Susan Harwood Training Grant Program

Success Stories


With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. The Susan Harwood is a key component in support of this mission, having provided outreach and education to an estimated 1.8 million workers since the program's inception.

OSHA began awarding training grants in 1978. Since that time, approximately $205 million dollars has been awarded to approximately 1,000 non-profit organizations to provide training on a variety of safety and health topics.

The Susan Harwood grants provide safety and health training to workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of safety and health hazards in their workplaces. These are audiences who might otherwise not receive training, including small business workers and employers, hard-to-reach or low-literacy workers, and especially workers in vulnerable and high-hazard industries. Some specific examples included below demonstrate the importance of the program and the diverse audience of workers, whose lives are impacted by these grants.

Georgia Technical Research Institute
Georgia Technical Research Institute received a grant to develop and deliver comprehensive training in the area of Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Planning for small businesses with an additional specific focus on the long-term healthcare industry. In April 2009, the training modules were updated to reflect the emergence of the new Influenza A H1N1 strain. As a global pandemic was declared, modifications were continually made to the presentations to keep the information and guidance current. Demand for assistance and training rose dramatically during the last Quarter of this project, and continues to be highly sought after by industry. Over the course of the project over 1,445 workers were trained during 43 training sessions. Both the general industry and long-term healthcare training modules were videotaped and prepared for both internet and DVD viewing. Over 300 DVDs were distributed to industry groups.

Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA)
Highway work zones involve highly hazardous conditions for workers such as flaggers. In the US, approximately 100 construction workers are killed each year in highway work zone accidents, and significantly more are injured. While fatal work zone accidents occur from a variety of activities, approximately 60 percent result from workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment within or moving through work zones. Also, as the nation's highways age, more work zones are created, which in turn increases the potential for accidents and injuries to workers from traffic moving through work zones. The Work Zone Safety grant under Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) targets highway work zone workers, which are mostly young, minority, entry level workers. This training program addresses the most common hazards encountered by flaggers. Although the grant is still active, to date LIUNA already exceeded its original goal by training over 7,300 workers.

National Council on Occupational Safety and Health (NCOSH)
The grantee conducts training that targets high-risk vulnerable workers, especially those with limited English proficiency. The training program is implemented by seventeen local affiliates. The grantee will also translate their existing website into Spanish. NCOSH originally planned on training 3,722 workers during the year. They have exceeded that goal by training 3,730 workers through FY 2011 Quarter 3 and have additional training planned for Quarter 4.

Operating Engineers Local 150 Apprenticeship Fund
The grantee provides training on fall protection, confined space, and the new OSHA standard on cranes and derricks. Plan includes updating current training materials to comply with the new OSHA standard. The training and/or materials will be offered in English and Spanish. This grantee has nearly doubled their annual goal by training 2,346 workers through the end of FY 2011 Quarter 3.

Owensboro Community and Technical College
The grantee provides electrical safety training for workers and employers in the manufacturing industry in western Kentucky and southern Indiana. The training targets limited-English speaking, non-English speaking, low-literacy, other hard-to-reach workers, and small businesses. Through the end of FY 2011 Quarter 3, the grantee has trained 386 workers, which is 129% of the annual goal. Training will continue during Quarter 4.

The Asian Immigrant Women Advocates (AIWA)
The Asian Immigrant Women Advocates (AIWA) delivered ergonomic training to nearly 300 Asian immigrant women to identify basic workplace hazards and practice injury prevention and mitigation techniques. Recruiting focused on reaching small businesses in multiple low-wage industries including dry cleaning, electronic assembly, packaging, food service, and home health care. Training was offered in Chinese and Korean and targeted this underserved limited English-speaking, low-literacy Asian audience.

The Compacion Foundation
The Compacion Foundation worked in collaboration with the Hispanic Contractors Association de Tejas (HCAT) to train more than 500 Spanish-speaking (limited English-speaking) construction employees in the recognition and prevention of Focus Four (falls, electrocutions, caught-in and struck-by) hazards. Training sessions for construction employees were presented on evenings and weekends.

The University of Georgia
The University of Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture has received three Susan Harwood training grants since 2004. These funds have been used to develop training materials and train workers involved in the landscape industry. Landscape workers are underserved for several reasons. Many speak Spanish as a first language, they are seasonal workers, and their employers are often small companies with few resources to spare. The work they do is high risk; it is a potentially deadly combination of monotony, heavy equipment, and the elements. It is strenuous and loud. To date this grantee has given 2-6 hour safety trainings to more than 2,000 workers and provided them with easy-to-read bilingual manuals.

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)
The grantee provides training to employers and high-risk workers in the meatpacking, poultry, and food processing industries. Training includes worker rights, lockout, amputation hazards, ergonomics, and process safety management. The training and materials are offered in English and Spanish. This grantee has trained 786 workers, or 146% of the annual planned through FY 2011 Quarter 3.

Winona ORC
Winona ORC conducted safety and health training for employees doing light assembly work. These employees have mild disabilities, have problems with literacy, and some of their cognitive levels are diminished; this segment of the employee population is among the most disabled. The majority of these employees are unable to read, and the ones that can are very limited. The notable impact of the grant training is that these employees, having received more hands-on direction, have a higher level of safety awareness, talk about safety during their lunch hour and are proactively notifying their supervisors about unsafe working conditions.