The 2019 Class of the Environmental Careers Worker Training Program ‘walked’ this past Saturday, June 1, in their ceremony celebrating the completion of an eleven week program.  This group of eager participants were introduced to the safety and health training provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  OSHA’s primary concern is workplace safety as highlighted in their mission statement, “… to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” []  In conjunction with NIEHS, and with input from other federal agencies overseeing human health and environmental safety (e.g. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institute of Occupation Health and Safety (NIOSH) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)), OSHA develops curricula to train first responders, police, firefighters, emergency and technicians, and conscientious community citizens on methods for identifying and controlling hazards in our environment, and techniques for assisting family members and others in the event of man-made or environmental accidents or catastrophic events.

The Harambee House / Citizens for Environmental Justice has provided this training for fourteen years, training well over 600 Savannah citizens in such topics as Heat Stress, Hazard Materials Awareness and Emergency Preparedness & Response.  This year, the training included environmental courses falling into three areas:

  • Environmental Health & Safety Training (EHST) — 4 and 8 hour modules that provides training and workplace application of EPA, OSHA and DOT laws and regulations on specific health and safety topics
    Topics included: Lead Poisoning and Prevention; PPE-Personal Protection Equipment; Heat Stress; Hazard Materials Awareness; Hazards Communication/Global Harmonization System (GHS); Disaster Preparedness & Response on Hurricanes & Tornadoes and Floods & Infectious Disease; Asbestos Awareness; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle; Emergency Preparedness & Response and Energy Audits
  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) — The CERT concept was started in Los Angeles, CA in 1985.  In 1993, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, adopted the training and made it available nationally for each city and state to implement.  CEMA, Chatham County Emergency Management Agency, provides this training locally and is partnering with non-profits, health and safety-based organizations, and neighborhood community centers to make this training available for every Savannah resident.  Harambee House is pleased to partner with CEMA and their various health and safety associates to make this training available to our trainees.
  • Environmental Careers Worker Training Program (ECWTP) / Hazardous Waste Workers Training Program (HWWTP) — comprehensive training in several safety areas: hazardous materials/waste handling and containment, environmental restoration, construction and chemical emergency response.
    Courses included: Weatherization, Construction, OSHA (10 hours), HazWoper (40 hours), Initial Asbestos Worker, Initial Lead Worker, Lead RRP (Renovate, Repair, & Paint), and Asbestos Operations & Maintenance Refresher

This years class of trainees showcase how hard work, study and commitment leads to success.  Several members of this class have begun to organize their own independent companies to continue the work of educating and training other citizens in the environmental field, and to work to remediate the contaminants and pollution present in Savannah.

Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

Images from the ECWTP Class of 2019!