Health & Safety

The hazards of working in public works departments

Municipal workers are about 40% more likely to sustain an injury or illness on the job than private workers. An average of 28 municipal workers are seriously injured each week in Massachusetts.  Municipal workers are not covered by the recent extension of federal OSHA laws to some state employees.

Some commonalities between different SEIU municipal bargaining units.  Below are areas that must be addressed:

Common Health Hazards and Problems
Back pain/injury
Exposure to sun and extreme temps
Joint problems/pain

Common Themes
Culture of unsafe practices
Town management issues

Major Challenges
Unable to visit worksites
Little time to talk to units as a group
Pushback from some managers
Concern/lack of interest from some workers

24 worker surveys completed in Orange, Westborough, Shrewsbury and Marlborough.
Workers had an outlet for their concerns.
New health & safety hazards sheet and final report.

Continue to survey more DPW members.
Build relationships with union members.
More 1:1 time with workers.

Take Action Today for Safer Workplaces!
Contact your Rep. or MassCOSH (Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health)

If you are interested in helping to improve conditions where you work, contact myunion at

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