As wildfires raged across southern California last week, ASSE Region I Vice President Terrie Norris, CSP, ARM, and ASSE’s Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Valley Coastal chapters worked to gather information about how the fires have affected ASSE members living and working in the area. "We have approximately 1,248 members in those four chapters, many of whom have been affected by the multitude of fires across seven California counties," Norris says. "We still don't know the extent of the damage our members have sustained [at press time, no members had reported major damage]. We pray that all of our members are safe, and that all the fires will be extinguished soon."
According to a story in the Oct. 29 edition of the Los Angeles Times, most of the fires have now been extinguished or contained—although three fires are described as only partially contained. In addition, most evacuation orders throughout the region have been lifted. In the seven counties affected by the fires, the LA Times reports that 2,007 homes have been destroyed, while 1,454 people remain in public shelters—down from more than 20,000 earlier in the week. According to the Times story, “The series of blazes, which once stretched from Ventura County to south of the U.S.-Mexico border, will go down as among the most destructive in recent California history. The fires destroyed 2,813 structures and charred 518,489 acres—an area more than double the size of New York City—while killing seven people and injuring 113 firefighters and 26 civilians.”
In addition to distributing information and a media alert on the need for affected residents to wear respiratory protective gear and to check their HVAC systems to protect against dust, ash and soot, Region I members will be donating to charities to help the residents as well as firefighters and emergency personnel. Members will also be gathering PPE such as paper respirators, work gloves and safety glasses to distribute to residents as they return to their homes and begin cleanup. Contact Terrie Norris to learn more about or to contribute to these efforts. In addition, Orange County Chapter President Debby Hudson and Chapter Secretary Scott Myles hosted a teleconference on Oct. 29 on how ASSE members can help the victims of the fires.
ASSE President Michael W. Thompson, CSP, is planning a tribute to the firefighters, many of whom worked long hours with little rest to fight the blazes. It will be published in the December 2007 issue of Professional Safety.
Last month’s Society Update highlighted the successful partnership between ASSE’s Western Australia and San Francisco chapters. Other ASSE groups have developed similar alliances, including Region VI and the Kuwait Chapter. Read what two key players in that partnership, Region VI Vice President James H. Morris III and Kuwait Chapter President Ashok Garlapati, have to say about its success and the groups’ future plans.
Chapter leaders from around the world convened recently at ASSE headquarters for the Society’s annual Leadership Conference. When they were asked to identify the top six issues faced by the profession today, lack of corporate support for SH&E initiatives topped the list. One member noted, “the top dog should hold employees accountable and businesses must integrate safety into the overall business plan.”
“We wanted to take a pulse of the important issues facing our chapter leaders,” says ASSE President-Elect Warren Brown, CSP. “The responses from this survey were across the board and include issues that ASSE is addressing today.”
Rounding out the rest of the top six issues were:
#2: the aging profession/workforce
#3: lack of resources
• the need for more safety training
• increase safety professionals' ability to market their value/improve their “enforcer” image
• globalization without safety education
• not enough time or funds for professional development
#6 (three-way tie):
• outdated PELs
• shortage of SH&E college programs
• increased job demands/job burnout
Keep your kids busy during the upcoming holiday vacations. From now until Feb. 14, ASSE members’ children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews can enter the 6th annual Kids' Safety-on-the-Job poster contest. Top prizes will be awarded to one child in each of the five age groups—ages 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14—whose poster best represents safety at work. First-place winners will receive a $1,000 savings bond, second-place winners receive a $500 savings bond, and third- and fourth- place winners receive a $200 savings bond. In addition, winning posters are displayed in Washington, DC, during NAOSH Week. The winning poster in each group also will be featured on the NAOSH Week 2008 poster that is distributed worldwide.
ASSE’s Engineering Practice Specialty (EPS) has developed a special issue of its ByDesign newsletter to highlight the importance of addressing hazards and risks early in the design and redesign processes to prevent and control occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Fred Manuele, P.E., CSP, president of Hazards Ltd. and an ASSE Fellow, authored the featured article, “Prevention Through Design: Addressing Occupational Risks in the Design and Redesign Processes.” “EPS believes this article effectively explains the core of the prevention through design concept, and we hope that such concepts will lead to established principles, methodologies and standards for controlling hazards and risks during the design and redesign processes,” says Bruce Rottner, EPS Administrator.
William Tarrants, an ASSE Fellow and the Society’s 1977-78 president passed away on Oct. 13, 2007. During his career, Tarrants was a P.E. and a CSP. He held a B.S. and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Ohio State University, and a Ph.D. in Education from New York University. Tarrants joined ASSE in 1959. When he was elected an ASSE Fellow in 1972, he had published more than 40 articles—and would go on to publish more than 100 articles and books, leading many to describe him as the “most prolific writer in the Society.” He also compiled and edited ASSE’s first Dictionary of Terms Used in the Safety Profession, which was published in 1971.
Among the positions he held in his long career in safety, Tarrants was the chief researcher, Accident Division, Department of Labor; director of manpower development and chief scientist at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; and a part-time faculty member at Johns Hopkins University.
Read a selection of the editorials Tarrants wrote while ASSE president.
Do nanomaterials possess unique toxicity profiles with potential safety hazards? This unanswered question leaves practitioners uncertain as to what should be done to reduce potential risks to workers. On Nov. 14, 2007, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CST, ASSE will present a live webinar by Robert Adams, CSP, CIH, titled Nanotechnology: From Uncertainty to Practice. The webinar will cover ideas for proactive development of SH&E programs to address potential risks, and suggest ideas for the collection of information concerning nanomaterials processes and workers. The webinar includes access to an online recording of the session and a PowerPoint presentation. Registered attendees completing all requirements of the webinar are eligible for CEUs as well.
The effective date for the ANSI/ASSE Z359 Fall Protection Code has been extended to Nov. 24. The extension “provides time for employers, safety professionals and suppliers who have not yet seen the document to review and understand its impact,” says Joseph Feldstein, a member of the Z359 Accredited Standards Committee. Feldstein reports that the revised date will help the transition to compliance. Randall Wingfield, Z359 chair and president of Gravitec Systems Inc. concurs, adding that Z359 will be “one of the most important safety-related voluntary national consensus standards in the last 20 years.”
The code is a series of approved voluntary national consensus standards designed to help employers protect workers from fall hazards, a leading cause of on-the-job fatalities in the U.S. The code includes the following standards:
On Nov. 14, ASSE’s Philadelphia and Penn-Jersey chapters will host a half-day conference, “Emergency Management: Lessons Learned from 9/11.” As part of the event, which will be held at the Wyndham Hotel in Mt. Laurel, NJ, attendees will view The Man Who Predicted 9/11, a documentary about Rick Rescorla, Morgan Stanley’s security chief at the World Trade Center. Rescorla died in the terrorist attacks but he is credited with saving many lives that day. Presenters will also discuss emergency management resources available from national groups such as OSHA, American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency and local groups such as the New Jersey Task Force 1 Urban Search & Rescue Canine Unit. Registration deadline is Nov. 5.
|ASSE Region VI held its 21st PDC in Myrtle Beach, SC.|
ASSE Region VI recently held its annual professional development conference in Myrtle Beach, SC. The conference, hosted by ASSE chapters from Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, DC, and a sister chapter in Kuwait, had more than 20 sessions on topics such as pandemic flu, industrial hygiene, nanotechnology, risk management and electrical safety.
The conference also featured a student poster competition in which students highlighted research in SH&E. The posters were displayed in the exhibit hall where students were able to discuss and present their work. Amy Jackson, of Western Carolina University, won first place for her presentation, “When Art Creates Hazard: Evaluation of an Iron Pour at Western Carolina University”; second-place winner Brian Briley of East Carolina University presented “Perception of Job Risk and Safety Training of Housekeepers at a Local University”; and third-place winner Revonna Bieber of Old Dominion University was awarded for her poster titled “The Current Air Quality in Beijing: Preparing for the 2008 Olympics and Beyond.”
ASSE’s Central Indiana Chapter will cosponsor the 2008 Indiana Safety and Health Conference and Expo from Feb. 25 to 27 at the Marriott East Hotel in Indianapolis, IN. Keynote speaker John Drebinger will discuss how to make safety meetings fun, interesting and effective. He will also conduct a 3-hour preconference workshop on how to motivate others. The conference will offer more than 50 presentations in the areas of safety management practices, behavior-based safety, electrical safety management, ergonomics, construction competent person training, safety fundamentals, world-class safety programming, industrial hygiene, presentation skills training, workers’ compensation and IOSHA/INSAFE practices. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Department of Labor, INSafe division, are other cosponsors.
On Sept. 19 and 20, ASSE’s Permian Basin Chapter hosted 43 attendees at a seminar on oilfield safety on field and rig compliance. Topics included workover rig inspections, OSHA review of oilfield compliance problems, inspection of field installations, drilling rig compliance management and oilfield compliance management. According to Randy McClay, P.E., CSP, seminar chair, the event was well-received. “Attendees appreciated the professional knowledge shared by the speakers,” says McClay, who is also a past president and current Secretary of the chapter. “Most attendees reported that they captured some good ideas to apply to their own applications.” Copies of the presentations are available on the chapter's website.
ASSE's Business Edge