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February 5, 2003

The Honorable Tom Ridge
Department of Homeland Security
The White House
Washington, DC 20502

Dear Secretary Ridge:

On behalf of its 30,000 member safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) offers its congratulates on your U.S. Senate confirmation as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. That the President has entrusted you with the responsibility to carry on the work you have already begun speaks to your capabilities and helps all Americans rest assured that as much as possible will continue to be done to keep our nation safe from terrorist threats.

ASSE's members are professionals who have dedicated themselves to ensuring that the workplaces in which they are employed or for which they consult are safe, healthy and protected from environmental risks. Their professional credentials are varied but include Certified Safety Professionals, Certified Industrial Hygienists and Professional Engineers. ASSE's members can be found in all industries, as the following list of ASSE's thirteen Practice Specialties demonstrate -

Academics, Construction, Consultants, Engineering, Environmental, Healthcare, Industrial Hygiene, International, Management, Mining, Public Sector, Risk Management/Insurance, and Transportation.

ASSE itself is the oldest and largest organization of safety professionals, having been established in 1911, as the enclosed fact sheet indicates.

As you well know, each of the tragedies of September 11, 2001, as well as the later anthrax exposures, occurred at a workplace. While workplace security has always been a responsibility of SH&E professionals, since those tragedies, ASSE's members are increasingly being asked by employers to address the same security threats in individual workplaces that the Department of Homeland Security is working to address for the nation as a whole. As a result, our members are working diligently to see that the workplaces in which they are already working to prevent occupational health and safety risks are also protected from possible security risks, including threats from biological and chemical contaminants.

Our members' hope is that, through ASSE, a relationship can be established between them and the Department of Homeland Security that would help them carry out their growing workplace security responsibilities and, at the same time, help the Department carry out its mission in what has proven to be the frontline of terrorist actions to date.

Recently, ASSE entered into an historic strategic alliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and has begun negotiations to establish a cooperative arrangement with the Mine Safety and Health Administration. ASSE would like to suggest that a continuing relationship between the Department of Homeland Security and ASSE could serve as an important tool to encourage the development of communication between workplaces across the nation and the Department and provide SH&E professional expertise that could help the Department fulfill its mission. To that end, ASSE will contact your office with the intent that communication between our members and the Department can soon be established.

Again, congratulations on your well-deserved confirmation. ASSE and its members look forward to doing whatever can be done to support your mission and that of the Department of Homeland Security.


Mark D. Hansen, PE, CSP

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