Eighty Years in Safety

As the editor of Occupational Health & Safety for 15+ years, about 19 percent of its existence, I believe it is more useful and relevant than ever.

You're reading No. 1, Vol. 80 of this magazine, the latter a startling number of years for any magazine to be alive. Having met several octogenarians, I can testify that we realistically can hope to be healthy, intelligent, and charming at that age and beyond.

As the editor of Occupational Health & Safety for 15+ years, about 19 percent of its existence, I believe it is more useful and relevant than ever. Why is this?

* The Internet era has us reaching out to our audience in every way we can online. More and more professionals from all over the United States and abroad get their news and compliance guidance in this way; many more resources are ready and waiting for them.

* OH&S is still provided free to most readers. Our free webinars and free virtual events are very popular. If you haven't attended an OH&S webinar, I can't imagine why because they are a first-class learning experience about important subjects such as fall protection standards, controlling combustible dusts, arc flash and the NFPA 70E standard, H1N1 influenza, preventing hearing loss, and managing a gas detection program to prevent fatal mistakes. You can find out more about our second virtual event, a Feb. 16, 2011, all-day event devoted to emergency preparedness and response, at www.ohsonline.com/virtualevent.

* Your challenges are extreme these days: Staffs and budgets are smaller, new regulations and revised standards are coming at you constantly, and enforcement penalties are sky high. You have little room for error, which makes OH&S and other information sources highly valuable.

Our January 2007 issue summarized the magazine's first 75 years in an article written by Managing Editor Ronnie Rittenberry. His summation included this: "Revisiting the earliest of the volumes, reading firsthand the words of Cloud, Jones, Sappington, and all the contributors, it is striking to see that so many of the topics that were concerning them are still of concern today. Many of the headlines placed over articles that appeared in 1932 -- 'Eye Injuries and the Use of Safety Goggles,' 'Skin in Industry,' 'Carbon Tetrachloride: A Non-Technical Discussion of Its Toxicity,' 'Dust, Fumes, Vapors and Gases' -- could easily fit atop stories now, in 2007." Technology, he pointed out, had brought us far since OH&S began but had not yet solved the biggest industrial safety concerns.

This article originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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