Friday, December 9, 2016

'Safety Matters' on Cape Cod

On Friday December 16, 2016, I'll be rolling out the education module 'Safety Matters' to the 7th grade at the Monomoy Regional Middle School in Chatham, Cape Cod. 

This general awareness training program developed jointly by the National Institute of Occupational Heath and Safety (NIOSH) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is designed to teach young workers how to identify workplace hazards and know their rights as workers.

Why is this important? Here are some statistics you may not know: 
  • "Approximately 1.6 million U.S. teens (aged 15–17) work.
  • Every nine minutes, a U.S. teen is injured on the job.
  • On average, each year:
As you may know, if you follow any of my social media, I'm an avid volunteer for the American Chemical Society (ACS) and serve in various public relations leadership roles. Notably, American Chemical Society CEO, Tom Connelly described an interest in partnering with other professional societies on chemical and lab safety issues in his June 27, 2016 comment titled ACS's Role in Safety in Chemical and Engineering News. This got me thinking about potential partnerships between the ACS and AIHA. It seemed logical to me to get the ACS involved in this particular education outreach effort because of its central workplace safety message; especially the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Health & Safety (DCHAS). So I pitched the idea to the DCHAS Executive Committee at the recent Fall National Meeting of the American Chemical Society of having DCHAS 'endorse' my efforts to bring 'Safety Matters' to Cape Cod students, as well as my own local ACS section: Northeastern Local Section and NEAIHA, my AIHA Local section. The overall goal in partnering with so many groups is for me to report back with a 'best practices on how to implement 'Safety Matters' in a way that will inspire and guide members of the various groups/subgroups I have engaged, to encourage their members to bring this program to their own communities. Eventually, once I've completed this pilot program on the Cape & Islands, I'd like to tap into the ACS Local Section networks, there are 187 of them, who have outreach activities in place for National Chemical Week in the Fall and Chemists Celebrate Earth Day in the Spring and have their interested members use their community connections to bring 'Safety Matters' to those grade 7-12 educators. Ultimately, once the teachers are introduced to 'Safety Matters' by a volunteer, they can access more in-depth workplace safety programs for young workers that can be added to their curriculum. 

I am grateful to have the support of the ACS Office of Public Affairs, Tom Connelly, DCHAS and NESACS as well as the AIHA Board of Directors, AIHA CEO Larry Sloan and the NEAIHA Executive Committee as I launch 'Safety Matters' Cape-wide.

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