is an essential element of every workplace safety and health program.
Careful, thorough, and ongoing training can help reduce the number
and severity of work-related illnesses and accidents.
Linda Vosburgh sorts through hundreds
of training aids on safety and health topics available through
the Resource Center Loan Program.
Safety and health training in the workplace adds value to employees and
employers alike. Employees benefit from better health and fewer
injuries at work. Employers experience significantly fewer losses
due to increased insurance premiums, absenteeism, and disability
In addition to standard books and other print materials, video
programs have proven to be highly effective way to provide safety
and health training-for experienced workers as well as new
employees. Videos are a great way to reinforce topics covered
in classroom presentations. They can readily show job hazards
that students may not have seen firsthand. In addition to dramatizing
hazards, videos can be used to demonstrate safe work practices,
illustrate the proper use of power tools or personal protective
equipment, explain emergency evacuation procedures, and motivate
interest in safety and health precautions.
To help make the safety and health training videos available to
more students, OSHA's Office of Training and Education (OTE)
launched the Resource Center Loan Program in 1991. Begun as a
pilot program, the project initially focused on safety and health
training for the construction industry. Working in cooperation
with participants in the OSHA grant program, OSHA offered short-term
loans of 93 print, slide, tape, and video products covering more
than 50 construction topics.
The program was so successful that in 1993, OTE adopted the pilot
as a permanent program and expanded its offerings to include training
aids for general industry as well as construction. Three years
later, the first occupational safety and health audiovisual programs
produced within the private sector were added to the Resource
Ten years after it became a permanent program, the Resource Center
continues to give safety and health instructors within OSHA and
its affiliates access to training materials to supplement their
teaching. Grantees, OTE staff, and other government agencies,
as well as private institutions, associations and companies produce
materials available for loan.
The number and quality of materials available for loan has increased
dramatically from the Resource Center's early days. Today,
the center offers more than 600 titles in 125 subject areas, covering
construction, general industry, and agricultural topics. Many
of these new programs were produced by the private sector and
loaned with their written permission.
With the addition of more, current, professional-quality products
during the past five years, the Resource Center collection has
grown in popularity. In fiscal 1991, the Resource Center pilot
project received requests to borrow 146 audiovisual training programs.
Five years later, that number had jumped to 1,600. During fiscal
2002, the program received requests for 8,000 audiovisual and
print training materials-a 5,500 percent increase over its
first year! The center continues to receive more than 650 requests
for training material every month.
In addition, since 1995, when the OSHA Education Centers began
offering the OSHA Outreach Trainer classes, the number of borrowers
has risen steadily. OSHA outreach trainers, which include staff
from Junior and Technical Colleges and Union Training Funds from
various construction trades, now make regular use of the Resource
Borrowers report that they use the materials to conduct the OSHA
10-hour and 30-hour safety and health outreach course, as well
as other classes on such topics as scaffolding, forklifts, and
electrical safety. Collectively, they reported using the materials
to train more than 27,000 workers during fiscal 2002.
Now that the OSHA Office of Training and Education has moved to
its new, larger building in Arlington Heights, Ill., the Resource
Center has more space for its expanding collection, which it hopes
to share with more borrowers. For loan information or to review
materials in the collection, consult the Resource Center Catalog
. Click on Training, then
Resource Center Loan Program. For more information about the loan
program, contact Linda Vosburgh at (847) 759-7736. JSHQ
Vosburgh is the occupational safety and health librarian for
OTE's Resource Center Loan Program, Arlington Heights, Ill.