Mon., April 28, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
BOSTON - Assisting the Bay State's occupational health nurses to better protect their clients and themselves against workplace safety and health hazards is the goal of a new alliance among the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Massachusetts Association of Occupational Health Nurses (MaOHN) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Division of Occupational Safety's consultation program (DOS).
"Occupational nurses are the professionals who first see and treat on-the-job injuries and illnesses," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's regional administrator for New England. "That puts them on the front line of employee protection. This alliance will help occupational nurses use that unique position to educate employers and employees to identify and eliminate workplace hazards before they sicken or injure employees."
Under the alliance, OSHA's three Massachusetts offices will work with MaOHN and DOS to develop training and education programs for employers and employees as well as for the MaOHN members who serve them. Training for employees and employers will focus on, among others, the hazards posed by exposure to noise, silica and lead in various industries. For occupational health professionals, the training will encompass safeguards against bloodborne pathogens, tuberculosis and other hazards associated with the health industry.
The alliance partners also will work to communicate information on the recognition and prevention of hazards, share best practices and encourage MaOHN members' and clients' participation in OSHA's cooperative programs.
The alliance was signed recently at the Massachusetts State House by OSHA Area Directors Brenda Gordon (Braintree), Francis Pagliuca (Methuen) and Mary Hoye (Springfield); MaOHN President Terry Donahue and Past President Sheila M. Litchfield RN; and DOS Commissioner Laura Marlin.
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 470 alliances throughout the nation with organizations committed to fostering safety and health in the workplace.
More information about OSHA alliances in Massachusetts and New England is available through OSHA's regional office in Boston (617-565-3070) or through the compliance assistance specialists in the agency's Braintree, Methuen and Springfield offices.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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 www.osha.gov.
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