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Steven P. Smith, M.S.

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"To be a safety professional means to watch out for other people's care. It's my unique job to make sure that people are doing their jobs safely."

Steven P. Smith, M.S.  - Safety Compliance Officer | Office of the Cook County Medical Examiner

Steven Smith

What does it mean to you to be a safety professional?

To be a safety professional to me means to watch out for other people's care. I'm in a unique situation at the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, where we see the deaths and accidents and what occurs to people all the time. And it's my unique job to make sure that the people, who are figuring out what happened to these people, are safely doing it. So to me, I'm kind of the guy who's watching the back of the doctors, who are finding out what went wrong for somebody else.


What led you to a career in safety?

For me, the defining moment that made me choose safety, really chose me. At the time, I was working at an insurance company, Fortune 500, and a window fell out of our skyscraper and killed a woman on the street. At that time, the CEO decided that he wanted to beef up the safety culture, so he brought in Bill Phillips, who is a former ASSP president, and he chose me to be on Bill's team. Bill helped guide me to IUP, where I got a master's in Safety Science and began training safety teams all over the country. And that's pretty much how I began, and here I am now.

How has ASSP helped you as a safety professional?

As a safety professional, ASSP has helped me by putting me in touch with other safety professionals. The annual safety conferences have been great. With opportunities for education, and the support that they give you when you're seeking certifications, I think is great. Not only do they set the standard, but they make available other professionals with the expertise, and train you how to be successful on those exams. And that's fairly important, because I think to be a profession, you really have to have standards set, and I think that's what ASSP really does.

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