Monday, July 18, 2011

Free OSHA Training? - Thank You Susan Harwood!

When dealing with OSHA’s regulations on a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to forget that the agency has several outreach programs in place to proactively assist employers and workers address workplace safety and health hazards. Over the years, I have seen numerous references to one such program; the Susan Harwood grants. But it was not until I dug into the Harwood Grant webpage recently that I became aware of the plethora of free materials and products produced by grantees that you can download for free. There are also some great safety training classes conducted by grantees available to employers and workers too.

The Harwood grants are awarded annually to non-profit organizations to develop training materials, products, and classes that address workplace safety and health hazards as a part of their grant activities. The products developed by grantees have been tailored to meet the needs of various training audiences (e.g., workers, employers, young workers, non-English speaking/limited English proficiency workers, and are available in a variety of formats such as training manuals, PowerPoint, PDF files, and more. Many OSHA training packages are also available in languages other than English, such as Spanish, Cambodian, Korean, Laotian, Vietnamese, and Mandarin Chinese.

In an effort to make the materials and products available to a broader audience for training or self-development, OSHA has posting many of these training materials on the Harwood Web page where they may be accessed and downloaded at no charge. For example, you can download this “Excavation and Trenching Awareness for the Construction Industrytraining program developed with Harwood Grant money by the University of Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute. Their program consists of PowerPoint slide presentations, instructor guides, pre and post-tests, and a competent person checklist, and are available in both English and Spanish.

There are many other OSHA training materials available on the Harwood Webpage for other construction and general industry topics too, such as ergonomics, combustible dust explosions, OSHA injury/illness recordkeeping, work-zone safety, and focus four. As additional products become available, OSHA will post them on the webpage.

The OSHA website states that these training materials are copyright protected and are not to be used for "commercial purposes". I checked with an OSHA representative about this, and she told me you cannot download these materials to sell, nor can a consultant use them to train students if charging a fee. They can, however, be downloaded by a company to train their own employees.

I also mentioned OSHA safety training classes available for workers and employers through these grants. You can see the list of recent Harwood grantees here.  Many of these training classes they provide are free, and some are available at a reduced fee. One example is some upcoming free training courses being conducted in August 2011 at Georgia Tech Research Institute to train employers on strategies on how to engage young workers in safety and health training. Sounds like a great opportunity to learn something new.  See their flyer and the registration form at .

To find specific information about other on-going training classes being conducted by grantees in your region, contact the Harwood Grant Program Coordinator at your OSHA Regional office.

By the way, OSHA is currently soliciting applications under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program for 2011, through which a total of $4.7 million is available to nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations, employer associations and labor unions. Information needed to apply for this grant is available at this link.

If you’ve ever benefited from utilizing materials or attended a training class developed by a Harwell grantee, tell us about your experience by submitting a comment (link below). And please, pass a link to this blog along to others in your network who can benefit from this information.

BONUS QUESTION: Who is Susan Harwood?  Hint: The answer can be found on the FAQ page about the program.


Opportunity to Shine:

The ASSE Suncoast Chapter is seeking speakers for their PDC in Ft Myers FL in October 2011 – if interested, submit your proposed content and bio to before September 20.


  1. Thanks for mentioning our program. As always, great post! Keep up the great work.

  2. I really wanted to email you and thank you for what you do. I really enjoy reading what you put out in your blogs you have some of the most up to date information and you help me along the way when I read your blogs. I just wanted to take the time and say thank you for what you do.


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