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 - May 2006

When we share our knowledge and technology with colleagues in other countries, we provide an outreach service that helps make ASSE a true global leader in SH&E.

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

Is SH&E Really Global?

Having had the opportunity to serve as your President these past 11 months, I have asked myself this very question many times. Each time, the answer is the same—yes and no. Since I know that sounds like a bureaucratic answer if ever there were one, let me explain.

When we talk to SH&E professionals around the country or attend the various SH&E conferences held locally, regionally and nationally, we start to recognize some common themes. We hear familiar concerns—such as nanotechnology, avian flu pandemic, aging workers, ergonomics, hazardous materials or process safety—that serve as catalysts for in-depth discussions and debate.

These are just a few of the many challenges we face each day, and we tend to view them as "ours" alone, not consciously realizing that our colleagues around the world often are addressing the same concerns. We also find ourselves working more and more with international standards such as ISO 9000 and 14000, and OHSAS 18000.

But these issues are global. In the literature I have reviewed this past year while serving as ASSE President, as well as what I've heard while attending SH&E conferences in other countries, I have found that "our" concerns are virtually the same as those of practitioners across the globe.

For example, while attending the IOSH conference in London, I had discussions with attendees about the aging workforce. SH&E practitioners in other countries are also very much involved in process safety issues. Expositions in Canada and the U.K. feature leading-edge ergonomics and training products, much the same as our expositions do.

What this also shows is that technology such as the Internet can erase many barriers—both geographic and cultural—to connect people worldwide. As a result, information and ideas can move around the globe at speeds never before thought possible. In addition to the superb informational resources we have available through ASSE, I encourage you to seek out SH&E resources generated in places such as the U.K., Canada, Australia, Europe and Asia. As I have learned over the past year, these resources reinforce the work that we do and help us understand that we are not alone in our pursuit of safe, healthy workplaces. Furthermore, when we share our knowledge and technology with colleagues in other countries, we provide an outreach service that helps make ASSE a true global leader in SH&E.

So is SH&E really global? You bet. Next month, I will recap my year as President and bid you farewell. Until then, have a safe month.

Jack H. Dobson, Jr., CSP