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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel 7 Education and Training Programs ABSTRACT. The committee used a variety of sources to assemble estimates of the annual number of master’s-level graduates in the four core occupational safety and health disciplines. Twenty-nine U.S. schools offer such degrees in the occupational safety field, and they graduate about 300 students annually. This number is extremely low, given the incidence of workplace injuries, but the apparent acceptability of baccalaureate degrees in safety (about 600 graduates annually) by employers limits the demand for master’s-level safety professionals. Less than 10 students per year are awarded doctoral degrees, a level low enough to threaten the future of academic departments of occupational safety. The committee’s best estimate of the annual production of master’s-level industrial hygienists is approximately 400, a volume probably consonant with employer demand in the industrial sector that has most commonly used them. Forty institutions offer occupational medicine residencies, and they annually produce about 90 graduates, a number that is probably insufficient for simple replacement of existing occupational medicine specialists. Attracting applicants is a large part of the problem, since the field draws heavily from established physicians, for whom return to full-time student status is not feasible. A similar situation exists in nursing, and 21 schools of nursing award only about 50 master’s-level degrees in occupational health nursing each year. Curricula in all four OSH disciplines are predominantly technical and science based, with a physical sciences/engineering emphasis in safety and industrial hygiene, and a biological, health, and programmatic emphasis in nursing and medicine. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) training programs provide grants totaling approximately $10 million per year in support of OSH professional education, resulting in 300 to 400 master’s degrees (or completed residen-
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel cies) each year. Occupational medicine has been the recipient of the most funding, reflecting the high cost of postgraduate specialist training for licensed physicians. Industrial hygiene has followed closely, with occupational health nursing receiving about 55 percent of the funding received by occupational medicine, and occupational safety receiving about one-third of the funding received by occupational medicine. Because large numbers of small businesses do not employ OSH professionals, worker and manager training by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and others is also reviewed. No degrees are associated with this training, which takes many forms, from simple handouts and videotape viewings to 1 to 2 weeks of classroom and hands-on instruction. An exhaustive survey was not attempted, but it is clear that tens of thousands of hours of worker training is done, largely in response to OSHA mandates. The committee concludes that current problems in the education and training of OSH professionals include lack of sufficient emphasis on injury prevention, which is reflected most clearly in the very small number of doctoral-level graduates in occupational safety, limited support for students doing research in departments other than those that grant OSH degrees, and an inability to attract physicians and nurses to formal academic training in OSH. An existing problem likely to be exacerbated by the many changes under way in the work environment is the narrow focus on OSH personnel who primarily serve large, fixed-site manufacturing industries. A potential problem in responding to these changes in the future workplace is a lack of training in a number of areas of increasing importance. These areas include behavioral health, work organization, communication (especially risk communication), management, team learning, workforce diversity, information systems, prevention interventions, and evaluation methods. The committee also concludes that worker health and safety training, although abundant, is of unknown quality and efficacy and that manager training is rarely demanded, offered, or requested. Any consideration of the future OSH workforce must include an analysis of the educational “pipeline” as it exists today. This chapter presents the best available estimates of both the number of OSH-related degrees being granted in the United States today and brief summaries of typical curricula. Because of the committee’s concerns about the many small businesses, now and in the future, that do not employ OSH professionals, the chapter also provides a brief review of some of the major sources of continuing education and training for workers and managers, with and without OSH-relevant degrees, who are responsible for worker health and safety.
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel RESEARCH TRAINING The development of new knowledge and its timely application are as central to OSH as to all other fields of human endeavor. Because of the toll of illness and disease of occupational etiology, much of the funded research in the field has been of an applied nature, often associated with the toxicology, epidemiology, or control of exposures to particular chemical, physical, biological, and safety hazards. Historically, the budgets of NIOSH or the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to fund occupationally oriented research have been very modest by National Institutes of Health (NIH) standards. In the last several years, NIOSH has been successful in increasing extramural research funding in OSH via collaboration with other federal agencies in its National Occupational Research Agenda activities. NIOSH and NIEHS, have also supported research students via the training grant mechanism with NIEHS focusing largely on the field of toxicology. As noted in Chapter 2, research relevant to OSH is conducted in diverse settings in the academic, government, and private sectors. In some cases research is carried out from institutional bases identified with OSH and in many others, research is carried out from disciplinary units in, for example, biology, engineering, or psychology. In the academic setting, the numbers of students who carry out work relevant to OSH applications are sparse, as are opportunities for interdisciplinary cross-fertilization. Except for doctoral programs in the traditional OSH fields, this precludes eligibility for standard NIH-type categorical training grants. Hence, support for research students with OSH interests in other fields is largely through individual investigator-initiated research grants from NIOSH, NIEHS, or other NIH sources. As has been documented elsewhere in this report, changes in the workforce (Chapter 3), workplace (Chapters 4 and 5), and the delivery of health care (Chapter 6) present new research challenges, many of which lie on the fringes of or are completely outside the traditional OSH disciplines. The intersection of the workers’ compensation system with managed care, the ethical challenges of managing the increasing ability to determine genetic susceptibility to workplace chemicals (Frank, 1999), and the quantification of the risk of musculoskeletal injury from repetitive tasks are current research topics only dimly perceived a decade ago. All require the deployment of new competencies into OSH research, and all illustrate the need to recruit a broader array of students to study these issues. In common with most research activities, it is difficult to predict from which approach the practical benefits will arise.
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY PROGRAMS According to the 1998 to 1999 College and University Survey conducted by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), 32 U.S. schools offer programs leading to a bachelor of science degree in safety (American Society of Safety Engineers, 1999). Thirteen more programs at 12 additional schools are reported to offer bachelor of science degrees in more general fields (e.g., applied science, industrial systems) with a concentration or option in safety. Bachelor’s degrees with a minor in safety, 2-year associate of arts and associate of science degrees in safety, and certificates in safety are offered by an additional 24 schools (universities, colleges, technical colleges, and community colleges). Graduate degrees in safety are offered by 31 U.S. universities. Twenty-nine of these schools offer master of arts, master of science, or master of public health degrees, and nine advertise programs that lead to a Ph.D. or doctorate in public health. As noted in Chapter 2, only seven schools offer programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET offers accreditation of programs awarding master of science and bachelor of science degrees, but only six Bachelor of Science programs and four Master of Science programs have been accredited to date. ABET does not accredit doctoral programs in safety. During the summer of 1999 ASSE attempted to collect further information on schools that offer safety-related degrees and solicited historical data on their graduates and faculty. Figure 7-1 shows the numbers and types of degrees awarded by the 54 responding schools (73 programs) since 1990. The ASSE survey also asked the schools to provide some estimate of the proportion of graduates employed in safety positions. Over the last 5 years, these estimates were fairly steady at about 60 to 70 percent for graduates with associate degrees, 45 to 55 percent for graduates with baccalaureate degrees, and 100 percent for recipients of doctorates. Employment in safety positions for master’s degree graduates has climbed steadily from 75 to 94 percent. These data, especially those for graduates with associates and bachelor’s degrees, should not be taken as reliable estimates of demand, since it is not clear how many were actually seeking employment in the safety field upon graduation, but they do indicate that some caution is in order in estimating supply from the number of graduates. Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of all of these data is the small number of Ph.D.s being awarded. In only one year (1991) did Ph.D. recipients number exceed eight. Furthermore, analysis of limited data provided to the committee by NIOSH grantees showed only one dissertation in the
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel FIGURE 7-1 Number of degrees awarded from 1990 to 1999 by schools responding to ASSE survey on graduates. SOURCE: American Society of Safety Engineers (1999). previous 5 years that focused on the traditional safety domain of acute traumatic injury prevention. Although few if any industries require safety professionals with doctorates, a critical mass of such individuals is necessary both for the conduct of critical research in injury prevention and for the continued viability of the academic programs that produce practicing safety professionals at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree level. Curricula ASSE and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) have jointly published a series of curriculum standards that set forth the minimum academic requirements for both program accreditation and individual eligibility for attempting the Certified Safety Professional examination. The first of these (American Society of Safety Engineers and Board of Certified Safety Professionals, 1991) dealt with baccalaureate degrees, and subsequent efforts have addressed master’s degrees in safety (American Society of Safety Engineers and Board of Certified Safety Professionals, 1994a), safety engineering master’s degrees and safety engineering options in other engineering master’s degrees (American Society of Safety Engineers and Board of Certified Safety Professionals, 1994b), and associ-
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel ate degrees in safety (American Society of Safety Engineers and Board of Certified Safety Professionals, 1995). No standard for doctoral degree programs has been published. Baccalaureate Degrees The standards for baccalaureate-level programs call for at least 120 semester hours of study, 60 of which must be upper-level courses. At least 54 hours of these upper-level courses must be in safety professional courses, and must include 34 hours in “professional core” courses (these are listed below). Essential “university studies” courses for aspiring safety professionals include courses in six broad subject areas: mathematics and computer science (at least one semester each of calculus, statistics, and information processing); physical, chemical, and life sciences (two semesters each of physics and chemistry, one semester of human anatomy, physiology, or biology, and, if possible, a semester of organic chemistry); behavioral and social sciences and humanities (at least 15 hours, including a one-semester introduction to individual human behavior); management and organizational science (a one-semester introduction to business or management, and a course on business law or engineering law); communication and language arts (one-semester courses in each of rhetoric and composition, speech, and technical writing); and basic technology and industrial processes (applied mechanics, manufacturing processes). “Professional core” courses are required to develop the basic knowledge and skills specific to the safety field. Subjects to be included are introduction to safety and health, safety and health program management, design of engineering hazard control, industrial hygiene and toxicology (often a series of courses), fire protection, ergonomics, environmental safety and health, system safety and other analytical methods, and an internship or cooperative course at an off-campus work site with a significant hazard control program.
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel “Required professional subjects” are important topics that may be covered by less than a full course: measurement of safety performance, accident and incident investigations, behavioral aspects of safety, product safety, construction safety, and education and training methods for safety. The standards conclude with a list of safety elective courses in safety that range from those that are very industry specific (safety in the oil and gas industries) to those that are very general (public policy in safety and simulation and modeling in safety). The list is not definitive, however, and the only requirement is that the program include a number of electives, both general and safety related. Master’s Degrees in Safety The authors of these standards recognize that there are two large groups of candidates for master’s degrees: those who have undergraduate degrees in safety for whom the master’s degree in safety is advanced study and those who have trained in a discipline other than safety for whom the master’s degree in safety is initial preparation for a career in safety. General criteria include a baccalaureate degree with a course structure very similar to that outlined above but allow courses in safety-related subjects such as risk management, industrial psychology, hazardous materials management, and quality control as substitutes for safety courses. Graduate study itself must include a minimum of 30 semester hours of study in a program significantly more specialized and advanced than baccalaureate programs. At least 20 hours must be devoted to safety science and safety professional practice, and the program should provide students with opportunities for participation in internships, field studies, research projects, and other interactive experience. A thesis is not strictly required, but programs without a thesis will be accredited only with a very convincing argument that it is impossible or impractical. Specific course requirements are very similar to those for baccalaureate safety degrees described above for “professional core” courses.
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel Safety Engineering Master’s Degrees or Engineering Master’s with a Safety Option Standards for safety engineering master’s degrees are nearly identical to those for the master’s degree in safety, except that the candidate must hold a baccalaureate degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program or must meet ABET equivalency requirements. To be recognized as a safety or safety engineering option (concentration or specialty are common synonyms) in another engineering master’s degree program, a minimum of 9 semester hours in professional core courses must be included. Associate Degrees in Safety The standard for associates degrees in safety, which is primarily relevant to 2-year programs at community or technical colleges, is designed to help individual students prepare for either entry into the workforce as a safety technologist or technician or transfer to a 4-year accredited safety degree program. The standard thus has two tracks: one for transfer programs (i.e., for students who intend to go on to a 4-yr college for a baccalaureate degree in safety) and one for terminal programs (i.e., for students who intend on entering the safety workforce immediately). Transfer programs give primary emphasis to building a solid foundation for upper level safety courses. The standard therefore calls for most of the university studies specified above for the baccalaureate degree standard and calls for only a limited array of safety courses (6 semester hours). The latter must include an introduction to safety and health, and the standard suggests fire protection, safety and health program management, and design of hazard controls as top choices for additional safety courses. Terminal programs prepare students for entry-level positions as safety technicians or safety technologists. They emphasize applied knowledge of safety practices, safety laws and regulations, and accepted methods and procedures. The standard therefore calls for fewer hours of foundation subjects (math; physical, life, and behavioral sciences; business management; communication; and industrial processes) and more core and elective safety courses (27 semester hours). Included among the latter should be one industry-specific course (construction, transportation, forestry, chemistry, etc.). Continuing Education As noted in Chapter 2, certification is valid for only 5 years, at which point Certified Safety Professionals must provide BCSP with evidence of
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel participation in professional development activities. Acceptable “continuation of certification” activities include membership in professional safety organizations, committee service for such organizations, and publications and papers but also include professional development, continuing education, and college courses. Although college courses must be taken at institutions accredited by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, most safety-related professional development and continuing education courses sponsored by recognized organizations and many local, regional, and employer-sponsored conferences and courses are acceptable. Home study courses are acceptable if they award continuing education units or college credits or meet the standards of the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council. “Safety-related” is defined by BCSP as subjects that are included in the Certified Safety Professional examinations. No attempt was made to estimate the total number of such courses, or the number of students who take them each year, but some information of this sort is provided later in the chapter for several of the most prominent sources of such training, including NIOSH and other federal agencies. Additional information on distance education and training is presented in Chapter 8. Future Needs A major current need that is likely to become critical within the next decade if it is not remedied is the shortage of classically trained doctorallevel safety professionals. Of the 6.1 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses reported by employers in 1997, 5.7 million were injuries that resulted in lost work time, medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness, restriction of duties, or transfer to another job (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1998a). However, as described in a subsequent section of this chapter, NIOSH funding for education of safety professionals is only about one-third of that for occupational medicine physicians and industrial hygienists and about two-thirds of that for occupational health nurses. Although the majority of safety professionals function quite well with a mixture of formal education at the baccalaureate or master’s level, continuing education, and on-the-job experience, a continuing stream of such individuals depends upon a dwindling cadre of Ph.D. scientist-educators. Academic departments need a critical mass to attract both research funding and interested students, so special attention should be given to means of recruiting graduate-level faculty to teach and conduct research in this area. Possible approaches include grant support for regional occupational injury prevention centers similar to those supported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for [home and recreational] Injury Prevention and Control. The centers approach is especially attrac-
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel tive because of their inclusiveness: they can draw upon and support faculty and students from a wide variety of academic departments, an important attribute in a field as broad as safety. INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE PROGRAMS As indicated in Chapter 2, the most common academic degree for industrial hygienists is the master’s degree, either a Master of Public Health degree with a specialization in industrial hygiene, or a Master of Science degree. The latter are often offered by departments of engineering, chemistry, environmental science, or other departments not readily identifiable as sources of industrial hygiene education. Perhaps for that reason estimates of the number of programs that offer degrees in industrial hygiene range from 40 to 50 (Peterson, 1999) to over 60 (Whitehead and West, 1997). The ASSE 1998 to 1999 College and University Survey identified 54 such institutions. What is known with certainty is that there are ABET-accredited baccalaureate programs at 5 U.S. institutions and ABET-accredited master’s programs at 26 (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, 1999). Of the latter, 21 programs receive NIOSH support. They have awarded an average of 210 master’s degrees per year over the last 5 years. Including an estimate of graduates from nonaccredited programs yields an annual production of 400 to 600 master’s-level industrial hygienists. A realistic estimate would be near the lower end of that range—400 per year. That would be consistent with the steady 300-per-year increase in Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) certificates awarded since 1980. Curricula The Related Accreditation Commission of ABET, with the assistance of the American Academy of Industrial Hygienists, provides a moderately detailed description of the required curricula for “industrial hygiene and similarly named engineering-related programs.” Master’s programs entail a minimum of 30 semester hours of interdisciplinary instruction and include special projects, research, and a thesis or internship. Research capability, management skills, and government relationships may be the subjects of special emphasis. A minimum of 18 semester hours must be devoted to industrial hygiene sciences and industrial hygiene practice. Epidemiology and biostatistics are examples of the former, which ABET defines as extensions of basic science or mathematics to industrial hygiene. Courses on industrial hygiene practice apply industrial hygiene sciences to specific societal needs and require open-form problem solving, cost and ethical considerations, and independent judgment in inte-
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel grating specialty areas into professional service. Control of physical and chemical hazards, environmental health, and occupational safety are listed as typical topics. The remaining 12 “unspecified” hours allow further specialization. Common topics are public health, environmental law, and management techniques. In practice, a typical master’s program might involve the following courses: introduction to industrial hygiene, introduction to safety, introduction to occupational health, biostatistics and epidemiology, toxicology, chemical hazards, physical hazards (including radiation), exposure assessment (with an industrial hygiene laboratory), engineering controls, legal and regulatory issues in occupational health and safety, introduction to ergonomics, internship, and a project or thesis. Continuing Education As indicated in Chapter 2, continuing education plays a large role in the training of professional industrial hygienists. Not only is annual participation a requirement for maintaining certification but it has also been the primary means of entry into the field for those unable to devote several years to graduate education and the most common introduction to industrial hygiene for worker and management personnel with responsibility for health and safety in medium-sized to large firms. The American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists, the NIOSH Education and Research Centers and other universities that offer degrees in industrial hygiene and a myriad of private firms offer American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH)-approved courses. A full accounting is beyond the committee’s resources, but in academic year 1996–1997, for example, programs supported by NIOSH alone offered a total of 234 courses to 5,621 people throughout the country. Future Needs Whitehead and West (1997) conducted the only quantitative study of
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel step further and now offers five core workshops and two advanced workshops entirely via the Internet. Students take the classes electronically, respond to questions, receive personal attention from a trainer, and receive a certificate of completion at terminals in homes, workplaces, schools, and libraries anywhere in the state. NIEHS-Supported Training and Education NIEHS was given responsibility for initiating a training grants program under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986. Although this training is focused on only a few occupations, albeit very hazardous ones, many of the programs developed have been considered among the very best, not simply in content but also in their attention to delivery and posttraining evaluation. Since initiation of its Superfund Worker Training Grants Program in 1987, NIEHS has been funding non-profit organizations with a demonstrated track record of providing OSH education to develop training for and deliver training to workers involved in handling hazardous waste or in responding to emergency releases of hazardous materials. The major objective of the NIEHS Worker Education and Training Program is to prevent work-related harm by assisting in the training of workers on how best to protect themselves and their communities from exposure to hazardous materials encountered during hazardous waste operations, hazardous materials transportation, environmental restoration of nuclear weapons facilities, or chemical emergency response. During the first 8 years of the Superfund Worker Training Program (fiscal years 1987 to 1995), NIEHS has successfully supported 20 primary awardees. These represent more than 90 different institutions that have trained more than 500,000 workers across the country and presented nearly 25,000 classroom and hands-on training courses, which have accounted for more than 8 million contact hours of actual training. In 1995, eighteen awardees, in conjunction with more than 70 collaborating institutions, delivered 5,348 courses, that reached 87,205 workers. The courses ranged from 4-hour refresher programs through more complex train-the-trainer courses that lasted up to 120 hours. Funding for the development or expansion of worker training programs from NIEHS depends on reauthorization of Superfund legislation, but through interagency agreements with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), NIEHS continues to support the development and delivery of model worker health and safety training in three areas: hazardous waste worker training (HWWT), DOE nuclear weapons cleanup training, and the minority worker training program (MWTP). The National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel Health Training for Hazardous Materials, Waste Operations, and Emergency Response provides information and communication services for the awardees in these areas (National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training, 1999). A brief summary of their activities in the year ending August 31, 1998, is as follows: HWWT—The 17 primary worker training awardees, in conjunction with more than 80 collaborating institutions, delivered 4,820 courses that reached 84,528 workers, accounting for 1,095,405 contact hours of health and safety training. DOE nuclear weapons cleanup training—Seven awardees presented 896 courses to 14,097 workers, which resulted in 191,126 hours of safety and health training. MWT—Ten awardees presented 160 courses to 241 students, representing 215,767 contact hours. This program included over 27 different training courses or subjects. Since 1995, the MWT program has successfully trained 919 urban young adults throughout the United States in preparing them for career-path jobs related to environmental cleanup. Mine Safety and Health Administration Education and Training Mining in its many forms had historically been one of the most dangerous of all occupations. The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (the Mine Act) established the MSHA to enforce compliance with mandatory safety and health standards as a means of eliminating fatal accidents, reducing the frequency and severity of nonfatal accidents, and promoting improved safety and health conditions in the nation’s mines. Just as OSHA carries out the mandates of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 for most industries other than mining, MSHA carries out the mandates of the Mine Act at all mining and mineral processing operations in the United States, regardless of size, number of employees, the commodity mined, or the method of extraction. Although MSHA’s program rests upon its congressional mandate to enforce the Mine Act firmly and fairly, the agency has long held that enforcement alone cannot solve all safety and health problems and has strongly emphasized the education and training of miners and managers in mine safety and health requirements. MSHA requires that each U.S. mine operator have an approved plan for miner training. This plan must include 40 hours of basic safety and health training for new miners who have no underground mining experience, before they begin work underground; 24 hours of basic safety and health training for new miners who
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel have no surface mining experience, before they begin work at surface mining operations; and 8 hours of refresher safety and health training for all miners each year and safety-related task training for miners assigned to new jobs. The National Mine Health and Safety Academy MSHA’s National Mine Health and Safety Academy at Beckley, West Virginia, is the world’s largest educational institution devoted solely to safety and health in mining. The academy serves as the central training facility for federal mine inspectors and mine safety professionals from other government agencies, the mining industry, and labor. The academy’s physical plant has classrooms, a simulated mine and laboratories that can accommodate up to 600 students, a large auditorium, cafeteria, gymnasium, and a residence hall with dormitory space for more than 300 people. Courses are offered on safety and inspection procedures, accident prevention, investigations, industrial hygiene, mine emergency procedures, technology, management techniques, and other topics. Courses range in duration from 2 hours to 8 days. From fiscal year 1994 through fiscal year 1998 an average of approximately 10,000 students per year took academy courses, either at the academy or at their work site. About 4,000 of these typically were MSHA and other government personnel, and about 6,000 were industry or union representatives (Thomas MacLeod, MSHA, personal communication, July 23, 1999). Besides providing classroom instruction, the academy staff produces videotapes, films, publications, and a wide variety of technical materials. The academy also provides field training and serves as a technical resource to help meet the mining community’s instructional needs. Educational Field Services In 1998, MSHA created the Educational Field Services (EFS) program to optimize the administration’s resources for improving health and safety training for the mining industry. EFS training specialists visit mine sites and work closely with mine management, miners, and mine instructors to develop training methods to improve safety and health. These specialists then coordinate agency resources to best meet each mine’s individual needs. In addition to mine visits, EFS training specialists work with mining associations, safety organizations, labor unions, and educational institutions to establish partnerships and network resources.
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel Training Materials MSHA makes available many training publications, manuals, courses, films and videotapes, and other materials not only through the Mine Academy but also through the MSHA’s district offices. Some of the products available include small mine operator safety kits that assist operators of small underground coal mines in controlling workplace hazards generally found at mines that employ 50 or fewer workers; training materials on safe operation of powered haulage targeted to industry personnel who operate haulage trucks or other types of mobile surface mining equipment; training materials on health issues, including silicosis, diesel exhaust gases and particulate matter, pneumoconiosis (black lung), and other respirable dust problems; best practices techniques developed cooperatively by labor, management, and government groups; comprehensive training modules and a videotape on accepted job safety analysis methods and step-by-step miner task training procedures for use by supervisors and forepersons in diverse types of mining; course materials that review basic ventilation principles and practices for underground coal mines; a training program that features slides that illustrate fatal accidents in mining in recent years; and a monthly bulletin that features articles on topical health and safety issues. Degree Programs in Mining Engineering Although in many respects MSHA worker training could be a model worth emulating in other industries, it should be clear from the previous paragraphs that MSHA does not provide any support for university-based educational programs that lead to graduate or undergraduate degrees in mine safety or health. In fact, it has become apparent that university programs in all aspects of mining are in crisis. Mining engineers are educated to design and often manage all aspects of mining enterprises, including the health and safety of mine workers. Eighteen years ago, 27 schools had ABET-accredited 4-year mining engineering programs, and the programs were viable in university academic environments. Today, 15 schools have ABET-accredited 4-year mining engineering programs, and the programs are hard pressed to continue in very cost-conscious university academic environments. Only one pro-
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel gram has an undergraduate enrollment of more than 100 (Virginia Polytechnic Institute), and it has a small graduate enrollment, reflective of the recently changed loss of opportunities for mining-specific research funding. The average undergraduate enrollment among the 15 accredited programs was 51 in 1997, but 9 of these programs had less than 50 students. Clearly, market demand for mining engineering students, reflective of intense global competition, has diminished. There also appears to be little demand for students with higher mining engineering degrees in industry, and traditional research funding avenues have vanished, thereby reducing graduate student enrollments. As a result of this global competition the survival of all but six programs is seriously threatened. The other six programs are also falling under intense scrutiny because of low enrollments and seriously diminished research funding. This scrutiny by university administrators has resulted in reductions of mining engineering faculty to levels just sufficient to maintain accreditation. Further down the road, it is likely that the weaker programs will not survive as senior faculty members retire and are not replaced. Senior professors to the mining schools are older and will be retiring in the next few years, and it has already been difficult to attract new faculty at mining schools that have been permitted to do so (e.g., the University of Utah mining program has twice advertised unsuccessfully for a new faculty member with coal mining experience). MSHA, labor unions (e.g., the United Mine Workers of America), mine operator associations (e.g., the National Mining Association and the Bituminous Coal Operators of America), and NIOSH are all concerned that skilled mining professionals who will manage mines to protect the health and safety of miners will not be available when needed. The Mine Safety and Health Research Advisory Committee, at its June 10, 1999 meeting, asked NIOSH to examine the weakened state of the nation’s mining schools and their ability to produce qualified personnel in health and safety matters and make recommendations on models of research and education funding that would address this problem. Such an examination of a single industry is beyond the scope of the present report, but the committee recognizes the reported difficulties of the mining engineering field as an instance of the more general problem of the occupational safety field in attracting and retaining doctoral-level scientist-educators to train future generations of safety practitioners. Industry Training Programs Corporate America provides nearly 2 billion hours of training to approximately 60 million employees, at a cost of nearly $60 billion (Training Magazine, 1997). Only part of that training is health and safety related, but
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel large companies generally recognize the value of maintaining professional skills that support the well-being of their employees and workplaces. In a nonrandom survey of 10 health and safety-oriented Fortune 500 companies (Victor Toy, International Business Machines Corporation, personal communication, September 1999), skills development was considered an important priority for health and safety professionals. Although it is not representative of the private sector as a whole, the results of this informal telephone survey illustrate the range of training activities that are undertaken in some large, multinational corporations. The companies surveyed included companies in the petrochemical, high technology, aerospace, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries that ranged in size from 14,000 to more than 300,000 employees and that employ three to several hundred health and safety personnel. Programs for training and skills development differed between companies. For example, at one end of the spectrum one company focused training in a single specific area, and on the other end of the spectrum another company managed skills more comprehensively on the basis of the identification of strategic requirements to support projected business growth and development on a worldwide basis. All companies surveyed included skills training as an aspect of individual, annual performance reviews, which made it possible to require assignments and educational opportunities for the continued growth of the OHS professional. Some company training programs included a mapping of skills against the needs of the specific businesses in the corporation. For instance, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) developed a rigorous process that requires OSH professionals (i.e., industrial hygienists, safety engineers, doctors, and nurses) to attain specified levels of predetermined competencies on the basis of job descriptions aligned to meet a broadened array of employee well-being needs for a global business. In this approach to training and skills management, the employee establishes an annual training and education plan that is validated to meet the predefined skills milestones, and then the plan becomes funded, is executed and is monitored as the individual’s development plan. The intensity of OSH education and training programs varied widely between and within corporations. Business performance, for example, could cause short-term program changes. Some companies hire people with the skills they need rather than invest heavily in continuing education. Every company surveyed provided at least 1 week of continuing education for each professional per year. Some provided as much as 4 weeks of training in a calendar year. Most also provided additional training and education on an as-needed basis to support the work of the OSH professional. Technical training is generally obtained through external resources locally or nationally, with most being provided by associations
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel like the National Safety Council, the American Society of Safety Engineers, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, and the American Industrial Hygiene Association. Management and business training for OSH leaders and managers, on the other hand, was generally provided through internal corporate organizations. Tuition reimbursement for academic course work and degree programs surveyed was available in nearly all companies. Corporations with sizable OSH staffs may also develop and conduct internal conferences, training programs, and courses. The format varies from 1-day sessions on a single subject to a full week of training on-site or at a central location. Session topics are issues most relevant to current business operations, although basic training in OSH fundamentals is sometimes provided. One company in the petrochemical industry had a unique program to ensure the development of core skills in its OSH staff. Its “campus hire” program, which follows a structured health and safety curriculum, seeks to ensure that a professional acquires core OSH competencies during the first 2 years before a permanent job assignment is given. Health and safety-oriented multinational corporations recognize well the limited availability of educational opportunities and OSH skills outside of mature industrialized countries. In these instances, companies often use training programs that develop the necessary skills of local employees through a combination of class and field work. A common format involves senior OSH staff members providing individualized training over a period of weeks to months with on-going mentoring support. In some cases, training plans must be approved by host countries looking to retain employees with OSH skills in the region. Corporations promote skills development by supporting with time or funding the acquisition or maintenance of a professional certification(s) and the provision of internship experiences or rotations. Nine of the 10 companies interviewed considered professional certification in an employee’s development plan. In two cases, certification was necessary to attain a certain level within a job family. One company also rewarded this achievement through compensation. Internships and rotations are common in industry and provide students and physicians in training with private-sector experiences. Union- and Labor-Sponsored Training Programs Unions have long been involved in safety and health training. These efforts were spurred on by the OSHA New Directions program in the late 1970s, in which a few million dollars in grants were given to unions and trade associations to develop training materials for workers and to pro-
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel vide training. A huge amount of training materials and training was generated from those initial grants. Many safety and health programs were started at unions and trade associations as a consequence of this seed money. That program ended in the early 1980s and was subsequently replaced by smaller more targeted grant programs (e.g., programs targeted to certain hazards or hazardous industries) such as the Susan Harwood Training Grants Program in the 1990s. Some unions, such as many unions for construction workers, offer all new workers safety training as part of their apprenticeship programs, such as the building trades standardized 10-hour OSHA training curriculum called Smart Mark. Several unions have set up joint safety and health funds, financed by employer contributions of so many cents per hour. Examples of such funds are the United Automobile Workers joint funds with Ford and General Motors, the Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America, and the Laborers-AGC (associated general contractors) Training Fund. These funds develop safety programs that are then used to train members. The Laborers-AGC Training Fund, for example, has more than 70 training centers in the United States and Canada. These centers provide both skills training and safety training to more than 800,000 members. Much of that training is provided to workers before their employment at a specific work site, avoiding the otherwise high risk of injury in the first few days on the job as well as ensuring that an increasingly transient workforce receives this important training regardless of the nature of the employment contract and employer values. The safety and health departments of many international unions not only provide training, but also facilitate joint health and safety committees, provide technical information and conduct inspections, and advocate for stronger state and federal safety and health legislation. Many programs that offer safety and health training of workers are sponsored by nonprofit organizations, (such as Committees of Occupational Safety and Health [COSH] that consist of coalitions of local unions in an area or city working together on occupational safety and health issues) and labor education programs at universities such as the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) at the University of California at Berkeley. LOHP has, for example, been in the forefront of efforts to train minority workers, non-English speaking workers, and young workers. School-to-Work programs have been a successful innovation. Much of the training by COSH groups and labor education programs is funded through state and federal grants.
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel FUTURE NEEDS IN WORKER AND EMPLOYER SAFETY AND HEALTH TRAINING Although this brief review provides only a hint of the number and variety of OSH training courses and programs in use or available today, it is clear from the review and, for example, the October 1999 National Conference on Workplace Safety and Health Training, that the volume of training being conducted is substantial. However, as noted above, with rare exceptions, little is known about the quality of the training that is actually conducted (does it consist of an actual class, a videotape, or just a handout?). Similarly, there is little information on the effects of such training; for example, did the incidence of workplace injuries or illness decrease after training, and what distinguishes successful training from unsuccessful training? Such questions are seldom even asked. Cohen and Colligan (1998) found 80 reports in the published literature, spanning the years 1980 to 1996, in which training was explicitly evaluated as an intervention effort. They concluded that training had universally shown merit in increasing worker knowledge about job hazards and effecting safer work practices, but because training was often coupled with other interventions, a connection to decreased numbers of injuries, a decrease in the amount of time lost from work, or decreased medical costs was never clearly established. The authors also emphasized that because few of the studies reviewed actually manipulated variables like class size, length or frequency of training, trainer qualifications, mode of training, and management involvement, it was impossible to say what factors produce the greatest impact. Training and education of workers has not traditionally been considered a prime responsibility of most OSH professionals. In fact, most graduates of OSH programs are ill prepared for this assignment. While they have the technical knowledge, many graduates lack skills in adult education, training, and program evaluation. The net result is very uneven training quality. As noted in this chapter, several OSHA, NIOSH, and NIEHS programs have attempted to fill this gap; but these programs have often been limited to selected populations (e.g., hazardous waste workers, emergency responders, etc.) by their enabling legislation. In addition, the inability of these programs to reach a significant portion of the non-union workforce is cause of concern as well as impetus for seeking innovative approaches, perhaps community based, to reach these workers. The committee urges NIOSH to join with OSHA, NIEHS, unions, industries, and employers to systematically evaluate the efficacy of OSHA and other worker training programs and better define minimum training requirements. Using the successful collaboration that has characterized
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) as a prototype, these agencies should undertake a major effort to: (1) explore how lessons learned from these programs can be used to enhance other worker training efforts, and (2) broaden the scope of worker populations which can benefit from these substantial expenditures of funds. Demonstration project grants should be provided as incentives to develop model training programs for OSH educators and trainers in specific employment sectors. Earlier sections of this report have noted that OSH professionals are primarily employed by medium-sized to large employers and therefore directly involved with less then half of all U.S. employees. The committee’s analysis of anticipated changes in the nature of work in the United States led it to suggest that small, service-sector businesses would increasingly dominate the employment market and that all sectors of the economy would be characterized by decentralization, flexibility, nonstandard work arrangements, and a highly diverse and transient workforce, making it likely that an even smaller proportion of employees will count OSH professionals among their fellow employees. Day-to-day responsibility for worker safety and health will increasingly fall to managers who have little if any formal education or training in OSH and who may have numerous other responsibilities as well. NIOSH and OSHA should collaborate to develop a program of training for these individuals. The committee believes the two agencies need to reconsider their historical division of training responsibilities (OSH professionals by NIOSH, workers by OSHA) in the light of this trend. The OSHAct of 1970 is far less specific on this division than the agencies’ policies might imply (see Chapter 1). The committee again recommends large-scale demonstration projects that target small- and medium-sized employers and encourages the use of new learning technologies, the development of a recommended set of basic competencies, and the creation or recognition of a new category of OSH personnel, the occupational safety and health manager. The partnering process so successfully used by NORA could be usefully employed in this endeavor as well. Incentives may still be necessary to induce small businesses in industries not currently covered by specific OSHA standards to invest in either high-quality worker training or education of an OSH manager for their work sites. This is an important consideration, given that it is just these sorts of employers that will be the primary source of new jobs in the coming decade. Clarification of existing OSHA training mandates to include essential elements and measures of efficacy may be one answer to the training quality issue, and OSHA’s draft proposed Safety and Health Program Rule unequivocally fixes responsibility for hazard identification and control and for worker health and safety training on the employer and management. Further inducement depends upon inculcation of a
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel culture of safety and health in the general public. Accomplishing this is a large, long-term, multifaceted project that will require leadership from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor and that will involve the mass media, the Internet, K-12 education, and other communications strategies targeted to youth, parents, and workers as well as employers.
Representative terms from entire chapter: