In an ISHN exclusive, Rick Pollock, CSP, founder of CLMI training company, and the incoming president of the American Society of Safety Engineers, describes the road ahead for both ASSE and the safety profession:
“One challenge facing ASSE and the profession is the combination of the state of the global economy and the focus on the presidential election.
“These are challenges because they get in the way of our message about the values of the SH&E profession and the importance of a sustainably safe workplace. I know ISHN has written lately about the lack of national attention on safety-related issues, and have questioned if it will ever be raised to the level of public awareness. At ASSE we believe that it is an important strategic initiative not only to raise the awareness of all employers, but to move them off the plateau of complacency.
“We are working to help business leaders see the importance of safety. The current article in the Harvard Business Review is a major assist. Safety simply is good business and ASSE has started an initiative to help smaller employers understand that having a safe workplace is not difficult and it translates to increased profitability.
The global economy is also an issue that we will continue to watch closely. Helping our members increase their value through learning opportunities like Safety 2012 and the pre- and post-seminars is an important step.
“But the early successes of the Center for Safety Sustainability may be just as important. With the input of the Center, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for measuring the success of business sustainability efforts will include specific questions about safety performance. This GRI system is used by nearly all major companies across the globe, and as a result raises the importance of safety performance to the Board and shareholders level.
Another issue facing ASSE is our success. While other SH&E professional organizations have been losing membership and holding conferences that are under producing, ASSE continues to grow. Our membership is nearing 35,000, which represent an increase of over 1,000 in just one year, and Safety 2012 is the most successful conference in business terms that the Society has ever held.
The EXPO continues to break records and is increasingly seen by our exhibiting partners and sponsors as the place to be. So this success raises expectations. The ASSE Board of Directors is very much aware that our members expect an ever-increasing set of services and that we must deliver. Association members have many places they can spend their precious time and resources, so ASSE, its chapters and practice specialties must continue to improve services and the overall experience of our members.
Lastly, ASSE must continue to work to have our voice heard. In the end, our goal is to move our members up the business organization, so that when policy is being discussed and decisions made the voice of safety is a part of the process.