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ASSP Safety Curriculum Guidelines

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These guidelines are designed to help institutions develop academic occupational safety and health programs and pursue accreditation.

ASSP and Educational Standards

ASSP’s Educational Standards Committee developed the Society’s safety curriculum guidelines to assist colleges and universities in the development of occupational safety and health (OSH) programs and to provide guidance to existing programs pursuing program-level accreditation from ABET Inc. These guidelines underpin the OSH body of knowledge, representing best practices and rigorous peer review.

Baccalaureate OSH Programs

These programs must demonstrate that graduates possess the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to competently and ethically implement and practice applicable scientific, technical and regulatory aspects of OSH. More specifically, graduates must produce a culminating senior project/capstone and demonstrate competency in each of the following knowledge domains, including all 10 program specific outcomes.

A. Evidence-Based Practice

The OSH professional will utilize research and evidence to drive problem-solving and integrate value-added practical solutions into organizational goals.

  1. Collect, analyze and interpret relevant data to reduce the risk profile of an organization.
  2. Interpret OSH performance measurements for effectiveness and continual improvement.

B. Professional Communication

The OSH professional will interact effectively with stakeholders, colleagues and employees, fostering mutual respect and shared decision-making to enhance worker health and safety.

  1. Demonstrate the development and delivery of effective training by employing various methods.
  2. Explain the business importance of responsible business practices to interested parties.

C. Risk Management

The OSH professional will participate in and contribute to the process of conserving the assets and earning potential of an organization by minimizing the effects of loss.

  1. Apply appropriate risk management techniques.
  2. Integrate the concepts of risk analysis and responsible business practices.

D. Business Practices

The OSH professional will be able to develop, articulate and execute a business case for protecting the company’s internal and external assets, employees, stakeholders and the community.

  1. Integrate financial justifications into the development of policies, procedures and systems that align with organizational strategic plans.

E. Informatics and Data Analysis

The OSH professional will be able to collect, classify, store, retrieve and disseminate recorded knowledge to help make informed and data-driven decisions about occupational safety and health threats and hazards.

  1. Gather and apply credible information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate risk and support decision-making.

F.  Leadership

The OSH professional will be able to influence the behavior of individuals, systems and work groups in a way that will facilitate the achievement of shared corporate goals.

  1. Explain the role and importance of leadership in a risk management context.

G.  Professionalism

The OSH professional shows accountability by establishing workplace programs and worker safety and health advocacy practices in a moral, legal, ethical and socially responsible manner.

  1. Describe and distinguish legal, moral and sustainability principles relevant to OSH profession.

Each OSH academic degree program must have an outcomes assessment process that addresses the 10 listed outcomes across all seven knowledge domains, as well as the general criteria program outcomes ABET Inc. requires for all applied and natural science programs.

Within this general criterion, specific sections focus on program outcomes and assessment (Criterion 3) and professional component (Criterion 4). The professional component section includes specific subject areas appropriate to applied and natural science programs but does not prescribe specific courses for a given discipline. This section in the general criteria identifies what the professional component must include:

  • A combination of college-level mathematics and basic sciences (some with experimental experience) appropriate to the discipline
  • Applied science topics appropriate to the program
  • A general education component that complements the technical content of the curriculum and is consistent with the program and institution objectives

OSH programs and others interested in ABET accreditation should visit ABET’s website.

Curriculum Guidelines

ASSP believes the 10 listed outcomes are reflective of current practice as identified by the Society. Unlike previous safety curriculum criteria by BCSP and ABET, our Educational Standards Committee did not want to provide a long list of required courses or topic areas. 

Instead, these standards allow OSH undergraduate programs to be flexible in their curricular structure, teach toward their strengths and create a distinctive competence in the marketplace. Ultimately, these guidelines aim to provide specific input on the appropriate topics to include in meeting the math and science requirements as well as the applied science topics in the safety criteria.

Mathematics and Basic Sciences

Most OSH programs do not have math or basic science requirements beyond what their universities require for graduation. OSH programs have the flexibility not only to incorporate all of ASSP’s standards, but also to require breadth areas such as second majors, minors, etc.

For example, combining a core OSH curriculum with business, chemistry and other topics adds depth to a student’s undergraduate education and would likely enhance the student’s ability to compete for internships, jobs or graduate programs. Programs should also have the flexibility to require more math and science if they choose.

As it is, neither ASSP nor ABET require more than the following:

  • Math: Students will demonstrate an ability to apply college algebra and statistics as it pertains to the practice of OSH.
  • Basic Sciences: Students will demonstrate an ability to apply chemistry, physics and human physiology/biology as it pertains to the practice of OSH.
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