1646b Building occupational safety and health capacity through grassroots training outreach initiatives

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IntroductionThe status of occupational safety and health (OSH) in Economically Developing Countries (EDCs) continues to lag behind more advanced economies, with resulting excessive levels of workplace injury and illness. Much of the shortfall in OSH practice is due to the shortage of professionals with subject experience, expertise, and education.MethodsGrassroots OSH training initiatives have been coordinated and conducted by the not-for-profit organisation Workplace Health Without Borders (WHWB) in several countries, including Botswana, India, Tanzania, and Viet Nam. Experienced and qualified instructors provided onsite courses from the Occupational Hygiene Training Association (OHTA) OHLearning program. Students that attend these regional courses earn the opportunity to sit for a course examination. Upon receiving a passing grade, the student is awarded a certificate of completion from the internationally recognised qualifications scheme of OHTA.ResultsThese pilot training courses conducted on location by volunteer professionals serve as models for expansion of the program. Graduates of the program obtain or advance jobs in OSH, and have continued on to complete university degrees. University degrees in addition to certain OHTA certificate criteria have now become qualifications to sit for some OSH professional certifications recognised by the International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA).DiscussionThis presentation will discuss the development and success of the WHWB outreach OSH training model, and the potential for additional collaboration and training around the world. Lessons learned and solutions to course challenges are presented. Ideas for program expansion will be discussed, including possibilities for future collaboration with other professional organisations such as ICOH.

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