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For Immediate Release
January 17, 2003
Media Contact Information:
Kevin Weeks 503-947-7428  (direct dial)

New Oregon OSHA safety committee training comes to Albany & Lebanon

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) is presenting a new, three-hour free training session aimed at helping employers train and develop their workplace safety committee.

Safety committees are not just a great idea; they are required for many businesses in Oregon. All businesses with more than eleven employees must have safety committees, as well as businesses in an industry labeled as being 'high-hazard' or companies that experience a higher-than-average injury rate for their industry.

The safety committee training will educate safety committee members about their duties and responsibilities, training requirements and the purpose that safety committees serve. The class will also review what the mandatory 'Rules for All Workplaces' are in Oregon, and how to solve problems using a safety committee. This workshop meets Oregon OSHA requirements for basic Hazard Identification and Accident Investigation training.

The Lebanon workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, February 12 at Lebanon Center, 44 Industrial Way from 9:00am to Noon. The Albany workshop is scheduled for Thursday, February 13 at Linn-Benton Community College, 6500 Pacific Boulevard from 9:00am to Noon. There is no cost for the training. To register, fax your request on company letterhead to (503) 947-7462 or register on the Oregon OSHA Web site, www.orosha.org under "Education."

"Safety committees are a valuable resource," says Peter De Luca, administrator of Oregon OSHA. "They improve communications between labor and management, and form the basis of a solid and effective workplace safety and health program."

Violations for failure to have a safety committee are among the most commonly noted violations observed by Oregon OSHA compliance officers during inspections, resulting in 805 violations and penalties exceeding $165,000 during 2001. Since mandatory safety committees were introduced in Oregon in 1990, disabling injury claim rates for workers' compensation have declined sixty percent while private sector injury and illness rates have dropped 62 percent.

"In the decade we have had mandatory safety committees in Oregon, on the job deaths have been reduced by nearly half," says De Luca. "The impact on families and communities is that we have over 27,000 Oregon workers that did NOT become an injury statistic during the past ten years. Safety committees are just one part of an overall commitment to safety and health management."

Some exemptions apply for having mandatory safety committees. For technical questions about safety committees, contact Oregon OSHA toll-free within Oregon at 800-922-2689.

Oregon OSHA offers a variety of training, educational resources and consultation services to help employers create safer workplaces and reduce the number of injuries which occur at work. You can find more information on Oregon OSHA's Web site, www.orosha.org. For questions about Oregon OSHA training, call (503) 947-7443 to register, or call toll-free within Oregon, (888) 292-5247 Option 2.