OSHA Training Institute Education Centers Program Background
The OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Center Program was initiated as an extension of the OSHA Training Institute, which is the primary training provider of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OTI targets Federal and State compliance officers and State consultation program staff, but also provides training for private sector personnel and Federal personnel from agencies other than OSHA on a space available basis. However, during the 1980s, the number of requests for training from private sector personnel and Federal personnel from agencies other than OSHA increased substantially and the demand eventually exceeded the capacity of the OSHA Training Institute.
In October 1992, the OSHA Training Institute Education Center Program was created when OSHA began partnering with other training and educational institutions to conduct OSHA Training Institute courses. The organizations were selected through a national competitive process and would receive no funding from OSHA; they would be expected to support their OSHA training through their normal tuition and fee structures. Throughout the next decade, the OTI Education Centers Program continued to grow. From four OTI Education Centers in 1992, the Program realized continued growth, expanding to include at least one in each OSHA region. In December 2007, The U.S. Department of Labor announced the selection of eight new OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers, bringing the total number of OTI Education Centers to 25, comprised of 44 member organizations. At the time of the announcement, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. noted, "We are pleased to add the new OSHA Training Institute Education Centers in our continuing effort to promote employee safety and health through training. These centers will extend access to a greater number of individuals who seek to incorporate OSHA safety and health practices into their workplaces." The annual number of students trained by the OTI Education Centers has steadily increased, with 32,881 trained in FY 2010.
The OTI Education Centers provide training nationwide to private sector and federal personnel from agencies outside OSHA. Courses currently available through the OTI Education Centers include the most popular ones such as the #500 Trainer Course in Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry and #501 Trainer Course in Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry. These "train the trainer" courses support the OSHA Outreach Training Program, which is the agency's primary way to train workers in the basics of occupational safety and health. Also available through the OTI Education Centers are Trainer update courses (#502, #503), Course #510 Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry, and the newly developed Course #511 Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry.
By increasing the number of OSHA Outreach Trainer courses available, the OTI Education Centers have been a catalyst in the rapid growth of the Program, which now has an active trainer list numbering over 13,000. In the past two years, over 1 million students were trained through the Outreach Training Programs. Please visit the OSHA Outreach Program for more information.
Other OTI Education Center course offerings address such topics as Hazardous Materials, Machine Guarding, Ergonomics, Confined Space, Excavation, Electrical Standards and Fall Arrest Systems. There are currently a number of one-day seminars in development in subject areas such as nursing home guidelines, homeland security, fall awareness, and machine guarding. These are being added to meet the needs of students who are unable to attend the full-week courses, but would like to benefit from the OSHA training curriculum.
The OTI Education Centers play a prominent role in curriculum development and offer subject matter expertise based on their organizational competencies. OTI Education Centers have demonstrated a leadership role in developing distance-learning courses and promoting safety and health training through their presence at conferences and seminars focusing on topics such as homeland security and ergonomics. The OTI Education Centers support OSHA's training and education mission through a variety of safety and health programs including community outreach efforts, Spanish-language courses, and youth initiatives. The training provided by the OTI Education Centers serves the public in the recognition, avoidance and prevention of unsafe and unhealthful working. The OTI Education Centers offer local training specialization in subject matter expertise, based upon regional industry needs. As a result, the community has greater availability and access to quality safety and health training at a local level. The OTI Education Centers offer added value in their ability to provide customized corporate training solutions and accommodate requests for on-site training courses. They work closely with OSHA Regional and Area offices in meeting the needs of the regional constituency.
These types of programs are representative of the innovative approach the OTI Education Centers have demonstrated in promoting occupational safety and health initiatives. They add value for businesses and play an integral role in furthering OSHA's national training mission. From its modest beginning in 1992, to a national network of training organizations offering a broad range of courses and subject matter expertise, the OTI Education Center Program has clearly exceeded initial expectations.
The OTI Education Center Program is integral resource in supporting OSHA’s training objectives. Since the creation of the program in 1992, the OTI Education Centers have advanced occupational safety and health training, and supports OSHA’s mission. The OTI Education Centers continue to play a vital role in furthering our national training and education objectives. OSHA will continue to expand training and educational opportunities for students in the program as OSHA endeavors to promote occupational safety and health in the workplace, reduce injury and illnesses, and save lives.