The Oregon SHARP Alliance and its members, including ASSE’s Columbia-Willamette and Cascade Chapters, recognized the importance of safety and health in the workplace during the statewide Safety Break for Oregon celebration on May 13, 2009. The Oregon SHARP Alliance reserved the State Capitol steps in Salem for a noon-time Safety Break event designed to raise awareness and promote the value of workplace safety and health in preventing injuries and illnesses. Speakers for the event included: ASSE's Dave Heidorn, Manager of Government Affairs and Policy; Oregon OSHA’s Administrator, Michael Wood; Intel's Construction Program Manager, Ali Afghan; Senator Ted Ferrioli (R) and Senator Rod Monroe (D).
ASSE president Warren Brown testified today, April 28, 2009 at a hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Policy Committee on the issue of introducing meaningful incentives for safe workplaces. The hearing is being held as the subcommittee considers the introduction of OSHA reform legislation that could drastically alter OSHA enforcement procedures, rulemaking, and cooperative programs. Mr. Brown’s testimony cautions the subcommittee against wholesale changes that will diminish OSHA’s ability to be a the leader of this nation’s occupational safety and health. While ASSE acknowledges in the testimony that some changes to current practices are necessary to create a strong, effective OSHA, enforcement alone will not be enough to keep workers safe on the job. OSHA must prioritize their resources and focus on employers that are known to blatantly disregard employee safety and health.
Florida’s ASSE members deserve all the credit in the world for succeeding last year at passing one of the more significant occupational safety and health (OSH) bills in recent years in any state or even at the federal level. The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) recognized the achievement in its You Tube video at here. At a time when there are few initiatives to advance safety and health, legislation by Senator Lynn and Representative Gibson that ASSE championed created a task force to determine how Florida can provide OSH coverage to its public sector workers. The task force concluded that Florida can begin to do so. ASSE is supporting the task force’s recommendations contained in its full report (PDF).
In the 2009 session of the Florida Legislature, ASSE will work to see these recommendations passed into law. ASSE has engaged the lobbyist who succeeded for us last year. We have a group of dedicated Florida members who have been working on this issue from the beginning and who will lead the effort again this year. Ed Granberry Jr. was instrumental in making sure ASSE pursued this issue. Jim Smith is an ASSE Board member and is long committed to the issue. Mark Friend of Embry-Riddle University as a member of the task force helped see these recommendations through. And Frank Lakotich of Alabama, the new ARVP for Government Affairs for Region IV, is also bringing the Region’s support to the effort.
But we will need your help. We expect this effort to be difficult. There is no guarantee of success. When you are asked to help in ways like contacting your state senator or representative, we would hope that you will take the time and effort to do so. You can also write letters to the editor in your community, make sure your Chapter knows what is going on. The more voices we can bring to this effort, the better chances we have. Please watch for email announcements with more information and requests for help.
No one knows how important basic occupational safety and health protections are better than Casey Jones, widow of Clyde Jones – who died in the Daytona Beach explosion in 2006. Since the accident that took her husbands life, Mrs. Jones has been an advocate for workplace safety protections. In 2007, she submitted testimony to the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Workforce Protections urging members of Congress to support OSHA reform that would provide all public sector workers in the United States with the basic occupational safety and health protections that are afforded to all private sector workers under federal law. Please take a minute to read her testimony. Without a doubt, you will be reminded of how important it is that ASSE members use our knowledge and experience as safety professionals to influence legislative change that will keep workers safe on the job.
We need every ASSE Florida member to contact your state senators and representatives and urge them to support SB 1878 and HB 1029. You can also write letters to the editor in your community and you can educate and engage the members of your chapter.
Learn More ASSE’s Effort to Protect Florida’s Workers
ASSE was honored to host presentations delivered by OSHA officials during three concurrent sessions at the Safety 2008 PDC. These presentations highlighted several areas of interest for SH&E professionals including topics in OSHA citation and enforcement, an overview of the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Medicine initiatives, and an update on OSHA standards and guidance. If you were unable to attend the session, or if you'd like to have a copy of these powerpoint presentations, you can find them below.
Edwin Foulke Jr., Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health and John Howard, Director of NIOSH speak at the Safety 2008 General Session at the PDC on June 10.
During the May GAC meeting in Washington DC, the committee visited the following:
Photos of the event: