ASSE prepared to help reverse trend of fatal workplace injuries


PARK RIDGE, Illinois — The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the world’s oldest professional safety organization, pledges to work with its extensive network of members and stakeholders to help address fatal occupational injuries that increased for the third straight year according to newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported there were 5,190 workplace fatalities in the United States in 2016, up 7 percent from 2015. The fatal injury rate per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers rose from 3.4 to 3.6 in the same period.

“Our goal as a leading occupational safety and health society is to bring best practices into the spotlight at all companies in every industry,” said ASSE President Jim Smith, M.S., CSP. “We know that more employers need to shift from a compliance-based approach to a risk-based strategy when addressing safety concerns. When that consistently occurs, we’ll see reductions in the fatal workplace injury rate across the country.”

ASSE, which has more than 37,000 members worldwide, recently has been involved in several efforts to produce safer work environments by helping to strengthen the role of the occupational safety and health professional.

In mid-December, ASSE convened its newly formed Hispanic Outreach Working Group to take steps toward multiple strategic objectives, including improved workplace safety for the vulnerable Hispanic population. A key component of this approach is raising awareness of the safety issues affecting this population through education for ASSE members as well as outreach to the Hispanic community.

In early November, ASSE brought together dozens of industry leaders and safety experts for a research workshop, knowing that additional scientific studies and a broad sharing of existing data are needed by safety and health practitioners to better protect workers. Attendees discussed the needs of safety and health researchers, identified gaps in current research, and explored how new studies could help generate solutions in various business settings.

“Putting more evidence-based data into the hands of safety professionals will enable them to better design and execute safety and health management programs, which keep people alive and healthy on the job,” Smith said.

In September, ASSE joined more than 40 organizations around the globe in the landmark signing of the Singapore Accord. Spearheaded by the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations, the Accord presents a global capability framework for the occupational safety and health professional that will raise competencies and increase the effectiveness of the role. The framework defines the roles, skills, knowledge and qualifications recommended for university-educated safety professionals and vocationally trained practitioners. It is viewed as a cornerstone of stimulating preventive actions and improving workplace safety.

“Having competent professionals practicing and promoting injury prevention is a key element in managing risk,” Smith said. “The global capability framework raises the bar and redefines the value of the safety professional.”

In May, ASSE crafted an “OSHA Reform Blueprint” that detailed its vision for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The proposal called for reforms to emphasize the management of risk, focus the agency’s efforts on the leading causes of fatalities, and fill legislative and regulatory gaps that limit OSHA’s ability to better protect workers. With more than 100 years of experience in the safety field, ASSE looks forward to working with new OSHA leadership in 2018 to advance workplace safety in a multitude of innovative ways.

About ASSE – Working together for a safer, stronger future

For more than 100 years, the American Society of Safety Engineers has been at the forefront of helping occupational safety and health professionals protect people and property. The nonprofit society is based in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge. Its global membership of over 37,000 professionals covers every industry, developing safety and health management plans that prevent deaths, injuries and illnesses. ASSE advances its members and the safety profession through education, advocacy, standards development and a professional community. Its flagship publication, Professional Safety, is a longtime leader in the field. Visit www.asse.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Media contact: Blaine Krage, 847.768.3416, bkrage@asse.org


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