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Safety Reports

St. Pete Main Building

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St. Pete Main OSHA health hazard complaint investigation

On July 20th 2010 an anonymous complaint was filed with OSHA concerning health hazards in the St. Pete main building. The alleged hazards were:

1 Employees are exposed to respiratory hazard from the construction dust and;

2- Employees are exposed to eye hazard from the construction dust and debris.

On Thursday July 22nd an on site meeting was held with Kevin Cantero (Verizon Safety Director), Dean Fogo (Verizon real estate), Bill Delk (Building Maintenance Tech) and I. We contacted the general contractor, Mark Scott who performed the work in question. Mark explained that the carpet on the 3rd floor had been removed on June 8th through June 18th. It was verified that the carpet did not contain asbestos. He also explained on June 28 and 29th there was a wall removed in an office on the 6th floor. This work was performed after 6:00pm on those dates.

Following the meeting Dee Dee Kennicutt (FSRC section manager) joined us for an inspection of each floor. On the 6th floor where the wall had been removed there were no signs of construction dust or debris. The work is completed and the office, in which the wall was removed, is now occupied. On the 3rd floor where the carpet was removed, new carpet was placed and there was no evidence of dust or debris. In addition to the carpet being removed, walls were erected. The walls were prefabricated to fit into place, which did not require any cutting of the ceiling tiles or the newly placed carpet. The other floors, were also, free of any construction dust or debris.

Bill Delk also escorted us to the air condition control room and removed the filters, which showed only a normal condition. He also explained that each floor is isolated, which therefore limits the possibility of dust or debris from one floor contaminating another.

In conclusion, there is still some minor work being done on the 3rd floor break room and restrooms. This work will not be causing a hazards dust condition. With that said, please refrain from using the break room or the restrooms on the 3rd floor.


        In Solidarity,

     Danny Alfonso

June 2010 Inside Plant Safety Meeting

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 Inside plant safety meeting report 

     On June 30th a joint Union/Company Inside Plant Safety meeting was held. The meeting started with a discussion on Hurricane preparedness not only for work but for home as well.

    Most of the discussion was concerning fire drills. The goal each year is to have at least one, unannounced, complete fire drill and one scheduled “partial” drill. The purpose for these drills will be to insure that everyone knows how to evacuate the building safely.

And that each employee knows where they need to meet once outside in order to have an accurate head count to ensure that everyone was out of the building and safe. It was discovered that there have been some buildings that have not had a fire drill for quite some time. We were assured that this will be corrected.

     The next inside plant meeting is tentatively scheduled for August 25th.

Whether you work in inside plant or outside plant remember:

   “The demands of the service or urgency of the job are never so great that we cannot take the time to perform our work safely”

If there are any safety concerns that need to be addressed please contact me

  In Solidarity,

  Danny Alfonso     

June 2010 Outside Plant Safety Meeting

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 Outside Plant- June Safety Meeting Summary 

      On June 16th a joint Union/Company safety meeting was held for outside plant. First on the agenda was the safety accident report where we discussed the injuries and vehicle accidents that have happened since our last meeting in April. Please remember to use the following safe driving habits:

·      Always wear your seat belt.

·      Never allow anything to distract you while driving - cell phone, radio etc.

·      Always use the three second rule when following another vehicle.

·      Avoid aggressive drivers. (over 40,000 accidents a year occur due to aggressive drivers)

    Also we discussed a job hazard analysis. This is a mind set that will help to ensure that the hazards are eliminated. It is a simple 3 step process:

1.    What is the job?

2.    What are the hazards associated with the job?

3.    What are the safeguards (PPE) needed to eliminate the hazard?

      We concluded the meeting with “What is the goal” of the safety committee? The focus should not be on an OSHA recordable accident report, Supervisor matrix or discipline. Our focus must be to ensure that “NOBODY GETS HURT”.

       The next meeting for outside plant is tentatively set for August 18th

Insect Awarness and Prevention - from the Safety Committee

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Due to abundance of rain this year we have had several employees contact us and express concerns over the increased activity of BEES, ANTS and SNAKES.in the Southeast Market Area.  Employee’s have mentioned that the Bee , Wasp, Ant, and Spider  activity in some parts of Southeast has increased in Pedestals, Aerial Closures, BD Boxes, Right-Of-Ways etc.  In the past we have had several injuries related to Spider Bites. 

 

Rainbow "Insectape" (Item ID 527030) is a slow release insecticide that can be placed in terminals, cabinets, and pole mounted equipment.  This product requires you to peel and stick to any clean surface.  This product should keep bees, ants and wasp from making a home in any type of closure.  Vendor claims this product could be effective for 15 months.  (Make sure employees using these products follow Directions for Use and Precautionary Statements listed on each product by the vendor.)

  

Supervisors should also ask their employees if they have a high Allergy to Bee and Wasp stings.  This information can be very helpful in getting them prompt medical attention if they get stung.

Workplace Safety and H1N1

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OSHA has posted a new Web page entitled Workplace Safety and H1N1(http://www.osha.gov/h1n1/index.html).  The Web page includes fact sheets that inform workers and employers about ways to reduce the risk of exposure to the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus at work.  Separate fact sheets for health care workers and employers contain additional precautions.

"Protecting our nation's workers is OSHA's top priority," said Jordan Barab, the agency's acting assistant secretary. "These fact sheets are tools we have developed to help ensure
America's workers stay healthy and our businesses remain viable. OSHA's new fact sheets will help all employers identify appropriate actions to protect their workers."

As new information about the 2009 H1N1 virus becomes available, OSHA will updates these fact sheets.  We encourage employers and workers to visit OSHA's
Workplace Safety and H1N1Web page often to ensure they have the most up-to-date information.

IBEW/National Safety Council Conference

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On October 22, 2009 I attended the IBEW Safety Caucus in Orlando, Florida.  There were over 100 locals at this Caucus.
I also attended the National Safety Council Labor Division Meeting following the IBEW Safety Caucus.

Jim Tomaseski, who is the IBEW Safety & Health Director, gave the International Report.  Most of the report focused on the current economical situation and its effects on locals across the United States and Canada.  One of the topics brought up was how we as Union Members can help to improve Safety, which helps our employers' lower Workers Comp. costs.  The average cost right now on a Workers Comp. claim is well over $12,000.00.  This, of course, hurts our employers' profitability, which hurts all of us when it comes to negotiating for better wages and benefits.

Several Labor Liaisons from OSHA were present, and spoke about the lack of OSHA reps in the field.  Most of these vacancies are due to retirements, and under the Bush administration they were kept vacant.  Under the Obama administration, they will start with the hiring of approx. 100-150 reps immediately.  There is a good chance that with the funding, this could go as high 1,000 over the next couple of years.  It appears with the new administration that OSHA is now refocusing on compliance with the laws.  They are handing out more fines for violations, instead of just warnings.

One of the most interesting topics was about RF exposure.  There are a lot of concerns as to how much exposure to this radiation is too much.  Right now, several studies are under way to try and put more OSHA laws in to the workplace to protect workers. You can read more about this at the following link:

If you're being exposed to Radio Frequency during your work assignments, please visit: http://www.rfcheck.com.  There is an online survey that will help all of us to better understand the dangers associated with RF.

At the National Safety Council, I was able sit in with the Ergonomics Safety & Health Committee.  The focus here was with OSHA becoming more "passionate" about Ergonomics.  During the Bush administration, President Bush signed legislation to repeal federal regulations on work place ergonomics.  This has prevented OSHA from having a strong, enforceable and comprehensive ergonomic standard for labor.  The hope is that the new Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis will quickly focus on bringing out new ergonomic standards.  It's been estimated that American companies could save $20 billion each year in workers' compensation if we were able to eliminate repetitive stress injuries.

On Saturday I went to a training session on "Communicating Safety" and also sat in with the Transportation Safety & Health Committee.  It was a great opportunity to hear about the safety concerns with the airlines, railroad, trucking, etc.

Overall, it was a great experience and I learned a lot.  Hopefully as the economy recovers, more Unions will get behind the National Safety Council and to help each and everyone of us to make our work environments safer.

 

In Solidarity,

John Glye Jr.

SAFETY UPDATE

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On November 4, 2009 the Union and Verizon held a Joint Safety meeting.

We discussed several recent accidents involving technicians in the field who were involved in rear ending other vehicles.
Their was an accident this past week involving a field technician who fell from an extension ladder while working on a mid span. The technician was seriously hurt, and is currently hospitalized due to the injuries suffered from this fall.

MDU/MTU work is causing a great deal of safety concerns for our members at this time. The primary issue is this: Most of this work is aloft on the side of a multi story building. The technicians are unable to safely belt off to protect themselves in the event of a fall. We discussed using a scissor lift, but in many situations that wouldn't work. The company is in the process of finding a product such as ladder stabilizers that can help keep the ladder and member stabilized to cut down on the risk of a fall.

I'd like to remind everyone that safety is each individual's responsibility…if you don't feel safe, DON'T DO IT!!! Call your coach, and if that doesn't fix the situation, call the Hall.

In Solidarity,
John Glye Jr.

IBEW 824 Safety Committee

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