Regardless of the industry, one of an employer’s main objectives is keeping its employees and customers safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which oversees safety in the workplace in the United States, has found that women, especially those in the construction industries, face different safety issues than their male counterparts. Women must battle inadequate training, hostile work environments and safety equipment that doesn't fit properly. Safe practices start at the top, which is why there are several programs that provide certification for supervisors who are in charge of safety in the workplace.
Safety Trained Supervisor (STS) certification comes from several different sources and is given to safety professionals in a supervisory role, as well as supervisors in charge of safety in their workplaces. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) sponsors the STS certification program, which is open to a supervisor or manager at any level in construction, petrochemical, mining and general industries. Geared more toward the safety professional, the National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP) offers the Certified Safety Training Specialist Certification. Specialty safety training certifications also exist, such as the Supervisor Training and Certification from the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS).
Depending on the program, a candidate for certification may have to fulfill certain eligibility requirements to earn the designation. Eligibility requirements include having good moral character, fulfilling a certain number of hours of experience as a supervisor, having a certain number of hours of experience as a safety supervisor and completing a safety-training course. For example, the BCSP requires one year of experience as a safety supervisor and 30 hours of formal training in safety courses. Along with an application process, candidates must pay application and exam fees.
Before earning certification, candidates for certification must also test their skills through an exam. Exams typically take place at a third-party testing center, such as Pearson VUE, and generally have a time limit. The BCSP exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, while the IAHSS exam has 50 multiple-choice questions. Some programs also include a classroom component, where students take certification courses online or in-person, like the NASP’s 40-hour course. Many providers also help prepare candidates to take the exams by offering study guides, workbooks, practice tests and other resources.
The work for a certification holder does not end after passing the exam. Most providers require certification holders to renew every few years -- typically every three to five years. Many certification providers offer several different options for renewal, including retaking the initial certification exam, earning additional advanced safety certifications from that provider or another related organization or taking continuing education or refresher courses.
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