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Article 33 Safety and Health
Posted On: Oct 29, 2013

Article 33

Safety and Health

Section 1. General

It is the policy of the Department of Labor to provide and maintain for its

employees places and conditions of employment that are free from recognized

hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

Consistent with this policy, the Department is committed to providing its

employees with a work environment free from health risks associated with

exposure to chemical, physical, and biological agents. The Department’s

occupational safety and health program will comply with requirements of Executive

Order 12196 and 29 CFR Part 1960.

Section 2. Committees

The Department agrees to continue Occupational Safety and Health Committees in

accordance with the provisions of the Executive Order 12196 and 29 CFR 1960.

The Department further agrees to develop and issue appropriate identification,

e.g., official safety and health credentials, to all Committee members to assist

them in carrying out their responsibilities. Specifically, the following Committees

will be established.

a. Department of Labor Safety and Health Committee (Departmental Level)

(1) Responsibilities

(a) Principal function is to monitor and evaluate the Department’s

safety and health program.

(b) Monitor performance of the Department’s safety and health

program and make recommendations for changes.

(c) Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of national office and/or

regional office safety and health training programs.

(d) Monitor and evaluate proposed Departmental standards.

(e) Monitor and evaluate the development and operations of national

office and regional office Safety and Health Committees.

(f) Monitor and evaluate the resources allocated to the Department’s

safety and health program.

(2) Organization

(a) The Committee shall represent the major headquarters units

where the Department’s safety and health policy is formulated.

(b) The Committee shall have equal representation of Management

and non-Management employees.

(c) Non-Management members shall be selected by the exclusive

bargaining representatives.

(d) Committee members shall serve overlapping terms. Such terms

shall be of at least two (2) years’ duration except when the

Committee is initially organized.

(e) The Committee chair shall be nominated from among the

Committee’s members and shall be elected by the Committee

members. Management and non-Management members shall

alternate this position. Maximum service as chair shall be two (2)

consecutive years.

(f) The Committee shall meet regularly, at least quarterly. Special

meetings shall be held as necessary.

1. Adequate notice of Committee meetings shall be furnished to

Committee members in advance.

2. Written minutes of each Committee meeting shall be

maintained and distributed to each Committee member and

made available to employees and to the Secretary upon

request.

b. National Office Committee (Establishment Level)

(1) Responsibilities

(a) The principal function is to monitor and evaluate the execution of

the Department’s safety and health policies and program in the

Agencies comprising the national office.

(b) Monitor and evaluate all aspects of the Department’s safety and

health program as implemented by the headquarters and submit

appropriate recommendations for change.

(c) Monitor findings and reports of workplace inspections to ensure

that appropriate corrective measures are implemented.

(d) Participate in safety and health inspections when, in the judgment

of either side of the Committee, such activity is necessary to

evaluate Departmental inspection procedures on safety and

health matters.

(e) Review internal and external evaluation reports concerning the

Department’s safety and health program.

(f) Evaluate procedures for handling safety and health suggestions

and recommendations from employees.

(g) Comment on standards proposed as substitutes for Occupational

Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, as

appropriate.

(h) Monitor and evaluate the level of resources allocated by the

Agencies to carry out their safety and health responsibilities.

(i) Review plans for abating hazards.

(j) Review responses to reports concerned with allegations of

hazardous conditions, alleged safety and health program

deficiencies, and allegations of discrimination. If half the

members of record on the Committee are not substantially

satisfied with the response, they may request an appropriate

investigation or inspection to be conducted by OSHA.

(k) The Committee shall have the opportunity to inspect new

equipment to determine that it is free of hazards and safe for use

before employees are permitted to operate the equipment.

The Department agrees to notify the Committee in a timely

manner so an inspection can be made before the equipment

becomes operational. This will include such new equipment as a

printing press, bindery equipment, large automatic photocopying

equipment, automated filing equipment, self-propelled machinery,

and fork-lift equipment.

(2) Organization

(a) The Committee shall represent the major headquarters Agencies

where Departmental safety and health programs are

implemented.

(b) The Committee shall have equal representation of Management

and non-Management employees.

(c) Committee members shall serve overlapping terms. Such terms

shall be of at least two (2) years’ duration except when the

Committee is initially organized.

(d) The Committee chair shall be nominated from among the

Committee’s members and shall be elected by the Committee

members. Management and non-Management members shall

alternate in this position. Maximum service as chair shall be two

(2) consecutive years.

(e) The Committee shall meet regularly, at least quarterly. Special

meetings shall be held as necessary.

1. Adequate notice of Committee meetings shall be furnished to

Committee members in advance.

2. Written minutes of each Committee meeting shall be

maintained and distributed to each Committee member and

made available to employees and to the Secretary upon

request.

(f) The Committee shall be authorized to form working groups as

necessary to facilitate the functioning of the Committee.

(g) The Department agrees to issue a distinguishing insignia along

with whatever other protective equipment may be necessary to all

Committee members to assist them in carrying out their

responsibilities.

Section 3. Workplace Inspections

The Department agrees that its occupational safety and health program will

provide:

a. Prompt abatement of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions. When this

cannot be accomplished, the Department agrees to develop an abatement

plan setting forth a timetable for abatement and a summary of interim steps

to protect employees. Employees exposed to the conditions will be

informed of the abatement plan. When the hazard cannot be abated

without the assistance of the General Services Administration (GSA) or other

Federal lessor Agency, the Department agrees to act with the lessor Agency

to abate the hazard.

b. Assurance that a representative designated by Local 12 from the

organization/Agency involved may accompany the inspection of workplaces.

c. Every inspection shall include identification, analysis and control of all

hazards, including ergonomic hazards. In addition, written inspection

reports shall address all identified hazards.

Section 4. Duty of Employees and Supervisors

Any employee in the bargaining unit who is assigned duties which he/she

reasonably believes could possibly endanger his/her health or well-being will notify

the supervisor of the situation. If the supervisor cannot solve the problem and

agrees with the employee, the supervisor shall delay the assignment and refer the

matter through the proper channels for appropriate action. Should the supervisor

and the employee not agree, the matter will be referred to the Agency Safety and

Health Manager, if available, who, with the assistance of the DOL Office of Safety

and Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management,

shall evaluate the condition as to its element of danger to the employee’s health

and safety. The employee has the right to immediately consult with a Local 12

representative. The employee in the bargaining unit may elect not to perform

his/her assigned tasks only because of a reasonable apprehension of death or

serious injury, coupled with a reasonable belief that no less drastic action is

available.

Section 5. Employee Reports of Unsafe or Unhealthful Working

Conditions

The Department agrees that its occupational safety and health program will:

a. Assure response to employee reports of hazardous conditions and require

inspection within twenty-four (24) hours for imminent danger, three (3)

workdays for potentially serious conditions, and twenty (20) workdays for

other conditions. Any employee or steward is authorized to request an

inspection of the workplace when he/she believes an unsafe or unhealthful

condition exists. The request should be in writing and should be signed and

submitted to the Agency Safety and Health Manager. The request will be

investigated by a safety and health professional. When an employee

believes an imminent danger exists, the condition may be reported orally in

person, by telephone, or by other means, and a written report filed at a

later time. The procedures will assure the right to anonymity of those

employees or stewards who make the reports.

b. Permit an employee or a Local 12 representative from the same Agency to

request an appropriate inspection to be conducted by OSHA if the employee

or the designated Agency representative is not satisfied with the results of

the Agency’s, Department’s, and the Safety and Health Committee

inspection and findings.

c. Establish procedures to assure that no employee is subject to restraint,

interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal for filing a report of an

unsafe or unhealthful working condition or other participation in Agency

occupational safety and health program activities.

Section 6. Management Information

a. The Department agrees that its occupational safety and health program will

include the gathering and maintenance of program information necessary to

monitor its effectiveness.

b. Written reports of inspection activities, including notices of unsafe or

unhealthful working conditions (and abatement thereof), will be given to

employees, employee representatives, and each member of the Safety and

Health Committee, as appropriate, pursuant to 29 CFR Part 1960 Subpart D.

Such reports may be transmitted electronically.

Section 7. Training

The Department agrees that its occupational safety and health program will

provide safety and health training. The parties recognize that training of collateral

duty safety and health personnel, committee members, employees and employee

representatives shall be conducted in accordance with 29 CFR Sections 1960.58

and 1960.59. As prescribed in 29 CFR 1960.58 and 1960.59, such training shall

include:

Agency occupational safety and health programs

Section 19 of the Act

Executive Order 12196

Agency procedures for reporting evaluation and abatement of hazards

Agency procedures for reporting and investigating allegations of reprisals

Recognition of hazardous conditions and environments

Identification and use of occupational Safety and Health standards

Other appropriate rules and regulations

This Section does not preclude management from determining any other safety

and health training as necessary. The Union recognizes management’s right to

determine who will conduct the training, how it will be conducted and when.

Section 8. Health Service

The Department, within budgetary limitations, agrees to continue to provide the

various health services which are currently provided to employees of the

bargaining unit. Persons who wish to have vision screening examinations may do

so by scheduling an appointment with the Health Unit in the Frances Perkins

Building. The Department further agrees to post on the DOL Labor Net timely

information on various health services, screenings and physical examinations that

the Department provides to employees. If the Department, for budgetary reasons,

needs to curtail health services, it will notify Local 12 in advance of any

curtailment.

Section 9. Employees with Disabilities

The Department agrees to develop procedures to assure that all employees with

disabilities are provided appropriate assistance to

evacuate the building in the case

of an emergency.

Section 10. Environment

a. Consistent with its responsibility to furnish employees places and conditions

of employment that are free from recognized hazards that cause or are

likely to cause death or serious physical harm, the Department is committed

to providing its employees with a work environment free from health risks

associated with exposure to chemical, physical, and biological agents.

b. The Department will conform to applicable GSA regulations in the operation

of the Frances Perkins Building. The Department will work, as necessary,

with GSA to assure conformance with these requirements in GSA-controlled,

DOL-occupied, leased space.

c. The Department will participate in and coordinate with GSA’s cyclical air

quality review program, follow-up on specific complaints, and take what

corrective actions prove possible to alleviate problems which have been

identified.

d. Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that photocopy equipment is

located in properly ventilated space and that its operation does not

endanger the health of DOL employees. Employees will be advised of the

proper method of chemical waste disposal.

e. The Department will respond promptly to employee complaints. Scheduled

indoor air quality investigations and surveys will be based on relevant

guidance from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health,

OSHA, or other appropriate nationally recognized authorities. Results of

investigations or surveys will be given to employees and employee

representatives.

Section 11. Smoking Policy

a. The Department’s smoking policy will comply with all government wide rules

and regulations. The Department will maintain a smoke-free environment

for Federal employees and members of the public visiting or using space

owned, rented, or leased by the Department. Smoking of tobacco products

is prohibited in all interior space except currently designated smoking areas

in buildings other than the Frances Perkins Building that are ventilated

directly to the outside and maintained under negative pressure. Moreover,

in order to protect workers and visitors from environmental tobacco smoke,

smoking is prohibited at and around doorways, in courtyards, in any

outdoor areas in front of air intake ducts, and at portions of the Frances

Perkins Building rooftop. Smoking is allowed only in designated smoking

areas, which will be identified by suitable, uniform signs. The designated

areas are on the second floor balcony and on the West side of the 6th floor

rooftop including the enclosed area outside the cafeteria. The Department

will provide adequate ashtrays or receptacles in the designated smoking

areas. Management acknowledges that employees must be provided

reasonable opportunity to utilize such areas. In addition, the general policy

is subject to all exceptions as stipulated in Executive Order 13058 and any

other government-wide regulations.

b. The parties support and encourage all efforts by employees to quit smoking.

In this regard, as budget allows, the Department will continue to sponsor,

provide appropriate time, and bear the cost of employee participation in

DOL smoking cessation classes, clinics, or other such activities.

Participation in a smoking cessation program will be voluntary.

Section 12. Ergonomic Hazards

a. The policy of the Department is to provide safe and healthful workplaces

for all DOL employees. In keeping with the policy, the Department

acknowledges that there are certain ergonomic and environmental factors

that can contribute to the health and comfort of computer users. These

factors involve the proper design of workstations and the education of

managers, supervisors, and employees regarding the ergonomic, job

design, and organizational solutions to computer problems as

recommended in various studies published by the National Institute for

Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The Department will achieve this

policy by:

(1) Acquiring computers and accessory equipment that, to the maximum

practical extent, provide comfort to the user and keyboards,

worktables, and chairs that are height adjustable and provide proper

back support.

(2) Providing for the laying out of workspaces that are properly

illuminated to reduce glare and ensure visual comfort to computer

users while providing adequate lighting for traditional clerical tasks.

(3) Seeking and acquiring information and technical assistance, as

needed, from appropriate resources on methods for most effectively

designing computer workstation layouts.

(4) Educating employees about the proper and safe operation of

computers, including the value of interspersing prolonged periods of

computer use with other work tasks requiring less intensive visual

concentration.

b. The Department agrees that employees should be provided information

about ergonomic hazards and how to prevent ergonomic related injuries.

This information may be provided by Spotlights, OSHA Safety and Health

Guidelines, and other available literature. The Department agrees to the

maximum extent possible to provide equipment (chairs, tables,

workstations, etc.) which meet nationally recognized ergonomic design

criteria. Before equipment is purchased, to the extent possible the vendor

should provide training on safe and proper operation of the equipment.

c. The parties agree to maintain a sub-committee of the National Office

Safety and Health Committee on ergonomics to provide the Department

with guidance and policy recommendations on addressing ergonomic issues

in the DOL workplace. The subcommittee will have equal representation of

Management employees and non-Management employees selected by the

exclusive bargaining representative.

d. The Department agrees to maintain an ergonomics equipment assistance

room in the FPB so employees can try out equipment at any time. This

room contains displays of various office accessories designed to minimize,

reduce, and/or eliminate injuries, illnesses and hazards associated with the

use of computer workstations.

e. Any medical diagnosis that an employee presents to Management in

connection with a request for reasonable accommodation will be handled in

accordance with Article 25, Section 10 of the agreement.

Section 13. Security

This section demonstrates the awareness by both the Department and Local 12

that, in these times of national and world crisis and local threats to security, the

parties must cooperate to provide employees the most safe, secure and violence

free environment possible. Local 12 and the Department agree that establishing

regular, effective communication between the parties is essential to ensuring the

safety and security of employees. To that end, we agree to work through existing

committees or teams.

Section 14. Personal Protective Equipment

If recommended by an inspection or determined by an employee’s supervisor,

personal protective equipment shall be provided to the employee. The

Department agrees to pay for the equipment, in accordance with government wide

procurement regulations, and to provide the employee using the equipment with

effective training in its proper use.


 
 
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