Occupational Safety is taught every other spring (even years).  This course is required for masters students in Industrial Hygiene and Agricultural Safety and Health.  It is recommended for students who ultimately want to work in the field of occupational safety and/or health, including injury prevention, occupational health nursing, and allied specialties.  It is also recommended for students who may be managing workers (management, engineers, etc.) as this provides a basic understanding of safety rules and recommendations necessary to ensure a safe working environment.

Successful completion of this course requires self-motivation and reading outside of the classroom.  To facilitate useful in-class activities, weekly on-line quizzes are required covering reading assignments.  This way, classroom time can be spend reviewing key hazards, applying fundamental skills to case study discussions, and performing hands-on hazard assessments and remediation activities.

The course has two exams (take-home), weekly quizzes, and two projects.  The projects are intended to develop practical skills needed to demonstrate a student's ability to take fundamental knowledge from the classroom and apply it to guide others to prevent injury.  One project requires students to develop an educational PSA (video or automated/voice over PowerPoint) to a population of interest to the student.  (Examples will follow.)  The second project requires students to provide safety consultation to a local business (selected by the student) and generate useful recommendations and materials for their "client."  The course materials have many tools and ideas to assist in the completion of this project.

An example course syllabus for Occupational Safety is provided:  File OEH 5140-Safety_syllabus_generic.docx.

Student PSAs

(Note:  This web site right now only allows ppt files to be uploaded.  Other examples in wmv and mp4 formats are available but cannot be uploaded here. Stay tuned.)

Consulting Project

Students in Occupational Safety perform a consulting project for a local business (of their choosing).  From 2014-2022, 64 students provided this service to businesses in Johnson (69%), Linn (9%), Iowa (6%) and Mahaska (3%), Washington (2%), and Henry (2%) counties in Iowa and additional locations in Illinois (5%) and other states students call home (5%). The specific industry sectors, using 2-digit NAICS code, of these businesses that served as student clients are identified in the chart:

Sectors where students provided consultation


Each site who participated in this class project received a new or revised emergency action plan, complete with evacuation maps and recommendations for where to post them for employees and customers. 

In addition, at least two safety interventions were developed, which focused on mutually agreeable topics that the "client" identified as useful.  Students generated programs, training, and posters on these topics that were customized to the hazards at their clients' place of business.  The figure below identifies the range of topics that the students addressed over these four course offerings.

Types of interventions developed from 2014-2022


Work from Home Safety Project - 2020

In Spring 2020, with the COVID-19 epidemic shuttering businesses and sending students into the virtual classroom, many students needed to pivot their projects to reflect the new reality of working from home.  A subset of the class turned from their former "local business" client and adopted the new ranks of "work from home" workforce.  A web page was set up and students took a team approach to identify questions about safety when working from home, and developed a FAQ format of questions and answers with "take home" materials for workers to use to address ergonomic, mental health, slip/trip/fall, and electrical hazards in their new home environment.  Their project deliverables are available at https://occsafety.course.uiowa.edu/. (These are not tabulated in numbers above.)