Introduction In the course of fast economic growth in Latin America, a wide range of production and services have been developed whereas the importance of occupational safety and health (OSH) in these sectors still remain at a low level. To improve this situation well-trained professionals are necessary. Finding a lack of local training we established an education program for OSH professionals from Latin America who might act as regional leaders in OSH training and research (train the trainer model).
Methods Based on a needs assessment, we developed a two-year blended learning Master consisting of onsite courses, project work and interactive online modules. Students receive theoretical and practical training in the assessment of working conditions, research skills and intervention strategies applying modern teaching methods and an international framework.
Results Since 2012, 91 OSH experts from 13 Latin American countries started the Master, 43 of them already graduated. After completing the program, over 80% of the graduates rate their knowledge in the OSH-fields taught in the Master as (very) high – compared to only one third before starting the program. Almost all graduates transfer this knowledge to their professional practice – even two years after completing the master. Today the graduates act as multipliers of OSH in their home countries by teaching at local universities, holding responsible positions and forming an international network. Over 70% of the former participants are still in contact at least once per month, realising further research projects, training courses, interventions and scientific publications.
Discussion According to the results, blended learning combined with modern teaching techniques and project work seems to be a successful approach for training in OSH. The participants get empowered to jointly organise own research and learning courses even after finishing the studies. This train the trainer concept might contribute to face OSH challenges in Latin America.
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