The mission of the Massachusetts Workplace Safety and Health Program (WSHP) is to prevent job-related injuries and illnesses among the Commonwealth's public sector workers and assist federal agencies in promoting health and safety in selected areas in the private sector. We accomplish all of our responsibilities through investigation, assessment, education, technical assistance, outreach and targeted enforcement by our team of occupational safety and health specialists. We are fervent in our daily work knowing that safe and healthy workplaces promote a robust economy, stable society, steadfast governmental service delivery, sound family units and valued individuals.
Our vision is a Commonwealth where preventable workplace injuries and illnesses are eliminated. To accomplish this in the short term, we respond to incidents and requests and promote effective health and safety management among our targeted entities. To bring long-term change to fruition, we educate and support workers, employers, advocates and decision-makers in health and safety standards which protect workers from preventable harm, and in the methods necessary to ensure that these standards are followed in the workplace.
- The Department of Labor Standards (DLS) offers a free consultation service designed to help employers recognize and control potential safety and health hazards at their worksites, improve their safety and health program, assist in training employees, and possibly qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections. This service, which is jointly funded by the DLS and the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is primarily targeted for smaller businesses (less than 250 employees per establishment or 500 employees nationwide) in high hazard industries; such as manufacturing, healthcare, and construction. It is a confidential service in which your firm's name, and any other information you provide and any unsafe or unhealthy working conditions found, will not be reported routinely to the OSHA inspection staff.
- The Mine Safety and Health Program is administered in Massachusetts by the Division of Occupational Safety in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration. Under 30 CFR Part 56, safety and health standards are required to be in place for all surface metal/non-metal mines throughout the nation. Initial and annual refresher training of all mining employees is required as well (30 CFR Part 46). These requirements apply to the approximately 150 mining operations in Massachusetts. The operations in Massachusetts include sand and gravel pits, crushed stone operations, and quarries. Efforts by the Division of Occupational Safety are focused on preventing injuries and illnesses by conducting site inspections and providing training for employees.
The mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Statistics Program is to support continued improvement of workplace environments by compiling and presenting data to employers, employees, researchers, industry professionals, and policy-makers, so that these data can be used to devise strategies to reduce occupational injuries and illnesses. The Department of Labor Standards administers the Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses for all private-sector and public-sector industries, trades, and occupations. This survey, conducted in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides detailed information on injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Selected employer units receive a pre-notification package in the December prior to the calendar year in which they are required to maintain records.
Due to changes to the federal government budget, the department did not collect data for the OSHA Data Initiative in 2013. The OSHA Data Initiative is on hold until further notice.
Beginning in 2013, the department now administers the Prevailing Wage, Normal, and Common Practices Survey, which determines the prevailing wage and common practices among the Massachusetts agricultural employer community. The survey is conducted annually at the direction of the Massachusetts Departments of Labor Standards and Career Services, and in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration. The survey results assist in ensuring that both U.S. and foreign workers receive fair and equitable treatment by agricultural employers.
- The Industrial Hygiene Laboratory, located in the Division's West Newton office, provides analytical and technical support to engineers and inspectors within the department, unions, local boards of health and state agencies. Samples are collected from workplaces throughout the Commonwealth and evaluated to assist in the identification and subsequent control and elimination of hazards to the workers.
- The goal of the Division of Occupational Safety's (DOS) Lead Program is to reduce the incidence and severity of lead exposures for the Commonwealth's workers and other members of the general public. DOS accomplishes this goal by administering and enforcing standards for renovation, repair and painting carried out in older homes and child-occupied facilities that may contain lead paint as well as for deleading operations. DOS also administers the Occupational Blood Lead Registry, which tracks elevated blood lead levels among adults, provides educational counseling and guidance to workers, and through its work medical consultant, offers advice to physicians on the medical management of lead poisoning.
- The Department of Labor Standards (DLS) Asbestos Program is responsible for the regulation of occupational asbestos exposure in the Commonwealth. The Program works with employers, employees, unions and state and local agencies to create healthier and safer work conditions for Massachusetts workers through site visits, analytical services, and technical information. The Program aids in the coordination of OSHA, EPA and Multi-State regulatory authorities along with the North Eastern U.S. States (CONES) in the common goal of protecting the public from long term damage from excessive asbestos exposure.
- DLS provides training on occupational health hazards and indoor air quality problems to public and private employers, groups and organizations. Private sector employers should contact the OSHA Consultation Program. Public sector employers should contact the Workplace Safety and Health Program for assistance with preventing exposures to bloodborne pathogens , tuberculosis and other occupational health hazards. Training is offered in many areas, including Right to Know, chemical storage hazards in schools, indoor air quality, respiratory protection, the hazards associated with diesel fumes and others. We are also willing to tailor training sessions to meet the specific needs of a work place.
There is no charge for any of these services. For further information contact the DLS Westborough office at 508-616-0461.