Millersville University is among the 90 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive a Worker Safety and Health Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Millersville’s share is $72,000 for the one-year between October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021. The grants will provide education and training programs to help workers and employers recognize serious workplace hazards, including the coronavirus, implement injury prevention measures and understand their rights and responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
“Having Millersville University selected through a competitive process to develop Pandemic Safety (COVID-19) Training Materials that will potentially be used nationally as approved “OSHA Training Materials” speaks to the quality of our program and our students,” says Dr. Jack Ogutu, associate professor, Applied Engineering, Safety & Technology. “Our Occupational Safety & Environmental Health (OSEH) majors who are planning on completing their internships during the summer 2021 semester will have the opportunity to participate in the pilot training sessions as representatives of their Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) internship employers. Additionally, once they graduate and are in full-time positions as EHS representatives, they will have full and easy access to the Pandemic Safety Training Materials that will be created through this grant.”
Ogutu worked with Dr. Rene Munoz, director of Sponsored Programs & Research Administration on the grant and included Hope Schmids, director of Workforce Development & Continuing Education as a major participant in the grant. She will coordinate the training logistics and bring in local businesses and employers to participate in the pilot training sessions. The department has received two National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) grants in the past, but this was the first from OSHA.
“The grant is very timely especially with businesses trying to deal with the disruptions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Ogutu. “Most businesses in Lancaster and around the country have limited resources to get quality training materials. We hope that through this grant we will develop materials that will be made accessible at no cost.”
“I would like to acknowledge my OSEH faculty colleagues, Dr. Betty-Jo Legutko and Dr. Mehdi Khalighi who are Co-PIs on this grant. I also want to thank one of our OSEH Industry Advisory Board members, Steve High (President, High EHS Consulting), who worked with us and provided support in putting the proposal together.”
The Susan Harwood Training Grants 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. The fiscal year 2020 award categories are as follows: Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development, and Capacity Building.
The program honors the late Susan Harwood, former director of OSHA’s Office of Risk Assessment, who died in 1996. During her 17-year OSHA career, she helped develop federal standards to protect workers exposed to bloodborne pathogens, cotton dust, benzene, formaldehyde, asbestos and lead in construction.