EMU Renews Relationship with OSHA through OTI Education Center Program

For over 25 years, Eastern Michigan University Professional Programs and Training (EMU PPAT) has partnered with the United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to be one of the nation's leaders in educating professionals on the topic of health and safety in the workplace.

The relationship is set to continue as EMU PPAT has once again been chosen to be an OSHA Training Institute Education Center and signed a 5-year renewal this past fall. OSHA selects the non-profit organizations that become Education Centers through a rigorous application process based on their organization's occupational safety and health training experience, staff experience, location and training facilities, marketing and administrative capabilities and leadership commitment.


25+ Years Of Health & Safety Education

When you think of workplace safety, you think of OSHA. Since 1971, OSHA has been working to make workplaces safer all over the country. The Education Center Program Network was started as an extension of the OSHA Training Institute - the primary training provider for OSHA. Eventually, demand for training from private businesses and federal agencies grew past the OTI's capacity, and in 1992, the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Center Program was created.

It wasn't too long after, in 1996, that EMU was selected to be one of the OTI Education Centers. It already possessed a strong health and safety program and a partnership with the UAW Health and Safety Department, but the partnership with OSHA propelled EMU to be one of the premier health and safety programs for working professionals.

Today, the OTI Education Center Program Network features 27 Centers, comprised of 37 member organizations throughout the U.S. According to the OSHA website, OTI Education Centers trained 250,000 plus participants from 2017 - 2021.

Overseeing EMU PPAT's OSHA Education Center is Beth Stoner, Director of Business Engagement and Non-Credit Initiatives. Stoner also directs the activities of the Great Lakes OSHA Education Center at EMU and serves on the OTI Education Center national network's Executive Committee.

"Partnering with the OSHA  Office of Training and Education gives us a lot of credibility as an occupational safety and health training provider," says Stoner. "It's really an honor to be one of the select organizations across the United States that are part of this OTI Education Center Network."

What You Can Learn From the Great Lakes OSHA Education Center

Great Lakes OSHA Education Center logo
Great Lakes OSHA Education Center logo


"We offer fifty individual OTI Education Center classes," Stoner details. "In addition to these OTI numbered courses, we offer other compliance-based courses that aren't necessarily part of the OTI Education Center program, but are occupational safety and health-related."

Some of those classes that expand outside of a typical OTI Education Center offering include things like industrial robot risk assessment, hazardous waste operations, or U.S. Department of Transportation compliance.

Some of the OSHA number courses that will be available this winter include OSHA #2015 Hazardous Materials, OSHA #2045 Machinery and Machine Guarding Standards, OSHA #2225 Respiratory Protection, amongst others.

In addition to its occupational health and safety open-enrollment courses offered virtually and in the classroom, PPAT also offers certificate programs, where participants can earn a credential after completing a certain number of courses that showcase a concentration of knowledge. EMU also offers on-site classes that bring a trainer from the Great Lakes OSHA Education Center directly to your facility.

Certificate Programs

"EMU offers five different certificate programs," Stoner explains. "In addition, there is a national program, the Safety and Health Fundamentals Certificate, that's offered through all of the OTI Education Centers. The certificate itself is issued by the OSHA Office of Training and Education."

The Safety and Health Fundamentals Certificate is built to support OSHA's mission to reduce incident rates among workers and can be earned by completing a minimum of 7 courses.

At EMU, there are two levels of certificate programs, those that are open to anyone regardless of experience, and the second level which does require a certain level of experience. The certificates open to anyone are the Safety and Health Associate and the Safety and Health Professional.

"The Safety and Health Associate certificate is made up of courses that are common for people who are new to safety. For example, the OSHA #511 Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry class is one of the required courses, and that particular course goes over all of the different general industry standards and gives an overview of what they are and what's required to be in compliance."

The Safety and Health Associate certificate also requires OSHA #7500 Introduction to Safety and Health Management, a high-level overview of safety in the workplace, as well as OSHA #7505 Introduction to Incident (Accident) Investigation.

"Introduction to Incident Investigation is usually a one-day class but we offer it in a two-day format because we have an awesome instructor and that's one of his areas of specialty," adds Stoner.

The certificate program that requires some level of experience is the Safety and Health Specialist, which requires at least five years of occupational safety and health experience. Participants can earn the certificate in either general industry or construction.

"It's a train-the-trainer program, or a portion of it is," describes Stoner. "It includes a two-course series that qualifies participants to become OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainers, eligible to teach 10- and 30-hour Outreach classes and issue cards from the Department of Labor to their students."

In addition to each certificate program's required courses, there are electives that can be customized to each participant's industry or focus.

EMU also offers a digital credential for many of its safety courses and certificate programs. Digital credentials help workers, managers, professionals, and those in career transition showcase a specific set of skills, competencies or experiences attained through the completion of professional courses and certificates at Eastern Michigan University.

On-Site Classes

One of the unique advantages of the EMU Health and Safety program, outside of being an OTI Education Center, is that it can provide on-site safety and health training. For businesses with schedules that are difficult to coordinate, bringing the expertise of an OTI Education Center directly to your door can be an extremely cost-effective option.

Any of the OTI Education Center courses can be taught on-site. Additional on-site course topics include:

  • Confined Space
  • Fall Protection
  • Forklift
  • Lead and Asbestos
  • RCRA
  • Robotics
  • Silica
  • Transportation
  • Trenching

"For on-site classes, we come to you to train a group of people in your organization," explains Stoner. "A company would come to us and say, I have a group of people who need this particular training program, either to stay in compliance with the OSHA standards or they may have possibly been cited. Or they may have seen an uptick in injuries or illnesses related to a particular topic in their workplace. There are a lot of reasons why companies come to us for on-site training."

On-site classes can be customized to your group's particular needs, contact EMU PPAT for more info.

EMU OSHA Education Center Looking Forward

"Our team is excited to launch this next five-year chapter with the OTI Education Center Program, " Stoner says. "We have a solid team of seasoned instructors who consistently get high evaluation scores for their expertise and training facilitation. Our program management, teaching assistant, and customer support team members consistently look for ways to add value and provide a high-quality learning experience for our class participants and certificate program members."

"Over the past two and a half years, we've honed our experience in delivering the popular virtual instructor led training (VILT) classes and will continue to offer those. We're also starting to get back to more classroom training - on EMU's main campus, at our host site location in Midland, MI, and on-site for our corporate clients."

The Great Lakes OSHA Education Center Consortium (which includes EMU PPAT, the University of Cincinnati, and the UAW Health and Safety Department), trains about 1700 participants per year. Given its 25-year history, that means tens of thousands of workers in the Great Lakes region have made their work a safer place to work, thanks in part to the training offered at EMU. And with the 5-year renewal of the EMU and OSHA partnership, the EMU OSHA Education Center will continue to be one of the nation's leaders in workplace safety.

As Beth Stoner eloquently put it, "We're an extension of OSHA's mission to help every worker come home safely at the end of every day."