Health and Safety Reps Receive Training to Improve Working Conditions

USW members in the union’s atomic sector understand they face unique health and safety risks in their workplaces. So when they requested sector-specific information at the Atomic Energy Workers Council (AEWC) meeting last March, the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Department and the Tony Mazzocchi Center (TMC) teamed up to plan a weeklong training to help them stay safe and healthy on the job.

In early June, sixteen health and safety representatives from seven different worksites traveled to Pittsburgh to learn essential skills to help them in dealing with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) health and safety regulations.

The training also featured basic health and safety, communication mapping, the Systems of Safety, and the logic tree for incident and near-miss investigation. The instructors and representatives analyzed and discussed the DOE’s safety culture, and they strategized about how to get health and safety issues resolved at their facilities.

The health and safety representatives also learned about the resources available to them from the USW HSE Department and the USW Emergency Response Team. Plus, they heard presentations on the medical monitoring program and pertinent legislation.

Participants came from the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory and Holtec Manufacturing.

Diane Stein, TMC staff, said there was a good mix of new and experienced representatives who provoked a healthy exchange of ideas and discussion.  This was important, she said, because the participants were able to learn about each other’s sites and how their work impacted the other facilities.

“This training helped them gain a better understanding of the big picture, and they will likely stay in touch with each other,” Stein said. “It was a really fun week, and it will be good to do it again.”

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