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OSHA Area Office in Massachusetts Reaches Out to Teen Workers Through Vocational High Schools

OSHA's Area Office in Methuen, Massachusetts has actively reached out to the Massachusetts Vocational Technical High Schools over the past several years. The goal of this outreach is to provide teen workers with the training they need to perform their jobs safely.

In 2001, the Area Office sponsored an OSHA 500 course (Trainer Course in Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry) for instructors at the vocational schools. Instructors who complete and pass this course can provide the OSHA 10-hour construction course to their students. In many cases, the OSHA Area Office assisted in giving the 10-hour course. A number of vocational technical high schools provided this course to all graduating seniors.

In August 2003, the Methuen Area Office once again sponsored the OSHA 500 course with the OSHA Training Institute. It became a community effort in which companies, unions, and other state and Federal agencies participated. This course was attended by 46 instructors representing 26 vocational technical high schools from across the state. It is projected that these vocational high school instructors will be able to train approximately 3000 seniors by June 2004.

Al Loftin, OSHA's Compliance Assistance Specialist for the Methuen Area Office contacted a number of organizations for help in putting on the OSHA 500 course. Mr. Loftin contacted the Construction Safety Roundtable of Eastern Massachusetts, the Washington Group International, the State of Massachusetts Education Development Center, the Massachusetts Consultation Program, the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, and the New England Regional Council of Carpenters Apprenticeship Training Center. OSHA's Methuen and Braintree Area Offices have entered into Alliances with the Construction Safety Roundtable and Washington Group to promote safety at construction sites in eastern Massachusetts.

The response to this request was overwhelming. Every organization provided an instructor that gave a portion of the course. This provided the vocational school instructors with information from the experts. It also allowed them to network and to develop a list of resources they can consult when providing 10-hour courses or if they simply have a question on safety and health. A number of the instructors from these organizations offered to assist in giving the 10-hour course to the students.

The OSHA Training Institute was instrumental in providing this course. Not only did they sponsor the course, but also provided the binders, classroom supplies, and a master instructor. The Carpenters Apprenticeship Training Center provided two instructors and also supplied the construction standard (29 CFR 1926) books.

The three OSHA Area Offices in Massachusetts are now working on an agreement to provide both the OSHA 500 course and the 501 course (Trainer Course in Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry) to vocational technical high school instructors. The goal of this training is to help teenage workers who are already in the job market by making them think about safety and health. It will also prepare them for future employment and develop safe work habits that will last their entire work life.

For more information, please contact Al Loftin.

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