Students from across the country attending the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) 2005 National Future Safety Leaders Conference listed a lack of a safety culture, the aging workforce, health care costs, keeping up with technology, apathy, and lack of adequate research as some of the top safety, health, and environmental (SH&E) issues facing businesses today.
For TFM‘s latest coverage on this topic, see “Prepared For An Audit?” by Jack Fearing.
In an unscientific poll of attendees, students listed their greatest challenges as they take their first SH&E job as gaining respect of the line workers as well as upper management, gaining credibility in the workforce, applying education to the real world, being recognized as an integral part of the team, gaining funding for research projects and helping management and employees understand how SH&E is an integral part of the business goals.
As for tips from presenters and conference organizers, ASSE member Darryl C. Hill, CSP, of Michigan, notes that compliance should not be the only goal and that safety should be viewed as a process and business core value, not a program. “You have to know and to connect with all of your audiences,” Hill says. “Know your audiences, its business, and technical language, from the board of directors to the plant managers to your global employees, when making presentations and providing training. Also, learn financial principles, so you can make the business case for safety and connect with the individuals you are trying to influence.”
“The safety profession has a global reach and is growing,” Michael Murray, CSP, and ASSE Metro New York chapter president told the group. “The U.S. drives safety globally through our education system and leadership. You must have that global vision to remain a leader.”
“You hold the key to your future and SH&E professionals are needed now more than ever,” ASSE President Jack H. Dobson, CSP, of Wisconsin, told the students. “Recently, a member told me that a company built a new production plant, costing them millions. However, because of numerous workplace injuries, such as ergonomics, as a result of the new plant’s design they had to totally redesign it, again costing millions. This time they designed out the hazards in the workplace. We do this every day.”