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KSTI Travels Near and Far for Workplace Safety

Middlesboro, Ky. –  For Don Webb, Jr., no job is too far off the grid. As director of the Kentucky Safety Training Institute (KSTI), developed through Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College (SKCTC), Don recently spent a week in Kalaupapa, an isolated settlement on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, training 13 National Park Service employees in heavy equipment operator safety and forklift certification.  


This was no ordinary visit to Hawaii, however. A National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service, Kalaupapa served for 100 years as exile for over 8,000 patients with Hansen’s disease—once known as leprosy. Today it is the home of 13 former patients who, although cured, chose to remain in the only home they have ever known. “I met several of these folks, “says Webb. “They lead quiet lives in relative seclusion.”


Kalaupapa can only be reached by an airstrip or a narrow winding mule trail down a treacherous cliff.  “No visitors are allowed except those who book a brief tour or those invited by residents. No children under 16 can visit, and no one can spend the night. We were really privileged to be allowed to stay,” says Webb.


This marks the fifth time KSTI has conducted trainings in the Hawaiian islands. It is likely not the last in Kalaupapa. “They have already asked us back,” says Webb, “so we will probably be working here again.”


For the next two months, however, Webb is staying closer to home conducting workshops for the National Forestry Service. He heads to Richmond, Kentucky later this month for equipment training and in September, George Washington Birthplace National Park in Popes Creek, Virginia for OSHA training.   


(Dr. Don Webb flanked by two NPS trainees)

Don Webb and students