Friday, November 1, 2013

Connecting the Dots: ASSE Global Initiatives Influence Our Profession and You


2013 ASSE President
Kathy A. Seabrook, CSP, CMIOSH, EurOSHM
ASSE's vision is to be a global advocate for the safety professional and a premier leader of the safety profession. In my first message in July, I highlighted many ASSE initiatives that are relevant to us all while advancing our profession. Let's continue to connect the dots on three global initiatives that are influencing the value of our profession.

International Network of Safety & Health Practitioner Organizations
ASSE is secretariat of International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations (INSHPO), a global alliance of international professional safety organizations. In September, INSHPO representatives met in Montreal, Quebec, to continue their work to develop a global occupational safety and health (OSH) competency framework. This framework involves a cross-national analysis of core competencies, bodies of knowledge and professional benchmarks. Its creation will be a major step toward better defining our profession.

In addition, the framework will inform the next revision of ANSI/ASSE Z590.2, Criteria for Establishing the Scope and Functions of the Professional Safety Position, a U.S. consensus standard that defines our profession for the business community and society. This connection is an important step. It recognizes that our profession is becoming more global and needs well-defined standards of practice, which are common in traditional professions such as medicine, law and engineering. The competency framework and ANSI/ASSE Z590.2 will better define what an OSH practitioner does and, in the process, increase our profession's value.
Well-defined competency requirements ensure that those who practice safety represent our profession well and have the skills, knowledge and capability to do so. They also give us an effective means to educate business stakeholders and general society about the profession and the value it delivers. Building brand awareness and reputation also enhances our marketability and helps advance our careers.

International Safety Management Systems

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has formed a committee to develop an occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) standard. ASSE is leading this global initiative as administrator of the U.S. technical advisory group (TAG) on the standard. ANSI President S. Joe Bhatia calls the proposed standard "one of the most significant consensus standards activities in the past 50 years." Indeed, it will influence OSH management on a global scale.

In September, the TAG discussed the proof of concept document to meet ISO formatting and language requirements. The project committee held its initial meeting in London, England in October. This will lead to the first working draft, then to a formal committee draft, which is expected to be available for public comment in 2014. ISO anticipates the standard will be completed within 3 years (mid-2016).

Center for Safety & Health Sustainability

Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS) seeks to give SH&E professionals a stronger voice in sustainability policies. Through informed research and dialogue with sustainability leaders, CSHS provides new insights into the measurement, management and impact of safety and health as it relates to sustainability.

By shaping this dialogue to include safety, the center aims to be a recognized thought leader for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Such efforts will raise the value of our profession. As more business leaders and policy makers recognize that workplace safety and health is integral to sustainable organizations, they will place greater emphasis on managing OSH risks, which will lead to our ultimate goal: Safe workplaces, globally.

The center is working to establish key performance indicators for OSH, and is working to influence the Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) framework. Better GRI metrics will further increase the value of OSH and demonstrate true OSH performance.

Conclusion

ASSE is influencing the future direction of OSH through its global initiatives and as a result is raising the bar for our profession. Recognition that our profession delivers value and that safety management is good business will produce safe workplaces, create jobs and enrich our careers. Your challenge: What will you do today to influence the perspective of your organizational leaders to recognize that managing OSH risks is good business? Have a safe month!


ASSE is influencing the future direction of OSH and raising the bar for our profession through its global initiatives

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