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Hawaii Safety Professionals Enhance Workplace Safety For All, Garner International Recognition

Posted in on Wed, Nov 25, 2009

Des Plaines, IL (November 25, 2009) —
While economists predict Hawaii’s economy may not stabilize until next year, the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Hawaii chapter members continue to work to enhance workplace safety and health while garnering international recognition. They are also preparing for a major safety conference next May.

Out of more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professional ASSE members located worldwide, the Hawaii Chapter won the 2008 “Small Chapter of the Year” award at ASSE’s annual Professional Development Conference (PDC) last June in San Antonio, TX. The award recognized the chapter’s activities and contributions to the profession and their community. This included sponsoring the informational 2008 10th Biennial Governor’s Pacific Rim Safety and Health Conference in Honolulu. During the conference, local and national ASSE members met with Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, State Director of Labor and Industrial Relations Darwin Ching, and Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Operations Manager Jamesner Dumlao to discuss working together to provide a safer Hawaii.

In addition to these efforts, the chapter joined with the Pacific Resource Partnership to promote the occupational safety and health profession to teachers and counselors of the Department of Education Construction Academy Schools. Members have also mentored small businesses in establishing their safety programs in a state venture known as “Pathway to Success”. The chapter also donated funds to the ASSE Orange County Chapter’s California Wildfire fund for victims of the fire.

Hawaii chapter members recently recognized by their peers include: Dan Vasilash, Chapter Safety Professional of the Year (SPY) award; Jim Newberry, CHST, the Risk Management/Insurance (RM/I) Practice Specialty (PS) SPY award; and Allan Yokoyama, CHST, OHST, STS, the annual ASSE North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (NAOSH) Champion award last June. He helped arrange for a NAOSH proclamation to be signed by Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann along with proclamations from Hawaii Governor Lingle and Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr., the County of Hawaii Mayor Billy Kenoi, the County of Kauai Mayor Bernald Carvalho, Jr., and the County of Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares. Members also held a safety, health and environmental day in Honolulu last May and supported Worker Memorial Day in April.

As ASSE Hawaii Chapter member Fred Nakamura said at the signing of the NAOSH proclamation by Mayor Hannemann, “Here we go to make history. I felt a deep appreciation for the safety professionals, not only in that room, but also worldwide, who work diligently to keep their co-workers out of harm’s way.”
ASSE Hawaii chapter officers are President Neil Yamamoto, CSP, CPCU; President-Elect Craig Shoji, CHST; Secretary Howard Hendricks, CSP; Treasurer Mary Silva, CSP; Past President Joanna Clark, CHST; Member at Large Mark Behrens, CSP; Membership Chair John Ramos, CSP; Newsletter Editor Les Onaka, CSP; Government Affairs Barbara Goto, CSP; Student Section President Marie Aldover and Webmaster Jim Newberry, CHST.

The chapter will be host to the 11th Biennial Governor’s Pacific Rim Safety and Health Conference in Honolulu at the Hawaii Convention Center May 5-7, 2010, a venue featuring close to 60 educational sessions and exhibits. Prior to the May conference, a National Fire Protection Association’s 70E Standard will be held on January 21 at Fort Shafter and an Associate Safety Professional (ASP) certification study course will be held in 2010.

Occupational safety and health professionals work in all industries preventing harm to people, property and the environment by applying principles from engineering, education, psychology, physiology, enforcement, hygiene, health, physics and management. Some of their responsibilities include: hazard recognition, training, fire protection, ergonomics, designing safety into products/architecture/workplaces, hazardous materials management, accident and incident investigations, strategic planning, product safety, developing and managing work safety programs, engineering out workplace risk, environmental prevention, contingency planning and response, and much more.

The ASSE Hawaii Chapter was founded in June of 1951. 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 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional 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 or

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