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
April 2010

Please Join Us!
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, 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.

Assemblyman Lancman receiving the Public Employees Federation (PEF) Health and Safety Award with PEF President Ken Brynien and PEF Health and Safety Director Jonathan Rosen at PEF's 2011 Health and Safety Conference
Assemblyman Lancman speaking on "Safety and Health in Hard Times" at PEF's Health and Safety Conference

Assemblyman Lancman and the Public Employees Federation
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.

Assemblyman Lancman touring the Stony Brook University Health Sciences Center
Assemblyman Lancman with members of the Stony Brook University chapter of the United University Professions union

Stony Brook University Health Sciences Center
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.

Bronx Psychiatric Center Meets Health and Safety Goals

Assemblyman Lancman meeting with Bronx Psychiatric Center administrators a and employee representatives
After being cited in September 2010 by the New York State Department of Labor, the Bronx Psychiatric Center is on track to establishing a safer workplace.

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.

Now More Than Ever: The Institutional Investor Recovery Act

Assemblyman Lancman speaking with NYS AFL-CIO leaders
Assemblyman Lancman joined the New York State AFL-CIO to address the implications of A.6060, the "Institutional Investor Recovery Act," sponsored by Assemblyman Lancman and Senator Tom Libous. The legislation would extend Martin Act authority to public and union pension funds, allowing them to sue for fraudulent securities practices and recover their losses. Under current law, this ability is reserved for the Attorney General, but the "Institutional Investor Recovery Act" would expand the scope of addressing valid claims of wrongdoing.

Queens CWA Advocates for Workers' Rights

Assemblyman Lancman with members of the Communications Workers of America
Assemblyman Lancman met recently with a Queens delegation of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). CWA represents tens of thousands of workers who are employed in a variety of occupations, including telephone and cable service operators, media workers, public safety officers, public health and education workers. These very diverse occupations demand different and specialized skills for ensuring a safe workplace. Both the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety and CWA are committed to working together to alleviate the health and safety concerns of all of its members.

Queens College Checks in for Workplace Violence Assessment

Subcommittee on Workplace Safety Legislative Director, Allison Weingarten, evaluating the Queens College Admissions Office
The Subcommittee is happy to report that Queens College is on its way toward implementing a workplace violence prevention program, as required by the New York State Workplace Violence Prevention Law.

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.

Student Nurses Welcomed by Subcommittee to the Capitol

Assemblyman Lancman with student nurses from the Long Island University School of Nursing
Assemblyman Lancman welcomed a delegation of nurses-in-training from the Long Island University School of Nursing to Albany. The Long Island University School of Nursing educates and trains nurses, with a strong emphasis on promoting high quality care in a diverse urban environment. The Subcommittee on Workplace Safety is dedicated to making the healthcare field safer, a goal that is shared by legislators, government organizations and members of the healthcare community alike. The Subcommittee encourages these bright students to always consider their health and safety in their future workplaces.

SUNY Downstate Hosts Safe Patient Handling Conference

Subcommittee Legislative Director, Allison Weingarten, testing Safe Patient Handling equipment
The Subcommittee on Workplace Safety joined the SUNY Downstate Medical Center for a conference on Safe Patient Handling (SPH). Healthcare facilities throughout the state have had tremendous success implementing an SPH program, incorporating lift and motion technology to increase patient mobility, while keeping the healthcare worker and the patient safe and comfortable. The Subcommittee has compiled evidence showing the marked benefits of SPH Programs to both healthcare employees and patients, resulting in our introduction of the Safe Patient Handling Act (A.1370/S.2470). The success of SPH programs throughout the state and nationally only amplifies the need for a statewide program to be introduced.