Health and Safety Trust Fund
Safety Never Stops
The NYS Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund is a perfect example of how labor and management, working together, can make a difference in members’ health, safety and wellness and improve jobsite productivity.
Recognized in the construction industry as one of the most ambitious programs of its kind, the Health and Safety Fund is constantly thinking of new ways in which to make workers healthier and their worksites safer. This translates into a more productive workforce, which, in turn, improves the bottom line. It develops a variety of education, awareness and promotional programs for Laborers and their families and also works to contain health care and workers’ compensation costs.
The Health and Safety Fund:
- fosters safety in highway and building construction
- protects members engaged in the environmental trades
- helps employers meet, and often surpass, government safety and health standards
- heightens employee and employer awareness of various diseases and health risks that workers face
- supports major health and safety research and prevention programs
- works in conjunction with NYS LECET and the NYS Laborers’ PAC to encourage legislation that promotes safe workplace practices
- produces Laborsafe, a quarterly health and wellness publication mailed to all members across the state inside issues of Tri-Fund magazine
- creates a variety of communication tools distributed to construction sites around the state to remind workers of the importance of personal protective equipment and other safety precautions
The Fund works with local unions and district councils to organize free health fairs that give members, retirees and their families vital access to direct-care health services, such as cholesterol and blood pressure screenings and pulmonary function testing.
The fairs also provide the latest information about:
- injury and illness prevention
- health care costs
- cardiovascular, heart and musculoskeletal disease
- cancer prevention and treatment
- smoking and substance abuse
- other issues that affect Laborers on the job and at home
Covid-19 Action Plan
Safety Protocol Posters (March 2020)
Virtually overnight, the work practices and safety protocols on construction projects changed dramatically due to Covid-19. The Health and Safety Fund designed and produced Covid-19 specific safety protocol posters for jobsites, union halls and training centers. The posters and our LIUNA branding are still prominent on projects around the state and continue to serve as great reminders of basic health and safety practices.
Sanitizer Stand Construction (March 2020, July 2020)
The most dominant theme of the early days of the pandemic was the importance of frequent hand washing and/or the use of hand sanitizer. Health and Safety staff in partnership with NYSLOF staff constructed 150 hand sanitizer stands that were placed on projects throughout the state. In July 2020, our staff partnered with Laborers’ Local 60 to construct an additional 125 stands to be used in the NYC area.
We are also pleased to report that our stand construction template was shared on the LIUNA website and sanitizer stands are currently in use around the country!
In an effort to keep large construction projects operational during the pandemic, the Tri-Funds partnered to provide handwashing/sanitary bathroom trailers to projects across the state. The trailers allowed for vital warm water hand washing on jobsites and were very well received by our membership and our signatory contractors.
PPE Procurement and Distribution
One of the biggest challenges in the early days of the pandemic was the lack of Personal Protective Equipment for both our local unions and our contractors. The Health and Safety Fund and the NYS LECET fund remained committed to securing and distributing much-needed PPE. 3 ply, N-95 and KN-95 masks as well as vinyl gloves, safety glasses and other protective gear were purchased from vendors and suppliers from all over the globe!
Despite the chaos of the early days of Covid-19, the commitment to the safety of our members never, ever wavered and will always remain our top priority.
Covid-19 Vaccination Education and Clinics
One of the top priorities of 2021 will be the education of our membership on the vast benefits of receiving the Covid-19 vaccine and how it is the most effective way to keep their families, friends and coworkers safe.
The increased supply and the introduction of new vaccines will soon allow our LIUNA members and their families to secure their place in the vaccination line (Phase 1c). While the vaccine rollout has been problematic thus far, there will be an opportunity for our fund to plan and coordinate multiple membership vaccination clinics across the state.
Our fund has recently produced vaccine-specific jobsite posters to inform our members that “we’re next” and to “be ready”. This is the best way to ramp up our outreach and to keep our members updated on the vaccine rollout.
In partnership with the NYSLOF graphics department, we were able to create a very user friendly website that allows our members to access a variety of Covid-19 information as well as the ability to schedule vaccination appointments across the state.
Contactless Health Fairs
In response to Covid-19 restrictions and our inability to sponsor traditional membership health fairs, the fund quickly pivoted to safely provide health and safety promotional products to members across the state.
Local unions and their members were provided with t-shirts, toothbrushes, sunscreen, lip balm, safety glasses, masks, work gloves, hand sanitizer and ear protection. While we certainly missed seeing our LIUNA members this summer, the ability to provide just a little normalcy went a long way.
Flu Shot Clinics
Despite the many obstacles facing our fund and our local unions this year, we were still able to coordinate seven flu shot clinics in 2020. These events were held in strict accordance with all Covid-19 safety protocols and were very well received by the members and the local union leadership. There appeared to be some renewed interest in the vaccine this year and many members received their flu shot for the very first time.