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WRN Ambassador Recognition - Occupational Health & Safety (OSHA)

Department:  Department of Labor (DOL)

Agency:  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA Leader and Team:  Mandy Edens - Director, OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management - and OSHA Team

  1. What is the mission of your organization?
    OSHA’s mission is protecting the safety and health of America’s workers by:  setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; providing compliance assistance; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health.
  2. What has your organization done to promote a Weather Ready Nation? (i.e. what did your WFO recognize your for?)
    During seasonal and special weather safety campaigns and events, OSHA has collaborated and coordinated closely with NOAA and interagency partners to develop products and conduct outreach related to increasing preparedness of workers and employers and protecting the safety and health of workers during hazardous weather events, including extreme temperatures (heat and cold), floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, severe storms, and lightning.  Outreach and resources were provided to workers, employers, and stakeholders via OSHA and NOAA web pages, social media, and newsletters.  Prior to the kickoff of severe storm season, OSHA and NOAA jointly co-branded a Fact Sheet entitled “Lightning Safety When Working Outdoors” to provide workers and employers at outdoor worksites with lightning safety recommendations from OSHA and NOAA. 

    Through OSHA’s 2016 Heat Illness Campaign, the agency focused largely on the employer’s responsibility to protect workers during excessive periods of heat.  The campaign enhances outreach to ensure that employers know their responsibilities and workers know their rights in regards to safety and health, thus promoting a Weather Ready Nation.   OSHA’s 2016 Heat Illness Campaign accomplished the following this year:
    • OSHA provided heat safety tips for workers in a blog, Twitter posts, and an updated heat campaign webpage that now includes illustrations of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, an animated video, training resources, and links to an updated heat safety phone app. All resources are available in English and Spanish.
    • #WaterRestShade is the official hashtag of the campaign, and is continuously used on DOL’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and retweeted and posted by our followers.
    • OSHA participated as a subject matter expert on a White House webinar highlighting the risks of extreme heat to four vulnerable populations: the elderly, athletes, emergency responders, and outdoor workers.
    • OSHA hosted a conference call with employers, industry groups and the media to underscore the need to keep workers safe from the hazards of heat. The call featured several employers and employer groups that are making noteworthy efforts to protect workers including the National Waste and Recycling Association, which sponsored heat-safety stand-downs last month that involved about 70% of the nation's waste collection companies. Safety officials from a steel plant, a lumber mill and a construction company also described their efforts, which included providing cooling vests and shade canopies. Assistant Secretary for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, invited all on the call to join the conversation on Twitter using #WaterRestShade. An audio recording and transcript of the call, along with other resources, are available on OSHA's heat webpage.  Following the call, OSHA ran a story in its biweekly newsletter QuickTakes asking employers to share photos on Twitter and stories via email on the unique ways they’re keeping workers safe during extreme heat. 
    • OSHA hosted heat stand-downs in eight Southern states from June 27 to July 1.
  3. What does being an Ambassador mean to you?
    Being a WRN Ambassador means being a leader and interagency partner in protecting the safety and health of workers and increasing the preparedness of workers, employers, and stakeholders in relation to hazardous weather events.  
  4. What are your goals for the next year concerning preparedness?
    Continue enhancing outreach to workers and employers so that they can adequately prepare to protect against safety and health weather-related hazards in the workplace.