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Vice President, Professional Affairs Candidate


James (Jim) R. Thornton, CSP, CIH



James R. Thornton, CSP, CIH, is the Director of EH&S at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding. HII designs, builds and manages the life‚Äźcycle of the most complex nuclear and conventionally powered ships for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard with 36,000 employees and annual sales of $10B.Jim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Auburn University and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Hygiene from Texas A&M University. Over the course of his career, Jim has successfully managed the Occupational Medicine, Workers’ Compensation, Environmental, and Health and Safety Departments. Jim is a CSP and CIH and has taught collegiate-level S&H Courses, and frequently provides expert testimony in S&H matters.

At HII-NNS, Jim directed efforts and programs to obtain “STAR” status in the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).  NNS is the largest site in the U.S., and the very first shipyard in the program. In addition, he led the NNS environmental program to ISO 14001 certification. He freely gives his personal time to his church and is Chairman of the Peninsula SPCA Chapter.

In 1999-2000, Jim served as President of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and is a recognized Fellow. He is currently serving the safety profession as Chair of the Government Affairs Committee and Council of Professional Affairs Committee of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). He is a recipient of the Charles Culbertson Award for outstanding volunteer service from ASSE, and more recently, the President’s award for his service to promote ASSE interests in Washington, D.C.

Platform Statement

I am committed to this noble profession. As safety professionals, it is our duty to ensure that every worker goes home safely to their family at the end of their shift. I have been fortunate to be able to help do just that over the course of my career.

The Council on Professional Affairs (COPA) serves as ASSE’s primary advocate for both the safety profession and professional in this regard. Serving on COPA and the Government Affairs Committee has provided me the opportunity to help influence legislators and regulators to make decisions that will improve worker safety by recognizing the work that we safety professionals do. We not only have the responsibility to ensure that applicable regulations are followed, but perhaps more important, also serve as the “moral compass” to ensure that risks to workers are appropriately identified and mitigated. Indeed, it is the continued advancement of risk assessment principles will serve to demonstrate our true value and ensure our sustainability. Accordingly, COPA must continue to promote the value that safety professionals provide to their respective organizations, advocate for cost effective regulations, and ensure our members are prepared to meet the future challenges that will be facing our profession.

If you re-elect me, I pledge to you to use not only my education and experience, but my deep passion for worker safety and love of this great profession to promote the interests of ASSE and its members, but also for American workers and their families.

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