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About OSH

Occupational safety and health is a specified branch of the health professions focusing on the worker/environment interface. Protecting America's workers and the general public from injury and illness in today's age of technological advancement has become one of the most challenging and rewarding professions available. Occupational safety and health professionals strive to identify, evaluate and eliminate or control hazards which expose people, property or the environment to danger or harm. The profession is concerned with prevention of injuries or occupational diseases that may occur with the interaction between the worker and the chemical, physical, biological, ergonomic, mechanical, electrical and other forces in the work environment.

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) program is multidisciplinary in nature, providing students with relevant exposure to basic sciences and behavioral science subjects as well as a thorough introduction to industrial hygiene and occupational safety concepts. A one-semester internship in the senior year of the program provides students with firsthand field experience in the practice of occupational safety and health. Internship placements are coordinated through the program director. Graduates of the program will find employment opportunities within industrial firms; insurance companies; construction companies; professional associations; local, state, and federal government; labor organizations; and many other occupational areas. Oakland's proximity to many of the nation's leading corporations provides a wealth of opportunities throughout the OSH curriculum, particularly for the internship and job placements.
& Objectives
Oakland University has a three-fold mission. It offers instructional programs of high quality that lead to degrees at the baccalaureate, master's and doctoral levels as well as programs in continuing education; it advances knowledge and promotes the arts through research, scholarship and creative activity; and it renders significant public service. In all its activities, the university strives to exemplify educational leadership.

The Occupational Safety and Health program contributes to the institution’s mission by offering a high-quality baccalaureate degree that meets the educational outcomes-based criteria established by an ABET accredited safety-related Bachelor of Science degree program. The educational objectives of the Occupational Safety and Health program are to prepare graduates to become effective safety and health professionals. During their first five years after graduation, graduates will demonstrate abilities to:
  1. anticipate, identify, evaluate, and control workplace hazardous conditions and practices;
  2. develop effective safe operating procedures and comprehensive safety and health programs to address identified hazards, conditions, and practices in a cost effective manner;
  3. support employees and managers in developing a positive organizational safety culture;
  4. work effectively with labor and management in an effort to address safety and health issues in the workplace;
  5. measure and evaluate occupational safety and health performance;
  6. conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner, and to
  7. pursue life-long learning, including formal training and educational opportunities, to stay both current and proficient in the practice of safety sciences and in the business skills necessary to make the business case for needed safety and health interventions in a changing global economy.
In addition to providing a high-quality educational experience, the Occupational Safety and Health program renders significant service to employers in southeast Michigan through cooperative education programs, internships and other experiential learning activities that enhance student learning and support area employers’ needs for health and safety services. The students in OU's OSH program have chartered a Student Section of the Greater Detroit Chapter of the ASSE and carry out community and campus safety-related public service projects as a regular part of their ASSE Student Section activities.
& History
The  Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health  degree program produces graduates who can function effectively as safety professionals on multidisciplinary teams that include occupational health physicians, occupational nurses, industrial engineers, environmental engineers, union representatives, hourly workers and corporate managers. This degree provides a strong health sciences core curriculum and general education component coupled with technical and professional knowledge required by individuals pursuing professional careers in accident prevention, loss-control management and supervision, inspection and control of industrial hazards, and industrial hygiene.

Career opportunities for graduates may be found in virtually every occupational setting, including heavy industry, light manufacturing, service industries, health care, insurance companies, labor organizations, and government service at the local, state and federal levels.

The  Master of Science in Safety Management  degree program aids graduates in making sound management decisions in the workplace as they relate to occupational safety, health and environmental issues.

A MSSM graduate will:
  • Possess the management skills crucial to protect employees, property and the environment. They will also be able to implement necessary interventions where appropriate to facilitate workplace safety in a cost effective way.
  • Demonstrate to top management and employees that safety in the workplace makes good business sense.
  • Contribute as a key member of an organizational management team.
  • Encourage employee participation by engaging them in the development of safety and health interventions, with the goal of improving safety and health in the workplace.
  • Implement safety and health programs and interventions that optimize unified business and safety performance.
  • Develop return of investment evaluations that demonstrate understanding for the financial and operational impacts of safety interventions on a business operation.
  • Identify strategies that align safety and health improvements with organizational priorities.

Occupational safety and health is a relatively new, and still emerging, career field compared to other professional studies at universities across America. None of today’s safety-related baccalaureate degree programs existed before the U.S. Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This act represents the first national legislation directed at ensuring the safety and health of America’s working men and women. The Oakland University Occupational Safety and Health baccalaureate degree, established in 1978, was one of the first such programs to respond to this national demand for increased safety and health in the workplace.

Since its beginning, OU's Occupational Safety and Health degree program has met the needs of southeast Michigan’s industrial community in responding to the increased national regulatory focus on workplace safety and health. A strong working relationship has developed between this program and automobile manufacturers, many auto parts and equipment suppliers, and a wide variety of other key employers throughout Michigan and beyond. The demand for program graduates is strong and growing, as evidenced by demand for a Master of Science in Safety Management degree program.

Michael K. Stamper, CSP, Senior Manager, Safety & Ergonomic Processes, Corporation, Chair OSH Industry Advisory Board

Patrick R. Frazee
, CIH, CSP, Manager, Health & Safety GM North America (retired), Full-time Adjunct Instructor, Oakland University

Darryl C. Hill
, Ph.D., CSP, Safety and Health Executive Director, Johnson Controls, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Oakland University


John M. Hoffmann, Ph.D., CSP, P.E., CEO, Safety Engineering Labs, Inc. 


Michael C. Nicholson, Director of Safety, Washington Division URS, Inc.


Edward G. Ratzenberger, CSP, CEO, Safety Council of Southeast Michigan (retired)


Stephen R. Smith, CSP, Senior Loss Control Representative, Chubb & Son 

Andrew “Pete” Wood, Jr., Health/Safety Supervisor, Sterling Stamping Plant, DaimlerChrysler Corporation


Gary Weinstein, CPCU, CIC, ARM, Loss Control Manager, The Hartford


Malcom E. Dunbar, Vice President – Procurement & Safety, EDW. C. LEVY CO.


Ray Nelson, Vice President, 3-D ETC, Inc. 

Thomas J. Martin, CIH, CSP, Manager, Safety & Industrial Hygiene, DTE Energy

Barbara Ondrisek, 
U.S. Health & Safety Auditor/Trainer, Magna Health & Safety Department

Katherine Z. Rowley, 
Director, Office of Graduate Admissions, Oakland University 

Thomas W. Schenk, Ph.D.
, Corporate Epidemiologist, General Motors Health Services


Wendy Burkett, Regional Safety & Security Manager North American Manufacturing Operations, Ford Motor Company

Jessica Morales, 
Safety & Health Assistant, North America, ABB Inc

Melissa Sawa
, Occupational Safety & Health Undergraduate Student Representative


Rebecca Zaror, Master of Science in Safety Management Graduate Student Representative

in OSH
The following is an excerpt taken from the American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) website.

Since safety professionals provide technical assistance in identifying, evaluating and controlling hazards, safety professionals work virtually anywhere where people might be exposed to hazards. There are positions for safety professionals in every part of the United States and in other countries.

No matter what a company’s business is, its employees can encounter some type of hazard, either at work, getting to and from work or at home or play. Even working at a computer terminal can be hazardous, producing long-term injuries to the hand and wrist, back or other parts of the body. Whether a company does manufacturing, mining, transportation, agriculture, chemicals, fuels production, construction, or provides services, it will always face hazards in some or all of its operations. It is likely that the company would employ or contract with one or more safety professionals.

It is common for companies to employ safety professionals at particular work sites. At corporate offices, safety professionals can coordinate the hazard control activities away from the work sites. Some college graduates in safety begin as Assistant Safety Managers at small plants or company work sites. After a period of training and successful performance, the graduates may advance to Safety Director at a small plant. Later, they may advance to similar positions at larger facilities.
Baccalaureate degree students graduating from the Occupational Safety and Health program at Oakland University will demonstrate ability to:
  1. enter the industrial health and safety profession as a generalist with the skills necessary for success;
  2. use the techniques, skills and modern scientific and technical tools necessary for professional practice;
  3. be proficient in written composition and oral communications;
  4. apply knowledge of mathematics and science to analyze and interpret data necessary to resolve safety and health related issues;
  5. anticipate, identify and evaluate hazardous conditions and practices;
  6. formulate hazard control designs, methods, procedures and programs;
  7. function on multidisciplinary teams;
  8. recognize the impact of solutions within a global and societal context;
  9. understand ethical and professional responsibility;
  10. pursue successfully graduate study in health and safety; and
  11. appreciate the need to continue professional development through graduate study, professional certification and to become lifelong learners.