Appleseed Receives OSHA Grant for Meatpackers’ Health & Safety

On Wednesday, Nebraska Appleseed received an $85,000 renewable Susan Harwood Capacity Building grant from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to support our meatpacking worker health and safety work.  Appleseed is one of 45 nonprofits, community organizations, labor, and educational institutions receiving grants.

The Susan Harwood grants support training programs that educate workers and employers in industries with high injury and fatality rates; low literacy, young, limited English proficiency and otherwise vulnerable workers; and small business employers.  They fund long-term programs that build safety and health competency within organizations.

“Ensuring that workers and employers have the information they need is critical to safe and healthy workplaces,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “These grants will help provide training and education aimed at identifying hazards, understanding rights and responsibilities, protecting health and saving lives.”

The project will work directly with immigrant, low-wage workers who are exposed to unsafe work environments – relentless speeds and insufficient staffing on the line, repetitive motion injuries, lacerations, slippery floors, and cold conditions.  The project will help Appleseed establish immigrant worker safety committees, which will receive training and support from Appleseed and ultimately become a resource to workers in their communities.

“The programs funded by these grants will have a long-lasting, positive impact on workers and employers alike,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “OSHA also has significantly reached out to non-English speaking, and historically hard to reach, vulnerable workers by awarding grants to organizations committed to serving those groups.”

The grant follows on the heels of Appleseed’s 2009 report The Speed Kills You: Voices from Nebraska’s Meatpacking Workers, which surveyed 455 meatpacking workers across the state.  Last March, Appleseed staff attorney Norm Pflanz presented the report’s findings to OSHA at “OSHA Listens,” a national convening of workers’ health safety stakeholders.  Read more about the convening, media coverage and Norm’s testimony here.

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