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Resource Center Celebrates 10 years
A decade after it became a permanent OSHA program, the center is helping keep OSHA staff and their affiliates current on safety and health topics so they can better serve their clients.

by Linda Vosburgh

Training 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

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 claims.

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 Center's collection.

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 Center's products.

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 at www.osha.gov. 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.


Education Centers Selected
OSHA announced in mid-December the selection of 20 Training Institute Education Centers, almost doubling the number of centers that offer training courses on OSHA standards and occupational safety and health issues. The 20 centers are at 35 locations throughout the country and will complement training offered through the OSHA Training Institute in Arlington Heights, Ill. During 2002, the centers trained more than 14,500 students. Details about the new centers are available on the OSHA website at www.osha.gov.


Who's Eligible to Borrow
  • OSHA National, Regional, and Area Office staff
  • State-Plan State staff
  • OSHA Consultation Program staff
  • OSHA grantees
  • OSHA Voluntary Protection Program participants
  • OSHA Education Center staff
  • OSHA outreach trainers