Health & Safety


Beginning with OCAW, we have had a long history of being on the forefront of workplace Health and Safety improvements and gains. Arguably the most prominent and visible person working on our behalf was Tony Mazzocchi.

Carried through under our merger with the UPIU to become PACE, now continued with our recent merger to become United Steel Workers, we continue our goal of providing a safe workplace for our members.

Our current tool to give employees some control over their own safety, as well as to identify and solve root cause issues is known as Triangle of Prevention (TOP). Officially designated as a "Union Led, Management Supported" program, TOP applies a systematic approach to investigating incidents, both "near misses" as well as after the fact. The primary goal of TOP is to fix the workplace, not the worker. Unlike behavioral-based safety programs, TOP works to eliminate the hazard itself through better engineering or design.

Currently, in our Local, both Shell and Tesoro have adopted the TOP program as their primary investigation tool. Shell itself has adopted the TOP program throughout all their US facilities (refining and chemical).

TOP, being union led, encourages and requires the involvement of the membership, both in identifying and correcting hazards. As such, it is our belief that our members benefit by having direct involvement at each step of the investigation, as well as the ability to recommend corrective actions they feel are necessary. With management support, TOP has proven very effective.  


Still Think Our Employers Care About Safety?

One of our main objectives in this round of negotiations is Health & Safety. No longer can we rely on our employers to do the "right" thing... unless you think the right thing is putting profits over people. Our members and coworkers continue to be killed on the job, as the petrochemical industry records record profits yet refuses to properly maintain their facilities and provide adequate training. For more on this, click the link below


Safety Concerns Heighten Over Petrochemical Plants


The Center For Public Integrity (CPI) has published their second article, titled

"Regulatory Flaws, Repeated Violations Put Oil Refinery Workers at Risk"

The article expands on the issue of poor maintenance, repeated violations, and the oil industry's constant stalling when penalties are assessed as opposed to correcting the deficiency. Read the full article here...


Concerned About Workplace Safety? So is OSHA

We've been seeing plenty of press lately about the high death/injury rates suffered in our industries. The recent explosions/fires on the Deepwater drilling platform, Kleen Energy power plant, Upper Big Branch Mine, and our own Tesoro Anacortes tragedy.

The link below will take you to EHS Today and an article interviewing Assistant Secretary of Labor - OSHA David Michaels. It is an eye-opener given the penalty disparities between human tragedy and environmental tragedies.

In reality, legislation is not put in place to harm companies, rather to force companies to follow basic rules. Break the law, get in trouble - same as it applies to you and me. However, the current legislation has such limited penalties that it almost encourages companies to break the law... the gains far outweigh any penalties.

Now's the time to correct that. If you break the laws, especially where people are hurt or killed, you should be held accountable. Companies can easily avoid this by following the laws - it's that simple.

If you're concerned, write you Congressperson and let them know. Write OSHA and let them know. The more feedback they get from citizens, the more inclined they will be to take this seriously and update the laws.

EHS Today Article