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November 27, 2019

Spotlight on Safety: FREE Educational Materials for Vocational Instructors

By Anca Bejan
HealthPartners

October 1, 2019 marked the end of a five-year collaboration between HealthPartners Institute specialists in occupational safety and health – Anca Bejan CIH, Maryellen Skan MPH, David Parker MD – and auto body collision (ABCT) and machine tool technology (MTT) instructors from Hennepin Technical College, St. Cloud Technical & Community College, and Ridgewater College. The team worked on a federally-funded research study called TECHS (Technical Education Curricula for Health and Safety) to develop and test safety curricula.

(L to R) : Tom Phillips (HTC), Joe Wambeke (RC), Dale DeRung and Ryan Maas (SCTCC) at MTTIA in 2018 discussing their experience with implementing the TECHS materials and participating in a research study

The study results showed that students and college graduates with TECHS safety instruction knew more about safety and were working more safely than their peers without TECHS instruction. The timing and frequency of instruction were critical: the best results were achieved by students that completed two years of TECHS curricula: full modules in fall semester, the refresher modules in spring semester, and the shop safety rules at the beginning of each school year.

Dale DeRung and Ryan Maas doing a demo on the TECHS hearing protection module so the MTTIA seminar attendees were able to have a sense for how the TECHS classroom presentations look and sound.

All TECHS materials are now available for free on the study website: www.votechsafety.net. There are 27 modules (15 for ABCT and 12 for MTT – on topics such as fire safety, electrical safety, eye protection, and hearing protection), shop safety rules, student end-of-year tests, and instructor self-evaluations. Each module includes highly customizable classroom presentations, lab activities, quizzes, and homework, as well as additional materials such as fact sheets, accident reports, and alerts.

All TECHS materials are free! Please share these resources with your schools’ safety officers and vocational instructors teaching in high school and college programs. TECHS materials are easy to adapt (swap images, replace quiz questions, etc.) to make them specific to the trade, teaching facility, and equipment available in your school. A list of other safety and health teaching materials developed by other institutions, also available at no cost is available on the Resources page of the TECHS website.


The TECHS team especially wants to recognize the contributions of the following instructors as their participation was critical to the success of the study:

St. Cloud Technical & Community College

Dale DeRung, Loren Estwick, Ryan Maas, Tony Wolbersen, Daniel Edwards, Chris Raffety

Ridgewater College

Tammy Jablonski, Greg Ryder, Joe Wambeke, Jim Wallace, Kelly Rue

Hennepin Technical College

Ron Furchner, Tom Phillips, Bob Lund, Richard Granlund, Craig Barringer

  • For additional information about the study or assistance with TECHS curricula implementation contact Anca Bejan at anca.x.bejan@healthpartners.com or 952-967-7717.