Advancing Health and Safety Through P2
New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection
||Pollution prevention strategies employed by many industrial facilities address environmental management goals, but are seldom considered as a means of addressing worker exposures. Failure to consider worker health and safety in implementing environmental projects sometimes results in changes in production processes or workplace practices that actually increase worker exposures to toxic substances or introduce other occupational hazards. Lack of coordination also means that many facilities fail to take advantage of opportunities that could improve occupational and environmental health and decrease the costs of both Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance and environmental compliance.
Through a Pollution Prevention Incentives for States (PPIS) grant from the EPA, the Occupational Training and Education Consortium (OTEC) at Rutgers University is working to develop a training program that will provide a more integrated approach to environmental and occupational health initiatives at industrial facilities. This project seeks to promote P2 as a means of addressing both environmental goals and worker health and safety. It also seeks to ensure that P2 projects introduced to address environmental goals do not shift risks to workers. This program will be developed in partnership with several industrial facilities seeking to strengthen their environmental management program and workplace health and safety culture through greater worker participation in (and increased coordination between) their occupational health and environmental initiatives.
The objective of this project is to develop an Integrated Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Management System. Key project elements include the following:
-Developing customized training materials to ensure that the curriculum reflects the facility's needs
-Training health and safety professionals, members of the facility health and safety committee, and production and maintenance workers on P2 methods and approaches and the opportunities inherent in using these strategies to reduce worker exposures to toxic chemicals and promote facility environmental goals
-Training environmental staff and other participants in facility P2 planning to recognize the potential positive and negative impacts of these cleaner production strategies on worker health and safety
-Strengthening communications and joint labor/management processes dealing with environmental and occupational health and safety and developing opportunities for increased worker involvement
The curriculum developed through this pilot project will be incorporated into OTEC's ongoing training for New Jersey industrial workers and employers.
OTEC has identified and is working with one New Jersey facility on this project. The participation of two additional companies is still being sought.
The Office of Pollution Prevention and Permit Coordination of the NJ DEP, EPA Region 2, and consultants from the University of Massachusetts Lowell Work Environment Program are partners providing technical assistance and support on this project.
|Areas of P2 Expertise
||Northeast States Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 12 No. 1, Spring 2002 [PDF]
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