In the wake of one of the worst workplace tragedies in recent history, the March 25, 1911, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) was formed in October of 1911 to enhance safety with the mission “to promote harmonious action in safety work and to educate members in all matters relating to industrial safety and accident prevention.” In 2011 ASSE will be celebrating its 100th anniversary.
“The year ahead is a special one. Celebrating 100 years is a major achievement,” ASSE President Darryl Hill, Ph.D., CSP, noted, commemorating “a hundred years of protecting people, property, and the environment. If you look back at the workplace before 1911, the statistics are harrowing when it comes to protecting workers from injury and illness. Over the decades, we have worked together with employers, employees, regulators, legislators, inventors, and more to develop programs and systems that prevent work injuries and illnesses. We are celebrating the positive strides made over the decades and looking to the future. Unlike in 1911, I am pleased that today the safety and health profession has become a major part of the fabric of business in our economy.”
Today, occupational safety and health is a key component to a successful company’s business plan. The occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) profession continues to grow and was recently listed in the top half of the Money magazine’s Top 50 Jobs in America list.
To celebrate its centennial, a “Century of Safety” and to look forward to another 100 years of enhancing work safety, ASSE will debut a documentary on the history of safety and ASSE. Additionally, the organization is preparing for its “supersized” Professional Development Conference and Exposition, Safety 2011, to be held in Chicago at the McCormick Place Convention Center on June 12-15, 2011.
ASSE will also be commemorating the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire at events in New York City March 24 and 25, 2011, and in Chicago. ASSE chapters and student members will be visiting local schools and other community groups with information on how to be safe at work using the ASSE “Safety Suitcase,” the “Target Teen Work Safety” kit, and other tools. The theme for the North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, to be held May 1-7, 2011, is “Celebrating a Century of Safety.”
NAOSH kick-off events will be held in Washington, DC, at the U.S. Capitol, the National Gallery of Art, and the U.S. Department of Labor on May 2. All ASSE members are invited to attend. Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day will be held on May 4, 2011.
As part of the celebration, ASSE will hold several contests. An essay contest will award $1,500 to an ASSE member or student member who best outlines a specific challenge facing the SH&E industry and highlights possible solutions. A video essay contest titled “Why the World Needs More SH&E Professionals” is offering a grand prize of $1,500 to the entry that best explains the importance of occupational safety and health and the profession. Another $1,000 will go to the entry most viewed by visitors to the ASSE website.