Posted in 'USW'

From the United Steelworkers (USW):

CONTACT: Mike Wright at 412-562-2581; mwright@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) today praised the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announcement of a final rule revising the current regulation on its injury and illness record-keeping requirements.

Under the revised rule, all employers must submit illness and injury reports electronically, with a frequency dependent on the size of the workplace. Previously, OSHA's regulations only required employers covered under OSHA to record and maintain illness and injury reports.

"The new rule requiring work accident and illness data to be submitted electronically provides OSHA with information on serious injuries and illnesses, saving workers’ lives and making workplaces safer," said Michael Wright, USW Director of the Health, Safety and Environment Department.

“The electronic posting of this information will also allow easy access to essential data,” said Wright, “enhancing the ability of workers, unions and management officials to efficiently identify workplace hazards and unsafe conditions and to take action to prevent future injuries.”

In addition to these changes, the rule helps to ensure the accuracy of workplace injury and illness reports. It enhances workers’ understanding of their rights to report injuries and illnesses, and it puts in place safeguards so that employers that try to underreport workplace illnesses and injuries or retaliate against workers who report can now be held accountable.

“This rule will be instrumental in altering the landscape,” said Wright. “Workers can now feel free to report work-related injuries and illnesses, the hazards responsible for them can be identified and addressed, and OSHA can fulfill its role in ensuring the protection of this nation’s workforce.”

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

Posted In: USW

From the United Steelworkers (USW):

(Pittsburgh, March 24, 2016)  – The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued long-awaited final rules sought by the USW to protect workers from the deadly dangers of silica dust.

The new rules, the first update to regulations governing silica dust in four decades, are expected to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease. ... more

Posted In: OSHA, USW

From the United Steelworkers (USW):

Two USW leaders recently joined their fellow oil workers from around the world to draft a list of priorities for improving occupational health and safety for oil and gas workers in the Arctic.

Kim Nibarger, a former refinery worker and safety representative who was recently named the new chair of the USW’s National Oil Bargaining Program (NOBP), and Fritz Guenther, a health and safety representative for Local 4959 which represents workers on Alaska’s north slope, traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, for four days in late January for the meetings, sponsored by the IndustriALL Global Union and the International Labour Organization. ... read more

Posted In: Health and Safety, USW

Kate Gibson, CBS News

Already in severe economic distress from tumbling demand and plunging energy prices, the nation's beleaguered coal industry started the new year on a tragic note: Three miners died on the job in the first three weeks of 2016.

While it would be a mistake to draw too much from the spate of fatalities, the man in charge of keeping miners safe found the death toll troubling, particularly given the fatal accidents in January follow the two back-to-back safest years in U.S. mining history. ... read more

Posted In: Health and Safety, MSHA, USW
February 04, 2016

Shared from the United Steelworkers (USW):

Contact: Amanda Green (412) 562-2398 agreen@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement today in recognition of February being Black History Month:

Black History Month honors the many contributions that African-Americans have made to the United States. We also take this time to honor the contributions that African-American workers have made to this country’s labor movement and to our Union.

African-American workers fought for dignity and respect in the workplace, but they also had another battle – the fight for racial equality. These struggles continue as we see African-Americans disproportionately impacted by unemployment, low-wage jobs, voter disenfranchisement and suppression, and mass incarceration. ... read more

Posted In: USW

Contact: Lynne Hancock, USW, (cell) 615-828-6169, lhancock@usw.org

PittsburghUnited Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard announced Dec. 18 that Kim Nibarger will be the new chair of the union’s oil sector and head the oil bargaining nationwide. Nibarger replaces former oil bargaining chair, USW International Vice President Gary Beevers, who retired Dec. 1.

“Because he has served as both a safety expert and a local union president, Nibarger will bring crucial leadership and experience to this vital position,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. ... more

Posted In: USW

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

Contact: James Frederick (412) 562-2586, jfrederick@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) today commended the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for moving forward with its proposed rule on occupational exposure to beryllium.

The proposal was announced during a meeting today by Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels, Richard J. Hipple, President and CEO of Materion Corporation, and USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

“We applaud the release of this proposed rule,” said Gerard. “When it goes into effect, it will save not only the lives of USW members, but all workers exposed to beryllium.”

The USW represents thousands of workers who manufacture or use beryllium alloys and beryllium-containing products in a number of industries.

“Beryllium is a highly useful metal, but beryllium dust and fume can cause severe, debilitating and sometimes fatal lung disease,” said USW Health, Safety and Environment Director Mike Wright. “This rule has been long in coming, but we can finally see the finish line.”

The USW has been involved in beryllium rulemaking since 1977, when OSHA first proposed a new standard. It took 35 years, including the time when political pressure forced cancellation of the rulemaking.  In 2012, however, a collaborative effort between Materion Corporation, the world’s largest beryllium producer, and the USW resulted in a draft model standard that was presented to OSHA.

Following the publication of the proposal in the Federal Registrar, there will be a 90-day comment period. The USW hopes that when the comment period comes to a conclusion, the agency will move swiftly to ensure that this proposal becomes law.

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/.

Posted In: USW, OSHA

By Nikki Pollo

On May 1, the United Steelworkers Tony Mazzocchi Center and their affiliates were granted an award for Ebola Biosafety and Infectious Disease Response Training by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS, NIH). The award will span over the course of three months, ending on July 31, 2015.

Along with the USWTMC, the partnership includes the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Labor Institute, Make the Road New York (MRNY) and National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON).
training
Utilizing this award the partnership will build a cadre of health and safety professionals, both English and Spanish speaking, who will assist with instructing selected worker-trainers throughout numerous industries who will then share their knowledge in perspective fields. These trainers will demonstrate curriculum on Ebola awareness, as well as other infectious disease and bloodborne pathogens.

Most all health and safety professionals within the partnership are already certified in hazardous waste operations and emergency response training. As a result of their current certifications and newly practiced disease awareness training, these experienced trainers will be available in times of crisis and epidemic to assist in responding to emergencies.

Labor Institute Director Les Leopold explains that the Ebola infectious disease supplement allows the group to transfer their hazardous waste training skills to the area of infectious diseases.

“Many USW-represented workers will be asked to work in and around people who may carry highly contagious diseases,” Leopold said. “These workers need and deserve training.”

The TMC partnership represents 60,000 healthcare workers, 50,000 airline flight attendants, airline airport agents, and thousands of immigrant workers employed as community healthcare workers, airline cleaners, baggage handlers, and other cleaners in and around hospitals designated as Ebola treatment care centers, among multiple other industries. The workers represented above are the most at risk of being exposed to Ebola and other infectious diseases.

“This pilot program allows us to begin training a wide range of workers at medical facilities, community health workers, airport cleaners and airline personnel,” Leopold said. “Our pilot grant allows us to train trainers who will conduct four-hour awareness level programs on Ebola and other infectious diseases.”

The material developed for this training was created and piloted in the field by health and safety expert Bernard Mizula (MS, CIH, CET, CHS-V, RPIH), who is contracted to work with the TMC on this and many other projects concerning his expertise. The first implementation of this curriculum was presented during classes facilitated by Mizula at the 2015 USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference.

The partnership is currently preparing these professionals and working on the training of at-risk workers. An opportunity targeting healthcare workers who are members of UPTE-CWA Local Union 9119 is scheduled for July 18, 2015 in Berkeley, Calif.

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