ASSE Supports NY U.S. Senator’s Bill to Fund NIOSH, World Trade Center Health Program
Des Plaines, IL (September 29, 2010) — In a letter to Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (NY), American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) President Darryl C. Hill, Ph.D., CSP, said ASSE agrees with the support the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is provided by Senate Bill 1334 – the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009” to help ensure that those who were directly impacted by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, receive the health care services they need. The bill would fund the NIOSH World Trade Center Health Program.
“While we support in general whatever provision Congress decides is appropriate to care for those who responded through this legislation, ASSE is particularly concerned with helping ensure that Congress gives the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) the necessary funding and tools to fulfill the mission NIOSH is already undertaking to meet the health needs of these individuals,” Hill continued. “NIOSH is the only resource the safety and health community has for occupational safety and health research and education funding.
“If your bill is passed into law,” Hill said. “NIOSH will no longer have to rely on appropriations bills each year to fund the NIOSH World Trade Center Health Program. Your bill will also ensure that specific Congressional instructions on how the program should be operated will be in place. NIOSH’s overall mission needs the kind of certainty your bill would bring.”
Hill noted that NIOSH is working diligently to help meet the needs of those who responded to the World Trade Center tragedy. “ASSE had members who helped directly in the aftermath of this tragedy, working at Ground Zero to help rescue victims, secure the site, and clean-up and dispose of the debris,” Hill wrote. “We have heard our members’ stories and fully know the difficult environment in which they and others did their work. As safety, health and environmental professionals who help protect workers from the same kinds of health and environmental risks these workers faced, we also understand just how deeply the health of many of these people were affected.”
Like many, just after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 ASSE members from around the country mobilized to volunteer their occupational safety, health and environmental expertise; to donate equipment and clothing for the Ground Zero workers and families as well as food and needed supplies. Many traveled to New York City to assist in the clean-up operations. Also, the American Society of Safety Engineers Foundation (ASSEF) established the ‘America Responds Memorial’ scholarship on September 14, 2001 to honor those ASSE members whose lives were lost during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and, had dedicated their lives to protecting people, property and the environment. The first recipient of the scholarship Frank Disori said in 2003, ‘This is a real honor for me because until I saw the presentation about 9/11 and the World Trade Center clean up at ASSE’s annual meeting, I was unaware of the large number of ASSE members who were involved in the massive rescue and clean up efforts. I take this as a major compliment and I’m very proud.” The ASSE New York City Chapter alone had donated $10,000 to the ‘American Responds Memorial’ fund that year.
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please go to www.asse.org.