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Special Thoroughbred Race to Celebrate ASSE, Laurel Racetrack Centennials

Posted in on Mon, Aug 22, 2011

Contact: Diane Hurns,; ASSE member Rob Alternburg, 410-278-3162

BALTIMORE, MD (August 22, 2011) – A special celebration of two October centennial birthdays will take place this October 19 at Laurel Park racetrack. In honor of the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) 100th anniversary, the ASSE Chesapeake Chapter, representing occupational safety, health and environmental professionals, has teamed up with Laurel Park, also celebrating its 100th anniversary, to hold “The ASSE 100th Anniversary Classic” race this October 19. ASSE was founded October 14, 1911, and the Laurel Park racetrack opened on October 2, 1911.

In addition to the special race, the ASSE chapter’s meeting to be held that day at Laurel Park will feature presentations on the safety aspects of working in the horse racing industry as well as a review of the regulatory requirements for public access automatic external defibrillator (AED) programs. Following the meeting, the “ASSE 100th Anniversary Classic” race will take place and the chapter will join the winning jockey in the winner’s circle. A finish line photo of the winning horse and a winner’s circle photo with the horse and jockey along with the trainer, owner, and others who work with the horse will be presented to ASSE as part of the 100th anniversary celebration.

The Maryland Jockey Club Safety and Environmental Director Patrick Wheltle, MS, CSP, EMT-B, and second vice president and membership chair of the ASSE Chesapeake Chapter, will be the key speaker in the Director’s Room at Laurel Park October 19 for the meeting. He will provide an overview of regional, state and District of Columbia (D.C.) regulations governing public access AED programs with an emphasis on Maryland regulations. The events begin at 1:00 p.m.

“Working for the Maryland Jockey Club provides for some unique and interesting challenges. In addition to ensuring the health and safety of patrons and employees, we have to deal with the safe interaction between the horses and the people that work with them. We also have to plan annually for the Preakness Stakes, which routinely draws more than 100,000 spectators,” Wheltle said.

ASSE was founded in October 1911 just months after one of the worst workplace tragedies in recent history, the March 25, 1911, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City. ASSE was formed by safety engineers and those in the insurance industry in New York City to enhance safety 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 ASSE not only has more than 34,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members but has moved forward over the decades on assisting with developments of products, services, programs, legislation and more aimed at preventing injuries and illnesses in the workplace.

“If you look back at the workplace before 1911 the statistics are harrowing when it comes to protecting workers from injury and illness. Over the decades we have worked together with employers, employees, regulators, legislators, inventors and more to develop programs and systems that prevent work injuries and illnesses. We are celebrating the positive strides made over the decades and looking to the future,” Chesapeake Chapter President Mike Wolf said. “Unlike in 1911, I am pleased that today the safety and health profession has become a major part of the fabric of business in our economy.”

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 recently listed in the top half of the Money Magazine’s Top 50 Jobs in America list;  ASSE’s members are located worldwide with 151 chapters, 35 sections and 60 student sections; a scholarship program for students and research; is secretariat for several American National Standards Institute (ANSI) committees and projects; serves as the Administrator for the U.S. Technical Advisory Groups (TAG) to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO); and provides technical publications and professional education programs.

The Maryland Jockey Club is a sporting organization dedicated to thoroughbred horse racing and was founded in Annapolis, MD, in 1743. It is chartered as the oldest sporting organization in North America. After 267 years it remains the corporate name of the company that operates: Pimlico Racecourse, , in Baltimore, Maryland, which opened in 1870, home of the Preakness Stakes TM — the middle jewel of the Triple Crown TM; Laurel Park Racecourse, in Laurel, Maryland, which opened in 1911; and, Bowie Race Track in Bowie, Maryland, which opened as a race course in 1914 and ceased operations as a track in 1985. The track now serves as a training center for thoroughbred racehorses.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment.  Its more than 34,000 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, healthcare and education.  For more information and to register to attend go to To view the new “ASSE – A Century of Safety” film go to

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