The Western Australia Chapter is one of the newest additions to the ASSE. Ratified in 2005, the chapter has just developed a short-term strategic plan, and it aims to increase its membership to over 200 by 2008. In this interview, Brian Brown, Executive Officer and Board Secretary of the Western Australia Chapter, describes the accomplishments the chapter has made thus far and explains their goals for this year.
What is your role in the Western Australia Chapter?
I am the Executive Officer and Chapter Board Secretary. My role is modeled according to the guidelines found in the Council on Member and Region Affairs’ (CoMRA) 2005 administrative files.
What do you believe have been the chapter’s most significant accomplishments?
In 2005, the chapter was ratified, which proved to be a milestone for the Western Australia safety fraternity. We also developed a short-term strategic plan for 2006-2008.
How does the Western Australia Chapter recruit and maintain members? What kinds of benefits or services does it offer?
The Liaison Committee Membership and Inaugural Board members have generated most of our recruitment. However, the recently formed Membership Subcommittee plans to achieve the target numbers as outlined in our Strategic Plan—200+ members by 2008. Membership will, as has been the case to date, be drawn from both tertiary and non-tertiary qualified persons from within the profession.
The ASSE currently makes benefits and services available for members; however, these will be addressed for Australian members as they become evident.
What safety, health and environmental (SH&E) issues are currently of greatest importance to Western Australia Chapter members? How are members coordinating with Western Australia’s workforce to address these issues?
At this stage, we are still determining our membership’s needs since our members are scattered across a very large area. We will address this at the first formal meeting of the Western Australian Chapter, which will take place on May 3, 2006.
At a previous member gathering held at the Fremantle Sailing Club in November 2005, shortly after receiving our Chapter Charter and the appointment of the inaugural Chapter Board, Dr. Roger Brauer, Executive Director of the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) gave a presentation. Support for the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) qualification as well as support for and promotion of young persons within the industry were topics that raised significant interest.
What topics do Western Australia Chapter meetings usually cover?
As previously stated, our first formal membership meeting is scheduled for May 3, 2006; however, since receiving our charter, the Inaugural Board determined that a short-term Strategic Plan would be most beneficial. From this initial plan, an accountability “model” emerged. This model will be the first item on the agenda at our membership meeting.
How can members make the most of their participation in the Western Australia Chapter?
At this point, there has been minimal member participation other than involvement in bringing to fruition the aspects of our Strategic Plan. “Accountable persons” within the chapter must tap into members’ skills to assist in the implementation of the Strategic Plan.
Members can ensure that current and future employers are made aware of their affiliation and of what this can mean for their workplace in terms of global networking opportunities. They can also ensure that loss insurers are cognizant of the ASSE’s many available resources.
What are the Western Australia Chapter’s plans for this year?
We plan to put the strategic plan into effect and to meet with as many members as geographically possible while generating a continued growth pattern.
In May, chapter representatives will meet with Dr. Roger Brauer to discuss the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) qualification, and in June, there will be chapter representation at the Professional Development Conference (PDC) in Seattle, Washington.
How has your involvement in the Western Australia Chapter and in the ASSE in general helped you in your professional career?
Given our fledgling status, tasks associated with chapter ratification have been both stimulating and rewarding. Such aspects include the legality associated with by-law/constitution preparation as well as with the numerous aspects of corporate governance, which has and will continue to be my own personal challenge.
Brian Brown is Executive Officer of the Western Australian Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE-WA) and Chapter Board Secretary. He served as Chair of the Chapter Formation Liaison Committee from March 2005 to September 2005. The Liaison Committee gathered and submitted the necessary information for the Western Australia Chapter’s formation, the culmination of which was charter ratification and presentation in November 2005.
Prior to his involvement in the formation of the Western Australia Chapter, Brown served as an Associate, Consultant and Senior Occupational Safety and Health Consultant with IFAP, a not-for-profit safety organization in Australia, which Brown joined in August 1995. During his 39-year engineering career, Brown completed a five-year apprenticeship followed by seventeen years in the British Mercantile Marine with eight of those seventeen years spent in senior engineering positions.
Upon completion of his marine engineering studies, Brown spent seventeen years within the power generation and distribution division of a major iron ore producer in the Northwest of Western Australia.
Brown holds a graduate diploma in occupational health and safety and a master of science degree (health science) from Curtin University. He also has experience in applied occupational health and safety research.