Every five days, a teen-ager is killed in a work-related incident. About 200,000 young workers are injured on the job every year.
Reducing injuries and fatalities among young, entry-level workers is the goal of CareerSafe, a safety training program aimed at high school and college students.
Developed by the TEEX-OSHA Training Institute Southwest Education Center, CareerSafe gives teens basic safety knowledge and includes both classroom and web-based training at little or no cost. The CareerSafe 10-hour interactive, on-line program for students is the first of its kind.
Students who successfully complete either the classroom or on-line program receive an OSHA wallet card, said TEEX-OSHA Director Teresea Madden-Thompson. This card demonstrates to potential employers that the student has been trained in the critical elements of safety and understands the importance of safe work habits and conditions.
“CareerSafe ties in with Labor Secretary Elaine Chao’s YouthRules! Initiative to keep America’s working teens safe and healthy while on the job,” Madden-Thompson said. “We want teens to understand that safety is a life skill and not just an OSHA requirement.
“The CareerSafe program is generating a lot of excitement across the country,” she added. “We feel this is a valuable occupational safety and health program that will benefit everyone: youth, families, neighborhoods and businesses. Through classroom and on-line training, we hope to reach thousands of students each year.”
To achieve that goal, TEEX-OSHA has built an alliance with the Texas Industrial Vocational Association (TIVA) and SkillsUSA-VICA to deliver the safety initiative to students regionally and nationally. On June 24, TEEX-OSHA and the U.S. Department of Labor signed an alliance with the national office of SkillsUSA/VICA to provide CareerSafe to their 264,000 members.
High school career and technology educators can complete a 40-hour instructor-led OSHA train-the-trainer course, which provides them with extensive OSHA knowledge, the authority to provide OSHA training and valuable tools to help save lives. They are then designated as an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer and empowered to teach the 10- and 30-hour OSHA outreach courses. This allows them to expand on the web-based course with classroom training and to serve as a resource to fellow employees and community members.
Through a Susan B. Harwood grant, the courses are being offered free of charge to about 250 high school career and technology teachers in OSHA Region VI, which covers Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and New Mexico.
Train-the-trainer classes have already been held in Houston, Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi. The course will be offered July 16-20 for teachers attending the annual meeting of the Texas Industrial Vocational Association in Dallas. Other classes are scheduled for Baton Rouge and Tulsa.