Pioneering partnership creates online safety certificate program at UAB

Fully online program exceeds OSHA requirements, gives students a chance to learn best safety practices and earn undergraduate credit hours.

A first-of-its-kind partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association (VPPPA), a unique organization that comprises corporations that advocate best practices in occupational safety and health, has led to the creation of a new professional development certificate program at UAB. The fully online VPP Excellence in Safety Certificate Program will be offered by the UAB Office of eLearning and Professional Studies effective June 1, 2013.

VPP_certificate_sThe collaboration, announced today by the VPPPA, follows the rigorous criteria of the OSHA Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), which encourage corporations to meet a higher standard of safety than compliance with OSHA’s mandatory requirements. The curriculum is based on the four elements of VPP: Management leadership and employee involvement, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and safety and health training. The online program comprises six, three-week courses. It offers an opportunity for people working full-time in the safety field to quickly learn the fundamentals of safety best practices in a peer-to-peer environment under the instruction of safety and health industry leaders. Successful completion of each course will provide academic credit toward certain undergraduate programs at UAB.

“As a world-class research university, UAB is delighted to partner with a world-class professional association like VPPPA, which shares our commitment to push the boundaries of excellence in safety innovation to the highest possible levels,” said Martha Bidez, Ph.D., director of UAB’s master’s-level program in Advanced Safety Engineering and Management. “Creating first-of-their-kind, totally online professional education programs to advance best practices — like the VPP Excellence in Safety Certificate — is part of the DNA at UAB.”

“Creating first-of-their-kind, totally online professional education programs to advance best practices — like the VPP Excellence in Safety Certificate — is part of the DNA at UAB.”

The courses required to earn the VPP Excellence in Safety Certificate are Introduction to System Safety Management Plans, Hazard Identification and Control, Work Site Analyses, Management Leadership and Employee Involvement, Advanced Safety and Health Training, and Continuous Improvement. The program marks the first time in the VPPPA’s 30-year history that it has partnered with a university to develop and offer courses in best practices for safety and health education.

“We are very excited to be partnering with UAB in this effort to create a VPP Excellence in Safety Certificate,” said VPPPA Chairperson Mike Maddox, vice president for corporate VPP at NuStar Energy, LP. “We hope that instilling a culture of safety excellence in participants of this certificate program will help spread the principles of VPP to an ever-increasing number of worksites. VPP really is the best safety and health management system out there. Employees and employers alike stand to benefit greatly from learning about it and, hopefully, implementing it as well.”

Applicants must have a minimum of a high school education or GED equivalency. Email asem@uab.edu for more information about the program.

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