ASSE Works to Align Safety with Green Initiatives

Jan. 29, 2010
As businesses, schools and communities go green, American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) occupational safety and health professional members are working with their organizations to incorporate safety practices in line with green initiatives.

“While greening efforts eliminate or reduce some traditional risks, they may increase existing risks or introduce new ones for workers,” noted a recent ASSE Hospitality Branch report. To address this issue, the ASSE Chicago chapter is providing educational work safety programs for the Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative while other ASSE members share their greening experiences with the society.

In the ASSE white paper “Safety Implications of Going Green,” editor Fay Feeney, CSP, ARM, noted, “based on our experience in greening, we see success when executive leadership brings together sound financials along with people considerations, their safety and health impact, and consequences, in greening decisions. Safety, health and environmental professionals have a broad range of capabilities, skills and experience to assist in developing effective and profitable greening programs.”

Safety Focus

ASSE Chicago members Allen Borzych and Neil Silins, LEED AP, through the chapter’s outreach committee, are assisting in developing effective and profitable greening programs. They are providing EHS training to students in the Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative, an organization aimed at developing a skilled work force ready to meet employer demands in the new green market and to capture new employment opportunities for Chicagoland low-skilled individuals.

“Our aim is to adapt their thinking towards the understanding of why safety plays a major role in their daily job training – to prevent injuries and illnesses on the job,” said ASSE Chicago Chapter Chair Borzych. “Safety professionals work every day to make sure the millions of people who go to work return home injury and illness free. These students now know how valuable being safe at work is for everyone, every day.”

The ASSE Chicago chapter also works with the Local Economic and Employment Development Council, an organization that provides training for the unemployed seeking jobs and for those formerly incarcerated. ASSE members provide an “Introduction to Safety” presentation.

The council offers training in construction areas such as carpentry, plumbing and removal of material from outdated buildings. Borzych and Silins provide EHS training in areas such as personal protection equipment, proper use of tools and more.

“We contribute our time to these organizations so that those seeking jobs not only in the green industry, but in all industries learn the basics about being and staying safe at work,” Borzych said.

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