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Safety pros are “raising the flag of recognition”

June 18, 2012
KEYWORDS ASSE / illness
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The American Society of Safety Engineers’ outgoing President Terrie S. Norris, CSP, ARM, CPSI, of Long Beach, CA, a member of ASSE and the safety and health profession for more than 20 years, told the Safety 2012 crowd in Denver that more must be done when it comes to preventing work injuries and illnesses. President Terrie S. Norris

Here are excerpts of her speech:

“You know, occupational safety has seen much progress thanks to better laws and standards, improved protective technologies and growing recognition of safety's contribution to organizational performance.

“Yet, we all know that more must be done. The injury and fatality rates here and around the world are a call to action for all stakeholders in occupational safety and health. We must move past the plateau of complacency and cultivate a culture of prevention in our organizations, in our lives and in our communities.

“We must create an environment in which everyone embraces safety, values human life, and demonstrates that value in their actions and their decisions. One way we can foster a prevention culture is to grow and share our knowledge.

“Last October, we launched our Body of Knowledge tool. It contains nearly 6,000 assets, many contributed by members like you.

“This evergreen collection of vetted, technical information and expertise provides the guidance, research, and knowledge we need to advance occupational safety around the globe.

“To further instill a prevention culture, we must engage business leaders and demonstrate how our counsel can inform their decisions. By defining the profession's core competencies and addressing the importance of certification, we are creating a clear identity for our profession and showing that what we do supports and enhances corporate outcomes.

“By effectively communicating how injury and illness prevention can improve profitability and reputation, we are raising the flag of recognition for the safety profession. Furthermore, by identifying new roles in emerging areas, we are expanding our influence and extending our reach beyond traditional boundaries.

“For example, through the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability, we mobilized the global safety community to bring much needed attention to SH&E metrics in sustainability reporting, and we are pleased that the Global Reporting Initiative is forming a working group on occupational health and safety.

“Our Risk Assessment Task Force is defining knowledge and skills needs, and is working to engage the occupational safety and health community in moving toward risk-based approaches to managing safety.

“Our growing influence supports our strong presence in government affairs. This past year, we provided expert insight on noise exposure, nanotechnology and fall protection, and we supported the concept of a federal injury and illness prevention program standard.

“We also continued to advance our long-standing positions on risk-based regulations and the need for more SH&E research. And, we remained steadfast in our efforts to ensure that only qualified SH&E professionals manage complex safety and health risks.

“In addition, ASSE has grown into a leading developer of consensus standards that help employers address known hazards and implement best practices. This past year, we published 15 standards, covering construction and demolition, fall protection and prevention through design.

“All of these developments reflect our true strength - a growing and diverse membership made up of members like you. Our 152 chapters now serve nearly 35,000 members in more than 75 countries.

“With our growth comes an increased global presence. This past year, we participated in events in Brazil, Turkey, Canada, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, England and Australia.  Our newest chapter in India was launched to great fanfare, and we are exploring new opportunities in countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Mexico.

“As we grow our profession, improve current practice, and work to establish a prevention culture around the world, keep in mind that we are not only creating opportunities for ourselves, we are also opening new paths for future practitioners.

“As a recent NIOSH report revealed, more SH&E professionals are needed now and in the near future. We must continue to bring young people into this profession through events such as the Future Safety Leaders Conference, and we must support their professional growth through ASSE Foundation scholarships and grants.

As John Richards Jr. said, “When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: Those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.”

“As thought-leaders for this profession and advocates of SH&E professionals around the globe, let's continue to set the standard for professional excellence and be the ones who make the future happen. “

 

Background

The American Society of Safety Engineers’ Professional Development Conference (PDC) and Exposition, Safety 2012, which took place in Denver June 3-6 at the Colorado Convention Center, set new records.

The Expo was the largest ever, with 504 exhibitors taking up 80,000 square feet of space.

As for attendance, ASSE officials note that this is the second highest number of attendees in ASSE’s conference history for the PDC, with more than 4,250 attendees in Denver. This is second only to the last ASSE PDC held in Chicago in 2011 where 4,400 people attended.

This is ASSE’s 51st PDC. The first was held in Chicago in 1962. Next year’s PDC and Expo will be held in Las Vegas June 24-27.

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