Personnel, Training Needed To Protect Workers in 21stCentury

June 1, 2000
A report by the Institute of Medicine indicates a need for more occupational safety and health professionals in most small- and medium-sized workplaces.

The large number of preventable occupational diseases and injuries and the lack of adequate occupational safety and health services in most small- and medium-sized workplaces indicates a need for more occupational safety and health professionals, according to a report released by the Institute of Medicine (NIM).

The report, "Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade''s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel," found that as the delivery of occupational safety and health services become more complicated, different types of occupational safety and health personnel and training will be needed.

Traditional occupational safety and health programs must be supplemented by a new model that focuses on comprehensive multidisciplinary training and new types of training programs, according to the report.

The report noted that training should focus on prevention and its success will depend upon the discovery of new and improved ways of reaching small and mid-sized industries with decentralized and highly mobile workforces.

Some of the report recommendations include:

  • reducing the "enormous and continuing" impact of acute and chronic injuries on workers;
  • developing new leaders in the field; and
  • strengthening research and training at all levels of the workplace.

Recommendations are addressed to federal and state agencies, occupational safety and health organizations, educational institutions, employers, unions and other stakeholders.

NIM is one component of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) asked NIM to compile a report analyzing in detail the changes that have taken place and to assess the supply of, the demand for, and the knowledge, skills and abilities of occupational safety and health professionals.

Copies of the report are available online at books.nap.edu/ catalog/9835.html.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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