Eastern Kentucky University has renewed an agreement with the United States Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center to provide credit courses in the CP-12 safety program at Fort Rucker in Alabama.
Representatives of the University and the Army met on the Richmond campus on March 20 to sign a memorandum of understanding that will provide for up to six hours of academic credit in the University’s graduate program in Safety, Security and Emergency Management for the successful completion of the CP-12 (safety and occupational health) program. The renewed partnership runs through June 2020.
The current CP-12 iteration, designed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Training Institute Education Center (osha.eku.edu) at EKU with courses taught on the Eastern campus and at the nearby Blue Grass Army Depot by EKU faculty, is a seven-week program for civilian personnel operating within the Army or Air Force. The program encompasses safety requirements identified by OSHA for military application.
“Safety and occupational health specialists have become an increasingly integral part of all military operations, regardless of branch,” said Dr. Brenda Miller, senior safety director and functional chief representative for CP-12. “Army leaders at all levels of command rely on safety and occupational health professionals to ensure Army readiness. A commander's ability to identify, analyze and control high-risk hazards is critical to mission accomplishment, whether overseas supporting contingency operations in a deployed environment or at home conducting training and security cooperation exercises with our military partners. Therefore, both the Departments of Army and Defense have deemed certain career series within the Army's Career Program 12 as mission critical occupations,” according to the Fiscal Years 2016-21 Strategic Workforce Plan Report. “Safety and occupational health professionals are among those deemed mission critical.
“These professionals are trained to advise, administer, supervise, and perform work in the field of safety and occupational health far exceeding the administrative level,” Miller continued. “They are deploying to tactical environments, involved in peacekeeping operations and participating in joint exercises, continuing to meet the challenging assignments demanded of them at installations and activities all over the world.
“They are anticipating and identifying hazardous conditions and practices; assessing risks; developing hazard control designs, methods, procedures and programs; implementing, administering, and advising others on hazard control initiatives; and measuring, auditing, and evaluating the effectiveness of accident prevention programs.”
Until this year, the courses had been delivered at Fort Rucker. The 2017 class of approximately 30 CP-12 students is spending seven weeks at EKU and the nearby Army depot participating in OSHA workplace safety courses. Once the students complete the EKU training courses, along with their military coursework and assignments at Fort Rucker, they will be eligible for six graduate hours in the University’s 36-credit-hour master’s degree program in safety, security and emergency management. Approximately 500 are currently enrolled in the program, the only program of its type in the U.S. that is nationally accredited. (For more information about the program, visit ssem.eku.edu/safety-security-emergency-management-master-science.)
All entry-level CP-12 interns complete a two-year program – a mix of online training, formal training at EKU and the Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker, developmental assignments at an industrial base and at a brigade, and the remaining time in specialized and on-the-job training. Interns who complete the formal training program acquire the Certified Safety and Health Official designation from EKU, an approved OSHA Training Institute Education Center.
For each CP-12 iteration, the OSHA center at EKU provides the following courses: Standards for the Construction Industry, Electrical Standards, Hazardous Materials, Applied Fire Safety Protection, Recordkeeping, Confined Space, Standards for General Industry, and Accident Prevention.
Miller commended EKU for its responsiveness and flexibility.
“The instructor cadre does an outstanding job of working in a military environment to ensure our students obtain the requisite knowledge in safety and health,” she said. “These educational initiatives will benefit all safety and occupational health professionals assigned to support organizations within the Department of Defense.”
Miller said similar educational partnerships with EKU might be explored in the areas of fire, explosives safety training and occupational health.