NSC Celebrates Safety's Caped Crusaders

"You are the heroes," NSC President and CEO Janet Froetscher told an audience of safety professionals at the 2009 Congress & Expo. "We want you to think of us as your advisor, as your partner, as your research team. You’re the Batman, and we're the Lucius Fox in the background, doing whatever we can to help you."

Addressing safety professionals who filled the Orange County Convention Center’s Chapin Theater on Monday at the opening session of the 2009 National Safety Council Congress & Expo, NSC President and CEO Janet Froetscher said the council wants to be the Lucius Fox to the attendees’ Batman. She even showed a clip from “Batmam Begins” to drive home the point and remind attendees of the character Morgan Freeman brought to life in the movie. She then proceeded to recognize various safety professionals in the audience by having them stand and don a specially made, NSC emblazoned yellow cape (which, for the record, looked more like Robin’s costume than Batman’s but still went well with the event’s theme: “Here’s to the Heroes”).

“You are the heroes,” Froetscher said. “We want you to think of us as your advisor, as your partner, as your research team. You’re the Batman, and we’re the Lucius Fox in the background, doing whatever we can to help you. And we’ve got some cool tools to do it.”

Part of the “cool tools” Froetscher singled out included NSC’s Perception Survey, which companies can complete online to measure their safety culture against others in the industry, and a Cell Phone Policy Kit advocating a total ban on cell phones for drivers. Both the survey and the kit are available for free at NSC’s Web site, www.nsc.org, which Froetscher said will be all-new by next week.

Not having enough capes for all of the more than 1,500 attendees in the audience, Froetscher recognized the rest as “truly unsung heroes.”

During the session, one company and seven individuals were recognized with awards for safety and health excellence in various categories. Schneider Electric’s North American Operating Division won the 2009 Robert W. Campbell Award, an international award named for NSC’s first president that annually honors an organization for integrating environmental, health, and safety management into its business operating systems. Schneider, with 19,000 employees in North America and operations in more than 100 countries, specializes in energy management, offering integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in energy and infrastructure, industrial processes, building automation, and data centers/networks, as well as a broad presence in residential applications. Based on the company’s corporate Principles of Responsibility, its North American Operating Division established safety, health, environment, and community as the guiding principles of its business strategy, helping individuals and organizations “make the most of their energy” by making energy safe, reliable, efficient, and green.

Accepting the award, Amelia Huntington, COO of the division and president of Schneider Electric USA said, “Six years ago, we committed to making improvements. Now, six years later, I’m happy to say we’re obsessed with it. Having a safe working environment is in our DNA.”

NSC next announced the recipients of the 2009 Distinguished Service to Safety Award, the highest award the council bestows on individuals, recognizing exemplary efforts and successes in improving safety and health at work, on the road, and in the home and community. This year’s seven honorees were selected for their sustained impact on the safety movement on a national scope, the council said.

James M. Dougherty, chief safety officer and director of safety, security, and enforcement for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, was recognized for outstanding efforts within the Transportation Division.

Timothy J. McClain, CSP, president of T. McClain & Associates, was recognized for outstanding efforts within the Labor Division.

Dennis Rourke, director of risk management at First Data Corp., was recognized for outstanding efforts within the Chapter Services Division.

Kenneth L. Schriner, safety and occupational health specialist for Western Area Power Administration, was recognized for outstanding efforts within the Utilities Division.

Raymond F. Wagner, president of Company Safety Inc. and a safety training specialist for DiVal Safety, was recognized for outstanding efforts with the Business & Industry Division.

Garland E. Whitworth, Ph.D., the retired director of safety and education for the Southern Illinois Builders Association, was recognized for outstanding efforts within the Construction Division.

And James A. Wick, emergency and business continuity programs manager for Intel Corp., was recognized for outstanding efforts by the NSC Board of Directors.

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