Institute awarded OSHA grant to continue development of new safety programs

A picture of the OSHA logo and its target areas. OSHA is a federal agency that aims to ensure that worker rights are respected, and actively works to improve working conditions around the nation. // Photo Courtesy of mwcpa.com/

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently awarded the Institute with the Susan Harwood training grant for targeted training, awareness and safety programs for the 2021 cycle.

OSHA awards this grant every year to colleges and non-profit organizations in order to encourage the continuing development and protection of worker safety on the job, and awarded more than 11.6 million dollars to 93 colleges and non-profit organizations nationwide this year alone.

These grants will work to fund worker education and training on hazard recognition and prevention, as well as on the rights of workers to safe workplaces and the responsibilities of employers to provide them.

This plan was funded this year in part by the American Rescue Plan, which was recently passed by the United States Congress as part of President Biden’s pandemic agenda.

The Institute, in keeping with the goals of OSHA, has also pledged to improve worker rights and safety in the face of the pandemic and has decided to utilize the funding in order to implement education and training programs to better prepare employees to combat and contain infectious diseases found within their work environment.

According to the Institute, the grant will be used to, “help workers and employers recognize infectious diseases, including the novel coronavirus health hazards, and identify preventive measures for a safe workplace.”

This training will hopefully allow Institute employees to be better protected and prepared for any infectious disease, including the coronavirus, and according to the Institute, “will [also] include understanding workers’ rights and employer responsibilities under the OSHA Act of 1970.”

This preparation will be administered in the form of both one hour and six and a half hour-long training sessions to 475 employees, and will primarily attempt to impart knowledge on infectious disease awareness and prevention.

In keeping with the Institute’s commitment to inclusivity, the lessons will be taught in both English and Spanish in order to help as many employees as possible gain the necessary knowledge gained through the training. The training will be provide through the Georgia Tech Safety, Health, and Environmental Services (SHES) program, and will be lead by Sean Castillo, an industrial hygienist for SHES.

“We are thankful to be included in this OSHA funding to advance awareness and understanding of disease risk and measures to take to mitigate exposure,” said SHES Director, Paul Schlumper.

“A healthy and safe Georgia workplace environment is essential for employers and employees alike.

“This funding will be a critical part of our efforts in our continuous fight against the pandemic.”

SHES is a part of the Enterprise Innovation Institute and works to provide occupational safety and health training, consulting services and academic education to the Institute and its community, as well as to a broad variety of organizations in and around the southeast region of the United States.

SHES has done this job for many years now, and has developed a reputation for being more than capable at identifying hazards on work sites and advising action to all interested parties.

In 2020 alone Schlumper and SHES helped to identify more than 1500 workplace hazards, and similarly removed more than 36,000 workers from the dangers of hazardous workplace environments.

With the OSHA grant secured and planned out, both SHES and the Institute are prepared to help pave the way for a safer, infection free work environment for the Institutes faculty and staff than ever before.