U.S., Canadian safety groups strengthen partnership for global sustainability push

LAS VEGAS — The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is continuing to lead the way for safety professionals globally as it announced several agreements with other countries to advance occupational health and safety through exchange of ideas and sharing of technical expertise.

At the opening session kicking off this year’s Safety 2013 professional development conference, ASSE president Rick Pollock said the association has signed memorandums of understanding with China, Russia and Ecuador to form a global network of safety professionals exchanging ideas and advancing the profession in the global landscape. 

“Where we live does not define us. What defines us is who we are and what we do,” Pollock said.

The ASSE has also been increasing its international chapters, said Pollock. With more than 35,000 members, the ASSE’s worldwide membership has grown with chapters India, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Egypt, Kuwait and Nigeria, as well as sections in Mexico, Qatar, Ecuador and Oman.

Pollock also highlighted the association’s active involvement in global sustainability initiatives, through the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability, specifically to include health and safety management metrics in global sustainability reporting by organizations.

“We have taken a leadership role in the global sustainability movement insisting that properly managing occupational safety and health is not just good business, but a moral imperative,” he said.

The ASSE president’s message on global sustainability was echoed by his Canadian counterpart, Andrew Cooper, president of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE).

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Cooper said the CSSE stands “shoulder to shoulder” with its colleagues at the ASSE and U.K.-based Institution of Occupational Safety and Health in creating real sustainability measures for organizations.

“An organization cannot be sustainable if they are harming their employees,” Cooper said. “We need to work together through the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability to ensure that safety is on the agenda of the sustainable employer.”

On Wednesday, June 26, the ASSE launched the new Risk Assessment Institute, which aims to educate the business community on the role health and safety professionals play in the risk process.

In line with the new Risk Assessment Institute, the ASSE has developed a series of case studies and success stories to provide information for businesses on the value of risk assessment and the role safety professionals play.

Pollock urged safety professionals to help redefine the role and value proposition of the safety professional.

“We must make the business community aware of the value that safety professionals bring — including our role in discussing risk and applying risk assessment,” he said.