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History of COSS®

COSS History

The Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS) designation began as a concept in 2001. It was realized that there wasn't a comprehensive training package for practitioners in the field of safety and health. Too often, an employee becomes responsible for safety in an organization, but is then given no guidance as to how to complete his or her job duties.

It was with this in mind that the forerunner of COSS, Certified Safety Coordinator (CSC), was conceived. The first class was presented in November 2001, and additional classes were scheduled every other month through 2002.

The CSC course was built around four key elements:
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Roles
  • Behaviors

These elements were all integrated to address the identification and mitigation of hazards in the workplace by relating them to regulatory standards.

It soon became apparent that some things would have to change due to several realizations, such as:
  • There was great potential and need for a new program
  • In order for the potential and need of a new program to be realized, much development work was required
  • CSC, as a designation, was a liability because it was too similar to other, already-known safety designations

In late 2002, the CSC program was overhauled. New course objectives were written, a new textbook was selected, and the student workbook was revised. Additionally, tests and quizzes were developed, PowerPoint presentations were created for every element of the training, and a comprehensive instructor guide was developed. Additional exercises and activities, such as compliance moments, were incorporated into the program.

In 2003, the course name was changed to Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS). After several months of ongoing critique, many suggested improvements were incorporated into the program. Classes continued at a rate of 6 per year through 2003.

In 2004, several new Authorized Training Providers (ATPs) came on board. These ATPs included Louisiana State University's Department of Continuing Education; Louisiana State University's School of Construction Management; the Pacific Safety Council in San Diego, CA; the Houston Area Safety Council in Houston, TX; the Great Lakes Safety Training Center in Midland, MI; and the Tennessee Valley Training Center in Decatur, AL. These partners began hosting classes at their locations, and in 2004, there was a total of 13 COSS classes held across the country.

From October 2004-2014, the COSS program was certified by the American Petroleum Institute (API). Additionally, recognition by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) was granted in July 2005.

Today, COSS continues to grow and add additional ATPs in areas that have a need for safety and health training. If you would like more information on becoming an ATP for COSS, click here.