Does this mean state employees are now covered by OSHA standards?

EO 511 does not change the fact that state employees are not covered by OSHA standards. EO 511 is taking an important step for state worker safety and health by conducting a comprehensive assessment of where things currently stand before identifying the specific next steps needed to make improvements.

Our agency already has measures in place to protect the health and safety of our employees. Does this mean we do not need to participate in EO 511?

All Executive Branch agencies, regardless of where they currently stand with employee health and safety, must participate. We are creating a connected and centralized health and safety infrastructure, and will then work to assess current realities, which may range from little in place to comprehensive management of this issue. Those agencies who are well ahead can also serve in a leadership role. Part of the EO 511 process includes integrating successful and innovate health and safety management strategies and policies and making them available to all of the health and safety committees.

What are the benefits of devoting valuable staff time to this effort?

  • Becoming part of the centralized health and safety infrastructure, which links your secretariat to worker health and safety programs, information, and resources.*  Providing input on the experience of your agencies to the central worker protection policy development effort.* Gaining valuable internal information on current worker health and safety management.
  • Training provided to staff about elements of a sustainable and effective health and safety management system.
  • Receiving information on injury and illness statistics and costs for your secretariat/agencies to help you target prevention efforts.

What is the role of the Secretariat Safety and Health Coordinator?

The person named as Coordinator has knowledge of the Secretariat structure, agencies, and key personnel, which is needed for health and safety committee formation. The Secretariat Coordinator gets the ball rolling with health and safety committee set-up, to ensure that all employees are covered under a joint labor-management health and safety committee.  Working with the agencies, the Coordinator helps decide on a practical and effective structure of health and safety committees (for example, one committee for the whole agency, or separate committees by district or region, or by employee function, or a combined group of small agencies, etc.).  The Secretariat Coordinator ensures that committees are formed, trained by DLS, and that they continue to meet and complete the EO 511 tasks.

The Coordinator serves as the key communication liaison between agency health and safety committees and Secretariat senior management, and also provides periodic status updates to DLS as requested for the Advisory Committee.

The Coordinator works closely with DLS to ensure that committees are getting training, typically by coordinating set-up of needed training.  Also, the Coordinator keeps on top of the project by working in coordination with DLS, and maintaining awareness of DLS efforts to provide support and technical assistance to the health and safety committees.

How do I find out more/get in touch with my health and safety committee?

Contact Hilary Hackbart at the Workplace Safety and Health Program in the Department of Labor Standards, 978-242-1354 or hilary.hackbart@state.ma.us.