Less than two weeks after Olympic medalist Bruce Jenner got the nation talking about the transgender topic by revealing his own ongoing transition from male to female, OSHA has taken a step to improve workplace safety and health for transgender workers.

The agency has entered into an alliance with the National Center for Transgender Equality to develop products and guidance materials to NCTE affiliates and others with information and resources to support that goal.

What it means

The two-year alliance agreement will provide opportunities for OSHA to speak, exhibit, or appear at conferences, local meetings, or other events sponsored by the NCTE or allied organizations. Additionally, the alliance will focus on sharing information on OSHA initiatives, workers' rights and employer responsibilities and other safety and health information. NCTE will also review, promote and disseminate new guidance products.

Job loss, on-the-job problems

NCTE, founded in 2003, is a national social justice advocacy organization for transgender people. A report released by NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that 55 percent of transgender people surveyed lost a job due to bias. Twenty-two percent of workers in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey reported that they were denied access to gender-appropriate restrooms on the job.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources, and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA inspections or any other enforcement benefits.