Safe • Skilled • Ready Workforce Program

Current Research, Practice and Partnerships

The Safe • Skilled • Ready Workforce (SSRW) Program and its partners conduct research on and support activities related to the delivery foundational workplace safety and health knowledge and skills to young, contingent, and other high-risk workers. The following research projects and partnerships are on-going efforts that reflect the SSRW mission.

Building a Model for Integrating Workplace Safety Skills in Miami-Dade Public Schools
The SSRW Program is working to systematically integrate foundational workplace safety and health skills—the NIOSH 8 Core Competencies—into the eighth grade STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), Florida, the fourth largest school district in the United States. In addition, the SSRW program seeks to institutionalize a process—i.e., develop a sustainable and transferable model—for integrating the Core Competencies in middle schools and high schools that may then be adapted to other school districts.
Project Contact: Rebecca Guerin, Education and Information Division

Preparing the Emerging Workforce in Oklahoma with Foundational Skills for Safe and Healthy Work
The Oklahoma Department of Labor requested assistance from the SSRW Program to integrate the NIOSH Talking Safety curriculum into Oklahoma schools. These efforts support the promulgation of OK Senate Bill 262 (April 2015) requiring 7th–12th graders to receive workplace safety and health education. An intervention and implementation study is ongoing in the Oklahoma City Public School System (OKCPS), the largest district in the state. The curriculum provides OKCPS students with foundational workplace safety and health knowledge and skills (the NIOSH 8 Core Competencies).
Project Contact: Rebecca Guerin, Education and Information Division

Promoting Foundational Occupational Safety and Health Knowledge and Skills among High-Risk Workers in the Workforce Development Sector
Research indicates workers who are young, in temporary or contingent employment arrangements, or new to a job—populations often served by the workforce development sector—are at an especially high risk of experiencing a work-related injury or illness. The SSRW Program collaborated with Workforce Tulsa and other workforce development organizations to develop and pilot test an in-person training program to promote foundational OSH knowledge and skills among high-risk workers involved in training and employment programs in the workforce development sector. The long-term goal of this project is to develop a sustainable and transferable model for integrating foundational workplace safety and health skills that may then be adapted for use by workforce development organizations across the United States.
Project Contact: Lauren Menger-Ogle, Education and Information Division

Adapting Talking Safety to Promote Foundational Occupational Safety and Health Knowledge and Skills among Temporary Construction Workers
SSRW is collaborating with researchers from the University of Miami to promote foundational safety and health knowledge and skills among temporary construction workers employed by staffing companies. Focus groups with temporary construction workers have been conducted to better understand their workplace safety and health training needs. Based on lessons learned, the NIOSH young worker curriculum, Talking Safety, will be adapted and pilot tested for its ability to teach the foundations of workplace safety and health to temporary construction workers.
Project Contact: Lauren Menger-Ogle, Education and Information Division

Understanding the Occupational Safety and Health Issues, Challenges, and Training Needs within the Temporary Staffing Industry
A joint guidance documentCdc-pdfExternal released by OSHA and NIOSH in 2014 calls for the provision of general safety and health training prior to placing temporary agency workers at a worksite. However, there are currently no evidence-based general safety and health training programs designed for the temporary staffing industry. The SSRW Program is conducting interviews and focus groups with representatives from temporary staffing companies, host employers, and temporary agency workers in order to understand the OSH issues, challenges, and training needs within the temporary staffing industry. The lessons learned will be used to inform the development of a new general OSH training program customized to meet the needs of temporary workers and the temporary staffing industry.
Project Contact: Lauren Menger-Ogle, Education and Information Division

National Children’s Center for Rural Agricultural Health and Safety
The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS) strives to enhance the safety and health of all children exposed to hazards associated with agricultural work and rural environments, through national leadership, development of guidelines where empirical evidence does not exist or regulations do not apply, formal and informal partnerships with relevant stakeholder groups, and outreach communications to the agricultural community. NCCRAHS interacts with all regional NIOSH Agricultural Centers and leads efforts to coordinate activities of childhood agricultural safety advocates across the U.S.
Project Contact: Steve Dearwent, Office of Extramural Programs

Understanding Workplace Violence among Young Workers in the U.S.
The purpose of this project is to develop the first national profile of workplace violence among workers ages 15–24 with the long-term goal of reducing workplace violence incidence and its negative effects on young workers.
Project Contact: Sharon Chiou, Office of Extramural Programs

Safety Matters
Jointly developed with the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), Safety Matters is designed to introduce young people to workplace safety and health via a one-hour, interactive program. Safety Matters is based on the full young worker curriculum, Talking Safety.
Project Contact: Rebecca Guerin, Education and Information Division

Staying Safe at Work
Co-developed with the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) at the University of California, Berkeley, Staying Safe at Work is a curriculum designed to teach workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) foundational OSH knowledge and skills. A vulnerable group, workers with IDD rarely receive comprehensive safety and health training on the job. This curriculum is designed to teach workers foundational OSH knowledge and skills before they enter the workforce.
Project Contact: Rebecca Guerin, Education and Information Division

Youth@Work—Talking Safety
Talking Safety, the NIOSH young worker curriculum, is designed to teach foundational OSH knowledge and skills to middle- and high-school students. Based on the NIOSH 8 Core Competencies, the 54 individual editions (and 5 Spanish translations) are customized for each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to address local rules and regulations. The curriculum has been downloaded more than 25,000 times. Efforts are ongoing to update, redesign, and align Talking Safety with current educational standards, findings from research, and changes to federal and local laws and regulations, as well as dissemination efforts.
Project Contact: Devin Baker, Education and Information Division

The SSRW Program collaborates with a number of partners and stakeholders to advance our mission of preparing vulnerable workers for safe and healthy work.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)External
Since 2014, AFT members have carried out train-the-trainer sessions for the NIOSH young worker curriculum, Talking Safety, promoted the dissemination of the curriculum to middle and high schools nationwide, and raised awareness among the 1.7 million AFT members about the safety and health risks to their students who participate in the labor force.

American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)External
Safety Matters, a training module developed jointly by the SSRW Program and AIHA, has delivered foundational OSH knowledge and skills to youth groups by hundreds of industrial hygienist volunteers across the country. Safety Matters was featured in an American Journal of Public Health editorial by Steven Lacey, the former AIHA president. Dissemination efforts are ongoing.

Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) FoundationExternal
On October 1, 2018, NIOSH entered into a collaborative partnership with the BCSP Foundation to protect the safety and health of our nation’s young workers.

Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Department of LaborExternal
At the request of the ETA, the SSRW Program reviewed the Building Blocks ModelExternal, a framework of foundational knowledge and skills needed by the modern workforce. In 2017, the model was revised to incorporate foundational workplace safety and health skills (the 8 Core Competencies) from NIOSH.

NOCTIExternal
The SSRW Program worked with the non-profit organization, NOCTI, to develop and test the psychometric properties of an assessment tool for the Talking Safety curriculumExternal. The assessment is available nationwide and delivered via a web-based format. Test-takers who pass the assessment receive a NIOSH digital badge.

Workforce TulsaExternal
The SSRW Program is working with Workforce Tulsa to develop a foundational OSH training program to prepare their program participants for future job-specific training and for staying safe and healthy throughout their careers. Workforce Tulsa is a non-profit workforce development organization with programs focused on preparing vulnerable workers, with issues such as homeless and prior involvement with the judicial system, with job readiness skills.

Page last reviewed: January 18, 2019