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