In her January 2021 President’s Message, Deb Roy observed that none of us would ever forget the year that was 2020. I think we can safely say the same about 2021. The unrelenting nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has often left us feeling like we are on a never-ending roller-coaster ride.
As OSH professionals, we are used to responding rapidly to changing priorities and shifting expectations. This resilience is one of the most distinctive characteristics of our profession. It is a mindset that helps each of us provide trusted guidance, support and leadership to our companies, our employees and our communities.
As we have since March 2020, the Board of Directors is keenly focused on delivering member value while managing our financial and reputational risks in what remains a fluid economic environment. We have done this by emphasizing these three primary goals.
1. Meet plan and manage cash.
2. Grow and align our products and services with stakeholders’ key needs.
3. Enhance governance to meet current and future needs of members, customers and the safety profession.
Our results to date reflect progress in all three areas. This month, I would like to share a brief update on the state of our Society.
Meet Plan & Manage Cash
We hosted a successful Safety 2021 in Austin, TX, along with a concurrent virtual conference. Revenue from attendance exceeded budget by 245%. Through this signature event, we were able to help more than 5,000 OSH professionals continue their education, exchange ideas and build stronger skills.
We will also offer a refreshed SafetyFOCUS education event Feb. 21 to March 4, featuring 31 hybrid courses and 36 virtual courses. In addition, our professional staff team is diligently working to control expenses, which has led to improved operating projections for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends March 31.
Grow & Align Products
Over the past year, we have also continued to develop new education content to address our members’ learning and certification needs. We launched six online courses and four minicourses; are revamping four of our older online courses; and are working closely with our sponsors to deliver free webinars on key topics. In addition, we partnered with the ASSP Foundation to receive a Susan Harwood Grant that will fund our efforts to develop three online modules on PPE that will be available for free to the broad OSH community.
Standards development continues to be a core strength of our organization as well. Since April 1, 2021, we have published nine new or revised standards covering a broad range of topics including psychological safety and health, fall protection, construction and demolition operations, and prevention through design. In total, we have sold or provided through training courses and advocacy outreach more than 10,000 standards since last April.
As noted in my messages in August, September and November, we are moving toward a vote on a proposed change to our governance structure. We believe this change would provide our organization with greater business agility while creating a year-round opportunity for members to share their input and influence our decisions.
Starting last June, we hosted a series of discussions with members, delegates and volunteer leaders, then revised the proposal and the timing of the vote based on that feedback. In late November, we launched a survey of delegates and chapter presidents to validate the findings from those discussions. The Board of Directors will discuss those results during our meeting this month.
Despite all the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, ASSP remains strong, resilient and focused on creating a safer, stronger future. I have been heartened to hear from so many of you over the past year expressing a bright outlook for the profession and our organization. Please be sure to remain engaged and maximize the benefits of your membership in our Society.