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NEW RESOURCES WILL ENSURE SAFETY DURING EMERGENCIES

Jul 21, 2005
News Release
U.S. Department of Labor For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs Date: July 21, 2005
Washington, D.C. Contact: Dirk Fillpot Lorette Post
Release Number 05-1395-NAT Phone: 202-693-4676 202-693-5052


New Resources Will Ensure Safety During Emergencies
For Workers With Disabilities

WASHINGTON—U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor Roy Grizzard, who heads the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), today announced a comprehensive guide and related Web site to ensure federal government workplace emergency plans address the needs of individuals with disabilities.

“In compiling these guidelines, we found that emergency preparedness plans that include enhanced communications and mobility and disability awareness actually improve safety for everyone in the workplace, not just individuals with disabilities” said Dr. Grizzard. “By implementing effective practices, the federal workplace will serve as a model workplace—one that ensures a safe and secure environment for everyone.”

Dr. Grizzard unveiled the new resources at the first anniversary meeting of the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities held at the Federal Communications Commission. ODEP chairs the Council’s Workplace Subcommittee.

In its first year, the subcommittee developed Preparing the Workplace for Everyone, a template of guidelines to help federal agencies integrate into emergency preparedness plans the needs of workers with disabilities. This comprehensive guide, available on ODEP’s Web site at www.dol.gov/odep, addresses employer and employee perspectives, viewpoints of first responders, successful practices and legal considerations. In connection with today’s announcement, ODEP is launching a new Web page specially dedicated to workplace emergency preparedness issues and related resources.

Among the agencies contributing expertise to this collaborative effort are the Office of Personnel Management, the General Services Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice. The guidelines set forth in the template can be used to interest other employment sectors—state and local governments, non-profit organizations and the private sector—in replicating effective practices and policies that can be modified easily for their use.

At today’s meeting, other federal departments providing leadership to the council also announced their accomplishments over the past year and their future plans to promote emergency preparedness policies and procedures to ensure the safety of all of the nation’s citizens, including individuals with disabilities.

The Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities was established by Executive Order 13347, issued by President George W. Bush on July 22, 2004, to facilitate cooperation among federal, state, local and tribal governments, private organizations and individuals in the implementation of emergency preparedness plans as they relate to individuals with disabilities.

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