January 11, 2012
Augusta - In an effort to improve workplace safety training services to Maine workers and businesses, the Maine Department of Labor SafetyWorks! program today dedicated the new SafetyWorks! Safety Training Institute in Augusta.
The Safety Training Institute has classroom space for SafetyWorks! safety and health courses and includes a large indoor facility where workers can get hands-on training on a variety of different topics, including: fall protection, confined spaces, forklift operation, scaffolding, electrical hazards, ergonomics, and ladder safety.
Governor LePage was a special guest at today’s open house that included safety and health professionals from businesses around the state and officials from the US Department of Labor and Maine Department of Labor.
“This investment in workplace safety will make Maine a safer place for workers on the job and will lead to lower injury rates and workers’ compensation costs for Maine businesses,” said Governor LePage.
Maine Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass praised the Governor for his support of the program and reminded attendees of the Governor’s private sector leadership on safety when he was general manager of Marden’s.
“Marden’s was one of the first businesses in Maine recognized under the OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program in 2006, and the company remains among a select few Maine businesses to be certified under the program,” said Winglass. “As Governor he was an early supporter of this initiative and visited the facility before the walls went up to review the plans and discuss our goals.”
Funding and support for the facility was provided by the US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, State of Maine Risk Management Division, State of Maine Workers’ Compensation Division, and the Maine Emergency Management Agency. Bath Iron Works engineered and fabricated a steel structure that will be used in the facility to demonstrate fall protection equipment and techniques.
“The SafetyWorks! Safety Training Institute is the first of its kind in the nation,” said Marthe Kent, New England Regional Administrator for the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “We believe it will be a very effective training tool and hope that the model can be replicated elsewhere.”
Susan Swanton, Executive Director of the Maine Marine Trades Association, said that that SafetyWorks! was effective because of the extra attention SafetyWorks! staff paid to making training relevant for the businesses and workers they serve. “SafetyWorks! works collaboratively with employers to understand the unique safety concerns at their workplace and customize their training services accordingly,” said Swanton. “They have made a big difference in helping businesses in the marine trades sector address safety proactively.”
SafetyWorks! is an outreach program of the Maine Department of Labor designed to reduce job-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. Onsite safety training and consultation services are available by request and are provided free of charge. All services are voluntary and completely confidential. SafetyWorks! is not part of OSHA and does not issue citations or fines.
Last year the SafetyWorks! program provided safety and health training services to nearly 10,000 Maine workers and consultation services to over 500 Maine employers. For 2012, the SafetyWorks! program has 129 safety and health classes scheduled around the state.
For more information about the SafetyWorks! program call 207-623-7900 (TTY: 1-800-794-1110) or visit www.safetyworksmaine.com.