Posted on: 2/14/2005

American Society of Safety Engineers' Risk Symposium to Address Global Product Development Risks

DES PLAINES, IL (February 11, 2005) – From product production liability, to UK safety and health legislation, to how safety can be a profit center and how to distribute the cost of risk to an organization's business units are just some of the topics to be featured at the American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) “Using Risk Principles for Safety and Health Decisions” Symposium March 23-24 in San Diego, CA.        


Experts from around the globe will share with the Risk Symposium attendees up to date information on how occupational safety, health and the environment, and risk management are now a key part of corporate governance, corporate culture and bottom line strategies.


For instance, ASSE member John Stringer, MIOSH, RESP, MICE CEng, MIQA of the United Kingdom will discuss how risk management in the UK is not solely a matter of good business practice, that health and safety legislation requires risk assessments be completed for all tasks, activities and operations.  Additionally, in the UK, ‘The Combined Code on Corporate Governance' and ‘The Turnbull Report; Guidance for Directors on Internal Control' covers the minimum controls that companies listed on the FTSE 350 of the London Stock Exchange are expected to have in place. Stringer notes that one of the questions posed by this guidance are: “Are the significant internal and external operational, financial and other risks identified and assessed on an ongoing basis? – with the significant risks to include those related to market, credit, liquidity, technological, legal, safety, health and environmental, reputation and business probity issues.”


Stringer will discuss how occupational safety and health legislation in the UK affects corporate businesses. A breach of UK's Health and Safety Legislation is a criminal offense and can lead to individuals being prosecuted and punished as well as receiving a criminal record. Additionally, a fatal injury at work may lead to a manslaughter charge, imprisonment, and, company directors can be banned from holding directorships in any company if found guilty of certain health and safety offenses.


Speaker James N. Gilson, PE, CPCCE will bring another element to the discussion of risk, that of product safety with a focus on “cost justified” risk reduction for products and processes through the determination of the total cost of risk and determination of an appropriate level of risk reduction for safety management systems and product design.


Gilson will discuss the effect the outsourcing of manufacturing goods and services, especially overseas is having on risk management. He notes that products are now commonly designed in the first world, manufactured in second and third world countries, only to be shipped and sold in first world markets by the company that designed them. Gilson also notes that value engineering of existing products often leads to supplier replacement, material replacement, and product re-designs that result in diminished quality, loss of producer-supplier quality assurance history, decreased product performance, and higher product liability risk.


As such, well-written specification are an integral part of risk control for any business and any product, whether being procured for internal use, or sold as a product on the open market, Gilson noted.  


Also on the agenda will be several case studies of how companies faced with mounting losses, worker injuries and illnesses began to look at the problem less as just another unavoidable cost of doing business, to embracing occupational safety and health and risk management with successful results across the board.       


For instance, speaker William H. Barbarow's BS, CSP, ALCM, will discuss how one company he worked with which in the beginning their upper management was not directly involved in safety, were more reactive when an accident occurred and where the culture of the organization did not embrace safety as a value.  After developing and implementing a program to change this culture, reduce accidents, injuries and illnesses and to reduce costs, there was a major positive turnaround. With the new system in place, financially the company saw more than a 75 percent reduction in workers compensation premiums and a reduction in employee turnover from 20 percent to three percent annually.


The keynote presenter Dr. Oren Harari, author, will discuss how people take different paths to leadership in an organization and demonstrate that in today's particularly volatile and uncertain marketplace professionals who exhibit behaviors that mobilize people, integrate innovation, operational discipline, financial discipline, entrepreneurship, risk-aversion and more are most likely to add value to their organizations.


Additional symposium topics include: “A Delicate Balance: Understanding the True Cost of Risk”, “Evaluating Your Organization's Business From A Risk Management Perspective”, “The Johnson & Johnson Approach to Risk Assessment”, “Using the Risk Assessment Process to Improve Your Safety and Health Results”, “The Impact of Safety and Loss Control Activities on Risk Financing Methods”, “Contracts, Hold Harmless, and Insurance: A Guide to Risk Transfer Mechanisms for the Safety Professional”, “Allocating the Cost of Risk”, “A UK Approach to Managing Risk”, “Navigating Through Cost of Risk – the What and the How”, “Integrating Risk Management Principles Into Safety”, and much, much more.


The symposium will be held at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego. Registration information is at ASSE's web site at http://www.asse.org or call customer service at 847-699-2929. Attendees can earn continuing education units, continuance of certification, industrial hygiene certification maintenance points, or certified hazardous materials management certification maintenance points. ASSE will offer a math review seminar, the ASP/CSP certification preparation workshops and a corporate safety management seminar just prior to the Risk Principles symposium in San Diego.


Formed in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment.  ASSE has 30,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members who manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education.


Contact:  Diane Hurns, 847-768-3413, dhurns@asse.org

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