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CSSE Professional Development Conference

“Prevention Through Global Partnerships”
Calgary, Alberta

Welcome Remarks

By C. Christopher Patton, CSP
American Society of Safety Engineers President

Monday, September 21, 2009


Thank you very much.  It is indeed an honor to be invited to come to your conference here in beautiful Calgary.  It is with great pleasure that I bring you greetings from ASSE and its 32,000 members around the world.  Thank you Art, Eldeen, and the rest of the CSSE Board of Directors for your hospitality and your invitation to be here today.

Our organizations have enjoyed a wonderful friendship.  This friendship has brought tangible benefits to both of our societies.  For example, your invitation to participate in NAOSH week has resulted in a partnership which has brought great success over the years to this important event.  It continues to grow stronger and more visible throughout North America while attracting attention internationally.  This year, ASSE received hundreds of children’s poster contest entries from around the world.  Especially from our Kuwait chapter.  So I would like to thank you for your friendship and your partnership as we work together to support our members.

We are facing difficult economic times.  The economy struggles to recover and employers are increasingly tight with budgets.  Layoffs and cutbacks have affected many of our members.  There are SH&E professionals losing jobs due to reductions in force and plant closures.  ASSE is diligently delivering the message to employers, the public, and the media that SH*E professionals are not expendable.  Safety should not be the place to look for reductions.  In fact, a company can have significant competitive advantage by continuing to invest in SH&E during the hard times.  This will reinforce their positive company image so when the economy does improve, they will recover quickly.

Companies have seen that an investment in safety has a positive impact on the bottom line.  Letting these systems fall apart means losses in efficiency, productivity and profitability.  Therefore, maintaining these systems during a struggling economy is critical to survival.

And in order for a safety manager to be successful today, they must understand how they contribute to their organization, and how to sell the value add proposition to their employer.  This means understanding the business and the language that goes along with that.  It means integrating safety into everyone’s roles and responsibilities so that it is viewed as a value, not a task.  But, I am preaching to the choir…

On another note, the U.S. has a relatively new administration and a new regulatory mindset.  Enforcement… STRONG enforcement seems to be the message we hear.  Our Occupational Safety and Health Administration will set the bar high and will help ensure all employers are providing a safe and healthful place of employment.  For our members, and for you who are attending this conference, you know that good management systems, good risk control programs, will take you far beyond compliance.  You should be commended.

Despite the economic difficulties, you have chosen to be here.  You are investing in your careers, your programs, and in the safety of your workplaces.

One of our key partnerships is with you, the members of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering.  We salute you and look forward to continuing to work together throughout the year on all issues that affect work safety, health, and the environment.

I salute your CSSE leadership team, the hard working folks that I have come to know over the years.  They go above and beyond in increasing awareness of being safe on the job, advocating for you, the profession, and CSSE… Not only here, but around the world.

As I wrap up, I want to say Thank you and invite you to consider joining us in Baltimore, Maryland next June to attend our professional development conference.

Thank you for all that you, every day, to prevent injuries and illnesses.  We applaud  you.  Thank you for having me and enjoy the conference!

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