What improvements are in the Tentative Agreement for health and safety (H&S)?
The UAW continues to lead industries in demanding safer working condition for all workers. With strong H&S contract language and programs that protect workers from injuries, we have succeeded in holding management accountable and correcting unsafe conditions within UAW-represented facilities. This Tentative Agreement is no exception. Improvements include new or improved language on:
- Working alone: working alone and in isolation can be very dangerous in a manufacturing environment. The new agreement creates a process for members to raise concerns and have a joint union and management job safety risk assessment and review process to create safety standards for the job (Red book page 232).
- Workplace falls: falling is one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities. Within 90 days ratification of this agreement, each location will jointly create a comprehensive fall protection program and develop fall protection procedures (Red book page 235).
- Joint review of established policies: improved language requires joint review of any H&S policy change before management institutes it (Red book page 211).
- Emergency response plan: The new agreement mandates the creation of an effective emergency response plan to include, among other things, training volunteers to assist before medical or security responders have arrived (Red book pages 231-232).
- Ergonomics: Ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job (OSHA). A joint review process will now be incorporated into standard operating procedure which will give the union more input prior to implementation of workstation changes (Red book pages 222-226).
- Improved representation: In the prior agreement, the H&S representative had to be absent for a full week before the alternate H&S representative could fill in. The new contract permits the alternate to step in after one day of absence (Red book page 213).