Thirty-two graduates of the TEEX-OSHA Army Safety Intern program in Fort Rucker, Ala., became the first to receive the national designation of Certified Safety and Health Official (CSHO).
The certification program, which was introduced by TEEX-OSHA in March, requires a minimum of 220 hours of safety and health classroom training. Participants must complete six core courses and two elective courses in their chosen concentration, either construction industry or general industry. Courses must be taken from the TEEX OSHA Training Institute Southwest Education Center or the OSHA Training Institute in Des Plaines, Ill.
The national program is an extension of the safety and health certification program offered since 1997 exclusively for the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, said TEEX-OSHA Director Teresea Madden-Thompson.
“It has worked well for the Army,” Madden-Thompson said. “It was designed for them and endorsed by them. One hundred safety professionals have completed the Army Safety Intern certification program.”
The new, national certification program has been well-received by federal OSHA, said Dr. Ben Cranor, program manager with the OSHA Training Institute Southwest Education Center. People who complete the certification requirements have the same training as an OSHA Safety and Health Compliance Officer, Cranor added.
In federal departments such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the departments of Energy, Defense and Justice, safety and health managers are highly encouraged to be certified as a safety and health professional, he said. TEEX’s new certification program was designed to meet this need for both government and private sector industry.
This certification gives people a career path and a goal for their OSHA training, plus it is transferable from company to company, says Elizabeth Britton with the TEEX-OSHA Training Institute Southwest Education Center.
Unlike other health and safety certification programs, the CSHO certification does not have a degree requirement and is self-paced, so there are no time limits on completion, she added.
The requirement for a four-year college degree leaves out many people who are working in the industrial safety and health field, Britton said. The CSHO Certification Program provides both those who have degrees and those without a degree with a career path they can be proud of, she added.
So far, the CSHO certification program has been marketed in the five-state region covered by TEEX-OSHA Training Institute: Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Arkansas.
Since the certification program was announced, “the phones have been ringing off the hook,” Britton said. Enrollment in elective courses has doubled since last year, and officials expect a 20 percent increase in enrollments overall, she added.
“We’re very excited about it,” Cranor said. “It’s a first for OSHA training, and it’s off to a great start.”