June 30, 1999

The Honorable Phil Gram, Senator
C/O Mr. Richard Ribbentrop, Leg. Director
SR-370 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC, 20510-4302
The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison
C/O Mr. Jim Hyland, Leg. Director
SR-284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4304


My name is Richard Bourlon, President of the Southwest Chapter ASSE (Dallas), and I have the privilege of speaking on behalf of almost 600 safety professionals. The purpose of this letter is to voice support of the safety and health agency appropriations letter released by our national headquarters on 6/4/99. You should have already received this letter; however, we have attached a copy for your review if you have not yet seen it.

I speak for only the Southwest Chapter ASSE, however, this state is very important for ASSE, and we would like to make you aware of the chapters/members in Texas:

* Ark-La-Tex (Shreveport, #013) - 103 Members
* Central Texas (Austin, #051) - 340 Members
* Coastal Bend (Corpus Christi, #073) - 140 Members
* East Texas (Tyler, #083) - 130 Members
* Fort Worth (Fort Worth, #089) - 200 Members
* Gulf Coast (Houston, #130) - 1,200 Members
* Panhandle (Borger, #231) - 100 Members
* Paso Del Norte (El Paso, #233) - 60 Members
* Permian Basin (Midland, #239) - 200 Members
* Sabine Neches (Beaumont, #263) - 115 Members
* South Plains (Lubbock, #289) - 50 Members
* South Texas (San Antonio, #291) - 200 Members
* Southwest (Dallas, #299) - 580 Members

***ASSE has more than 3,300 members in the state of Texas. This does not count students belonging to student sections at Texas A&M University, University of Texas at Tyler, Texas State Technical College, and Odessa Junior College.

Our chapter members have reviewed the ASSE national position, and want to make you aware of our additional support, and specifically emphasize the following points made in the 6/4/99 letter:

* Our chapter members expressed the strongest support for all federal safety and health agencies to encourage or advocate professional certification of their on-staff safety professionals. We are convinced that agencies such as OSHA will receive long term benefit from supporting such activities. We have significant exposure to many safety professionals employed by government agencies, and many of them have expressed the concern that they receive little, if any support in earning or maintaining professional credentials, licenses or certifications or actively participating in professional organizations such as ASSE.

* There is little doubt that the relationship between the private and public sector is in a state of change. Many of our chapter members believe OSHA needs to create/implement a voluntary third party audit/evaluation system to enhance safety and health. We see this as being an efficient and effective use of taxpayer money.

* We agree with the national position on OSHA expanding its consultative services. The best public policy approach to this issue is to harness the resources of the private sector, and consider tax credits to help offset the cost of using experienced safety and health consultants. We see such an approach as having significant benefit for small business. Many of our members have worked with a number of public sector consultative programs, and our experience indicates that virtually all of them are designed to work on compliance issues, and not on enhancing/improving the overall safety and health program.

We hope this information provides additional support on why it is important to appropriate adequate funding to support federal safety and health agencies, (OSHA, MSHA, NIOSH, CSB, EPA). We believe these agencies help maintain a national focus on the importance of occupational safety and health. The members of the Southwest Chapter ASSE are committed to seeing that this national focus is maintained, and that is why we ask for your assistance in this matter.

We encourage you to actively support this initiative and specifically our three emphasis areas, and hope that by working together we can further improve the safety of the American workforce. If you should have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Mr. Bill Propes, our Chapter Vice President Governmental Affairs, at 972/247-2621 X 819.


Richard R. Bourlon, P.E., CSP
Southwest Chapter President 1998-1999

Copy To: Representative Sam Johnson
Representative Ralph M. Hall
Representative Pete Sessions
Representative Joe Barton
Representative Kay Granger
Representative Martin Frost
Representative Dick Armey
Representative E.B. Johnson
ASSE Texas Chapters



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