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OSHA Protections for State Workers Signed into Law!

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.
 
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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."

MOSES Instrumental in Securing OSHA Protections for State Workers

Commonwealth Workers to Enjoy Same Health and Safety Standards as Private Sector

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Representative Tom Conroy (left) and Joe Dorant, president, MOSES, celebrate the 124-24 vote in the House today to raise the minimum wage; 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.

BOSTON – June 18, 2014 – Today’s House vote to increase the minimum wage also includes 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, released last week by a six-member Conference Committee, includes 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.

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.”

Senator Dan Wolf and State Representative Tom Conroy, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Labor and 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 Annual 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.”

Calling all Scholars!

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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 Volunteer Time & Expertise

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Participating in the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair is an experience that lasts a lifetime...for students and judges. Upwards of 400 students representing 102 Massachusetts high schools presented 300 different science projects.

May 2nd's 65th Annual MSSEF competition was held at MIT and featured all high school level entrants. During the day, each student project is reviewed by five highly qualified judges from the corporate, educational and professional sectors. This year, 30 MOSES members volunteered their time for the event. 

MOSES President Joe Dorant, a 10-year judging veteran observes, "The innovation exhibited by every participating student is impressive, to say the least. I’m also impressed and thankful for the dedication and generous spirit of our participating members.”

MOSES Members serving as judges included: DCAMM’s Liam Slein; DCR’s Linda Hutchins; DOR’s Andrew O’Rourke; MassDOT’s Lokman Arran, Alolade Campbell, Alex Kasprak, Adetoyin Olaoye and Julia Whiteneck; DPH’s Kerri Barton, Michael Ferris, Lynda Glenn, Swati Joshi, Gabirela Kernan, Anthony Osinski and Brandon Sabina; Labor & Workforce Development’s Donald Delikat and Susan Shepherd; DEP’s Ida Babroudi, Paul Blain, Bruce Bouck, Timothy Dame, Maryann DiPinto, Seth Federspiel, Albelee Haque, Gregory Root, Elizabeth Sabounjian and Reuy-Jing Tang; Energy & Environmental Affair's Todd Callaghan; FWE’s Neil Churchill; Military Division's Robert Blair; MWRA’s Joseph Araujo and Stone Chen; and State Police’s Daniela Frasca.

EO511: Report Released; Legislation Moving Ahead

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They are environmental scientists and engineers that respond to releases of hazardous chemicals.

They are highway engineers working a hair’s breadth away from high-speed traffic.

They are foresters suspended hundreds of feet above the ground trying to eradicate invasive species from our trees.

And none enjoy the same workplace safety standards as private employees.

MOSES first filed legislation relating to employee safety more than 10 years ago. We didn’t ask for much; just the same protections that private employees experience through the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

“This is an accomplishment that has been a long time coming,” MOSES President Joe Dorant, also a member of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Employee Health & Safety, stated. “State employees work every day to keep the Commonwealth’s air, water, environment, health and infrastructure safe. And yet, these same dedicated professionals have not had the equivalent on-the-job safety protections as private workers. EO511 is a critical first step to closing that grievous gap.”

Executive Order 511 (EO511) is a report recently released by the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Employee Health & Safety. The Committee studied workplace risks and dangers across the Commonwealth’s Executive Branch employees, making key recommendations to reduce injury, illness and deaths among state workers.

Judges Needed!

IB ImageTo register as a judge, visit: http://massscifair.com/sefos/judge/register; Access code: mssef@mit

If you are selected to be a judge, please confirm with Janet in the MOSES office at 

617.367.2727 or jvitiello@moses-ma.org. 

Can’t make May 2nd @ MIT? Please consider volunteering for one of these fairs:

• Middle School - Worcester Regionals:  Monday, May 5, 2014 @ WPI, Worcester, Mass.

For more information: http://www.wrsef.org/judges/Default.aspx 

• Middle School - State Finals: Saturday, June 14, 2014 @ Worcester Technical High School, Worcester, Mass.

For more information: http://www.massscifair.com/info/judges/become-a-judge

All judges must have a degree from a four year college/university and work in an area of science and or technology. This event is eligible for the Commonwealth's State Employee Responding as Volunteer (SERV), earning participants up to one paid day per month with supervisory approval. Please follow the instructions on the website to get approval (www.mass.gov/serv).

Shakespeare Needs a Kidney

MOSES Member and MassDEP Scientist David Shakespeare has an incurable, genetic kidney disease (Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)) and needs your help. His health continues to deteriorate as the disease progresses and dialysis looms closer and closer.  He needs to find a living donor.

David explains, "My dream is to resume the active life I once shared with my wife and others and to continue my work on behalf of the environment and PKD."

Can you help?

Please visit his website (www.ShakespeareNeedsAKidney.com) to learn how to get involved by spreading the word or by becoming a donor.  --Joe

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MOSES & EWB 2014

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.

DCR Foresters Fight the Good Fight

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MOSES represents 73 foresters throughout the Commonwealth...here are just two examples of the important work they do each day to protect our environment.  To read the entire story on Ken Gooch, click here:  http://www.newburyportnews.com/local/x1262669678/On-the-lookout-for-tree-killing-beetles
 

MOSES Member Linda Dube Plays Important Role in Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

Making homes safe for children means finding and eliminating the lead hazards.  Linda Dube, an environmental health inspector with the Mass Department of Public Health, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) explains, “Even though the incidence of the illness has been significantly reduced, many young children are poisoned by lead paint in Massachusetts each year.”

Most of the childhood  lead poisoning comes from lead paint dust in older homes. When old paint peels and cracks or older windows are opened and closed, it creates lead paint chips and lead dust. Lead gets into children’s bodies when they put their hands and toys into their mouths. Children can also breathe in lead dust as a result of home renovations.

Lead poisoning, even at low levels, can cause serious and sometimes permanent damage to a child's brain, kidneys and nervous system. It can also result in serious learning and behavior problems. 

In 2012, more than 214,000 children under the age of 65 had their blood tested for lead content. Of those, 907 were considered lead poisoned according to the Centers for Disease Control. Ms. Dube shares, “This means their blood levels were elevated and they had a significant chance of serious behavioral, cognitive and health ramifications.”

The Massachusetts Lead Law requires the removal or covering of lead paint hazards in homes built before 1978 (Lead was banned from paint for residential use in 1971) where a child under the age of six lives, be it single-family homes, condominiums or rental properties.

The first step in the deleading process is having the home inspected. Only people who are trained and authorized can do deleading work. Deleading includes things like replacing windows and woodwork, scraping or cover old paint and encapsulation. Ms. Dube notes, “There are many methods of deleading. We work with property owners to educate them about their deleading options, who can do what work and resources available to help pay for the deleading.”

Linda and her fellow CLPPP inspectors Wayne Bowen, Errol Campbell, Andrea Demuth and Warren Laskey are all MOSES members who inspect, issue orders and work to get homes deleaded for lead poisoned children. Linda also conducts two-day classroom training and coordinates the field training for the CLPPP Code Enforcement Lead Determination Inspector program. Once trained and licensed, the local health agents test paint and get houses deleaded before children get poisoned.  Linda adds, “The lead determination program is true primary prevention and an excellent example of a collaborative effort between local and state public health agents.”  

Lorraine Simbliaris, director of field operations for DPH/CLPPP, observes, “Linda and her team are some of our behind-the-scene scientists diligently working to eliminate lead poisoning for the children living in the Commonwealth.”

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