ASSE Intersociety Relations

Adopted April 1998 | Updated June 2005

From its founding in 1911, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has interacted and cooperated with other professional/technical societies and associations. Its first and earliest cooperative endeavor was sponsorship/secretariat, in 1921, of the then American Standard Association's A14 Standards Committee dealing with ladder safety. This activity not only brought the Society to the forefront of the newly-established standards arena, but required it to exercise, as committee secretariat, a measure of leadership with other professional groups such as the National Safety Council, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Underwriters Laboratories.

Over the years, ASSE continued such intersociety contact and cooperative efforts for the public good and its protection from fatalities, injuries, illnesses, and property loss. The most significant and successful of these endeavors was the establishment of the Intersociety Forum in 1975. The Forum is, as its name suggests, a loose confederation of sister societies and associations whose purpose is "... to provide a medium for communication among organizations whose primary concern is worker health and safety," as well as "... exchange information and cooperation in activities of mutual interest in areas involving such matters as governmental activities, professional development, manpower, scientific activities and association management."

The above depiction has not, in any way, limited the extent of the ASSE's interactions with other public or private organizations. There are organizations, such as the American National Standards Institute (standards development issues), the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (accreditation of safety and health university programs), the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (individual professional certification), National Institute of Engineering Ethics (professional ethics) to name a few, with which the Society advances its goals and objectives.

Yet, in selecting these other organizations for mutually cooperative endeavors, the ASSE applies criteria and its value system before entering into such relationships. This value system states, "The ASSE maintains the highest level of professional ethics, with mutual trust, treating all with dignity and respect." In addition to these criteria, the Society evaluates organizational components such as openness of operations, publication of annual financial statements/reports, codes of professional conduct, their enforcement, and management in accordance with generally accepted business practices, including audited financial statements, state registration of non-profit status, and adherence to applicable tax codes.

The capstone of intersociety relations for the ASSE and sister organizations has become governmental affairs issues where views are exchanged to assess organizational positions, create mutuality of interests, and define scopes of action. In keeping with its Mission Statement and Values by "...representing those engaged in the practice of safety....The Society leaders, members, and staff value and protect the Society and the professional while making responsible use of resources." Using these guides, the Society has established the philosophy and the strategy concerning governmental affairs issues in its various forms of legislation and regulations.

In the area of governmental affairs, the overall philosophy, which also extends to other venues, is to represent the Society, the safety profession, and safety professionals at the national and state levels of government. Strategically, the ASSE will enter the legislative/regulatory arena whenever the safety profession or safety professional is defined; the scope and means of practice of the safety professional, certification, qualifications, or credentialing of the safety professional might be harmed or jeopardized. The Society's focus is to protect and advance the safety profession, by speaking out on, any issue that affects the safety profession and safety professionals, or when proposed legislation and regulation is technically inaccurate or inappropriate.

ASSE continues to raise awareness of the Society, offer non-partisan analysis of legislation and regulation and submit recommendations based on good science and sound technology. In accordance with the strategic plan, the goal is to continue to offer national comment on any issues that impact safety and health. The hallmark of safety professional recognition activity is title protection. To this end, the ASSE Board of Directors, on February 9, 2005, adopted a position statement endorsing professional recognition activities related to a preferred approach that emphasized the quality of safety, health and environmental certification through proper accreditation. This approach is more representative of the credentials possessed by the ASSE membership than the previous model title protection act and is compatible with coordinating intersociety professional recognition activities.

Awareness of professional recognition issues (as cited in Appendix A) and gauging their impact on the safety profession is a viable measurement of value to the safety profession. ASSE is not pursuing professional recognition and dedicating resources to governmental affairs activities for frivolous reasons. Rather these actions are taken to protect the safety profession in response to restrictive measures (legislation/regulation) proposed by other organizations, on-going certification/credentialing recognition activities by state/national policy makers, and pressures from the private sector.

Using the above criteria and characteristics of sister societies and associations, the ASSE will continue its current level of intersociety participation. As other society relationships occur, the ASSE will apply these criteria to evaluate the need and value of lasting and continuing relations. In summary, the ASSE will pursue intersociety relationships that are rooted in its own values and exhibit the principles the Society stands for and exemplifies. These criteria and values are those that the Board of Directors encourages its chapters, regions, and areas to move towards in its intersociety activities. To these ends the local entities of the ASSE can advance the highest degree of professional conduct and professionalism when it/they engage other organizations in mutual endeavors.

ASSE Position Statement on ASSE Intersociety Relations

Approved 4/25/98 by the ASSE Board of Directors
Updated 6/11/05 by ASSE Government Affairs Committee

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