Albany, NY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently launched a $5 million education and training grant program to improve occupational health and safety conditions in low-wage industries. The announcement coincides with the 2016 Central Labor Council Labor Day Parade, which the Governor recently marched in. The grants will help not-for-profits provide training programs targeting workplace hazards in industries with high rates of injury that often employ immigrant workers. The program builds on the Governor’s initiatives that place New York at the forefront of workplace health and safety standards, including the implementation of new nail salon ventilation regulations and the launch of a study to ban a toxic chemical widely used in the dry cleaning industry.
“From recovering millions of dollars in back wages, to cracking down on dangerous conditions in the nail salon industry, this administration has continued New York’s proud tradition of standing up for our hardworking men and women,” Governor Cuomo said. “These grants will help protect some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers against occupational health and safety hazards and is another step toward a better, safer and more just New York for all.”
Studies estimate that workplace injuries statewide cost $10 billion a year. The Workers’ Compensation System covers a significant portion of the costs, but only as to lost wages and medical care once an injury occurs. Studies have also identified that as many as three in four workers do not take steps to address workplace hazards out of fear of retaliation by their employer, or simply because they do not know how to take action.
Low-wage workers are especially vulnerable and often face challenges in the workplace, including isolated work environments, language barriers and lack of immigration status, which keep them from seeking assistance. Currently, there are few educational resources available across the state to assist this population and their specific needs. The grant program is designed to address the most serious occupational health and safety hazards, and help prevent injuries, which vary across industries.
Targeted industries include:
- Dry cleaning
The funding made available will be awarded to community-based organizations, direct service providers, occupational health and safety clinics, and other not-for-profit entities. These grants will provide training, education, and assistance for workers, advocates, and businesses to help implement:
- Prevention measures against workplace accidents, injuries, illnesses, harassment, and other physical and psychological workplace health and safety concerns;
- Occupational safety and health best practices intended to protect and enhance workplace safety;
- Workers’ rights to seek medical attention and monetary compensation for injuries suffered at the workplace (i.e. through Workers’ Compensation Board claims); and
- Business compliance with occupational safety and health regulations and best practices in partnership with the New York State Department of Labor’s On Site Consultation program.
Organizations interested in applying can find more information here.
Source: NY Governor’s Office