The State Workforce Injury Reduction Act, A.9724/S.7500, introduced by Assemblyman Rory Lancman and Senator Joseph Addabbo, has been delivered to Governor David Paterson and is awaiting his signature.
Each year the New York State Department of Civil Service writes a report detailing workers' compensation rates for each state agency. The bill would require state agencies to examine their agency's workers' compensation rates as described in the report and to work with employee representatives to develop plans to reduce injuries and illnesses in their agency.
This legislation is supported by the AFL-CIO, the Public Employee Federation, the Civil Service Employee Association, the New York State Law Enforcement Officers Union, the New York State Correction Officers and Police Benevolent Association, District Council 37 and the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health.
Vigil Held for Assaulted Nurse
Assemblyman Lancman attended a vigil in support of a nurse who was assaulted by a psychiatric patient at Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream, New York. This is the second attack in less than a month on a nurse in New York State; in late August, a nurse was beaten by a psychiatric patient at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, New York.
Nurses are the most likely of all healthcare workers to be assaulted on-the-job. A.3103/S.4018, co-sponsored by Assemblyman Lancman and signed into law by Governor Paterson in August, increases the penalty for assaulting nurses to class C and D felonies.
Subcommittee Meets with Long Island Federation of Labor's Safety and Health Committee
Assemblyman Lancman met with the Long Island Federation of Labor's Safety and Health Committee, including representatives of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union Local 338, the Service Employees International Union 1199 Long Island, the National Association of Letter Carriers Local 3000, New York State United Teachers, Jobs with Justice, the Communication Workers of America Local 1104, the Civil Service Employee Association, the Long Island Occupational Environmental Health Center, the Workforce Development Institute, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1049, and the Public Employee Federation.
Issues discussed at the meeting included creating a statewide safe patient handling program for the health care industry, ensuring that Long Island workers are prepared to safely respond to emergency situations, and improving safety conditions for road maintenance workers.
The Subcommittee looks forward to working with the Federation to improve job safety for the hundreds of thousands of working men and women on Long Island.
Subcommittee Staff Attends "Best Practices in Construction Safety" Conference
McGraw Hill Companies hosted a conference to share updates on new safety technologies and innovations from New York's construction leaders. Major contractors were present, along with building trades union representatives and representatives from OSHA and the NYC Department of Buildings, the Fire Department and the Port Authority.
Several contractors made presentations on safety strategies used on completed and ongoing construction projects. Representatives from Turner Construction Company presented on safety measures taken in the demolition of Yankee Stadium.
Volunteer Firefighter and Department of Public Works Employee Die Tarrytown Manhole; CSEA Calls the Incident Preventable
Two workers died in Tarrytown, New York just doing their jobs. Tarrytown Department of Public Works employee Anthony Ruggiero attempted to stop a blockage in a sewer but the flames overwhelmed him and he became unconscious. Volunteer Firefighter and full time New York State Department of Transportation employee John Kelly attempted to rescue Mr. Ruggiero, but he too lost consciousness due to the fumes. The workers were found by rescuers and were unable to be resuscitated. Both men were members of the Civil Service Employee Association (CSEA).
The New York State Department of Labor's Bureau of Public Employee Safety and Health is conducting an investigation to determine whether the employer was responsible for the deaths. Billy Ricaldo, Southern Region President of CSEA, told the Westchester Journal News that the incident was "100 percent preventable," and that if the village had "provided proper and comprehensive confined space training and implemented the required written plan, this horrible tragedy would have been prevented."
Study Shows Workplace Safety To Be Most Important Issue for Workers
A study entitled "Public Attitudes Towards and Experiences with Workplace Safety," conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, found that 85 percent of workers rank workplace safety as the most important work issue, ahead of family and maternity leave, minimum wage, paid sick days, overtime pay, and the right to join a union.
The study also found that about 12 percent of workers experienced an on-the-job injury in the past year and 37 percent of workers surveyed required medical attention for a work related injury or illness at least one point in their lives.