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OSH Education in Post-secondary Career Technical Education Construction Programs

Kimberly Rauscher
WVU, Injury Control Research Center
Email: krauscher@hsc.wvu.edu

Diane Bush 
UC Berkeley, Labor Occupational Health Program
Email: dbush@berkeley.edu

Research Team: Charlotte Chang, Robin Dewey, Douglas Myers

Abstract:
A 30% increase in construction employment is anticipated during the period between 2010 and 2020 which means that many young workers will continue to enter this high hazard industry in the coming years. Because young workers are at greater risk of injury compared to the general worker population it is imperative that these construction workers are provided with effective health and safety education to help them avoid injury. Many of the young workers entering the construction trade will do so through programs at the secondary or post-secondary level. Little is known, however, about the extent and quality of the health and safety education offered in these programs--particularly in post-secondary CTE programs--or whether the education they receive is effective.

A 2013 CPWR study, Integrating Occupational Safety and Health Training into Career Technical Education in Construction -- Formative Research Findings, provided preliminary information on  what’s been tried.

Study Results:

In 2014, this new study, OSH Education in Post-secondary Career Technical Education Construction Programs, was initiated to explore the elements of effective health and safety education in post-secondary CTE construction programs and characterizes the state of existing health and safety education in these programs.  This study, which was completed in 2017, used quantitative and qualitative approaches consisting of surveys of post-secondary CTE construction programs across the US, as well as interviews and classroom observations at three sites. While the study found instructors and administrators overall had a positive opinion of their health and safety programs, among the 63 schools that participated, results indicated that many are lacking important safety and health program elements, such as regular internal inspections for safety and health hazards, clear prioritization of engineering controls, OSHA outreach training for instructors and students, and teaching activities focused on critical thinking and self-advocacy skills.  

This project resulted in materials that CTE Construction Administrators and Instructors can use to strengthen their program's safety and health systems to prepare their students.