The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) honored members for their help as volunteers in reaching millions of people and thousands of businesses on the importance of being safe at work during May’s North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, May 3 – 9, 2009, and Occupational Safety and Health Professional (OSHP) Day, May 6, 2009, according to a recent press release. At the annual ASSE House of Delegates meeting held Sunday, June 28, in San Antonio as part of SAFETY 2009, ASSE members from Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington were presented with the NAOSH Champion award for going above and beyond in their ongoing volunteer support.

Due to ASSE member efforts and the NAOSH Champion award winners, the seventh annual ASSE “Safety-on-the-Job” kids’ poster contest was again a success with close to 1,000 entries from around the world with participants ranging from age 5 – 14. Through this contest, which awards those who best illustrate being safe on the job, ASSE and its members seek to educate children on the importance of safety and the occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) profession. This year’s NAOSH theme was ‘Safety Means Always Coming Home,’ as poster participants in the past have noted that workplace safety means their moms, dads and family members return home safely at the end of the day. ASSE members and non-members donated close to two million volunteer hours in their ongoing efforts to prevent injuries and illnesses by supporting the children’s poster contest and NAOSH events.

The ASSE NAOSH Champion 2009 award winners, those who went above and beyond not only this year but also in the past, are:
  • Charles E. Wigger Jr., CSP, of Chandler IN, safety director for Lamar Outdoor Advertising and an ASSE professional member, who led the efforts for Lamar to donate and put up billboards, across the U.S. in 10 locations, featuring 10 different ASSE poster contest winners increasing awareness of SH&E, the profession and garnering pride in their families, their schools and the ASSE members who sponsored them. Some of them are still up and can be viewed at
  • Mary Winkler, CSP, of La Plata, MD, occupational safety and health specialist for the Smithsonian Institution in D.C. and former ASSE National Capital Chapter president, who assisted in planning and coordinating the event donated by ASSE’s Region III (Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas) at the Smithsonian National Zoo in D.C. for the May 3 NAOSH activity, which included more than 100 guests. She also helped plan this year’s successful programs in Washington D.C. which took place on May 4.
  • Allen Yokoyama, CHST, OHST, STS, of Mililani, HI, safety administrator at Albert C. Kobayashi, Inc. and ASSE Hawaii Chapter president, who went above and beyond in meeting with the Governor of HI and mayors in Honolulu and the Mayor of the County of Hawaii, managing and being host to an SH&E safety day open to all in Honolulu, and working with the unions and members in being proactive in supporting worker memorial day and NAOSH Week/OSHP Day.
  • J. Anthony Blythe, CSP of Bowie, MD, safety director at W. A. Chester LLC and ASSE National Capital Chapter professional member, who garnered several NAOSH proclamations and again helped, with his family, at all the NAOSH events in Washington D.C.
  • Robert A. Adams, of Gresham, OR, safety manager at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF) and ASSE Columbia/Willamette Chapter member, who for the first time sponsored children of employees of CCCF in the ASSE kids’ poster contest, resulting in one of the five winners, Hayley Lemens, whose poster was also displayed in Pendleton, OR, on a Lamar Billboard. In doing so he also increased pride in CCCF and raised awareness of SH&E, the SH&E profession and ASSE. Hayley and her family, about 14 people, came from OR and CA to attend the D.C. events, and it also turned out that Hayley’s grandfather was a long-time ASSE member.
  • Michael A. Messner, CSP, CFPS, of Edmond, OK, loss control consultant for Union Standard Insurance Company and ASSE Oklahoma Chapter President, who again went above and beyond in securing a NAOSH billboard and proclamations from the local cities and states in Oklahoma.
  • Wesley W. Watkins of Moses Lake, WA, safety manager at Genie Industries and ASSE member, who for the past seven years has sponsored children in the greater WA/OR area to participate in the ASSE poster contest. He is a great advocate for SH&E, the profession and ASSE. Each year, one of the posters he sponsors, or more than one, place in the contest – this year it was two winners. Also, employees at his company, Genie, raised funds to send the two winners to the NAOSH events in D.C.
  • Employees of Genie Industries (Genie is a Terex Company and is located in Moses Lake, WA), who raised funds internally to pay for two of the poster contest winners Watkins sponsored, and their fathers, to fly from WA state to attend all of the D.C. NAOSH events. The two winners were Taylor Visker, age 9, of Moses Lake, WA, first place winner in the 9-10 age category; and Zachary Delano, age 13, of Ephrata, WA, fourth place winner in the 13-14 age group. The employees held many fund raising activities at their worksite.