A suspicious letter is delivered to the State House. Inside the envelope is a white powder. The Chemical Terrorism Response Laboratory is activated and Jennifer gets the call. Should a toxic agent be purposely released or a chemical accident occurs, it is her team that identifies the chemicals and the numbers of people exposed.
Who: Daniel Pratt
What: Crime Scene Analyst
Where: Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory
MOSES: Member since 1982.
Dan Pratt, one of 15 inaugural honorees in the state's WOW!/STEM campaign to encourage young students to enter the sciences, works doggedly to find the link between evidence, crime scene and suspect. He explains, "If a person enters a room, they will gather something on their body or leave something behind. It is our lab that 'speaks' when the victim is often unable to do so."
Who: Jenmina Ojuka
What: Environmental Analyst
Where: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
MOSES: Member since 1998.
"When we inhale fine particles -- 2.5 micrometers or smaller -- they can penetrate deeply into our lungs and cause respiratory illnesses," Jenmina explains. He and the DEP air quality team maintain sensitive field equipment that is used to collect and measure air samples, ensuring the air we breathe is safe.
MOSES: Making a Difference.
“There’s something civil servants have that the private sector
doesn’t and that is the duty of loyalty to the greater good –
the duty of loyalty to the collective best interest of all rather
than the interest of a few.”
Last Wednesday's overwhelming House vote (124-24) to increase the minimum wage also included language from House Bill 3988, An Act extending protections to employees of the Commonwealth, and now provides OSHA protections to executive branch employees. The bill (S2195) features an increase in the minimum wage over the next three years; seeks to rein in unemployment insurance costs for employers; and incorporates language to extend on-the-job health and safety protections to more than 150,000 state employees. Governor Patrick signed the bill today.
Joe Dorant, president, Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists (MOSES), explains, "This bill has been a priority for MOSES for over ten years. We represent highway engineers working a hair's breadth from fast-moving traffic; scientists exposed to hazardous materials each and every day; and foresters hanging 100s of feet in the air in an effort to eradicate invasive beetle populations. These are the men and women who are dedicated to keeping the Commonwealth's infrastructure, air, water, health and environment safe. And now, they will be afforded the same safety protections and precautions that are required for private-sector employees."
A special thanks to the many MOSES members - Chris Bresnahan, Ralph Cirelli, Jill Clemmer, B. Marie Cunningham, Tom Prendergast, Darryl Forgione, Mickey Splaine, Hilary Hackbart, Brian Logan, Paul Petrowski and Mario Traficante - who represented their agency and the on-the-job perils fellow workers face each day in the many joint labor-management committee meetings formed to study all departments in the Executive Branch.
Senator Dan Wolf and State Representative Tom Conroy, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Labor & Workforce Development, were early champions of the bill.
Conroy explains, "Protecting the health and safety of our public employees has been a top priority for me. I applaud the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists (MOSES), MassCOSH, our state's labor unions and the advocacy groups who have joined together and have worked tirelessly to bring this important issue to light. The House-Senate compromise minimum wage legislation will improve the quality of life for state employees, and will reduce our state's injury and illness costs, saving millions of taxpayer dollars each year. I am proud to have been a part of this collective effort and I look forward to Governor Patrick signing this important piece of legislation in the upcoming weeks."
Comprehensive and effective worker health and safety management saves money. The Commonwealth is self-insured, and currently expends significant resources on costs associated with preventable on-the-job accidents. According to Executive Order 511 Report released this past March by the Patrick Administration, in the Executive Branch alone, the state spends approximately $31 million on direct medical and workers' compensation wage costs associated with injuries and illnesses. This figure does not include other indirect costs such as lump sum settlements and rehabilitation, lost time, replacement worker costs, reduced productivity and claims administration time, to name a few. Dorant observes, "If even just 10 percent of these workplace accidents can be prevented by instituting safety measures in compliance with OSHA standards, the state, at a minimum, could save over $3 million per year."
In addition to seeking to extend OSHA protections to state employees, the bill seeks to give the state the power to create regulations and establish safety standards. Designees from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Administration & Finance, Office of Employee Relations, Department of Public Health, as well as union and community representatives would oversee tasks that include the creation of a centralized policy that focuses on injury prevention programs; training, technical assistance and enforcement of these programs; and encouragement of sharing best practices, as well as equipment resources and training where feasible, across all agencies.
Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director, Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), shares, "Every worker in Massachusetts deserves the right to a safe and healthy work environment. By instituting health and safety measures that are known to prevent injury and death, we will protect the well-being of our state's employees and save the taxpayers costly workers' compensation costs."
Dorant concludes, "State employees face just as many, and often more, on-the-job risks and dangers as those in the private sector. This legislation is an essential step toward instituting safety measures that will prevent needless workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths. It is a tremendous opportunity to provide state workers the same protections that private employees enjoy."
Attention MOSES members, now accepting applications for the 2014 Scholarships. Please click here to download the form.
Deadline for submission: 2:00 p.m. (EST), Monday, September 8, 2014.
One $1,000 scholarship in the name of our former President, Charles P. Wilson will be awarded. In addition, twenty $500 scholarships in memory of late members of the MOSES Board of Directors will be awarded.
Eligibility Requirements: Scholarships are limited to MOSES members (including Active Retirees), their spouses or children, as well as the spouses and dependent children of late MOSES members under the following condition: That the member or immediate family member plans to attend and has been accepted at an accredited higher education facility for the fall 2014 semester.
Restrictions: In the event that a winner’s educational expenses are less than the award, and/or the winner has received reimbursement from another source, the scholarship will be decreased to the amount appropriate. Awards are not transferable.
The MOSES Goodwill Committee, Chairman, John Bardzik, administers the scholarship program and will conduct the drawing at the September 9, 2014 Membership meeting.
MOSES members making a difference around the world. Each year, MOSES scientists and engineers donate their time to Engineers without Borders. Here is just a small sampling of the good and important work they do.
The Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists
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Boston, MA 02114
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