Peer Trainer Program

Our Mission

Every worker not only deserves a safe and healthy workplace, it is their right. CSEA’s Peer Trainer Program focuses on the most hazardous job duties that workers face such as road construction and maintenance, confined space entry, emergency response and working with dangerous chemicals. The main objective of the program is to eliminate all preventable fatalities and injuries that can result from such hazardous work. No one knows their work site better than those who work in it. This cost-effective, labor/management initiative creates an internal safety and health training structure that allows for a site-specific, compliant training for workers by workers.

For more information about how to start this program at your work site, please contact the Peer Trainer Program Coordinator at 1-800-432-4146, extension 1287.

How the Program Works

Based upon need, CSEA selects a course topic to be given as a Train-the-Trainer course. All CSEA members and their employers are eligible to attend as long as there is a commitment to bring the training back to their work sites. Class sizes for the train-the-trainer course are approximately 10-24 people based upon the topic and the hands-on activities required for the program. The Employer, along with the CSEA Local/Unit President, select two people that have a background in either training or performing that type of work and are willing to speak in front of others. At least one member of the team must be a CSEA member if not both. The employers give release time to the peer trainers to attend the 32-40-hour Train-The-Trainer course. CSEA provides all hotel accommodations, travel and meal reimbursement. CSEA Occupational Safety and Health Staff are the instructors for the course along with selected peer trainers who share their knowledge and expertise. After an intense week of training, the peer trainers go back to their workplaces to schedule and deliver the training. All employees are eligible to receive this direct training, not just CSEA members. At the first two trainings, a CSEA Staff Members is provided for technical and moral support and to ensure quality and accuracy in training.

Click here for Peer Trainer Program Requirements

Peer Trainer Program Course Offerings

  • Emergency Response to Hazardous Materials
  • Confined Space Entry
  • Hazard Communication/Right-to-Know
  • Temporary Traffic Control for Emergency Response
  • Trenching & Excavation for Emergency Response
  • Mold
  • Safe Refuse Collection
  • Asbestos Awareness
  • Lock-Out/Tag-Out

Click here for Peer Trainer Program Course Descriptions

Benefits of the Peer Trainer Program

Decrease in Injuries

Employers that have implemented comprehensive programs using the information gained from this program have seen decreases in injury rates at their work site. It is difficult to measure if lives have been saved; however since 2003, New York State has seen a 90% reduction in work zone related fatalities and another drop in fatalities due to harmful substances or exposures. (BLS 2009)

Cost Benefits

As participating employers have seen their injury rates go down, there is a decrease in lost work days and workers compensation claims. Taxpayer dollars have been saved with a decrease in lawsuits and the elimination of consultants and contractors that charge thousands of dollars for inadequate training or work that does not meet OSHA standards. Also some municipalities that are self-insured have seen a drop in premiums for having safety programs in check.

Employee Involvement & Empowerment

These fantastic peer trainers have all become safety and health advocates and they work hard to ensure that everyone in their workplace is properly trained and has the right equipment to do the job. With the knowledge gained from the courses, they are winning these fights and ensuring that they and their fellow workers stay alive and free from injury. In places where a fight was not necessary, joint labor-management health and safety committees have been formed or reinvigorated and meet regularly to address safety and health issues.

Management Commitment

This program has helped to gain or strengthen management commitment to safety. The peer trainers have worked to get top management, purchasing agents and government officials into the classes to buy in to the programs and help to get them the support and equipment they need to build a culture of safety within their workplaces.

New Equipment

Gas monitors, tripods, trench boxes, road signs, and personal protective equipment are just a few things that have been purchased by participating employers because of this program. Money saved by having an in-house training structure has turned into required equipment to be in compliance with standards and regulations.

Compliant Policies and Programs/Best Practices

CSEA’s Peer Trainer Program is not just about training. In addition, participants are taught how to put together a comprehensive and compliant program which includes hazard identification, hazard control, written programs, and program implementation and evaluation. Best practices are also discussed, encouraged and often implemented.

Trainer Network

Peer trainers are able to connect with other trainers from different municipalities, counties and state agencies. This has led to information sharing, more communication, sharing of resources, and discount buying of equipment.


Keys To Success

Dedicated Trainers

The most important key to this program’s success has been the Peer Trainers themselves. Their commitment, hard work and dedication is outstanding and as a result they all have produced high-quality, site-specific training that addresses what is really going on in their workplaces.

Labor/Management Cooperation

Management and Labor need each other in order to create a culture of safety within the workplace. There must be management commitment to safety and people who take responsibility for creation, maintenance and implementation of safety and health programs. It is also crucial to have employee involvement in this process to make sure the programs are effective. Giving all workers a voice and working together ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding safety.

Interactive Curricula

Course curricula are designed to draw from a variety of styles of learning. Every course has a hands-on section which not only caters to how most adults learn, but also shows an employer competency in a skill which is required by several OSHA standards. Activities and discussions are also important parts of these trainings as it provides a means of sharing ideas and experiences. These activities also provide a measure for the trainers to see if their participants understand the material. All curricula for this program are designed to be broad enough for a variety of audiences yet have the capability to be made site-specific to any location. Curricula are evaluated by both safety and health professionals and peer trainers to ensure that it meets requirements of the standards and remains practical and relative to the work site.

Public Speaking/Training Tips

Participants are taught the principles of adult learning, popular education methods and tips on public speaking. The participants also present during their week-long course at least three times to the rest of the class in a safe environment and are given constructive critiques. Course evaluations have shown that this is a vital step in making the participant feel comfortable and ready when they go back and train their peers. There are also discussions on the challenges of training and how to overcome those obstacles.

Trainer Support

Another unique aspect to this program is the follow-up and support given to the participants when they go back to deliver the training on their own. A CSEA Occupational Safety and Health Staffer is present for the peer trainer’s first two trainings, to provide support,technical assistance, and encouragement. CSEA staff is also there to help them deal with opposition, and to follow-up on issues that arise from the training. For some locals,labor-management agreements are created and memorandums of understanding are signed to ensure that the training goals are accomplished, the employers are in full compliance with the standards and that there is a return on investment.

CSEA holds an annual peer trainer refresher, where peer trainers come together, refresh their knowledge and get updates on their course topics. It is also an opportunity for them to learn new topics, to teach and network with colleagues and CSEA brothers and sisters from across the state. The CSEA OSH Conference also provides a similar experience for the peer trainers.


CSEA’s Peer Trainer Program is evaluated every step of the way. Evaluations are completed after every train-the-trainer course and after every direct training. The skills of the peer trainer are evaluated during and after their initial train-the-trainer and direct course. Peer Trainers regularly evaluate the program as a whole. All suggestions for improvement are taken very seriously and implemented if possible.