ASSP appoints members of DEI task force

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the world’s oldest professional safety organization, has formed a board-level task force to improve diversity, equity and inclusion within the Society and throughout the occupational safety and health profession. The 14-member advisory group, which gathered virtually today for the first time, represents ASSP’s commitment to principles of fairness, respect and equal opportunity for all.

“The task force is a critical part of our journey to create a welcoming and transparent environment,” said ASSP President Deborah Roy, M.P.H., RN, COHN-S, CSP, CIT, FASSP, FAAOHN. “We’re challenging long-held assumptions and seeking to better understand how unconscious bias influences decisions.”

Over the past three months in a blind review process, ASSP considered more than 80 applications from members with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. Evaluations focused on the candidate’s experience with driving organizational improvement in diversity, equity and inclusion; effective change management and communications; investigating issues with an open mind; and working in a collaborative environment.

The task force will examine ASSP’s operations, policies, culture and governance structure with a goal to improve diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the organization. The group will provide a recommended action plan to the board of directors early next year as a next step in helping the Society establish accountabilities for creating an environment that welcomes and embraces all occupational safety and health professionals.

“We had a pool of outstanding candidates, all of whom would bring valuable elements to this discussion,” said Roy, who serves as co-chair of the task force with CEO Jennifer McNelly. “This dynamic group will help us identify and remove barriers to engagement, improve our understanding of these important issues, and drive the organization and profession forward.”

The members of the task force, in addition to co-chairs Roy and McNelly, are Kristin Amlie, DeAundra Brabham, Ryan Clayton, Tiffany Felix, William Geddings, Bryce Griffler, Kahlilah Guyah, Krystle Hodge, Massimo Navarretta, Oscar Paredes, Monique Parker and Christine Waters.

ASSP works to foster a culture that values diversity of its staff and members, and the Society aims to accelerate that progress. Differences of race, ethnicity, class, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ability and education should not only be accepted but widely celebrated. An organizational foundation built on diversity, equity and inclusion helps advance ASSP’s mission of supporting members and ensuring safer workplaces. It also helps the Society maintain a multidimensional staff and membership reflective of the entire profession.

ASSP issued a statement in June calling for social change. 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.

“I look forward to experiencing the energy of our safety and health community as we work together on meaningful change,” Roy said.

Questions about the ASSP task force and the selection process may be directed to communities@assp.org.

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