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Safety must be a core value at all workplaces, OSHA’s Parker says

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Photo: California Industrial Hygiene Council

San Francisco — Creating safer workplaces is a job that needs helping hands across the country – along with a commitment to protect worker safety and health as a core value, OSHA administrator Doug Parker told attendees of the Pacific Coast Safety Fest on March 14.

“At OSHA, we’re working to establish health and safety as a core value in every workplace in America,” he said during the first day of the four-day virtual event hosted by the agency’s San Francisco regional office. “We need your help to do that. This work is extremely important.”

The annual event was focused on preventing and reducing worker exposure to safety and health hazards. Resources and free training opportunities were provided by the region’s four OSHA Training Institute Education Centers for employers, workers and residents in Region 9 – which covers Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

“I recognize the importance of this event from my time in California,” said Parker, who previously served as the head of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health – also known as Cal/OSHA. “I know that this is a very diverse audience with people who serve workers in a wide variety of ways. But the goal for each of you is the same: to learn more about protecting workers and promote best practices to prevent illnesses, injuries and fatalities in workplaces.”

 

He also stressed the importance of protecting workers from both current hazards and new, emerging risks. “If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that we have to be ready for anything,” Parker said in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He encouraged attendees not to let their guard down.

“The dynamics of COVID-19 have changed in recent weeks,” Parker said. “We are thrilled with these improvements. Yet workers can and are still getting sick from COVID-19. We must continue working to prevent that, even when the public conversation about the virus has reduced in volume.”

Parker mentioned that OSHA’s focus is on a developing a permanent standard focused on health care workers, to protect “those currently most at risk,” while also working on a standard on infectious diseases to ensure better protections for any potential future pandemics.

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