Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), hundreds of billions of federal dollars will be disseminated to employers across the country for various infrastructure and industrial growth projects. These will include major construction activity as well as the development and expansion of existing and new technologies, according to an OSHA press release.
In a speech on Workers Memorial Day, April 28, Labor Secretary Solis said OSHA will receive economic recovery funds that it will direct toward enhanced and targeted enforcement; technical assistance, guidance, training and outreach; and construction data collection.
OSHA will implement a multi-tiered enforcement program to assure worker protection on ARRA-related projects. Through the development and implementation of emphasis programs, OSHA will direct enforcement efforts to stimulus package-related construction, infrastructure, and green energy projects, as well as to industries in manufacturing that support those projects.
OSHA will rely heavily on new and existing Local Emphasis Programs (LEPs) to protect workers on ARRA-related projects. State Plan States will also target ARRA-related projects. Beginning in May 2009, OSHA will begin collecting injury and illness data from approximately 20,000 construction firms in order to focus its resources on the areas of greatest need. This is an expansion of OSHA’s Data Initiative, which collects injury and illness data for general industry.
OSHA has identified the leading causes of injuries, illnesses and workplace fatalities in construction and manufacturing. The agency has used these data to develop information products that support its enforcement efforts while also educating and training employers and workers about workplace hazards. The materials, available on OSHA's Web site in English, Spanish and other languages, include advice on avoiding falls, electrocutions, struck-by and caught-between hazards, trenching and construction work zone safety.
Additionally, in her remarks, Secretary Solis said that as part of OSHA's efforts to provide compliance assistance and outreach, the agency will continue to communicate with the nation's immigrant workforce through places of worship, community organizations and consulates. For example, OSHA's Region II has been working with the consulates of El Salvador, Columbia and Brazil to provide information on workplace safety and health.
OSHA to target enforcement at stimulus package-related projects (4/30)
April 29, 2009