served workplaces. Extensive new regulation is possible but seems unlikely. Other problems not susceptible to site- or group-specific interventions (smoking, seat belt use, and drunk driving) have been attacked with broad public education campaigns. The committee calls for systematic exploration of new models for implementing occupational health and safety programs for the full spectrum of U.S. workers.

Just as the U.S. workforce has been changing steadily in the last two to three decades, the U.S. workplace has been undergoing even more dramatic changes as the country moves away from heavy industry into the information age. Therefore, this chapter begins as the previous one did, with a short review of changes that have occurred in the recent past. As in the previous chapter, the primary source of data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, especially its periodic data collections such as the Current Population Survey. Many of these data are directly accessible at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website (, but many of the tables and figures are the result of a specific request and can be replicated only by contacting the Bureau of Labor Statistics and asking for a tabulation of the specific data in question.


The workplace has changed in a number of ways that may be important both to the future workplace and to the drawing of inferences about how these changes are likely to affect the future training needs of OSH personnel. Several factors are prominent in the changing workplace. The rapid growth of the number of jobs and the greater proportion of jobs in the service sector are important changes. Another important change is the changing nature of the relationship of the worker to the workplace, in that this relationship is increasingly less permanent or long term. These changes mean that delivery of OSH training may need to be more associated with the worker and not necessarily delivered just at the workplace.

The U.S. economy has been very dynamic over the last decade with respect to the labor market. It has, for instance, continued its pattern of remarkable job growth by expanding by nearly 18 percent and adding more than 20 million jobs over the period from 1988 to 1998. Although noteworthy in itself and the envy of much of the industrial world, this dynamic growth has been accompanied by significant job market restructuring. The industrial and occupational structures of the U.S. economy are different in important ways from those of a decade earlier.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement