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“Safety has not been invited to the prom”

sustainabilityWe had the chance in Denver to sit down with Tom Cecich, CSP, one of the driving forces behind the Center for Sustainability in Safety and Health, to catch up on the Center’s activity.

First and foremost, the Center has made it its mission to make safety and health performance metrics a much bigger part of the global sustainability reporting requirements administered by the Global Reporting Initiative.

Initially, GRI said they did not detect any sense of urgency surrounding giving a bigger play to occupational safety and health in the next GRI reporting revisions, due out in 2013. “We need to hear about the need and ideas for what metrics to include from groups around the world,” GRI said.

So the Center went to work with a very aggressive global outreach effort. In the end, GRI received input from 85 OSH groups from 31 countries.

Suitably impressed, GRI determined that OSH would be one of four issue areas to be represented by working groups, made up of business, labor, NGOs and financial institutions that use the GRI sustainability report to evaluate businesses, and associations such as ASSE.

Five OSH metrics have been tentatively slated for refinement and incorporation in the upcoming GRI revisions: two relate to safety management systems, two relate to injury and fatality reporting (one for employers and one for contractors) and one relates to having safety and health practices embedded in a company’s supply chain.

“One problem we have is that there is no universal OSH metric,” said Cecich. “But we will move forward on these five metrics.” The work group will issue a formal proposal for OSH metrics by the end of summer, followed by a 90-day comment period. In May, 2013, GRI will issue its final revisions.

And safety will have danced at the prom.

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