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ASSP Forms Task Force to Address Diversity, Inclusion and Equity

Aug. 5, 2020
The new task force will be a critical part of ASSP’s ongoing journey toward a welcoming and transparent environment.

A newly-formed task force will aim to address diversity, inclusion and equity in the occupational health and safety industry.

The American Society of Safety Professionals created the group following the announcement of its renewed commitment to "the principles of fairness, respect and equal opportunity for all."

ASSP President Deborah Roy commented on the effort, saying, "Achieving widespread safety and equity requires a deep-seated commitment, and we have embarked on a journey to transform our culture by bringing together people with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. We must do more to challenge long-held assumptions and better understand how unconscious bias can influence decisions. By prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion, ASSP will grow stronger and help our members create safer and healthier work environments around the world."

The new task force will be a critical part of ASSP’s ongoing journey toward a welcoming and transparent environment based on the highest ideals, the organization stated. Members will include professionals from the organization's common interest groups as well as other safety and health professionals who want to help advance the Society through inclusivity.  Once formed, the group is expected to present a recommended strategy and action plan to the ASSP Board of Directors by January 2021 that helps define the Society’s goals for diversity, equity and inclusion. A separate staff team will address these issues internally.

“We can do more to honor our members’ deep insights and experiences by establishing trust, compassion and hope at every level of our organization,” said Roy, who will serve on the task force with CEO Jennifer McNelly. “It’s not about replacing the voices of ASSP, but elevating the voices that are not being heard.”

ASSP issued a statement in June calling for social change to stop violence against black people and clarifying its support of the Black Lives Matter movement. ASSP has also created learning opportunities – such as a diversity and inclusion panel discussion at its virtual annual conference – to help safety professionals better understand how societal issues such as racism and systemic inequities impede career advancement, undermine workplace safety and disenfranchise workers.

“All ASSP members should be treated with respect and know their voices are being heard, particularly those who are frequently marginalized or silenced in other areas of their lives,” Roy said. “We must nurture a culture in which all stakeholders embrace our differences and have opportunities to learn and excel.”

She concluded, "While these are all positive developments, we know this is only the beginning. I look forward to experiencing the energy of our safety and health community as we work together on meaningful change.”

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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