Worker training for new threats: A proposed framework

Clifford S. Mitchell, Mary L. Doyle, John B. Moran, Bruce Lippy, Joseph T. Hughes, Max Lum, Jacqueline Agnew

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: In an effort to identify health and safety training needs for various groups of workers related to weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons and high yield explosives (CBRNE), a conference, "Worker Training in a New Era: Responding to New Threats," was held at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in October 2002. Methods: Two questions were addressed: Which general skills and knowledge are common to all workers who might be exposed to terrorist threats from CBRNE weapons? What are the particular skills and knowledge relevant to these threats that are specific to workers in different sectors? Results: Thirteen core components for pre- and post-event training were identified. Pre-event training applies to all workers. Post-event training applies to selected personnel including first responders, skilled support personnel, and other workers involved in these operations. Recommendations to improve worker safety training related to preparedness include: identify specific competencies for worker pre- and post-event training; coordinate Federal policy on worker training for CBRNE hazards; adopt federal guidelines or standards on worker training for new CBRNE threats, based on the competencies and coordinated Federal policy; conduct an inventory of training pro grams and other resources that could be used or adapted for use for new threats; and develop new training content and methods for pre- and post-event training to address specific competencies. Conclusions: Given the possibility for the introduction of CBRNE threats into the workplace, all workers need some training in the potential hazards involved: the individual worker's specific role in an emergency; incident command; activation of the emergency notification system; use of personal protective equipment (PPE); and safe evacuation of the workplace. While some occupational sectors have developed effective training related to these new threats, there is a need to develop, implement, and evaluate training programs across many different sectors of the workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-431
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Bioterrorism
  • Emergency response
  • Hazardous materials
  • Occupational
  • Terrorism
  • Training
  • Weapons of mass destruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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