May 28, 1999

The Honorable Stephen F. Lynch, State Senator
Massachusetts General Court
312-D State House Building
Boston, MA 02133


Senator Lynch:

Thank you for the opportunity to provide additional details related to professional recognition legislation for safety professionals in the state of Massachusetts. From discussions with committee staff, we understand an ASSE national letter supporting the legislation could be useful and significant to your deliberations. After reviewing the enclosed information we hope that you will share our belief that such legislation protects the workplace, the professionals working in the safety and health arena, and the worker.

First, let me, introduce the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). ASSE is the oldest and largest Society of Safety Professionals in the world. Founded in 1911, ASSE represents in excess of 32,000 dedicated safety professionals. Included in this membership are Certified Safety Professionals, Professional Engineers, ergonomists, academicians, fire protection engineers, system safety experts, industrial hygienists, physicians, occupational nurses, and an impressive collection of other disciplines, skills, and backgrounds. We pride ourselves on our dedication to excellence, expertise, and commitment to the protection of people, property, and environment on a world-wide basis. We point out that Massachusetts is a very significant state for ASSE, and ASSE has the following Chapters in the state:

  • (Greater Boston Chapter) Boston - 800 Members
  • (Connecticut Valley) Springfield - 300 members

  • (Worcester County) Worcester - 115 Members

Professional recognition legislation for safety professionals has now been enacted in Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, and with the impending signature of Governor John Kitzhaber, in Oregon. Professional recognition legislation has either been introduced, considered, or worked on in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

The Society understands that the state of Massachusetts is does not want to add additional work to a system which is already over-burdened. We are not asking for the profession to be regulated. We monitor ourselves through our own existing Code of Conduct. We are requesting legislation which would prohibit individuals from falsely using designations they have not earned. These certifications are world recognized and respected, and their fraudulent use is an affront to not only the professionals who have earned them, but also to the very safety of the workers for which they are responsible. Here are just three (3) examples indicating why it is important for the state of Massachusetts to implement legislation protecting the credentials of professionals who work in the safety arena. Some of the enclosed examples include:

  • There is an organization which for $225 will certify individuals in fields such as safety, radiation, hazardous materials, toxicology, and disease control. If an individual signs up for one course, they get a $75 break on the next. There is no review of experience, education, or expertise. There is no requirement of ongoing education or training…$225 buys and individual a lifetime of certification.
  • Another group certifies an individual in the field of safety and will even issue a photo id card, including a membership number, without prior education or experience requirements.

  • There have been numerous instances of organizations encroaching on recognized designations and certifications for financial gain without any regard being given to the qualifications of the person receiving the designation.

These are just some examples of what can happen where there is not significant inclusion of professional recognition legislation for the relevant people and organizations who work in the field of safety. We hope this information exemplifies why this legislation needs to be passed in Massachusetts. We encourage you to actively support this initiative. We look forward to working with you on this initiative, and hope that by working together we can further improve the safety of the Massachusetts workforce.


Fred F. Fleming, CSP, OHST
Society President 1998-1999

Copy To:       ASSE Massachusetts Chapters
                        ASSE Region 8 Vice President Doug Pastore
                        ASSE Executive Committee
                        ASSE Council of Professional Affairs
                        ASSE Governmental Affairs Committee

ASSE Massachusetts Contact: Mr. Jim Rowlings, CSP
                                                        617/323-1402 (FAX)



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