With temperatures dropping, the importance of staying warm rises. Cold weather safety is important for everyone, but especially for those who work outdoors for long periods of time. Pay extra attention to how your body is affected by the cold weather.
To help combat the effects of chilling temperatures, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a helpful guide for protecting workers in severe cold environments. Here are some quick facts to help workers stay safe during the harsh winter weather:
10 Tips to Protect Workers
- Recognize the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries and what to do to help workers.
- Encourage workers to wear proper clothing for cold, wet, and windy conditions, including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions.
- Be sure that workers in extreme conditions take a frequent short break in warm, dry shelters to allow their bodies to warm up.
- Try to schedule work for the warmest part of the day.
- Avoid exhaustion or fatigue, because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
- Use the buddy system – work in pairs so that one worker can recognize danger signs.
- Drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports-type drinks) and avoid drinks with caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas) or alcohol.
- Eat warm, high-calorie foods such as hot pasta dishes.
- Remember, workers face increased risks when they take certain medications, are in poor physical condition, or suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease.
Prolonged exposure to cold or freezing temperatures can cause a number of serious health problems including frostbite and hypothermia—and in some extreme cases, even death. Danger signs include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue, and confused behavior. If any of these signs are observed, call for emergency help immediately.
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Pennsylvania’s General Election is less than a month away and your vote is crucial. We are electing a new President of the United States, a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, a new Pennsylvania State Attorney General, and other important positions in our federal, state and local governments.
You can make a difference. All voters need to make their voices heard on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016, by electing government officials that will stand up for workers’ rights.
Unsure of where to vote? Click here to use PA Voter Service’s Polling Place Search Tool and easily find the closest location to exercise your right.
Recently, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled against a provision that allowed companies to opt-out of the state’s workers’ compensation requirements. Union Services Access President Sam Pond calls the ruling “a critical victory in the national fight to protect injured workers’ rights.”
The Oklahoma high court found that the Opt-Out Act was unconstitutional, denied equal protection to the state’s workers, and denied injured workers the right of access to the court system. Justice Joseph Watt wrote that the law had given employers “the authority to single out their injured employees for inequitable treatment.”
At Union Services Access, we’re fighting every day to make sure that such grossly unfair legislation never becomes a reality in Pennsylvania. President Sam Pond comments, “Coverage opt-outs, along with other attacks such as evidence based medicine, are part of the ongoing war being waged on the rights of injured workers… We can only hope that the ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court is a trend in support of humanity that will continue to be realized in other states.”
Union Services Access enjoyed an afternoon sponsoring A Lift For A Vet Fight Night on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at Katie O’Donnell’s Irish pub in Northeast Philadelphia. A Lift For A Vet is a charitable effort by Local 5 of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC), with the mission to buy and install elevators, home lifts, stair lifts, or wheelchair lifts in the homes of disabled U.S. military service veterans from any era. Accessibility modifications can be vital to a disabled veteran being able to stay in their own home and enjoy the best quality of life possible.
To learn more about Lift For A Vet, or to donate, click here.
Union Services Access is pleased to announce four winners of the company’s 2016 Union Services Access (USA) Scholarships. The USA scholarships are awarded annually to the children of union members who have attained outstanding high school academic records. The four 2016 winners of the $2,500 scholarships are:
- Rachel Reifer of Glenolden, Pennsylvania, a freshman at Penn State University
- Fernando Marinero of Clayton, a freshman at Rowan University
- Kenneth Kissinger of Havertown, Pennsylvania, a freshman at West Chester University
- Thomas Conroy Jr. of Franklinville, a freshman at Widener University.
“Of the many worthy applicants for our 2016 scholarship awards, these four academically-gifted young men and women really stood out,” said USA President Samuel H. Pond, who also serves as Managing Partner of Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano, Pennsylvania’s largest Workers’ Compensation law firm. “Union Services Access is delighted to be able to provide these annual collegiate scholarships to the children of union members in the region. USA exists to protect union workers and having the opportunity to help the sons and daughters of union members attend college is deeply gratifying. We congratulate all 2016 honorees on their achievements.”
The annual Union Services Access Scholarship Fund is made possible by the generosity of Samuel H. Pond, Esq. of Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano; Pat Bianculli, Esq. and Brian Fritz, Esq. of Fritz Goldenberg Bianculli, LLC; and Thomas Duffy, Esq. of Duffy & Partners.
- Rachel Reifer is the daughter of Paul Reifert, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98.
- Fernando Marinero is the son of Jose Marinero, a member of Glaziers Local 252.
- Kenneth Kissinger is the sone of Kenneth Kissinger, Sr., a member of Communications Workers of America Local 1107.
- Thomas Conroy Jr. is the son of Thomas Conroy Sr., a member of District Council 21, Painters Local 1955.
Children of union members who are interested in learning more about Union Services Access’ Annual Scholarship Awards Fund are encouraged to visit http://unionsa.org/education-services/scholarship/.
Union Services Access was happy to help workers beat the heat recently on a hot August afternoon. We delivered coolers full of water and Gatorade to different union worksites around the Philadelphia area. As the temperatures rise in the summer months, so does the possibility of heat illness. People who work outdoors are vulnerable to extreme heat, which can result in serious injury or even death. Click here to review extreme heat safety tips.
USA was glad to provide a brief respite from the heat and encourage workers to take breaks and stay hydrated when working in the extreme heat. We thank you for all that you do!
As summer begins, it is especially important to pay attention to high temperatures when working outside. People who work outdoors are vulnerable to extreme heat, which can result in serious injury or even death.
In order to combat heat illness for outdoor workers, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an application for smartphones that allows workers to calculate the heat index based on their current location. Depending on what heat index the app reads, it will then display a risk level and tips to protect workers from heat-related illness. The app is available for free download on both Apple and Android devices.
In addition to the app, here are several tips to consider when working in the heat:
- Don’t wait to drink. Drinking small amounts of fluids every 15-20 minutes throughout the day is more beneficial than drinking large amounts when thirsty.
- Avoid ice-cold drinks. Drinks that are too cold cause the blood vessels in the stomach to tighten, reducing the rate of fluid absorption.
- Limit caffeine intake. Drinking caffeine before or during a shift can contribute to dehydration by increasing water loss.
- Take enough meal breaks. Food is one of the main ways to replace lost fluids. Eating food also increases thirst response, which encourages drinking more.
If you have any questions about heat-related illness and workers’ compensation, please contact our firm today.
This week, the Pennsylvania Labor and Industry Committee voted against the passage of House Bill 1800, which would severely limit injured workers’ ability to receive quality medical care.
House Bill 1800 aimed to impose “evidence-based medical treatment guidelines” for injuries, meaning that doctors would have to follow a specific course of treatment rather than rely on their own judgment as to what is best for injured workers.
Managing Partner Sam Pond expressed his deep appreciation to everyone who banded together with Pond Lehocky to fight this damaging legislation, but warns that the battle is not over yet.
“Thank you to all of our doctors, attorneys, unions and clients that helped us address this terrible legislation,” Sam said. “It is because of your support in the political arena that we were able to protect our clients and their livelihoods for another day. Remember, this is a war and more battles will need to be fought to ensure injured workers’ are protected under the law. We will continue to garner support and be even more prepared if House Bill 1800 tries to make its way into law again.”
In recognition of the callous disregard shown by Verizon for the working men and women of this country, I no longer use the company’s email service. It’s my wish that this small gesture represent my support and solidarity for the CWA and IBEW unions, and for all unions across the nation. Before becoming an attorney, I worked for nearly twenty years as a union rod setter. This time left me with a life-long respect for the work done by people who are too seldom appreciated. Since their inception, American unions have been a catalyst for the nation’s prosperity; the foundation of a thriving economy. What is detrimental to an economy and to the well-being of a society is unbridled greed. It’s this same greed that is being displayed by Verizon.
Recent estimates put the company’s total revenue at 31.9 billion. And yet, Verizon is taking aim at the very people whose hard work has contributed to their success. Such actions are reprehensible and must be resisted. Unions came to be when the working men and women of this nation united to take a stand against the inhumanity of companies and corporations. Our success was won through the plight and sacrifice of people whose names are sadly lost to us. But, the legacy remains. And it is this legacy that must never be forgotten. Together, union brothers and sisters, let’s unite once again, take up the fight and carry on the legacy that is and shall always remain the Spirit of our cause.
Forever in Solidarity,
Your Union Brother, Pat Bianculli
Verizon made $39 billion in profits over the last three years—and $1.8 billion a month in profits over the first three months of 2016—but they are still insisting on givebacks from workers. Verizon wants to gut job security protections, contract out more, shutter call centers, and offshore American jobs to Mexico and the Philippines. Union Services Access proudly stands with Communication Workers of America in their strike for better working conditions.
Click here to read the full press release.