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Embrace Lifelong Learning

James R. Thornton, CSP, CIH, FASSP, FAIHA, 2023-24 ASSP President and ASSP Foundation Chair
Aug 01, 2023

Jim ThorntonIn the dynamic landscape of OSH, we must recognize the critical importance of continuous learning. As we all experience each day, OSH is not a static field. New technologies, regulations and challenges emerge constantly, demanding that we equip ourselves with both technical expertise and soft skills. Embracing lifelong learning through ASSP and the ASSP Foundation, its charitable arm, can ensure that we remain at the forefront of our profession, safeguarding the well-being of workers and fostering an organizational culture that truly values workplace safety.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

Our workers encounter a wide range of hazards, and helping our organizations identify and mitigate these risks is driven by our ability to provide technical knowledge and guidance. Staying current on the latest equipment, methodologies, technologies and best practices is crucial for safeguarding our workers.

ASSP provides a multitude of educational opportunities, including webinars, workshops, conference and certificate programs, as well as certification preparation courses. We also publish Professional Safety and a selection of technical publications. All of these offerings meet our members at all stages of their careers. From introductory offerings to advanced courses, these resources enable us to continuously improve our technical competencies.

We also publish voluntary consensus standards that capture best practices well beyond what is required in regulatory standards. Implementing these standards can help us guide our organizations’ efforts to develop programs that elevate overall organizational performance by contributing to greater productivity, higher employee engagement and better profitability.

Influence Culture & Success

Beyond being technically proficient, we must cultivate skills to influence organizational culture. These skills, which include effective communication, leadership, problem-solving and collaboration, are equally crucial to our success.

ASSP recognizes the significance of these competencies and delivers a variety of leadership development programs, free learning resources, conference sessions and other education programs to help you strengthen your proficiency. By doing so, you can more effectively communicate with workers, collaborate with colleagues to achieve desired results and influence corporate executives. This will help ensure that safety is a core organizational value.

Adapt to a Constantly Changing World

The pace of technological advancement and regulatory changes makes lifelong learning a necessity. Embracing a continuous learning mindset enables us to adapt swiftly to new challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities. The ASSP Foundation plays a pivotal role in supporting this pursuit by offering academic scholarships and career development grants to aid current and future OSH professionals in our educational endeavors.

We also can benefit from opportunities to build our network through our ASSP involvement, whether within a local chapter, practice specialty or common interest group, as a volunteer leader, or through activities such as writing an article, delivering a session or serving on a standards development committee. Each engagement enables us to readily interact with industry peers to share experiences and insights.

Take the Pathway to Career Excellence

Continuing education and professional development not only enhances our effectiveness but also provides a pathway to career advancement. Employers seek individuals who display a commitment to ongoing learning, recognizing that such individuals bring innovation and adaptability to their roles.

By tapping into ASSP’s wealth of educational resources and support, volunteer leadership opportunities and industry connections, each of us can bolster our experience and better position ourselves as key contributors to business success. By embracing this commitment to education and professional development, we can truly make a lasting impact in our organizations and contribute to the advancement of our profession.


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