August 2014



As chief elected officer of the Society, ASSE's president promotes the advancement of the Society and the safety profession, and represents ASSE before members, other relevant professional societies and various governmental agencies. Professional Safety shares his latest thoughts on the Society, the profession and its practice.

Read past messages in the President's Message Archive.

President's Message - June 2005

It has been a very good year. Tomorrow is your day and your year, if you step up to the challenge.

2004-2005 ASSE President Gene Barfield, CSP

It Was a Very Good Year

As my service as Society president draws to an end, it is time for me to say so long. The title of this column is based on the song, "It Was a Very Good Year"-a trademark song of Frank Sinatra. The lyrics, written by Ervin Drake, portray a man in midlife reflecting on his past, culminating in the present when he concludes that his life is similar to a well-aged fine wine.

In much the same way, I have been reflecting on my year as ASSE President. It has been a very good year for ASSE. Safety 2005 in New Orleans will break records and many of the professional education seminars will see leaps in attendance. These professional development opportunities provide members the tools that they have asked the Society to offer.

ASSE members are also having a very good year, according to a recent survey. The survey found that 93 percent of members work full time for large corporations and are responsible for large budgets. These members are also integral to the decision-making process for their company SH&E programs. The survey showed that SH&E professionals earn an average annual salary of $74,000-and that members with additional educational and certifications earn even more.

ASSE members continue to become involved in business decisions at their companies as well. Senior management leaders are also accepting leadership roles in their safety management systems. The financial benefits of a management-led system are becoming more apparent to senior management as they assume ownership of these programs.

In addition, ASSE has taken on the task of revising the ANSI A10 construction standards. Many of these standards had been idle for years before ASSE accepted the secretariat responsibilities from ANSI. Several of these standards (e.g., excavation, fall protection, lockout/tagout) have already been updated.

The membership survey also found that members rely on Professional Safety as a primary source of information. To increase its value even more, past issues of PS are now accessible online. ASSE's website is another vital resource. With planned updates and the future installation of more powerful computer hardware and data management systems, this resource will offer members even more advantages. Our members continue to publish books and manuals that provide vital information and ASSE continues to make these books available for purchase.

NAOSH Week 2005, May 1-7, was one of the most successful since its inception. ASSE also continues to be the source of choice for members of the media seeking input on important SH&E issues and regulations. Our alliances and partnerships with governmental agencies (OSHA, NIOSH, MSHA) have become excellent venues for cooperative development of best practices and research information. Internationally, we have ventured into relationships with sister organizations in other nations. These partnerships fostered the formation of International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations with representatives from Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. who work together to systematically review best practices that can be shared around the world.

I recently received a letter from John Russell, a past ASSE Society President, in which he recounted the day he came to Lafayette, LA, to present our chapter charter. Many days have passed since then. The days change into years. You grow a bit grayer, but the experiences that others have contributed to your years are long remembered. It has been a very good year. Tomorrow is your day and your year, if you step up to the challenge.

Gene Barfield, CSP