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OSHA awards safety and health grant to National COSH

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Press Contacts: 

Roger Kerson, 734.645.0535; roger@rkcommunications.net

Program will target most vulnerable workers nation-wide

Longmeadow, MA – The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) has received a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) through its Susan Harwood Training Grant Program.

National COSH’s new initiative, which will be funded in its entirety through the OSHA grant, will enable a national network of local committees on occupational safety and health, known as COSH groups, to offer new and expanded training, provide technical assistance, and build capacity to reach at risk workers.

“Our goal is to reach out to America’s most vulnerable workers,” said National COSH Executive Director Mary Vogel. “OSHA has recognized the specific health and safety challenges faced by immigrant workers, low-literacy workers, young workers, temporary workers, and minorities. Our outreach will focus on overcoming barriers so that these workers have better access to the kind of training that saves lives and prevents injuries by creating healthy workplaces.”

National COSH and its affiliate organizations will enhance their ongoing capacity to train a broad spectrum of vulnerable workers, as well as assisting workers‘ centers and community-based organizations in their efforts to reach these populations.

Training courses, which will be conducted in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and other languages as needed, will include sessions on how workers can exercise their right to a safe workplace under state and federal laws. Workers will be educated about protections available under OSHA, and their rights as whistleblowers to report potential health and safety violations.

Targeted industries include meat processing, construction, health care, restaurants, warehousing, landscaping, waste and recycling, industrial laundry, janitorial and cleaning services, agriculture, retail, and oil and gas.

In all, OSHA’s Susan Harwood program awarded $10.6 million in safety and health grants to 78 organizations across the nation.

"Since 1978, approximately 2 million workers have been trained through this program, and it is one of the most effective ways we have for communicating with vulnerable and hard-to-reach workers," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "The Susan Harwood Training Grant Program is an essential component of OSHA's efforts to provide workers in high-risk industries with training about job hazards and their rights, and I am thrilled to see what our grantees will do."

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National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. For more information, please visit coshnetwork.org. Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.