Article 19

Safety

Section One. The Union and Employer recognize that too great an emphasis cannot be placed upon the need for safe and healthy working conditions. The parties shall mutually strive to improve such conditions. The State shall maintain safe and healthy working conditions.

Section Two. There shall be a Bargaining Unit Job Safety Committee comprised of two (2) representatives of the Union and two (2) representatives of the State. The Committee shall meet monthly to review and respond, in writing, to written complaints filed as above and to review and recommend other safety and health measures in the various agencies covered by this Agreement and as the same may affect members of the bargaining unit. Committee decisions and recommendations shall be made by a majority vote of the entire Committee. Recommendations of the Committee shall be forwarded to the responsible authorities in charge of the affected facility or agency and shall be promptly addressed. In the event of a stalemate, the recommendation of each side shall be forwarded to the responsible authority. The Committee shall be entitled to a written response to its unanimous or majority recommendations within thirty (30) days. Such response shall include an analysis of the Committee recommendations. If the responsible authority does not agree with the Committee, the authority shall propose an alternative or provide an explanation of the reasons for disagreement with the recommendations as part of the response. The Bargaining Unit Job Safety Committee shall then review the response and make a final recommendation to the responsible authority within thirty (30) days. If the responsible authority does not agree to timely implement the final recommendation of the Bargaining Unit Job Safety Committee, it shall so respond in writing within ten (10) days, and thereafter the Union may submit the matter directly to Step III of the grievance procedure.

Section Three. Committee members, when acting as a body, shall be paid for time spent on Committee activities, including inspections and investigations, at their normal base rate of pay, or shall receive compensatory time off (in lieu of overtime) if such activities fall outside their normal work schedule. Time off shall be granted to Union designees to conduct inspections or investigations of matters being considered by the Committee; and, additionally, to attend scheduled meetings with State officials and/or agency designees to discuss health and safety issues. All time off under this section is subject to giving the Office of Labor Relations at least two (2) weeks notice. A bank of 1,200 hours per year is provided for time spent by the Union designees in pursuing the activities outlined in this section as well as time spent by them in responding to imminent danger situations. No member of the Committee shall hold himself/herself out as being on official Committee business unless the Committee as a whole has so determined.

Section Four. The Union shall cooperate with the Employer in carrying out all of the Employer’s safety measures and practices for accident prevention. Employees shall perform their duties in each operation in such a manner as to promote safe and efficient operation of each duty and of each job as a whole. The Union agrees that employees shall use the health and safety equipment provided by the Employer. An employee who knowingly fails to perform work in conformance with the Employer’s safety rules or approved safety standards shall be subject to disciplinary action. It is incumbent upon each employee to report known safety hazards. An employee in reporting safety hazards shall notify his/her immediate supervisor in writing and said supervisor shall acknowledge receipt of the report in writing, and the employee shall receive a timely report of its disposition. If the employee does not feel that the problem has been corrected in a reasonable period of time he/she may submit a written complaint, with copies of the supervisor’s report of disposition to the Bargaining Unit Job Safety Committee. The employer agrees to follow its own safety and/or health policies and procedures.

Section Five. No employee shall work on, with, or about an unsafe piece of equipment or under an unsafe or unhealthy condition. Such equipment shall be tagged until appropriate repairs are made. No employee shall perform a task for which he/she has not received appropriate training or without qualified supervision when the absence of such training or supervision make the task unsafe. No employee shall be disciplined for refusal to work or to operate equipment when he/she has reasonable grounds to believe that such would result in imminent danger to life or of serious physical harm. In event of imminent danger to the safety of employees performing a particular task, the employees involved should immediately inform the on-site supervisor. If such notification does not resolve the problem, one of the employees may notify one of the Union  41 members of the Bargaining Unit Job Safety Committee. Such member shall immediately contact the safety designee of the agency involved and a management member of the committee. If the Union member, through no fault of his/her own, can’t contact the agency designee or is not satisfied that the agency will immediately address the problem, then such member may, in conjunction with the management member, or alone, proceed to the job site in question to investigate the matter. The same procedure shall be followed in the event of the death or serious personal injury involving a bargaining unit member. Before leaving his/her work site, such committee member must comply with the procedures outlined in Article 7, Sections 3 and 4, as if on steward release. Time used for such investigations shall be reported to the Office of Labor Relations as soon thereafter as possible and be deducted from the bank created in Section Three.

Section Six. (a) The Employer shall continue to provide all safety equipment (other than items of personal apparel) which is required in order to perform assigned work. (b) On or about July 15 of each contract year, each employee who is required to wear safety shoes shall receive the specified payment for the purchase of such shoes.

Section Seven. Hazardous or Unpleasant Duty. (a) Hazardous duty is work performed which has a risk of serious illness or injury, or death, which risk is different from that normally inherent in the duties of the classification of the employee involved. Unpleasant duty is work which may not be hazardous but which causes extreme physical discomfort or stress, such as physical exertion in cramped quarters, exposure to fumes, dust, noise, waste or human or animal remains, which discomfort or stress is different from that normally inherent in the employee’s job.
(b) Premium pay for hazardous or unpleasant duty as specified by current regulations or Q-Items shall continue. Premium pay for newly designated hazardous or unpleasant duty may be established at either one and one-half (1½) or one and one-quarter (1¼) times the applicable hourly rate, depending on the degree of such hazard or unpleasantness, in relation to current regulation or Q-Item. Premium pay shall be paid for all hours of such work or exposure.
(c) Each agency shall establish a committee to receive and review requests for premium pay hereunder (except for that already established by Q-Item or regulation). The Committee shall include one (1) management member familiar with safety policy and one (1) member selected by the Union. The Committee shall meet and act upon any request for premium pay for hazardous or unpleasant duty within ten (10) days of the receipt of such request. A unanimous Committee decision to disapprove a request for premium pay shall be final. In the event that the Committee recommends premium pay or fails to  42 reach agreement, the recommendation (or statements of the Committee members) shall be presented to the agency head or designee for appropriate action. The agency head or designee shall act upon a request for premium pay within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the request from the Committee. The agency head or designee shall forward his/her response to said request to the Bargaining Unit Job Safety Committee. Requests for premium pay under this subsection are limited to claimed hazardous or unpleasant duties assigned to employees on or after July 1, 1989. If duties initially assigned prior to July 1, 1989, are brought to the Committee’s attention and are found to be hazardous or unpleasant duty, the Committee shall order either that the duty be removed or the situation be remedied to address the hazardous or unpleasant nature of the assignment.
(d) The Bargaining Unit Job Safety Committee shall receive and act upon recommendations concerning premium pay forwarded by an agency head or designee. The Committee shall act upon said request within thirty (30) days of receipt. A Committee decision to disapprove the request shall be final. In the event that the Committee recommends premium pay or fails to reach agreement, the recommendation (or statements of the Committee members) shall be presented to the Commissioner of Administrative Services for appropriate action. If the Commissioner grants the premium pay, it shall be calculated effective from the date the request was originally submitted. If the Commissioner denies the premium pay, he/she shall provide written explanation, with copies to the committee. The Commissioner of Administrative Services shall act on such request and forward his/her response to the Bargaining Unit Job Safety Committee within thirty (30) days of receipt.
(e) The Union, but not an employee, may submit disputes over premium pay to arbitration. In any such arbitration, the arbitrator’s decision shall be binding on the parties.
(f) Time limits specified above may be extended by mutual agreement.

Section Eight. The State shall:
(a) provide the Union with any industrial hygiene tests, safety reports, ventilation and noise control engineering studies or safety related engineering studies prepared by it or on its behalf and relating to any agency or department in which bargaining unit members work.
(b) maintain a list, at each facility, of harmful or toxic substances stored or used at each facility. The State shall provide a copy of said list to the Union upon request.
(c) inform and educate employees regarding safe practices for chemicals  43 at each facility; and, shall not expose any employee to any harmful or toxic substance without providing him/her, upon request, a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
(d) promptly notify the Union of all accidents involving serious personal injury or death; and, also, provide copies of any of the following records upon the request of the Union: Supplementary Record of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, OSHA Number 101 or equivalent; Log and Summary of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, OSHA Number 200; Annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Survey, OSHA Number 200-S.
(e) provide medical examinations for employees exposed to health hazards as determined to be necessary by State medical personnel.
(f) cooperate with members of the Bargaining Unit Job Safety Committee in cases where the Committee or the Union requests permission to conduct any industrial hygiene tests, safety studies, ventilation and noise control engineering studies or safety-related engineering studies relating to any agency or department in which bargaining unit members work, provided there is no disruption of the work of the Employer, and provided there is no cost to the Employer beyond funds allocated in subsection (g) of this section.
(g) allocate twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars per contract year to be applied towards funding those safety and health-related activities cited in subsection (f) above. Approval for use of funds allocated in this subsection for specific activities shall be by majority vote of members of the Bargaining Unit Job Safety Committee.

Section Nine. An employee required to perform work in any security designated area shall be supplied appropriate identification. When an employee is required to work in a controlled area or ward within an institution, he/she may require that the work area be isolated if necessary to insure the employee’s safety.

Section Ten. Disputes over unsafe or unhealthy working conditions regarding physical facilities shall be processed through Connecticut OSHA. If jurisdiction over the condition is specifically declined by Connecticut OSHA, then the issue may be processed through the grievance and arbitration procedure. Safety disputes relating to matters other than physical facilities may be processed through the grievance and arbitration procedure. The arbitrator shall not have the authority to mandate the hiring of additional staff. The arbitrator shall be obligated to consider the impact of any award with respect to an Agency budget and shall issue no award of major impact unless the issue poses significant risk of life or serious injury. Any such arbitration shall be governed by Article 16, Section Nine. 44

Section Eleven. It is understood that some members of the bargaining unit must work during weather extremes. Under such extremes, the employer shall take reasonable steps to protect the health and well-being of employees, e.g., by curtailing work, providing additional or extended rest periods.

Section Twelve. (a) The Union may designate specific stewards, from among those designated under Article 7, Section Two, to act as `Safety Stewards’ within their specified jurisdiction. The Union will furnish the State with a list of the designated `Safety Stewards’ in the manner specified in Article 7, Section Two, of this Agreement.
(b) The agency or facility will deal exclusively with such designated `Safety Stewards’ if he/she is available with respect to safety and health matters.
(c) When CONN-OSHA or the Bargaining Unit Job Safety Committee makes an on-site visit, the designated safety steward, if on duty, shall normally accompany the site inspection team, subject to agency operating needs.

 

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