The U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has all of the resources of the Labor Department behind it.
The Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) has the network and contacts of 200,000 human resource professionals.
Together they can offer a powerful tool for disabled workers. The U.S. Labor Department has announced the partnership as a first, a move that should help utilize the underused talents of this labor pool.
Wisconsin workers with disabilities should benefit. They will continue to receive the services of the Wisconsin Department of Labor. But thanks to the new alliance, they may see more hiring, recruitment, education, outreach, and technical help in the future.
Together, the private and the public agency should see more access to resources, greater interagency communication, additional research, a sharing of information and guidance, and, in general more resources for the state agencies involved.
Roy Grizzard, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, says the alliance actually formalizes a working relationship that has existed on an informal basis in the past. He said the teamwork would benefit SHRM “as it serves its membership with the resources ODEP brings to the table,” and at the same time “offering ODEP the opportunity for broader contact with human resource professionals.”
ODEP came into existence in 2001. Before that, it was part of the U.S. Department of Labor. Assistant Secretary Grizzard headed up the new agency that U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao created in order to make services to disabled workers more effective. One of the goals was to try to guarantee workers with disabilities full access to jobs in the decades that lie ahead.
SHRM has been around since 1948, and has watched its membership grow to 200,000. It has 550 chapters in more than 100 countries. Its goal: “To serve the needs of human resource professionals by providing the most essential and comprehensive resources available.”
Employers with mobile worksites in the construction industry now have an opportunity to see their companies publicly recognized for their efforts on behalf of the health and safety of their workers.
The latest Wisconsin drug free workplace program incorporates another program called the VPP Mobile Workforce Demonstration for Construction. The principle behind the melding of the two efforts? The idea that keeping a workplace free of drugs is a crucial element in the health and safety of employees. That is particularly true in the construction industry.
The bottom line is this. If an employer is willing to agree to a rigorous examination of his health and safety measures on the mobile construction site, his or her business will be recognized as a model for the industry.
Voluntary Protection Programs were first developed by the U.S. Department of Labor in 1982. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has been bringing a number of VPPs into existence since then.
It is only since late 2006 that the program for the mobile site construction industry has been included.
VPP stands for Voluntary Protection Program, which signals the significant element of this effort. It is entirely voluntary. Employers choose to invite a team of OSHA health and safety professionals on the site that will be examined. The employer must insure beforehand that hazards such as dangers from falling are eliminated. Safe trenching methods must be in place. Workers must be trained in safety techniques specifically for construction sites. After all this, the team of OSHA experts submits the site to an intense examination. If the site passes, it is verified.
Verification means recognition. The program “recognizes those construction companies that should be held up as models of safety and health for the rest of the industry,” says Edwin Foulke, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. Assistant Secretary Foulke points out that the programs are a successful way of eliminating workplace deaths, minimizing injuries, and lowering the rate of illnesses in the workplace. The result? A more productive working team.
Make no mistake about it. Operating an ATV on the job can be dangerous.
ATVs tend to roll over. They don’t handle like a car or a motorcycle.
Training in the use of an All Terrain Vehicle is necessary, according to Wisconsin OSHA. Many people don’t realize that’s the case, because the ATV is usually seen as a recreational vehicle that even children drive. So there’s an assumption that no training is required.
But a new Wisconsin worker safety alert stresses the dangers of using ATVs on the job. A new bulleting describes what guidelines should be followed for operating the machines and for setting up training programs. The Wisconsin Department of Labor and Wisconsin OSHA, point out that many employees aren’t receiving training in the operation of the vehicles.
The Wisconsin worker safety alert points out that ATVs are being used with greater frequency in the workplace. More deaths and serious injuries are following. For example, in the last 10 years, more than 100 workers have been killed while operating ATVs on the job.
The new guidelines apply to any vehicle that’s operated off-road, and has a seat straddled by the driver, as well as handlebars and low-pressure tires. The guide specifies that these are machines operated by a single driver, and with no passenger. They allow for rear or front storage racks to carry small amounts of equipment.
The guidelines describe the need for changing work habits. Workplace ATV drivers, for example, should wear helmets. But the most important need is for specific training to operate the All Terrain Vehicle.
Fatalities because of recreational use are also up. In 1982, 29 people died in recreational ATV accidents. Just 22 years later, in 2004, the rate of death was up to 470. Injuries reached a record high of 136,100. And in the past 10 years, there were a staggering 800,000 ATV injuries reported.
Many people have questions about the Wisconsin OSHA 300 Form. Each year, OSHA 300 forms must be displayed in each place of business between February 1 and April 30.
The Wisconsin OSHA 300 form reviews the accidents that happened in 2006 with the purpose of preventing future job-related injuries, illnesses, and casualties. To avoid penalty, all companies must post the form prominently where all employees can see it. The OSHA reserves the right to fine any company that does not comply. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration thrives on raising the awareness regarding health and safety in the workplace. The OSHA 300 form, along with the OSHA- It’s the Law Poster is a major part of the effort in keeping people aware of safety at work.
OSHA sets standards for the United States work force. The goal of OSHA is to enforce safety and health standards and provide training and education to companies nationwide. This administration is constantly looking for ways to maintain and improve good working conditions for everyone in the country. There are 24 states in the US that there is a locally mandated OSHA with its own specific policies. Standards are at least as efficient as the federal OSHA in the state agencies. These states may use their own state poster to display as well as, or instead of, the national OSHA poster.
By annually displaying the OSHA 300 form, employers can express the importance of workplace safety and health. By identifying common accidents and work related illness, injury, and fatality, employers can inspire their workers to try to prevent future occurrences. It is important to learn from mistakes, and improve procedures and policies regularly. The safety and health of the American work force is the number one concern for the federal OSHA, as well as statewide organizations. Each individual worker and employer can do their part to make conditions safer and healthier.
Good news is in store for many workers in the Southeastern Wisconsin region. This area of Wisconsin has long struggled with high unemployment rates and a poor economy. Plans in the works to turn this situation around have recently been announced by US Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.
Secretary Chao previously announced a Wisconsin unemployment grant. Southeastern Wisconsin has been chosen to receive a generous grant to be used to train workers under the auspices of the WIRED initiative. WIRED, the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development, falls under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.
The WIRED initiative is designed to identify regions throughout the country facing a long history of poor economic outlook and high unemployment rates. Once these economically struggling regions have been identified by input from state governors, federal grants are awarded to fund worker-training programs in an effort to increase employability of workers and stabilize the economies of these regions.
Now, the plan to implement the Wisconsin unemployment grant is almost complete. Once that is done, the remainder of the $5 million grant will be released to the state.
Southeastern Wisconsin, long plagued by high unemployment rates and poor economic performance, has been awarded a federal grant totaling $5 million under the WIRED initiative. This $5 million grant is to be funded in two phases. An initial gift of $500,000 has been earmarked for immediate training within the region to be followed by funding of the remaining $4.5 million grant once a regional implementation plan is developed and accepted.
Those workers benefiting from this federal WIRED grant can look forward to workforce training geared to improve job skills which will make them more employable in a workforce that is rapidly advancing technologically and is increasingly more competitive in the global market.
Elaine Chao, US Secretary of Labor, recently said, “Investing in area workforces through this collaborative approach will boost entire regions’ economic vitality.” She adds, “This regional economic development strategy transcends political boundaries to better leverage a region’s assets to help workers succeed in the 21st century worldwide economy.” Secretary Chao made these comments recently when announcing the $5 million WIRED initiative grant for Southeastern Wisconsin.