FY 2017 Extramural Research Program Highlights: Specialty Training Programs

Specialty Training Programs

NIOSH funds programs that provide education and training in occupational safety and health in a variety of ways. Along with the Education and Research Centers (ERCs) described under the Multidisciplinary Centers section, NIOSH supports professional training in occupational safety and health in single disciplines through Training Project Grants (TPGs).

The Institute also funds the Miner Safety and Health Training Program—Western United States cooperative agreement, which connects the mining community with relevant information, resources, and methods that increase the volume and ability of safety training for western states’ miners.

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Training Project Grants

NIOSH supports professional training in occupational safety and health in single disciplines through TPGs. Most TPGs are academic training programs that support undergraduate and graduate training. Located throughout the U.S., these programs enrich the national network of graduate training the ERCs offer. Along with TPGs for traditional degree training programs, NIOSH supports TPGs that respond to the unique training needs of specialty groups. These include the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC) Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP). This program supplies specialty training and increases diversity among health and safety workers by recruiting and mentoring students from minority and immigrant backgrounds, including underrepresented minorities.

Through a TPG, the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association expands the network of port-based fishing safety instructors in Alaska and the U.S. They achieve this through a train-the-trainer curriculum designed for the unique needs of the commercial fishing industry. NIOSH also provides funding for the Emergency Responder Training Program through the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)external icon, which is also discussed below.

NIOSH Training Project Grants by Discipline

Map NIOSH Training Project Grants by Discipline

Emergency Responder Training Program

NIOSH funds a TPG in Emergency Responder Training Program through the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). The IAFF’s mission through the program is to educate emergency responders about ways to stay safe and healthy. They strive to reduce on-the-job injuries, illnesses, and fatalities related to emergency response, so responders can better protect the communities they serve. Training takes place across the United States and its territories.

The IAFF has had a long working relationship with NIOSH. The association delivers training to all kinds of emergency response workers: fire fighters, emergency medical personnel, law enforcement, and public health workers. The IAFF’s record emphasizes job-related safety and health as part of a complete first responder training plan. IAFF’s teachings seek to improve knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors so that first responders adopt a safer approach to emergency response throughout their career. IAFF training is a resource that directly affects decisions fire fighters make each day.

Miner Safety and Health Training Program

Despite many technological and work environment advances, mining remains one of the most demanding occupations in the United States. Because of the many challenges in the mining industry, the focus areas for mining training must cover a wide range of hazards and risks.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Training Academy in Beckley, West Virginia, serves the mining community in the Eastern United States. Because this training program is not easy for miners in the Western states to access and certain aspects of mining operations differ in eastern and western operations, NIOSH has supported miner safety and health training in the Western U.S. since 1999.

For FY2017, two programs were funded in the Western U.S.: the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Arizona. And although no funding was given to the Mine Safety and Health Training Program at the University of Texas at Arlington in FY2017, they made significant progress. Their efforts show work that the training program completed with prior year grant funding and are captured in the program highlights below.

This training provides a joint approach to reducing injuries to miners and other workers in mining operations. It also aims to translate research into workplace practices that (1) improve mining safety, (2) advance the safety and health of miners, (3) enhance the safety and health of other workers involved in mining operations, and (4) increase the quantity of qualified mine safety and health trainers in the Western United States.

Several of the main objectives of the training program follow:

  • To develop, deliver, and manage the training needs of miners in the Western United States.
  • To provide qualified instructors and faculty.
  • To start and carry out “train the trainer” courses.
  • To evaluate training effectiveness and impact on reducing injuries and illnesses to miners.
  • To coordinate with existing training programs, like those offered by MSHA and MSHA-funded state programs, and in partnerships with industry, miners, and other agencies.

NIOSH intends for the program’s training to be consistent with Occupational Safety and Health Administration and MSHA guidelines, without duplicating these agencies’ existing trainings.

Page last reviewed: August 1, 2019