Speeches - (Archived) Table of Contents|
| Information Date:||04/17/2007|
| Presented To:||2007 Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign Kickoff|
| Speaker:||Edwin G. Foulke Jr.|
Edwin G. Foulke Jr.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA
I am pleased and grateful that representatives are here today from government, education, and industry. Their participation in this event recognizes the importance we all place on American industry, on workplace safety and health, and especially the future of our young people.
I am particularly passionate about promoting safety and health in construction because of something that happened to me many years ago when I was beginning my career. I was working with a law firm in South Carolina, and the firm sent me to a construction company to give some basic instruction on how to keep employees safe and healthy. On that very morning, on that worksite, an employee was injured... and he died! This was a painful, tragic lesson for everyone - for the employers, the employees, and me. This incident changed me forever because it gave me a focus and direction for my career. I knew from that moment on that my life's mission would be dedicated to workplace safety and health.
Very soon these young people with us today, along with the thousands of others across the United States, will become the next generation of working men and women on whom our nation's economy will depend. Like their parents and their grandparents, these young people will look to their jobs to help fulfill their dreams of financial stability, a secure family life, and a rewarding career. Their first summer jobs should be a positive experience where they acquire skills, learn responsibility, and develop a positive attitude about the working world.
This summer, many young people will work in the construction industry. If their experience is positive, many of them will consider construction for a career. Employers want a new generation of graduates to choose construction, and so they should be doing everything possible to make construction a safe, healthy and rewarding career choice.
To ensure that employers comply with standards and regulations concerning workplace safety and health, both Federal and State OSHA enforce the law. In addition, to help employers keep their employees safe and healthy, OSHA offers compliance assistance in the form of cooperative programs, education and training opportunities, and outreach efforts. Our Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign includes a little of all these compliance assistance tools. Our campaign is supported by participating Alliance members, we have developed special educational materials, and we are working through the government, education and industry representatives here today to reach out to teachers, parents, employers and young people to raise their awareness of how to stay safe and healthy on the job.
Joining me today to represent government's interest in teen summer job safety is Ron DeJuliis, Commissioner of Labor and Industry for the State of Maryland; and Michael Kravitz and Ernie Weiss with the Labor Department's Employment Standards Administration.
You have already heard from Principal Hamlin, and in a few moments you will meet Tim Lawrence of Skills USA, along with others representing industry who have made the trip to Silver Spring. We are here, united, to ask employers, teachers, and parents to work together to train and protect the new generation entering our workforce. These young people are eager to do a good job; our job is to see that they stay safe and healthy at work and become responsible, productive men and women.
Our Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign also provides my Agency with an opportunity to re-introduce itself to this new generation who, thankfully, has never known a world without OSHA. OSHA began 36 years ago, in 1971, and since that time we have worked with business owners and employees to improve conditions. We want everyone to have a productive day on the job that ends with everyone going home to family and friends, safe and sound.
This is mission, our goal and our pledge to a new generation of working men and women.
To the young people here today, I want to add: Please be careful and stay alert this summer, not only on the job but also while traveling to and from work. Enjoy your summer, work hard, learn new skills and, yes, make money! - but above all, please learn how to stay safe and healthy.
|Speeches - (Archived) Table of Contents|