Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman
Rory Lancman
Committee Chair
NYS Seal Contact Information: Allison Weingarten
Legislative Director
New York State Assembly
Subcommittee on
Workplace Safety
Monthly Update
February 2011

Subcommittee to Host "Workplace Safety Workshop" at Annual Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Caucus Conference Weekend

Assemblyman Lancman will host a workshop to address the specific workplace safety issues facing Black and Latino workers in New York. The workshop will take place at the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators annual legislative conference and will feature panelists from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 1199 SEIU, the Public Employees Federation, Laborers Local 79 and the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York.

The workshop will take place on Saturday, February 19 at 10:15 a.m. in Empire State Plaza Meeting Room 2.

1199 SEIU Joins the Subcommittee's Effort to Secure a Safe Workplace for Healthcare Services Employees

Assemblyman Lancman with representatives of 1199 SEIU following
a meeting on workplace safety issues in the healthcare industry

The Subcommittee on Workplace Safety met with Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union (1199 SEIU) to discuss a unified effort in promoting workplace safety in healthcare settings. Healthcare industry workers experience one of the highest rates of injury and illness in the country. 1199 SEIU represents healthcare workers in the eastern part of the United States, counting over 300,000 homecare, hospital, pharmacy and clinic workers and retirees among its members.

The Subcommittee and 1199 SEIU are teamed up to pass the Safe Patient Handling Act and the Healthcare Workplace Violence Prevention Act. Other issues of joint concern include setting an airborne pathogen standard, heat and cold standards in buildings, and emergency staff training in hospitals.

Assemblyman Lancman and Office of Mental Health Commissioner Meet to Confront Workplace Violence

Assemblyman Lancman with NYS Office of Mental Health Commissioner Michael Hogan

Assembly Members Rory Lancman, Naomi Rivera and Felix Ortiz met with Dr. Michael Hogan, the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health, to discuss the pressing issue of workplace violence at the Bronx Psychiatric Center. The Center has experienced escalating rates of workplace violence, and was found to be non-compliant with the New York State Public Employer Workplace Violence Prevention Law. Bronx Psychiatric Center employees were working in an unsafe environment and the Public Employees Federation, the Civil Service Employees Association and the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety have been working together to rectify the situation.

The meeting with Commissioner Hogan follows two failed inspections performed by the Department of Labor at the Bronx Psychiatric Center, the second of which resulted in the facility being fined. At the meeting, Assemblyman Lancman and Commissioner Hogan discussed a workplace violence prevention strategy for this center, and the changes that must be adopted in order to mitigate the unsafe environment. Assembly Members Lancman, Rivera and Ortiz are arranging a follow-up meeting with Bronx Psychiatric Facility administrators and authorized employee representatives to continue the effort to ensure that all violence prevention efforts are realized.

Laying the Foundation for Bricklayers' Safety

Assemblyman Lancman with
the Executive Board of the New York Regional Conference of the
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers

Assemblyman Lancman attended a meeting of the Executive Board of the New York Regional Conference of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) to describe how the efforts of the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety have affected bricklayers in New York state. Assemblyman Lancman focused on current and past legislative efforts that benefit members of BAC.

For example, the New York State Construction Industry Fair Play Act of 2010 ensures that construction workers are correctly classified as "employees," and not as "independent contractors." As emphasized by Assemblyman Lancman in the meeting, "When workers are misclassified as independent contractors, their right to a safe and healthy workplace is diminished."

Current Subcommittee legislative goals which impact BAC members include securing funding for the Occupational Health Clinics Network, which is available to serve members of BAC throughout the state, and instituting the "Passport to Safety" online training program, which teaches young people about their rights in the workplace and how to stay healthy and safe.

Subcommittee on Workplace Safety Supports Department of Labor Proposed Regulations Concerning Child Performers

Assemblyman Lancman recently expressed his support for the newly proposed child performer regulations in a letter to Labor Commissioner Colleen Gardner.

The proposed regulations carry out the mandate of the Child Performer Education and Trust Act of 2003. Among the measures included in the regulations are (1) the maximum number of consecutive hours child performers may work in a day; (2) the minimum number of hours of rest child performers must receive between two consecutive workdays; (3) the minimum number of hours of rest time child performers must receive during working hours; (4) that employers must provide information and instruction for child performers and their parent(s) or guardian(s) on potential hazards associated with the specific activities that the child performers will be expected to partake in, in addition to sufficient instruction and rehearsal time for child performers for the specific activities they are to perform in order to protect their health and safety; and (5) the maximum amount of light and noise child performers may be exposed to at work.

"Maintaining the safety and well-being of minors must be our state's highest priority," said Assemblyman Lancman in the letter. "These regulations are an important step in that regard."

Good News for Businesses and Workplace Safety in New York

Subcommittee on Workplace Safety Legislative Director Allison Weingarten with representatives of the Long Island Occupational and Environmental Health Center and the Long Island Federation of Labor Health and Safety Committee

The Subcommittee on Workplace Safety supports the Department of Labor's new incentive program for employers who care about workplace safety. A meeting at the Department of Labor with representatives of the Long Island Occupational and Environmental Health Center and the Long Island Federation of Labor Health and Safety Committee shed light on the Workplace Safety and Loss Prevention Incentive Program (WSLPIP), which offers eligible employers the opportunity to redeem a discount on workers' compensation costs if they establish a workplace injury and illness prevention program.

WSLPIP encourages employers to adopt injury and illness prevention programs, drug and alcohol prevention programs, and return to work programs. Programs evaluated and approved by the Department of Labor will result in a percentage decrease for the employers' workers' compensation insurance premiums.

This incentive program is a boon to employers and employees alike, who will benefit from the established safety programs and the decreased insurance premium. The Subcommittee on Workplace Safety will work to promote the program to employers in workplaces across New York state.