U.S. Department of Labor Awards Worker Safety Health Training Grant to Georgia Tech

Institute is one of 37 recipients of newly available grants focused
on stopping spread of infectious disease, including Covid-19.

 

Sean Castillo is an industrial hygienist with the Safety, Health, and Environmental Services (SHES) program in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. He is the project lead on an OSHA grant awarded to Georgia Tech to provide Covid-19 training sessions to employers and workers in the long-term healthcare and mortuary industries.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is awarding more than $6.7 million in grants to 37 nonprofit organizations and universities nationwide, including the Georgia Institute of Technology.

 

The grants will be used to fund education and training programs to help workers and employers recognize infectious diseases, including the novel coronavirus health hazards, and identify preventive measures for a safe workplace. In addition to hazard control, the training will include understanding workers’ rights and employer responsibilities under the OSHA Act of 1970.

 

Georgia Tech’s award will provide 1-hour and 6.5-hour Covid-19 training sessions to 475 employers and workers in the long-term healthcare and mortuary industries, through its Safety, Health, and Environmental Services (SHES) program. The SHES training will focus on infectious disease awareness and prevention. Existing materials will be used, and the training will be conducted in English and Spanish. Additionally, SHES will collaborate with University of Georgia professor Toni Miles to integrate stress management and bereavement skills and training materials to provide this work-group population the tools necessary to address the health implications of grief.

 

Toni Miles is an epidemiology and biostatistics and health policy and management professor at the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health. UGA is working with Geogia Tech to implement the OSHA-funded Covid-19 training program.

“We are thankful to be included in this OSHA funding to advance awareness and understanding of disease risk and measures to take to mitigate exposure,” said SHES Director, Paul Schlumper. “A healthy and safe Georgia workplace environment is essential for employers and employees alike. This funding will be a critical part of our efforts in our continuous fight against the pandemic.”

 

An offering of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s economic development arm, SHES provides a broad range of occupational safety and health training, consulting services, and academic education to organizations in Georgia and the Southeast. In 2020, the SHES group helped employers remove nearly 36,000 workers from workplace hazards. SHES staff also identified nearly 1,500 workplace hazards in 2020.

 

The OSHA award includes “Workplace Safety and Health Training on Infectious Diseases, including the novel 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 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 made available 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.

 

Learn more about the 2021 Susan Harwood Training Grant Program recipients.

Safety, Health, and Environmental Services team discusses workplace safety at Georgia Capitol

From left: Bob Hendry, SHES research scientist and treasurer of the AIHA’s Georgia chapter; Jenny Houlroyd, SHES senior research scientist; Hilarie Warren, SHES senior research scientist and AIHA Georgia chapter president; Gov. Brian Kemp; and Georgia AIHA members John Moore, Stacey Brooks, and Kerry Ann Jaggassar.

The Safety, Health, and Environmental Services (SHES) group at Georgia Tech met with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and key Georgia legislators at the Capitol to highlight efforts in workplace safety and other issues related to health at places of employment.

 

The Feb. 18 breakfast “meet and greet” included state Sen. John Albers (R-Alpharetta), chairman of the public safety committee; Sen. Frank Ginn (R-Athens), chairman of its economic development committee, and state Rep. Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock), chairman of the Georgia House Small Business Development Committee, among others.

 

A program of Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, SHES provides broad range of occupational safety and health training, consulting services, and academic education to organizations in Georgia and across the Southeast.

 

“These meetings and talks with our state leaders was a great opportunity to speak with key legislators and committee chairs about the importance of promoting health and safety policies and programs that protect employees in their workplaces in our state,” said Hilarie S. Warren, SHES’ senior  research scientist and industrial hygienist.

Hilarie Warren (far right), SHES senior research scientist and AIHA Georgia chapter president, speaks with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (center) about health and safety issues and initiatives in Georgia.

 

Warren, is president of the Georgia Local Section of American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), which facilitated the meetings at the Gold Dome.

 

For example, Jenny Houlroyd, SHES’ occupational health group manager, updated legislators on her work with the Sustainable Workforce Alliance. That project is focused on giving the tools and training and access to training resources to help protect the health and safety of youth workers and educators in career/technical education programs throughout Georgia.

 

The Sustainable Workforce Alliance aims to highlight and address exposure risks of youth workers to prevalent hazards in the construction and general industries. The initiative also provides an understanding of worker’s rights and employers’ responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

 

Warren said they also highlighted Atlanta serving as host to the national organization’s three-day conference that starts June 1, 2020.

 

 

Georgia Tech helps Hogansville auto parts supplier obtain national safety recognition

Dongwon Autopart Technology celebrates its SHARP status. From left: Tony Yun, general manager; Charlie Kim, president, Dongwon Autopart Technology; Neely Bridges, SHES research engineer; Jim Howry, SHES principal research associate; Paul Schlumper, manager SHES’ Georgia Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program; Larry Rogers, Dongwon safety and general affairs manager, and Kevin McKinsey, head of procurement, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia.

For the past three years, the Safety, Health, and Environmental Services (SHES) program, has been working with Dongwon Autopart Technology, a Korean maker of door frames, bumpers, and side impact beams and supplier to Kia Motors’ plant in West Point, Georgia.

 

Based in Hogansville, Georgia, Dongwon, which opened in 2009 and employs 200, sought to reinforce the plant’s health and safety practices.

 

“We reached out to Georgia Tech not only to be OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliant but to enhance our culture of safety,” said Larry Rogers, who is the plant’s safety and general affairs manager. “We wanted to work with Georgia Tech because of its reputation in health and safety consulting and cost. All this time and effort we were putting into our health and safety standards and practices is yielding success for our company.”

 

As a result of its work with SHES, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, Dongwon was granted Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) status October 18.

 

The designation is awarded to those companies with fewer than 250 employees with injury and illness rates below industry average and that have an effective safety and health management system in place, said Paul Schlumper, manager of SHES’ Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program.

 

SHES staff worked with Dongwon onsite to help the company’s management and staff  better manage safety and health conditions and help it reduce expenses by improving those standards, Schlumper said.

 

Because of the SHARP designation, Dongwon, now one of only 10 Georgia companies with that status, is exempt from certain federal OSHA inspections for up to two years, Schlumper said.

 

“It’s a recognition that Dongwon is a high performer in safety and health and a differentiator that the company can show to its customers and suppliers,” he said.

 

The SHARP status is already making an impact, Rogers said, explaining the company has been fielding calls from other Kia suppliers that want to learn more about the certification process and SHARP best practices.

 

“Our efforts show that we take occupational health and safety not only among auto parts suppliers, but the wider Hogansville community because there is this perception that plants in general are not safe” Rogers said. “We want to dispel those beliefs.”

Georgia Tech welcomes second cohort in Professional Master’s Occupational Safety and Health program

Class photo of PMOSH Class of 2020

Members of the Professional Master’s Occupational Safety and Health (PMOSH) Class of 2020.

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Safety, Health, and Environmental Services program (SHES), welcomed its second cohort to its Professional Master’s Occupational Safety and Health (PMOSH) program — the only offering of its kind in the state.

The 21 students who comprise the cohort will spend two years studying for the degree, which SHES is offering in partnership with Georgia Tech Professional Education.

The students represent a wide range of industries, including aerospace manufacturing, food production, retail, construction, and biotechnology.

Launched in 2017, the PMOSH degree is designed to give individuals ascending to leadership positions with the knowledge and skills needed to define and effectively manage safety and health programs in a wide range of organizations where they can have a positive impact in the well-being of the labor force.

Among the things they will learn to:

  • Define and describe the principles of managing safety and health.
  • Analyze the attributes of an organization with respect to safety and health and identify gaps that warrant improvement to attain better safety and health performance.
  • Design and implement an action plan to improve and sustain the highest level of safety and health performance.
  • Apply the analytical, technological and business concepts necessary to measure, improve and sustain safety and health performance.
  • Demonstrate the value proposition of effective safety and health management within an organization.

“Our research showed there is a strong need for this type of training,” said Myrtle Turner Harris, director of the SHES and OSHA Training Institute Education Center programs. “The education and training they will receive will allow them to have that professional education to advance in their fields. For companies, they’re putting people in these critical occupational safety positions who are trained to be there. They’re supporting safety in the workplace, which is an important factor in the companies’ bottom lines.”

Safety, Health, and Environmental Services hosts machine guarding training course

Machine Guarding session at Georgia Tech

Thomas Dean (standing), safety consultant with Georgia Tech’s Safety, Health, and Environmental Services program, leads a discussion on machine guarding. (Photo by: Péralte C. Paul)

The Safety, Health, and Environmental Services (SHES) group hosted 30 manufacturing executives recently for a training course in machine guarding.

Manufacturing facilities have moving machine parts, which can lead to workplace injuries including the crushed hands and fingers, burns, blindness, or amputations. Machine guarding calls for safety features on or around manufacturing or engineering equipment to prevent to prevent hazardous parts, chemicals, or debris from coming into contact with body parts, said Paige Rohrig, who heads SHES’ Safety Engineering Branch.

Safety protocols and guidelines are critical to help manufacturing plant employees stay safe and reduce the risk of injury.

The Feb. 8 session on abrasive wheel machinery in machine guarding is part of a $153,591 Susan Harwood Training Grant that SHES received. These grants help support programs and initiatives that give instruction and education to workers and employers regarding workplace safety and health hazards, responsibilities and rights.