The following article was shared from Twitter and reposted here. The original can be found at: http://www.buffalonews.com/city/city-hall/article933900.ece and was last updated at: July 4, 2012, 8:05 AM with no comments on the article. It has unique aspects for employer responsibilities and is worth the read…
The City of Buffalo is scrambling to comply with an order from the state Department of Labor, which lays out six ways it failed to follow regulations enacted three years ago regarding employee safety.
Regulations meant to prevent incidents of violence in government workplaces were never followed under a previous commissioner of human resources, and the city is now working to remedy the problem, according to city and union officials.
According to a notice of violation and an order to comply, the city failed to follow a set of regulations from 2009 mandating that public employers put together a program to prevent incidents of violence in the workplace.
In a six-part citation, the department’s Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau finds that the city did not:
* Have a policy on workplace violence prevention, including a plan for employee training.
* Examine past incidents of workplace violence to see if there were patterns.
* Examine existing policies and the physical workplaces to see if they contribute to the risk of violent incidents and have a plan for how hazards will be addressed.
The state imposed a series of deadlines from May through August for the city to be in compliance with the law. So far, the city has met them and has not been fined, said Human Resources Commissioner Patricia P. Folts, who was appointed last September, succeeding Karla L. Thomas.
“It would be serious if they weren’t trying to comply with the law, but they are,” said Michael F. Drennen, who represents about 445 clerical and professional city employees as president of Local 650, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
As part of the state’s directive, the city is surveying employees, asking them where they think they could be at risk on the job.
Drennen noted that City Hall lacks metal detectors and security personnel, with few exceptions, and that many city employees deal with the public and other employees in what can be tense situations, with few, if any, safeguards for employees.
“There are safety issues out there,” Drennen said, but he expressed optimism the city’s program will help.
Folts, who praised the unions for their cooperation, will bring the survey results to Mayor Byron W. Brown and his team, and see if any security measures are needed.
In an effort to comply with the order, the city has reached out to department heads and has posted notices in firehouses, said Thomas P. Barrett, vice president of Local 282, Buffalo Professional Firefighters Association. “I think the city is trying to comply to the best of their ability,” Barrett said. “I think Commissioner Folts is trying to do the right thing.”
Public employers had been ordered to comply with the regulations on prevention of workplace violence by Aug. 27, 2009. The state Department of Labor notified the city April 5 it was not in compliance.
Thanks for reading the re-posted story and as always, I am interested to hear your feedback. Too much regulation or common sense approach to training people to stay safe in the work place?