Thursday, August 1, 2013

Connecting the Dots: Our ASSE Network

2013 ASSE President
Kathy A. Seabrook, CSP, CMIOSH, EurOSHM
ASSE is an expansive network of safety professionals spanning the globe. But what does that mean to you? Knowledge is powerful. Accessing ASSE's network to harness expertise is what the Society is all about. So, continuing our connecting the dots theme, let's look at how ASSE's extensive network is relevant to you in your work and to our profession.

Here's how our network might look in action. A U.S.-based member learns he needs to conduct an initial site audit of a recently acquired site in Shanghai, China. First contact: Members in Shanghai. A member in Mexico learns that her company has purchased a site in the U.S. Her first outreach: Members in the U.S.

What about a member creating a fork truck certification program? Rather than develop a brand new program, this professional might ask members of the local chapter, a practice specialty (PS) or a common interest group (CIG) for a sample program that can be customized. Other times, it's simply talking through a hazardous situation and potential controls with a colleague. No matter the issue, you have access to more than 35,000 members in 80 countries who possess a depth and breadth of knowledge, and a cadre of skills, resources and know-how.

Local ASSE Chapters 
Your chapter connects you to the SH&E community where you work and live. You'll be able to access local SH&E resources; participate in relevant educational opportunities through monthly meetings and timely workshops; gain valuable leadership experience; and promote and advance the SH&E profession.

I recently asked a member, "So, why did you join ASSE?" Her reply was simple: "Attending chapter meetings opens doors to networking, mentoring and education, and offers a platform to share knowledge. If I were to compare my chapter relationship with something, it is like family members who live far away. You may not see them often, but when you need them, they are there." Learn more at

Practice Specialties, Branches & Common Interest Groups 
To be successful SH&E professionals, we need access to information, best practices and new innovations, as well as to insight on emerging global issues. That's where ASSE's PSs, branches and CIGs can help you advance your career. These groups help position you for success by providing networking, mentoring and leadership opportunities; technical and educational resources; publication opportunities; and advice on global issues. Learn more at Let's consider the value and relevance our four CIGs deliver to members.

  • Women in Safety Engineering (WISE).Chair Jennifer Zipeto explains, "WISE fosters an environment that allows our members to share ideas and knowledge. We have a robust mentoring program and are strong networkers. We are "leaning in' to our careers and to the ongoing evaluation of the state of women in the SH&E profession." WISE helps its members find resources (such as fall protection gear sized for women) and share knowledge on topics such as pregnancy in a hazardous work environment or ergonomics for the female body.
  • Safety Professionals and the Latino Workforce (SPALW). This group focuses on creating bilingual safety resources. For example, SPALW reviewed a translation of ANSI/ASSE Z359.2-2007, Minimum Requirements for a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program. Other initiatives include a Spanish OSHA-10 marathon in multiple cities and participation in the "SPALW Against Falls" campaign in partnership with OSHA and NIOSH, reports SPALW Chair Oscar Paredes.
  • Blacks in Safety Engineering (BISE). Chair Joe Davis III says, "[Our] mission is to promote and encourage the collaboration, interest, recognition and promotion of blacks and all safety professionals within ASSE." BISE aims to strengthen interactions with members abroad, support information sharing, mentor members, share job opportunities and foster networking.
  • Young Professionals (YP) seeks to "enhance the Society by identifying, developing and connecting young leaders." YP and its members develop programs that encourage personal and professional growth; share tips for work-life balance; and promote active Society involvement.
ASSE members have many pathways for engaging with and in the Society. Identify the pathway that best fits your needs, and start connecting the dots between you, your work and ASSE by collaborating, networking, mentoring and sharing knowledge. Together, we will move the needle on our Society and profession. PQ: "Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." Thomas Jefferson Knowledge is powerful. Accessing ASSE's network to harness expertise is what the Society is all about.

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