Safety and Health Training Initiatives Implemented
The Partnership for Illinois Small Businesses (Partnership) assists the Illinois
Small Business Development Center Network (SBDCN) to provide regulatory
compliance assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses. During the past
year, the Partnership has delivered over 30 training sessions to small employers
in Illinois. In addition to the
OSHA "10-Hour" training course, training topics
have included bloodborne pathogens, accident investigation, recordkeeping, and
an overview of employer safety and health responsibilities.
Four-hour training workshop entitled "Machinery and
Machine Safeguarding," with an accompanying video and workbook.
The Partnership also has developed a four-hour training workshop entitled
"Machinery and Machine Safeguarding," with an accompanying video and workbook.
The video, produced in both English and Spanish, has been distributed to small
businesses in Illinois and is also used by the OSHA Training Institute at its
education centers across the country.
Training Programs Have Positive Impact
Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the partners, these training sessions are
offered at a low cost, delivered at convenient locations throughout the state,
and are well attended. In fact, more than 500 employers have attended the
Partnership?s training sessions to date, ultimately impacting over 8,500
employees. These attendees have consistently given the sessions high ratings,
with evaluations averaging over 4.5 on a 5.0 scale. Moreover, participants have
praised both the informative nature and casual atmosphere of the sessions.
In addition to providing valuable regulatory compliance information to small
business employers in a non-threatening environment, the training sessions
appear to alleviate the reservations that some small employers seem to have
about direct contact with a regulatory agency such as OSHA. Because of their
existing relationship with the SBDCN, the participants express a greater level
of comfort interacting with OSHA at the SBDCN-hosted training sessions. SBDCN
also encourages its small business clients to make use of the safety and health
services of the Illinois Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program.
The SBDCN has been pleased with the results of the Partnership. According to
Mark Petrilli, State Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center
(SBDC), ?for the SBDC Network, the Partnership is yet another resource that is
available to better serve the needs of small business clients in obtaining
regulatory compliance assistance and information. We appreciate the cooperation
and dedication of OSHA and the Onsite Consultation Program that has made this
Partnership work for Illinois small businesses."
The goals of the Partnership are to enhance the SBDCN's existing outreach and
training activities; to improve awareness of OSHA regulations among small
businesses; to increase small businesses? use of OSHA technical and training
assistance and their participation in OSHA cooperative programs; and to improve
the safety and health performance of small businesses.
The SBDCN, working in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and
Economic Opportunity, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S.
Department of Defense, and colleges and universities, provides free counseling
and management assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners in 60
statewide locations in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Commerce and
Economic Opportunity is the lead economic development agency for the State of
Illinois and is home to both the SBDCN and the Illinois Onsite Safety and Health
Consultation Program (Consultation Program). Since the SBDCN was founded in
1984, it has used this organizational structure to work informally with the
Consultation Program on safety and health compliance issues for small
businesses. With the establishment of the Partnership in 2002, the SBDCN sought
to formalize its working relationship with OSHA and utilize the agency?s
expertise to a greater degree.
Origin: OSHA Region 5; Illinois
Partnership Started: October 25, 2002
Partners: Illinois Small Business Development Center Network; State of Illinois
Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program; The Illinois Offices of OSHA
Industry: Small businesses in all industries in the State of Illinois
Employers: The services of the Small Business Development Center Network are
available to any entrepreneur or small employer in the state
Source and Date: Mark Enstrom, Resource Development Coordinator, Illinois Small
Business Development Center (June 2004)