the health and safety conditions for the members at both facilities and making it count. The TOP Conference proved to be an overall success which provided members with additional training and a convenient means to share experiences and lessons learned among the TOP community.

The Triangle of Prevention (TOP) Program is partially funded by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number U45ES006175. The TOP Program is administered by the United Steelworkers Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIEHS, NIH.

Posted In: Mazzocchi, TOP, USW

From April 25 to 29, a group of eight bilingual activists convened in Pittsburgh, Pa., for training to become part of a national cadre of Specialized Emergency Response Trainers. These newly qualified SERTs are representatives from Make the Road New York (MRNY), the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA). These organizations, in conjunction with the United Steelworkers (USW) and the Labor Institute, make up the Tony Mazzocchi Center partnership.

During the week-long course facilitated by TMC Program Administrator John Scardella, participants demonstrated individual and group presentations on how emergency responders need to protect themselves in the case of natural disasters, infectious disease outbreak and hazardous clean up instances. These trainees covered topics using the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) National Clearinghouse materials on Avian Flu, Dirty Bomb, Earthquakes, Wildfires, Flood or Hurricane, and Mold Clean Up and Treatment. They also utilized the TMC’s Small Group Activity Method (SGAM) along with other techniques that they would then apply in an emergency response situation.

These activists will join the rest of the SERTs in mid-July for a certification, or recertification for previous trainers, on the Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS) courses.

“This will be a great opportunity to build solidarity between the two groups in working together as a cohesive unit in the case of an emergency response situation,” Scardella said.

Training reported in this article 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: Mazzocchi

Steve Doherty Program Coordinator, USW Tony Mazzocchi Center

USW District 2 conference "safety days"The United Steelworkers (USW) District 2 spring conference kicked off with two “safety days.” The theme of this year‘s classes focused on identifying hazards and conditions that led to, or that could have been addressed to, prevent an injury or exposure to our members.

The 16 hours of the Incident Investigation class was facilitated by USW Local Union 213 members Frank Helebrant and Russ Lardinois, along with TMC Program Administrator John Scardella. The members in attendance worked on “logic tree diagramming” to identify the root causes of an incident. All too often workers are disciplined without the root causes being identified and eliminated or mitigated.
 
A class on Near-Miss Investigation was facilitated by Local Union 482 member Steve Godin, and Local Union 213 member Dennis Delie. How many near-misses go unreported or become an accepted practice that eventually leads to injury or exposure? This course helps bring this question to the surface.

A third class developed in the USW‘s Triangle of Prevention (TOP) program titled “Mapping the History of an Incident,” allowed members to look at the “indicators” that if addressed could have prevented the injury from occurring. Delie, Lardinois and TMC Program Coordinator Steve Doherty facilitated this class. Examples include but are not limited to a near-miss (reported or unreported), a work order that was never completed, previous reports of strains or first aid, leaks and exposures, upset conditions, and many other factors eventually leading to injury or illness to our members. Reinforcing the importance of the role of a strong local union safety committee in the success of the labor-management committee at each site was also discussed.

“The District 2 safety days are important for local [union] leaders to strengthen their local safety efforts, be a stronger voice in their facility’s labor-management committee, and develop more meaningful worker participation within their membership to bring the concerns off the shop floor so the hazards can be fixed,” Doherty said.

Training reported in this publication 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

More information, contact: Jim Frederick at 412-562-2581, jfrederick@usw.org

PITTSBURGH – The Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization (SCEO) announced today the launch of a major three-year training initiative to teach at-risk workers how to protect themselves, their coworkers and the public from exposure to dangerous infectious diseases like Ebola, the Zika virus and others.

SCEO is among eight recipients nationwide of grants announced this week by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for Ebola Biosafety and Infectious Disease Response Training.

The training program will be conducted by SCEO’s Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education (TMC), a partnership of the United Steelworkers (USW), Communications Workers of America (CWA), Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA), Labor Institute (LI), Make the Road New York (MRNY) and National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON).

The NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) Ebola Biosafety and Infectious Disease Response Training (UH4) award is provided to grantees to develop and implement occupational safety and health and infection control training programs to at-risk workers in healthcare and non-healthcare industries.

“A few years ago, very few of us had heard of diseases like Ebola or Zika,” said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., NIEHS director. “We need to ensure that we have a workforce ready to contain these and the next infectious disease threats. This new training program will help workers, who do so much to protect others, stay safe when working with patients or people in high risk situations.”

Under the new training initiative, TMC will remain working with unions and worker centers to serve as a front-line defense controlling infectious disease outbreaks by strengthening the partnership, advancing training of experienced worker-trainers on awareness and operations levels, and expanding the amount of trainers locally and regionally. The partnership will also continue working to develop cadres of bilingual trainers to reach Spanish-speaking workers within immigrant communities. These trainers and trainees will undergo yearly evaluations and refresher training courses to maintain and progress knowledge.

“The United Steelworkers union includes manufacturing workers – but we have grown to also include members in healthcare and other sectors where workers are increasingly at risk of exposure to a growing number of infectious diseases,” USW Health, Safety and Environment Assistant Director Jim Frederick said. “And our Tony Mazzocchi Center partners represent community health workers, flight attendants and others who face a similar risk.”

“Thanks to this strategic support from NIEHS, our Tony Mazzocchi Center partnership can develop and conduct educational programs that have the potential to save lives,” Frederick said. “Our goal will be to arm workers with the information they need to prevent exposures to serious, and in some cases, life-threatening infectious diseases.”

Within the USW the partnership has access to train over 49,000 high-risk workers in the healthcare sector. These workers are in hospitals, long-term care, blood collection, ambulances, home healthcare, clinics and other related facilities across the United States.

In the CWA, the TMC is able to reach 16,000 healthcare workers at hospitals, urgent care facilities and in long-term care primarily in New York and California. The CWA also represents over 107,000 other members who face the threat of exposure to pathogens such as workers at correctional facilities, social services, airline passenger agents and baggage handlers, and telecommunications workers who service infectious disease facilities.

The AFA-CWA, an affiliate union, represents 40,000 flight attendants who are also at risk of exposure to infectious diseases like the Ebola virus.

MRNY is a non-profit participatory service and advocacy organization for immigrants in New York comprised of 16,000 members. The organization’s Community Health Workers Training Program is adding Ebola and infectious disease training to CHW curriculum, encouraging hazard reduction in the workplace and spreading awareness throughout communities. NDLON is a network of 45 worker centers with training reaching immigrant workers and communities specifically within three grassroots centers: Wind of the Spirit, Workers Justice Project and New Labor.

On behalf of the TMC, the Ebola Biosafety and Infectious Disease Response Training Program will ensure that exposed union and immigrant workers are attaining proper awareness and learn how to protect themselves against Ebola and other infectious diseases in the workforce and their communities.

The Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education is a project of the United Steelworkers (USW), Communications Workers of America (CWA), Labor Institute, Make the Road New York (MRNY) and National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). TMC training programs reach more than 20,000 workers from more than 20 industry sectors across the nation annually. Funding is in support by awards through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIEHS, NIH).

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Posted In: Mazzocchi, USW

United Steelworkers (USW) Health, Safety and Environment Director Mike Wright shares how the declining number of American unions prove to be a threat to public health in an AJPH Editorial for the American Public Health Association (APHA). Read “The Decline of American Unions Is a Threat to Public Health” here.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, USW

USW District 9 regional health and safety trainingA series of health and safety training sessions were conducted throughout USW District 9 in the spring, providing local union members the opportunity to participate and connect with one another.

The classes were facilitated by Tony Mazzocchi Center worker-trainers within the district, who are mentored by veteran trainers Calvin Bozeman, Billy Edington and Karen Drewery. District 9 staff were also in attendance to most of these classes.

Worker-trainers taught condensed versions of the TMC’s hazard mapping course as well as the near-miss and incident investigation course. Prior to discussing training opportunities for the facility, district staff and trainers participated in a health and safety site assessment at Resolute Forest Products and met with the local union and company to assess their needs.

“I think the District 9 regional health and safety training has been well received by the locals. It has given the USW an opportunity to show the locals parts of some of the USWTMC curriculum available to them,” Edington said. “In addition, it has also provided members with an opportunity to voice their concerns with their staff reps and Wesley Thompson [District 9 health and safety coordinator], within their workplaces which I think is a great morale builder.” Edington is also a member of USW Local Union 9-288.

The series of regional health and safety training concluded on April 19 and consisted of nine sessions with a total of 188 local union members participating.

Training reported in this publication 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

Members of the USWTMC’s Triangle of Prevention staff, advisory group and newly formed committees are continuing their efforts to strengthen the program. In late October 2015, key staff and the advisory group met in Pittsburgh, Pa., to cultivate a shared vision and build a plan for program advancement.

TOP Rep training - March 15, 2016The meeting resulted in a refocused mission and a fully developed plan of action for TOP. The group identified four priority areas moving forward which initiated the formation of four working groups, comprised of TOP staff, representatives and alternates. These working groups, or committees, include 1) refresher training; 2) collaboration between TOP and local union leadership; 3) building solidarity and a collective voice through advanced communication; and 4) program awareness and conference planning.

The Curriculum Development Team, responsible for refresher training priorities, developed and piloted new material titled “Metrics and Indicators.” The material is in its final stage, undergoing revisions.

“The curriculum discusses leading and lagging indicators, what indicators are currently used at our worksites, why this matters to us as workers, and how to move to more leading indicators and then use them as a way to prevention and to improve safety,” TOP Representative Karen Drewery of USW Local Union 9-631-01 said. Drewery is leading the refresher training working group.

The committee focusing on TOP and local union leadership is working to identify means to provide guidance, support and resources to existing and new sites.

“The focus is to build solidarity and communication within each local,” Carmine Frangella of USW Local Union 13-750 said, “identify best practices for the local union officer and TOP representative turnover, maintain a high level of meaningful participation, and educate new officers and representatives on how to strengthen their programs.” Frangella serves as the TOP representative alternate.

TOP Rep training - March 15, 2016Mitch West is the TOP representative at USW Local Union 10-1, representing workers at Philadelphia Energy Solutions. West is involved in the committee to build a collective voice for TOP and share success stories as they arise. In 2015, Local Union 10-1 faced a barrier consisting of the involvement of TOP in safety training. After working closely with USW Union leadership and company management, it was negotiated that TOP refresher training becomes mandatory for the refinery population.

West explained that TOP is holding an eight-hour training day (two to three days a week) for 12 weeks on near-miss prevention and lessons for learning regarding incidents that occurred at PES.

“We started our first class on Monday, March 14, 2016, which went very well and was positively received,” West said.

The Triangle of Prevention group is also looking forward to hosting their own conference as part of the 2016 USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference.

“We have a new look this year for the TOP Conference,” Frangella said. “For the first time the conference will be lead by the advisory group.”

The TOP Conference committee is making great strides to create a successful conference for union members and their management counterparts. Local union leadership is invited to participate in union-only sessions and also to attend training specifically for TOP site leadership. Labor-management training will focus on refresher training, site reports, success stories and the presentation of two new TOP awards. The Glenn Erwin Award and the Fallen Workers Memorial Award will be given to TOP sites and local unions for significant improvements and collective involvement within the TOP program.

The team reported that they anticipate a very successful conference as they strive to advance the program.

For more information about the Triangle of Prevention program visit www.uswtmc.org/top. To register for the TOP Conference or nominate TOP sites and local unions for an award at the conference visit www.uswtmc.org/top-conference.

TOP logo


The Triangle of Prevention (TOP) Program is partially funded by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number U45ES006175. The TOP Program is administered by the United Steelworkers Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIEHS, NIH.

Posted In: Mazzocchi

Participants from worker centers affiliated with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) successfully completed the OSHA 500 course, and are now authorized OSHA Outreach worker-trainers within the construction industry. This new cadre of trainers are from not only California but Illinois, Washington, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Alabama.

The OSHA 500 class was conducted at the UCLA Labor Center in Los Angeles, Calif., April 25-28, 2016. Hector Escarcega of Dominguez Hills California State University facilitated the course. Dominguez Hills served as the sponsoring OSHA Training Institute.

“The training was intense,” Rodrigo Toscano said. “The students had to study a whole lot to prepare. They also had to prepare to teach. Each student taught a specific topic like electricity or scaffolds or slips and falls.” Toscano, who works at the Labor Institute, is the program liaison between the Tony Mazzocchi Center partnership and worker centers.

As a prerequisite to this course, NDLON members previously finished the OSHA 510 class on April 1, where they gained knowledge of Occupational Safety and Health Administration policies, procedures and standards as well as construction safety and health principles.

OSHA 500 graduates - April 28, 2016


The Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education is a project of the United Steelworkers (USW), Communications Workers of America (CWA), Labor Institute, Make the Road New York (MRNY) and National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). TMC training programs reach more than 20,000 workers from more than 20 industry sectors across the nation annually. Funding is in support by awards through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIEHS, NIH). Training reported in this article is supported by the NIEHS, NIH under award number UH4ES009761. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIEHS, NIH.

Posted In: Mazzocchi, OSHA

By Mary Krutz and Nikki Pollo

Every year dedicated members from multiple organizations and Department of Energy facilities gather together to continue the fight to protect the health of DOE workers as part of the Worker Health Protection Program (WHPP). Professionals from the DOE’s Former Worker Program, Queens College’s Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment, United Steelworkers, and program site coordinators from across the nation represent the individuals who continue to build WHPP.

The diverse cadre of coordinators are from sites in Portsmouth, Ohio; Paducah, Ky.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Idaho National Labs (INL); Mound in Dayton, Ohio; the Atomic Trades Labor Council (ATLC); Berkley Labs in California; and Nevada test sites. Each of these coordinators provide unique and individual reports in various regions.

The WHPP Annual Meeting convened on Sept. 14-16, 2015 at the Washington Court Hotel in D.C. During the meeting, the above mentioned members discussed and reviewed findings from the worker health protection screening program on numerous topics such as low dose CT scans, beryllium exposure, hearing loss and EEOICPA claims cases. DOE-FWP staff also provided updates and feedback from the DOE as a whole.


USW Tony Mazzocchi Center Program Coordinator Mary Krutz serves as coordinator of the program functions and overall interaction between the USW International, local unions, DOE and Queens College. She oversees and runs the submission process for the yearly reapplication of the grant, which is a five-year award. Krutz is also involved with activities supporting the DOE’s Joint Outreach Task Group. The JOTG strives to reach former workers and educate them on how to obtain free medical screenings.

“This meeting provides the WHPP site coordinators with a closed environment allowing them to discuss program issues with the USW, Queens and DOE,” Krutz said. “This annual meeting has allowed us to  foster better working relationships between all the partners.”

Mark Griffon was recognized and presented with the Sylvia Kieding Award at the assembly for his work and participation as an appointed committee member on the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health from 2002-2014. Griffon was previously a member of the Chemical Safety Board (CSB).

“I am honored to have been selected as the recipient of this year's Sylvia Kieding Award for pursuing justice and promoting occupational safety and health for workers,” Griffon said. “I am especially honored to receive an award named after Sylvia Kieding – a leader in the union health and safety movement, a colleague and a close friend.”

“This award is also a reminder of the importance of working with and for union members who are directly affected by unsafe working conditions.”

Sylvia KiedingSylvia Kieding (1945-2011) was an occupational health and safety specialist with the USW and its union predecessors for 40 years. She formerly directed the Occupational Safety and Health department of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW), a leading force in the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and in developing the Hazard Communication Standard among other occupational health policies. In 1997, she co-founded WHPP. Queens College and the USW created the Sylvia Kieding Award in 2012 to honor her, and to recognize dedicated people who strive effectively to advance the safety and health of workers, and who reflect Sylvia Kieding's commitment to justice.

“One of my best memories of working with Sylvia is traveling from Tennessee to Kentucky to Ohio and doing initial meetings with current and former workers at Oak Ridge, Paducah and Portsmouth to better understand health and safety issues at those sites,” Griffon said. “We would meet in hotels, the union hall, the local Denny’s and we would have these meetings at all hours of the day – we learned a lot and met a lot of wonderful people.”

Kieding’s legacy will carry on through the dedication of the individuals who have built and continue to strengthen the Worker Health Protection Program. The program coordinators and representatives are looking forward to a new year of strides to better protect the health of workers.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, USW

United Steelworkers (USW) oil workers convened at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pa., this month for a week-long health and safety training specifically shaped for their industry. The training on Aug. 10-14, 2015 was lead by TMC Program Coordinator John Scardella and USW Health, Safety and Environment Specialist Kim Nibarger. Worker-trainers Lori Kelso, Billy Edington and Joe DeRita were also there to co-facilitate.

The oil workers who took part in this training had missed an opportunity to take part in the 2015 USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference, due to a nation-wide USW oil strike, where union member battled for safer conditions and their rights as workers.

Oil Workers
Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, USW
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