Safety Center Stresses Need for International Construction Safety Training

The director of University of California San Diego Extension’s International Safety Education Institute (ISEI) Construction Workplace Safety Training Program stressed a growing international need for safety training based on OSHA standards to better protect construction workers around the world.

According to ISEI Director Scott MacKay, many countries have come to rely on the safety knowledge and best practices developed by OSHA over the years. Certain revisions to the OSHA’s Outreach Training Program, however, may make it more difficult for international workers to benefit from OSHA training.

OSHA offers 10- and 30-hour outreach classes for construction, general industry and maritime workers, and 15-hour classes for disaster site workers across the globe. Under the new revisions, outreach training primarily will be limited to OSHA’s jurisdiction, which includes private sector employers and their employees in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority.

“One of the ways OSHA has helped this knowledge reach workers outside the United States is by allowing international trainers to participate in the 10- and 30-hour Outreach Training program,” explained MacKay. “Now, OSHA is ending most accessibility to this program outside the U.S. in order to better focus its limited resources on workers in the United States.”

Construction Safety Objectives

To improve worker safety on a global scale, MacKay recommends international construction companies adopt the following four safety objectives:

  • Reduce the rate of injury, illness and death in a work force that often is unaware of the on-the-job dangers.
  • Provide a more positive work environment by demonstrating and promoting management concern for worker safety.
  • Provide a better-prepared local work force for international organizations with development projects in foreign countries.
  • Promote a positive attitude toward safety on the job and encourage workers to identify and report safety issues and prevent accidents.

“Not only is there great value from a humanitarian standpoint for safety and health, but also from a fiscal standpoint. It costs companies substantial sums to pay for injuries on the job,” MacKay said.

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