ASSE Ranks Lack of C-Level Support as Main Safety Profession Hurdle

When asked to list the top six issues facing the safety and health profession today, attendees at the recent American Society of Safety Engineers Leadership Conference ranked lack of C-suite (or corporate-level) support for occupational safety, health and environmental initiatives as the number one issue.

More than 100 ASSE chapter officers from around the U.S., Kuwait, and Australia met for three days at the ASSE conference in Des Plaines, Ill. In addition to lack of corporate buy-in the other top six issues facing the safety, health and environmental profession identified in this survey in order are: 2 -- the aging profession/workforce; 3 -- lack of resources; 4 -- (a tie) the need for more safety training and the need to increase a safety professional's ability to market their value/improve their "enforcer" image; 5 -- (a tie) globalization without safety education and not enough time or funds for professional development; and 6 -- (a three-way tie) a shortage of SH&E college programs, increased job demands/job burnout, and outdated PELS.

"As we continue to meet the needs of our members, we wanted to take a pulse of what the important issues facing our chapter leaders are," said ASSE President-Elect Warren Brown. "We took this opportunity at the Leadership Conference where our chapter leaders were gathered to ask them to take a blank piece of paper and write down what they thought the top six issues were facing the profession today. The responses from this unscientific survey were across the board and include issues that ASSE is addressing today."

As conference attendees noted a need for increased CEO and supervisory support of SH&E initiatives, one member wrote, "the top dog should hold employees accountable and businesses must integrate safety into the overall business plan." Many attendees said there are not enough safety professionals being developed to meet the high demand for SH&E professionals with 10 to 15 years of experience, a demand expected to increase rapidly as "boomers" retire. Many also cited a lack of college programs to provide students with the training needed to enter into the SH&E profession. A member wrote, "Employers do not dedicate enough resources for safety training and tools, something that is very much needed in all industries." Others said SH&E professionals must take control and educate their co-workers, corporate management, contractors, and vendors of the value the SH&E professional provides and to go beyond the minimum. One wrote, "We must improve our 'enforcer' image."

Being overworked and stressed out and needing to increase the availability of information on international safety rules and regulations were other issues noted.

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