Friday, May 6: Safety in the Workplace
Assemblyman Lancman will be a featured presenter at "Safety in the Workplace," a breakfast and panel discussion hosted by the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, Laborpress.org and the Mason Tenders District Council. The event is being held this Friday, May 6 in New York City at Millberg LLP which is located at One Penn Plaza on the 50th Floor from 8:30 am to 10:30 am. All attendees must RSVP to Lou Gordon (212) 219-7777 or Neal Tepel (646) 591-6484 by May 4.
The panel discussion will also feature Joel Shufro, Executive Director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, John Samuelson, President of Transit Workers Union Local 100, John Delgado, Business Manager for Laborers International Union of North America Local 79, and Matthew A. Funk, Esq. of Pasternack, Tilker, Ziegler, Walsh, Stanton & Romano, LLP.
Address Health and Safety in Hard Times
The New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) invited Assemblyman Lancman to address its 2011 Health and Safety Conference and honored him with its biennial Health and Safety Award. Speaking on the panel, Assemblyman Lancman discussed the difficulties felt by both public and private sector employees in performing their jobs safely and efficiently in challenging economic times. Assemblyman Lancman also stressed the need to maintain safety standards, especially in vulnerable working environments like the Office of Children and Family Services and the Office of Mental Health.
The Subcommittee on Workplace Safety has advocated on behalf of the safety needs of public service employees, seeking to eliminate workplace violence and other hazards that arise in unsafe work settings. Assemblyman Lancman was honored to receive the PEF Health and Safety Award for the Subcommittee's work to protect public employees.
Welcomes Health and Safety Conversation
Assemblyman Lancman joined United University Professions (UUP) union members at the SUNY Stony Brook Health Sciences Center for a discussion on safety and health issues confronting university employees. Healthcare settings continue to be among the most hazardous in the nation, and the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety is engaged on many fronts in combating the dangers that healthcare workers face on a daily basis, from patient-lifting injuries to workplace violence.
While UUP members are covered by the New York State Workplace Violence Prevention Law because they are public sector employees, private hospital employees are not protected by the law.
Recent news of a patient's violent outburst at a substance abuse center in Ellenville, New York that resulted in the fatal stabbing of a security guard and the wounding of a nurse only magnifies the need to act to prevent violence in all healthcare facilities. These events are all the more tragic and unacceptable because they are often preventable. Thus far, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited and fined the not-for-profit "Renaissance Project" rehabilitation center for violations of safety guidelines. The Healthcare Workplace Violence Prevention Act (A. 4856, Lancman) would cover all healthcare facilities under the Workplace Violence Prevention Law, requiring all healthcare centers to comply with safeguards preventing workplace violence. This is a necessary step in keeping our healthcare workers safe.
The Subcommittee stood in solidarity with employees at a December 2010 rally against workplace violence, and together with Assembly Members Naomi Rivera and Felix Ortiz arranged a meeting with Office of Mental Health (OMH) Commissioner Michael Hogan to discuss workplace violence at the Bronx Psychiatric Center. At the meeting, OMH set a time-line for the Bronx Psychiatric Center to complete a workplace violence prevention program in compliance with the law.
In a recent follow-up meeting between the Subcommittee, Bronx Psychiatric Center management and employee representatives, it was clear that tremendous progress has been made and that the facility is on track toward implementing a workplace violence prevention program with full employee participation.
The City University of New York (CUNY), including Queens College, has delayed implementing workplace violence prevention programs on each of its campuses. The Queens College Union Joint Committee on Quality of Work Life contacted the Subcommittee to pressure the college to speed up the process of implementing a program.
This month, the Subcommittee's Legislative Director, Allison Weingarten, took part in the Queens College workplace violence risk assessment. Ms. Weingarten toured parts of the campus with the workplace violence prevention team made up of management and employees.
Throughout the tour, it was clear that Queens College has begun to take the necessary steps in following the law and its regulations in order to prevent workplace violence on campus.