Assisting the Bay State's occupational health nurses to better protect their clients and themselves against workplace safety and health hazards is the goal of a new alliance among OSHA, the Massachusetts Association of Occupational Health Nurses (MaOHN) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Division of Occupational Safety's consultation program, according to a recent OSHA release.

"Occupational nurses are the professionals who first see and treat on-the-job injuries and illnesses," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's regional administrator for New England. "That puts them on the front line of employee protection. This alliance will help occupational nurses use that unique position to educate employers and employees to identify and eliminate workplace hazards before they sicken or injure employees."

Under the alliance, according to the release, OSHA's three Massachusetts offices will work with MaOHN and DOS to develop training and education programs for employers and employees as well as for the MaOHN members who serve them. Training for employees and employers will focus on, among others, the hazards posed by exposure to noise, silica and lead in various industries. For occupational health professionals, the training will encompass safeguards against bloodborne pathogens, tuberculosis and other hazards associated with the health industry.

The alliance partners also will work to communicate information on the recognition and prevention of hazards, share best practices and encourage MaOHN members' and clients' participation in OSHA's cooperative programs.