NIOSH, ASSE Extend Partnership

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) have signed an agreement that extends their formal partnership to improve safety and health conditions in U.S. workplaces.

Under the agreement, NIOSH and ASSE pledge to continue to collaborate on providing outreach, communication and professional development opportunities and facilitating the transfer and use of effective workplace injury prevention measures. The partnership was established on Oct. 28, 2003, and the new agreement extends it for an additional 3 years.

"We are grateful for ASSE's continued partnership and support in our shared mission of preventing work-related deaths and injuries," NIOSH Director John Howard said. "Through this collaboration, NIOSH already has expanded its safety research portfolio significantly. We look forward to further successes as our teamwork continues."

ASSE President Gene Barfield praised NIOSH for its commitment to advancing occupational safety and health through its research and for "communicating that vital research to the world."

"This is of great interest to our members, their employers and the workers they are committed to protecting," Barfield said. "NIOSH's work directly impacts more than 130 million American workers and we are proud to be able to continue our collaboration with NIOSH.

"Our members occupational safety, health and environmental professionals in all industries work day-in and day-out to ensure that the many millions of people who go to work every day return home safely. This agreement extends our reach in urging all businesses, large and small, to join us as we continue to identify risks at all workplaces, and develop and implement safety systems aimed at preventing fatalities, injuries and illness while on the job."

In 2003, more than 5,000 people died from on-the-job injuries and more than 4 million people suffered workplace injuries and illnesses. Investing in occupational safety and health not only helps reduce the number of workplace injuries and illnesses, according to NIOSH and ASSE, but it also makes good business sense. Companies that invest consistently in safety realize positive bottom-line results, reduced absenteeism, lower turnover rates, higher productivity, increased employee morale and a positive brand image. As illnesses, injuries and fatalities decline, so do health care and workers' compensation costs, NIOSH and ASSE point out.

As a result of the initial 2003 agreement, NIOSH and ASSE have strengthened several working relationships. For example, ASSE members participated in NIOSH's national symposium on "Steps to a Healthier U.S. Workforce" in October 2004. ASSE also appointed a NIOSH representative to serve on the ASSE Foundation Research Subcommittee that reviews and recommends research proposals for funding by the foundation.

The renewed agreement calls on NIOSH and ASSE to partner in developing and disseminating information on worker safety and health at appropriate conferences and through multiple media, including the NIOSH and ASSE Web sites; participating at conferences, meetings and other key events where occupational safety and health issues are addressed; including the safety sciences in the advancement of occupational injury and illness prevention research and practice; promoting academic and professional development opportunities in safety to help advance leadership in safety education and research; advancing the effectiveness of occupational safety and health research; and promoting and facilitating the transfer and workplace implementation of research results on effective occupational injury prevention strategies and technologies.

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