Prevention Through Good Practice: OSHA’s Proposed $21 Million In Training Grants Spearheads A Drive Towards Health And Safety Education For SMEs

On June 17th, the US Department of Labour announced funding opportunities totalling more than $21 million in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training grants for non-profit organizations. The funding is to be directed within two streams, with $10 million under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for Workplace Safety and Health Training on Infectious Diseases, including Coronavirus grants and $11,787,000 available for the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, aimed at providing targeted topic training, educational materials development, and new capacity building grants. The funding looks to boost the availability of targeted training material to employees in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) suffering from poor safety performance.

OSHAs funding efforts demonstrate the growing demand for training resources targeted towards SMEs. Although training has longstanding history as an essential part of any EHS program, Verdantix has seen an explosion of investment activity in the area, as firms look to utilize technology to enhance their learning efforts. Catering for this added interest, new digitally enabled training methods have emerged, with the likes of VR training and mobile accessible training identified as growing EHS technologies within the Verdantix Tech Roadmap. Developing a strong safety ethos is always seen as a priority for EHS programmes and as firms look to harmonize people and technology to develop safety, digital advancements in training methods will allow EHS learning to become accessible for many smaller firms.

The OSHA initiative targeting infectious disease training aims to establish and maintain concrete best practices to combat coronavirus transmission risks for SME firms that lack the budget to employ technology enabled return to work strategies. The COVID pandemic proven to be a key driver to the importance of EHS training, with firms using it to both mitigate current risks and as a contingency measure to promote wider business resilience. This trend is seen in the Verdantix Global Survey, in which 43% of EHS professionals from firms with less than $1billion dollar in revenue cited plans to increase investment in EHS training learning and development in 2021. Ensuring teaching methods are inclusive and relevant to the entire workforce is a pressing challenge for SMEs especially with the myriad of biases, opinions and preconceptions towards COVID-19. As training methods progress, technology will without doubt play a valuable part in providing an adaptive, tailored experience that engages a wider spectrum of individuals.

EHS Prevention Through Good Practice OSHAs Proposed 21 Million In Training Grants Spearheads A Drive Towards Health And Safety Education For SMEs

Tom Brown

Analyst, Verdantix

Tom is a Technology Analyst in the Verdantix EHS practice. His current research agenda focuses on technology mega-trends, EHS software, and sustainability. Tom joined Verdantix after graduating from the University of Nottingham with a M.Eng. in Chemical Engineering, with particular focus on Process Simulation and environmental sustainability.