American Society of Safety Engineers’ Urge Legislators to Oppose Bill Allowing Guns at Work
Des Plaines, IL (April 10, 2007) — American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) professional member and chemist Edwin Granberry, Jr., of Winter Park, Florida, urged Florida legislators today to vote against proposed state legislation, SB 2356, that would allow employees, customers, etc. to bring weapons to work.
Founded in 1911, ASSE represents more than 30,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professionals including the 1400 who live and work in Florida, who strive each day to help employers make workplaces safe and healthy. ASSE members include safety professionals, industrial hygienists, hazard material managers, educators, engineers, ergonomists, occupational health nurses and others, all of whom are dedicated to preventing workplace deaths, injuries and illnesses.
“Because employers give our members the responsibility to help ensure workers are able to go home safe and healthy from their jobs each day, we urge legislators to reject SB 2356,” Granberry said. “If allowed to become law, SB 2356 would make the work of our members in helping keep workers and workplace property safe in Florida more difficult.
“This bill undercuts the right of an employer to determine how best to run a business. The heightened threat of violence in the workplace that comes with easier accessibility to guns on company grounds provides more than enough reason to oppose SB 2356,” Granberry continued. “The cost of workplace violence to employers alone has been estimated at $4 billion a year, which is supported by ASSE’s “2004 Workplace Violence Survey and White Paper”. ”
Granberry has 48 years of experience in the chemical process/explosive safety operations field from manufacturing nitroglycerin and high energy rocket propellants, processing orange concentrate and cattle feed, and serving as launch safety officer for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo manned space launches at the U.S. Air Force Guided Missiles Range at Cape Canaveral. He has served the state of Florida in many capacities including gubernatorial appointments to the Toxic Substances Advisory Council and the State Emergency Response Commission.
“Just look at the news today,” Granberry said. “Just recently we’ve seen workplace shootings in Georgia, California, Michigan and in Chicago last December, resulting in death. What more do you need?”
Granberry also noted that if SB 2356 were passed into law company owners would probably be facing newly created law suits for carrying out their long-standing responsibilities under established law to protect their workers and the surrounding community.
“Individual employers in Florida will lose the right to determine what safety measures are necessary to protect their workers,” Granberry said. “Our members’ professional ability to give advice to Florida employers will be undermined. And it means that Florida workplaces will be less safe.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics there were a total of 564 workplace homicides was recorded in 2005 (up from 559 in 2004).
“Employers must realize that under federal and state OSHA regulations they have a general duty to ‘furnish to each employee, employment and a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing, or likely to cause, death or serious harm to the employee,” ASSE member and co-author JoAnn M. Sullivan, CSP, noted in the ASSE 2004 Workplace Violence Survey and White Paper white paper. “Employers, under the theory of respondent superior, are vicariously liable for any actions committed by its employees within the scope of their employment. The employer is liable for actions of the employee when the employee is working, even if the employee is not acting within company policy.”
For a full copy of the “ASSE 2004 Workplace Violence Survey & White Paper” please go to http://www.asse.org/newsroom/releases/press394_survey.pdf. 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 30,000 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.