National Assessment of the Occupational Safety and Health Workforce
To respond to growing concern and debate over the supply and demand for occupational safety and health professionals in the United States, NIOSH commissioned a National Survey of the Occupational Safety and Health Workforce, released in October, 2011. The current surveys were designed and implemented by an independent research firm with expertise in survey research design. The effort was guided by a multidisciplinary advisory task force of occupational safety and health professionals and practitioners. Public comment and input from major stakeholder groups were included in the program development. This is the second assessment of the kind to be conducted by NIOSH. The first NIOSH assessment and report were undertaken in 1978.
The assessment found that based on current trends, future national demand for occupational safety and health services will significantly outstrip the number of professionals with the necessary training, education, and experience to provide such services. The full report provides the findings of the assessment in detail, and discusses the methodology and process used in the assessment. Refer to the Executive Summary section of the Westat report for key findings.
Next steps include wide dissemination of results and further analysis of the disparities in the supply and demand for safety and health professionals in the United States. NIOSH will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to identify and pursue ways to meet this critical training need in occupational safety and health for the 21st Century. The need for an adequate supply of trained professionals is particularly great as we anticipate that growing numbers of older professionals will retire over the next decade. As new technologies continue to enter the workplace, occupational safety and health professionals will require specialized skills and knowledge to meet the OSH needs of workers in new work environments. In addition to providing the survey instruments on this webpage, NIOSH plans to make this unique database publicly available, to help guide action and policy development in occupational safety and health.
Through university-based Education and Research Centers (ERCs), NIOSH supports the development of occupational safety and health professionals. ERCs offer academic degree programs short-term continuing education (CE) programs for occupational safety and health professionals and research training opportunities in the core areas of industrial hygiene, occupational health nursing, occupational medicine, and occupational safety, plus specialized areas relevant to the occupational safety and health field. For more information on ERCsexternal icon
- Dean Baker (University of California, Irvine)
- Patricia Bertsche (Abbott Laboratories)
- Michael Bisesi (Ohio State University)
- Wesley Bolch (University of Florida)
- Thomas Broderick (Construction and Safety Council)
- Peter Chen (Colorado State University)
- Lorraine Conroy (University of Illinois at Chicago)
- Sue Davis (University of Cincinnati)
- Sarah Felknor (University of Texas, Houston)
- Kimberly Gordon (University of Iowa)
- Monroe Keyserling (University of Michigan)
- William Kojola (AFL-CIO)
- Jeffrey Levin (University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler)
- Elizabeth Maples (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
- Chris Martin (West Virginia University)
- Corinne Peek-Asa (University of Iowa)
- Keshia Pollack (Johns Hopkins University)
- Jim Ramsay (Embry Riddle University)
- Bonnie Rogers (University of North Carolina)
- Lee Saperstein (University of Missouri at Rolla)
- Charlie Shields (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
- Frank White (ORC Worldwide)
- Pamela Wilkerson (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Disclaimer: This report was prepared by Westat under contact with NIOSH. It should not be considered a statement of NIOSH policy or of any agency or individual who was involved.
- Nationwide Survey of the Occupational Safety and Health Work Force (NIOSH Pub No. 78-164)pdf icon (1978)A Study of the Impact of Occupational Safety and Health Training and Education Programs on Supply and Demand for Occupational Safety and Health Professionalspdf icon
- (1985) Disclaimer: This report was prepared by RTI under contact with NIOSH. It should not be considered a statement of NIOSH policy or of any agency or individual who was involved.
- Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel [Institute of Medicine]external icon (2000)