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ASSE signs landmark Singapore Accord to advance global workplace health and safety

Sep 05, 2017

PARK RIDGE, Illinois — A significant step toward safer and healthier workplaces was taken Sept. 3 when the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) joined more than 40 organizations from around the world in the landmark signing of the Singapore Accord. The Accord, spearheaded by the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations (INSHPO), presents a global capability framework for the occupational health and safety (OHS) professional that will increase the effectiveness and impact of this role in every industry.

“This is one of the most significant initiatives produced on the international stage by the OHS profession,” said ASSE President Jim Smith, M.S., CSP, who was on hand in Singapore to sign the Accord. “For the first time, we have achieved a common global commitment to defining capabilities for OHS professionals and practitioners, which in turn will raise competencies and ultimately lead to fewer worker injuries, illnesses and fatalities.”

Six years in the making, the OHS Professional Capability Framework received global support from organizations such as the Safety Institute of Australia, New Zealand Institute of Safety Management, and Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association at the signing of the Accord in Singapore in advance of the 21st World Congress on Safety and Health at Work. The framework defines the roles, skills, knowledge and qualifications recommended for OHS professionals and practitioners. It is a consensus-based document developed from an international analysis of data from national professional associations and certification bodies.

Given the diversity of OHS approaches across countries, INSHPO created an overarching structure designed to encompass all of them. The framework was analyzed by safety experts from a variety of industries around the world. It was enhanced through practical application by the International Council on Mining and Metals.

“We need the ability to self-improve if we’re going to elevate the status of the OHS professional and get all employers to recognize the incredible value of these roles,” Smith said. “A cornerstone of stimulating preventive actions and improving workplace safety is a network of highly capable professionals whose focus is just that. Far too many people are still getting injured and sick on the job. We can do better.”

The International Labor Organization reports there are 2.3 million deaths globally each year attributed to work, with the biggest component linked to work-related diseases. More than 300 million incidents occur on the job annually around the world, resulting in significant human suffering and economic burdens. In the United States, businesses pay $1.2 billion per week in workers’ compensation costs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The Framework will help business leaders everywhere ensure they have competent professionals practicing and promoting injury prevention, as that’s a key element in managing risk,” Smith said. “This raises the bar and redefines the value of the OHS professional and practitioner. It will lead to improved organizational outcomes, not just from an OHS perspective, but from a financial standpoint as well.”

ASSE is a founding member of INSHPO with the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. Created in 2001, INSHPO has grown to 14 member organizations that are based in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, European Union, Australia, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, Singapore and Korea. The nonprofit organization is the global voice for the occupational safety and health profession and acts as a forum for international collaboration to improve safety and health at work.

To learn more about INSHPO and its mission to improve workplace health and safety, visit

Media contact: Blaine Krage, 847.768.3416,


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