The UWUA is entering the last year of a five-year federal grant, obtained through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). NIEHS has focused the grant on hazard awareness and emergency preparation because it recognizes the need for workers to be involved with the changing climate of natural and manmade disasters.
Creating a safe workplace
The UWUA continues to use the Systems of Safety (SOS) program to train members to facilitate safety classes using the Small Group Activity Method (SGAM). The concept behind SGAM is that the trainer need not be the expert but, by leading the class through a series of activities, he/she can tap into the class participants’ knowledge and expertise to not only recognize hazards, but also how to best control the hazard in order to create a safe work environment. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the hazard from the system completely.
Several locals have participated in the training. With strong support of New York Local 1-2 leadership, the training has made a difference at Con Edison. In 2011, then-President Harry Farrell and VP James Slevin met with ConEd Sr. VP John McAvoy and Central Operations Mgr. Ed Conway and agreed to work together on safety and health with the goal of having all workers go home safely at the end of the day. SOS was introduced and several train the trainer sessions of union members have been conducted.
Other divisions of Con Edison, such as Electric Operations and Customer Field Services, have also been trained with even more participating as observers. To date, the UWUA has trained over 2,700 ConEd workers through the program.
Local 1-2 President James Slevin, VP James Shillito and the officers of the local continue their strong support for the program, as it is working to build a culture of safety through training, communications, teamwork, and positive relationships.