American Society of Safety Engineers’ Chapter Leaders Rank Lack of Corporate Support One of Six Key Issues Facing Safety Profession
Des Plaines, IL (September 27, 2007) — When asked what were the top six issues facing the safety and health profession today, attendees at the recent American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Leadership Conference ranked lack of C-suite support for occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) initiatives as the number one issue.
More than 100 ASSE chapter officers from around the U.S., Kuwait and Australia met for three days at the ASSE conference here in Des Plaines. In addition to lack of corporate buy-in the other top six issues facing the safety, health and environmental profession identified in this survey in order are: 2 – the aging profession/workforce; 3 – lack of resources; 4 – (a tie) the need for more safety training and the need to increase a safety professional’s ability to market their value/improve their “enforcer” image; 5 (a tie) – globalization without safety education and not enough time or funds for professional development; and 6 (a three-way tie) – a shortage of SH&E college programs, increased job demands/job burnout, and outdated PELS.
“As we continue to meet the needs of our members we wanted to take a pulse of what the important issues facing our chapter leaders are,” ASSE President-Elect Warren Brown, CSP, said. “We took this opportunity at the Leadership Conference where our chapter leaders were gathered to ask them to take a blank piece of paper and write down what they thought the top six issues were facing the profession today. The responses from this unscientific survey were across the board and include issues that ASSE is addressing today.
“For instance we just sent hundreds of high school counselors in the U.S. a copy of the ‘Career Guide to the Safety Profession’ in an effort to interest more young students in the occupational safety, health and environmental field,” Brown said. “Through our executive summit, our Business of Safety Committee and other efforts, ASSE continues to reach out to companies to illustrate the business value of SH&E initiatives and processes.”
As conference attendees noted a need for increased CEO and supervisory support of SH&E initiatives one member noted, “the top dog should hold employees accountable and businesses must integrate safety into the overall business plan.”
Many attendees said there are not enough safety professionals being developed to meet the high demand for SH&E professionals with 10 to 15 years of experience, a demand expected to increase rapidly as “boomers” retire. Many also noted a lack of college programs to provide students with the training needed to enter into the SH&E profession.
An ASSE member noted, “Employers do not dedicate enough resources for safety training and tools, something that is very much needed in all industries.”
Others said SH&E professionals must take control and educate their co-workers, corporate management, contractors and vendors of the value the SH&E professional provides and to go beyond the minimum. One noted, “We must improve our ‘enforcer’ image.”
Another issue noted was the feeling of being overworked and stressed out. Some attendees also noted a need to increase the availability of information on international safety rules and regulations.
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 31,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education. For more information please go to www.asse.org.