. "3 The Changing Workforce." Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade's Occupational Safety and Health Personnel. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2000.
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Safe Work in the 21st Century: Education and Training Needs for the Next Decade’s Occupational Safety and Health Personnel
programs are social as well as scientific endeavors and that health care disciplines and professionals should reflect the social makeup and the diversity of thought and experience of the societies they serve. It will therefore be important that members of all racial and ethnic groups be actively recruited, and that geographic areas where rapidly growing minority groups are having a major impact on the labor force have substantial numbers of minority OSH personnel. None of the professional societies that the committee relied on for demographic information collected data on race, but committee members who regularly attend OSH professional meetings reported that an observer could not fail to note the paucity of persons of color. In addition, even though the employment rate for those with disabilities has been improving, it is still significantly below the rate for those who have no disabilities. Continuing efforts may be necessary to sustain and enhance these improvements. The fact that a sizable portion of the adult population has a low level of literacy poses important issues as well.
The changes discussed in this chapter seem to call for new or significantly different training directed at the worker as well as the workplace. Certainly, OSH professionals will increasingly need to be familiar with the aging process and the interaction of disabilities and chronic diseases with workplace demands. In addition, the training must emphasize communications skills so that OSH personnel can reach workers with low levels of literacy and those for whom English is a second language.