Mission and Objectives
Worker Education and Training Program
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) was given major responsibility for initiating a training grants program under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA)(http://www.epa.gov/region5/defs/html/sara.htm) The primary objective of this program is to fund non-profit organizations with a demonstrated track record of providing occupational safety and health education in developing and delivering high quality training to workers who are involved in handling hazardous waste or in responding to emergency releases of hazardous materials. Since the initiation of the Hazardous Waste Worker Training Program in 1987, the NIEHS has developed a strong network of non-profit organizations that are committed to protecting workers and their communities by delivering high-quality, peer-reviewed safety and health curriculum to target populations of hazardous waste workers and emergency responders.
The major objectives of the program are to prevent work-related harm by assisting in the training of workers in how best to protect themselves and their communities from exposure to hazardous materials encountered during hazardous waste operations, hazardous materials transportation, environmental restoration nuclear weapons facilities, or chemical emergency response, and to undertake brownfields and minority workforce development. A variety of sites, such as those involved with chemical waste clean up and remedial action and transportation-related chemical emergency response, may pose severe health and safety concerns. These are often characterized by the multiplicity of substances present, the presence of unknown substances, and the general uncontrolled condition of the site. A major goal of this program is to assist organizations with development of institutional competency to provide appropriate model training and education programs to hazardous materials and waste workers.