Physically Back and Stronger
The Chapter held its first in-person meeting last month, after more than 2 years of meeting virtually. It was an ecstatic feeling for members to physically connect with one another. What is even more spectacular was the pleasure of having our own Executive Committee (EC) member and Student Affairs Chair, Dr. Mike Behm, come to speak to us on a special topic that offered contemporary views of safety science in what was titled “Safety Function Metamorphosis”.
A key takeaway for me from last month’s meeting is the bond that connects us. This bond is so strong that despite being virtual for a long time, our members remain committed. I don’t have any doubt that our mission is what binds us together. We are blessed to be surrounded by creative people, people who are committed to improving the health and well-being of the workforce in our community; people who are willing to step up when asked.
Speaking of our mission, this month of April, specifically April 28, is Workers’ Memorial Day – a day of remembrance for workers killed, disabled, or injured on the job. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2021, an 8.9% increase from 4,764 in 2020. This stat is a reminder that there is still a long way to go in eliminating preventable deaths in the workplace. You would appreciate why for more than six decades, the ASSP North Carolina Chapter continues to build a framework that provides knowledge, resources, and a network that empowers its members in the mission of promoting workplace safety and health.
There are other updates that I would like to share with you. The chapter election will be held on April 13 during the monthly technical meeting. The slate of candidates for election has been up on the chapter website since last month. The EC is interested in your participation in the election. In addition, the EC has some open positions for the next chapter year. If you are interested in being a part of the EC, please contact the Membership Chair.
Depending on when you are reading this message, we invite you to join our technical presentation this Month. Amy Robertson, CEO and Founder of Soul Advantage will be speaking on Mental Health in the Workplace. You may also view the archived recording on our website. Next month’s meeting (May 11) will feature “Safety Legality Versus Liability” by Tom Farr, Partner at Nelson Mullins Law Firm. See the chapter event page for more information and registration details.
In conclusion, I want to thank you all for your support of safety and health in all its ramification. I also want to thank you all for supporting ASSP’s goal. Your support of ASSP allows us to continue to fulfill our mission and serve the over 430 members of our community each year.
Ogaga Tebehaevu, MS, CIH, CSP
A New Season Begins
“It’s spring again – a time of rebirth as the natural world wakes up and revives after going dormant in the winter months.” – Better Place Forests.
Spring is often described as a season of new life, change, creativity, and adaptation. To some, it is a great time of renewal to gain insight into making new moves, setting new goals, or seeing through one’s goals. Regardless of our perspective about spring, a key message I would like to share with us this month is the need to continue to grow, professionally and otherwise.
Environmental Health and Safety professionals are not stagnant. Rather, we find ways to inspire ourselves, trying new experiences to become better stakeholders. The efforts we make each day in our respective roles contribute to making the world a safer and healthier place. When we continue to grow, it helps us impact our team positively and create good memories. And the more memories we create for ourselves and the people around us, the better it’ll be when we reflect upon these unprecedented times in the distant future.
This month is also a new season for our chapter. For the first time in over two years, we will be meeting in person for the chapter executive committee and technical meetings. On behalf of the Executive Committee, I want to thank you all. The support that we have been receiving since late 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began is remarkable. There has been sustained progress in membership growth and engagement despite the challenge of not being able to meet face-to-face for some time now.
I am happy that we are finally back! We hope you would consider joining us at next week’s technical meeting featuring Dr. Mike Behm and Ashley Heien, who both will speak on “Safety Function Metamorphosis.” Depending on the time you are reading this message, you may either join the event live or virtually next week or view the archived recording online. See the chapter website for more details: https://nc.assp.org/event/
Finally, you should be receiving an update in the next couple of weeks on the slate of candidates for the 2023-2024 chapter year. This (leadership positions) will also be posted on the chapter website for up to 30 days before being voted for at next month’s chapter meeting. As always, your presence and vote would ensure a seamless leadership transition for the next chapter year.
Thank you all for all you do and have a great month!
Ogaga Tebehaevu, MS, CIH, CSP
Happy New Year!
As we begin 2023, I am thinking more about ways we can bolster engagement with our students, student sections, and the youngest members of the OSH community. The student community is a fundamental part of ASSP’s structure, both at the national and local level. At the Chapter’s Planning Session in August 2022, student engagement was a key part of our discussion.
The chapter is committed to working with our local student sections and faculty advisors in every way it can to bridge the gap in student engagement. Through conference sponsorship, scholarship support, student spotlighting, and guest-speaking opportunities, the chapter strives to make sure that this group is supported as much as possible. This effort, however, is not only a chapter responsibility. Everyone has a role to play, directly or indirectly, in student engagement.
There are areas that could still be improved on, such as retention, mentorship, motivation, professional development, to mention a few. Speaking of retention, data from the Safety+Health magazine indicates that we are not retaining our recent grad and young professionals enough. Some of our recent grads that I spoke with on this issue last year, told me that they find it somewhat challenging to qualify for entry-level jobs requiring 1-2 years of experience. While this may not be representative of the situation, it’s something worth mentioning. Mentorship and motivation could go a long way to create a positive experience for our students as they transition in their professional journey. Thus, I encourage us to continue to harness our roles to positively influence the next generation of safety leaders.
If this topic resonates with you, I encourage you to join us in our Technical Meeting in March, where a faculty advisor will come speak to us and answer questions relating to this topic.
Finally, I want to thank those that made last month’s end of year social. It was nice to meet in person again, after several months of virtual meetings. All things being equal, we should be returning to face to face meetings no later than March 2023.
On behalf of the Executive Committee, I sincerely appreciate everyone’s support in the last six months. Let’s keep up the good team spirit in the months ahead!
Ogaga Tebehaevu, MS, CIH, CSP
Appreciate your support!
It is December, the last month of the year! I would like to thank everyone for their support in making this year a successful one for the chapter so far. Through your sustained commitment, the chapter held two strategic sessions, four technical meetings, a joint technical meeting, and participated in regional meetings, and conferences, just to mention a few.
It is also worth mentioning that the chapter increased its membership strength to 455 as of November 2022. All of these did not happen by chance, but by the contribution of everyone. The Executive Committee (EC) is honored that you have entrusted us to direct the strategic path of the chapter for the first half of the year, even as we look forward to making it a better year ahead.
One of the things we are working on is returning to in-person meetings. In the member survey administered in early September, 67% of respondents inquired about the chapter’s return to in-person meetings. I would be remiss if I didn’t inform you that this is a major goal for next year. In fact, we are giving this a shot already with the end-of-year social coming up on December 16th. We hope that this event will transition the chapter into in-person meetings starting January 2023. Please consider registering for the event if you haven’t already done so. Details are available on our website: https://nc.assp.org/events/december-social/
On the other side of things, I would like to remind you all of some important approaching deadlines. Are you a student – full-time or part-time? Please consider applying for the Foundation Academic Scholarship which is due by February 15, 2023. Also, nominations for the Chapter and Regional SPY Awards are due by February 1. While it may seem like there is enough time, it goes by so fast. It would be great to have our members recognized in either or both areas.
Finally, I believe nothing is more rewarding than having a well-spent and memorable time together with loved ones. Regardless of the nature of your job, please make time with your families this holiday season. Family is everything! Thank you for all you do and have a nice holiday!
Ogaga Tebehaevu, MS, CIH, CSP
Checking off on our Goals
It is hard to believe that we are less than two months to the end of the year. How time flies! According to Luke Rowley, founder of Goal Engineering, this is a good time of the year for people to evaluate the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year. A safety professional told me a few days ago that he was able to achieve his major professional goal of the year, which is passing the CSP exams.
To all our members who may have achieved their goals for the current year, be it completing an academic program, passing a board exam, learning a new skill, implementing an innovative workplace solution, or whatever, we want to congratulate you on your success! On the other hand, for those that are yet to achieve theirs, we encourage you to keep pushing. If you failed for some reason, do not be discouraged by failure. To FAIL, as they say, is First Attempt In Learning! Instead, convert the experience from such as learning opportunities to become better and stronger.
As your local Chapter, we are equally evaluating our strategic goals in ensuring we are meeting the needs of our members. It is one of our goals this year to ensure that the Chapter communications get to our members quickly and easily. The Chapter’s Website and Social Media platforms – Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn have been very helpful in making this possible. Be sure to check these out if you have not. Thanks to Bryce and Eric, our Social Media Chair and Website Coordinator respectively, for their continued support in this area.
Another goal that we are in the process of achieving this year, is the Chapter Member Survey. Thanks to all those that participated in the survey. Your inputs will be incorporated into the Chapter’s operations for the subsequent year. More updates to come on this in future communications.
On the other side of things, we have some upcoming events this month and next. Please take a moment to join us for this month’s Technical Meeting coming up on Thursday, November 10 at noon. Our speaker is Dr. Diana Schwerha, Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Liberty University. Dr. Schwerha will be speaking on “Integrating Safety with Process Improvement Strategies and Techniques.” See the Chapter’s website and social media platforms for more information including how to register.
We are also excited to inform you that there will be an End-of-Year social next month (December 2022). Venue, date, and time will be communicated to you soon! We hope you will consider joining us.
Finally, as we look forward to Thanksgiving this month, I want to use this opportunity to thank you all for all you do within your respective capacities in making sure that our employees return home safely to their families each day. You are all appreciated!
Ogaga Tebehaevu, MS, CIH, CSP