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ASSE Commends NIOSH for Putting Spotlight on Future Shortage of SH and E Pros, Discuss Next Steps

Posted in , , on Mon, Oct 31, 2011

DES PLAINES, IL (October 31, 2011) – In response to the recent findings of a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH, www.cdc.gov/niosh/oshworkforce/) report stating there will soon be a shortage of trained occupational safety and health professionals to fill the demand, the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) President Terrie S. Norris, CSP, ARM, noted that ASSE will do what is needed to help ensure that these findings guide the direction NIOSH and the variety of education and training providers take in meeting the needs identified.

“The report should challenge the entire occupational safety and health community to work together to ensure that the far too few resources this nation has to educate and train SH&E professionals are used wisely and appropriately to meet the actual needs employers have said they will face in the future,” Norris said in her letter commending NIOSH for sponsoring the study.

The report, the National Assessment of the Occupational Safety and Health Workforce, released this month states that ‘although employers plan to hire at least 25,000 occupational safety and health professionals over the next five years, only about 12,000 new graduates are expected to be available from the academic programs that provide the needed pool of expertise nationally.’ NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D., noted, “The results of this NIOSH-commissioned survey suggest a troubling shortfall of professional expertise at a time when such services are most needed.”

“ASSE is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and looking ahead,” Norris said today. “The reason we are celebrating 100 years is because the profession and its credibility has been growing, and we continue to provide educational programs and products that keep our members up to date and ahead of the issues in their field, along with access to an international network of experts. We also have several programs that help students and young people entering this dynamic field.”

ASSE’s more than 34,000 occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professional members are located in 75 countries.  ASSE also has 61 student sections. In addition to the ASSE Foundation (www.asse.org/foundation) which generates funding and provides resources for scholarship, applied research, academic accreditation, and related academic initiatives in order to advance the SH&E profession, ASSE also provides the following for those going into the SH&E field and those in the field:

· The ASSE online SH&E Education Resource Center which has links to ‘Student Resources’; ‘College & University Directory’; ‘Information on Online Degree Programs’; the ‘PhD Fellowship for Future Safety Educators’; ‘Career Guide to the Safety Profession’; ‘Starting Your SH&E Career’; ‘Educator Resources’; and more at www.asse.org/professionalaffairs-new/educ-res/index.php.

  • · ASSE student membership activities information can be found at http://www.asse.org/membership/student_qual.php.
  • · ASSE has job openings posted at http://www.nexsteps.org/ and online career tools for ASSE members; articles such as the SH&E Career Success – Strategies for the Early Years and Beyond by Pamela Ferrante and the Professional Certification – Its Value to SH&E Practitioners & the Profession for the Early Years and Beyond; information on SH&E internships and more.
  • · For employers, future, and current safety professionals ASSE offers a wide variety of products and services such as the annual Professional Development Conference (PDC); SeminarFest; annual issue-specific symposiums; professional development classes throughout the year; on-site seminars for businesses (www.asse.org/onsite/); technical books including the popular ‘The Safety Professionals Handbook’; certification preparation workshops; certificate programs including the ‘Executive Program in Safety Management’ and the ‘Certificate in Safety Management’, webinars and virtual conferences. Go to http://www.asse.org/education/ for information.
  • · ASSE’s Professional Safety (www.asse.org/professionalsafety) magazine provides peer-reviewed articles and information on a monthly basis.
  • · ASSE’s 17 practice specialties, eight branches and four common interest groups (CIG) (http://www.asse.org/practicespecialties/) provide a forum to share best practices, network while providing service and leadership opportunities, technical and educational resources, publication opportunities and access to leadership guidance and advice.
  • · The ASSE annual kids’ ‘safety-on-the-job’ poster contest, celebrating its 10th year, for children aged 5-14 works to reach children about the importance of being safe at work and the SH&E profession.

Norris also notes there has been a steady increase in the demand and popularity of SH&E professionals over the years.  For instance, the November 2010 CNN Money magazine article ‘The 50 Best Jobs in America’ listed the environmental, health and safety specialist job as number 22 in its “Best Job Rank” for job growth, the environmental engineer job as number five, and, the risk-management manager job as number 14. A recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study found employment of SH&E practitioners is expected to increase nine percent during the 2006 – 2016 decade.  Additionally, the University of California San Diego Extension in 2010 listed the SH&E profession among a ‘dozen hot careers for college graduates’.

Founded in 1911, the 100-year-old Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest safety society. Its more than 34,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information go to www.asse.org.

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Contact: Diane Hurns, 847-768-3413, dhurns@asse.org



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