Friday, October 1, 2010

100 Years: Celebrating ASSE

We each can be proud to be part of a profession that has contributed 100 years of dedicated service to protecting people, property and the environment.

Almost 100 years ago in New York City, a small group of individuals with a vision founded the United Society of Casualty Inspectors, which later became the American Society of Safety Engineers. This is an exciting time as we approach the 100th anniversary of ASSE in 2011.

The Society was formed in the wake of tragic events, including the March 1911 fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City, in which 146 young girls and women lost their lives. This tragedy drew public attention to the need for workplace safeguards and regulations.

ASSE’s founding coincided with what many view as the birth of the modern safety movement. Our history as an organization has presided over a century of safety improvements in the workplace. Our nearly 33,000 members constitute the world’s oldest and one of the largest professional safety organizations. In the coming year, we each can be proud to be part of a profession that has contributed 100 years of dedicated service to protecting people, property and the environment.

ASSE members make a difference each day and serve the public as dedicated, skilled professionals. Think where the workplace might be without SH&E professionals. ASSE existed long before most of the organizations that now address workplace safety and health, including OSHA. Your commitment to this profession and to this organization is what makes ASSE a leading voice in the SH&E community.

In past messages, I have emphasized the importance of our connection to the business community. This centennial year represents an extraordinary opportunity to deliver our message about the critical importance of safeguarding employee safety and health and nurturing positive, safe work environments.

During our anniversary year, we will celebrate the accomplishments and professionalism of our members, build on the Society’s leadership in the SH&E community and launch our vision for the future of the safety profession. These efforts will reflect our theme for the year: “Your safety is our business. Your future is our mission.” This theme directs us outward, globally, to people and organizations across a wide spectrum of industries. In addition, ASSE has planned a host of events as part of the celebration, including:
•anniversary celebration kickoff at the 2010 Leadership Conference in Chicago (October 2010);
•North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (May 2011);
•special 100th anniversary professional development conference in Chicago (June 2011);
•closing celebration at the 2011 Leadership Conference.

Safety 2011 will be the centerpiece of our anniversary celebration. It will feature our most dynamic and substantive program ever, as well as recognition of member achievements and exciting events to highlight our passion and enthusiasm for what we do. We will also launch the Society’s new strategic vision during Safety 2011. This vision will be the culmination of our strategic planning efforts this year.

I encourage each of you to participate in making 2011 a special year for all SH&E professionals. In particular, I urge all chapters to take this opportunity to reach out to their local communities to actively communicate our safety message and demonstrate our commitment to employers and employees, governments and fellow citizens.

As you think ahead to 2011, please take a few moments to reflect on the SH&E profession and recommit yourself to the ideals that brought you to it. We can and should be proud of the significant progress we have made in increasing workplace safety and health around the world. Our achievements are many and are certain to continue well into ASSE’s next 100 years.

“It’s when ordinary people rise above the expectations and seize the opportunity that milestones truly are reached.”
—Mike Huckabee