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OSHA course stresses workplace safety for STOF employees

by Kevin Johnson | Mar 02, 2017
HOLLYWOOD — From ladder, electrical and chemical safety to ergonomics, emergency action situations, exits and personal protective equipment...
The menu for more than two dozen Tribal employees was chocked full of safety lessons and reminders.“It’s not that they don’t know this stuff. This is not rocket science; this is just everyday safety stuff, but that safety never, ever, ever goes away,” said Linda Light,an authorized trainer who led the 10-hour OSHA general industry outreach course Jan.11-12 at the Tribe’s Native Learning Center in Hollywood.

Several of the attendees working the Housing Department. Ladder safety, for example, was emphasized in a portion of day one as a part of basic safety practices that should never be taken for granted. “Using the wrong ladder or using the ladder in the wrong way; not inspecting the ladder to make sure it is in good repair, ”Light said. “We talk electrical safety, not understanding the hazards of shock and fire, and how to protect them selves from shock and fire. ”Making safety a habit at the work place is a goal, Light said, rather than just a one time thought.

“They need to do this ongoing,” she said. “Safety training isn’t one time a year or one time in public; they need to keep the training ongoing and remind themselves at the work site what are the safe practices. We have a three-step formula. They have to know what a hazard is, they need to know how to control that hazard, and they have to know how to act. And if they justkeep reminding themselves and learningit and reinforcing those practices then they become more habitual and they create a safer workplace overall. ”During a portion of day one, Light showed the class photos of work place hazards, such as mold, corroded hand rail sand tripping hazards.

The program also provided information regarding workers’ rights and employer responsibilities, Safety practices also extend into rural areas, such as farms and ranches. “Agriculture is a more dangerous industry,” Light said. “Historically, farmers have been exempted from lots of federal rules, but agriculture is not exempt from safety rules. It’s just when a farm is run by immediate family members – like mom, pop and the kids – then technically they are exempt, but when farming is business, when you have agriculture as a business, then it’s covered in the same way.

You have machinery concerns, heat illness concerns, using the tools or the equipment they have, knowing how to use personal protective equipment, plus they have chemicals and hazardous stuff they use, like fertilizers. ”Light said the Tribe, although a sovereign nation, must meet or exceed federal OSHA requirements. “They are expected to follow federal OSHA requirements, and they are expected to either manage that internally or the federal government would hold them to account to make sure they did that,” she said. 

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