OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Date: May 4, 2005
Contact: Bill Wright
Phone: (202) 693-1999
Dr. William H. Weems Receives Award at OSHA's Consultation Training Conference
WASHINGTON - The 30th anniversary of OSHA's On-Site Consultation Training Conference in Westminster, CO, provided the setting yesterday for presentation of the first William J. Higgins award to recognize a state employee from the consultation program for his or her sustained level of excellence in servicing the small business community.
Dr. William H. Weems, on-site consultation program manager for Alabama, was the first recipient of what will become an annual award program named for Dr. William J. Higgins, the first national office director for the program in 1975. Higgins was one of three OSHA staff who authored the first consultation program regulations that initially included just 13 states.
"Dr. Weems has been at the forefront in advocating many innovative improvements which have had a significant impact on the quality and recognition of our consultation program," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jonathan L. Snare. "As Alabama's consultation director, Dr. Weems has helped redirect the course of consultation from hazard identification toward emphasizing development of safety and health management systems. I'm sure Dr. Higgins would be proud to know that his legacy continues through professionals like Dr. Weems."
Dr. Weems has been with the Alabama Consultation Program since 1978, serving first as a supervisory health consultant before becoming program manager. He is also serving his third term as president of the National Association of Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Programs (OSHCON) which represents all state consultation service providers.
One of Dr. Weems' major accomplishments was his efforts before Congress to include language in the OSH Act that provided statutory recognition of the On-site Consultation Program. Ultimately, the Act was amended to include a subsection that required the establishment of a compliance assistance program by which employers can consult with state personnel regarding the application of, and compliance with, OSHA standards. Weems also led a team in the development of the Safety and Health Program Assessment Worksheet, the Consultation Program's measurement tool that captures essential elements of an effective safety and health management system.
OSHA's Consultation Program is now available in every state, in addition to Washington, D.C., the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico. Over the past 30 years, more than a half million visits have been conducted at small businesses. In the past 10 years alone, approximately 250,000 employers have used consultation services.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
This news release text is on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.
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