As part of an effort to increase health and safety in the workplace (including field work), the SEA and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have recently convened a Health and Safety Committee. The committee’s first meeting took place on Wednesday, October 29 in Concord, facilitated by Heather Fairchild, the Health and Safety/Wellness Coordinator for DHHS. The SEA is currently seeking participation from under-represented worksites in the Department (see below).
Under Article 13.10 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the SEA and the Executive Branch, every agency is required to have a Safety Committee. The committee’s purpose is to bring to light safety concerns of the Department’s employees, find solutions and/or develop safety procedures and policies to help prevent recurrence of these safety concerns. This is also a place where requests can be made for divisions or groups of employees for safety needs that should be addressed in fulfillment of work duties, such as personal protective equipment (PPE).
Over the course of the past year, with support from SEA members and the DHHS Labor Management Committee, conversations were held between the SEA and DHHS, and an agreement was reached to re-convene a department-wide Safety Committee. At the first meeting on Oct. 29, a mission statement was established, chairs for both labor and management were chosen, and a follow-up meeting was scheduled, with a goal to tentatively meet monthly as the committee gets under way.
To make this committee as productive, representative, and meaningful as possible, earlier this year, we sought participation from SEA members in worksites all across DHHS. At present, the nine labor representatives come from six DHHS worksites. We are currently seeking more representatives from the District Offices and the 24-hour facilities, to round out representation on the committee. If you are interested in taking part, and you are an SEA member, please send an e-mail stating the reason for your interest to Andy Capen, SEA Field Representative, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for making your workplace a healthier, safer place to work.