Although it got a late start to it this year WisCOSH has been continuing to provide training and outreach to vulnerable workers under OSHA’s Susan Harwood Grant. WisCOSH has many training classes available under this grant including : Basic OSHA Rights; Workplace Safety & Health Rights for Teen Workers; Identifying Workplace Hazards & Body Mapping; Employer Recordkeeping Requirements Under OSHA as well as many other specific topic hazard training classes [such as Ergonomics, Starting a Health & Safety Committee in Your Workplace, Understanding OSHA’s HazComm Program and more!].
Why did WisCOSH get such a late start this year? Like so many other things last year it was due to the Federal Budget process. The line item which funded the DOL funded OSHA Susan Harwood Institutional Competency Building Grant was removed and no progress on returning it was made until late December 2007. Unfortunately there were no changes made to the timeline of the grant so even though the RFP was not released until January 2008 the grant period remained October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008. There was an attempt to change the grant and make it a larger version of the DOL funded OSHA Susan Harwood Targeted Training Topic Grant. The budgetary law that provided the funding didn’t attempt this, but rather the agency appointees did.
Each year under the Targeted Training Topic Grant OSHA identifies a number of topics which tend to be focused on a particular issue within a particular occupation. The Susan Harwood ICB Grant has been a catch all training program which reaches out to all workers, in all occupations and has the ability to train workers on a variety of occupational safety and health topics. It is complementary to the Targeted Training Topic Grant in it’s scope of who can be trained and on what subjects. Therefore it is able to reach an even greater audience and provide additional information and training. This information and training generally reaches workers who may be immigrants, workers whose primary language may not be English, are new workers to an industry or teens who have little to no prior work experience or frame of reference. These are also workers who work in OSHA identified high hazard occupations. Many of these workers have little to no access to the information due to not have a computer nor access to one. Many workers who do have access to a computer may not have Internet access. Many workers who have a computer and Internet access still have little idea on where to find, or how to understand, the information they would receive in the training classes WisCOSH holds.