Happy Occupational Safety & Health Professional Day

In 2006, the American Society of Safety Engineers' board of directors approved the creation of an "Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day" to recognize the ongoing efforts of occupational safety, health, and environmental professionals to protect people, property, and the environment. Today is that day. ASSE says the observance will henceforth fall every year on the Wednesday of North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (which this year began May 4 and ends May 10).

The special day aims to further raise awareness and pride in the OSH&E profession, ASSE says, noting that, through their education, training, and experience, occupational safety and health professionals are able to identify hazards and develop appropriate controls aimed at preventing occupational injury, illness, and property damage. "They are the ones that make sure you go to and come home from work safely and without injury every day," said ASSE President Michael Thompson, CSP. Safety and health professionals follow a Code of Professional Conduct and bring to bear technical knowledge, skill, and expertise along with management abilities developed through years of continued education and practical experience. Currently there are about 100,000 OSH&E practitioners in the United States.

The society notes that occupational safety and health practitioners have existed for a long time, but it was in 1911 that they formed ASSE following the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City on March 25 that year. On that date nearly 150 women and young girls died in the factory fire because of locked fire exits and inadequate fire extinguishing systems. This was a major turning point in worker safety history as the tragedy led to changed government regulations and new worker protection laws.

"We take time this May 7th to say thanks to those men and women, who every day work to make your workplace safer and healthier," Thompson said. "It doesn't happen often, but when a call is made to a family member that their loved one has been injured or killed on the job, several lives change forever. Let's continue to work with occupational safety and health professionals to make sure you and your family never receives that call."

The Congressional Resolution recognizing Wednesday, May 7, 2008, as Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day along with May 4-10, 2008, as North American Occupational Safety and Health Week passed last week. Last year a Congressional Resolution was also passed recognizing OSHP Day on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 and NAOSH Week on May 6-12, 2007.

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