. "7 Education and Training Programs." Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade's Occupational Safety and Health Personnel. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2000.
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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.