Monday, November 1, 2010

The SH&E Body of Knowledge

This important effort to identify and share our profession’s body of knowledge can only truly succeed through the collective efforts of ASSE members and SH&E professionals worldwide.

I’d like you to think for a few moments about your personal body of knowledge. Consider the many things you’ve learned through education and experience. Now take a few moments to think about the SH&E profession’s body of knowledge—the complete set of concepts, terms and activities that define who we are and what we do. It’s a pretty broad collection of information and ideas, made more so by the fact that the SH&E profession draws from so many other practices.

That brings me to ASSE’s Body of Knowledge (BOK) initiative. This initiative is focused on creating a living reference that represents the collective knowledge of the SH&E profession—the competencies, standards and values that inform and guide the practice of safety. It is an effort that strongly supports ASSE’s strategic goals to define an accessible body of knowledge; reach out to the SH&E community on a global level; and improve the value of the safety profession.

Next year, ASSE will celebrate 100 years of knowledge creation. Within the next year, we will unveil the SH&E BOK website. It will provide a single point of entry to access information that can be used to advance the SH&E programs and processes needed to identify and control the hazards and exposures found in workplaces around the world. The BOK site will serve as a knowledge exchange platform for SH&E professionals, and it will be a comprehensive tool that supports ASSE members and SH&E professionals, and advances the practice of the profession.

Using the latest technology, the SH&E BOK will give us several platforms from which to network with others and share questions, ideas, opinions and answers. Knowledge exchange between members is how much of our BOK has emerged over the past century. This new platform will help organize that exchange and capture the creative power of ASSE members and the profession. It will provide a welcoming environment in which we will gain and share knowledge, which is an important component to a strong BOK.

The site will feature powerful search tools and filters to guide visitors to high-quality, vetted content, including articles, standards, white papers, webcasts, regulations, interpretations, conference proceedings, audio conference calls and other reference documents. When you access the BOK, it will be with the confidence that you are reviewing the best information from our profession each time you select a search term.

On a global stage, the SH&E BOK will bring together ASSE members and the profession to learn and share. It will enable us to define our competencies and explore our knowledge needs, and it will help us identify knowledge gaps along with the information needed to fill those gaps. By continuously capturing the vast knowledge of more than 32,000 members, we will increase the value of the SH&E professional while building awareness and understanding of the critical role we play in today’s work environments.

Think back, again, to your personal body of knowledge. You never really stop learning as each day brings new information and experience. The same is true for the SH&E profession. Our BOK expands each day, and you are the source of that continuous knowledge evolution. This important effort to identify and share information can only truly succeed through the collective efforts of ASSE members and SH&E professionals worldwide. The SH&E BOK requires strong member support. We need you to help build and endorse it, and we need you to identify, contribute and refine content. Start participating today by visiting

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”
—Ken Blanchard