NACOSH Addresses Growth of OSH Profession

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Earlier this year, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSH David Michaels charged the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) with providing recommendations for action that OSHA and NIOSH should pursue to encourage growth of professionals in the OSH field.

“The OSH community is small in relation to the size of the field of public health overall,” Michaels says, noting the aging workforce and increasing number of retirements from the field. “There is increasing concern about how these gaps will be filled and whether the necessary steps are being taken to grow the next generation of OSH professionals.”

NACOSH has begun work to develop its recommendations for growing the next generation of OSH professionals. ASSE President Tom Cecich, CSP, CIH, and ASSE Vice President of Professional Affairs Jim Thornton, CSP, CIH, attended the initial meeting to discuss the need for more qualified safety professionals in the field, and how stakeholders such as ASSE can work with NACOSH to encourage the growth of the profession (click here for more detail on ASSE’s comments).

Currently in the information-gathering stage, the group began holding a series of stakeholder meetings, the third of which will take place Nov. 15. ASSE presented its initiatives at the most recent meeting held Oct. 18.

“The span and scope of ASSE’s programs geared toward attracting and growing students and young professionals are truly impressive,” says Brenda Zylstra, ASSE’s Government Affairs and Policy Manager. She notes that each of the Society’s member communities, such as chapters, councils and committees, have been addressing this complex issue for years, and that each community provides its own unique perspective.

“Taken together, they represent a significant contribution to the future of our profession,” Zylstra says. “These efforts are the legacy of ASSE’s members, and we were proud to share them with NACOSH. We look forward to NACOSH’s recommendations to OSHA and NIOSH, and partnering with whoever will join us on strengthening the future of the profession.”

The group will also discuss major themes at its in-person meeting in December. ASSE is continuing its involvement throughout this process and will share progress of the initiative as it develops.