The AFGE Health and Safety Program focuses on keeping the federal workplace free from hazards that threaten the well-being of federal employees. AFGE emphasizes the need for agency health and safety programs that prevent injuries and illnesses.
AFGE provides technical assistance to the many activists who serve as local officers, safety representatives, and health and safety committee members. Today, with decreased OSHA involvement in federal workplaces, employees must take an active role in keeping their workplaces safe for themselves and their co-workers.
AFGE is increasing health and safety awareness among our members through educational programs. AFGE conducts training in conjunction with districts, councils, and locals.
In addition to traditional classroom programs, we also offer online training. Through a series of True or False Questions, the Health and Safety Essentials module provides an overview of the health and safety rights and responsibilities of federal employees. AFGE developed this module to ensure that members are familiar with the regulations that protect their health and safety on the job so they can better advocate for them.
AFGE locals and councils interested in developing effective union or joint labor-management health and safety committees can learn from this series of online training modules developed by the University of British Columbia. It provides an overview of how health and safety committees work, how to identify workplace hazards, and how to conduct an incident investigation.
AFGE provides information to help activists resolve health and safety problems, prepare grievances, and negotiate health and safety protection. This includes researching exposure risks, health effects, and current standards, as well as making recommendations for abating hazards.
AFGE thoroughly reviews and analyzes nation-wide agency health and safety programs, often providing comments and suggestions for improvement. Agency programs are evaluated to ensure maximum protection for AFGE members, including compliance with current standards and regulations, and full employee participation in the agency program.
AFGE participates in OSHA stakeholder meetings, evaluates proposed regulations and standards, and provides comments and testimony. AFGE also monitors proposed health and safety legislation, lobbying for measures that provide better protection for federal employees and against measures that weaken OSHA protection.
Federal employees have the right to a workplace free from recognized hazards [29 CFR 1960.8(a)]. When employees get hurt or become ill as a result of their job exposures, they are entitled to workers' compensation benefits, including medical care, wage loss replacement, and vocational rehabilitation, among others.
Federal employees also have responsibilities—reporting injuries and illnesses, filing claims for compensation in a timely manner, and returning to work when medically cleared.
These rights and responsibilities are not always communicated to employees, and if they are, the information may be inaccurate or misguided. Sometimes employees are denied the right to file, transmittal of their claims is delayed, claims are controverted, and employees are forced to return to work too soon for fear of losing their jobs.
AFGE has developed training on the federal workers’ compensation program that is offered both in a classroom setting and online. The training provides an overview of the claims process, the benefits injured workers may receive, and the appeals process.
We offer a short, self-paced online module on the basic benefits and requirements of the federal workers’ compensation system.
We also offer an interactive online course lead by an instructor. For information about the upcoming online Workers' Compensation Training, click here.