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Members Converge on Greater Chicago to Celebrate ASSE’s 100th Birthday at Leadership Conference

Posted in on Mon, Oct 17, 2011

For Immediate Release Contact: Diane Hurns, 847-768-3413,


DES PLAINES, IL (October 14, 2011) – Occupational safety, health and environmental professional members and leaders of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) meet this week in greater Chicago to celebrate ASSE’s 100th birthday October 14, review the strides made in workplace safety this past 100 years and to look ahead to the challenges of the next 100 years at the ASSE Leadership Conference.

ASSE was formed in New York City on October 14 just months after one of the worst workplace tragedies in recent history — the March 25, 1911, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City. On that day in March 146 women and men garment workers died as a fire broke out and consumed the 8th, 9th and 10th floors of the Asch Building. Due to lack of fire protection at the factory and locked doors, many of the workers jumped to their deaths out the windows to the ground below and down the elevator shaft trying to escape the fire. Although fire sprinklers had been invented in the 1800’s they were not installed at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and there were no regulations in place to protect workers and prevent injuries and illnesses. The deaths and the fire caused major outrage leading to sweeping changes in workplace safety throughout the U.S. The fire also led a group of safety and insurance professionals to found ASSE with the mission “to promote harmonious action in safety work and to educate members in all matters relating to industrial safety and accident prevention.”

Today, occupational safety and health is a key component to a successful company’s business plan; the occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) profession continues to grow and was listed in the top half of a Money Magazine Top 50 Jobs in America list; ASSE has more than 33,000 SH&E practitioner members located worldwide with 151 chapters, 35 sections and 60 student sections; a scholarship program for students and research has grown making sure the profession continues to grow as does work safety in all industries; ASSE is secretariat for several American National Standards Institute (ANSI) committees and projects – standards used by business and safety professionals alike; ASSE serves as the Administrator for the U.S. Technical Advisory Groups (TAG) to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO); and ASSE continues to provide technical publications and professional education programs.

For the 100th birthday celebration October 14, ASSE will be host to a three-day leadership conference for close to 200 ASSE chapter leaders at the Westin Hotel in Lombard, IL, which will include a panel discussion by ASSE’s board of director members on the past 100 years and the future of workplace safety for the next 100 years. The panel discussion will be led by ASSE President Terrie S. Norris, CSP, ARM, of Long Beach, CA. This will be followed by the cutting of a large cake to be shared by all. The conference also includes sessions for attendees on a variety of topics including leadership; chapter infrastructure and operations; working with student members; ASSE products and services; and, a discussion on how occupational safety, health and environmental members continue to be a positive force in their communities.

“October 14 is a benchmark day for workplace safety, health and the environment, for the public and for the thousands of safety professionals located everywhere,” Norris said. “We’ve made major positive strides in the past 100 years in preventing on-the-job injuries and illnesses and will continue to do so. Our members and future safety professionals are ready to face new challenges, risks, and environments as the world continues to change every second. But in the long run, we will always work to make sure that workers leave the job injury and illness free to return home safely every day or night to their families and friends. This is what safety means to us, whether it’s 1911, 2011 or 2111.”

Founded in 1911, the 100-year-old Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 33,000 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 view ASSE’s ‘Celebrating a Century of Safety’ video at as well as the brochure ‘The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire/ASSE History’, the ‘Safety–through-the-Decades’ poster and more.

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