Thurs., Feb. 7, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has formed an alliance with Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Brooklyn and the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 to better protect LICH staff that work as first receivers of victims from mass casualty incidents involving hazardous substances or weapons of mass destruction. The alliance was signed yesterday at the hospital in Brooklyn.
"This important alliance will combine the benefits and insights of the hospital's emergency preparedness and medical skills with OSHA's safety and health expertise and the training and support offered by Local 1199," said Louis Ricca Jr., OSHA's acting regional administrator in New York.
The alliance will include safety and health training and education programs focusing on the use of personal protective equipment, respiratory protection and patient decontamination. The training process will encompass drills, exercises, workshops and delivery of OSHA's Disaster Site Worker Course or similar material for first receivers.
Training methods will include the small group activity method and the peer educator model of employee training, as these can help promote teamwork and encourage effective discussion and improvement of workplace safeguards. The alliance also will seek to develop a pilot OSHA 10-hour training program targeted to the health care industry.
Richard Mendelson, OSHA's Manhattan area director, said: "Critical to this alliance and the employees it is designed to assist are the continual and ongoing exchange of information, ideas and expertise among all participants. While this alliance covers employees at LICH, we ultimately hope to develop and distribute information and products that benefit first receivers elsewhere."
Ricca and Mendelson signed the alliance for OSHA. Rita Battles, president, and Lewis Kohl D.O., chairman of emergency medicine and emergency management, signed for LICH. Signing for Local 1199, which represents a region that includes New York, were Marie Castenada, vice president; Clarence Brotherson, contract administrator; and 10 union employees who serve as trainers in various departments at the hospital. More information about these and other alliances in Brooklyn and Manhattan is available by calling the compliance assistance specialist in OSHA's Manhattan Area Office at 212-620-3200.
OSHA safety and health alliances are part of U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's ongoing efforts to improve the health and safety of employees through cooperative partnerships with trade associations, labor organizations, employers and government agencies. OSHA currently has more than 460 alliances throughout the nation with organizations committed to fostering safety and health in the workplace.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov.
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