CWA District 3 Occupational Safety and Health Conference Call
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Vice President Honeycutt welcomed everyone to the call and thanked them for their participation.
A moment of silence was observed in memory of Dan Semich who died as a result of an on the job injury involving a mid-span ladder accident.
There was discussion around the ladder accident and the mid-span work function which included a reminder of the Company’s mid-span ladder policy change in Consumer Field Operations announced in March, 2021 which reads in part: “Prior to conducting any extension ladder mid-span work operations, technicians must first contact their supervisor or delegate to discuss and ensure the safest option is being utilized and all safety procedures are being followed. It is recommended that the conversations include the use of pictures or face time to ensure the safe setup of the work operation”. The Company has purchased new extension ladders from Little Giant that have several advantages over the current ladders. A video of the new ladders can be viewed here:* https://youtu.be/qgZbEDMv8jw.* The CFO department has advised District 3 they will exchange all old extension ladders for the new ones as soon as possible. Other departments have not yet notified us of their plans regarding the replacement of extension ladders. *Local 3114 inquired about the load rating and the Company has advised us that all of the new ladders will be rated at 375 pounds.*
An announcement was made welcoming Jose Zuniga, Local 3808 as the new District 3 OSHA trainer. Jose has long been a strong OS&H advocate in CWA District 3 and is now certified to train our members for OSHA 10 certifications. CWA is currently developing a process to offer training for OSHA 10 and more information will be provided in the future.
An announcement was made congratulating Eric Chapman, Local 3808 for representing all of CWA at the 2021 AFL-CIO Death on the Job annual event which was conducted virtually. Eric did a great job and spoke for workers across the telecommunications industry.
An announcement was made regarding OSHA 300 logs that were provided by AT&T for all reportable locations in District 3. *This information is being analyzed by our Research Department and will be provided to the Locals soon.* Initially, the spreadsheet will be used by Locals to identify any omissions of cases they may know of that should be on the logs. Once all the data has been compiled and sorted it will be distributed to the Locals to use in their OS&H committees and their State OS&H committees to assist in their work to help create a safe work environment for our members.
Jose Zuniga reported the Company is removing lanyards from aerial lift trucks and replacing them with the appropriate lanyards for the type of vehicle. Versalift trucks require the new body harness, placing trucks require the red lanyard and other aerial lift trucks require the green lanyard. The harness used when working on Versalift trucks is issued to employees and should not be shared, only used by the employee to whom it is issued because they come in different sizes. Local 3804 and 3902 once again reported that these harnesses are uncomfortable and painful. Isa Shabazz advised that he discussed the harness issue at the District 3 Joint OS&H Committee meeting and was advised by the Company there is a video that demonstrates how to adjust the harness for comfort and proper fit.
Local 3102 reported that GPS dash mounted devices are no longer provided by the Company and the Company does not allow any equipment to be dash mounted (GPS, iPhone, iPad, etc.). Local 3603 confirmed the equipment must be mounted in the rear of the vehicle and Local 3907 reports similar issues. It was recommended to take the issue to the statewide Local Governance Partnership meetings or the State Safety Committee meetings.
Local 3102 also reported that the Florida market cone policy requires three 28inch cones plus seven 36 inch cones as well as men working signs. There was discussion regarding the Company safety policies, specifically that they may change from department to department. The Company’s longstanding practice is that safety rules cannot be less than the established ES&H safety policies and practices, but departments can make them more stringent.
CWA District 3 /AT&T Joint OS&H Committee:
Isa Shabazz, Staff Representative and Co-chair of this Committee, introduced the members: Stanley Long (BST), Matt Wood (BST) and Bubba Shewalter (Utility Ops). Isa Shabazz and Matt Wood reported on several issues that were discussed at the recent District 3 Joint Safety Committee with AT&T. In addition to the Versalift harness issue, the Committee discussed hands-free use of cell phones and the Company stated they had no interest in changing their policy as it relates to distracted driving. The Committee also requested information about the strand/mid-span clamp that can be installed from the ground, according to the description in “upfront”, as well as requesting that the Company provide that clamp for inspection. (During the call, two Locals sent pictures of the clamp from upfront).There was also discussion regarding new-hire training.
CWA/USW OS&H Training:
The in-person training sessions are still on hold due to the pandemic. CWA and the United Steel Workers are still working on a solution to train participants virtually.
OSHA 10 Training:
District 3 now has a certified trainer who will be conducting classes in the future to train members for OSHA 10 certifications. More information will be provided once the process for these training sessions is determined.
The next District 3 Occupational Safety and Health conference call will be Wednesday, August 25 from 1PM EDT – 3PM EDT.