Making Safety a Priority

Health and safety are not always at the top of a Local Union’s priority list. Still, ICWU Local 45C’s safety committee is making safety a priority, especially during their Safe and Sound Week festivities. During a week in October, Westlake Chemical and Local 45C acknowledged that safety is essential and accepted the mutual responsibility to work safely and follow the rules and standards that keep workers safe.

Workers through their local Union were successful in establishing and initiating ‘Work Stop Authority’ when employees were uncertain or concerned with their safety. Kudos to ICWU Local 45C, their safety committee, and their executive board.

Stop work authority means that every employee has the power and responsibility to stop any task that they feel may be unsafe. This right underscores the trust and respect that the management has for the employees. It shows that the employees, the Local Union, and the International have built credibility regarding health and safety within the confines of the Company. It demonstrates that “no job is so important or urgent that it cannot be done safely.”

This announcement and the training involved for the employees to begin the program was the center ring in the OSHA sponsored “Safe and Sound Week.” Other activities included removal of chemicals stored that were no longer in use, games, review of safety policies, the big reveal for a new exercise room and wellness program, and safety prizes!

Editorial Contributions by Shari Allen