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Environmental Health and Safety

PSC Environmental Health and Safety (PSC EHS), a committee of the Executive Council, serves our members by helping to identify health, safety and environmental issues that could cause problems in our working environment. The committee (aka HS Watchdogs) works with members and with local chapters to investigate and motivate management to fulfill their legal obligation to provide an environment free of occupational hazards. We believe that work should not be dangerous to our health, and that sustainable environments support sustainable (healthy) people.

Join the PSC Health & Safety Watchdogs

Health and Safety Resource Library

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UPCOMING EVENTS

The PSC’s Health and Safety Watchdogs meet once a month, usually on the second
Thursday of the month, from 3:30pm to 4:30pm. Check the PSC events calendar for updates.

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PAST EVENTS

Go to our Resource Library to access materials from past workshops:


A SAFE RETURN TO CAMPUS DURING COVID-19

TRAININGS AND WORKSHOPS (tailored to your chapter’s problems)

  • Workplace Violence Prevention (WVP) and the new WVP Standard
  • Preparing for and avoiding campus construction hazards
  • Know your health and safety rights in preparing for labor-management
  • Meetings
  • Workload and stress; its health and safety implications
  • Anti-bullying

SUGGESTED SPEAKERS FOR MEETINGS

  • Green buildings
  • Sustainable campus environments
  • Workplace Violence Prevention standard (NY State)

INVESTIGATIONS OF CAMPUS PROBLEMS AND POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

  • Walk through new buildings with chapter members when they are opening
  • Walk through specific areas on campus with chapter members to investigate reported problems
  • Walk through areas with chapter members to assess workplace violence hazards

REPORTING PROBLEMS (List of commonly reported problems)

  • Noxious Odors
  • Sick Building Syndrome
  • Poor Ventilation: afternoon sleepiness.
  • Air Quality problems
  • Molds and Water Stains
  • Blood or Body Fluid Spills; airborne pathogens, needles
  • Flaking Paint — Exposed Asbestos
  • Chemical Hygiene Problems
  • Safety and Security Issues

If you have a problem on your campus, please report it immediately to your Building and Grounds Department and/or Security and copy your PSC Chapter Chairperson. CUNY campus administrations have online systems for reporting problems.

Send the Watchdogs a copy of your report by using this form or by emailing [email protected]; or call us: 212-354-1252 ext. 208 and ask for the Environmental Health and Safety Desk.

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More In This Section

The following letter, dated May 24, 2019, documents the union’s requests that CUNY act to protect the health of PSC members who work at the Lawrence and Eris Field Building, 17 Lexington, Baruch College.

As part of a national day of action, PSC members took to social media to document disrepair on their campus, from ceiling leaks to brown water coming from a drinking fountain.

Summer means hot temperatures, trips to the beach and back-yard cookouts. But be aware that spending time outdoors during the heat of the day can put your health at risk.

The Newman Library Building at Baruch College hasn’t had a functioning fire alarm system since October, and the PSC chapter on campus says that’s unacceptable.

Did you know that every February, federal and New York State laws require campus Administration to post a record of all reportable injuries and illnesses that occurred on your campus the previous year?

Throughout the year, a record must be kept of injuries and illnesses in a list known as a DOSH 900 Log or OSHA 200 Log. From February 1 to April 30 of every year, one of these logs must be posted in a public area on your campus. It can usually be found on a bulletin board near Human Resources.

At CUNY mold contamination of old leaky buildings is an ongoing problem and the hazard posed by mold has dramatically “grown” since Hurricane Sandy.

If you missed the Environmental Health and Safety Watchdog’s useful and informative workshop on “Mold in the Workplace” given by Dave Newman of NYCOSH, you can schedule a workshop for your campus. Just let us know and we can work with you to set one up.

Thanks to the CUNY School of Public Health, the PSC has a limited number of single use (meaning disposable) face mask respirators for distribution to members.

We’d like to make these respirators available for members’ use outside of CUNY when engaged in clean up activities where exposure to mold and airborne particles is unavoidable and high. Keep in mind that while the respirators will reduce exposure, they aren’t sufficient to eliminate respiratory intake of airborne particles. They also don’t protect against gases or pathogens.

Please remember that hurricane cleanup and restoration work may have serious risks. Doing the wrong thing can endanger your safety, your health, and possibly your life. Here’s a new fact sheet from NYCOSH which provides basic Health and Safety information.

The Watchdog coordinators here at the PSC are rolling up our sleeves and are ready to assist. We’ll help you identify emerging problems and work with you as we seek solutions. Please email [email protected] and let us know what you face.

It’s a Heat Wave

Today is the second day of the summer and the second day of an official heat wave. The Weather Service forecasts temperatures to reach 98 degrees with a heat index of up to 104 degrees. The Weather Service has issued a heat and air quality advisory for today which can be dangerous for persons with preexisting respiratory problems.

If any one on your campus is experiencing excessive temperatures or problems with air quality in his or her room or work area, encourage them to call or email the Building and Grounds Department on your campus. The general duty clause of the Public Employees Safety and Health agency which is also part of the PSC contract, states that “you have a right to a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards.”


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