» Work environment

OSHA Laws & Standards

AFSCME members are protected by a variety of safety and health laws, most of which follow standards issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Read More

Keys to Healthy Computing: A Health and Safety Handbook

The Information Age has certainly arrived. Tremendous energy and creativity have been unleashed to find new applications for computers. Unfortunately, much less attention has been paid to the effects these machines are having on those who work with computers. Read More

Technical and Bargaining Assistance

AFSCME health and safety staff also provides information or assistance to address specific health and safety problems and advice on enforcing OSHA Standards. Some of these requests are handled by a fact sheet, others by a letter, and, in some situations, AFSCME health and safety staff will conduct site visits and meet with the employer and/or government agencies. Read More

Risky Business: A Guide for Water and Wastewater Workers

AFSCME represents over 40,000 water and wastewater treatment workers. They face exposure to flammable, explosive or poisonous gases, hazardous confined spaces, infectious diseases, temperature extremes, slip and fall hazards, excessive noise and unsanitary workplaces. According to the National Safety Council (1996), water and wastewater treatment workers suffer disabling injuries and illnesses at almost five times the rate of the average industrial worker. These figures do not tell the whole story on the dangers for these workers as they do not include the close calls. Read More

Needle Points: An AFSCME Guide to Sharps Safety

There are an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 needlesticks and other skin punctures or cuts among health care workers each year. About half of these incidents are not reported to employers. A needlestick or other exposure from a used needle or other sharp device carries the risk of infection with serious and even deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Read More

Excavation, Trenching and Shoring Safety

Construction work is dangerous; and work involving trenching and excavating activities tends to be the most hazardous in the industry. Yet, we see trenching and excavating work going on all around us. Excavations are needed for the installation and repair of utility lines, replacement of water and sewer lines, swimming pool construction, even grave digging. Excavation projects vary considerably, each with its own set of unique problems. Read More

Are You Prepared? A Guide to Emergency Planning in the Workplace

The tragic events in September of 2001 have increased feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty in this country. Thousands died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and in the airliner that crashed in Somerset, Pa., before reaching its destination. A few weeks later, the intentional contamination of mail with anthrax resulted in several deaths and serious illnesses. Psychological damage has accompanied the loss of life and physical harm. Read More

Safe Jobs Now: A Guide to Health and Safety in the Workplace

Deaths and injuries on the job are not random events. The dangerous conditions that cause fatalities, injuries, and illnesses can and should be corrected before tragedies happen. Staying alive and healthy requires action. Dangerous conditions in the workplace must be spotted and steps must be taken to get rid of hazards. Read More

AFSCME Health & Safety Fact Sheet: Workplace Violence

Violence in the workplace has become an epidemic. Not only is workplace violence increasingly common in those workplaces where violence is expected — for example, corrections, law enforcement and mental health — but in almost every occupation that deals with the public. Read More

AFSCME Health & Safety Fact Sheet: Workplace Inspections

The main purpose of the actual workplace inspection is for the inspector(s) to discover health and safety hazards and get them corrected before injuries or illnesses occur. A closely related purpose is to educate the workers about the hazards they face at work. Not only must union representatives take part in all inspections, but all employees should be aware that an inspection is taking place and feel free to tell inspectors of any problems they may be having. Read More


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