September 8, 2021
Chicagoland Construction Safety Council, Latino Worker Safety Center, NIU, University of Illinois receive
grants to train employers, workers on stopping spread of infectious diseases
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced the award of more than $6.7 million in grants to 37 nonprofit organizations nationwide 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 Chicagoland Construction Safety Council based in Hillside, Illinois, received a $145,030 grant to provide four hours of coronavirus training including exposure control methods to 300 employers and workers in the construction industry. The training will target workers in high-hazard industries and small businesses with fewer than 250 employers who are at risk due to their age, minority status, or limited literacy.
The Latino Worker Safety Center – also based in Hillside – received a grant of $200,000 to provide one to four hours of targeted coronavirus training to 650 employers and workers in the construction and general industries includes small businesses, limited-English speaking, temporary, and at-risk workers. The training will focus on chemical and respiratory safety and training for essential workers and those returning to work. Training will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Mandarin, Polish, Arabic, and Cantonese.
Additionally, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, received a grant of $199,550 to provide coronavirus training to 500 employers and workers in the high risk industries about infectious diseases including coronavirus, Ebola, hepatitis, influenzas, norovirus, and tuberculosis to limited-English speaking, low/non-literate, youth, temporary, minority, and at-risk workers.
The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois in Champaign received a $200,000 grant to provide infectious disease training, including coronavirus, to 490 employers and workers in the agriculture and grain handling industry. The audience is small businesses at high risk of infectious disease including youth, temporary, limited-English proficient, Native Americans, low-literacy, and other hard-to-reach workers.
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 in honor of 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.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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