Columbia Southern University (CSU) has honored ASSP member Eric Simmons, CSP, ASP, CHST, SMS, CIT, STSC, with its 2020 Outstanding Safety Professional of the Year award. Member Bill Toms, CSP, ASP, was also a runner-up for the award. The award recognizes the university’s OSH students and graduates for their commitment to safety, professionalism and accomplishments within the profession.
Selected from more than 250 nominations, Simmons has received many construction safety awards including BCSP’s 2019 Construction Health and Safety Technician Award of Excellence.“I have always had a passion for learning and teaching others. The safety profession provides an excellent opportunity to do both of those things,” says Simmons. “I enjoy the variety within the safety profession, both in terms of the things we do and the people we meet and interact with on a daily basis.”
Simmons is corporate safety director for Helix Electric in San Diego, CA, and holds a master’s degree in Occupational Safety and Health from CSU. He is a professional member of ASSP’s San Diego Chapter and a member of the Society’s Construction Practice Specialty and Emerging Professionals in OSH Common Interest Group.
Toms, runner-up for the award, began working in the OSH profession after suffering a traumatic injury in 1997 as a lineman.
“The incident resulted in the amputation of my right hand and right foot. Since I would no longer be able to do line work, I was excited when my company asked if I would like to come back to work in safety,” says Toms. “It was then that I realized that I could make a difference in the lives of others by encouraging them to work safely and avoid making a serious mistake as I did.”
Toms is a safety director at MB Haynes Corp. and holds an associate’s degree in Occupational Safety and Health from CSU. He is a member of ASSP’s Piedmont and Western Carolina chapters, as well as the Society’s Construction and Utilities practice specialties.