Government Affairs continues to be a primary focus of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), as it should be. In a recent member issues survey, Government Affairs was ranked second. At a time when the federal interest in rulemaking has waned, the ASSE has creatively presented member views to the attention of regulators through alliances and partnerships. The Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) continues to comment on federal and state legislativeand regulatory proposals. The GAC also participates and comments at legislative and regulatory hearings, various legislative committee meetings, regulatory agency meetings, alliances, and partnerships. The GAC interacts extensively with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DoT) and the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) on initiatives that could impact our members.
The following sections of this paper summarize the GAC activities that have been and continue to be of concern:
The Board of Directors at its February 2005 meeting unanimously adopted the Position Statement on ASSE Government Affairs Representation of Safety, Health and Environmental Professionals. The statement addresses long-standing concerns among ASSE members on the best approach the ASSE can use to promote recognition for members in legislation and regulations. Members are encouraged to read and share this position statement. In the past, the ASSE worked at achieving recognition through title protection legislative and regulatory initiatives that recognized Certified Safety Professionals (CSPs) but not other ASSE members. The GAC has established an approach that encourages all environmental, health, and safety certifications to reach the level of quality of the CSP. Achievement of that level of quality would permit the GAC to represent more members when commenting on proposed legislation and regulations. At times the ASSE will seek inclusion of the CSP in legislation and regulation as the best means of achieving recognition. The GAC believes these actions are a significant and needed step forward for the ASSE.
At the October 2004 Board of Directors meeting the recently revised GAC operating procedures were approved. The new procedures set specified term limits for members and the Chairperson. This will assure that more interested and qualified members will have the opportunity to participate on this important committee. In addition, rotation to new members will assure the continuing invigoration of ideas, concepts, and approaches to legislative and regulatory activities. Finally, by permitting a greater member base to participate, the Society will be enhancing professional growth opportunities for members.