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  • 04 2017 Gary Beckstrands NSC Labor Division and IBEW Labor Caucus Report
    Posted On: May 01, 2017

    NSC Labor Division and IBEW Labor Caucus Report

    Spring Meetings 2017 Nashville, Tennessee

    By Gary Beckstrand

    To the officers and members of IBEW LU 354,

    The following summary points emphasis the highlights of the Spring Labor Division Meetings:

    Dave Mullin, IBEW I.O. Safety Representative.

    • Sam Chilia is retiring as of May 1, 2017, his replacement is Ken Copper as International Secretary-Treasurer
    • Dan Gardner from Portland, OR Local 48 has been appointed as International Representative for Safety and Health to assist Dave Mullin.
    • New award will be available from the I.O. to non-IBEW members that save a life of a member.
    • Workers Memorial Day is April 28, 2017.
    • National Work Zone Awareness Week was held on (4/3-7/2017).  The theme this year is “Work zone Safety is in Your Hands”. 
    • OSHA Safety Stand-Down May 8-12, 2017 to prevent falls in Construction.
    • Accident reporting: Inside workers 14 deaths in 2016, four deaths so far 2018. Changes to Form 173 pending. More info needed by I.O. on nature of deaths and accidents.
    • Contract language regarding stipends and reimbursement to employees for PPE clothing discussed.
    • Reviewed OSHAs most cited electrical employer list. Some are NECA contractors.
    • Reviewed OSHAs most cited work rule violations, falls are still # 1, ladders #7, electrical is # 9 for wire methods and #10 general requirements.
    • Discussed Pres. Trump mandate to cut 2 existing regulations for every new one. How will it affect safety? Trump will target 228 standards, rules, regulations. Most will be removed through the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
      • CRA’s are being used for the following: (As of 3/29/2017) Fair Wage & Safe Workplaces –  President Signed 3/27/17
              Executive Order placed requirement on employers to report 
              Labor Law dealing with wages & OSHA violations for the
              prior 3 years bidding on Federal Contracts over $500,000
      • Reporting & Record Keeping OSHA Standard – Waiting Signature
               In response to a DC Court ruling (Volks) which limited
               OSHA’s ability to cite employers for violations older than 6
               months. The new standard gave OSHA to ability to go back 5 years
               to cite and issue fines for safety violations related to
               injuries, illnesses and deaths.
    • Budget cuts to OSHA will affect worker safety.  
    • Concerns about worker health from using Beryllium-Copper alloys widely used in the industry. Little is known on the health effects. Final rule is in process for exposure levels by workers. Most common in sand blasting. Must use engineering controls.
    • Discussed NECA Safety Professionals Conference. Discussed Labor Caucus working closer with NECA.       

    OSHA Updates:

    • New tool box talks available. Topics address Focus Four topics on How to Conduct a Tool Box Talk, Struck-by, Head Protection, Working Around Equipment, Roadway Fatalities, and Falling Object. Contact Gary Beckstrand if you are interested in a copy. These should be posted on IBEW LU 354 website.
    • OSHA outlines specific rights an employee has during an OSHA inspection. Some of these rights are a safe and healthful workplace, know about hazardous chemicals, injury and illness reports, correction measures by employer, training, file an OSHA complaint, participate in an OSHA inspection, be free from employer retaliation for exercising safety and health rights.
    • OSHA Complaint Process. During the conference a wonderful class was conducted on the OSHA complaint process. Some of the highlights were:
      • Employees should try to resolve safety and health issues with employers by first reporting them to supervisors, safety people, etc.
      • Employees can complain to the local OHSA office at any time.
      • Include hazards that are ongoing within 6 months’ period, beyond six months cannot be reported.
      • Discrimination complaints must be filed within 30 days. 
      • Workers can file a complaint with OSHA when work conditions are unsafe or unhealthy, believe a violation exists of the OSH Act, or imminent dangerous situation exists in the workplace.
      • Anyone who knows of a workplace safety or health hazard may report unsafe conditions.
      • Employees must file the complaint and request an OHSA inspection. You have the right to withhold your name.
      • Other individuals can file an OSHA complaint like former employees, concerned individuals, bona fide representatives (union leaders), government officials, and others.
      • File complaint with local OSHA office (use form “OSHA -7 Complaint Form) or online at www.OSHA.gov then “For Workers” tab, then file a complaint tab.

    On a personal note. I was privileged to receive the highest award given by the National Safety Council to a safety professional, the Edward Eagan Soldier of Safety Award. This award is given to a Division member who embodies the ideals and guidance that Edward Eagan practiced every day in the promotion of safety and health for the American worker. Edward Eagan was part of IBEW LU 103 and served as a highly-regarded labor liaison with OSHA. He passed away in 1997. It is an honor and privilege to represent IBEW LU 354 in standing up for worker safety. I am humbled to be a recipient of this prestigious award.

    Respectfully Submitted to the Executive Board of IBEW LU 354,

    Gary A. Beckstrand

    Card Number: D881374


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