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General questions about the Foundations for Safety Leadership (FSL) course

What is the course about?

The Foundations for Safety Leadership (FSL) training module is designed to introduce construction workers, particularly those with supervisory responsibilities such as foremen, to safety leadership principles and give them the skills to be a safety leader who can help create and sustain safe and productive job sites.

Everyone, from the company owner to the experienced foreman and new trainee/apprentice, needs to own safety and be a safety leader.  Effective safety leadership can help a company implement its safety program and safety policies, improve safety culture and safety climate, and reduce incidents that lead to injury and illness.

Who developed the FSL course?

A research team (RT), a curriculum development team (CDT), and instructional design specialists worked collaboratively for 1½ years to develop the FSL course.  The RT includes researchers from CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of Colorado Denver with expertise in leadership and safety climate. The 17 member CDT is made-up of construction industry experts, including experienced OSHA 10- and 30-hour outreach trainers, construction workers, safety and health professionals.

Who funded the development of the FSL?

The funding came from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, as part of their 5 year cooperative agreement with NIOSH – the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  Since 1990, CPWR has been doing research and training to improve construction worker safety and health and is now considered a world leader in the field. (

How is Safety Leader defined in the FSL?

A safety leader has the courage to demonstrate that s/he values safety by working and communicating with team members to identify and limit hazardous situations even in the presence of other job pressures, such as scheduling and costs.

What leadership skills are covered in the FSL?

How to: Lead by example, Engage and empower team members, Actively listen and practice 3-way communication, Develop team members through coaching and feedback and Recognize team members for going above and beyond for safety

What teaching materials are available to instructors?

There is a comprehensive set of teaching materials including a power point presentation with embedded videos (PC or MAC), an instructor guide and student handout, and a pdf of a wallet card and hardhat sticker that can be sent to an on-line printer.

Is the FSL module only for construction?

While the current version of the FSL was designed for construction, other industries may want to use it as a starting point or template.  For example, they may want to use the foundational material contained in section 1 about the costs of ineffective leadership and the benefits of effective leadership, but revise the 7 real-world scenarios to realistically reflect situations in their own industry.  We recently developed a Create Your Own Scenario tool that may help folks do just that.  See contact at the end of this FAQ for more information.

Questions about using the FSL in a 30-hour outreach course or company safety program

Is the FSL training module only for supervisors and foreman/lead workers, or can anybody take it?

The module was designed specifically for construction supervisors and workers, including but not limited to, superintendents, forepersons, stewards, lead persons, because they are often responsible for implementing safety on the construction site.  However, every construction worker and manager could benefit from learning these 5 leadership skills and applying them on the jobsite.

Will all 30-hour training classes include the training?

No. The FSL is a 2.5 hour elective.  Your OSHA 30-hour outreach trainer will be familiar with it, but may or may not choose to include it as part of the 30 hours of training. You can request that s/he include it.

When will I be able to take the FSL training?

The FSL became an official elective in the OSHA 30-hour outreach course beginning January 1, 2017.

Can the FSL training be taken as a separate class or seminar?

Yes.  Anyone can download all of the FSL materials at CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training website and use the materials as part of their own safety and health training program.

Who will provide the FSL training?  Where?

Different types of trainers can take the opportunity to include the FSL in their classes including, without limitations, authorized OSHA outreach trainers, company and union safety and health trainers, consultants that focus on construction safety and health.

The training is available through OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers as part of their 30-hour outreach course (if the instructor chooses) and can be part of company and union training programs.

Will the FSL training be available as an on-line course?

Currently there is not an on-line version of the FSL because an important part of the training involves student-student and student-instruction interactions.

If I take a 30-hour outreach course that includes the FSL training, will my card show that I’ve taken the FSL module?

The OSHA 30-hour Construction Outreach student course completion card will not list the FSL training on the card.

Do instructors need special training before they can teach the FSL material?

There is no special training needed to teach the FSL course. Of course, if possible, the instructor would benefit from taking the course first. And we strongly encourage all instructors to spend time becoming very familiar with the content of the instructor guide and learning about their audience before teaching the course.  The guide contains teaching tips as well as lots of questions and ideas for activities designed to engage the students in classroom discussion.

How do I learn more about the 10- and 30-hour OSHA Construction Outreach Training Program class?

This link will take you to the OSHA Outreach Training Program webpage

Can the FSL program be broken up into smaller modules?

OSHA’s Directorate of Training and Education has stated that the minimum time that can be spent on the FSL module is 2.5 hours. This 2.5 hour time period should be uninterrupted except for breaks.

Can I add other leadership material to the FSL module?

A number of trainers have added power point slides that make additional leadership-related points or provide examples that resonate with their audience.  We want trainers to “make the training their own” but would hope they do not change it in a way where it loses its powerful and proven message.

Impact of the course to date

What are some experiences construction companies who have used the FSL had so far?

We contacted construction safety and health directors and construction workers that have taken the training and asked them how the FSL skills have affected safety at their jobsite.  Here are some of the things they said.

“A large carpentry contractor holds a daily mass (+100 workers) huddle each morning.  The contractor was experiencing large variation in the field.  The FSL training support the contractor’s decision to reduce daily huddle into smaller related teams each lead by an FSL trained worker.  Almost immediately, the contractor noticed increased participation and less variation in the field.” 

“When we have meetings, it seems like employees are more comfortable asking questions and it seems like the foremen take the time to answer them.”

“I think they’re more aware when they do their morning safety meetings, their morning huddle. They do more each day. I also see them take a little more time when they’re talking about the work that they also cover the safety implications of that work. Try to get more input from the employees on their crew instead of just giving instructions. I see them more likely to ask for input.”

“Certainly shortly after the training I saw a significant amount of it trying to encourage employees to learn more and participate more. Not just following instructions but participating in the whole process and developing employees.”

“The foreman is doing more to develop individual employees and the lead guys on those crews to be able to take over a crew if they leave the site to give them more responsibility and allow them, encourage them to ask more questions about the work to be able to take over more safety responsibilities for that group.”

“A lot more people are submitting pictures to us on job sites where there’s hazards, and what we do when we get those from our foremen. After we recognize the employee in the field that mentioned that to us, we give them a $20 gift card to Home Depot, in front of everybody.”

“…the training, that talk about communication was great for those guys, because it opened their eyes on some of the guys that weren’t doing.”

How will the FSL training be evaluated for its effectiveness?

The FSL research team is working with companies around the country to implement the FSL and gather data from trainees and their crew members before and after the training to determine if the skills were learned and are being used on the construction site.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions about the FSL?

Dr. Linda M. Goldenhar at [email protected]