Region 2 News Release: NY 216
Tuesday Nov 30, 1999
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
PUERTO RICO WORKER-SAFETY ORGANIZATION HONORED BY U.S. LABOR DEPARTMENT
FOR ITS SUPPORT OF GOVERNMENT-EMPLOYEE SAFETY AND HEALTH
The U.S. Labor Department has honored-for the tenth consecutive year-a volunteer group in Puerto Rico whose mission is to help the Occupational Safety and Health Administration provide safety and health protection to government employees in the same way it does for workers in the private sector.
In ceremonies today (Tuesday, November 30) in Baltimore, Maryland, OSHA chief Charles Jeffress presented the Puerto Rico Federal Safety and Health Council with the Meritorious Performance Award for its accomplishments in calendar year 1998.
"Government employees deserve a workplace free of safety and health hazards just as all other workers do," Jeffress said. "The Puerto Rico Council deserves special recognition for its leadership in raising awareness of safety and health issues in the government workplace, promoting participation by an increasing number of government agencies on the island, and providing useful, even potentially life-saving, information to employees and their families."
Federal Safety and Health Councils throughout the country serve as clearinghouses for data on occupational injuries and illnesses, provide technical advice and information on safety and health to the representatives of their agencies, and offer a forum for the local exchange of information and concerns to help safety and health representatives carry out their duties.
Maria Z. Maldonado, chairperson of the Puerto Rico Council who accepted the award from Jeffress, said the organization covers the entire island, encompassing more than 10,000 federal, commonwealth, and municipal employees. During 1998, the council held quarterly meetings in which as many as 50 safety and health representatives received briefings on such topics as electrical safety, safe driving, self-protection for women, and indoor air quality, including the recognition and remedies for "sick building" syndrome.
In addition to representatives of federal and other governmental employers, participation by employers in the private sector and representatives of labor unions is welcomed by Federal Safety and Health Councils also. Further information can be obtained from Maria Maldonado, District Manager of the Social Security Administration, at (787) 798-3140.
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