The American workforce is becoming more diverse in age, gender, race and nationality. Moreover, changes are occurring in work organization as a result of changes in economic conditions, technology, corporate employment practices, and demographics. These changes complicate the implementation of workplace health and safety programs and necessitate more comprehensive, multi-disciplinary training and new types of training programs and delivery systems. Training is a critical part of the NIOSH mission. NIOSH supports 16 education and research centers (ERCs) at universities in every section of the U.S. to provide professional training in the core Occupational Safety and Health disciplines. These programs are critical for meeting the increasing demand for occupational physicians, occupational nurses, and other professionals. NIOSH also supports Training Project Grants (TPGs), which provide training in occupational safety and health training areas. In 2000, 280 courses were offered to 8,501 trainees through these TPGs. NIOSH also funds more than 1,000 continuing education courses each year with up to 30,000 participants. In addition to training professionals, NIOSH provides workers, employers, and the public with information, training, and capacity to prevent occupational diseases and injuries. We produce and disseminate a variety of documents, such as Alerts and Hazard IDs, educational documents, and small fact sheets/pamphlets to provide employers and employees with effective preventive measures. Our web site is an increasingly used and evolving resource. We added a Spanish-language section to the site last year to better serve the country's growing Spanish-speaking population. NIOSH explores the role of training in preventing accidents and what type of training would be most effective for a particular industry or population. NIOSH believes future efforts need to explore and support the special needs of older, female, and ethnic/cultural groups of minority workers, and to encourage alternatives to traditional education and training programs. We will also be looking at what types of new training should we be promoting, such as just-in-time training or web-based distance learning.
Best Practices in Occupational Safety and Health, Education, Training, and Communication: Ideas That Sizzle, 6th International Conference, Scientific Committee on Education and Training in Occupational Health, ICOH, In Cooperation with The International Communication Network, ICOH, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, October 28-30, 2002