September 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 - October 2005

AIHA and ASSE are companionorganizations working side by side for the benefit of workers and the community.

2005-2006 ASSE President Jack H. Dobson, Jr., CSP

Partners in Safety & Health

In the October 2003 issue of Professional Safety, our predecessors, Skipper Kendrick and Tom Grumbles, wrote a joint column to introduce ASSE and AIHA members to the updated memorandum of understanding signed by our two organizations. Two years later, ASSE and AIHA's relationship is stronger than ever-to the advantage of our members and the profession. AIHA and ASSE are companion organizations working side by side for the benefit of workers and the community. Our members all work to preserve our most precious resource-people-each day. Our associations' separate efforts complement each other, which is vital in a universe where clear-cut lines between the industrial hygiene and safety professions have all but disappeared.

Consensus Standards Efforts
Both of our associations support standards development efforts, including multiple ANSI secretariats. Recently, the ASSE/ANSI Z15 Committee released for review a draft of its standard for safe operation of motor vehicles owned by organizations; the AIHA/ANSI Z10 Committee just received word that ANSI has approved the final draft of the Z10 Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, making it an official American National Standard. This sort of involvement gives the two professions a greater voice and provides state-of-the-art information directly from those who work with the various issues on a daily basis.

Standards are necessary to benchmark both achievements and opportunities for improvement. In addition, involvement in standards development provides networking opportunities. While serving on a standards committee, you can meet a wide range of representatives from government, industry, labor and business, as well as other occupational safety and health professionals, developing connections while working toward a common goal.

The Value of the Profession
Another way ASSE and AIHA work to provide a voice for our members is through our work with government agencies. Collaborative efforts with federal regulatory and research agencies help to ensure that the concerns and questions of professionals actually working in the trenches are heard. The alliances of both organizations with OSHA and NIOSH demonstrate our commitment to our professions and our members.

And there are larger audiences that are just as critical to our communications efforts. The end product of our members' work contributes positively to the bottom line of businesses, and we need to ensure that every business leader knows and appreciates this. And of course, at the big-picture level, our members contribute to the safety and health of every working person and to the well-being of their families and communities.

We want to find ways to promote this far and wide. ASSE's Business of Safety Committee gathers data, prepares documents and services as a source of professional information regarding ASSE's efforts to show that investment in safety, health and the environment is a sound business strategy and can positively impact an organization's bottom line. Other efforts, such as the annual North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (which will be April 30-May 6, 2006), promote the importance of workplace health and safety to the public.

AIHA has also embarked on a Value of the Profession study to increase the overall business community's understanding of the business value of industrial hygiene services and build more demand for such services. The results of the study will be used to develop powerful messages to illustrate the industrial hygiene profession's contributions to the economy and society. The information gathered through this project can only add to the power of ASSE's complementary efforts, aiming toward the mutual goal of both associations-promoting the work that our members do and the many ways it benefits businesses and the community.

Jack H. Dobson, Jr., CSP

Ray M. Buchan, Dr.Ph, CIH