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Corporate Executives Share Safety Perspectives at American Society of Safety Engineers Annual Conference

Posted in on Wed, Jun 27, 2007

Orlando, FL (June 27, 2007) — Know the business, develop management and leadership skills, partner, and be selective was some of the advice given by top executives from Textron, Carolinas Healthcare System, ABB, and IAP Worldwide Services during today’s “Executive Summit” at the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Professional Development Conference and Exposition here.

During the summit, business leaders discussed their views on the importance of occupational
safety and health in their organizations and the expectations business and industry leaders have of their company safety and health practitioners.

President of the Textron Industrial Segment Barclay Olson; Assistant Vice President for Carolinas Healthcare System Renee Rizzuti, NHA; President of IAP Worldwide Service David Swindle; and Senior Vice President of ABB Gerry Schepers participated in the panel where top executives discuss corporate safety needs and what they expect from their occupational safety and health staff.

They provided a wide array of real time examples and suggestions from a global perspective to the audience of close to 2000 occupational safety, health and environmental professionals.

When it comes to instilling the importance of safety among their employees, Rizzuti noted that safety is part of their core values along with integrity and carries over in the way they work with the general public and the community.

“The safety professional needs to be an integral member of the staff,” Schepers said. “He or she has to be a major part of the business, you must integrate safety into the rest of the business, don’t make it a stand alone.”

In answer to the question on how safety professionals can best work with line management, Olson said,

“Line management is very difficult because they must balance a great deal. Safety professionals need to tell them how to improve safety, which helps them in their job and the organization as a whole.”

When it comes to communicating, especially if an accident occurs, Swindle said, “A safety professional needs to be forthright, state the facts and try to keep the emotion out of it. As senior managers if someone is hurt or killed it is our responsibility to contact the family and to do this in the best possible way we need the facts.”

“Another thing is that we must learn to be more creative when delivering the safety message,” Schepers said. “For instance, let’s take seat belts. People know they can and do save lives, but still people are not wearing their seat belts. We have to develop ways to find and deliver a message that will change that behavior, to make everyone wear their seat belts.”

“I agree and another challenge we have is reaching a multicultural work force with those messages,” Olson said. “You have to develop and deliver messages to reach the global workforce.”

Rizzuti said some of the barriers to implementing new safety systems for them is budget related, “there is never a bad safety idea, but it is tough when we’re faced with having to choose such as when dealing with the capital budget.”

“You know, we get it, we get safety,” Olson said. “Today, you need to tell us how we can improve, what are the new solutions. Another piece of advice I can give is to develop management and leadership skills.”

“You need to partner, partner with other departments and you need to be selective with your information, be direct,” Swindle said. “Today everyone’s in-box is piled high.”

“Remember, authority is taken, not given,” Schepers said.

More than 3600 people from 44 countries are attending the June 24- 27 ASSE Safety 2007 conference here. The Orlando PDC Exposition set a new record for the number of exhibitors and space sold this year, selling 57,950 square feet compared to 52,780 last year in Seattle.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL –based ASSE has more than 30,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members located globally who manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education. ASSE is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. For more information check ASSE’s web site at www.asse.org.



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