The Commission's Grant Program
Labor Code Sections 75 through 78 created the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation and vested it with all the powers, duties, responsibilities and jurisdiction of the previous Health and Safety Commission, including the administration of grants to assist in establishing effective occupational injury and illness prevention programs.
The Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation reviews and approves proposals for grant funds to assist in establishing effective illness and injury prevention programs (IIPP) as mandated by Labor Code Section 6401.7. Applications are received from employers, from employee organizations, and from employers and employee associations filing jointly.
The grant program is intended to provide funding to applicants who have identified areas within existing IIPPs that warrant intensified training and education or research or which present alternative methods for reducing injuries and illnesses. It is not intended to subsidize regular, ongoing activities associated with an IIPP required under existing law.
In accordance with Labor Code Section 78(a), the Commission gives priority to those applications proposing to target high-risk industries and occupations such as those with high injury or illness rates. The Commission utilizes the Division of Occupational Safety and Health's list of high hazard industries, compiled pursuant to Labor Code Section 6401.7, to determine whether the target groups identified in the proposal are high hazard. Priority is given to those proposals in which targeted employees are exposed to one or more hazardous substances or conditions, or where there is a demonstrated need for research to determine effective strategies for the prevention of occupational injuries or illnesses.
Grant Program Goals
The goals of the Commission's grant program are to:
1. Encourage alternative means of developing, implementing and maintaining an effective injury and illness prevention program.
2. Encourage the development of strategies, in addition to those being provided or required by Cal/OSHA, for providing occupational safety and health training and education programs or materials.
3. Increase the numbers of employees receiving occupational safety and health training and education services.
4. Encourage the development of programs aimed at encouraging small employers to expand their industrial injury prevention programs.
5. Promote the development of programs which include a cooperative effort between management and employees in attaining the program objectives.
6. Assure that the grant project and activities are consistent with Cal/OSHA program goals.
7. Evaluate the effectiveness of alternative strategies.
Grant Evaluation Process
When the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation was established effective 1994, an appropriation of $501,000 was made to the Commission for grants.
The Commission reviewed a total of 91 grant applications for approximately $5.5 million which were originally submitted to the former Health and Safety Commission.
Public Commission meetings were held in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles to allow applicants to make brief presentations of their proposed projects.
During the evaluation process at subsequent public meetings, the Commissioners conducted voting elimination rounds to reduce the number of applications under review. Pursuant to the mandate in Labor Code Section 75(a), final approval required a vote from the majority of the Commission membership and at least 2 votes from Commissioners representing employers and at least 2 votes from Commissioners representing organized labor.
The Commission approved nine grant applications totaling $503,656. A summary of those 1994 grant proposals awarded is included at the end of this report section.
Monitoring Grant Projects
Contracts have been prepared and approved for each of the nine 1994 grants. The grant projects are underway and are estimated to be completed by December 1995. As part of the contract, the grant awardees submit progress reports every quarter which are monitored by Commission staff.
Audits have been conducted on all of the 53 grants totaling $2,300,087 awarded by the former Health and Safety Commission from 1991 through 1993. A total of $117,057 in unused grant monies was identified. Grantees who have not accounted for the full amount of the awarded grant have been asked to provide either further financial reports identifying expenditures or a refund of unused monies. To date, the Commission has collected $81,210 in unexpended grant monies.
Grant Product Library
The projects funded by grant monies often produce written materials and/or videos that are submitted to the Commission for inclusion in its Grant Product Library. All grantees are required to submit two copies of any material produced with grant funds such as training pamphlets, manuals and/or videos. The Commission maintains a library of these finished products which are loaned to the public on request.
Recently a backlog of requests developed when the demand for the grant products exceeded the availability. Since the library contained only two copies of each product, orders for the more frequently requested products could not be immediately filled and a waiting list developed. To eliminate this backlog and keep up with future requests, the Commission expanded its library by obtaining additional copies of products according to demand. As a result, the backlog is being eliminated and the Grant Product Library is accomplishing its goal to have its health and safety training and education information immediately available to requesters.
1994 Grant Proposals Awarded
Bay Counties District Council of Carpenters /
The 46 Northern California Counties Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program
A grant of $37,809 was awarded to implement training for cumulative trauma disorders injury prevention among working carpenters (journeymen and apprentices) in northern California. All first year apprentice carpenters that will be attending the related and supplemental instruction classes and journey level members of the affiliate locals of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters will participate in the project. The project will involve implementation of a train-the-trainer course for existing Apprenticeship and Training instructional staff on ergonomics for carpenters, and training in a four-hour course for apprentices and journey level using the manual Ergonomics for Carpenters.
California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO (in cooperation with 30 Labor Organizations)
A grant of $75,000 was awarded to expand the ongoing establishment of a consortium of worker training programs taught in English and Spanish (from a previous grant) to a program that has the capacity to teach workers in Asian languages. A team of ten health and safety trainers based in county Central Labor Councils and Building Trades Councils and four bilingual trainers will offer courses to at least 1,560 workers with an emphasis on the state's 100 high risk industries. Training will focus on the development of capacity and skills to meet the needs of worker participation in IIPPs. Efforts will target threshold topics essential to informed participation and leadership in IIPPs. Topics include: effective IIPPs; hazard identification, recording and reporting; toxic substances; ergonomics and construction hazards.
Cambria Community Healthcare District
A grant of $12,545 was awarded to produce a videotape showing a typical ambulance "call" emphasizing the detailed procedures that must be followed to assure safety and illness prevention while handling the call. Segments of the video would address issues specific to incidents involving minor vehicle accidents, traffic collisions requiring heavy extrication equipment, high-angle rope rescues, incidents involving weapons, crime scenes, patients with psychiatric problems, calls involving farm accidents and animals, equipment maintenance including shop and small tool safety, working around and on helicopters, extended wilderness rescues, mass-casualty incidents and calls for "unknown type problems."
Davis Wire Company / Teamsters Local 986
A grant of $75,000 was awarded to create Action Teams who act as the core group of internal safety experts and trainers to address primary causes of recurring and high risk injuries and illness issues. These safety experts will be trained by external consultants, but will develop the custom curriculum, create or purchase safety materials and recruit the support needed to solve the company's targeted safety issues. An English/Spanish video will be made which documents the steps required to identify, improve and maintain target areas for improving the IIPP for replication at other California plants.
Hope Rehabilitation Services / Service Employees International Union Local 535
A grant of $64,944 was awarded to develop a formal, comprehensive IIPP for the developmentally disabled and to prepare 150 staff members to train 850 employees with developmental disabilities. Training topics would include: ergonomics, personal protective equipment, material safety data sheets, earthquake safety and disaster preparedness, community safety, proper lifting, safe attitudes and behaviors, seizure activity, personal hygiene, CPR and First Aid, fire safety, illness prevention and blood borne pathogens.
Los Angeles Unified School District
A grant of $15,788.85 was awarded to produce an English/Spanish video entitled "Your Safe School" that will be scripted to serve as a foundation for a re-introduction of the district's IIPP. It will encourage the district's 1,124 sites to set up their own programs, with an emphasis on theory and long-term planning rather than specific training. The program will ask schools to fill out and send in their IIPP certification statements certifying that the school facility has watched and understood the program and that the site administrator is aware of his/her responsibilities. The site administrator will be asked to reference the IIPP handbook that has already been given to the sites. Certification statements for the sites will be checked by Safety Officers responsible for those sites. Sites not turning in certification statements will be given individual attention.
Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union, Western Region
A grant of $75,418 was awarded to develop, pilot test and evaluate the key elements of an effective ergonomics control program, focusing on job task analysis, hazard identification and control, employee participation/use of worksite teams, and providing training that is relevant and specific to the concerns of the exposed population. Three case studies would be developed which would illustrate to employees and employers how the complex field of ergonomics can successfully be applied to solve real workplace problems, using the oil industry as an example.
San Mateo County Risk Management Division / AFSCME District Council 57 /
Organization of Deputy Sheriffs / SEIU Local 715 /
Probation and Detention Association / California Nurses Association
A grant of $75,000 was awarded to reduce, control and contain the exposure to tuberculosis among 1,200 identified "at risk" employees. The goal of the program is to identify those "at risk" employees who may come in contact with TB on the job, to test those employees for exposure, to provide training and education and to effect the necessary control and containment procedures. Activities include: devising control and containment measures; revising all appropriate IIPP manuals maintained by the County; preparing and distributing information pamphlets to the 1200 "at risk" employees; conducting training sessions for all affected management and supervisory personnel; conducting awareness and education seminars for the "at risk" employees; inaugurating a regular tuberculin skin testing program for the "at risk" employees with follow-up chest x-ray for positive skin tests or for those allergic employees; developing documentation forms and establishing record keeping procedures; developing and establishing procedures to provide counseling, treatment and rehabilitation services for tuberculosis-infected County personnel; and purchasing, as necessary, protective equipment.
South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council (in conjunction with 7 Local Unions)
A grant of $72,151.02 was awarded to continue and expand the bilingual training classes (started with a previous grant) and to broaden the scope to include the development of an English as a second language (ESL) module which uses health and safety as the content. A risk area (through the Auto Mechanics Local 1101 affiliate) has been added which will receive the general bilingual health and safety training and job-site peer-trainer series of classes. The Health and Safety Education Project will continue support of the peer trainers and health and safety committees as well as expanding the outreach into the apprenticeship programs with the Pipe Trades, Retail Clerks and Machinists. The health and safety training will be directed towards workers in the following risk areas: machinists, pipe trades, janitorial service, health care, laborers/construction, transportation, retail clerks, butchers, clerical and hotel maintenance, janitorial and housekeeping. A survey may also be conducted of grocery clerks in order to ascertain if individual case reports of scanning lasers causing unusual vision deterioration are pointing to a broader scale vision impairment problem linked to the laser scanners commonly used in the industry.