Lack of money, knowledge leading to shortage of health, safety professionals
"The need for an adequate supply of trained professionals is particularly great as we anticipate that growing numbers of older professionals will retire over the next decade," according to a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
The information is included in the National Assessment of the Occupational Safety and Health Workforce, a survey commissioned in 2008 to assess national needs for professional occupational safety and health services.
"Based on current trends, future national demand for occupational safety and health services will significantly outstrip the number of professionals with the necessary training, education, and experience to provide such services," NIOSH says. While employers plan to hire at least 25,000 such professionals over the next five years, "only about 12,000 new graduates are expected to be available."
The survey also found:
- Degree programs in occupational safety and health have experienced declines in funding from university, college, and department sources, especially among programs not provided with funding through NIOSH.
- Obstacles facing students who might want to pursue an occupational safety and health degree include lack of knowledge about these degree programs.
- While employers are overall satisfied with the level of training health and safety professionals have, they would like new graduates to be trained in additional relevant areas, including leadership and communication.
New technologies in the workforce will also require specialized skills and knowledge to meet the occupational safety and health needs of workers, the report explained.
"NIOSH will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to identify and pursue ways to meet this critical training need for the 21st century," said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
November 21, 2011
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