Federal agencies

OSHA announces Susan Harwood grant recipients, responds to grant cut threat


Washington – In the face of an attempt to eliminate funding for OSHA’s Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, the agency announced Sept. 2 that $10.5 million has been awarded to organizations to help train vulnerable workers.

Eighty nonprofit organizations will receive the Harwood funds to develop educational materials and train small-business employers and workers in high-hazard industries on safety and health.

In particular, nearly $400,000 is going to five organizations focusing on outreach to nail-salon workers, an industry that has received recent attention following reports of employee exposure to hazardous chemicals. Other areas of focus for grants include cell phone tower workers, Spanish-speaking construction workers and musculoskeletal disorders.

Funding for the Harwood grant program would be eliminated under a House appropriations bill, which called the program “inefficient and ineffective” when compared to other OSHA training programs.

“We think this cut would harm the most vulnerable workers who work in high-hazard workplaces,” Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu said during a Sept. 2 press conference.

The House bill was approved by the Appropriations Committee and at press time awaited a vote before the full House. An appropriations bill in the Senate would maintain funding for the program near current levels.