SBIR E-Learning for HAZMAT and Emergency Response

  • Program Type
  • Grant Award
  • Submission Deadline
    Aug 16, 2022
  • Supplemental Funding Available (Y/N)
  • Eligibilty Requirements (Y/N)

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications from small business concerns (SBCs) that propose to further the development of Technology-enhanced training products for the health and safety training of: hazardous materials (HAZMAT) workers; waste treatment personnel; skilled support personnel associated with an emergency/disaster; emergency responders in biological hazard response, infectious disease response, and medical waste cleanup; emergency responders in disasters; and worker resiliency training. Technology-enhanced training products as defined by the Worker Training Program (WTP) include, but are not limited to, online training, mobile device training, virtual reality, and serious gaming. These advanced technologies complement all phases of training from development to evaluation and can enhance, supplement, improve, and provide health and safety training for hazardous materials workers. These products must complement the goals and objectives of WTP. The major objective of the NIEHS WTP is to prevent work related harm by training workers in how best to protect themselves and their communities from exposure to hazardous materials. The financial support for this initiative comes directly from NIEHS Worker Education and Training Branch SBIR funds.

Funding Opportunity

This SBIR Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) focuses on the development of e-Learning health and safety training products from a variety of delivery methods to assist both students and instructors in the training and education process. Note that all products must be directly related to the health and safety training of workers exposed to hazardous materials (HAZMAT). Workers that may be exposed to these hazards include, but are not limited to, workers cleaning up Superfund sites; waste treatment personnel; skilled support personnel associated with an emergency or disaster; emergency responders in infectious disease response and disasters; and environmental restoration, waste treatment, and emergency response workers at sites under the mission of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management and other DOE sites. Products are encouraged that support proficiency and competency in distance learning, that complement face-to-face hands-on demonstration, and that support and allow training addressing literacy and cultural challenges.

NIEHS encourages applicants to review the SBIR E-Learning for HAZMAT Program, to pursue partnerships and collaboration with NIEHS WTP awardees, and to design new technology-enhanced training methods or e-Learning products that can enhance the existing NIEHS-supported curricula and training programs while adhering to the Minimum Health and Safety Training Criteria: Guidance for HAZWOPER and HAZWOPER-Supporting Training. Applications to assist NIEHS with its internal management and operations are not permitted, will be considered non-responsive, and are not appropriate for this FOA. For this particular announcement, applicants must review the descriptions of current and prior NIEHS WTP SBIR awards and avoid duplicating the exact curricula, subject matter content, and technology of these awards. Products must support health and safety training objectives or frameworks and not just be a method for information dissemination.

The following three areas describe the type of products that will be supported under this SBIR FOA.

A. Products to support e-Teaching in safety and health training: E-Teaching in safety and health training encompasses products that assist trainers/instructors in developing and delivering safety and health training in a number of environments ranging from classroom to remote learning situations. Potential products include, but are not limited to, products aimed at peer-trainers or worker-trainers; trainers needing assistance with language, literacy, or cultural differences in the classroom; trainers needing assistance in developing small group activities and other teaching methodologies; products supporting training in disaster scenarios; and technology applications for broadcasting safety and health classes and resources to remote learners.

B. Products to support e-Learning in safety and health training: E-Learning in safety and health training involves technology deployment to provide individualized or small group-based training in learning centers, in a technology-enabled "smart classroom," or to a learner's desktop, cell phone, laptop, or tablet. This might also utilize social media applications. As a technology-enhanced training option, e-Learning is used to enable individualized learning, at the learners' convenience and own pace, prior to, as part of, after, or in place of classroom training. This includes topic-oriented training products that address clearly identified health and safety issues involving hazardous materials and emergency and disaster response.

C. Technology-enhanced training products to support the safety and health training: of workers exposed to known, emerging, and new hazards from disasters; disaster preparedness and response resiliency training; job training for underserved and vulnerable workers; and health and safety training for emerging industries and technologies. E-Learning products for the safety and health training of disaster preparedness and response workers exposed to hazards from disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, oil spills, infectious disease, wildfires, and terrorist attacks are needed. Additionally, this program will support e-Learning products for the training of individuals in the Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP) with the goal of preparing and training underserved and vulnerable workers for careers in environmental remediation, green industry, and construction jobs. WTP will also consider technology-enhanced safety and health training products that provide training for the opioids and substance use national disaster; technology products to support training in disaster preparedness and response resiliency training; and e-Learning technologies to support safety and health training in emerging industries and technologies such as climate change/resilience, environmental justice, and alternative energy.

There is likely a need for short, incident specific awareness training that can be delivered during the disaster recovery period including training on issues such as confined spaces; blood borne pathogens; personal protective equipment; hazard assessment; fire watch; first aid/CPR; site safety; working around heavy equipment; physical threats such as heat stress, fatigue, and shift work; fall protection; and psychological stress. WTP will consider advanced training technology tools to provide training in these areas.

Future Phases

Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.