Labor Environmental Health Initiative

Through the Labor Environmental Health Initiative, MassCOSH forges successful coalitions between labor and environmental health groups to combat environmental health threats that impact our workplaces and communities. MassCOSH is working toward this goal by:

  • Building a thriving Blue/Green alliance to promote policies and workplace strategies that achieve safe alternatives to toxic chemicals.
  • Engaging unions in efforts that substitute safer alternatives for toxic chemicals on the shop floor.
  • Providing training and technical assistance to unions, workers, teachers and parents.
  • Developing leaders in the movement through active involvement in occupational and environmental health committees, community-based task forces and labor-environmental health coalitions.

Current Efforts

Union Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) Initiative

The Union TUR Initiative seeks to reduce worker exposure to toxic chemicals by building a cadre of unions that are knowledgeable about and actively promote TUR in their workplaces and in their public policy efforts. Through this initiative, MassCOSH provides training and technical assistance to unions and their members seeking to promote safer alternatives to toxic chemicals, with two specific targets including vehicle maintenance shops and building trades. Learn more or get involved

Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow (AHT)

A founding member of this broad based coalition, MassCOSH coordinates AHT's labor committee, promoting active involvement by unions in policies that promote safe alternatives to toxic chemicals. MassCOSH has played an active role in mobilizing labor around state bills that call for a program that would replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives, safer cleaning products in public buildings, and prohibit the use and sale of highly flammable and toxic floor finishing products. Learn more or get involved

Environmental Justice for Cleaning Workers

Environmental Justice for Cleaning Workers Project supports and assists janitors, custodians and their unions in efforts to achieve safe, healthy working conditions. The project involves a four step approach: (1) participatory action research to document conditions, (2) organizing to promote safe, healthy working conditions (3) Community action for safer cleaning, such as support for immigrant-owned "green" cleaning coops and assistance to community development corporations and (4) public policy advocacy to promote green cleaning in schools and buildings across the state. Learn more or get involved

Floor Finishing Initiative

In response to devastating floor finishing fires that killed four Vietnamese workers, MassCOSH helped spearhead a community-industry-labor task force that is working to address the safety and health dangers in this industry. Learn more or get involved

Healthy Schools Initiative (HSI)

This program engages school staff, parents, students, administrators, labor, environment and public health activists in efforts to identify and reduce environmental health hazards in schools through education, technical assistance and advocacy. Learn more or get involved

The New England Consortium (TNEC)

TNEC is the New England region's model worker health and safety training organization, with a focus on workers in some of the most hazardous jobs – hazardous waste workers and emergency responders. As a TNEC training partner since 1987, MassCOSH has provided dynamic, hands-on health and safety training to thousands of workers. With simulated work tasks and mock incidents, students gain a better understanding of work site hazards and how to properly respond in an emergency situation. Learn more or get involved

Safe Shops

Safe Shops supports efforts by vehicle repair and body shop unions, workers and owners to eliminate the most hazardous types of chemicals and to substitute those chemicals with more environmentally sound replacements through industry best practices. Since 2003, MassCOSH has worked in partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission to provide hands-on training and technical support to promote safe, healthy auto shops. MassCOSH expanded the program in 2007 to assist unions whose members perform vehicle repair and maintenance as part of our Union TUR Initiative. Learn more or get involved