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COSS Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

For 20 years, the Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS) program has helped workers master the core competencies necessary to be successful in the occupational safety and health field.

Let’s have a look at the past 20 years.

COSS 20th anniversary


The Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS) designation concept is born.

It was realized that there wasn’t a comprehensive training package for practitioners in the field of safety and health. Too often, employees become responsible for safety in an organization, but is then given no guidance as to how to complete their job duties.

It was with this in mind that the forerunner of COSS, Certified Safety Coordinator (CSC), was conceived. The first class was held in November 2001.

After taking the COSS class, I feel 100-percent more confident and knowledgeable in my new position.

– Joe Eubanks, H&E Equipment Services

COSS graduate group photo


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 quite 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.

 …the best training course I’ve attended in a long time.

– Paul Amy, BP Amoco

COSS 20th Anniversary Collage


The course name was changed to Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS)

After several months of ongoing dialogue, many suggested improvements were incorporated into the program. Classes continued at a rate of 6 per year through 2003.

I am much better equipped to recognize, control and prevent hazards. Great course. A must for any technical professional.

– Brenda Maris, Georgia Gulf Corp.

COSS graduate group photo


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.

COSS Locations Image

2004 - 2014

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.

COSS is a great in-depth, knowledgeable, intense course to take. I feel I’m ready to help any company with all of their occupational safety needs after taking this quality course!

– Ron Briscoe, Deleon & Associates Oil & Gas

The informational video below was filmed in 2014 at a COSS course and contains sound-bites from students that attended the class.


In 2020, COSS launched a new website and held its first virtual program. Virtual COSS Series classes are offered in real time during live classes with expert instructors. Virtual courses feature the same innovative and rigorous curricula as in-person courses.

I am proud to have been part of the first virtual COSS class. It is a great program.

– James Summers, COSS graduate, via Facebook

COSS is continually working on improving its website to give prospective students and graduates the best experience possible.

COSS Website Image


20 years of helping workers be successful in the occupational safety and health field

With 14,500 COSS graduates from 48 states and 30 countries impacted by the program, COSS continues to grow and add additional ATPs across the U.S. and internationally. 

The best learning experience in my 13+ year safety career.

– Stephen Chapman, Entergy

COSS 20th anniversary collage


Enhance your career with the Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS) Series

Look no further than COSS, a curriculum-based program that caters to the needs of beginning safety practitioners, as well as experienced safety professionals in need of a refresher.