May 11, 2016

TOP leaders advance on efforts to strengthen the program

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 To register for the TOP Conference or nominate TOP sites and local unions for an award at the conference visit

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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.

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