Taking a step toward helping to make the workplace safer, Odessa College’s Safety Training program on Wednesday celebrated its entry into the OSHA Alliance Program.
A signing ceremony was held at the Safety Training Center and attended by OSHA representatives, OC faculty, staff and administrators and OCTECHS students.
Associate Vice President for Adult, Continuing and Workforce Education Tiffani Price emceed the ceremony.
“This is an exciting day for us at Odessa College,” Price said.
Through the Alliance Program, created in 2002, OSHA establishes formal relationships with groups committed to worker safety and health and collaborates with them to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. These groups include trade and professional associations, labor unions, educational institutions, community and faith-based groups and government agencies, a news release said.
OSHA and Alliance participants collaborate to provide workplace safety and health awareness of workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Dean McCann, safety training lead instructor for the OC Continuing Education Department, said Odessa College has an absolute, unwavering commitment to education and training, “the best it can be done.”
“OSHA also has an absolute commitment to worker safety, both of which have had that same philosophy since their inception. That powerful alliance, what it can do is enhance the programs that the college already has, and those that we’re bringing to the table in the future. Because the programs are enhanced by default, the training that the students and safety professionals that come here for training and certifications truly reap the benefits of that reward of this alliance,” McCann said.
Occupational Safety and Environmental Technology Department Chair Jessica Jordan had students from the OCTECHS OSET program on hand.
“This group of young women and men are absolutely amazing. They have proven to be the best of the best. This Alliance provides our academic associate and bachelor’s degree students with a direct line of communication on the initiatives and compliance assistance that OSHA provides to better our workforce here in the Permian Basin. More importantly, though, it provides the foundational strength that our safety programs — whether it be continuing education or academic program — (are) required to provide to our students, effective training, education, professional safety and health certifications … ,” Jordan said.
“These elements are the foundation of our academic degree, and this (has) provided the Board of Certified Safety Professionals with the standing to acknowledge our academic program as a valid occupational health and safety program — a degree program. Further this gives our program the opportunity to push our academic degree programs farther and propose to Odessa College an application to the Board of Certified Safety Professionals for it to be recognized now as a qualified academic program. This recognition provides our BAAS graduates with the professional academic designation of a graduate safety professional. This group right here deserves every bit of this OSHA alliance because, again, this is the future of the Permian Basin, standing right here with us today,” Jordan said.
OSHA Area Director Elizabeth Linda Routh said they have been working on and talking about this alliance for a couple of years.
“We started thinking about it in earnest last year, and here we are today (as it comes) to fruition,” Routh said. “… At OSHA we want to see seeking help established as a core value in every workplace in America and we want the business to align themselves with operational values and best practices that go beyond compliance to ensure that the worker and safety is protected. Safety must be … enterprise-wide, value driven. That means developing an effective safety and health management team. It means listening and learning through worker participation, and striving to be an industry leader,” Routh said.
OC President Gregory Williams said there is a reason OSHA exists. He added that a lot of people throughout history have gone to work and not come home to their families. Many of those that returned to their families were disabled or lost limbs and could not work in the future.
“That’s why OSHA exists because there was a time in our history where we put profit ahead of people. We don’t have to do that. We have learned, we’ve grown and we know that we can be most profitable when we take care of our people, because really, that’s why we’re here. It’s about taking care of family. … This alliance is beautiful, because it allows us to teach people who will go into the world of work and will be embedded in companies all over the world …” and help keep workers safe, Williams said.
“They will help production to be enhanced. They will help us to retain employees longer and longer. They will help us to have populations who understand that it’s not only the bottom line, but it’s also the brother and the sister that’s important,” he added.