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OSHA Offers Safety Training Grants

Safety Training Grants totaling $6.7 million have been awarded to 37 nonprofit organizations nationwide to fund education and training to help employees stay safe.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA training programs cover infectious diseases, including COVID-19 health hazards, understanding worker rights and employer responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

The grants include those funded by the Susan Harwood Workplace Safety and Health Training program, named in honor of the former director of OSHA’s Office of Risk Management. Harwood helped develop federal standards over her 17-year OSHA career to protect workers from bloodborne pathogens, cotton dust, benzene, formaldehyde, asbestos and lead in construction.

The money goes to faith-based and community groups, as well as nonprofits, employer associations, labor unions and colleges and universities. They will target their training for small-business employers and underserved vulnerable workers in high-hazard industries.

The grants are considered critical to OSHA’s role of educating construction workers on their rights and assisting employers so they can provide appropriately safe workspaces as required by federal law.

The Health Act of 1970 requires employers to provide safe and healthy workspaces for their crews. OSHA’s role in this is to ensure that those conditions are met. It sets enforcing standards, provides training, education and assistance.

There are times when companies start out with a bang on construction safety training, but over time, enthusiasm devolves.

Safety must continue to be a fixture in every construction company’s core mission and values. When safety is no longer at the forefront, it can have a negative impact on the company’s culture. That is never a good thing.

It is up to managers to set a good example for their crews, and they can do that through compliance with key initiatives. If necessary, they should offer one-on-one counseling for those who are not following policies consistently.

Proper training can go a long way in combatting safety fatigue, which is why grants like this are so important because they reach the under-served and small businesses who might otherwise struggle to pay for such training.

Proper safety training must be at the foundation of a company culture. If employers only limit training to the onboarding process, employees may not fully grasp them or keep them front of mind while working.

Training must have a practical context, something employees will take with them to every worksite. Continuous training in

accident prevent, health safety and hazard avoidance will give employees regular reminders of the policies and why they are indispensable.

This is especially important, right now, as the United States continues to work under the shadow of COVID-19 and the Delta variant, which is highly contagious and affecting more young people.

Ongoing training also gives crews the background to remember their individual responsibilities and remind them to share safety tips with their fellow crew members.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.