The world’s oldest professional safety society, founded more than 100 years ago, will adopt a new name following a historic membership vote that was overwhelmingly in favor of the change. The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) will become the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) next year when it unveils a redesigned website in conjunction with Safety 2018 in San Antonio. The switch was approved by 74 percent of voting members.
Over a 45-day period that ended August 13, ASSE members around the world cast electronic votes on the new name. The final tally was 3,651 in favor and 1,267 opposed, easily reaching a majority decision. It also was no problem obtaining the minimum voting requirement of 1 percent of ASSE’s eligible members as 14 percent cast ballots. The new name had been unanimously recommended by the ASSE Board of Directors in January and was supported by its House of Delegates in June at Safety 2017 in Denver.
“Our members have clearly voiced that the American Society of Safety Professionals better reflects our diverse membership,” said ASSE President Jim Smith, M.S., CSP. “Engineers made up our entire membership when we were formed, but today the occupational safety and health profession encompasses many disciplines.”
The organization was founded as the United Association of Casualty Inspectors in 1911 as a result of a tragic factory fire that killed 146 garment workers in lower Manhattan. It was the deadliest industrial disaster in New York City history, and led to reforms that improved workplace safety. The Society’s name shifted in 1914 to the American Society of Safety Engineers.
Research conducted in 2016 with ASSE members, customers and stakeholders across the globe indicated that an updated brand with a clearer vision would better reflect the organization’s current membership and position it for growth. The study also found that a new name would help eliminate confusion about who could join the Society.
“Our members have always decided who we are and what we’re all about,” Smith said. “This latest vote was part of an objective process that has made us a strong organization for more than 100 years.”
ASSE’s logo will undergo small adjustments that correspond with its name change. The green shield will continue to display the organization’s acronym in gold letters within the four angles of a gold cross, but the “E” will be changed to “P.”
The organization will continue to be called the American Society of Safety Engineers until early June when it debuts a new website and makes the conversion to its new name in alignment with the Safety 2018 Professional Development Conference and Exposition. ASSE advances its members and the safety profession through education, advocacy, standards development and a vibrant professional community. Its members work in every industry, developing and implementing occupational safety and health programs that protect people and property while improving business outcomes.
“Workplace safety is constantly evolving, so our society must adjust as well to remain strong and relevant while growing our profession,” Smith said. “Our profession includes more occupations and industries than ever before. Our members are knowledgeable about everything from risk assessment and hazard control to workers’ compensation and organizational management, not to mention the more traditional aspects of safety management and engineering.”