for behavioral and emotional problems that affect job performance, and health screening and surveillance programs.
Approximately 76,000 Americans are active members of professional societies that represent the core OSH disciplines. The literature suggests that as many as 50,000 more are eligible for membership by virtue of their current employment. The committee therefore estimates the current supply of OSH professionals at 75,000 to 125,000. The committee could not locate good, independent data to support an estimate of demand (i.e., the number of available positions), but overall supply seems to be roughly consonant with employer demand. However, the committee notes that considerable need exists beyond the current demand for OSH professionals by employers. Doctoral-level safety educators are needed to maintain the supply of practicing safety professionals, and both occupational medicine and occupational health nursing need more specialists with formal training. Most importantly, a large fraction of the U.S. workforce is outside the sphere of influence of OSH professionals, particularly those whose focus is primarily prevention, principally because few are employed by small firms and establishments, and, in some sectors of the economy such as agriculture and construction, both the workplace and the workforce are transient.
Those who provide OSH services to the U.S. workforce are an extraordinarily diverse group (see Box 2-1). Every business has some safety or health hazards and should logically have someone responsible for the safety and health of its workers. Those vested with some degree of OSH responsibility range from medical specialists with residency training, who bring 22 years of education to bear on the task, to the workers themselves, who may have only a high school diploma and a few words of caution upon starting the job. Many individuals with significant responsibility have no formal training at all. Some come from fields like engineering, psychology, business, or one of the sciences and have highly relevant technical or professional education. Many others developed the relevant skills on the job, as full-time OSH specialists or as human resource managers or line supervisors with an additional duty as health and safety officer. Allied professionals include highly trained individuals who provide important health or safety services to the general population, which of course includes numerous workers (occupational therapists, audiologists, and orthopedic surgeons for example) or who provide such services in highly circumscribed settings (for example, infection control practitioners in hospitals or health physicists in industries where radiation is a hazard). Short of an exhaustive survey of U.S. businesses, it is impossible to estimate or describe the full spectrum of OSH personnel, but it is possible to construct a snapshot of those with formal education