. "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
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