Alaska On-Site Consultation and Training Services Assists Kodiak History Museum

Alaska’s oldest building, the Russian American Magazine, houses the Kodiak History Museum
Alaska’s oldest building, the Russian American Magazine, houses the Kodiak History Museum

Alaska’s Museum & Cultural Heritage Sites Consultation Pilot Project promotes Alaska Occupational Safety and Health’s On-Site Consultation and Training Services (AKOSH C&T) to small businesses that manage museums and cultural heritage sites. This effort is part of OSHA’s work with the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Museum and Cultural Heritage Industry Working Group. There are 12 states currently participating in the working group’s pilot to promote Consultation to museums and cultural heritage sites. The working group has also developed presentations, marketing materials, and guidance documents on topics such as emergency preparedness and response and guidance for museums and laboratories on reopening after COVID.

Alaska’s Museum & Cultural Heritage Sites Consultation Pilot Project is:

  • actively promoting AKOSH C&T services to managers and employees at museums and cultural heritage sites,
  • developing industry-related expertise within C&T,
  • developing safety and health-related expertise within the small business museum and cultural heritage sites industry, and
  • contributing to the development of safety and health data for this often-overlooked industry.

One example of the success of this pilot project to promote Consultation services to Alaska’s museums is the Kodiak History Museum. The museum is a tenant in a city-owned historic building, initially constructed in 1808 as a pelt warehouse. The museum building is a two-story, 3,800-square-foot log structure built in 1808 by the Russian colonists in Alaska. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1962, it is the oldest continuously occupied building in Alaska and the earliest documented log structure on the west coast.

The museum operates as a partnership between the Kodiak Historical Society and the City of Kodiak. The museum has a five-member staff who host visitors from the public; operate a small gift shop; curate, handle, and store historical items; and develop and staff educational offerings and events for the public during tourist season. After participating in the Alaska State Museum's Preparing Alaska's Cultural Organizations for Emergencies (PACO) program, and working with the Alutiiq Museum to revise that museum’s emergency action plan, the Kodiak History Museum requested Consultation services from AKOSH C&T.

The Kodiak History Museum was undergoing an extensive review of its emergency procedures and staff-wide training. Increasing staff safety and awareness of potential hazards and solutions was a priority. The On-Site Consultation Program provided professional guidance to improve emergency procedures and staff and Board awareness of safety in the workplace. Consultation staff identified workplace hazards regarding portable fire extinguishers, fall protection, fire detection equipment, ladders, lighting in infrequently used storage areas, use of corrosive chemicals without immediate access to an eyewash, no workplace hazard assessments, hazard communication program, bloodborne pathogen program, first aid kits and an automated external defibrillator, Alaska Physical Agent Data Sheets (PADS), and a potential for employee exposure to workplace violence from the public.

The employer corrected all identified hazards. As a result of the museum’s work with AKOSH C&T, the museum is a safer place for both staff and visitors.

OSHA On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards and how to fix them, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, train and educate workers, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from OSHA enforcement efforts. To locate the OSHA On-Site Consultation program nearest you, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit