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THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
PUERTO RICO AREA OFFICE

AND

THE UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO RIO PIEDRAS CAMPUS
ANNUAL ALLIANCE REPORT

April 15, 2009

  1. Alliance Background
    Renewal
    April 15, 2008

    Overview
    To provide the Rio Piedras Campus of the UPR, through Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies (DECEP for its Spanish acronym), the Environmental Protection and Occupational Safety Office (OPASO for its Spanish acronym) and the Institute of Labor Relationships from the Faculty of Social Sciences (IRT for its Spanish acronym) with information, guidance and access to training resources that will help them protect employees’ health and safety, particularly in reducing and preventing exposure to occupational health and safety hazards. This to be achieved through training and educational, outreach and communication, and promoting the national dialogue on workplace safety and health goals.


    Implementation Team Members
    From UPR-Rio Piedras Campus:
    Jorge Ramos - Director OPASO
    Migdalia Ruíz - DECEP
    Lymari Orellana - OPASO/DECEP (Liaison)

    From Federal OSHA
    Madelline Medina - CAS

    Contributors
    N/A

    Evaluation Period
    From April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009

     
  2. Implementation Team Meetings

    Formal meetings:
    • November 12, 2008
    • January 15, 2009
    • March 10, 2009
    Several communications through e-mails and phone.

     
  3. Events and Products

    Training and Education
     
    • Events

      Goal 1: Work with OSHA to provide expertise to develop training and education programs on various safety and health issues and targeted to general, construction and maritime industries, employees, students and the general community.
       
      • One training session was offered to 12 participants of Emergency Management Office (OME) in Bayamon, in HAZWOPER Refresher.
         
      • A seminar was developed and offered by UPR-OPASO to 162 craftspeople under a proposal submitted by UPR-OPASO to the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO).
         
      • A seminar was offered by UPR-OPASO to 30 craftspeople under a proposal submitted by UPR-OPASO to the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña.
      Goal 2: Deliver or arrange for the delivery of occupational health and safety courses.
       
      • Two separate training sessions were offered to 46 and 30 participants, respectively, on OSHA standards for General and Construction Industries.
         
      • Another training session was offered to 30 participants of the Institute of Labor Relationships (IRT, in Spanish) on OSHA standards for General Industry.
      Goal 3: Work with OSHA to provide expertise to develop workplace safety and health curricula through the Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety of DECEP.
       
      • April 2008-2009: Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health - DECEP, offered every trimester, consists of 7 requisite courses of 156 contact hours and 2 elective courses of between 36 to 51 contact hours, for a total between 192 to 207 contact hours equivalent to 19 to 21 units/credits. OSHA publications are used in some of the courses as they relate to the different applicable industries and the impact on the employers and employees for non-compliance with OSHA’ standards and regulations. During this evaluation period, twelve students completed this certificate.
    Outreach and Communication
     
    • Events

      Goal 1: Work with OSHA to provide expertise in developing information on the recognition and prevention of workplace hazards, and to provide expertise in developing ways of communicating such information (e.g. print and electronic media, electronic tools and OSHA’s and the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico Web sites) to employers and employees in the industry.
       
      • A checklist for the identification of hazards in the food industry was developed as part of a Susan Harwood Grant given to the UPR on 2007. This tool will be available to the general public as part of the DECEP OHS Certificate.
      Goal 2: Speak, exhibit, or appear at the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico conferences, courses, workshops, local meetings, or other educational events.
       
      • No event was conducted under this objective during the evaluation period.
      Goal 3: Promote and encourage the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico employees and students participation in OSHA’s cooperative programs such as compliance assistance, the Voluntary Protection Programs, Consultation and its Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program.
       
      • As part of the Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health, the instructors discuss and promote the participation of the students (safety and health professionals) and their respective companies in OSHA’s Cooperative Programs.
      Goal 4: Share information among OSHA personnel and industry safety and health professional regarding the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico best practices or effective approaches and publicize the results through outreach by the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico and through OSHA or the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico developed materials, training, programs, workshop, seminars, and lectures.
       
      • A curriculum on safety and health for preschool children has been developed by José J Colón González, PhD candidate for Preschool Education and revised by Prof. Jorge Ramos, Director of OPASO. Mr. Colón is the Director of the Preschool Center for the PR Election Commission. A pilot program is intended to be conducted in one private and one public (UPR Rio Piedras campus) preschool centers, to eventually develop it as a standard guide for preschool centers around the island.
      Goal 5: Work with other Alliance participants on specific issues and projects on occupational health and safety issues that are addressed and developed through the Alliance Program.
       
      • The first official activity of this “mega alliance” is scheduled for April 24, 2009 and will consist of an open forum on the changes to the electrical standard, NFPA 2004 and 2009 as well as the proper selection of applicable PPE. At the time of this report, there are over 200 people registered to attend this 3hrs seminar.
      Goal 6: Encourage OPASO, DECEP and IRT of the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico to build relationships with OSHA’s Regional and Area Offices to address health and safety issues.
       
      • Conversations were established with the VIDOSH office personnel to identify possible safety courses to be held between the agency and the UPR DECEP.
    Promoting the National Dialogue on Workplace Safety and Health
     
    • Events

      Goal 1: Raise others’ awareness of and demonstrate their own commitment to workplace safety and health whenever the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico safety and health leaders and professors address groups.
       
      • An UPR –Rio Piedras OSH Certificate professor participated in the Annual Chemists’ Convention held in August 2008, where he discussed the respiratory protection standard.
         
      • The UPR is being instrumental in coordinating the accrediting of contact hours for safety and health educational events for several professional associations. This service is an added benefit to persons participating in such events and demonstrates UPR commitment to the dissemination of workplace safety information.
      Goal 2: Develop and disseminate case studies illustrating the business value of safety and health and publicize their results.
       
      • An employee from the PR Environmental Quality Board (EQB) identified the OHS Certificate courses as a tool to further enhance the EQB personnel skills when attending an environmental emergency. The case was discussed with the EQB Director for the section of environmental emergencies and approval was granted for the completion of the certificate for three officials. These officials service two of the most industrialized areas within the island and have been able to put in practice the knowledge skills obtained through the OHS Certificate. In the most recent graduation ceremony, the EQB Director for the Environmental Emergencies Section spoke to attendees, stating the value added to the services offered by the Section to the Island.
      Goal 3: Convene or participate in forums, round table discussions, or stakeholder meetings on occupational health and safety issues to help forge innovative solutions in the workplace or to provide input on safety and health issues.
       
      • David Johns, from EPA, was the speaker for the Safety and Health Certificate Graduation Ceremony.
         
      • Beginning November 2008, the UPR joined the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association (PRMA) Safety and Occupational Health team. The goal of this team is to actively engage in safety and health issues affecting workplaces in the manufacturing sector, and to maximize utilization of available resources in this field.
  4. Results

    Through this alliance the UPR-Río Piedras Campus has been instrumental in promoting awareness and prevention of hazards associated with the construction and general industries. Through OPASO, it has also been actively involved in reaching out to safety and health professionals in an effort to advance their knowledge and academic preparation in occupational safety and health issues.
     
    Type of Activity (Conference,
    Training, Print and Electronic
    Distribution, etc.)
    Number of Individuals Reached or
    Trained
     
    Construction Industry Course (30 Hours) 46
    Construction Industry Course (10 Hours) 30
    General Industry Course (30 Hours) 30
    Certificate in OSH graduates 12
    Safety and Health in the Crafts (2-hr seminar)(PRIDCO) 162
    Safety and Health in the Crafts (2-hr seminar)(ICP) 30
    Respiratory Protection – Annual Chemists’ Conv. (3 hours) 11
    HAZWOPER Refresher (OME Personal-Bayamon) 12
    TOTAL 333

     
  5. Upcoming Milestones
     
    • To develop a Safety and Health Committee intervention protocol based on the amended PR OSH Act, which promotes the creation of S&H committees in all industries.
       
    • Continue to develop the video in Spanish on Accident Prevention in Construction.
       
    • Develop and promote a series of 30 sec radio PSAs on general safety and health issues/concerns.
       
    • To renew alliance in April 2010.