The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on June 11 that it has formed a new directorate to increase the effectiveness of OSHA's in-house and distributed training programs. The new Directorate of Training and Education will provide effective leadership, direction and management of the OTI, the OTI Education Center Program, the Outreach Training Program and other compliance assistance and training programs.

 

"Our goal is to make OSHA the gold standard for safety and health training in the United States," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "This new directorate strengthens our commitment to provide the very best training and education in occupational safety and health for federal agency personnel and the private sector."

 

The OTI in Arlington Heights, Ill., is OSHA's primary training provider. It conducts more than 100 short-term courses and seminars covering OSHA standards, policies, and procedures. These courses are designed for persons responsible for enforcing or directly supporting the Occupational Safety and Health Act, for private sector employers and employees, and federal personnel from agencies other than OSHA. The new Directorate will work to improve the quality of the training offered, increase the number of course offerings and use of training technologies.

 

In October 1992, OSHA created the OTI Education Center Program when OSHA began partnering with other training and educational institutions to conduct a number of OTI courses. The organizations were selected through a national competitive process and received no funding from OSHA; they supported their training through their normal tuition and fee structures. The OTI Education Centers Program grew from four centers in 1992 to 12 centers, with at least one in each OSHA region. In December 2002, The U.S. Department of Labor announced the selection of additional OTI Education Centers, bringing the total to 19. The annual number of students trained by the centers has steadily increased, with 25,105 trained in FY 2006.

 

The Outreach Training Program is OSHA's primary training program for employees. Through this program, OSHA authorizes qualified safety and health professionals to conduct training programs for employees in both construction and general industry. Upon successful completion of the training, employees receive a card issued by the Agency to document their completion. OSHA has issued cards to more than 1.1 million trained safety and health professionals in the past three years.