This article reprinted from MassCOSH
With over 100 inches of snow falling in parts of Massachusetts in less than a month, companies and state and local government employers have been racing to clear snow from roads and roofs, and in the process, requiring employees to complete extremely dangerous tasks with fatal results. Two workers died this past week in Canton and two more were hospitalized in Avon and Burlington in separate incidents from falls while clearing snow from roofs. Two weeks prior, 60-year-old Cesar Moya, a Whole Foods employee, was hit and killed by a snow plow that was clearing the Medford supermarket parking lot.
Click here to read the Department of Labor Standards “SAFETY REQUIREMENTS for Removing Snow from Rooftops on Municipal and State Property.”
In the Canton incidents, one man reportedly fell through a skylight while assessing snow removal operations, and another fell from a roof while clearing the snow. The worker in Avon also fell 35 feet through a skylight while clearing snow from a roof.
“Behind each one of these worker deaths is a devastated family,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH). “Given the enormous hazards that are present with snow removal, it is imperative that employers identify all potential hazards before sending workers to work on a roof or in an area where they are exposed to plows or other vehicles.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has investigated 16 such serious injuries or deaths in the past 10 years, all of which could have been prevented.
“Often workers climb directly onto the roofs or structures and use equipment such as shovels, snow rakes, snow blowers and ladders to access roofs and apply de-icing materials,” said Rick Rabin, a Technical Assistance and Training Associate at MassCOSH. “Workers who perform these activities have little experience or training on the hazards they may encounter. It is incumbent upon the employer to evaluate the hazards and provide the necessary training before workers begin the work.”
Based on findings of OSHA worksite investigations, falls cause the most worker fatalities and injuries during rooftop snow removal. Workers may fall off roof edges, through skylights, and from ladders and aerial lifts. Workers may also be injured or killed by a roof collapse.
In order to prevent worker injury when removing snow from roofs, OSHA requires employers to take the following precautions:
- Use snow removal methods that do not involve workers going onto roofs, when possible.
- Provide fall protection equipment to workers who go onto roofs.
- Guard skylights so workers do not fall through.
- Mark skylights, roof drains, vents that might be hidden by the snow.
- Avoid contact with electrical power lines. Keep ladders, aerial lifts and workers at least 10 feet away from power lines.
- Evaluate weight load exerted on roof to ensure that the roof can hold the snow plus workers and equipment. Do not pile snow on roof.
- Train workers to recognize fall hazards, use fall protection harnesses and anchor points correctly, use aerial lifts safely, use ladders safely, and avoid electrical power lines.
- Protect people on the ground from snow and ice falling off the roof during removal operations.
This Valentine’s Day, join workers and advocates to promote the Fight for $15 and show our appreciation for retail and restaurant workers.
The minimum wage in Massachusetts just went up to $9/hour, but there is still more work to do before we reach a real living wage.
So let’s stand together for $15/hour! Join us for a stand-out/speak-out action in front of South Bay to raise awareness of the Fight for $15 among workers and shoppers.
Our movement is gaining momentum. Just this month, legislation was filed requiring corporate “big box” retailers with more than 200 employees in Massachusetts to pay a $15 living wage to workers!
When? Valentine’s Day! Saturday, February 14th, 1:30PM – 2:30PM
Where? South Bay Center (in front of Bank of America/Massachusetts Ave. entrance)
8 Allstate Road, Dorchester, Massachusetts 02118
Hosted by the #WageAction Coalition. To see a full list of coalition members, visit http://wageaction.org/coalition/
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WageActionMA
Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/wageaction
Find us on Instagram: @WageAction
Visit our website: www.wageaction.org
Stay in the loop: Text #WageAction to 30644
Download and print a flyer for the action here.
“With the cost of housing so high I was struggling to pay for my home improvements. If it wasn’t for the Housing Trust I would not have been able to make much needed repairs,” said Dominic DiMare, a steward at the Boston Police Department.
Boston Police Dept.
“I’d suggest that if you are experiencing problems, before you do anything, make your first call to the Housing Trust. It’s a shame that more members don’t take advantage of it. There’s no catch to it. You’ve earned it by working for the City.”
The Housing Trust
SEIU Local 888 members who work for the City of Boston Admin Guild, BCYF, BPD, BPHC, DND, Elderly or P&E are eligible to receive benefits from the City of Boston – SEIU Local 888 Housing Trust. The Housing Trust was negotiated through collective bargaining to assist SEIU Local 888 members with the cost of housing in Boston by providing them with grants and interest free loans.
The assistance programs have been updated and some new benefits have been added. Most grant amounts have been substantially increased to $2,500 (except for the home ownership benefit which has been increased to $15,000).
The Housing Trust provides eligible members with grants and loans to make it more affordable for city employees. Check out these five programs:
- Fuel Assistance: The City of Boston-SEIU Local 888 Housing Trust will provide 100 members who’s yearly income is less than or equal to $47,450 with a grant of $750 to help alleviate heating costs during the months of November 1, 2014 – March 31, 2015.
- Emergency Assistance: Aids members for up to $5,000 for a housing-related emergency such as loss of income because of unemployment of a spouse/partner, illness, death of a spouse/partner wage earner, or an unanticipated home repair.
- Rental Assistance: Alleviates the cost of maintaining residence for up to $5,000 within the City of Boston.
- Home Improvement: Pays for housing related home improvements up to $7,500.
- Homeownership Benefit: Supports members with $15,000 to purchase a home within the City of Boston.
If you have a need for the program, please apply using our more user friendly website. Check it out at www.seiu888.org/htf
More than 300 members at UMass Lowell and throughout the Merrimack Valley turned out for the River Hawks hockey game with Merrimack College on January 31. There was a pre-game reception at the Tsongas Center followed by the game.
UMass Lowell leaders Janet King and Penny Donoghue (pictured upper left) worked hard on all of the details to make the evening
a big success. More pictures from Hockey Night are below.
Mark DelloRusso, Janet King, Kelly Shay
Penny Donoghue and young friend
Score board show’s Local 888′s message: “Stronger Together”
Attention State Workers: Please vote for Theresa McGoldrick, President of SEIU/NAGE Unit 6, Local 207 and attorney for the Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Division. “I am running for reelection to the State Retirement Board to continue being “your” representative on the board. I have fought to protect your pension by working to defeat pension reform legislation filed to destroy our pension benefits. I recently worked to defeat House Bill 59 that would have added 10 years to vest and increased the age to retire. I ask for your vote to continue to be “your” voice and to fight to protect your pension.”
Local 888 members vote for a resolution in support of the the “Fight for $15 and a Union” at the 2014 convention. See more pictures from the 2014 Members’ Convention by clicking here.
The winners for Local 888′s 2015 scholarship awards are: member: Dana Drury, UMass Lowell for applicant: Emily Drury; member: Laurie Rocco, Unit 2 DAR for applicant: Angelica Rocco; and member: Maryanne Carty, Westwood Town Hall for applicant: Patrick Scannell.