OSHA grants can help workers in high-hazard industries, who are considered under-served or of low-literacy.

OSHA Grants for Nonprofits: What You Need to Know

The Workplace Today Regulation

OSHA grants can help support America’s workforce with training and money to further safety in the workplace.

Not just an enforcement agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created OSHA grants for nonprofits who qualify and meet their mission under the OSH Act. These grants, under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, are competitively awarded based on congressional budgetary approval and appropriation by the U.S. Department of Labor. OSHA reports that more than 2.1 million workers have received training under this initiative since 1978, including 453,922 trainees between fiscal year 2011 and fiscal year 2014.

OSHA’s Goals

Workers in high-hazard industries, who are considered under-served or of low-literacy, are OSHA’s focus under this grant program. Their goals for the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program are to:

  • Provide training and education for workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance and prevention of safety and health hazards;
  • Advise workers of their rights;
  • Advise employers of their responsibilities under the OSH Act, and;
  • Help smaller safety and health training organizations become self-sufficient.

OSHA varies the types of grants they solicit annually. The agency has sought Capacity Building, Targeted Topic and Training Materials Development grants.

Capacity Building grants are designed to develop and expand the capacity of an organization to provide safety and health training, education and related assistance. Grantees must provide financial plans to validate that they can continue this capability beyond the grant period.

There are two types of Capacity Building grants that are often awarded: developmental and pilot. Developmental grants support and assist organizations who wish to expand their existing training capacity into new safety/health topic areas. Pilot grants support organizations who require help in assessing capabilities, needs and priorities and in formulating objectives before proceeding into developing a full-scale program.

Target Topic grants focus on training programs for one of the OSHA selected training topics. Target Topics are often selected from injury experience data, OSHA priority areas and the introduction of new or modified regulations. Training Materials Development grantees are tasked to develop, evaluate and validate training materials on OSHA designated training topics.

Who Can Receive OSHA Grants?

OSHA grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations. Those eligible to apply for these grants include community and faith-based organizations, professional associations, institutions of higher education, employer associations and labor unions. As of this writing, state and local government-supported institutions of higher education and state or local government agencies are not eligible for the grants.

How to Apply

A good place to start pursuing these grants is to look at the Susan Harwood solicitation for grant applications (SGA) published in the Federal Register. The SGA is available on the Grants.gov website, the access point for more than 1,000 federal grant programs. Susan Harwood grant applicants must submit their grant applications electronically through this portal. Interested organizations must first complete the three- to five-day registration process; requests for these grants cannot be submitted until the Grants.gov registration process is complete.

OSHA offers helpful tips for improving your Susan Harwood grant application. These include having a work plan, targeting your audience and establishing a budget. OSHA also provides grantee-produced training materials as examples of work products accepted as part of the grant process and a frequently asked questions page to provide additional information.

OSHA provides nonprofits with an array of collaborative programs and funding to support education in the prevention and recognition of workplace hazards.

J.A. Rodriguez Jr.
J.A. Rodriguez Jr.

J.A. Rodriguez Jr., CSP, is the CEO of Make My Day Strategies LLC and a global Fortune 100 senior manager. Rodriguez was honored to be selected by EHS Today Magazine as one of "The 50 People Who Most Influenced environmental, health and safety in 2012-2013" and "2014 - 2015."