The long term objectives of this program are to 1) increase the number of engineers who understand that they have a direct effect on the safety of workers who work with the equipment and work systems engineers design, and 2) increase the number of engineers who choose to go into applied or research positions in the area of occupational safety and health. Annually, five traineeships in Occupational Safety and Ergonomics are available in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering (ISE) at OSU. These provide educational opportunities to engineering students at the master's level who are interested in pursuing industrial, consulting, or academic careers in occupational safety and ergonomics or related areas. Plans of study typically require 4-6 quarters to complete. Students take courses in occupational biomechanics, cognitive engineering, occupational health, industrial accident prevention and control, human error and systems failure or resilience engineering, and experimental design. Students are trained in responsible research practices and have opportunities to get involved in cutting edge research that addresses a number of original NORA Priority Research Areas, including Low Back Disorders, Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Upper Extremities, Traumatic Injuries, Emerging Technologies, Organization of Work, Special Populations at Risk, Exposure Assessment Methods, and/or Intervention Effectiveness Research. Research projects, seminars, internships, a safety practicum, and other opportunities expose students to several sectors in the current NORA Sector-Based Approach such as Agriculture, Construction, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Public Safety, Service workers, and Warehousing. Students learn from OSU faculty, experienced practitioners, and from workers. While students learn about safety and ergonomics fundamentals, they also learn about emerging trends and concepts, such as resilience safety & engineering and wellness approaches to occupational safety and health. Laboratory facilities and equipment the students work with are state-of-the-art and the OSU Libraries system is second-to-none. OSU's College of Engineering continues to implement and refine strategies for recruiting and retaining top- notch graduate students from groups that are underrepresented in engineering, and the ISE's NIOSH- sponsored training program actively participates in these strategies when recruiting participants for the program. The program has strong institutional support, as demonstrated by the provision of Tuition Awards for the trainees, which provide for full tuition support for up to two years per student. Advisory Board members who come from labor, state government, industry, research, and education, provide the program with important, relevant outside perspectives, as well as providing direct support to students through internships, safety practicum sponsorships, guest lectures in classes, and seminars. The training program provides Ohio, a state with more than 205,000 employers, and the surrounding region of the country with engineers with training to identify and address safety and ergonomics hazards in a wide variety of workplaces. Program graduates become valuable employees because of the breadth of their training (research methods, safety, health, ergonomics/human factors, and others), sector exposure (agriculture, manufacturing, warehousing, healthcare, and others), and instructor exposure (academics and experienced professionals), or they may opt to build upon that strong foundation of knowledge with further education and training at the doctoral level.
The proposed training program is relevant to the public health because injuries that workers sustain on the job have important implications for their lives outside of work, including their financial situation (Foley et al. 2007), as well as implications for costs incurred by states, employers, and other entities (Dembe 2001;Weil 2001; Costich 2010). Workers who either permanently or temporarily cannot perform their occupational tasks may also not be able to perform tasks at home, including caregiving tasks for children or for a parent or other family member who requires support in order to remain living in a private setting, rather than an institution (Franche et al. 2006). Engineers have the power to affect the health and safety of workers, but an appreciation of this requires special training and education, such as that provided through our Master's level Training Program in Safety &Ergonomics, in order to increase their ability to exert positive effects on worker safety and health;thus the relevance of this program to the public health.