Don't Just Rely on the Boss!
February 1, 2011 - With the onset of the strongest winter storm and blizzard to hit our jurisdiction in decades, we take this moment to remind all members to work smart, work safe, and make sure you take all necessary precautions possible to prevent and treat all cold-related health problems.
Severe winter storms are capable of causing widespread damage and disruption. Heavy snow often results in paralyzed roads and alternate transportation systems, automobile accidents due to slippery roads, and stranded vehicles. Glazing from ice forms and topples utility lines and poles and all these factors added up can make travel virtually impossible.
Make no mistake about it; these conditions can be a threat to life. Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures can cause serious health problems such as frostbite, hypothermia, and worse. In extreme cases, including cold water immersion, exposure can lead to death.
Make sure to:
- Always recognize the environmental and workplace conditions around you that may be dangerous;
- Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries and what to do if emergency care is needed;
- Make sure to wear proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions, including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions; and
- Avoid exhaustion or fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. Our AT&T union contract states that the employer shall make and enforce reasonable provisions for the safety and health of employees during working hours and shall provide all reasonable protective devices and other equipment to protect them from injury. Employees shall not be required to work in an area that is unreasonably hazardous to their health or safety. If you encounter a hazardous condition during assigned work, contact your supervisor immediately for further instructions.
But - don’t just rely on the boss. There are 16 workplace deaths on average in the United States every day. Use common sense, work smart, and work safe. You have the right to perform your duties in a safe and healthy environment, each and every day. You also have the right to go home at the end of each and every day as well. Make sure that you do. Solidarity!
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