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July 2, 2012
AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Labor’s new SafetyWorks! Training Institute has won an OSCAR—On-site Consultation Achievement Recognition—award from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
The award recognizes an On-site Consultation Program for superior service, “above and beyond” routine consultation, during the previous twelve months. SafetyWorks! runs workplace injury prevention programs designed to reduce work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. Its educational programs range from use of fire extinguishers to fall-protection training to other OSHA-related courses. This is the second OSCAR award the department has earned; the first was presented on April 10, 2010.
The awards committee reviewed nine nominations from across the country. Maine won recognition for its “SafetyWorks! Training Institute” in Augusta, which aims to improve the safety and health of Maine’s workers and businesses. Steve Greeley, deputy director of the Workplace Safety and Health Division of the Bureau of Labor Standards accepted the award on behalf of the department.
The training institute, a 4,500 square-foot facility, includes traditional classroom seating for 50 students. What sets it apart is its large, indoor, innovative learning environment. There, participants have the opportunity to learn hands on about such topics as fall protection, confined spaces, forklift operation, scaffolding, electrical hazards, ergonomics and ladder safety.
“The SafetyWorks! Training Institute is the first of its kind in the nation,” said Marthe Kent, New England regional administrator for OSHA. “We believe it will be a very effective training tool and hope that the model can be replicated elsewhere.”
The SafetyWorks! Training Center includes two video cameras to facilitate distance learning for up to 100 users and to record trainings for online classes. The classroom can also function as a backup Emergency Operation Center for the Maine Emergency Management Agency, with which the consultation staff participate.
Commissioner of Labor Robert Winglass praised the work of the center, “The SafetyWorks! program keeps Maine workers safe, our highest priority. This award recognizes how our new facility will increase our effectiveness. We are on track to train more than 10,000 workers in 2012, 4,000 of them in this new center alone.”
In addition to classes, SafetyWorks! provides onsite safety training and consultation services to businesses at no cost. All services are voluntary and completely confidential. SafetyWorks! is not part of OSHA and does not issue citations or fines to private businesses. SafetyWorks! has five consultants who have made more than 422 private-sector visits to date in 2012, tying the number of visits of Massachusetts’s ten inspectors for the same period.
OSHA awards only two or three OSCARs each year. A training program on managing silica exposures in construction and a safety festival with more than 1,000 attendees from eight states won last year’s prizes. The OSCAR award program began in 2005.
SafetyWorks! welcomes any Maine resident, whether currently employed or looking for employment, who wants to add safety and health courses to their résumé. The class schedule is available on the SafetyWorks! website at www.safetyworksmaine.com. Those interested in learning more about the SafetyWorks! training or consultation programs should call 207-623-7900 (TTY should call Maine relay 711) or visit the website.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 2, 2012
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
Douglas J. Kalinowski (left), director, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs at OSHA, presents Steve Greeley, deputy director of the Workplace Safety and Health Division of the Bureau of Labor Standards, with the 2012 OSCAR Award for the Maine Department of Labor’s SafetyWorks! Training Institute.