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October 14, 1999

Training opportunities offered
Conference includes training for students, forklift rules

TUMWATER -- The Department of Labor & Industries will offer free training on occupational safety and health topics as part of the 48th annual Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Conference in Seattle next week.

The conference, opening a two-day run at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle on Wednesday, will draw more than 3,000 workers, employers and others in the common pursuit of improving occupational safety and health in Washington workplaces.

The conference will include a preview of training that the agency will offer on soon-to-be-adopted rules regulating the operation of powered industrial trucks, including forklifts. The updated rules, mandated by the federal government, contain a number of changes, including training requirements. They become effective March 1, 2000.

Although there is a fee for attending the conference, those interested previewing the forklift training will be admitted without charge to the session. Non-conference attendees should ask for an exhibition hall pass at the conference registration desk on level four of the center. The training will be previewed from 8 to 10 a.m. on Thursday.

In addition, this year's conference will include a special half-day session for high school students interested in learning about workplace hazards and how to control them. Several hundred students are expected to attend and participate in a number of activities intended to raise their awareness of workplace hazards, personal protective equipment and other occupational safety and health issues.

The injury rate for teen workers is estimated to be at least two to three times greater than for adults. Each year across the nation about 70 teens die from work-related injuries and more than 200,000 are injured on the job. During a three-year period ending in 1991, three Washington teenagers died and more than 18,000 teens were injured on the job.


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