Property Casualty

I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help!

Kevan Bakewell
Kevan Bakewell
Vice President, Enterprise Loss Control, PC

Well, that’s an odd way to start a blog, right?! But…it’s true. While government entities, like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), often get a bad rap and are only thought of as “enforcement agencies,” many do offer a lot of valuable resources. For example: OSHA recently announced through its website the availability of $10.5 million in Susan Harwood training grants for nonprofits, employer associations, labor unions, labor associations, Native American tribes, and colleges & universities. I’d say that’s pretty awesome.

Before I get too far on what this actually means…I want to give you some insight into Dr. Susan Harwood. She earned her Ph.D. in Virology and Microbiology, focusing on cancer research and immunology. During her 17-year career with OSHA, Dr. Harwood was the key person in the development of benzene, formaldehyde, bloodborne pathogens, and lead in construction standards. She also wrote field sanitation standards that brought hygiene protections to farm workers. Dr. Harwood passed away in April 1996 from liver cancer and is still held in the highest of esteem by her coworkers. In 1979, the grant was named after Dr. Harwood becoming the Susan Harwood Training Grant.

Now that I’ve given that background…check out what Dr. Harwood’s dedication has actually done. According to OSHA, between 2000 and 2017, nearly 1.5 million workers received training through the Susan Harwood Grant. In 2018, 74 organizations shared the annual $10.5 million grant to provide targeted topic training, education, and training materials development.

According to OSHA, “The Harwood Training Grant program supports in-person, hands-on training for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; and vulnerable workers, who are underserved, have limited English proficiency or are temporary workers. The grants will fund training and education to help workers and employers identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards. Grants are available in three areas: Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development, and Capacity Building.”

“We believe this grant is going to provide access to very high-quality training to these small contractor companies and their employees,” said NATE Executive Director Todd Schlekeway, who called the Harwood grant “crucial” in developing the tailor-made training program.

So, like I started this blog, OSHA’s goal really is to help promote safety and health in the workplace and offers numerous tools and resources for employers, not just be an “enforcement agency.”

If you’re in the field and interested in taking advantage of the grant, I’d encourage you to check out OSHA’s website. I’m excited about this news, and I hope you are, too.


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