NSC: A Million Acts of Safety

During the opening session of the 97th annual National Safety Council (NSC) 2009 Congress and Expo in Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 26, NSC Board Chairman Joseph Uccifero and President and CEO Janet Froetscher discussed A Million Acts of Safety, an initiative designed to save 10,000 lives and prevent 1 million injuries in the next 5 years.

NSC plans to work toward that goal by providing health and safety professionals with the knowledge and tools they need to help protect workers. Froetscher encouraged safety professionals to think of NSC as their advisor, partner and research team, and to make use of NSC resources that include membership, congress sessions, webinars, publications and training resources.

“We listened to you and thought about what we could do to make the biggest impact on saving lives and preventing injuries and how we could help,” Froetscher said. “We want to work with you to help you as heroes.”

Here’s to the Heroes

The opening session welcomed many of the 13,000 safety and health professionals who will convene in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 25-28 for the exhibition and more than 800 educational sessions. The session featured a “Here’s to the Heroes” theme to recognize safety professionals in their work to reduce occupational injuries and illnesses.

NSC provided attendees with information regarding A Million Acts of Safety and suggested ways to get started and make a difference at home, at work and on the road:

  • Conduct emergency plan drills;
  • Recommend a ban on cell phone use while driving;
  • Wear PPE;
  • Conduct work area safety inspections;
  • Get trained in first aid and CPR;
  • Fall proof your home;
  • Don’t share prescription drugs;
  • Create a home emergency evacuation plan;
  • Focus on the road and avoid cell phone use while driving;
  • Ask other drivers to refrain from using cell phone while on the road;
  • Change your voice mail to say you don’t answer while driving;
  • Support state legislation to ban drivers from using cell phones;
  • Share teen driving risks at your local high school; and
  • Talk to tends about the hazards of driving and texting.

“Our job is to save lives and prevent injuries. That’s what we’re about and that’s why you’re so important to us,” Froetscher told the audience of safety and health professionals. “We have nothing but the utmost respect and gratitude for you.”

Turbulence Equals Opportunity

In his keynote presentation, Howard Putman, former CEO of Southwest Airlines and Braniff Airlines, recognized that many industries are going through some hard times.

“Turbulence is an opportunity to focus on safe practices, integrity and leadership,” he said. “My advice in turbulent times is simplify, simplify, simplify.”

He pointed out that often, innovation grows out of turbulent times, and that bumps in the road actually can lead to a fresh start. He encouraged safety professionals to create a culture and a passion for a zero-tolerance workplace environment. The first step is to develop the vision with senior management and then foster the culture to support it.

“I am a big believer that the vision has to be crystal clear to everybody before you take initiatives and implement from there,” he said.

Earlier, Froetscher also acknowledged that while safety professionals may have been impacted by tough times, they must continue to persevere.

“We know the economy has made it hard for you to be here with us, but you all came,” she told attendees at the opening session. “We’re thrilled with your commitment to safety.”

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