OSHA Awards Safety Training Grant

As part of its push to encourage non-profit organizations to conduct safety and health training in the workplace, the Washington, D.C.-based Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has awarded a four-year grant to the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, Washington, D.C., for solid waste employee education.

During the first year of the proposed project, the Foundation will receive $59,000 for a three-part initiative, including safety seminars across the United States, the development of best management practices to avoid ergonomic injuries and the creation of an Internet-accessible workplace safety database.

This initiative will target the people to whom safety matters most: employees responsible for safety concerns and employees who may be at risk for ergonomic injuries, according to David Biderman, general counsel for the Foundation's partner Environmental Industry Associations (EIA), Washington, D.C.

“The purpose [of this project] is to give solid waste employees practical safety tools,” Biderman says, adding that employers will not be targeted directly.

With the EIA's help, the Foundation will conduct four “train the trainer” sessions in the coming year, the first of which is slated to take place in Houston in January 2001. Although the Foundation estimates it will train at least 260 people directly, Biderman says the sessions are designed to give participants something to take home.

“Some of those participants will go back and conduct trainings on their own, so we'll actually reach many more than 260 people,” he says.

The proposed safety database, designed to provide tips on how to identify ergonomic hazards, prevent injuries and comply with federal regulations, will appear on EIA's website in September 2001, Biderman says.

The Foundation expects to receive approximately the same amount of money in each of the three subsequent years, but Biderman says that funding will depend on this year's numbers.

“If we are remarkably successful,” he says, “then in our application for 2002 we can increase the number of sessions.”