Juvenile Justice System Gets Results
As reported in the Times Union and The Chief, Assemblyman Lancman recently released a report on employee safety in the New York State juvenile justice system. According to Jonathan Rosen, Safety and Health Director for the Public Employee Federation which represents employees of the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), even before the report was released OCFS met with union representatives with a draft of the report in hand to discuss the recommendations in the report. A top priority during the meeting was to address the recommendation to collaborate with staff members to develop an adequate support program for employees who have been assaulted and injured by residents.
OSHA Director Dr. David Michaels Briefs NYS Workplace
Health and Safety Leaders on the State of OSHA
Dr. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), visited New York City to describe OSHA's recent progress and future plans.
Currently, OSHA is focusing its attention on the safety of oil spill clean-up workers in the Gulf of Mexico. In the long term, OSHA looks forward to adding 100 inspectors nationally, educating workers in multiple languages on how to stay safe on the job, and increasing the fines for employers who violate safety and health standards. Dr. Michaels also mentioned a goal to create an infectious disease standard to prevent situations like the 2009 H1N1 outbreak in which national, state and local governments were at odds about the appropriate H1N1 prevention procedures to follow.
Dr. Michaels made it clear in his presentation that OSHA's top priority is to maintain the health and safety of the US workforce.
Taxi Workers Visit Albany to Lobby for
Taxi Driver Protection Act
The New York Taxi Workers' Alliance led a motorcade of taxis from New York City to Albany in support of A.10058/S.7022, the Taxi Driver Protection Act, sponsored by Asssemblyman Lancman and Senator Eric Adams.
The bill would establish the penalty for assaulting a taxi driver as a felony and mandate that signs be posted in taxis that say "WARNING: Assaulting A Taxi Driver Is A Felony Punishable By Up To Seven Years In Prison."
Representatives from the Taxi Workers' Alliance were introduced at the start of Assembly session and the Chamber applauded the taxi workers for their brave service to New York City and the State of New York.
Subcommittee on Workplace Safety Surveys
State Employers to Asses Success of the Workplace
Violence Prevention Law
Under the New York State Public Employer Workplace Violence Prevention Law, public employers had until August 2009 to work with public employee unions to establish plans to prevent violence in their workplaces.
This month, the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety sent out surveys to each New York State agency and to the fifty largest public authorities regarding each entity's compliance with the Workplace Violence Prevention Law. The survey also asks for a copy of each entity's workplace violence prevention policy and program, including the written tool used to determine risks of violence at each workplace. Responses are due by June 15.
The Subcommittee hopes to hold a hearing on compliance and effectiveness of the Workplace Violence Prevention Law in Fall 2010.
BP Ignored OSHA Standards
According to the Center for Public Integrity, BP has received 97% of the flagrant safety and health violations out of the entire US refining industry. Most of the company's violations have been classified by OSHA as "egregious willful." As of May 16, BP owed ninety million dollars in OSHA fines.The April 20th explosion that killed eleven workers was not the first of the company's deadly incidents. In March 2005, fifteen employees were killed in a refinery blast in Texas City, Texas. Jordan Barab, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said, "BP has a serious, systemic safety problem in their company."