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ASSE Members’ Receive NAOSH Champion Award For Making a Difference

Posted in on Mon, Jul 19, 2010

Des Plaines, IL (July 19, 2010) — With 5,214 people dying from work-related injuries in 2008 and millions more sustaining on-the-job injuries and illnesses, American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) members work not only at their job protecting people and property, but in their spare time as well. Seven ASSE members recognized by their peers for doing just this were awarded the ASSE North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week Champion award at its annual meeting in June in Baltimore for going above and beyond.

The NAOSH 2010 champions are Heather J. Earl, CSP, of Lake Buena Vista, FL; Mary E. Winkler, CSP, of LaPlata, MD; Christopher Helser, CSP, of Onancock, VA; Michael A. Wolf, of Chesapeake, MD; D. Kevin Earp, of Charlotte, NC; Laura A. Comstock, CSP, of Lexington, SC; and F. Robb Altenburg, of Washington, D.C. Despite the economy, these ASSE members made it possible for families to travel to Washington, D.C., to be recognized at the U.S. Capitol and the U.S. Department of Labor, for providing access to behind the scenes operations at the Smithsonian, reaching hundreds of communities in FL, MD and VA, with best practices and much more.

F. Robb Altenburg, of Washington, DC, a safety specialist for the Smithsonian Institution, worked with Mary Winkler, CSP, and the Smithsonian Institution’s Associate Director for Fire Protection and Safety J. Andrew Wilson to organize a ‘behind the scenes at the museums’ event for poster contest entrants, their families and ASSE members in Washington, D.C., May 3. He is a member of the National Capital Chapter. ASSE received close to 1,000 poster contest entries from around the globe.

Along with her South Carolina Chapter where she is president, Laura Comstock, CSP, of Lexington, SC, sponsored a poster contest winner and the winner’s family to attend the NAOSH Week (which ran May 2-8, 2010) recognition and kick-off events with several officials in Washington, DC, at the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Zoo. The family had suffered an economic setback and the chapter stepped in to make sure their local winner of the international ASSE contest and the family of five could be a part of this once in a lifetime event.

Heather Earl, CSP, of Lake Buena Vista, FL, is manager, safety and health operations for Walt Disney World Resorts. She spearheaded the Central Florida Chapter drive to educate students about work safety and to sponsor more than 100 entries in the 8th annual ASSE kids’ Safety-on-the-Job’ poster contest for those aged 5-14. In addition, Earl and chapter members gathered a record-breaking 17 proclamations from FL cities, counties and from Florida Governor Charlie Crist. A long-time member, Earl has supported these efforts while working in Arkansas and now Florida. Go to to view the proclamations.

D. Kevin Earp, of Charlotte, NC, director of safety for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools not only promoted the ASSE ‘Safety-on-the-Job’ kids’ poster contest in his area schools, but he spearheaded the chapter efforts to sponsor a local poster contest winner and the winner’s family of four to attend the NAOSH Week events in Washington, DC. Earp is a professional member of the ASSE Tarheel Chapter and also works with local sports teams.

ASSE member Christopher Helser, CSP, of Onancock, VA, formerly of Wisconsin, along with his wife Dawn and daughter Abigail supported NAOSH Week kick-off events and the poster contest awards for several years both in VA and in WI schools and businesses. He works for the growing NASA-Wallops Island group, and is a professional member of the Greater Tidewater Chapter. The Helser’s daughter is a ‘safety-on-the-job’ poster contest winner.

Mary Winkler, CSP, of LaPlata, MD, is a safety professional for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo and is a professional member of the National Capital Chapter. She spearheaded a NAOSH Week event at the Smithsonian Institution to allow ASSE members, guests and poster contestants to learn first-hand about safety when it comes to the Air and Space Museum, archaeological digs, giant squids, the rainforests and more. Winkler has reached out into her community’s schools and the region sharing safety and health expertise for many years, especially during NAOSH Week. Here, ASSE Past President C. Christopher Patton, CSP, presents Winkler with her award.

ASSE Chesapeake Chapter President Michael Wolf, of Columbia, MD, is EHS manager for EVI-ITT Intelligence & Info Warfare. He contributed to NAOSH Week again this year by helping with key logistics and proclamations, arranging for several volunteers and served as a local ambassador to NAOSH Week for about 300 visitors from around the U.S. and Canada – ASSE members, poster contestants, their families and more. He also provided insight into the role of a safety professional in the many greater D.C. area businesses.

ASSE officials note that on-the-job fatality rates in the U.S. have been going down in recent years, yet fatalities are still occurring at workplaces, they note, ‘that don’t value safety, don’t look at risks and solutions, don’t turn to safety, health and environmental professionals for the needed input and guidance to help make their workplace a safe one’. ASSE officials note that during an economic downturn is not the time to cut safety and health programs. These cuts can only lead to a reduction in safety and an increase in health costs, turnover, production delays, customer dissatisfaction and more. NAOSH Week is just one of the tools ASSE members and partners use each year the first week of May to increase awareness of the importance of being safe at work and of the occupational safety, health and environmental profession.

ASSE, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), and the more than 50 OSHA Alliance Partners (corporations and associations), reach hundreds of thousands of businesses and millions of people worldwide, with best practices and solutions on how to increase workplace safety during NAOSH Week.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. It has more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members located worldwide. For more information please go to or to for statistics.

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