AMERICAN SOCIETY OF
1800 East Oakton Street
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018-2187
March 5, 2004
The Honorable Sila Maria Calderon
Office of the Governor
LaForteleza, San Juan, PR 00901
ASSE OPPOSITION TO HR 2405 - CERTIFICATION OF SAFETY PROFESSIONALS AND INDUSTRIAL HYGIENISTS
Dear Governor Calderon:
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) respectfully urges you to veto HR 2405. If signed into law, HR 2405 would destroy all that has been achieved to ensure that those who practice occupational safety and health in Puerto Rico are qualified to do so. The bill would also wrongly use professional designations - Certified Safety Professional and Certified Industrial Hygiene - that are the copyrighted property owned by widely respected private organizations in the United States. Your veto is needed both to avoid unnecessary legal action and to ensure that qualified safety and health professionals can continue to help protect workers in Puerto Rico from injuries and death in the workplace.
ASSE's key concerns are the following:
- HR 2405 would wrongly place into Puerto Rican law the terms Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), which are widely known
professional designations awarded for the highest levels of safety and health competence by highly respected organizations that have protected these names under United States copyright law. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) located in Savoy, Illinois, owns the CSP designation, and the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) in Lansing, Michigan, owns the CIH designation. Use of these designations by Puerto Rico would violate U.S. copyright law.
- HR 2405 contains grandfathering provisions that will allow unqualified people to practice safety and health. If the bill becomes law, almost anyone will be able to say they are either a Certified Safety Professional or Industrial Hygienist, whether they are capable or not. Now, throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S., the CSP and CIH indicate the highest level of demonstrated competence. By giving others the use of these designations, employers, employees and the public will lose any sense of who is professionally capable to address safety and health risks. Unqualified individuals will be able to practice occupational safety and health in Puerto Rico, and injuries and deaths could very well result.
Finally, ASSE is deeply troubled that the voices of our members and other safety and health professionals were avoided in the process that lead to quick passage of this bill this year. In previous years, when opportunities to give testimony were provided, safety and health professionals in Puerto Rico overwhelmingly opposed the bill. Those voices deserve an opportunity to be heard again this year.
ASSE is proud that its chapter in Puerto Rico, with more than 60 members, has been in existence for more than 20 years. ASSE is an international organization representing the interests of over 30,000 safety, health and environmental professionals who are committed to seeing that every worker can go home each day healthy and safe from their jobs. The Society is the largest and, founded in 1911, the professional safety organization that has been in existence the longest in the United States.
Again, we respectfully urge you to take the necessary step to help protect the safety and health of Puerto Rican workers and veto HR 2405.
James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP
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