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Spring 2013

The CSEA Central Region 5 Safety & Health Newsletter Joe Miceli, Safety & Health Committee Chair


Colleen Wheaton, Central Region President

Take advantage of these union trainings to make your work safer, healthier by CSEA Communications Specialist Mark Kotzin

A Message from Region President Colleen Wheaton Page 2

Thanks to a grant from the New York State Department of Labor’s Hazard Abatement Board, CSEA is currently offering these two FREE health and safety direct trainings for members, as well as management personnel. Call OSH Specialist Josh Kemp at (800) 559-7975 or e-mail him at: to arrange for a training at your workplace or union hall.

Message from the Chair Page 3

Work Zone-All Hazards Since 1983, a CSEA member has been killed every year while working on public roads across New York State. Road workers encounter a variety of dangerous hazards on the job every day. This training will discuss the specific hazards that road workers face from Asphalt to Workplace Violence and everything in between.

Workers Memorial Day photos Page 3

This course also covers the principles temporary traffic control, flagging and the requirements of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

Region Safety Roundup Page 4 Safety Hot Topic Page 5 Safety Reports Pages 6-7 DZO Campaign Continues Page 8

This workshop can be delivered as a four-hour course on just the principles of temporary traffic control or specific hazards common to your worksite or a seven-hour course can be selected that includes all of the information needed for roadwork safety. Each participant will receive a Pocket Guide with tons of useful information on specific hazards. This guide also includes a pre-work checklist, typical applications and pages for customized plans for use with dry erase markers. Back Injury Prevention and Awareness The most common injuries to CSEA members are back injuries. They can be extremely severe and cause lifelong pain and disabilities. Back injuries are expensive and increase overtime and turnover costs as well. This 2-4 hour course (course length depends on class size and variation of job titles present) will break down the myths around “safe” lifting techniques. Each participant will also learn to assess their workstation and get solutions on how employers can work with them to reduce the risk of back injury.

On Workers Memorial Day 2013

Our Region remembers by CSEA Communications Specialist Mark Kotzin

BINGHAMTON - For the third year in a row, our Region Safety and Health Committee has observed Workers Memorial Day by planting a “Living Memorial,” a tree and plaque in memory of fallen workers. In a brief ceremony on Sunday, April 28, the union dedicated the tree outside the Broome County Courthouse in Binghamton. Previous tree planting ceremonies were held in Schuyler County (2012), Watertown (2011) and East Syracuse (2010). Behind the newly planted “living memorial” tree, people gathered outside the Broome County Courthouse in Binghamton to observe Workers Memorial Day.

Continued on Page 3…


A Message From Region President Colleen Wheaton

We are all in this together… for workplace safety too! My seasonal president’s message (available on our web page at talks about the struggles and challenges we are currently facing around the Region and how we are “all in this together” when it comes to facing those challenges and fighting back. The same message Colleen Wheaton applies when looking at the threats to our workplace safety and health… we are all in this together. Even though CSEA has a highly effective Occupational Safety and Health Department, and we have an Occupational Safety and Health Specialist who works in our Region to make sure our workplaces are safer and healthier, when it comes to workplace issues, our own experts cannot do their jobs if you are not doing yours. What that means, in simple terms,

Alive! Is an official publication of the

CSEA Central Region Safety & Health Committee

Colleen Wheaton, President Joe Miceli, Chair Donald Lynskey, Advisor Josh Kemp, OSH Specialist Mark Kotzin, Editor Send address corrections to: CSEA, 6595 Kirkville Road East Syracuse, NY 13057

is that we rely on our members, activists, and leaders to be aware, and to let us know when a workplace safety and/or health hazard comes up. All too often, we find out long after the incident happened, or after all signs of any hazard cease to exist, that there may have been a problem, or in fact, that one of our members may have gotten injured.

“At the end of the day, one of the chief obligations we owe to each other as union workers is to watch out for each other and make sure we’ve got our co-workers’ backs. We need to make sure that everyone who comes to work healthy goes home the same way, every day.” Although we try and drill it into our activists and leaders that they need to report safety issues as quickly as possible, we find that sometimes they didn’t even know about what was going on until much too late. We recognize that our activists and leaders are spread out all over, and don’t always get out to every job site and work location on a regular basis. That’s why we need to ask our rank and file membership, even those who are rarely if ever involved with their union, to help us by being our eyes and ears when it comes to workplace safety or health concerns. To make it easier, I would ask you to do this: If it even seems like a hazard


does or might exist, or something looks even remotely suspicious, don’t assume that the union knows about it. Report the issue, concern or hazard to your nearest union officer. Ask them to report it to your workplace safety officer, or to call our CSEA OSH Specialist Josh Kemp to inquire about whether or not a hazard or potential hazard exists. We need to operate by the phrase “better safe than sorry.” I would much rather get too many reports about something that doesn’t turn out to be hazardous, than get no reports about something that ends up hurting one or more of our members.

At the end of the day, one of the chief obligations we owe to each other as union workers is to watch out for each other and make sure we’ve got our co-workers’ backs. We need to make sure that everyone who comes to work healthy goes home the same way, every day. That requires awareness from all of us, and we are committed as your union to doing our part to make sure that those in charge are paying attention. I wish you all a safe and healthy Spring and Summer. In Solidarity,

Workers Memorial Day Photos

WMD 2013 Continued from Page 1

The Safety and Health Committee’s goal is to plant one memorial tree in every county throughout our Region. The event started with a prayer from the Rev. Fred R. Jones, and a welcome from Region Second Vice President Tammy Witteman. CSEA Region 5 Safety and Health Committee Chair Joe Miceli installed the plaque and read the names of CSEA members who died on the job since last year’s observance of Workers Memorial Day. The names read were: ● ● ● ● ●

Photos, clockwise: Safety & Health Committee Chair Joe Miceli reads the inscription on the plaque dedicating the living memorial; the plaque set in front of the tree; and Miceli places the plaque dedicating the tree.

Jacqueline Wisniewski, Local 815 Jorge Guevara, Local 865 Daniel Methven, Local 852 Steven Polelli, Local 615 Daniel Kramer, Local 855

Region First Vice President Casey Walpole, Secretary Chantalise DeMarco and Treasurer Lori Nilsson were also on hand for the observance, and were joined by members of the Safety & Health Committee as well as members of the labor community.

A message from the Chair by Joe Miceli, Chair, Region 5 Safety & Health Committee

Well it’s road construction time again. Remember those are our brothers & sisters on the road working, so please be careful and don’t zone out! The region 5 Safety & Health Committee is working on a new project and we need your help. With all the recent weather emergencies, floods, hurricanes and storms, plus man-made emergencies like shootings, our statewide Safety &


Health Committee wants us to find out which workplaces have Emergency Action Plans in place. We need to know if your place of work has one, if there’s any training provided to workers, and if so, is it done yearly? If you could take the time to notify us as to your workplace’s status, please e-mail us at: If you don’t have an Emergency Action Plan, CSEA has the resources to help you put one in place. Don’t wait until the next emergency to find

out that your workplace lacks a proper plan! Contact OSH Specialist Josh Kemp at the Region Office or any member of our Region Committee (see listing on back). Have a safe summer!


Safety Happenings Around The Region

Safety Happenings: Around the Region Workplace Violence Prevention (WVP) Workplace violence is an issue that continues as a concern for all public sector workers – from office workers to flaggers, those in social services, to those working in correctional facilities. We have been reviewing and working on several WVP programs throughout the Region. A common area where employers tend not to be compliant is in involving an authorized employee representative (a representative chosen by the union, NOT the employer). ● In Cortland County, we met with labor and management and identified the deficiencies in the County’s program and hope to work together to improve this program. ● Onondaga County is now working with us to improve their program and involve the authorized employee representatives. The County has also agreed to integrate bullying into the WVP program; Bullying is an issue very important to the members throughout Onondaga County. ● In the City of Watertown, we met with labor, management and the elected officials to review the City’s WVP program and agreed to work together to improve their program. We will continue to meet to provide guidance and ensure that the city has an effective program. ● Tompkins County union officials met with management to discuss our concerns with the county’s WVP Program. In this case the county was unresponsive and the union filed a PESH complaint that is currently pending. ● CNY DDSO is also continuing to work on their WVP Program. Officers and members have been very proactive and diligent. Assessment teams will be visiting every residence and facility in the coming months to identify workplace violence risks.


Ergonomics ● In the Madison County DSS, we met with labor and management to discuss an ergonomics program, then conducted an assessment of the workstations throughout the DSS offices. We now hope to move forward with training and the development of a comprehensive program. ● Baldwinsville School District food service workers are required to repetitively handle large quantities of boxes of frozen foods. The employees were told that they could no longer use a cart to handle these boxes and that they must handle them by hand. The School District would not cooperate with the union to remedy this issue; therefore, the union filed a PESH complaint, which is currently pending. Work Zone Safety ● In the Town of Otsego Highway Department, we met with officers, members, management and town officials, regarding work zone safety and what was needed for the town to be in compliance. OSH Specialist Kemp them trained the whole Highway Department in CSEA’s Work zone Safety/Temporary Traffic Control. ● OSH Specialist Kemp delivered an all-day Work Zone-All Hazard training to both the City of Auburn Highway Department and the Lewis County Highway Department. Investigations/Inspections/L-M Meetings When safety issues are not addressed, we often conduct walk through inspections or record reviews, going over the results in Labor-Management meetings to ensure appropriate corrective actions. Here are some areas we’ve addressed concerns: ● Several members working in the CNY DDSO’s Camden Day-Hab

A Regional Safety Overview from OSH Specialist Josh Kemp

had concerns with an extremely bad odor along with some health issues. PESH inspected and issued a citation for lack of vermin control. After several months the odor was still present, still raising concern; the agency agreed to let the CSEA OSH Specialist and Industrial Hygienist do a more thorough inspection. It was then discovered that there were many water issues that may have caused mold growth. Technical Assistance Ÿ Provided technical assistance and resolved a concern with members at SUNY Morrisville entering a building on campus to clean it out. Several concerns were raised, including proper protective equipment (PPE), indoor air quality (IAQ), concrete dust, and mold. After discussions with the Local President and the campus Safety and Health office it was agreed that this “clean out” was not necessary (the building was undergoing major reconstruction/partial demolition and it was not necessary for the items to be removed from the building). Fire Response We have recently had several fires throughout the Region, including a campus building at SUNY Oneonta, the Schuyler County Highway garage, and in a Tompkins County DSS office. Some things to remember if there is a fire: know what may have burned in the fire (ie. chemicals); know if the Fire Department has allowed re-occupancy; if cleaning up after the fire, look at the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for any cleaner or chemicals you are using and make sure you have the proper PPE; and if water was used to suppress/ extinguish the fire, that water is a key component for mold growth if the area is not dried out.

Safety Hot Topic

Hot Topic: Unattended workplace deaths need to be investigated by CSEA Communications Specialist Mark Kotzin

In February, we had the very unusual coincidence of having two separate incidences of members dying at their workplace while unattended. One incident occurred in the power plant at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and the other in the Tompkins County Mental Health Department. In both cases, the workers were found by co-workers after they had been alone for some period of time. While it seemed likely at the time that both deaths were due to natural causes, they still warranted investigation by CSEA’s Occupational Safety and Health Department to determine if, in any way,

they could have been preventable, and if proper procedures and follow-up were adhered to. “Even when someone dies of what appears to be natural causes, we need to make sure that there weren’t any contributing factors that could have contributed to their death, or something that could have been done to possibly lessen the risk of fatality,” said OSH Specialist Josh Kemp. Kemp investigated both incidents. Tompkins County has still not released any information or reported the death to the Department of Labor. They are currently investigating after being notified by CSEA.

Caught on Camera: CSEA Occupational Safety & Health Specialist Josh Kemp, lower left, and OSH Project Manager Matt Kozak, upper left, meet with CNY DDSO Local 414 officers and activists to review safety concerns from throughout the Local. Also pictured are Lori Nilsson, Jeff Roberts, Sue Jones, Barry Richards, Theresa Cummins and Robert Camporeale.

Safety Tip Links: Summertime Safety As we get into the season of constant lawn mowing and barbeque grilling, people sometimes forget the hazards involved with operating gasoline-powered equipment or propane-powered grills. Here are a few websites that offer safety tips on each topic. Visit them to learn more:


Safety Reports

Safety Report: Watertown DOT Bridge Crew workers save co-worker’s life through teamwork by CSEA Communications Specialist Mark Kotzin, with assistance from DOT Regional Bridge Maintenance Engineer Rick Hunkins

One afternoon last July, it took a team effort of state employees working in the Department of Transportation’s Watertown Bridge Shop to save a co-worker’s life. After returning from a series of field visits, Bridge Repair Supervisor and Local 015 member John Netto was doing paperwork alone in his office. He had earlier complained about feeling “lousy,” but was continuing to work. After about an hour and fifteen minutes in his office, co-worker Stuart Greenhill, a bridge repair mechanic, noticed Netto slumped in his chair and unresponsive. He immediately yelled for help and for someone to call 911. Bridge Repair Supervisor Dick Laduke went ahead and contacted 911.

Regional Bridge Maintenance Engineer Rick Hunkins, who is also an Emergency Medical Technician, worked with Greenhill to get Netto onto the floor. Hunkins then started chest compressions until Greenhill returned with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) which he then affixed to Netto’s chest. While the


AED was analyzing, Bridge Repair Supervisor Stacey Pitkin went to Hunkin’s car to get his EMT bag, which contained a breathing mask. Workers Richard Brown and Bill Terry went out to the front gate to flag down the ambulance that was on its way. After Greenhill delivered the initial shock through the AED, Netto began to breathe once more and Hunkins felt his pulse return. When the ambulance arrived minutes later, paramedics took over, maintaining Netto’s airway, starting an IV and monitoring his vitals. One paramedic asked Hunkins, “is that the State’s AED?” When he responded yes, the paramedic told him, “that’s the best investment you’ve ever made.” As the ambulance crew worked on Netto, various members of the bridge staff assisted with carrying their equipment, holding IV bags, notifying John’s family, and retrieving personnel information for the hospital. Workers then assisted with carrying John down the stairway on a backboard, and loading him into the ambulance. Building Mechanic Kevin Austin was among those who also assisted. Emergency room personnel later reiterated to Hunkins that the AED “definitely saved John’s life.” It was later determined that his heart had stopped due to a rare reaction to medications.

CSEA Local 015 President Fred Gerloff said that the teamwork under pressure from the members of the Bridge Crew was “outstanding” and credited everyone involved for saving Netto’s life. “DOT is a family, and they proved that when they all pulled together to save John’s live,” Gerloff said. After four months, Netto returned to work, and is reportedly doing fine. Region President Colleen Wheaton congratulated the workers for their performance. “These workers did a tremendous job working together and because of it, their co-worker is still alive. They all deserve credit and congratulations for what they did that day.”

Safety Reports

Safety Report: Union files complaints against SUNY Oswego over WPV program deficiencies by Andy Salvagni, SUNY Oswego Local 611 Safety Committee Chair

Last April, CSEA Local 611 filed a complaint with the state Department of Labor citing deficiencies in SUNY Oswego's Workplace Violence Prevention Program. A review of the complaint submitted and an on site inspection of the workplace revealed two "serious" violations. 1 - The employer did not annually evaluate the workplace to determine risk factors and control measures which may place employees at risk of workplace violence; and 2 - The employer did not develop and implement a program of employee training. A "Notice of Violation and Order to Comply" was issued. Abatement dates of October and November were set. The Safety and Health Committee has worked very hard the past few years to get the management of SUNY Oswego to take this regulation seriously. Almost every monthly Labor/Management Safety &

Health Committee meeting had Workplace Violence Prevention as a main point in our agenda. Local President Joe Miceli and Vice President Casey Walpole even went as far as requesting meetings with the Vice President for Administration (to no avail). Although it was made clear that we would file a complaint with the DOL if steps were not taken to get into compliance with the regulation, no signs of cooperation with the union were ever given and the requests for meetings with the Vice President for Administration went unanswered. Once we started working with the Department of Labor, the administration became very motivated to work with the union to take steps to ensure the safety of our members. They did meet the abatement dates that were set. We were able to evaluate the SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center and the Metro Center in Syracuse. They developed and got everyone to use an online training program which we felt was the best way to go considering the number and differing

schedules of all the staff and faculty. We have recently gotten a new director of Human Resources who appears to be employee friendly and has expressed interest in working with the union and will be talking with us about CSEA safety trainings. Our Safety and Health Committee continues to try to build a cooperative and trusting relationship with management. Using the Department of Labor to issue violations was not a move that we took lightly. Every effort was made to avoid filing an official complaint. Above anything else, we hope that taking that step shows our commitment to workplace safety and our willingness and ability to use every resource available to achieve that goal. We hope to schedule a annual reevaluation of our hazard assessment in the near future as we will be opening three renovated buildings and a new science & engineering center this fall. Hopefully we are moving in a new and productive direction.

When it comes to keeping proper safety records…

Don’t let employers off the hook! by CSEA Occupational Safety & Health Specialist Josh Kemp

Don’t let employers off the hook! The NYS Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) Act requires all employers to maintain records of all work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities (Labor Law sec. 27-a, part 801) on the SH 900 form. You have a right to request copies of these records to hold them accountable. It is very important for a union representative to request these logs because they can identify who is getting hurt, where they are getting hurt and the severity of the injury. These logs can assist in building a union argument for contract language that strengthens worker safety, along with giving safety and health committees focus on eliminating existing hazards that result in injury or illness. Reviewing these logs will also hold the employer accountable to provide a safe and healthy workplace, while ensuring that they are in compliance with the regulation. Employers must keep records of fatalities and injury/ illnesses


that result in days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job; medical treatment beyond first aid; loss of consciousness or any significant injury/ illness. Union representatives, employees, former employees, or personal representatives can ask for copies of the SH 900’s and the employer must provide a copy of the logs by the end of the next business day. For more information or assistance in requesting and reviewing your employer’s SH 900 logs, contact Region 5 OSH Specialist Josh Kemp at (800) 559-7975.

Keep 5 Alive

We need to know! If you come across a serious workplace hazard or have any type of emergency situation arise that has or could jeopardize the safety of CSEA members, you should immediately notify your nearest CSEA Officer, and request that they immediately report the situation to CSEA’s Occupational Safety and Health Specialist Josh Kemp. CSEA can most effectively respond to emergency situations and protect your safety with prompt notification. This allows us to assess the situation and to hopefully address problems before anyone is hurt. OSH Specialist Josh Kemp can be reached at (800) 5597975, ext. 4217.

Spring 2013

Region 5 Safety & Health Committee Members Joe Miceli, Chair, SUNY Oswego.............................................................(315) 312-2732 Donald Lynskey, Regional Advisor..........................................................(315) 794-8802 King Davis, Syracuse State Employees....................................................(315) 423-1274 Anthony DeCaro, Cayuga County............................................................(315) 253-8754 Ronald Doughty, Upstate Medical University.........................................(315) 464-4351 James Jackson, Oswego County................................................................(315) 341-2906 Athena Manley, Otsego County................................................................(607) 432-4800 Dan Markowski, Madison County............................................................(315) 684-3161 Don Meenan, CNY DDSO.........................................................................(315) 383-8970 Rick Nauseef, SUNY Cortland..................................................................(607) 753-2120 Linda Park, Onondaga County.................................................................(315) 435-3280 Tom Reed, Broome DDSO.........................................................................(607) 237-3304 Natalie Spilman, Region 5 Judiciary........................................................(315) 379-2219 Jennifer Struble, Greater Binghamton Health Center..........................(607) 773-4625 Karen Tisci, Southern Tier State Employees..........................................(607) 741-4414 Julie Young, SUNY Oneonta.................................................................(607) 610-4112

Note: The Safety & Health Committee has recently undergone a reorganization following our officer elections, and we are currently seeking additional activists to be appointed by their presidents who have a commitment to safety and health issues. Committee nomination forms are available by calling the Region Office at (800) 559-7975.

Safety Awareness: Don’t Zone Out campaign continues by Mark Kotzin, CSEA Communications Specialist

CSEA’s highly acclaimed Don’t Zone Out campaign is continuing to raise awareness around the state about the dangers of distracted driving, with a visibility initiative tied to America’s favorite summer pastime. At minor league and collegiate baseball games around the state, CSEA will be giving out free window cling stickers featuring the Don’t Zone Out logo (as shown at right). CSEA Region 5 has a number of these window cling stickers available on a first-come, first-served basis. To get yours, stop by the Region Office, or call (800) 559-7975.


Keep 5 Alive! Spring 2013  

Keep 5 Alive! is the official newsletter of the CSEA Central Region 5 Safety & Health Committee.

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