Essential Skills and OHS Training

essential skills guide cover

Published: April 2018

Essential Skills and OHS Training: A guide to embedding an essential skills curriculum within an OHS training program provides an overview of the process involved in modifying the curriculum of an existing occupational health and safety (OHS) training program in order to address gaps in essential skills among worker trainees. Essential skills are the foundation for learning all other skills, and include reading, writing, numeracy, document use and more.

The guide was developed through a research collaboration among the Institute for Work & Health, Blueprint ADE, Labourers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 506 Training Centre, Infrastructure Health & Safety Association, Social Research and Demonstration Corporation, SkillPlan, and experts in the design of essential skills curriculum. The project sought to determine if the outcomes of a hoisting and rigging training program (in the construction sector) could be improved by embedding an essential skills curriculum. In short, the answer was yes. Trainees in the study who took the modified program scored higher on post-training tests than those who took the regular training.

How to use this guide

The guide is designed to be used by OHS organizations that deliver training programs to groups with relatively low levels of essential skills. Applicable across a range of industries and training organizations of all sizes, the guide may be helpful to instructional designers, subject-matter experts and instructors involved in the design and delivery of OHS training programs.

The guide includes a 12-step process for embedding an essential skills curriculum into an existing program. It includes practical tips and suggestions for going beyond.