Summit View: The Presidents of AIHA and ASSE Identify the Biggest Priorities Facing the Occupational Safety and Health Community, and Highlight Actions Their Organizations Are Taking to Address Them

By Minter, Stephen G. | Occupational Hazards, September 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Summit View: The Presidents of AIHA and ASSE Identify the Biggest Priorities Facing the Occupational Safety and Health Community, and Highlight Actions Their Organizations Are Taking to Address Them


Minter, Stephen G., Occupational Hazards


Gayla McCluskey, CIH, CSP, ROH, QEP, and Mark Hansen, P.E., CSP, the respective presidents of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), share the belief that their members offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise on occupational safety and health. As a result, they both embrace the role of advocates for greater involvement by safety and health professionals in informing and guiding policy at the government and corporate levels.

"I would like to see a better synergy between the legislators, the regulators and the stakeholders, people like our professionals in the business," said Hansen, the director of risk control for oil and gas for the St. Paul Co. "Our members understand the regulations. We have to work with companies to implement them; in other words, take something that may be academic and make it real world."

Hansen recalled his experience with the original OSHA ergonomics proposal, which was developed by a team led by Barbara Silverstein, a Ph.D. and ergonomist. While Hansen said Silverstein saw the issue from an academic viewpoint, "We, the stakeholders, saw it from the viewpoint of how Joe Safety Manager is going to implement it. We tried to say a 1,000-page document isn't going to cut it." Rather than try to make every industrial safety manager an ergonomist, Hansen added, OSHA instead needed to produce a manageable set of requirements.

While Hansen doesn't expect OSHA to follow ASSE's advice every time, he is encouraged by a trend toward seeking more input from safety professionals, and he argues against any cynicism about the value of participating in government affairs. "I'm always optimistic that whatever we do can have an impact. Sometimes, it just takes time for that message to get through," he said.

One message Hansen wants companies and the federal government to understand is the value of safety and health management systems. In recent testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Employment, Safety and Training, Hansen voiced support for the injury and illness prevention rule, formerly known as the program safety and health rule.

"Promulgation of this rule is ASSE's most important regulatory priority," Hansen's testimony stated. "Requiring all workplaces to have in place a comprehensive program that addresses the particular safety and health difficulties at a workplace, as well as a plan for addressing those problems, is the key element missing in occupational safety. In hindsight, requiring such a plan seems so elemental that it is difficult to see how such a requirement was not made part of the initial occupational safety and health requirements. Rather than being an additional burden on employers, such a program would encourage employers to identify difficulties before they become expensive problems."

In Hansen's view, safety often seems amorphous to many industry managers and employees. Management systems give it a more concrete form so that employees at all levels can understand what safety involves, what actions will be required and how it will be measured.

Not surprisingly, Hansen said the single most pressing issue before ASSE members is "convincing management that safety pays and that they are business people as well as safety professionals. We have to be able to demonstrate the value of an effective safety and health program to the senior management of companies."

When he was a safety manager at Weatherford International, an oil services company, Hansen was able to demonst rate a very direct impact of safety on the business. Some of Weatherford's customers established safety program requirements and incident rate thresholds that firms such as Weatherford had to meet to bid on contracts.

"I convinced management that, yes, we want to be safe for altruistic reasons, but safety also means money to the bottom line, because if we go over the incident rate, they won't hire us," he recalled.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Summit View: The Presidents of AIHA and ASSE Identify the Biggest Priorities Facing the Occupational Safety and Health Community, and Highlight Actions Their Organizations Are Taking to Address Them
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?