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May 31, 2013
NIOSH plan focuses on prework safety skills

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) wants to make sure individuals have the skills they need to contribute to a safe, healthy, and productive environment before they join the workforce. 

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The Institute’s Safe, Skilled, Ready Workforce initiative is based on a government report on jobs and competitiveness. It found that a nation’s economy is only as strong as the skills of its people. NIOSH points out that many approaches to developing a modern workplace do not address the safety and health skills people need in the twenty-first century.

Safe, Skilled, Ready wants to develop skills, including the ability to:

  • Recognize that all workers can become injured, sick, or killed on the job and that workplace risks affect lives and families;
  • Recognize that work-related injuries and illnesses are predictable and can be prevented;
  • Identify hazards at work and predict how injury or illness can occur;
  • Recognize how to prevent injury and illness;
  • Identify emergencies and decide how to best address them;
  • Recognize employer and worker rights and responsibilities that play a role in safe and healthy work;
  • Find resources that help keep workers safe and healthy; and
  • Demonstrate how workers can communicate with others, including those in positions of authority, to ask questions or report concerns.

The NIOSH program will introduce safety skills to future workers through youth organizations; elementary, middle, and high schools; vocational and technical education programs; and through apprenticeships and other training.

Learn more about the program at

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