Safe • Skilled • Ready Workforce Program PPOP

What are our priorities?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Safe • Skilled • Ready Workforce (SSRW) Program collaborates with partners and stakeholders to prepare people, before they join the U.S. workforce for the first time or start a new job, with the essential workplace safety and health knowledge and skills needed to benefit from and contribute to safe, healthy, and productive workplaces.

What do we do?
  • Create, maintain, and evaluate workplace safety and health curricula, including Youth@Work—Talking Safety, and advise stakeholders on their use.
  • Investigate the foundational knowledge and skills needed for workplace safety and health by young and contingent workers (people who do not expect their jobs to last or who work in temporary jobs) and other vulnerable populations.
  • Integrate foundational workplace safety and health knowledge and skills into programs
  • and initiatives that serve young, contingent, and other vulnerable populations.
  • Conduct translation research to better understand how organizations adopt, adapt, and integrate workplace safety and health knowledge and skills into their programs and activities.
  • Disseminate research findings to diverse stakeholders in labor, government, academia, education, and community groups.
What have we accomplished?
  • Partnered with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), CareerSafe, the National Safety Council, and other partners to evaluate the reach of the national social media initiative for young workers, #MySafeSummerJobexternal icon, conducted in Spring 2019. Conducted a follow-up, social media outreach effort in Winter 2019.
  • Published an article in the Journal of School Health presenting results from an SSRW training intervention demonstrating teacher self-efficacy (influenced by sex) and knowledge (influenced by subject taught and
    previous workplace injury) revealed factors that may affect teachers’ provision of workplace safety and health education.
  • Published an article in Prevention Science presenting results from SSRW intervention and translation research activities demonstrating the effectiveness of the Talking Safety curriculum to positively change students’ knowledge, attitude, self-efficacy, and behavioral intentions towards OSH. The results provide support for use of this curriculum as an essential component of any school-based, injury prevention program.
What’s next?
  • Publish an MMWR (CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report) on young worker injuries in the U.S. with research collaborators across the Institute.
  • Partner with the OSHA Training Institute to develop two new OSHA 10-hour, in-person courses (construction and general industry) tailored for high school students in career technical education classes. These new courses, which will include the core competencies from the Talking Safety curriculum, have the potential to reach 10 million students.
  • Develop and beta test a new foundational workplace safety and health curriculum tailored for use by workforce development organizations. Include a new module on work-related psychosocial exposures and health.
  • Create a new version of Talking Safety that reflects lessons learned from on-going evaluation research, repackages lessons in a more user-friendly format, and provides crosswalks with common health and educational standards used by school districts.
  • Publish results from ongoing intervention and translation research in peer-reviewed journal.

Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The Safe • Skilled • Ready Workforce Program aims to prepare people, before they join the U.S. workforce for the first time or start a new job, with foundational workplace safety and health knowledge and skills to help protect them on the job now and throughout their lives. This snapshot shows recent accomplishments and upcoming work.

Downloads of state-specific editions of NIOSH Talking Safety curriculum 2015-2019
U.S. Map of downloads of Talking Safety

Source: NIOSH program records

Rate (per 10,000 FTE) of emergency department treated occupational injuries by age group, 2012–2018
Plot graph for rate of emergency dept. treatment

Source: Guerin et al. (in press, Sept. 2020). CDC, MMWR

Injury Rates (per 10,000 FTE) for Temporary and Permanent Workers, 2001–2013, Ohio
Bar chart for Injury Rates

Source: Al-Tarawneh et al. Am J Ind Med. 2019;63:3-22

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October 2020

Page last reviewed: July 29, 2020