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Educating workers about their rights and job hazards, with an emphasis on developing materials and programs for limited- and non-English speaking workers, are among the goals of a recent Alliance between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Shipbuilding Group. The Alliance will provide shipyard workers and employers with informational tools and access to training resources to help prevent worker injuries and illnesses.
"Protecting worker safety and health is the fundamental goal of our Alliance Program," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. "This goal can be achieved through the participation of workers, management and government. This Alliance will continue efforts to develop safety and health materials that are useful and understandable for all workers in the shipbuilding industry."
The Shipbuilding Group, comprising American Shipbuilding Association (ASA), National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) and Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), represents shipyards with more than 150,000 machinists, sheet metal workers, plumbers, pipefitters and others involved in building ships. This figure includes more than 90 percent of naval shipbuilding workers and a significant percentage of workers in commercial shipbuilding.
The Alliance will also focus on protecting workers from slip, trip and fall hazards, as well as preventing musculoskeletal injuries and injuries from being struck by equipment. OSHA previously had separate Alliances with ASA, NSRP and SCA, which worked together to produced a series of safety alerts on the following topics: ventilation, lockout/tagout, welding and other hot work procedures, electrocution and shock hazards, and shipyard sewage and hydrogen sulfide.
Through the Alliance Program, OSHA works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. These groups include unions, consulates, trade or professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions. OSHA and the groups work together to develop compliance assistance tools and resources, share information with workers and employers, and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA programmed inspections.