Occupational Safety and Health Traineeship

The University at Buffalo is one of very few programs in the U.S. that offer two-year interdisciplinary graduate training curriculum in occupational safety and health (OS&H).

Lora Cavuoto's health systems lab.

Established in 2006, the program, which is funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, has graduated more than 30 students who are active members of the OS&H community. 

All MS students specializing in Human Factors Engineering/Ergonomics are eligible to participate in the program. Additional benefits of this training include a multidisciplinary learning experience, project experiences at local industrial worksites, networking with OS&H professionals, and continuing education certification courses at the Atlantic OSHA Training Center, which is located at UB at no extra cost to the student.

Project Directors

Director - Lora Cavuoto, PhD, loracavu@buffalo.edu

Trainee Fellowship

Stipends and tuition scholarships are available to qualified U.S. students who participate in this program. Those interested in applying for a Trainee Fellowship must first be successfully admitted into the MS Program and then should contact Dr. Lora Cavuoto for specific information about the application process.

Curriculum Requirements

Trainees must be MS students of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Program. To fulfill the MS course requirements, trainees complete the following:

  • IE 541: Human Factors in Safety (3 cr.)
  • IE 531: Human Factors Research Methods (3 cr.)
  • IE 507 or STA 503: Statistics (3 cr.)
  • IE 536: Work Physiology (3 cr.)
  • MT 600: Industrial Hygiene (4 cr.)
  • EAS 521: Principles of Engineering Management (3 cr.)

Students also complete the following as a trainee:

  • OSHA 7500/7505/7845: Introduction to Safety Management, Accident Investigation, & Record Keeping
  • Safety-related industry internship

In addition, trainees will attend monthly meetings of safety professionals and other safety-related seminars throughout the academic year.

Program Benefits

1. Trainees will gain core competencies in injury prevention, epidemiology and industrial hygiene.

2. Students will have a uniquely varied educational experience featuring academic courses, OSHA-endorsed continuing education training, and interaction with OS&H professionals.

3. Students will acquire OS&H field experiences through partnerships with industry and professional safety organizations, which will prepare then to enter the OS&H workforce upon graduation.

Course Descriptions

IE 541: Human Factors in Safety
This course reviews theories of accident causation, systems safety approaches for hazard assessment (e.g., hazard analysis, what if, failure modes effects analysis, and fault trees), prevention of common safety hazards, warnings, and training. The course is taught using a variety of case studies about accidents, product failures, and employer behavior. Students complete exercises individually and in groups in class, and complete a series of team-oriented field projects for homework. (3 cr., offered each Spring)

MT 600: Industrial Hygiene 
This course provides an introduction to industrial hygiene principles including the identification, evaluation and control of chemical, biological and physical hazards in the workplace. Environmental monitoring techniques, worker exposure measurement and application of control measures are covered. Toxicological principles, dose response relationships and toxicokinetics are also covered. (4 cr., offered each Spring)

OSHA Certificate Courses

OSHA 511: Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry 
This is a four-day certificate course for private sector personnel focusing on OSHA standards for general industry. Key general industry subparts are discussed in detail. Trainees participate in a hazard violation workshop to develop their ability to locate regulations that pertain to a variety of potentially dangerous situations. Trainees who successfully complete this course are able locate and apply OSHA Safety and Health standards, policies and procedures, utilize OSHA standards and regulations to supplement an on-going safety and health program, identify common violations of OSHA standards and propose appropriate abatement procedures for selected safety and health hazards. 

OSHA 7500/7505/7845: Introduction to Safety and Health Management, Accident Investigation, and Record Keeping 
This is a two-day OSHA certificate course designed to provide professionals with the tools necessary to effectively manage OS&H within an organization. The first course module (7500) provides a workshop for the effective implementation of a company’s safety and health management system featuring management leadership and employee involvement, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and safety and health training. The second module (7505) provides an introduction to basic accident investigation procedures and accident analysis techniques. The third module (7845) covers requirements for posting certain records, maintaining records of illnesses and injuries and reporting specific cases to OSHA (e.g., forms 300, 300A and 301).

MS Internship

For this project, trainees will engage in a hands-on experience that centers on the application and integration across coursework of OSH principles and methods in a real-world setting. It is expected that the trainee will lead a project in industry that leads to measureable improvements in key safety performance indicators. There are three phases to each project, with accompanying deliverables: project charter and business case, solution proposal and pitch, and solution implementation and evaluation. In addition to the project experience, trainees will demonstrate effective and professional communication skills. The project will include a company sponsor, and trainees will be expected to work at the company at least 15 hours per week

Program Highlights

The UB OSH Training Project is developing the next generation of the region’s OSHA Compliance Officers. Three of our past traineeship fellows joined the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as OSHA Compliance Officers: Shannon Kennedy, M.S., 2009 Philadelphia Area Office, Mark Fenzl, M.S., 2012, Albany Area Office, Albany, NY, and Maria Bejarano-Roderiguez, M.S., 2014, Buffalo, Area Office Buffalo, NY.  

Over the past few years, UB TPG students have completed an MS thesis. These projects covered a range of important and timely safety topics including violence in the workplace, safety training for temporary workers, universal design principles for safety programs, risk communication in the operating room, and auditory alarms in hospitals. Below are the titles for the theses:

  •  Association of Reported Non-fatal Injuries due to Violence Before and After Implementation of OSHA State Plan Standards in Healthcare
  • Safety in the Workplace: Differences between Permanent and Temporary Workers
  • Risk Communication during Robot-Assisted Surgery
  • An Analysis of Simultaneous Masking between Reserved Alarm Sounds of the International Standard
  • Universal Design Frameworks for Policies in the Workplace
  • Analysis of care planning activities across multiple care settings

Recent program placements:

  • Boeing
  • OSHA
  • National Grid
  • SUNY New Paltz
  • CONMED Corporation
  • Great Lakes Environmental & Safety Consultants
  • Amazon
  • Raytheon
  • Healthcare Human Factors


Relevant OS&H Links