Pittsburgh, Pa., October 28, 2002 — The Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) was recently awarded a Susan Harwood Training Grant from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop an ergonomics training program for the printing industry. The goal of the program is to provide printers with specific guidelines on how to recognize, prevent, and significantly reduce ergonomic hazards.
For the duration of one year, effective September 30, 2002, GATF will receive funding totaling $250,000 to form an industry committee and develop reference material, supporting material, and training programs that will assist companies in implementing their own internal employee safety and health program.
Under the grant, GATF will conduct a train-the-trainer program, after which these trainers will conduct seminars, workshops, and on-site training program. A reference guide will be developed for printers who implement a training program. Additional supporting materials will include fact sheets and pocket cards for employees in English and Spanish and an employee training video. The materials will identify engineering controls, work practices, and effective, ongoing, monitored employee training.
"This industry-specific program will help companies address cumulative trauma disorders by using approaches developed by printers," said Gary Jones, manager of GATF’s Environmental, Health, and Safety Affairs. Jones will also serve as project manager for this program. He will direct a multidisciplinary team that will be formed to help develop the training programs and the supporting material. This development team will serve a dual role in that they will also help implement the train-the-trainer programs at the regional and plant level.
The team will include professionals from GATF, Printing Industries of America (PIA), and Screenprinting and Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA). Consisting of industry experts, PIA affiliate leaders, and key personnel from the Center for Ergonomics at the University of Wisconsin, the team will be an excellent representation of various industry niches and geographic locations. It will be subdivided into smaller workgroups that will focus on specific subtasks. Additionally, an advisory committee of printers, PIA affiliate staff, and other interested parties will be formed to provide input and guidance.
GATF, PIA, and SGIA are currently working together to represent the printing industry in a formal alliance with OSHA. The Alliance was formed in June 2002 to implement guidelines and thus significantly reduce ergonomics injuries in the printing industry. Funding provided by the Susan Harwood Training Grant will greatly assist this effort.
GATF estimates the newly awarded grant will provide 73 percent of the estimated necessary funding for the Printing Ergonomics Training Program. Another 27 percent, or $93,500, will be financed by non-governmental sources.
For more information, contact Gary Jones, manager of GATF’s EHS Affairs, or Rick Hartwig, GATF’s environmental, health, and safety specialist, by phoning 412-741-6860 or by e-mailing [email protected]
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