"We work day in and day out to prevent injuries and illnesses," ASSE President M.E. "Eddie" Greer reminded attendees. "And the events of September 11th have certainly increased the awareness of safety."
Greer and the other speakers who opened the conference reinforced the idea that safety, occupational and otherwise, has never been more important. Safety professionals now are finding themselves devoting more time to security and risk management, said Greer.
He noted, "The world is changing rapidly," adding, "People are being fitted with computer chips. There are tourists in space." Safety professionals must continue to change and learn if they want to remain their leadership role in risk management, he said.
Paul Faupel, president of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) in the United Kingdom, told audience members that his group was "truly saddened" by the events of September 11th.
"September 11th changed the way the world looks at risk. Safety professionals must broaden their horizons. Safety and health is but an element of the way their [employers] looks at risk."
He said the IOSH and ASSE, along with the Canadian Society of Safety Engineers, have begun talks to start an international association for occupational safety generalists, adding they hope to launch the associations within three years.
"We need a voice at the table with such organizations as the International Labor Organization…and the International Standards Organization," he told attendees, and an international consortium would help accomplish that.