The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has awarded $10.7 million to 72 nonprofit organizations through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. The goals of this program are to provide training and education for workers and employers on the safety and health hazards in their workplaces, and to inform workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Small-business employers and underserved low-literacy workers in high-hazard industries are targeted by the grant program.
The training grant program is named in honor of Susan Harwood, a former director of the Office of Risk Assessment in OSHA’s former Directorate of Health Standards, who passed away in 1996. More than 1.8 million workers have been trained through this program since 1978.
Upon announcement of the awards, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis stated, “The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that workers and employers are provided education and training on identifying and preventing serious workplace hazards. The grants awarded by the federal government today will provide workers and employers in some of the most dangerous industries with important tools to identify and eliminate such hazards.”
The fiscal year 2012 grants were awarded to 72 nonprofit organizations, which included community/faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, join labor/management associations, and colleges and universities. The award categories include Capacity Building Developmental, Targeted Topic Training, and Training and Educational Materials Development. The Susan Harwood Training Grant Program is an important part of OSHA’s efforts to provide workers in high-risk industries with training about job hazards and their rights. The program also provides employers with information on unsafe working conditions, mitigation strategies, and their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
Of the 72 organizations granted awards, 16 are new awardees who are receiving $1.6 million in grants for Targeted Topic Training and Training and Educational Materials Development. Seven organizations received a total of $785,000 in new grants in the Capacity Building Developmental category based on past activities that demonstrated their ability to provide occupational safety and health training, education, and related assistance to workers and employers in high-hazard industries and other vulnerable workers, as well as small-business employers. The additional $8.3 million went to follow-up grants to 49 fiscal year 2011 grantees in the Capacity Building Developmental category that performed satisfactorily during the past year and applied for additional funding for 2012.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels remarked, “The programs funded by these grants provide thousands of workers and employers with critical health and safety training and education. These programs are unique in that they provide in person, hands-on training that will have a long-lasting impact on improving workplace safety and health.”
For more information about the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program see OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov/dte/sharwood/index.html.