The HITEC II study compares two approaches to improving the health and working conditions of correctional officers and staff: one called Design Team and the other called Kaizen. Both approaches are participatory. The Design Team is based at Cheshire Correctional Institution (Cheshire CI) and is open to any nonsupervisory staff member who is interested in improving the health and well-being of correctional staff, concentrating on four main areas: working environment, nutrition, fitness and safety. The team meets every other Friday from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (pay weeks) in the Cheshire CI captain’s office. Design Teams control the scope of the interventions they choose to implement and have leeway to invite in experts and consultants.
The current Cheshire Design Team has been meeting since the fall of 2012 and has started developing intervention ideas in four areas: stress, air quality, noise and ergonomics (standing and boots quality). The team discusses health and safety issues and problems, brainstorms possible solutions and then eventually makes formal proposals to labor-management groups at the level of the facility and Department of Correction.
The officers who have participated so far have already made several proposals to the labor-management oversight committees and have set some initiatives in motion.
If you are interested in being a part of the Design Team activities, come to the captain’s office at 2:30 p.m. on one of our meeting days and find out what it’s all about. Meetings are scheduled to enable first and second shift correctional officers to attend during working hours.