Health & Safety

Employers have a moral and legal duty to provide a workplace free of known hazards. But too often, employers ignore safety risks or else blame the victim, contending that employees themselves are responsible for workplace accidents and diseases.

See below for a list of links with helpful health & safety information for workers

FROM THE UWUA CONSTITUTION:

More than 40 years after the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA), the number of on-the job injury deaths averages 13 every day plus there are an estimated 50,000 deaths from occupational diseases every year. Health and safety risks are endemic to the utility industry. In 2013, 40 utility workers died of work-related causes.

Health and safety risks are endemic to the utility industry. In 2013, 40 utility workers died of work-related causes.

OSHA’s budget has been slashed and enforcement hampered by austerity measures imposed by Congress. Government safety and health standards save lives, but the process for setting new standards is long and cumbersome. The standards for many serious hazards are out-of-date, and other workplace hazards have no standards at all; and

Whatever legal and contractual coverage UWUA members have, the most important factor affecting workplace safety is how effectively we organize in our workplaces and mobilize members to stand up for their right to a safe workplace. The key to achieving strong protections, whether through collective bargaining or the legislature, is a strong union. Safety and health are fundamental to building a strong union.

The key to achieving strong protections, whether through collective bargaining or the legislature, is a strong union. Safety and health are fundamental to building a strong union.

The UWUA leadership has made worker health and safety a top union priority. Utility workers must be prepared for emergency response. UWUA members are first responders in all emergencies dealing with electric, water, gas and steam. Through the use of federal grants and union resources, the UWUA initiated the Train The Trainers (TTT) program and training in the Systems of Safety (SOS) method, where training classes of both union and management workers begin after the completion of TTT. Training has steadily expanded and, to date, the UWUA SOS program has trained more than 6,000 workers over the last four years.

The UWUA calls on all members to support political candidates who champion the cause of health and safety, and who will insist that government agencies serve the best interests of workers. The UWUA opposes corporate and legislative efforts to weaken occupational health and safety laws, regulations, and enforcement. We will work for the passage of progressive legislation to better protect worker rights and safety.

The UWUA opposes corporate and legislative efforts to weaken occupational health and safety laws, regulations, and enforcement. We will work for the passage of progressive legislation to better protect worker rights and safety.

The UWUA urges Congress to fully fund the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and its sister agencies. We will fight to strengthen workers’ compensation and safety. All jurisdictions should increase workers’ compensation benefits. Loopholes favoring the employer must be closed so that all work-related injuries and occupational diseases are fully compensated regardless of the injury or disease.

We will continue to work for stronger workplace standards and expand our efforts to educate our members. Our goal is to ensure that every member knows his or her rights under the contract and the law — especially the right to refuse unsafe work. We will train the next generation of safety and health activists, and commit resources to resolving health and safety problems through successful programs such as the P4A training and the SOS Haz-mapping component in our UMAP veteran training. The UWUA will continue to provide technical assistance, training, and educational materials on health and safety to our local affiliates.

We will train the next generation of safety and health activists, and commit resources to resolving health and safety problems through successful programs such as the P4A training and the SOS Haz-mapping component in our UMAP veteran training.

We will continue our efforts to improve and enforce the health and safety clauses of our collective bargaining agreements, including the right to refuse unsafe work, immediate arbitration of health and safety disputes, union access to all relevant information, and an increased role for local union health and safety committees and representatives.

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