Magazine article Occupational Hazards

(Safe) Work to Be Done

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

(Safe) Work to Be Done

Article excerpt

ASSE President-Elect Eddie Greer says safety is an investment more companies should be banking on, but leadership is needed to make the sale.

As the incoming president of an association of 32,000 safety, occupational health and environmental professionals, M.E. "Eddie" Greer, CSP, could be expected to advocate the need for active EHS programs in companies, but he backs his passion for safety with some somber statistics.

"We kill 5,000 workers every year. We have nearly 4 million disabling injuries. Those numbers are coming down every year, but they are still unacceptable," says Greer, a veteran safety manager with Halliburton/Black & Root.

Greer's message is that safety professionals, individually and collectively through the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), have to become safety leaders who can communicate the value of safety and how it benefits organizations.

"We need to be an integral part of the leadership team within our companies," he says. That means communicating the vision that fatalities and injuries are unacceptable and "listening to our workers and to management, and having management listen to us."

Greer says there has been too much reliance in the past on lagging indicators such as incident rates. He likens that to driving while only using your rearview mirror. Instead, he adds, safety managers need to step back, analyze leading indicators such as near misses and unsafe conditions, and take action before problems arise or get worse.

"It takes leadership to do that. …

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