Canadian Occupational Safety

September/October 2020

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 51 23 and inclusion in the occupational health and safety profession. In June, former ASSP president Stegall released a statement on behalf of ASSP calling for leaders and citizens to work together to understand and overcome systemic inequities and to protect the safety and health of all Americans. "I think we have a responsibility to support our broad membership," says Roy. "We do have an opportunity to be more vocal and as you saw from that statement, that was a first step. The leadership of ASSP has since met with BISE to better understand the issue and make further strides in this long-term journey." Blacks in Safety Excellence (BISE) is a common interest group within ASSP. BISE provides networking, mentoring and educational opportunities for Black safety professionals to advance in the field of occupational health and safety. Roy adds that, alongside recent efforts in the last couple of years, ASSP has been "really focusing on diversity in our SAFETY 2020 KEY STATS Deborah Roy, ASSP president Source: ASSP volunteer leadership. We developed a diversity statement a couple of years ago that we provided to our nominations and election committee to address opportunities for all volunteer leaders." She says ASSP set up an online forum where members could say which volunteer roles they were interested in. Now, Roy says, when ASSP does committee appointments, it can look at that list to see who is interested in what role and select people for positions based on that. "We've done that to try and get away from the 'who you know' approach," says Roy. "I do see us achieving more with diversity, equity and inclusion as we further evolve our efforts moving forward," she says. Aside from these hot-button issues, Roy wants to focus on two other big issues for her year-long tenure. The first is total worker health. "Total worker health is actually a next- generation approach to safety and health. I think a lot of people think of it Virtual drew 2,400 professionals from around the world It is the largest annual conference for occupational health and safety professionals in the U.S.; the first was held in Chicago in 1962 This year, the conference featured 60 educational sessions, including three keynote presentations Around 100 exhibitors hosted booths in the virtual expo hall Around 1,000 participants were first-time attendees (43 per cent) and 500 were non-members (21 per cent) as a wellness initiative, and it's really not," says Roy. "It's a system of policies and programs that integrate a lot of different protections regarding work-related hazards as well as other risk factors for workers." Roy explains that this concept, coined by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), is really based around the idea of understanding the full breadth of a worker's experience and collaborating to better serve those in the workplace so that they become safer and more productive. This means organizations moving from simply looking into compliance and incorporating management systems best practices with a more comprehensive vision. The second area Roy wishes to focus on is increasing the value of the safety profession. This may already be changing, as the current pandemic is changing the way people perceive safety professionals and highlighting how important they are. "What is fascinating to me," says Roy, "is that I've seen on social media a number of safety and health professionals who have commented about the fact that they have started being asked for their opinion — and they weren't before [COVID-19]. So this risk has been identified by senior leadership as something that they really need help with. "It has been really interesting to see how much more visibility my colleagues are getting in this particular space," says Roy. "And with that visibility, they now have a responsibility to engage with senior leadership. It's a great opportunity that's been handed to us. And it's up to safety and health professionals to take advantage of this opportunity." Safety 2020

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Canadian Occupational Safety - September/October 2020