Health and Safety: What to do


The Seattle Education Association (Association) and the Seattle School District (District) shall establish a Joint Health and Safety Committee. The Committee shall consist of up to four (4) people from the District appointed by the Superintendent or his/her designee and four (4) people from the Association appointed by the Association President or Executive Director. The Committee shall meet monthly during the 2003-2004 school year and shall meet three times a year thereafter. The Committee can jointly agree to meet more or less often.

The Committee shall act as an advisor to the Association and the District. The Committee shall assist with the following:

1. To promote and educate School Health and Safety Committees in each school. These school- based committees shall be formed using the process for forming committees described in the Collective Bargaining Agreements. The joint Health and Safety Committee shall consider how to organize training for this purpose with the Health Department, Environmental Protection Agency, or other assistance without cost to the District.

2. To be briefed on significant environmental health and safety complaints, and the actions taken to investigate and remedy them.

3. To invite the Districts Risk Manager to discuss industrial injury/workers compensation with the committee and to consider what actions might minimize or prevent future industrial injuries.

4. To consider recommendations from either party to provide a more healthful work and school environment, and to make joint recommendations to the District.

5. To make recommendations to the District on budget needs, levy needs, and projects that would provide for a more healthful work and school environment.

6. To review means and make recommendations by which data related to environmental health concerns shall be collected and maintained by school.

The following process is used to respond to environmental health and safety complaints: 

1. Complaint is made via Internet work order, phone, writing, or e-mail. If made by phone or writing, e-mail address (or if none, mail address of complainant) is requested. 

2. Within 5 working days, District e-mails confirmation of receipt of complaint and sends questionnaire to elicit additional information that will assist investigation. The confirmation shall include web links on the subject of the complaint, whenever possible. Employee is encouraged to return questionnaire ASAP, but a completed questionnaire is not required in order for the District to continue its response. 

3. District investigator reviews complaint and questionnaire (if received). Investigator sends complainant initial investigation plan, which includes the specific investigation actions that will be taken, and the approximate dates by which these actions will be taken. (A work order, which contains this information, shall suffice.) Whenever possible (but without added cost) the investigator shall schedule the investigation of the complainant so that it is in the presence of the complainant and they will orally explain the actions they are taking. 

4. District investigator sends complainant the results of the investigation actions within 7 workdays of each action, or of test results. The results are to include a specific description* of the investigation actions taken and any findings, and any test results, including their interpretation. If it is not possible to include a written interpretation or explanation of any test results, this written interpretation or explanation shall follow within 7 workdays. The explanation shall be specific. (For example, no looked for mold. Instead Used boroscope to see if there is mold in south wall, to the right of the bookshelf, above the sink. Removed ceiling tile in SW corner
Of room and look in attic.) This communication shall include Please contact me if you have questions or concerns at ________________.)

5. If the investigation finds no cause for remedial action, the investigator sends the employee a letter explaining why there is no cause for remedial action by the District. The letter shall inform the employee that the matter shall be considered closed by the District in 30 days,
unless the employee has questions or concerns, or wishes to have the matter reviewed by the Joint SEA-SSD Health and Safety Committee.

6. If the investigation finds that remedial action is warranted, or further investigation, the investigator sends the employee a letter explaining the actions to be taken (or proposed actions, if there are alternatives) and a timeline. (A work order containing this information shall suffice.) 

7. District investigator sends the complainant a specific description* of the actions taken within 7 workdays of each action. The description shall be specific. (For example, not cleaned the ducts. Instead, Cleaned the main duct from xx location to yy location by blowing the debris
out of ________. Changed 4 of 9 filters at the main fan; installed pleated filters of xx capacity.) At the conclusion of the remedial actions, the District sends a letter to the employee informing him/her the District shall consider the matter closed within 30 days unless the employee has further questions or concerns or unless the employee wishes to have the matter reviewed by the SEA-SSD Joint Health and Safety Committee.

8. Copies of these communications shall be provided to SEA monthly, not less than 10 workdays before the SEA-SSD Joint Health and Safety Committee meeting.

9. The Committee may utilize outside experts, including the Health Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other sources to provide training, consulting, and/or evaluation of specific health/safety issues. With advance notification to the other party, either or both parties may request such outside expertise and support to assist the Committee in an advisory manner as long as doing so does not create additional cost for the District.

10. This process is intended to create an effective internal complaint and response system for Environmental health and safety complaints. However, it does not supplant the grievance procedure contained in the parties collective bargaining agreements or other outside agency complaint process.