142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Developing and implementing an organizational approach to undermining employer safety discipline policies

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

David LeGrande, MA, RN , Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, CLC, Washington, DC
Employer underreporting of occupational injuries and illnesses (I/I) has become a widespread problem both from the perspectives of the U.S. labor movement as well as the larger public health community. This paper will describe the efforts of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to identify represented telecommunications employer underreporting of workplace I/I as well as evaluate the success of these activities. Such activities include local union education and mobilization, research, work within the regulatory and legal structures, and collective bargaining efforts.

Results from CWA’s efforts will help provide direction towards the resolution of this important issue, i.e., the underreporting of workplace I/I. These results will demonstrate value for labor union and public health safety and health activists and researchers in their efforts to address this national workplace and public health problem. 

The identification and elimination of employer policies and procedures that lead to the underreporting of occupational I/I is a significant problem in the U.S. Several studies and reports have demonstrated significant underreporting by employers. In turn, action necessary to encourage/have employers accurately report workplace I/I has to be developed and implemented. Given the scope of this issue, these efforts must involve members of the affected communities- activists from labor, academia and research, employers, government, and public health organizations.  

The CWA's OSH Department has developed a comprehensive effort to identify represented telecommunications employers who have developed policies and procedures which directly and indirectly lead/have led to the underreporting of occupational I/I as well as formulated activities to eliminate such policies.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Assess the scope of the problem associated with the underreporting of occupational injuries and illnesses as well as employer policies and practices that discourage the accurate reporting of such injuries and illnesses; Identify employer policies and practices used to encourage underreporting of occupational injuries and illnesses; Discuss efforts to identify and resolve employer underreporting of workplace injuries and illnesses; Explain an organizational approach towards undermining employer activities to underreport occupational injuries and illnesses; Discuss how CWA’s activities fit with OSHA efforts to update the Agency’s Recordkeeping Rule.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety, Reporting

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working in OHS for nearly 36 years. I have been involved in developing and participating in education, research, publications, and advocacy efforts focused upon identifying & assessing the underreporting of occupational injuries and illnesses (I/I) and related employer efforts to discriminate against workers for reporting such I/I. These efforts include: work within the collective bargaining process, as well as with other unions, academics, and federal & state agencies responsible for addressing them.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.