The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has awarded more than $6.7 million in grants to 37 nonprofit organizations nationwide. The grants will be used to fund education and training programs to help workers and employers recognize infectious diseases, including coronavirus health hazards, and identify preventive measures for a safe workplace. In addition to hazard control, the training will also include understanding worker rights and employer responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
The award includes “Workplace Safety and Health Training on Infectious Diseases, including the Coronavirus” grants funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The grants derive from the Susan Harwood Workplace Safety and Health Training program, named for the late Susan Harwood, former director of OSHA’s Office of Risk Assessment. In her 17-year OSHA career, she helped develop federal standards to protect workers from bloodborne pathogens, cotton dust, benzene, formaldehyde, asbestos, and lead in construction.
The program funds grants to nonprofit organizations, including community and faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor-management associations, colleges and universities. Target trainees include small-business employers and underserved vulnerable workers in high-hazard industries. These grants are a critical element in supporting OSHA’s role in educating workers on their rights and assisting employers with providing safe workplaces.