For nearly a year WisCOSH has been working on it’s web presence to better serve it’s membership and workers in general. WisCOSH has redesigned it’s website to better take advantage of HTML5 and it’s native support for audio, video and more. This is the third major design iteration WisCOSH has launched since first going online in 1999. At the same time WisCOSH has worked on integrating it’s weblog, website, Facebook page and other social media sites in order to provide OHS information where ever workers are.
WisCOSH has been able to do the research and redesign thanks to a grant from the Public Welfare Foundation through the National COSH. WisCOSH would like to thank those of you who participated in our Beta Testing of the new design. Your input has been invaluable in determining design usability under various browsers [IE (6, 7, 8, 9], Firefox [3.x, 4, 5, 6-17], Opera [8, 9, 10, 11, 12] Chrome, …], different Operating Systems [Windows, OSX, Linux, Unix, …] as well as versions [Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8; Ubuntu, Redhat, Mint; …] and numerous portable devices and phones. WisCOSH plans to continue to expand and refine it’s presence on the Internet in order to meet the needs of workers, their representatives and employers in making all of Wisconsin’s workplaces safer and healthier. Please feel free to contact us and let us know how we are doing and what you need, find valuable or frivolous.
That’s right, the National COSH Conference will be hosted by WisCOSH this year and held in Milwaukee, WI from Wednesday, November 12th to Saturday, November 15th, 2008. The conference is a part of the Vulnerable Workers Grant and moves it’s location each year. At one time the conference was held in conjunction with the National AFL–CIO Health & Safety Conference or the American Public Health Assoc. Conference on alternating years. The AFL-CIO no longer hosts a safety and health conference. Last years conference was held at the National Labor College and had several opportunities to interact with the APHA conference attendees.
The conference will be held at the Wyndham (Milwaukee airport hotel & convention center, 4747 S. Howell Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53207). WisCOSH has reserved a group of rooms at a special low price in effect from 11/11 to 11/16 so come a day early and/or stay a day extra and see some of Milwaukee’s great attractions. Make your reservations early! The cost of the room is $92/night + local and state tax (currently 14.6%) for single or double occupancy. A roll away bed can be rented for an additional $20 + tax per night. Rooms have 2 queen sized or 1 king sized bed. Children 17 and younger can share a room with their parents for no additional cost! The hotel offers 24/7 pick-up from General Mitchel International Airport as well as parking for those driving. You must make your reservation by October 11th, 2008 to ensure these great prices.
Additional information on what topics will be covered at the conference, group activities and plans for community involvement will be posted as they are discussed and finalized. We hope to have a lot of interaction with local workers and unions as well as some interesting outings to local venues. Won’t you join us?
The 3rd Quarter of the long running, Dept. of Labor funded (via OSHA’s Susan Harwood Institutional Competency Building Grant program), Vulnerable Workers Training Grant ended June 30th, 2008 and WisCOSH was able to provide training to over 260 people since April 1st!
During this quarter WisCOSH was able to provide training and information on worker’s workplace safety and health rights and how to use them to a wide range of workers. Some were new workers (teens), some were mature workers returning to new a profession, some had been in the workforce for a long time working in high risk industries and some were workers who worked mostly or solely from temporary placement agencies. Some had a union in their workplace, most did not. WisCOSH provided them all with information about what their rights are under the Occupational Safety & Health Act, how to use them to help make their workplaces safer and healthier and how to prevent retaliation in the workplace because they used their rights.
In this last quarter of our 8th year of the grant WisCOSH wants to provide training to even more workers. The training is FREE! Every attendee receives a folder with information, contact phone numbers and websites where they can attain more information or help.There are many different trainings that are available as a part of this grant. Some of them include : Your Basic OSHA Rights; Workplace Safety & Health Rights for Teen Workers; Identifying Hazards In The Workplace; Respiratory Protection Plan for Nursing Homes, Community Based Residential Facilities, Day Care and Other Long Term Care Facilities. If you would like to know more about how you can participate in a class contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will let you know how you can host or join a training class. WisCOSH works with unions, worker centers, businesses and anyone concerned about their safety in the workplace.
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.