As the safety movement expanded in the early 1900s, there was a need to train people who play a leading role for employers seeking to implement safety practices.

A common term for these front-line individuals was “safety inspector.” For some, their role was to visit operations and find fault. They saw the role as finding failures for implementing safety practices. However, many safety inspectors lacked knowledge. They did not know what to be looking for. Even more important, they did not know what hazards to be looking for, what unsafe practices may lead to injury or illness, or what means may eliminate the dangers on the job for the men and women who were at risk.

One of the organizations that emerged to help with safety training and education was the American Museum of Safety. (See The Archives of Safety and Health, Volume 2, Number 2, April 2019 for an article covering the creation of this organization in 1907 in New York City.) The primary role was to teach industry personnel and leaders, as well as the public, about hazards and achieving safety. The primary teaching medium was “exhibits,” the initial goal of the museum.

The media expanded with the introduction of lectures and published training materials. Concurrent with this change was the conversion of the American Museum of Safety to the Safety Institute of America, a change that helped expand safety training. It arranged to conduct a series of safety lectures at it facility in Manhattan and at facilities arranged by private companies. Physicians, safety engineers and corporate safety leaders prepared and conducted the lectures.

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