Assemblyman Lancman has is now spearheading passage of the Safe Patient Handling Act, A.1370, which had been carried by former Assembly Labor Committee Chair Susan John.
Safe Patient Handling policies replace manual lifting and moving tasks performed by healthcare professionals with machines and other training, protecting both the patient who is being moved, and relieving the stress of manual lifting from the healthcare professionals.
This bill would (1) create a safe patient handling task-force, (2) direct the New York State Department of Health to establish a safe patient handling policy, and (3) require each covered healthcare facility to write and execute a plan that coincides with that policy.
The healthcare industry is ranked among the most hazardous both in the nation and in New York state, with many of the injuries caused by over- extension. Safe Patient Handling programs in New York state have already proven effective in preventing injuries and saving money by decreasing lost work days.
This legislation is supported by the NYS AFL-CIO, the Public Employees Federation, the Civil Service Employees Association, the NYS Nurse's Association.
Bronx Psychiatric Center employees, represented by the Public Employees Federation and the Civil Service Employees Association, filed a complaint with the New York State Department of Labor in September 2010 for the facility's non-compliance with the New York State Public Employer Workplace Violence Prevention Law. Assemblyman Lancman attended a rally with workers who have recently experienced rising rates of workplace violence.
In a follow up inspection, the Department of Labor found that the facility was still not in compliance with the regulations and the facility was fined. The Subcommittee will be meeting with the Commissioner of the NYS Office of Mental Health to discuss the workplace violence prevention changes needed for this facility, and to discuss how future changes can be implemented faster and more effectively.
Assemblyman Lancman was invited to speak at the annual meeting of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH). Assemblyman Lancman discussed the work the Subcommittee and NYCOSH have pursued together in the last year, including performing workshops, spreading the word about workplace safety, and collaborating on reports and legislation. Assemblyman Lancman expressed a commitment to continue working with NYCOSH in 2011 to improve safe working conditions in New York.
Strongly supported by the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety, the Wage Theft Prevention Act was passed by the Assembly and Senate and signed into law by former Governor David Paterson. This new law increases the penalties for employers who withhold wages from employees and strengthens the protections for those employees who speak up against wage theft.
It is generally the case that employers who cut corners by withholding wages also cut corners on workplace safety. This legislation further levels the playing field between fair and unfair employers, punishing those employers who steal wages from employees.
Assemblyman Lancman attended the Jewish Labor Committee's annual Human Rights Awards Dinner at which Stu Appelbaum declared: "Being Jewish is not simply lighting candles on Hanukah, it is fighting for justice." This includes fighting for all workers' rights to a safe and healthy workplace.
Mr. Appelbaum is also president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Recipients of this year's Human Rights Awards were Christopher Erikson, Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union Number 3, and Nelson Peltz, co-founder and CEO of Trian Fund Management.
Assemblyman Lancman met with Local 12 of the International Association on of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers to discuss workplace safety issues and promote green jobs. Local 12 has an established environmental mission statement and works on insulating pipes to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions for a cleaner, healthier environment.
The process of mechanical insulation has been commended for its energy saving abilities by President Barack Obama. Local 12 is committed to the proper installation and maintenance of mechanical insulation. The Subcommittee on Workplace Safety recognizes Local 12's efforts and that such work can be dangerous, which is why Local 12 provides extensive health and safety training for its members.
The Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1056, represents bus drivers in New York City. Due to their constant exposure with the public, bus drivers are at high risk of on-the-job assault and the spread of infectious disease. These are two issues the Subcommittee has worked closely with Local 1056 on producing reports on "H1N1 in the Workplace" and on "Workplace Violence in New York State." The Subcommittee will continue to work with Local 1056 to ensure its members safety and health needs are met.
The Subcommittee attended an Emergency Preparedness training workshop for teachers in Career and Technical Education Schools in New York City. The workshop was hosted by the United Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers. Teachers need to be familiar with emergency preparedness plans in order to secure their own safety and the safety of their students in case of an emergency situation. In New York City, schools must be prepared for a wide variety of emergency situations, from school shootings to blizzards. The workshop was an excellent way to inform teacher representatives from across the city on what they need to know in case of an emergency situation.